Darling Dungarees

This is my latest baby pattern attempt, the dandelion dungarees by Poppy and Jazz which is an offshoot of Sew Over It.  I thought the promotional photos were all super cute, and I love dressing Toby in dungarees so this seemed like a great pattern choice.

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The pattern is reversible so you get two looks in one which is lovely.  I really like cuffing the ankles so that you can see the contrast fabric from the inside.

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The instructions were really clear, and I think this would be quite a good first knit sewing project because the seams don’t actually need to stretch and get sewn with an ordinary straight stitch.  The only tricky part is ‘bagging out’ the legs, but the instructions do explain pretty well.

 

I did make things rather trickier by hacking these dungarees to have poppers between the legs.  It does make it much easier to change nappies, but I can see why they didn’t include it in the instructions because it did make construction considerably more awkward.  I’m really pleased with them though, and even chose a few different colours of snaps to close them with.

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The straps also have two sets of snaps so that I can change the length as he grows.

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I’m definitely going to have to make some more of these dungarees.  I’ve been eyeing up all the cute printed jerseys in my stash and working out colour combinations.  Even with all the snap setting they were a pretty quick sew.  Plus, they were another of my ‘wildcard’ entry make 9 patterns so I’m really onto a win there!

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Sewing for mini

Baby is growing so fast at the moment, so I’ve been whipping up a few things in the next size up. For these I’ve returned to the Brindle and Twig patterns that I’ve had lots of success with before, the Ringer Tee and Cuff Leggings.

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The basic T-Shirt is so speedy to sew. I made a tiny t-shirt to coordinate with Matt’s space Metro Tee.

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And a couple of long sleeve versions using my popper neckline hack. A few months in to dressing a baby and I definitely gravitate to the easiest option when getting him dressed!

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To coordinate I made two pairs of leggings to mix and match. The orange ones look a bit 80’s but I think they are a fun change from the mostly blue trousers we seem to have!

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To finish off I even have a first modelling appearance from Toby. It’s surprising hard to get good photos of a baby modelling clothes.

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Now Toby can match either of his parents- Matt has a t-shirt to match the space print, and the nautical print matches this dress of mine.

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Review two, and Autumn/Winter Plans

My sewing has definitely slowed down a bit since having a baby, but I do have some plans for the autumn.  I need some more long sleeved tops, as does Matt so I’ve gone back to my favorite cotton spandex from Girl Charlee in Sage Green and Dusty Masala.

Dusty Marsala Solid Cotton Spandex Knit FabricSage Green Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

With regards to my make 9 plans its going pretty well and I’ve decided on a final couple of things to add as my wildcards.  I’m going to sew the Poppy and Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for Toby (and if I get time a co-ordinating Honeydew Hoodie), and I could do with another wintery Archer shirt for which I have a perfect cream speckled brushed cotton from Fabworks last year.   So my make 9 now looks like this:

Make 9 (3)

6 made (some several times), 1 in progress, and 2 yet to start.  I feel like that is not too bad.  The Taylor Trench and Archer shirt are pretty involved makes, though I have made the Archer multiple times before.  The dandelion dungarees should be super easy though.  I have some cute Fabworks elephant fabric which might work.

Z2e5If I get time, I could also do with another Oslo cardigan.  The one that I made at the start of the year is in constant rotation, and I’ve been discovering that cardigans are much more convenient to breastfeed in than jumpers, and its getting too cold to be without layers.

 

Simple Sewing

This is not a dressmaking project, but something much simpler.  I’ve been finding my sewing time much reduced these days so this is just a quick project, but one that I have been getting a lot of use out of!  We have been using reusable cloth nappies, and it occurred to me that it wouldn’t generate any extra washing to use cloth wipes as well.  The wipes would just be washed along with the nappies.  It is possible to buy cloth wipes (we have some of these which I use for babies face/hands), but I figured that I am competent with a sewing machine so I simply dug out an old towel and set to work.

