Friday, July 31, 2015

We love Amare, pattern release

Another pattern release today, the Amare dress and top pattern from Sofilantjes. Amare means love, and the pattern really earns its name, its lovely. This is the sixth pattern from Sofilantjes that I have sewn and she pleasantly surprises me every time. At first sight I always like her patterns, but seeing the end results really makes me fall in love with the patterns.

During the pre-test we were free to choose the version we wanted to sew. I had a strong preference for the dress version with ties. When another tester showed her top version with the bow, I immediately became jealous. I would not have thought that the bow would be for me, but I totally changed my mind. A similar thing happened when I sewed the summer surprise dress. I wanted that bow so much, that I went back to my pre-test dress and just put a bow on it.

I had already finished the official testing process and I was in my usual, who-needs-manuals mode and cut a piece of fabric that matched the width of the tie. It turned out that the official bow piece is bigger, it has two pleats in it (facepalm). The result of my dress is cute, especially with my little one in it, but I wanted the real deal.

I really should practice my bow tying skills and I had to iron the dress again, I know. 

To address my "bow" desires, I sewed up a top for my eldest.  Like I mentioned before, she needs other garments than dresses, so a top is perfect. My kids are very skinny, and I used a size 4 width and size 7 length. I did this based on the measurement table and on the table with finished garment sizes. I like my kids' garments to be truely fitted and based on the finished garment size table I knew my girl would fit a size smaller than I would pick on the general size table. Having these tables is a true asset, now the top fitted perfectly to my standards.

My youngest is also very skinny. I assumed she had grown a bit since my last measurement (never ever assume), but it turned out she somehow became narrower (I probably just miss measured in the past, because we do feed her). The dress I made her is therefore a little bit too wide, fortunately the ties can make the dress nicely fitted at the waist. My ties are shorter than the ties I have seen on other testers, I might have made a mistake there.

In my previous post I wrote that I conquered my fear of button holes, well this post's dress was a big part of that. Not long ago I spoke with a good friend about my troubles of sewing with my button hole feet. I simply didn't get how to use it. Because of that conversation I realized I didn't use the feet correctly and for this dress I forced myself to not use snaps, but buttons. I am very satisfied with my new skill. Now I really have to start buying buttons, I realized my stash only contains small buttons. For both the dress and top I used small flower buttons.

The two uni-colored fabrics are from Soft Cactus as well is the greenish Flowerworks. The other is from Hamburger Liebe called My Aunties Helga. Both the cutting and sewing process were relatively short (the pdf only has a maximum of 12 pages). If I would have to guess you can do the whole thing in about two hours.

As you can see this pattern is great for playing. The pattern is on introduction sale today and tomorrow only and you can buy it at Sofilantjes webshop.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian). 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hiekka release, a reversible wrap skirt

My eldest daughter told me two weeks ago that she would prefers all her clothes to have something special.  She likes her clothes to have a story, which she happily shares with the people around her. She loves to tell people that this was a tablecloth, or that this was a pillow case, or that this was a skirt. In case of store bought fabric, she can settle for reversible clothes or twirling skirts. Tomorrow Pienkel is releasing her first pattern, the Hiekka reversible wrap skirt. The reversibility makes it perfect for my daughter, who would like me to sew something else than dresses.

The skirt has two tie options (long ones wrapping around the body, or short ones), two front views (curved or straight front flap) and like I mentioned before, you can choose to make it reversible. Besides this being just a cool feature, it can be very useful because kids tend to get dirty quickly, and this way she has a spare skirt on her.

The blue/green version was actually the second skirt I sewed. I used soft cactus on one side and an Eline Pellinkhof on the other which I used here and here already). The bias tape was a leftover piece of the bias I used for this dress. I love how well it matches with both sides.

This pattern can be sewn into a fancy skirt. Especially at fancy dinners, my kids tend to be covered in food stains, making the reversibility extra valuable. The skirt is also great for everyday wear, you can see that the skirt gives a lot of freedom movement, she can easily play in it.

The blue/green reversible skirt closes with snaps (and short ties). The snap version was officially not reversible, but I made it this way by adding the small ties on both sides. I used small transparent snaps, so they are almost invisible.

During the early testing phase, I had made her a non-reversible skirt. The skirt is a bit too big (issue that is fixed in the pattern now), both length and width wise, which means it will perfect for next year. I still had to cut the strings when I put it on her, but she actually preferred it like this. The strings now go round three times. In the end version of the pattern, the long string version has small loops to keep the strings in place.

For this early version, I also made my own bias tape this time with a leftover from this dress. The main fabric is again from Eline Pellinkhof (I am really trying to decrease my fabric stash),  I once bought it for myself. I still have a big piece left, so it can still happen, I think it would be a nice June.

The big advantage of using snaps is that the skirt is a bit more secure, but the strings will give the skirt a long life. I am thinking about making one with buttons and button holes.  Buttons you can move when your girl grows. I now finally conquered my fear of button holes!

So, hop over to check out the pattern at Pienkel's site, if you subscribe to her newsletter, you will get a discount to the pattern. The discount is valuable for a week. The pattern is available in a long range of sizes, from 2 years up to 16.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cyan Lilys

Mandy K designs just released her newest dress pattern, a twirly knit dress, the type that my daughters adore, the Cyan Lily. I was part of the tester team and during the testing period I sewed up three dresses and all three are in heavy rotation in our house already. My eldest immediately declared her red polka dot version to be her favorite dress.

