Sunday, 15 January 2017

More swimwear - a rash top and pants

I love R's new Cosi swimsuit, but Melbourne's extreme UV levels sometimes require a more sun-smart option. R's previous rash top and pants having been well and truly outgrown, I made a new one using the same patterns as last time: an Ottobre raglan-sleeved top and the Cosi swimsuit's pants.

The floral fabric comes from Joelle's fabric warehouse and is apparently a Sea Folly remnant. It's  lovely quality and has quite a slinky feeling. I teamed it with some plain blue swim fabric for the fully lined bottoms, taking a couple of inches off the top of the high-waisted pants. The rash top is exactly as per the pattern with the exception of the neckband, which I widened for better neck coverage.

These bathers were really put through their paces on their first wear. Besides swimming, R spent lots of time rolling around in the (very hot) sand, digging pools and building castles. We had a few moments of excitement when my friend spotted a shark's fin above the water, prompting me to run along the beach screaming at people to get out of the water. I had just manged to clear the beach of swimmers when we realised that our 'shark' was in fact a dolphin. Rather embarrassing - but at least our kids ended up with a good story to tell!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Another nightie in Japanese lawn

R has been wearing the same much-loved summer nightie for the past three years, during which time it's gone from very long to way too short, and has become rather difficult to get into. When the fabric - thin from so much wear - started to tear in a couple of places, I knew I had to move quickly on a new version. And since the old pattern had proved so perfect, and the fabric was so light and soft, there seemed no need to reinvent the wheel; the same Japanese pattern and the same kind of fabric would do perfectly.

The pattern is from Girly Style Wardrobe, and is intended as a slip to be worn under another dress, but its loose-fitting style with no closures makes it perfect for nightwear. The fabric is from Spotlight's Japanese lawn range and the trim is cotton lace (and plenty of it!).

R is thrilled with her long nightie and is now requesting a long dress - which won't be happening until she drops her demand for an off-the-shoulder style. I'm just happy she's no longer squeezing herself into a tiny torn nightie!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A few weeks ago I saw a little girl in the playground wearing a cute dress with a shirred top and a double skirt and decided to copy it using pattern G from Kids Clothes Style Book. This pattern is for a simple sundress with five narrow elastic casings at the top, which were rather frustrating to sew and to fit to R's chest properly - shirring would have been a whole lot easier. I adapted the pattern by adding an elastic casing at the waist and an extra skirt section (with the fabric the wrong way around, if you look closely... I didn't have enough to cut a piece the right way).

One very pretty feature of this pattern is the straps, which tie in a bow at the back - R loves this detail! I do think the straps could be a little narrower, though, as they tend to gather up a bit at the front.

It's got a bit of a puffy look around the chest and I'm not sure if it's been a totally successful experiment, but R really, really adores this dress. The fabric is one of Spotlight's wonderful Japanese lawns - an old one from my stash - and it is very light and breezy to wear, which as just as well since Melbourne summer has arrived with a vengeance!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A seersucker swimsuit

Looking through rolls of swimwear fabric the other day I found some fantastic neon-striped seersucker that took me back to circa 1983, when I'm pretty sure I had a bikini made of something virtually identical. But I'm not a fan of bikinis on little girls, so a Cosi Swimsuit it had to be! I've used this pattern before (here and here) so it's a tried-and-true one for me. I made R the size 8 length and altered the width to size 5.

This morning R was desperate to go to the beach. The boys weren't even out of bed yet, but I did a deal: I take her to the beach; she models her new bathers. Since the photos only took me about a minute, I think she got the better end of the deal, but I did enjoy getting into the cool water even if the beach was a bit too windy (hence the quick photoshoot, and my failure to notice that the bathers look all scrunched up at the bottom - they are actually a pretty perfect fit, provided one pulls them up properly...)

