Blog

Christmas Present – Dr Who waistcoat

I didn’t get much of a chance to sew many Christmas presents this year, but James and I have been plotting and planning to sew a Dr Who waistcoat (“vest” in America) for his nephew for about three months now. It was all triggered by seeing this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower, which is the exact same print as a Threadless tee James owns that little Rory went mental for when he saw James wearing it!

So we ordered the fabric months ago, then got his mum to take some measurements for us, and with that, I sifted through my patterns archive and found I’ve only got one waistcoat pattern for boys, from an old Knippie (KnipMode’s kids pattern magazine):

As you can tell by the line drawing, though, I did quite a bit of manipulation before I started sewing. I wanted to minimise the seamlines and thus, disruption to the print, so I taped the pieces together and eliminated the front pockets so the only seams are at the shoulders and sides. I wanted to make the entire thing from the Tardamask print, but I ran out of length inside, necessitating a horizontal seam in the lower front.

But ah-ha! I turned that seam into a feature by putting in some inseam pockets, just perfect for storing action figures or treasures or whatever it is little boys put in their pockets these day.

In any case, Rory loved his waistcoat! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we were excited to see his reaction on Christmas. Little did we know that he’d turn up in a full suit and hat (it was under the tree for him earlier that day), which complimented the waistcoat perfectly!

Piling up…

The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).

So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.


This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…


I finished my vintage midi skirt ages ago, but have had zero time to document, or photoshoot or anything. So here’s two photos to test the hem length (which is why it’s just basted here)


I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.

A fuzzy pink bolero

Following on from last week when I showed you the shirt I made for my nephew, I also wanted to share the super-belated Christmas garment I sewed for his cousin, my niece.

When I saw the cute boleros in the February Burda magazine, I just knew I had to make one for Megan. Bolero #142 seemed to be the most wearable version for Spring and Summer, and I had just enough of this incredibly soft, pink zebra print minkee I’d bought for her at Fabric.com!

Honestly, how great a model is this girl??

A belly full of monsters

This is a project that is new-to-you, but feels old-to-me! I made this top for my nephew back in February, but I only just now got sent some photos of him (and my niece, who I’ll show you next week) wearing the gift!

These were meant to be Christmas gifts, but the timing of my pre-Christmas swine flu meant I was totally unable to complete them on time for the Christmas posting deadlines. My sister-in-law said I should just send them over whenever I got a chance, as the kids get so many gifts at Christmas that they’d probably appreciate them more at another time of year anyway. I thought this was supremely wise thinking, and it also made me feel much less guilty for being a “bad Auntie”!

I chose Lekala 7089 (modified) for my nephew, Logan.

I realised the last two things I made for him were hoodies, so I decided to leave off the hood on this one for something different. There’s a noted lack of patterns out there for boys over that magical 128cm height mark (what’s up with that, Burda??), but there’s a pretty great selection of Lekala stuff for boys, and because the sizing is custom, you can make it for any sized nephew you want!

I thought this looked really wide in the body when I’d finished it, but it looks okay and intentional when he’s wearing it, so I think it’s probably just because it was drafted with more ease for sweatshirts rather than the teeshirt material I used here.

Sewing pending photoshoots

You wouldn’t know it from the lack of sewing photos, but I’ve actually been fairly productive over the past two weeks.

I was a terrible auntie this year and failed to make anything nice for my niece and nephew this Christmas, and my sister-in-law said I should just send them something when I get around to it, seeing as how they’re both so overwhelmed at Christmas anyhow. So before I got started on my March Mini Wardrobe stuff, I took an afternoon to make these, which are currently in transit:

I made a fluffy pink zebra minkee bolero for my 7 year old niece, and an adapted (ie: no hood) monsters and red jersey tee for my 8 year old nephew. You’ll see more about these when they try them on, with any luck…

And while I was clearing the sewing guilt decks, I finally also made the silver silk jersey dress I’d promised (and muslined) for James’s sister over a year ago!

How to sew a narrow bias edge

I had a busy yet productive weekend – not only did I finish my Colette Patterns Beignet skirt, but I also made the Patrones 292 sleeveless bias cowl top, too! I didn’t have enough time for a photoshoot over the weekend, but I did remember to finally document my favourite way of finishing the edges of thin blouses like the cowl top so I can finally share this with you.

