Why hello, my dear, neglected blog! I’m sorry I’ve not been posting, but life has been somewhat crazy around these parts and finding a few peaceful minutes to sit at the computer has been as rare as getting a decent night’s sleep.
First there was the annual craziness that is Christmas, and making it special for three children. Yeah, I’m only now starting to really appreciate all the hard work my mum put in when me and my two sisters were little.
Then on Christmas Eve we got a call from the Children’s Hospital saying that they’d had a cancellation, so Daisy could come in for surgery on the day after Boxing Day. As we’d had her surgery cancelled in early December (after spending two days in hospital waiting) down to a lack of ICU beds, we decided to take up the offer and just get it over with. It meant going into hospital on Boxing Day, and spending over two weeks living in a little room at the parent’s accomodation. Not the best two weeks of my life, but it’s over now and she’s fully recovered, with a brand new metal valve in her heart which should last her for the rest of her life.
Since then we’ve dealt with swine flu, various coughs and colds, and I’m now starting to feel like life is settling down again. Till the next bout of madness….
Anyway, I’ve been sewing a bit, and even managed a few blogs over on the Minerva site. I’ll be linking them all over the next few days and then start playing catch up with some of my unblogged makes from last year.
First up, here’s some Jalie Clara leggings I made for me and Daisy (pictured at the top of this post):
I’ll admit, they haven’t had all that much wear since I made them, but that’s because I realised after a few wears that with fabric this stretchy, I probably should have made each of us the next size down. They are currently on the alterations pile, waiting for me to have the energy and inclination to deal with them. Not sure why I hate alterations so much, but I’m making more of an effort to power through them between other, longer projects.
I was going to write more but I now have a tired, crying baby on my lap so I think I’ll just have to accept that posts will be less than perfect, and press publish.
Just a quick post to link to my latest make (Simplicity 1504) for the Minerva Blogger Network, and this time it’s an unselfish make for my gorgeous girl, Daisy. Who is going to be a teenager tomorrow. Eeek! I’m feeling really old now…
The story behind why she needs a button front nightie is up on the blog post (clue: it involves impending heart surgery) along with a fairly detailed post about the pattern. I really enjoyed making this one up, and it’s one of those patterns that fits from Gabriel’s age to adult, so I’m sure I’ll get more of these made. The pj version for Gabriel, natch. Although I’d totally make him a nightshirt if he wanted one. I’ve made them for my dad before, after all.
The fabric is definitely worth a mention as I’ve never worked with cotton broadcloth before, but it’s absolutely lovely stuff! Seriously, I want to sew with this all the time. I want shirts made out of it. And summer dresses. Maybe even a nightshirt of my own.
Right, I’m struggling to write this with a snotty baby on my lap and an equally snotty pre-schooler asking me if monkeys have red tails, so that’s it for now. I’ll be back with more finished makes soon, though. I’m building up quite the backlog!
PS, there might be a style analysis post too. I’m getting seriously into reading all I can about different systems. I think it’s to make up for the fact I have little sewing time, but plenty of time sitting up in the middle of the night feeding a baby. Hooray for smartphones and 24 hour wifi!
I don’t make much for my kids, I’ve got to admit. I used to crochet and knit for Daisy when she was a toddler, but I now find so little time for crafting that I’m pretty selfish with the little bits of time I do get. However, every now and again one of the kids needs and/or wants something that I either can’t track down to buy, or can’t afford when I do. This is one of those occasions.
I’ve had these cords on my sewing list since Gabriel was born as they caught my eye when looking through this old Ottobre magazine (one of only two that I own), but a well-timed gift of some roomy, lined corduroy trousers from my mum two years back meant I didn’t end up making them. I figured I had better make them this year as Gabriel is now at the maximum size they go up to, and after two years in the last pair he’d finally grown out of them! The pattern is for unlined trousers, but after the success of those lined cords I hunted around for a tutorial to add a snuggly jersey lining, and found this really helpful one.
The materials are all from my stash, and are leftover from old projects. The needlecord is beautifully soft but quite thin, so the thick interlock lining is really needed for a pair of winter-ready trousers. Plus I’ve discovered the lining has the added bonus of completely absorbing any little “accidents” Gabriel has. Okay, so they’ll still need changing, but at least everything is contained and I won’t need to clean the carpets. In unrelated news, we will be replacing our pale carpet with wooden flooring at some point in 2018!