The awesome fabric is from Joelle's Fabric Warehouse in Dingley, which is my go-to place for swimwear material. This seersucker was only $7 a meter, making these bathers pleasingly inexpensive to sew. Due to ear problems R hasn't yet learned to swim, but her specialist has given her the all-clear, so this will probably be a year of intensive swimming lessons. These Cosis are going to get a lot of wear! They're probably not ideal for extreme UV days at the beach, though, which is why I'm now moving on to a more sunsmart swimsuit... coming up shortly!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Jinbei PJs

Having tackled a yukata for R's school's Japan Day, I felt pretty confident about making a jinbei - a Japanese two-piece outfit combining a yukata-style top with a pair of shorts. This pattern came from Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 and was far easier to sew than my yukata pattern, with more manageable-sized pieces and a simpler method of construction.

The top part of the jinbei has a inside tie as well as an outside one, and next time I make one of these I think I'll just use a button for this part to reduce the not-so-pleasant feeling of a knot and bow inside the top (not that R has complained, but it doesn't seem ideal). The shorts have an elastic waist and are slightly lengthened in the hope that they'll fit R for a while. I decided to go totally cutesy and use this cotton strawberry fabric from Spotlight, which of course R loves - in fact, she loves the whole outfit and has been wearing it constantly.

Here are the jinbeis shown in the magazine:

The boy version is identical, but doesn't have the ruffle at the bottom of the shorts.

Now to make R some less layered nightwear for the stinking hot summer nights that will no doubt be arriving soon...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Ribbon dress

This is the 'ribbon-embellished dress' from Linen, Wool, Cotton: Kids. I found the trim on clearance at Darn Cheap Fabrics and was excited to make this dress, which I'd long admired in the book. The dress itself is made in a lovely white linen from Kim Anh Fabrics.

I though this one would be an easy sew, but it proved quite complicated. The ribbon yoke is made from pieces of trim cut at various angles and assembled (I had to zigzag the edges as I went or it would have been a total fray-fest!). Then the dress sections are joined to the ribbon yoke, and finally you make an inner ribbon yoke in pretty much the same way. Having chosen white linen, though, I realised I'd have to make some kind of lining, so I basically wound up making two dresses - an inner and an outer, with the inner made from voile - and sewing them together at the neckline.

I really like the shape of this dress, and, of course, the super-bright trim. It makes me think of a cross between Hmong embroidery and Ethiopian traditional wear, with a modern neon twist. Totally impractical of course, and god knows how that trim's going to stand up in the wash, but I love it anyway!

Monday, 21 November 2016

The four tops

Today's post bundles together four tops, so I couldn't resist the musical reference to the Motown greats!

Up first is a top from this Japanese sewing book, which I wanted to try as I was curious about the construction of the sleeves and the insert below them. It's a really nice, simple style with buttons down the back (I used snaps instead). The fabric is a light cotton from my stash with a seersucker-like wave to it. In the bottom set of photos you can see the side view of the sleeve and also the side slits - a lovely detail, I think.

Next up is a peplum top from the magazine Cotton Friend: Kids. This cute little number features an elasticised back with crossover straps. I used a linen-lookalike cotton from Spotlight. The pattern was really confusing and I still can't work out why I ended up with an extra (unused) pattern piece - most perplexing! In the end I just looked at the photos and figured it out from there.

This Oliver + S school bus t-shirt sat around my sewing space for some months due to indecision about which colour neckband to use. Finally guilt got the better of me and I just grabbed some grey ribbing and finished it. I made the stupid mistake of not shortening the neckband enough and consequently the fit around the neck isn't great. I should really re-do it - but will I ever get around to it, I wonder? The fabric is a knit from Spotlight.

Lastly, I couldn't resist this cute strawberry print - so summery! I really wish I could find something similar in a swimwear fabric. The pattern is the girl's singlet from Small Dreamfactory - a lovely FREE pattern that goes from 9 months to size 14. As I did with the one I made last summer, I crossed the straps at the back and added a little width to the front and gathered it.

But wait - that's not all! I put a photo of these up on Instagram on the weekend, but here they are in more detail: my two fruit bags from Cotton Friend: Kids. The pineapple is kind of a backpack with drawstrings; the strawberry is a little drawstring pouch. They were fun to sew and R pounced on them as soon as they were done, destroying my plan to give one away as a gift. I guess I might have to sew some more, then...

And that's all from me for today, except for this one last pic: R was adamant that there had to be a photo of her eating the strawberry, so here it is!