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!read more >>
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.
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.read more >>
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!read more >>
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. read more >>
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)read more >>
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.read more >>
I hope you’re all having a nice Christmas holiday! This is the first of two posts where I can finally show you what I made my niece and nephew for Christmas, now that they’ve received their gifts and my dad has very kindly taken some photos for us (in my opinion, he’s outdone himself here!).
I started thinking about this gift in October, when my parents were visiting London. We talked about what to make for my nephew Logan, who’s eleven, but there are hardly any patterns out there for tween (or teen) boys that aren’t that same, freaking button-down shirt (I think I could wallpaper the boat in copies of that button-down shirt pattern – news to pattern producers – try harder! ) !
My mom suggested Logan might like another hoodie, so I found one with great lines over at Lekala, so I just entered in his measurements and voila, a pdf pattern arrived, made to fit. (FYI, Lekala have a new, more user-friendly site so if you were confused with the ordering system on the original site, you might want to give the new site a try!)
I used Lekala 7160 (which isn’t on the new site yet) – a sweatshirt with yoke, dropped shoulder, three-piece hood, upper centre front zipper, and topstitched, in-seam pockets.
I normally buy my sweatshirting from Pennine Outdoor, but I was also buying for my mom and we wanted a bigger colour selection so we ended up buying the “Royal blue” sweatshirting from Josery, a new-to-me, UK-made textile mill. I’ll definitely be using more of their fabrics in future, as they’ve got a massive colour selection and a ton of ribbed knit to match their sweatshirting, too. I already had some black ribbing and black sweatshirting scraps on hand so I used them here as accents.
Big, big thanks for my Dad for taking Logan out on a mini fishing trip and taking these photos in a nice, relaxed environment!read more >>
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!read more >>
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 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.
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??read more >>
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.read more >>
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!read more >>
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.
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. read more >>
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.read more >>
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!read more >>
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!read more >>
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!).
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?read more >>
I hadn’t planned on making this dress, but I suddenly remembered it was our neighbour Matilda’s fourth birthday today so I went over and took some measurements yesterday, and chose dress #6 from the Fall (Herfst) 2008 Knippie idee magazine:
Remember back at Christmas I made this as a top for my niece? You might also remember Matilda from the knit balaclavas I made her at Christmas…
This time I made the smallest in the size range, 98, after measuring Matilda (who’s turning 4), whereas I’d made the biggest size, 128, for my niece who was barely 6 then.
Here’s the dress, front and back, laid out flat:read more >>
I had quite the busy weekend! On Saturday, my neighbour Veda came over with her new book, Cute Stuff, and we had a sewing lesson all afternoon. She recently turned 11 and asked for sewing stuff for her birthday (getting that same awesome Chinese-themed sewing tin, too!) so I said I’d let her rifle through my scraps and we’d make something.
So she chose the pocket tissue holder from the book, and we went through the instructions, step-by-step and I taught her how to press and pin, knot the thread and tie off, and how to turn corners. It was loads of fun, and in the end we embellished little faces onto our holders like they do in the book so it looks like the holder is eating the tissues (they come out its mouth!).
The book is really well written and illustrated, and (as you’d expect from the title) full of really cute projects. I don’t think Veda will have any problems doing most of these on her own soon. I should offload way more of my scraps onto her, come to think of it!
As for myself, after the intellectually- and technically-stimulating green silk dress, I needed something brainless and easy, so I made BWOF 08/06 #109 in red corduroy (again!). Seriously, I’ve made this pattern so many times I could sew it with my eyes shut now, but these just fit me so well that my wardrobe is constantly crying out for more… I made a pair of these red cords over a year ago, but the corduroy I’d bought blind off the internet was way too thin for trousers and wore out after only a couple months’ wearing. Boo!read more >>
The tree and the outdoor lights are all taken down, the chocolates have been scoffed, and the last of the pine needles are being hoovered off the floor… My Christmas sewing was in overdrive this year, but it’s not until now that I really get to see how everyone liked their gifts!
My neighbour Jamaica was telling me months ago how impossible it is to find the cute little jersey balaclavas her 3 year old daughter loves, so she lent me one to copy after I had a good look at it. It’s really just one pattern piece, cut four times (two in each fabric) and sewn together along the back/top seam and also on the lower neck seam. You can see the pattern piece in the side photo on the left below (the right photo is the front view with the hole for the face). Then I connected the two around the face hole, turned them right side out, and serged the bottom edge together and left that raw (like the RTW one, which is just peeking out below on the left).read more >>
Oh yes, my niece is so lucky that she’s getting not just one but two Hannah Montana outfits this Christmas (even so, I’ve still got leftover fabric in my stash…)!