Twirling, that is what my kids love. If they get a dress they first check if it twirls and then search for pockets (which I added in these dresses), they are predictable around here. Circle skirts are daughter pleasers, but as a sew fanatic, I also like the dresses that I sew to have more than just twirl. This dress has that, it has a very exiting back. The dress was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s iconic look from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The dress pattern evolved over the course of the pattern test and the red dress is made with the final version. The first dress I sewed was the blue one, after that, the neckline became lower and the back higher. The dress can be sewn with a knit or woven skirt. Some of the testers even sewed the entire dress from woven, but then you have to adjust the size of the bodice yourself (the bodice is made for knit fabrics).

My middle daughter loved her blue dress that much that she immediately requested a new one, one for her birthday (she just turned four) and she picked the fabric herself. I didn't come around to sewing it before, so on the morning of her birthday (those are low key here), I sewed up the dress. It really is a quick sew, the longest step is hemming (the circle skirt has a very long hem). I hemmed it with a blue contrasting knit strip, which gives a great effect during the twirl sessions.

For the blue dress, which is my favorite, I cut the circle skirt in six pieces, this way all elephants could just stand on their feet. Due to this pieced circle skirt the dress took up an entire meter of fabric. I managed to cut the pink flower version from a 70cm coupon that I bought for 3 euros.

My experience is that using a heavy knit gives the best results. Both the blue and red dress are from Hilco jersey (for the red one I also used interfacing for knits on the neck) and the neck holds up very nice for those two.

A circle skirt is also great for climbing. My daughters prefer to wear dresses all day, every day, but I realized that they have too many dresses. I rearranged their closets and they have multiple piles of dresses. I will have to come up with a sewing plan for the coming months that is focused on a different type of garment.

The Cyan Lily dress pattern is on sale until August 1.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hand made gifts part 3

Summer holiday has started for our kids, which equals end-of-year gifts. This year, I felt confident enough to hand make them (my earlier gifts part 1 and part 2 were well received). I was triggered by my eldest daughter's teacher. She was planning a gifts for somebody that helped her class a lot, but was now retiring that help. During the year the teacher had seen my daughter appear in many new dresses and we discussed my sewing hobby on a few occasions. She asked me if I could sew a pillow case without zipper that she could decorate with the kids. I was very willing to help and said that I could do a bit more than a pillow case without zipper. I proposed to mash up this and this idea from pinterest. The teacher liked the idea a lot and she decided we would make two, one for the Tuesday's-teacher as well. The teacher pre-cut the small "pieces" and the kids sewed them (by hand) together. In one hour 29 kids created 43 flaps, the kids loved it. I helped, which meant non-stop putting thread through needle eyes.

I drew the owls by hand, I was on a strict schedule and rushed this process a bit. I hand stitched the upper flaps, the rest was fixated by the sewing machine and I did add a blind zipper. The end-result is fine, it is not as nice as the originals (but not such a pinterest fail as this one). The fact that the kids contributed and loved to do it, makes the pillows wonderful in my eyes.

Another pinterest idea that I had been planning to use for a while was this bracelet tutorial. I loved the idea but I do not wear bracelets. I thought they would be perfect teacher gifts. I made two, experimenting with the buttons, colors and broomstick size.

For my son's teacher I made a gift for his class. I adapted this wonderful felt fire into an idea in which my kids could participate. The fire has three sides and my eldest (who was his student two years ago), my son (who has been his student the last two years) and my middle daughter (who will be his student the coming two years) all decorated a side with textile paint. My son learned in class this year
that a flame can be blue, so we had to incorporate that color as well. The base of the fire is red jersey with my heaviest interfacing.

I made the stones from an upcycled vest and I filled them with small fabric scraps that I have been hoarding. The scraps give the stones a good firmness and the stones are heavier than if I would have filled them with pillow filling. The branches are also filled with scraps.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Circus class clothes

My two eldest kids go to circus class (just started recently) and last weekend was the last class before the summer holiday. On this last class the kids all gave a solo performance and they were allowed to pick their act. My son picked the trapeze and my daughter did a hula hoop act. For this special occasion they were allowed to dress up like true performers and I took it as a sign to finally sew them some circus clothes (which they can use for regular circus class). I kept the outfits relatively plain, but believe me that they look more like circus performers than in their usual short trousers and non-matching T-shirt.

For my son I used a swim trousers pattern from Ottobre 3/2009 and a shirt pattern from Ottobre 3/2011. My son has a sensitive skin and I choose to use cotton jersey and a cotton velour jersey (the dark blue one). The velour jersey doesn't stretch as much as usual cotton jersey so I chose an envelop neckline to be sure he could get his head trough the hole. He only wanted to pose with his little sister so she is just decoration here.

My daughter was very clear about what she wanted to wear. She described to me that she wanted a swimsuit with a skirt. I went through all my Ottobres and found one in 1/2007. When I showed her the pictures she said she wanted a longer skirt, one that would hide her entire bottom, and I complied. She also picked the fabric from my closet. I wasn't a big fan of the combination but in the end it works fine. I finished the skirt with a rolled seam, so it cruves a bit upwards unfortunatly.  Does anybody know a remedy for this?

The pattern prescribes framilon elastic, but I didn't have that (never used it) so I made it work with some narrow elastic. The result is fine, especially from a bit far, but I did order framilon elastic. I was intrigued by the prospect of hemming an elastic neckline with it.

The acts themselves are on video, so we have no good quality action pictures. I made two freeze frame pictures, they are a bit blurry but I wanted to add them anyway.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).