This technique is great for necklines and armscyes on sleeveless tops, and is my preferred way to finish any kind of blousey, lightweight fabrics like silk satins and the viscose (rayon) you see here. You get a thin, finished edge that looks good inside and out with a minimum of fuss, and you don’t have that awkward problem of facings flipping out or anything, either. As long as you’re okay with a small amount of topstitching on the right side, this is the technique for you…

So before we begin, sew one of your seams so you’ve got a C-shape. If you’re finishing a neckline, this means you sew one of the shoulder seams. I’m finishing the armscye of a sleeveless blouse here, so in this case I’m sewing both shoulder seams, leaving the side seams free.

Step 1


Cut out a bias strip that’s the length of your opening edge, plus a few centimetres just to be sure. For the width, I prefer a finished facing of just 1cm, so my width here is 1cm + (2× 1.5cm seam allowances) = 4cm.

Christmas Present – Grey stars hoodie shirt

I had an idea of what I wanted to make for my nephew, Logan, but with the kids being so far away I had to get the sizing correct, and all I had to go on were their US RTW clothes sizes. I definitely didn’t want to draft anything from scratch, so I had to find a pattern I could start from to ensure the sizing would be right. I ended up choosing Knippie Fall 2008, #13 since it was in his size range and had the long sleeve and hood, but that was about all I kept!

This pattern is meant to be a sweatshirt with assymetrical stripes, so I altered it quite a bit here, primarily by only tracing one half of the front and back pieces, and laying these on the fold instead (once again I’m happy to be working with patterns without seam allowances so I didn’t have to faff about with removing zipper facings or anything). I also shortened the body of the shirt since the pattern has you fold it up over wide elastic for a sweatshirt/jacket feel and I just wanted a teeshirt here.

Christmas Present – Breton top & sweatskirt

The October 2009 Burda WOF magazine had some really cute winter girls clothes in it, but for me, the sweatskirt (#145) jumped out right away as a great present for my neice, Megan.

This was a really quick pattern consisting only of the skirt (the same for the front and back) and the kangaroo pocket, with a length of ribbing attached for the waistband! I was able to make this using the last leftover navy blue sweatshirting and a ridiculously tiny amount of leftover ribbing from James’s 2008 birthday sweatshirt and it was all done in under an hour. The only changes I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by about an inch because Megan is rather tall and lanky and I’d rather err on the longer side than shorter!

Toddler two teeshirt

Sorry about the delay in the knit dress photos – I’d planned to do a photoshoot on Sunday but we had a mini hurricane all day, and then I had lung surgery yesterday so even though the dresses are finished (and I’ve started on a third!), it’ll be a few days until I can climb into them without wincing and make myself presentable.

So it’s a good thing that I’ve got these phots of my little neighbour Rosie’s 2nd birthday present to keep you occupied in the meantime, eh? A few weeks ago we were invited to her party and knowing how much she loved Matilda’s dress, I thought I’d make her something to announce the proud occasion.

There’s a great amount of toddler patterns in Burda magzines, but I finally settled on BWOF 05/2006 #137 which is just a simple teeshirt with shoulder snaps for easy dressing. I used some of the ex-Paul Smith grey jersey with stars, bought from Ditto Fabrics, and some lavender cotton interlock leftover from my mom’s dress to make it a little more girlie!

Been making and opening…

Believe it or not, I’ve been doing an awful lot of resting and napping, but as long as I don’t spend too much time standing at the ironing board, I can usually get a fair bit of sewing done before I get too tired (though on the days I have to go into outpatients I just come home and collapse!).

Making!

Since I already had this KnipMode wrap blouse prepared as an activity pack, it seemed the ideal candidate to ease myself into my sewing room again. I’m waiting for my wigs to arrive from Hong Kong before I do the photoshoot, but here’s a teaser on Susan…

I realise I’m posting out of order here since I haven’t shown you all the fantastic August issue of KnipMode magzine yet, but let’s just say it’s so fan-tas-tic (terrible Dutch pun, uggggh) that I’ve already drafted this weekend bag pattern and have online shopping lists together to get all the haberdashery bits to complete it. I’m SO excited to try that vilene stuff that turns regular fabric into oilcloth, as my RTW bags just get so filthy so quickly!

And starting the long line of baby gifts (I have something like 5 or 6 friends due in August & September!!) is this baby blanket for our friend’s little baby, Grace. I did the embroidery (from Urban Threads) while I was in hospital, then used a large amount of the turquiose basketweave fabric (which was just screaming to be made into a blanket even before I made my duffle coat!), and finished it off with some red and white bias tape. How is it that no matter how much bias tape you make, you’ll always end up a little short? Or maybe it’s just me?