A Bird Meets a Foxglove Tank

Depending on how you look at it, this top was made in 2016 using the Foxglove Tank by Baste + Gather, but technically I started in March of 2015.

You see, I started off with the free sorbetto tank by Colette Patterns and foolishly finished the entire top, bias binding, hem, you name it. Low and behold when I put it on it, was a tight fit everywhere and too short. I must have chosen the wrong size to start with, although that really didn’t affect the length. I hung it in a cupboard for months deciding what to do with it and finally unpicked everything except the side seams. Now the fit was off and adding gathers or pleats at the neckline weren’t solving any issues. Back in the cupboard it went.

Foxglove tank frontFoxglove tank side 4      Foxglove tank side 3

Well this year I finally decided it couldn’t be salvaged to make something for myself so I cut another tank using the left over printed poly CDC# 2 birdcage multi (100% polyester) fabric I had, and lucky I had enough. The foxglove has a loose fit, can be in knit or woven and you can add centre seams or cut on the fold like I did, because I didn’t want to break up the pattern. From start to finish it was a really quick sew and I salvaged the cream 12mm single fold bias binding from the first version to use for the neckline and armholes here. The instructions are really thorough and provide lots of information in regards to finishes and decorative features. I think I need to lower the armhole next time and possibly go the next size up at the bust, or do and FBA, as it is a tad tight, but still wearable.

Foxglove tank back 2

The foxglove has an obvious hi-lo hem which makes it great for wearing over leggings and slim capris but also it’s long enough at the front to wear as a blouse tucked in. I also love the racer back style. There really are lots of possibilities to alter this pattern. I think adding a peter pan collar and leveling off the hem would make it a gorgeous blouse.

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Bella Sunshine Designs Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic and Dress

This pattern could not have come by at a better time. I have been searching for a button up bodice with a gathered skirt since I bought this fabric a month ago, and then when I saw the tester* call for The Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic/Dress by Bella Sunshine Designs I was very excited. There is a slight vintage feel with this pattern.

I made a size smaller than normal as per our aligned sizes because it’s a semi-fitted bodice, but went with my daughters usual length for this dress. The fabric is cream Gertie printed crepe de chine (CDC) cherries. I used lipstick rayon (100% rayon) for the waistband and ruffle accents with hot pink plain chiffon (100% polyester) for the sleeves and white top pop poplin (80% polyester/20% cotton) for the lining. Although not instructed to, I lined the skirt with poplin because this fabric is very light weight and see-through.

Pintuck tunic front

Pintuck tunic back

This pattern requires precision with the pintucks and top stitching. Given it is a kids pattern there are some very fiddly, small pieces, particularly for the sleeve construction. I made it harder for myself by the fact I chose chiffon and CDC to work with, very slippery indeed. I ended up doing french seams for the sleeves as the chiffon frayed and to keep it all nice and neat.

As this is the tester version, a few tweaks have been made prior to release. Mainly the bodice was taken in and was offered as a tunic and the original lengthened by 3 inches to make the dress version.

Miss 4 was happy to gift it to miss 2 as she thought it looked “cute” on her. Miss 2 was also happy with this transaction. The girls pretty much have the same chest measurement at the moment which is why it fit my youngest so well.

IMG_1435 (2)

I quickly made a second version for miss 4 in the dress length this time. I used some petal metro linen (100% linen) with eyelet lace for the bottom band of the skirt portion and white broadcloth (100% cotton) as a contrast. For lining I used white top pop polin (80% polyester/20% cotton). At the centre ruffles I used a small border of lace to match the hem ruffle and tied the whole look together with square pink buttons. I only added three to the back as opposed to four but that was the last packet at the store.

Sweet lilly pinctuck front

Sweet lilly pintuck side

Sweet lilly pinctuck details

I’m very lucky to be a mother of 2 beautiful girls. The clothes in our house are truly loved and well worn so I figure all my time and effort is well worth it.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

NapTime T-shirt and Peplum Top from Scraps for the Kids

I mentioned previously how I wanted to avoid adding to my scrap pile after each project so was straight onto using this rayon knit (100% polyester) in a #4 scatter pink colourway, and white ITY knit (95% polyester, 5% spandex) from my Athena Top. I came across a free raglan shirt pattern from Nap-time Creations.sleeve pattern

I wanted a flutter sleeve, something girly. I simply retraced the sleeve pattern, shortened it to a length I felt appropriate and then drew in vertical lines and slashed and spread. My new sleeve pattern piece was born. I found the size to run true in this pattern.

sleeve insertionI serged the armhole/sleeve opening and sewed on the sleeves and then the remaining sleeve opening was folded inwards and top stitched. I didn’t hem the sleeves as the jersey doesn’t fray and I don’t think I would have got a nice finish on the curved hem anyway. I mistakenly however forgot to raise the armscye which would normally be attached to a sleeve but in this case it is probably 2cm too low. I will make this change next time for sure.

sleeve hem turned under

For the neckband, back and sleeves I used the ITY, and cut a band 1.75 inch wide with a length of 41 cm for the neckband.

topstitching

I sewed the entire top together using a straight stitch as the zig zag wasn’t looking too great but I did read recently as long as you stretch the fabric behind and in front of the needle while sewing then the strain on the seam whilst the top is being worn shouldn’t pop any stitches. See how we go after a few wears. I did a 1/2 inch hem in the end and hemmed with a stretch twin needle. This top has quite conveniently matched up with the Schoolday skirts I made recently. Two new outfits in one week 🙂