Now, if you’ve never encountered Ottobre Magazine before it’s a Finnish publication that comes out six times a year. Two issues feature women’s patterns but four of them are kids patterns with around 30-40 designs in each and a good mix of clothes to fit different ages (newborns to teens) and plenty of unisex designs along with those that are more obviously suited to girls. I haven’t bought the women’s magazine before but I know Dawn from Two on, Two Off often sews them up. Many of the patterns are for jersey knits and the styling in the inspirational shots is always cute.
That’s the good–now what about the bad?
Well, first up, this is one of the pattern sheets:
Yeah, if you’re colourblind you’re not even going to want to attempt to find your pattern in amongst this lot! On the plus side, the patterns are all full sized and can be traced off. However, you will need to add your own seam allowance (hem allowance is usually included, and the pattern instructions will let you know if this is the case and how much seam allowance to add). I’m not averse to adding a seam allowance to a pattern and I always trace anyway, but I can see this would be a major stumbling block for some sewists. One thing I would definitely recommend if you are attempting to do this is to invest in one of these incredibly useful drafting rulers (affiliate link)–I wouldn’t want to attempt to add seam allowances without mine! I believe those over the pond can get hold of them with imperial measurements too.
Another downside to Ottobre patterns is the instructions. They’re perfectly sufficient if you’ve been sewing a while and have experience with the particular type of garment you’re making, but there are no illustrations and the text is fairly minimal. I’ve now made two Ottobre patterns (the first was Gabriel’s sleepsuit) and apart from the odd headscratching moment I’ve found they go together really easily, but your mileage may vary.
On to the making of these… It was pretty straightforward on the whole. I did have one annoying moment when I realised I hadn’t flipped the pattern piece when cutting out the knee sections, but luckily I had just enough fabric left in my scraps to cut another. Phew! I was worried that I might have to go for an entirely different fabric on the knees, which I suppose could look cute but I like the all-corduroy vibe, and the knee sections are different enough with the cord being cut on the cross grain. Here’s a close up pic to show that, as you’d have to really squint to see it in the rest of the pics!
It was interesting to see just how differently the cross and straight grain of the fabric behave when sewing them together. The cross grain really is so much more stretchy, and it was challenging to get the seams to match up as I was sewing. Luckily my walking foot could cope with it, but if you don’t have one I’d recommend doing some serious basting before sewing those seams.
There was a lot of topstitching in this pattern so I swapped around some of the construction steps so I didn’t have to swap needle and thread too often. Note to self: I really must get my second sewing machine operational! I did have a few issues with my topstitching thread tension and ended up flipping over what looked like a perfectly sewn row of topstitching to find this horrible old thread nest on the back:
Yeah, that was fun to unpick!
The front “pockets” as specified in the pattern are just two lines of topstitching to look like pocket openings, although the back patch ones are functional. I would have liked to make proper pockets at the front too as Gabriel does like to put stuff in them (not so good when it’s unwrapped chocolate from his advent calendar, admittedly), but with all the bulk of the lining to factor in I decided it would be making life too hard for myself. I vetoed the belt loops for the same reason, but would definitely do both if making an unlined pair for sprint/autumn.
As for the lining, I simply traced myself new pattern pieces for front and back by piecing together the main pattern pieces, minus any seam allowance where they’re joined. No way was I piecing all those seams for something that wouldn’t get seen! It was incredibly simple to sew the lining in and I’d recommend following that tutorial for anyone who wants to try upping the warmth level of an existing pair of elastic waist trousers.
Here’s a few more pics of Gabriel modelling his trousers on a properly muddy day:
My only real criticism of this pattern is the sizing, and that’s my fault for not paying close enough attention to what Ottobre’s sizing chart was telling me. The size 92 fits him fine for waist, outseam and height–he’s a centimetre taller, but his outseam is two centimetres shorter so they’re long enough. He just has most of his height in his body rather than his legs–just like his mum and his big sister!
However, the size 92 specifies a 58cm hip whereas Gabriel only has a 53 centimetre hip measurement. I scratched my head a little at this but figured I could just take the trousers in if needed. I’m guessing that this measurement must be to fit over cloth nappies, and Gabriel no longer wears any kind of nappy during the day, which has resulted in a pair of trousers that are much baggier in the leg than I’d ideally like. I just think he looks cuter in a slim fit, much like his dad does! I’ll definitely pay more attention to leg width in any future trousers I make him.
