Monthly Archives: November 2019

a dress for frankie

On a bit of a whim, I decided to sew a cute little dress for little Miss Frankie, who was turning three. Her mum has remarked that the only dressed Frankie wore, were those princess dresses you can get at Target etc.

I remembered seeing a heap of second-hand sewing patterns at my local op-shop, so one morning I headed over to see what I could find.

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BEHOLD! The cutest, and most 1990’s pattern they had (illustration B just pulls at my nostalgic heartstrings!). Even though the pattern was in the wrong size range, all the pieces were there and I just had to get it.

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While I was there, I thought I may as well see if there was something I could use to make the dress from. I found this chambray, ladies dress, which was in great condition. I have no idea why it was donated!

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Now, the pattern. The size range was 1 – 3, based on measurements, I needed a size 5.

I had to grade it.

I haven’t graded kids clothing before, so I started out by noting the increase measurements between the sizes I did have. Starting at the center front, I increased the neckline up; then added a little to the length of the shoulder; then I walked out the side seam. Initially, I didn’t lengthen the bodice, but after making up a toile, I decided to add a little bit in per size. I repeated these steps for the other pattern pieces (except the skirt panels), and sizes (I did 4, 5 and 6).

The one major change I made was to decrease the amount of fabric in the sleeve head. In my toile, the sleeve was so bulky at the underarm point that I had to take out almost 3cm (from the sleeve head). This did the trick, and the sleeve now sits happily in the armscye.

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For the skirt panels, I had to piece together any larger bits of fabric that I had leftover. I love how you can see the darker patches where the original pockets were.

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The original pattern only had 3 buttons, but because I lengthened the bodice, I thought it could handle four. I used some beautiful wooden buttons from my stash.

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I also had to do a little bit of piece-work on the back. The yoke seam is from the original dress, but I had to add in a triangle of fabric to the top of the armscye. I think it blends in with the sleeve, and it isn’t too obvious.

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My favourite part of the dress has to be the lining. I had to cut the facing as a separate piece to save on chambray fabric, so I dug through my stash and found half a meter of this adorable cotton print.

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There was even enough to make some bias binding, to finish those raw edges in style!

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Frankie’s mum tells me that little Miss loves her new dress, and that makes me so unbelievably happy. It looks a little over-sized on her now, but that means that she will get lots and lots of wear out of it as she grows up.

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OMG, that face!!!

GARMENT DETAILS

  • Pattern brand/name/number: Butterick 3645
  • Style, size: B (sans pocket), graded to a size 5
  • Fabric: Thrifted chambray dress from my local op-shop, lining cotton from my stash
  • Notions: Four wooden buttons, contrasting thread
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • Graded pattern (sizes 4, 5 and 6)
    • Added length to the bodice
    • Slightly changed the shape of the facing
    • Took out 3 cm from the sleeve head
    • Shortened the sleeves to above the elbow
    • Used four buttons instead of three
    • Finished the raw edges (neck edge, sleeve hems, waist seam and skirt hem) with bias binding

I really hope that this dress stands the test of time, I’d love to see Frankie hand it down to her daughter one day (if she has one).

Mitty x

dawn jeans

I was lucky enough to attend the first Camp Stitch Sydney weekend earlier this month, where I took a class on sewing jeans. The pattern provided was the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen, and if I am honest, I was a little intimidated by the fact that this pattern is drafted for rigid denim. I have two (1 & 2) brilliant versions of the Ginger Jeans hanging in my wardrobe, but they are made from stretch denim… and stretch denim is a little more forgiving.

Fit concerns aside, I was very excited to start sewing.

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We had to have our fabric cut before the class, so I went ahead and graded the pattern according to the supplied measurements. I cut a 10 at the waist and graded to a 14 at the hip. Looking at the numbers made me a bit uneasy as there was only 1cm of ease across the seat. I thought that if the jeans ended up being too tight, I could always sew the side seams with a smaller seam allowance.

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As it turns out, I didn’t have to do that, and even though I do have to do a bit of a wiggle dance to get them on, I can get them on.

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The class was run by Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once, and with her guidance, I did have to make one small adjustment. I needed to take about 2cm out of the back yoke seam to fit my swayback. I also should have made an adjustment to the waistband, as it does gape a little, but that is something I can fix later.

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Inserting the zipper is where I got a bit carried away. I couldn’t, for the life of me, get the zipper to sit far enough into the overlap without showing. I ripped it out for the second time and added in a fly extension (to the right-hand side leg). Now I seemed to have enough fabric to get that zipper tucked in nicely. Although, I also had many more seams to wrestle with. I graded most of them down, gave it a good press under the iron with lots of steam, and even whacked it a few times with a hammer. Eventually, it was nice and flat.

