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Thursday, 31 December 2020

More About this Site

I'm a grandma who loves making clothes for my grandchildren. That's all. This is not a commercial site, there is nothing you can buy on it. I do make some suggestions and provide links to other web sites where you can get free patterns. Some of these people do also have patterns for sale, but I neither endorse nor preach avoidance of these.  Soon there will be pictures of my favourite projects here to help you navigate to the best bits. In the meantime, use the tabs or the search box. There are specific tabs for making babies' and children's dresses, and things with legs (shorts, trousers, pants, leggings, PJs etc), plus a more general Make Baby /Child Clothes tab for other sorts of garments (e.g. skirts) and mixed (e.g. PJs with pants and a top). There is a list of UK on-line fabric supplers to help UK readers, now that so many physical shops are no longer with us, which I try to keep as up to date as possible. There are also tutorials on how to make children's clothing and accessories (dining room harness, playmat and gym, for example). I write up some reviews of free PDF patterns (and also provide some of my own). So enjoy the web site!

Monday, 14 September 2020

Pattern review - Made for Mermaids Bonny Leggings

I have quite a few free leggings patterns, so I thought I's start trying them out. The first to try, which is easily available, was the Made For Mermaids (M4M) Bonny leggings.


Swing Tee Shirts - Pattern review of Life Sew Savory's pattern

I'd had a metre of this cotton spandex unicorn stretch jersey fabric in the stash for a little while, and I'd been looking for the right project. 


Two of my granddaughters, sisters, had both decided they wanted it. With only a metre of it, I had to think carefully if I was to get two garments! . Their Mummy said they were most in need of tops, so it seemd like a good opportuntiy to try the free  Life Sew Savory Swing Tee pattern, which has been on my to do list for a while. you can find out how I got on below the jump!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Another Sweet Rose Dress

I'm a fan of Life Sew Savory's Sweet Rose dress, it's easy to make up, and versatile, too - you can make it an every day dress, or a real party dress. I wrote a fuller review of it here. The earlier dresses were in sizes 3 and 6. But it works for an older girl too. 


Saturday, 8 August 2020

Another A line variation

Regular readers will know that I love a simple A-line dress.  I think it is the most versatile pattern there is, as well as being comfortable and practical for play. My latest version for Ada, 3, featured a double frill at the hem. 


Ada was quite taken with this new dress, and didn't want to take it off.


(Oh dear, look at the little scar on her knee! These girls do like to run around, fall off their bikes, trip over a log and so on.)




This time, I'm not going to give you a detailed tutorial. I've covered many aspects of making dresses like this in other posts. (See the end of this one for links.) I'll just point out a couple of features. One is the back neck closure, seen above and below. I made a little tab to enclose between the dress and lining, and put a small piece of interfacing between dress and lining on the other side. Then I applied a little Kam Snaps set. It's quite hard to see on the pictures, because I used a black Kam snap. I've found the girls like quite a deep back neck opening on a woven A line dress. Although it's not hard to get over their heads with a smaller opening, they all have broad shoulders and don't like having to wrangle their elbows through a too small gap. Even little Ada likes to dress herself without too much help now.


The other feature on this dress was the double frill. The lower one is a straight gathered frill attached to the bottom of the skirt. I had cut the skirt a few inches shorter than full length, to allow for the frill. There was a lot of frill, about double the bottom of the skirt. My preffered aproach to gathering is to split the gathering thread at least in two - occasionally on a very long frill, into 4. The approived method seems to be to run two gathering threads all the way round - two, in case one breaks, (And theoretically to help you get the gathers more even.) I long ago abandoned that idea. I find it easier to run one gathering thread around half the skirt, and another round the other half, overlapping the ends. 

I think you can see the overlapping gathering threads here. 



The advantage of this is that you can pull from both ends (Being careful not to pull them right through.) On a long frill, you have to drag an awful lot of fabric along the gathering thread, so the shorter that is, the easier to do. 

Before I started to pull up the gathering threads, I pinned in 8 places before pulling up the threads. Then I could easily see how much more gathering was needed.


And then put in more pins in between as I gathered.  Here it is all gathered up ready to sew. (You may notice I had overlocked all the edges before I started. I don't have an overlocker, but I use an overlock foot on my sewing machine to finish edges.)




I sewed  the gathered frill to the skirt, pressed the seam upwards, and then sewed a line of over-stitching to hold the frill neatly.

The second frill is fundamentally the same, except that you are attaching not to an edge. but to a line with fabric above and below. To do this,  I measured up from the top of the lower frill and marked a row of dots with a washable marker pen, at the level I wanted the top of the second frill. I gathered the frill to fit that line, and attached it upside down, right sides together. Then I flipped it down, and again overstitched, but this time with the seam pressed down, and I sewed over the frill rather than above it.

Another A line dress down! I'm afraid that by the time it was finished, she'd already grown, and it's a little shorter than I intended. But there are two possibilities as she continues to grow. One is that it becomes a top to wear with leggings. The othr is that I attach yet another frill to the bottom!


For more ideas about A line dresses, how to find patterns, etc, do a search on A line in the search box. But here are a couple of links you may find useful if any of the techniques here have you a bit floored. 

Here's one about neck closures

And another about gathering a frill.


How to make paper bag skirts / shorts/ trousers

In my previous post, I talked about my inspiration for making paper bag tops to a pair of trousers (or pants) for a toddler. In this post, I'll talk about the other kids' clothes that followed this idea, skirts and shorts, and give you general tips for making them. You can read about the trousers here.

Paper bag skirt

Paper bag shorts

Another pair of paper bag shorts

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Link page for Quiet Books

I have done several posts on the topic of Quiet Books, and then I have trouble finding them all again - let alone the trouble anyone else would have. So this post simply gives you links to all of them in one easy place!


Friday, 24 July 2020

Layered A line dress

I bought some lovely 100% cotton fabric while I was in Southern India, including this pretty digital print in lilac and pink. I probably knew as I bought it which of my 4 grand-daughters would be the most keen to have this, and I also knew she would want something that would spin.

This started as an A-line dress, cutting it off at high hip level to make an A-line bodice,. Then I added two curved layers, the topmost layer being about three quarters of a circle, and the bottom one more curved than the first layer (it was more than a full circle). I had in mind the idea of the opposite of a black hole shape, I believe called a white hole. I'm not enough of a mathematician to understand the geometry, but I think it's that each of the bottom circles is wider than the one above, increasingly so. That's the sort of effect I wanted to achieve!


To design the layers, I took off the part of the A-line pattern below the bodice and applied the 'Slash and Spread' method to make it even more flared for the first layer, and then redrew and slashed and spread again to increase the flare on the bottom layer. 

 I gave the bodice part a central back seam, so that I could provide a good neck opening. As this was woven fabric, it wasn't going to pull over her head without a neck opening . Here's the back, showing that seam.


And here's the front, showing the neck facing. I designed the neck facings by drawing round the neckline and armholes of the bodice front and back patterns, and then drew a bottom hemline for the facing by eye, to give a nice curved shape.



There is just a very narrow hem on the bottom layer, about 1/4" and 1/4" turned in.

I don't have a serger / overlocker, but I had bought an overlock foot for my sewing machine, and I thought it worked quite neatly on the seam finishing.



The tab fastening (with a plastic snap fastener) was sewn in between the neck facing and the bodice.



Here's the finished dress. 


And here's the proof it spins!