A babygrow for an ultra-fast baby

I’ve known my friend Vicky through Run dem Crew for years now, and have run many, many miles alongside her on our Tuesday night sessions. She’s a good friend, and outside of the Crew has run multiple marathons and ultras, too. Last summer, she ran the Serpent Trail ultra with another good friend, and she ended up finishing on the podium as 3rd place lady!!

But even more incredible is that she found out later that she was actually pregnant when she ran it! So when she announced she was going to have a little pre-baby pizza & beer get together with our running friends, I knew I had to make her a babygrow. First I thought I’d upcycle a Run dem Crew shirt for the little speedy baby, but then I saw another friend mention on Twitter how happy he was to see the Serpent being run again this year and I got in touch to a) find out if the race even had teeshirts, b) if he had one, and c) if he could send it to me to refashion. It was Yesses all around so I got cutting!

A Great British Baby Grow

If you are in the UK, you doubtless are already aware that the latest season of the Great British Sewing Bee is well underway! Not only have they got a new location (which looks uncannily like the old one in Wapping, but is now coincidentally located right by my office), but also a new judge, with Esme Young replacing May Martin as Patrick Grant’s wing-woman.

I wasn’t able to be as involved on the production side for this season as I was last time around due to my working four days a week at my office job, but I was able to help out with some sewn samples for the latest Sewing Bee book, instructions and illustrations, but also make the odd “Perfect” for the show, too!

An upcycled baby onesie

This is a much smaller project than my lace dress but one I wanted to share anyway as it involves upcycling a teeshirt into something more useful. One of my very first sewing projects as an adult was transforming a XXL promotional teeshirt into something more stylish, and I think a lot of beginners find teeshirt refashions to be both inspiring and approachable – after all, there’s no question of how much fabric to buy, or if you’ve got the wrong kind, as teeshirts are pretty universal.

In any case, this started life as a very oversized promotional teeshirt for the sports personality Alan Brazil, who records his weekly show in my office’s studio and is well-known around the office. He’s particularly loved by our Creative Director, Ben, so we all decided he should have the teeshirt. But Ben is not a XXL, so it just stayed on his desk for ages, and was left there when he went away on paternity leave…

…when I mischievously spirited it home and refashioned it into a onesie for his newborn son!

Two tiny baby jackets

My go-to baby present for many years has been a changing mat – hand towel on one side, fabric and pockets on the other, and it all folds up nicely and fastens with ribbon. I still enjoy making these (and I get great big thumbs up from the parents!), but I wanted to make something different this time around, and I had two lots of Spoonflower organic cotton jerseys I fancied using.

I actually made these way back in early April, but since they were both gifts, I needed to wait until both sets of parents received them before I could share them with you. But since I made them so long ago, the details are a little hazy in my mind, so apologies for anyone looking for a particularly useful pattern review here!

I sifted through my digital pattern archive and selected #145 from the March 2011 Burda magazine (it’s not on the US Burda site so you’ll have to refer to the Russian archive). I liked the versatility of the design, that it looked quite handy to wrap a baby up in, but that it was also easy to sew and could fit into the two fat quarters I had of each of the fabrics.

For our local friends’s newborn baby girl, I selected the meat fabric and used the 3 months size. I knew the parents would laugh their heads off and be happy that it wasn’t predominantly pink, too. I didn’t actually get to see the baby wearing it since she was asleep at the time, but I’m just going to assume she’ll grow into it!

MyImage and B*inspired SS14 magazines AND Giveaway!

It’s been a while, but I’ve got the newest Spring/Summer issues of the Dutch-produced, quadrilingual pattern magazine MyImage to share with you, plus a peek into the second edition of their new children’s pattern magazine, B*inspired, too.

MyImage magazine

I absolutely love the jersey cowl dress on the right! It’s made up in three different prints in the magazine but it just looks so easy to wear for summer – that skirt wrap is an extra layer over a full skirt so there’s no chance of wind-related mishaps, either. On the left, there’s a casual woven shell with deep pleats at the neckline that would be very figure-forgiving, and it’s paired with a basic jeans pattern. I’ve been meaning to sew a pair of MyImage jeans for years now so I really must get on with it…

There are three Plus patterns in this issue – nice basics in the form of a loose, sleeveless shell with hi-lo hem, classic jeans, and this jersey surplice dress. Like the cowl dress above, the front skirt panel overlaps a full layer underneath so there’s no flashing worries, and the shoulder pleats look like they’d provide some nice shaping for larger cup-sizes, too.