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Here’s the other reason for there being so much fabric along the fly front. I decided to turn the pockets into a full pocket-stay, just like in my Ginger jeans. I find that this really helps to take some of the strain off the zipper, meaning it can lay flat up against my tummy. This also gives the front of the jeans a lovely, smooth look.

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How about we have a look at some of the smaller details. The beautiful green denim that I used came from MaaiDesign. It was made by Cone Mills, and the selvedge edge still had the weft threads attached. I decided to show it off, by cutting the coin pocket right up against the edge of the fabric. I love that it is so visible against the green denim.

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I simply had to use the leather patch that came with our hardware kits. Luckily I think the light colour contrasts well with the denim, but I am looking forward to watching it wear in a bit.

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Everyone received a welcome package when we arrived at Camp, and one of the things in the bag was this awesome woven label! There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to use it than in my new jeans! I also popped my own label in there, because why not!

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As with my other jeans, I stitched in a little reminder of when they were sewn (#3 because these are the third pair of jeans I have made).

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As I expected, these jeans are a pretty snug fit (I don’t even think there is room for a campfire marshmallow in there…), however, I know that they are new, and I have high hopes of the denim moulding to my body after a few months wear. Check in this time next year to see if I can wear them comfortably for a full day!

GARMENT DETAILS

  • Pattern brand/name/number: Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen
  • Style, size: Wide leg, cropped version, 10 at the waist, graded to 14 at the hip
  • Fabric: Cone Mills rigid 9oz Olive denim purchased from MaaiDesign, pocket lining from my stash
  • Notions: Zipper fly hardware kit in Antique Brass from Closet Case Patterns, Gütermann topstitching thread in colour #472, matching thread
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • As mentioned, graded from a 10 at the waist to a 14 at the hip
    • 2cm taken from back yoke seam
    • Redrafted the pockets into pocket-stays
    • Inserted a second fly extension
    • Edge of coin pocket cut against selvedge of the fabric

I would like to send out a huge THANK YOU to the ladies who organised the Camp. I had such a wonderful time meeting fellow sewing enthusiasts and I am so ready to attend next years camp!

Mitty x

quinn wrap – a free pattern

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Here are a few reasons why I wanted to make the Quinn Wrap.

  1. It’s a free pattern! Yip!
  2. I had some leftover linen blend from my Pietra Pants that I was itching to use
  3. I honestly needed something new to store my makeup in (it was previously in a janky zipper pouch the airlines give you that has socks etc in)
  4. The pattern has been designed and released by Mel from melt.stitches who is a relative new-comer to sewing, and I wanted to show my support

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The wrap is simply constructed, with a zippered pocket and space to store your brushes. I love the flap to cover up the brushes too.

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The fabric I used for the lining was originally from a dress (it was just a little bit too short to wear). I love the contrast between the pink, green, highly patterned print of the cotton, and the matte texture of the linen.

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I strayed from the instructions in a few places, and one of those was the zipper installation. The zipper I wanted to use was way too long for this project, so I had to cut it down anyway, but I really like adding a little bit of fabric at the ends of the zipper. I do this not only to reinforce the ends, but I find sewing the side seams is a bit easier if you arent going through the zipper teeth. I have affectionately named these bits of fabric, “Zipper Tails”.

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Once it’s all wrapped up, it makes for a very sweet little parcel. It’s a very quick sew; can easily be made from scraps; is beginner-friendly (some experience needed), and would make an amazing Christmas present or stocking stuffer.

PROJECT DETAILS

  • Pattern brand/name/number: Quinn Wrap by melt.stitches (available via Google Drive, link in Mel’s Insta profile)
  • Style, size: One size
  • Fabric:
    • Outer: Lyocell/Linen blend leftover from my Pietra Pants
    • Lining: Cotton from my stash
  • Notions: Heavyweight fusible interfacing (for the main body [A] and facing [B]), medium weight fusible interfacing (for pocket [F and G] and brush lining [D]), dress zipper cut to size, matching thread
  • Modifications/alterations:
    • Cut the brush cover (E) and brush lining (D) from the linen blend as I didn’t have enough lining fabric
    • Used heavyweight fusible interfacing for the main body (A) and the facing (B), instead of using several layers of thinner fusing
    • Topstitched around the edges of the brush cover (E)
    • Used medium weight fusible interfacing on the pocket pieces F and G, and also the brush lining (D) to add a bit of stability
    • Added zipper tails to both ends of the zipper
    • Topstitched along the folded edge of the brush holder (C)
    • Topstitched seams on either side of the pocket (joining to the facing and the brush lining) away from the pocket
    • Once the bag was turned out, I topstitched around the perimeter

I adore this pattern and I’m sure you will too!

Mitty x