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These wipes are made from an old microfibre towel which rarely got used. An ordinary cotton towel would also work just fine, but this towel is both very quick drying and not very bulky so it seemed perfect for this project.  I cut 15cm squares, rounded off the corners and then went around the edge with my overlocker to stop them from fraying.  It has been a great project to do in small batches while baby Toby is asleep or content for a few minutes.

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Once the cloths are complete, I keep them in a basket next to our changing mat.  They can be moistened with just plain water, but I have been using a spray bottle and have mixed a few simple and baby friendly ingredients.  Here is my approximate “recipe”:

1 tbsp. Sweet Almond Oil (for moisturising and ‘glide’)

1 tbsp. Castile Soap (for gentle cleansing)

A few drops of Lavender Oil (for scent and its antibacterial properties)

200ml cold water

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In fact, we now keep some of these wipes and a smaller spray bottle in the nappy changing bag so we can also use them when we are out and about too.

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I know for most people reading this, nappy changing and baby wipes aren’t part of your daily routine, but perhaps if you use make-up removing wipes or other similar products you could also consider using something like this.  Research by Water UK suggests that baby and facial wipes account for over 90% of the contents of sewer blockages and ‘fatbergs’ because they don’t break down or biodegrade, and contain plastic.  See the full report here, but I’m willing to try and improve the situation by cutting out the need for these wipes as much as I can.  Let me know if you give it a go too.  All I need now is to make a little bag to contain the wipes in the changing bag and make them as convenient as possible.

Baby Gifts

While I was waiting for baby Toby to arrive, I was making good use of the time to sew up some more tiny outfits from all my jersey scraps.  A couple of friends have also been expecting little ones, so it seemed like a nice idea to make a little outfit for each of the new arrivals.

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Because it is near impossible to guess how big or how fast the babies will grow, I went for the 3-6 month sizes this time, and decided to pair the Brindle and Twig cuff leggings with my hack of the Ringer Tee to have a popper neckline.

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The resulting outfits look very smart, and have been happily received their new owners.

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I even remembered to sew a tag into the leggings to help tell the front from the back!

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Because babies cannot be relied upon to keep clean for long, I thought that a couple of dribble bibs in co-ordinating colours would make a good addition to the outfits.  These are just triangles of bright quilting cotton, backed with some soft sweat-shirting.  I used Prym colour snaps as closures because they come in so many fun colours and designs.

The other bib is just a simple outline, again with snaps to close it.  I did a bit of scrap quilting in pretty coordinating fabrics.

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I love putting together baby clothes.  Its just such a good use of scraps and special fabrics!

Tutorial: How to hack a t-shirt to have a popper closure

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my hack to the Brindle and Twig Ringer Tee pattern to give it a popper opening/closure and make it easier to get on and off.  I thought that I would put together a proper tutorial.  This method will work for any t-shirt pattern with a shoulder seam, and doesn’t have to be limited to just children’s clothing.  You could just as easily use the same method to add a fun feature to an adult jumper too.  I’m using the Ringer Tee pattern pieces again simply because it is a readily available and free pattern so any of you that want to give this a go, can!

 

Pattern modifications

Step 1:

The pieces that we are altering are the front, back, and the neckband.  You will first need to trace off new copies of these pieces in the relevant size.  Leave space around the pieces for the modifications.

The Ringer Tee has the front and back pattern pieces cut on the fold.  We are going to make the pattern asymmetrical, so you may find it easier to trace the pattern piece off complete so that it can be cut on a single layer.

Step 2:

Decide how much of an overlap you want at the closure.  I chose 1/2″ or 13mm.

I also decided that because it is a jersey pattern, and jersey does not fray I was happy to leave the inside edge raw or overlocked, rather than concealing the cut edge.

Step 3: Front Pattern Piece

You need to know what seam allowance the pattern you are working with uses.  The Ringer tee has 6mm seam allowances.

Draw the seam allowance on to one shoulder seam. (the blue line in the picture)

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Draw on another line which is 13mm (or whatever overlap you decided on) from the seam line.  With my 6mm seam allowance this makes 7mm extra length in the shoulder.  This extra area is shaded in green.

