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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Winter dresses for little girls

This year, I've made Christmas dresses for all the girls. The last ones I made for the three oldest, were in 2015. 


I haven't done this now for three years, as the oldest subsequently refused  flatly to wear a dress of any kind. But it seems she's warming a bit to the idea, as long as it's not pink and frilly - perhaps it's because she's started school and all the girls wear the same uniform skirt. So she doesn't feel so bad about skirted garments. 

So here are the new ones (now there are four of them!)



You can find out more after the jump.

A new Tartan dress for Christmas.

My oldest grand-daughter, Fleur, 5, has for the last few years totally rejected dresses, even for church. She's been persuaded into a skirt on occasion, but by and large she's preferred dressing in trousers or shorts, no matter the occasion. So my wish to repeat what I did for Christmas three years ago, of making them ALL a new Christmas dress, has just gone by the board. 

But we can sense a small change in her attitude. She has to wear a skirt as part of her school uniform now, and all the girls in her class are in skirts, so there can be no argument. And she's now agreed she'd like a new dress, so long as it isn't frilly, or pink, or in any way princessy. (She caught sight of her youngest cousin's dress, see here, and said determinedly "I don't want THAT dress!" We pointed it it was far too small for her any way.)

So here's what I came up with for her. It's red, which she likes, and it's not frilly (has pleats rather than gathers), and it has nothing itchy inside. Yet it is quite stylish. Let's keep our fingers crossed she'll wear it now!


To find out how you could make something similar, read on.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Good Deeds dress with lined bodice and sleeves

The Good Deeds dress - my latest version



This is based on a great pattern that I have used before. It comes from Elysium

This probably doesn't look a lot like the original, but I wanted to develop it into something I could use as one of my Christmas dresses this year. I wanted sleeves, and I wanted the body lined, for warmth. However, that presented some challenges, and I wanted to write up exactly how I did it so that anyone else trying it in future will be a bit further up the learning curve that I was.

Note that a friend of the pattern author  has also written a tutorial on her own blog, Night Owl Menagerie, for a lined bodice version, (without sleeves) but in hers, she joins the skirt to both layers of the bodice (outer and lining) together, leaving an exposed seam. The skirt part is unlined. And I think she may join the side seams both layers together, exposing the side seeams. 

This IS a lot easier than my version, but for my grandchildren, who will quickly complain of itchy clothes, I wanted to ensure the seams were contained within the lining. (I also think it looks neater, especially if, like me, you don’t have a serger.) Here's the inside of my version.



As you can see, I've also added sleeves to mine. 

I've written up below what I did, but I've  will also later be writing a 'How To' for alternatives (for example, without sleeves, without a frill). But for a simpler version without sleeves, the Night Owl Menagerie tutorial may work for you.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

An outfit for a baby boy

I wrote recently about the baby girls' clothes I made for one of the two twins, my husband's great niece and nephew. Having 4 grand-daughters, I always find it easier to decide on and make girls' clothes, but this time I've a boy to make for as well. Here's what I came up with.



An dinosaur envelope neck T shirt and shorts!


You'll find out how to make these below.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Ruffled sleeved dresses for winter

The first two Christmas dresses I made this year were to be a 'matching set' for sisters Jane and Ada. As you can see, there is a difference in size. Jane is pushing 5, Ada nearly 18 months old. This also necessitated slight style differences, too, partly because the free PDF patterns I had didn't cater for both sizes. I also made Ada's cuffs and frill much smaller, as she still spends a fair amount of time on the floor!



Although I used two different patterns, there were many similarities of method, and so my 'how to' description below covers both. 

Technique: Easy way to put in a zip - a little tutorial

I was taught this method for putting in a zip by my mother, who, for most of her sewing life used an old hand-cranked Singer. It perhaps doesn't look as professional as an invisible zip, but it's so easy a beginner can do it, given a zipper foot to your machine. I've been sewing for over 50 years but I still think of myself as a beginner! Note that it doesn't really work for a zip fly, which should be assymetrical.


To find out how to put in a zip the easy way, read on!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Christmas trousers

In the past, I've made warm winter trousers for my grand-daughters, as the need arose. This year, I decided I'd make them all a pair. Jane's from last year probably still fit her, but it wouldn't be fair to give everyone new trousers except her, would it? Especially as she's the girl who doesn't much like to wear trousers unless they're a bit special. Here they are. 



They were so easy to make, that I finished all four in under two days. That included all the cutting out - and rushing to the shop for more fleece. They are actually a reversible style, but I don't think anyone wouldf be wearing them with the fleece side outside.

To find out how to make lovely cosy trousers for winter, read on.

Technique: making home made bias binding

Why would you want to make your own bias binding when you can buy it in the shops? Lots of reasons! For me, it's mostly wanting to have the same fabric for the trims as the main (or contrasting) fabric of whatever I am making. But there is also a limit to the colours and sizes and material available in the shops or on-line. (On-line purchasing brings its own special problems of colour matching and quality.) These are some of many that I've made to match (or contrast) with the main fabric in a garment.



But the idea of making bias binding yourself can perhaps appear daunting. That's why I have created this tutorial, with examples. I'll also tell you about my experiences and errors, so you can avoid the latter!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sewn toys and play things for babies and toddlers


Over the last few years, I've collected many ideas for toys you can sew for babies and toddlers, almost all are free. Many I have used! Now, I thought it was time I shared them on the blog. First, here are some links to other articles on the blog that have ideas and some 'How to's.

A Sounds bag, or Sensory bag - particularly useful for a child just learning to talk:



Ideas for a baby gym, including a crinkly snake:



Ideas for baby shower presents, including some toys and play things:




There are lots of other toy ideas and tutorials on my blog if you do a search. In particular, there are several articles on Quiet Books / Play Books, and on finger puppets.

Below the jump, I will share links that I have found while doing my own research.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Another play-suit

A few weeks ago, I made a play-suit for my oldest grand-daughter, using fabric I had bought in Alaska. You can read about it here. Of course, as soon as it was delivered, younger sister wondered where her play-suit was, too. I had always intended to make one for her, but this sorted out for me what my next project needed to be!



I wanted to correct some minor problems with the first one, and in the end, the laying out of patterns and rethinking the shaping took a great deal more time than the making up! You can read about some of the trials and tribulations below. Eventually, I'll hopefully have made a proper, repeatable pattern!