Orange and Pink tie-back teeshirt

I’ve got so many finished garments to show you this week, and I thought I’d start with one that I actually made back in February (while I was in a drug-addled shingles haze of pain). This top was a gift for my niece, from the Young Image SS2013 magazine.

I loved it as soon as I got this issue, and I went and traced and sewed it right away! The front has got a subtly curved yoke seam, but the back is where all the action is – a double layer with a tied yoke! It’s kinda hard to tell in the magazine photos though, because they don’t show the back at all, even though it’s the standout feature of this pattern!

I made size 164 and lengthened it as everyone says she’s so tall and thin, but those were the only changes. The only thing I’d change in future is to remove a ton of ease from the sleeve cap – there’s way too much in there, arrgh! Jersey tops really don’t need any ease at all, let alone several inches!

So even though I made this back in February, I had to hold onto it until I visited her in Baltimore in April. The shirt was a big hit, but I didn’t want to impose a photoshoot on the kids there and then, so my dad took these back in Virginia, and they only just came through a week or two ago. Thanks Dad!

Simultaneous sewing

I generally like to only work on one project at a time, but sometimes, for ease of tracing or bulk-cutting, or because (heaven forbid!) I run out of some necessary supply, I end up working on multiple projects at once. For me, this road is the way to Unfinished Objects (UFOs), and a treacherous one to travel down.

Far, far more frequently, though, I get a posting backlog so it just appears as though I’m working on a few things at once!

So right now, my tally is…

The Disco top and leggings

I posted about the leggings in December and the top last week, but I owe you a proper photoshoot for both!

The pink and orange tie-back top

I can’t talk too much about this one here because my niece reads the site, but this one has been finished for a few weeks, and I’ll get some photos of her wearing it when I’m over in the States after Easter.

The striped raglan tee

This is new-to-you, but I’ve also sewed a top for my nephew to give at the same time. I just finished this one this weekend, and I’ll also get photos of him wearing it when I’m in the States.

Young Image Spring/Summer 2013 & giveaway

If you’re not familiar with Young Image magazine, it’s the sister title to My Image and is all about patterns for kids, from babies to teens, boys and girls. Like My Image, it’s produced twice a year (Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer) and provides instructions (albeit sparse) in Dutch, English, German, and French.

First up we’ve got some patterns for boys – a button-down shirt with a bit more detail than your average and a fantastic pair of board shorts that have a lot of versatility – you could change the pockets for cargoes, or make in a different material for swimming trunks even!

Here we’ve got a really cute jersey jacket, a (barely seen) asymmetric knit tanktop, and some of the coolest-looking trousers I’ve seen for ages! Omg, those slanted pockets are just great – can we get them in adult sizes please?

It’s a first for me, but I’ve actually already sewn this next top already, as a present for my niece! I loved it as soon as I got this issue, and I went and traced it right away. The front has got a subtly curved yoke seam, but the back is where all the action is – a double layer with a tied yoke! I’m not going to lie – I love this design so much that I modified my new knit sloper to make a running version of this for myself, too! (If you’re a Pattern Review member you can see a sneak peek of my niece’s present over there in advance of my gifting it to her in April)

Sewn Christmas gift – purple tween tunic

There was a massive sale on My Image and Young Image magazines a few months ago, and since I already own all the My Image issues, I thought I’d take the opportunity to buy all the Young Image ones for my niece Megan, who recently taken up sewing in a big way.

I figured it’d be inspiring for her to see at least one of the designs made up, so I thought I’d sew one for her before sending the magazines back to America.

My mom went through the stack when she was over in October and picked out some designs she thought Megan would like. Ultimately, I decided on Young Image FW12 Y1252 since I already had some perfect purple cotton jersey in my stash (you may also remember it from this skirt), which my mom also thought looked like her style.

Happily, most Young Image designs go up to tween sizes so I made her size 152 as the measurements matched hers almost exactly (she’s 5 feet tall already, how did this happen?!).

The gathering isn’t quite like in the tech drawing, though – the gathering on the pattern pieces is in one section in the centre front, rather than in two segments. I double-checked the pattern sheet to make sure I wasn’t just omitting a mark, and then also experimented to see if the gathering would work concentrated in two spots, but fell back on the one long stretch of gathering, which I think looks really good here.