Front, overlap

Step 4: Back Pattern Piece

Draw the seam line onto the same shoulder as you did for the front.  (It will look like the opposite shoulder because the pattern piece is effectively back-to-front.)  See the blue line below.

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Draw another line twice the overlap away from your seam line.  If you are using a 13mm overlap, this new line needs to be 26mm from the seam line.  The extra area is shaded in green again.

Back, overlap

Step 5: Neckband

Your neckband needs to have the total additional length added to it.  This means the length added beyond the seam line.  In my example that is 27mm.  (13+26-6-6=27mm)

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Sewing up

Step 6: Cutting out and first shoulder seam

Cut out the pattern pieces.  Cut a tiny notch at the seam allowance line on the front and back shoulder on the side which was modified.  Sew the other shoulder seam (the one without the pattern alterations) as in the pattern instructions.  Press the seam to the back.

Step 7: Neckband

Fold and press the neckband in half.  Stitch it to the neckline.  Press the seam down towards the body of the top.  It should now look like this, with the neckline finished, and one shoulder open.

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Step 8: Prepping second shoulder

Finish the shoulder seam allowances if you wish.  Press over 13mm on the front and back shoulder seams.  Use a strip of fusible hemming web to keep the fold in place while you complete the rest of the construction.

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Step 9: Prepping the overlap

Overlap the back shoulder over the front, using the shoulder seam notches to align properly.  Use pins to keep the overlap in place.

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Step 10: Sleeves

Insert the first sleeve, matching the shoulder notches to the central notch of the sleeve.  Once it is sewn, this will keep the overlap in place.

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Insert the other sleeve.

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Step 11: underarm and Side seams

Sew the underarm sleeve, and side seams together in one continuous seam.

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Step 12: Cuffs and Waistband

Sew the short edges of the sleeve cuffs and waistband.  Press them in half wrong sides together.

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Sew the waistband and sleeve cuffs to the body.

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Step 13: Attach snaps to open shoulder

Attach snaps to the open shoulder seam, aligning the two halves.  I used two snaps on this 3-6 month size, but on larger sizes it might be better to use more.

You may wish to use jersey snaps like these which have multiple prongs because they are less likely to pull out with time and wear.  I generally use Prym vario pliers to apply snaps.  Much easier than all the hammering!

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All finished and ready to wear!

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Baby pattern hacking

A little while ago I shared a couple of Brindle and Twig patterns that I had been making up multiples of- the cuff leggings and raglan tee. This time I’ve been using a free release from Brindle and Twig- the ringer tee, but I had a few thoughts on making it more practical for dressing wiggly babies!

The basic ringer tee is already a great pattern. Some pattern companies release free patterns so that you can get to look at their instructions and drafting and decide if you like them enough to work with in their paid patterns. This is a well drafted basic tee in lots of sizes (it goes from 0-3m to 6 years) so another pattern that I should get lots of use out of. With that in mind, I had the pattern printed in colour to make it easier to see the different sizing lines, and just traced off the size that I needed.

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I went with the 0-3m size again, but one of my concerns before with the raglan tee’s was whether the neckbands would be easy to get over baby’s head. I’ve heard that babies sometimes don’t like things being put on over their head and I wondered if I could hack the pattern to make it easier. I have seen quite a few baby t-shirts and jumpers with snaps at the shoulder to make the neckline bigger while putting them on and off and it looked like a simple fix.

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This hack was actually really easy to do. I just extended the neckband, and the front and back shoulder on one side so that I had a bit extra for folding over. It makes putting the neckband in particularly easy because you only sew up one shoulder seam, then put the neckband in flat. Press the excess over on the open shoulder, and pin together at the right position while the sleeve is inserted, then just add snaps. If people are interested I can put together a proper photo tutorial of how to modify the pattern pieces and sewing process.

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I used my vario pliers and some prym colour snaps to co-ordinate with the jersey. I’m not sure how robust these will be as I don’t know if I interfaced the snap section enough to stop the jersey from stretching out and releasing the snaps. I think on the next version I will use jersey snaps instead which should be more robust. I’m pleased with this as a test run though. It looks super cute, and extra practicality. Now I just need the baby to arrive to test it out!