My second scrap busting project used the remnants, brights printed crepe de chine # 4 in yellow/grey (100% polyester) and poly matt crepe de chine in ivory (100% polyester) from my final version of the Athena top. I wasn’t sure how to use it for kids clothing because the colours are quite dark so thought just a little accent would be enough. I found the peplum top by On the Cutting Floor pattern online and probably should have flat pattern measured but thought the 4 would be good for miss 3 1/2, turns out I as wrong as it fits miss 1 1/2. The top is both too short and tight. I’ll definitely be making changes if I make it again for my oldest one.

front      back

I followed the instructions as written for the most part but ran into trouble with the armholes whereby facing and fabric are to both be turned into each other 1/4 inch and then top stitched. This is extremely fiddly on such a small scale so next time I will be bias binding the armholes.

I do like how a facing is included in this pattern but unfortunately due to fabric choice it does show through, I just ensured I finished everything off nicely. I probable should have done french seams because of the light coloured fabric but there aren’t too visible from the outside. I used some stash navy bias binding for contrast on the bottom of the peplum.

I deviated from the pattern in terms of button closure. I sewed the long rectangles along the back closure as described but then sewed the opening together about 11cm down from the neckline to where the peplum seam starts with the peplum section left open (if that makes sense). There were a number of reasons for this. Firstly I only had 2 of these cute 15mm flower buttons in my stash, secondly it fits over her head comfortably with this size of opening, and lastly, trying to get a 1 1/2 year old to sit still so I can do up 4 buttons is asking for trouble. So now I need to sew up some bottoms to match this peplum top.

So many goals and not enough time. Along with stash and scrap busting I’m aiming to work through my pinterest kids clothes inspiration board so sorry if kids things don’t interest you there probably will be a few kids clothes posts in the future.

The Athena Top by Gray All Day

Helena from Gray All Day has just released her newest pattern, in fact I was a pattern tester for her new Athena Top*. I’ve never been a pattern tester before so hope I did the role justice. I was drawn to this top for a number of reasons, primarily because I am in desperate need of some separates in my wardrobe. As you can probably see from my posts I make a lot of dresses. Secondly it’s probably not a silhouette I would normally choose and was more than happy to get out of my comfort zone. Thirdly, I am so inspired by those who have a vision and are enthusiastic and motivated about achieving their goals that I am happy to contribute to their success, especially because I know I would never venture down that path.

It can be made up in a knit or woven and I tried both versions. These are my tester versions and you can see others at Gray All Day so I won’t go into detail about construction as the instructions changed for the final version.

First the knit test version. I used fabric in my stash as I had bought the perfect fabric 2 months earlier, a rayon knit (100% rayon) in a #4 scatter pink colourway, and white ITY knit (95% polyester, 5% spandex) which were originally purchased to make a 2 tone t-shirt. The Athena Top seemed like the perfect match to achieve the look I originally was going for. The top is a loose fit with oversized sleeves and thus requires fabrics with lots of drape. This top has a lot of ease, in fact it has no negative ease. I went down 2 sizes than where my measurements put me on the size chart.

athena knit front

For construction I used a slight zig zag stitch to sew up the seams and rather than pressing the seams open I serged them together. This of course added some bulk when adding the neck and sleeve bands but the fabric was pretty thin so I got away with it. I used a twin needle for the hem, the best one I have ever done. Not sure why they have been so troublesome in the past.

The second test version I made was from woven fabric, Cupro Touch (100% polyester) which is apparently the “European cousin of tencel fabric” in sun colour. I cut the same size as the knit version and you can see it still fits well with enough ease at the hips for adequate movement. I neatened the side seams by serging. The neckline and sleeve hems are finished off with self-made bias binding in which pattern pieces are included, and then completely turned to the inside and topstitched.

athena woven front

I was relatively happy with the tops and the low back hem adds some more interest although I would prefer more length next time. My personal concern was that the neckline was too wide and low for my liking however the final pattern has been altered with this change in mind as well as other changes so I didn’t feel it was accurate to post my complete thoughts about this top without making another version as the final pattern is written.

                           black skirt frontblack skirt side black skirt back

The third version is a woven top, made from brights printed crepe de chine # 4 in yellow/grey (100% polyester) and poly matt crepe de chine in ivory (100% polyester). I cut the same size as my previous versions. I don’t have much to add construction wise with instructions to french seam all seams for the woven version and a neater neckline finish with the self made bias binding (with pattern pieces included). My only change here was to do the neckline top stitching 3/8 inch from the edge rather the instructed 1/4 inch. As aforementioned the neckline is higher and more stable on my shoulders in the final release version of the pattern. There is also a lengthen line included on the pattern and I lengthened both front and back by 1 inch (personal preference). This version is by far my favourite and although have been wearing my knit version I think this one will prove more versatile and comfortable.

athena top woven inside

Nice inside with the french seams

Helena has done a great job with this pattern to create something unique and versatile and I now happily have a few new separates for my wardrobe. I initially found styling the top a little difficult because I usually wear more fitted tops but have come up with a few combinations and I think it looks just as nice tucked in as it does out.

denim skirt front

 pants side

*Helena provided the pattern free for testing.