I doubt I’ll make these trousers for Gabriel again as this is the largest size they come in, but I’d definitely be up for making something in a very similar style with a skinnier leg. And who knows, maybe I’ll dust the pattern off for child #3 when they’re big enough. It starts at a pretty small size so I could get a fair bit of use out of it over the next few years!
Pattern: Ever Grey Corduroy Pants from Ottobre Kids, Autumn 4/2011
Fabric: Some leftover yardage from very old projects. One lot of brown needlecord I’ve also used to make this Osaka Skirt, and some tan cotton interlock to line it.
Modifications: Added the jersey lining for warmth, and omitted the belt loops.
Time to sew: 2 hours 48 minutes (this doesn’t include pattern tracing, cutting out, threading up machine, trying on for fit purposes, and general waffling!)
Pattern: £8.29 (I can’t actually remember how much I paid for the magazine, but that’s what the average back issue goes for on their site at the moment)
Fabric: £0.00 (not counting this as it’s all leftover from old projects)
Notions: £1.60 for topstitching thread
Not a bad price for warm and snuggly winter trousers, and the cost will go down if and when I make more patterns from this magazine.
Have you ever sewn an Ottobre pattern? If so, how did it go? And are you a mainly selfish or selfless sewist?
Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂
Coming up next on the blog: Hopefully I’ll be sharing my leopard print Agnes dress–if I can get the sizing sorted out by the weekend. I’d better, as there’s a party I want to wear it to!
As part of my continuing mission to do at least a little bit of unselfish sewing for my nearest and dearest, I’ve made my boy a summer hat. And now, of course, everyone wants one. I’ve made a rod for my own back!
But seriously, how cute does he look?! Gabriel has always loved a hat, but has an annoying propensity to lose them. I’m just hoping he can keep hold of this one. At least until I’ve made him a newsboy cap…
Anyone following this blog for a while will have noticed that I’m fairly selfish sewist, no doubt. Oh, I have plans to make garments for all the people I love most in the world, but with limited sewing time and limited funds I tend to prioritise clothes for myself.
But Daisy often compliments me on my new makes and asks if I can make her something too, so when she picked out this fabric on our pre-Christmas shopping trip to Rose Crafts, I offered to make it into a skirt or dress for her. After Christmas, naturally. I wasn’t that crazy!
And so we got to March, and Daisy reminded me again, and we decided a dress would be a good idea. In fact, what she wanted was a facsimile of her favourite dress. A very old John Lewis pink jersey dress, shown in the pic on the right. She’s been wearing it for a couple of years now but it fits really well and seems to have more growing room. I had a good look at how it was constructed and decided I could probably have a go. After all, how hard could it be? #famouslastwords
In a Nutshell:
A cute jersey dress in a dark floral pattern. This is so Daisy, and it fits her perfectly! It’s become her new favourite dress. It also counts for my #dressmakingbloggerchallenge for March (Springtime theme) what with that floral pattern. Are dark florals spring-like? Okay, I don’t care. It’s floral, and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading “Dressing Miss Daisy: the favourite flower dress”
I made this back in February, but was inspired to finally get my arse in gear and post about it this week after watching the Great British Sewing Bee contestants grapple with making babygrows.
One of the contestants was asked if she’d ever made babygrows for her kids and her incredulous “no way” (or words to that effect) was pretty much the way I felt about making such a fiddly item of clothing for a rapidly growing baby. But then I had a boy who threw off all his blankets, but who hated being in sleeping bags. He was just starting to stand and cruise so he hated the constriction, I’m guessing. He needed something to keep him warm at night, but with legs built in. I didn’t wanted a footed sleepsuit, though, as at the time with our hard flooring downstairs he would slip around all over the place. It was bare feet or babygrows/socks with those little grippy dots on the bottom at the time. I also wanted it to be made out of a breathable, natural fabric for his comfort.
I looked around the shops but the only thermal sleepsuits I could find all had feet built in (without the grippy dots!), and were quilted with polyester wadding. They seemed pricey too, especially considering they weren’t what I really wanted. Snowsuits generally looked better, but they all had hoods so weren’t suitable for sleeping in–and possibly too warm as well. I didn’t want Gabriel to overheat. So I gradually came around to the idea of making one. How hard can it be, right? Continue reading “Ottobre 6/2011 sleepsuit”