Tuesday, 31 December 2019

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Hats for babies and small people - free PDFs

There are several delightful patterns for children's and babies' hats, available as free PDFs on the internet. Usually these have full instructions. I must admit to my favourites, made over and over again because they work so well for my four grand-daughters. But in this post I will also try and provide links and reviews to many of those I've found which have promise. At the time of writing all of these are free. Some require you to register, but there is no charge for this.

The above two are from patterns I have made multiple times, especially the one on the right. But for my full review of free Hat PDFs for children and babies, read on!

Premature baby hat

A small number of years ago, I was delighted to find a pattern for a premature baby knotted hat from Blesseddesigns.net, when we most needed it. 

Unfortunately the Blessed Designs web site for premature baby patterns no longer exists. I've tried to find it again for your benefit, to no avail. So in the end I created my own pattern for you. It is based on the Blesseddesigns idea, though, as I still have hard copy, so I owe them a debt, even though they no longer seem to exist! To find out more about my (free) pattern, and how to make up a premature baby hat, read on.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Two children's garments out of a metre? (Part 3 and 4 - Flutter top and skirt)

In Alaska recently, I found two fabrics I loved. I could only bring back about a metre of each - probably a yard, as this was America - becauses I was flying home with limited luggage allowance. So I was determined to maximise what I could make, and went for two garments out of each fabric. That way, none of my grand-daughters could say I brought them nothing back from my holiday.

I wrote up the first two, from a fabric called Bear Mountain, a few days ago. If you 'd like to see those, too, they are here and here. Those were for the oldest and youngest grand-children. Now, here is the second fabric. 

This fabric is One of the Aunt Grace range, # 6257, by Judie Rothermel for Marcus fabrics. Unfortunately it's now out of print. Why do they always do this to me? I just find a lovely fabric I want to buy more of, when it's finished! I could list them - no, stop, it's painful!

Out of the second fabric, I would make two things for the middle two: a top for Rose, age 3, and a skirt for Jane, age 4.

To find out more, read on.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Two pieces of children's clothing from a metre of fabric? (Part 2 - Playsuit)

In my last post, I started telling you about the first piece of children's clothing I made from one of the fabrics I bought from  a lovely fabric shop called Quilted Raven, while travelling through Anchorage, Alaska. This fabric is called Bear Mountain.

The first, in my earlier post, was the toddler shorts shown on the left, made for baby Ada.  In this post, I'll tell you about the playsuit for Ada's cousin Fleur. The challenge was to get them both out of this one piece, which was actually fractionally over a metre in length, as it was the bolt end.

Two pieces of children's clothing from a metre of fabric? (Part 1 - Toddler shorts)

Travelling through Anchorage, Alaska, I found a lovely fabric shop called Quilted Raven. (Lucky folk in Anchorage! 7 fabric stores in town and two more up at Eagle River.) I picked up two pieces of fabric, one an offcut just over a metre long (by the standard 114cm wide - or 44-45 inches), and the other, I just bought a metre. (Come to think of it, as it was US, it was probably a yard they sold me.) I could have bought so many more pieces, I loved the fabrics, but I was limited as to the amount of extras I could bring home to the UK. Thank goodness I didn't have time to visit all the other shops, or I'd have been seriously overweight on my luggage!

Once home, I had to plan out what I could make for the girls. As I'd only managed to bring home two pieces of fabric, I had to get two garments out of each. Here are the first two, from fabric 1, called Bear Mountain.

Long shorts for the toddler, Ada, and a playsuit for Fleur. To find out more, read on.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Free Boy Patterns (2) - Toddlers and up

A while back, I did a post about free patterns for boys - baby boys . There seem to be far more free patterns for girls on the internet, hence they are much easier to find. Although this mostly works for me - I have 4 grand-daughters - it seems unfair on those who want to sew for boys. Plus, one of my grand-daughters would much sooner wear trousers and shorts than a dress, especially a frilly dress. And my husband's niece had twins, a boy and a girl. So I started writing about patterns I had found that would work well for boys. Last time, I concentrated on babies up to about 12-15 months. Some of the patterns and pattern authors I recommended do have larger sizes too, so it's always worth checking them out.

Please recognise when I produce these reviews, it has taken a lot of research and late nights, so please don't just copy all of this onto your own web site without acknowledging the source. Thank you! 

This time around, I'll continue with my review of free patterns for older boys from toddler age onwards. With a big thank you to all the people who have so generously posted patterns and tutorials without charge. So read on!

Friday, 17 August 2018

How to adjust a trousers / pants / shorts pattern with the front and back identical

As most of my readers know, I mainly use (and review) free sewing patterns from the internet - that's what I do. Using patterns that have generously been posted for free does require an acceptance that they won't all be perfect, and you may sometimes have to fiddle about with them to make them work. (Not always, of course, there are many that are brilliant, and that I use again and again.) But how much worse to pay for a pattern and then find that one doesn't work either!

And my biggest bugbear by far, is the pants and shorts and trouser patterns which don't have a separate back and front shaping - or rather, the crutch seam is identical for the back seam and the front seam. It's really surprising how many people, even some who also sell their work, produce such patterns. It doesn't take a lot of thought to realise that human beings are not symmetrical when seen from the side! 

(I realise my drawing talents leave a lot to be desired - I should have taken lessons from Picasso. Hopefully you'll get the idea.)

So the patterns I recommend, like this one from Jereli for pyjama pants, result in pants that have a crutch seam higher in the back than the front, and (generally) have a longer curve on the back, so that the inside leg seam sits a little forward of the midpoint of the inside of the leg. If you look at purchased trousers, even jeans, you will see that shaping, to accommodate the wider part we all have at the rear! Even children and babies - especially babies, who spend a lot of time with their legs in the air - need space for bending at the hip. OK, you may just get away with this with knit fabric and a sloppy fit, but it ISN'T DIFFICULT to make a pattern correctly, and make the result more comfortable.

These above are from another pattern I recommend, from Suzi of Bay Patterns at Space. Note that the centre back is higher than the centre front. These were a really comfortable fit. The grandchildren wanted more of them!

However, you will find patterns which ignore this golden rule, so here's what you can do.