You’ll notice that #6 is actually a dress, but I saw the potential here for a great, basic long sleeved teeshirt by simply chopping off the pattern at the first frilly tier. Since my sister-in-law said that Megan’s not into frills anyway, this seemed like a perfect solution!read more >>
No, you did read that right – it’s just not for me! Luckily, my niece Megan will be receiving something that ticks two boxes off her Christmas list: “5. New Dress” and “Hannah Montana stuff”. We should all be thankful I didn’t attempt “8. bird costume with bird shoes”!
I found some fantastic Hannah Montana cotton knit from Crybaby’s Boutique and teamed it with some 100% cotton interlock in “rosepink” from Pennine Outdoor to break up the print a bit, then went looking for some nice kids patterns.read more >>
After the success of my green Patrones hoodie I thought that I’d make something similar for my nephew Logan’s birthday using the same fabric. I liked the look of #7 from Patrones Ninos 271 (Patrones magazine is normally all womenswear patterns, but they have two special childrens issues each year).
Even though it’s modelled on a girl here, it’s definitely a unisex style, and I thought the dark green sweatshirting was definitely more of a boy colour anyway, and this was much nicer than the other styles for boys his age in this issue. So I sewed this up on my overlocker in a few hours, and now it’s off to the post office in time for the big day! Unfortunately my would-be model neighbour girl has gone away for the past few days so I’m limited to a flat photo until Logan wears it himself…read more >>
It may only be mid October, but preparations for Christmas are already well underway at Chez Fehr. The electricity feeding my sewing room was out all weekend due to a bunf junction box (fixed by James’s dad yesterday, hurrah!) so I took the opportunity to do all the non-machine prep possible while that was out.
The craft table in the saloon is usually pretty clear as it’s where I do my cutting (conveniently, I can stand down the steps at the end so I’m not bending over too much) but right now it’s full to bursting with upcoming Christmas gifts:read more >>
We’re off to Dublin for a week’s holiday from Wednesday and since we’re staying with some of James’s relatives, we wanted to give them a nice little hostess gift for putting us up (and putting up with us!). We thought about the usual stuff, but then instead decided to make something fun for their little boy (aged 5) instead.
It’s nice and recycled – it’s made from a blue cotton tablecloth that came with our hotel boat when we bought it, the silver silk dupioni is offcuts from this shirt, and the velcro was from the shoulder pads I purchased for my tuxedo jacket (since I was sewing them in I wisely removed the velcro for later use). I just freehanded this so I can’t recommend a pattern, but if you’re making your own please make sure the neck fastening uses velcro or snaps instead of ties or buttons so you don’t end up gifting a choke hazard!read more >>
I wanted to make a few gifts to give to my niece and nephew while I was visiting in America, and a friend gave me the idea of making sock monkies out of really long knee socks. So when I was at Glastonbury I had a look around and picked up two striped pairs for the monkies, then stitched and stuffed them by hand over the course of two evenings (one spent in the A&E waiting room!). I added some button eyes and packed these guys in my suitcase…read more >>
Yesterday I mostly finished my current project, dress #5 from the April 2007 edition of KnipMode (the John Galliano knockoff), but I lost my enthusiasm when it came to hemming it, seeing as how it’s been rainy and cold for the past week and this is a sleeveless summer dress. Ho hum. I’ll finish the hem at some point this week and brave the goosebumps for a photo shoot.read more >>
My boyfriend’s sister is expecting her second child in February, and I just happened to draw her name in the family’s Christmas exchange, so I thought it was fitting to make up another baby changing mat for her new arrival. This time I used a pale green hand towel and some red fabric with baby Japanese animals on it, which is very cute indeed! I used a few scraps from that fabric to make six lavender satchets to go with the mat (I figure I’m giving her the gift of sleep if she wraps up a few of these in the baby’s bedding!).read more >>
I took a little sideline from my current two big projects (a massive velvet pirate coat for James and a lemon yellow tulle dress for a friend’s 30th birthday) to sew up some new arrivals for a friend’s, err, new arrival.read more >>