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Mini mix-and match!

Early in the year I was inspired by Tilly from Tilly and the buttons and the cute little outfits that she had made for her new baby boy.  It inspired me enough to buy the Raglan Tee and Cuff Leggings from Brindle and Twig, so that I could have a go at making something for my bump to wear when they arrived too!  Given my self imposed pattern buying limit of 4 for the year, it did seem very selfless to be using it for someone other than myself (though I did decide that these patterns were so small that they counted as one outfit, instead of two separate patterns), and this is another of my make nine successfully completed.

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One of the things that drew me to these two patterns was that they both have amazing sizing scales.  Both go from newborn up to 6 years, so these are patterns that I will be able to use for years to come.  With that in mind, I had them printed in colour to make seeing all the different size lines easier, and then traced off the size 0-3m separately.  I generally use pattern paper from Amazon (like this), but I was pretty much out, so these got squeezed onto whatever I had lying around.

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It was really fun rummaging through my knit fabric scraps for different colour and pattern combinations, and seeing what I could squeeze out of various pieces of fabric.  The short sleeve piece, and the legging cuff are both great for little scraps too small to do anything else productive with.  I’ve used a few Girl Charlee cotton spandex plains to co-ordinate, though some of those pieces were scraps too.

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I still don’t know if we are expecting a boy or a girl, so I wanted to keep most things pretty gender neutral, and I really liked the idea of clothing that is able to mix and match so that when some of the outfit inevitably needs changing, I can just stick on any of the other pieces and it won’t look odd.

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I figured that by sticking to a fairly simple colour palate for each size range that I sew up then I should be ok there, so in the 0-3m I’m going for navy, blue and white.  I was inspired by Skirtfixation and the amazing co-ordinated child capsule wardrobes that she has put together using scraps too.

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That said, I did have a couple of more girly fabric pieces which were just big enough for these patterns, so I thought I would run with it anyway.  I have a couple of friends that are expecting in the next couple of months too, so perhaps this set will make a good gift when one of their little ones arrives.

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Sewing-wise, these patterns are brilliantly simple, especially when they can be whizzed together on the overlocker.  Some parts, like putting the cuffs on the leggings are a little fiddly, but that is only because they are so tiny!

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I do like playing with mixing and matching all the different combinations.  They look very cute!

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My only slight concern is that the neckband might be a little bit tight or small, but if that does prove to be a problem then I can just cut the current one off and install a slightly longer one.

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I haven’t been able to test any of these out yet for practicality in the real world, with an actual wiggling baby, but they are super cute so I’m hoping that they will get lots of use one little one arrives.

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Tiny heads and hands

As you may now know, we are preparing for a new addition to our household, and this has prompted some slightly different sewing.  The great news for me though is that sewing for babies is a great use for little scraps, like the bits left over from my recent toaster sweater.  I had just enough to make some tiny mittens and a matching hat!

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The hat is a self drafted template, with a simple cuff at the bottom.  There are loads of tutorials out there for baby hats, but none of them were going to fit into the tiny scraps that I had left so I had to create my own.  The cuff piece was 8cm high and a little smaller than twice the width of the hat template.

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All I had to do was cut two ‘hats’ and a cuff.  Sew the ‘hats’ together, right sight together.  Sew the short ends of the cuff together, right sides together and press it in half wrong sides together.  Then just match the raw edges of the hat and cuff together and sew round.  Done in just a few minutes!  Let me know if you would like a more detailed tutorial with pictures and I can definitely get one together.

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To make the mittens was also pretty simple.  I found this tutorial for drafting the pieces and just followed it through.

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I used a little bit of grey ribbing for the cuffs this time because it was a bit stretcher than my jersey.  I cut the lining from some soft grey t-shirt jersey (left over from these t-shirts) because there was literally nothing left of my French terry by this point!  They are all soft and cosy on the inside because all the seams are enclosed.

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Don’t they look cute just waiting for baby to pop them on.  I’m sure this is just the first of perhaps many baby related posts, but when things are so quick and take so little fabric, why wouldn’t you sew them something!

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