It was Monday afternoon. I was planning out my week and liaising with my neighbour about when our kids can go to each other’s houses to play after school. She says ‘It’s school disco on Thursday’. Errrr what?! I had no idea! One of those instances where your child loses the important letter and you’re totally oblivious to what’s going on!
As I’m waiting to collect my daughter at hometime that day, I chat to another mum and I’m telling her how I didn’t even realise it was the disco on the Thursday, and that leads her to inform me that it’s Hawaiian themed! I feel so unprepared! She suggests my daughter could just wear generic summer clothing – shorts, tshirt, sunglasses etc, but then says “Mind you, you’re quite creative; you could just whip something up, couldn’t you?”, to which I laughed and said that I could, but I wouldn’t really have time as I knew I had my Minerva dress to make by the following Tuesday, and having made plans for the weekend, that basically meant I’d need to get it made that week.
But the thing is…I knew I already had the perfect Hawaiian fabric in my stash. I got it in a swap, so long ago I can’t even remember which swap or who it was from, but that 1.4m of fabric had been waiting to be made into a little girl’s dress and now it’s time had come! I had even bought a matching zip, matching thread and I had prewashed the fabric! Past Louise was extremely organised!
That night once the kids were in bed I got to work. I chose New Look 6205 because it’s such a lovely style, but I needed to trace age 5 this time as my daughter’s previous versions of this dress no longer fit. And, y’know, she’s 5. I wanted to fully line the dress to make the white part of the fabric stand out properly, so I cut a full lining out of plain white cotton. The only thing I would have ideally had to hand would have been either purple or white bias binding for the neckline, but I made do with hot pink as it’s turned to the inside anyway.
I lined the bodice as directed in the pattern, but the pattern doesn’t include instructions for a skirt lining. Having made several versions of this dress with various different types of lining, I knew what I wanted to do for this particular fabric: I wanted to ‘underline’ the skirt and have it as one piece with the main fabric. This would help to keep the pleats together and to keep the opacity of the white parts of the main fabric.
The final touch was to make the flower corsage. I had a flower garland from a Hawaiian party a few years ago so I detached a couple of the red flowers for contrast and sewed them onto the dress with a lovely big green flower button in the middle. I then made two co-ordinating ‘corsages’ for my neighbour’s two daughters who also went to the disco. In fact the younger of the two sisters wore a dress I made for my daughter last year which can pass for a Hawaiian print too!
I finished making the dress on Tuesday night about 24 hours after I started it. It didn’t take that long to make of course, I did things like sleeping and eating, the school run and taking my son to the park etc during that 24 hours as well! I was pretty pleased with the outcome though and I still had time to make my Minerva dress the same week! Hurrah!
This month’s project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is Simplicity 1610 in red and cream zig zag striped fabric from the Playground Collection of quilting fabrics. The red is very orangey, but that means it goes really well with my new sandals which are also meant to be red but seem to be more orange! Bonus!
I chose this pattern because I was looking for something that would work well with a striped fabric. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge to pattern match, but I managed to match up the stripes at the side seams, lower princess seams and across the centre back.
The bodice of the dress is lined with plain cream polycotton. The pattern doesn’t call for a skirt lining, and although I would have liked to add one in, I didn’t have any lining fabric at the time of sewing so I didn’t bother. Because of the colours I can’t see me wearing this dress in the winter anyway.
I really like the fit of the bodice of this dress, and can see me using it again. I’m not sure if I like the skirt pattern, though. I’ve gone off gathered waistlines because they add too much bulk around the waist, and I’ve realised circle skirts are impractical if it’s a bit windy, which it nearly always is here. I’m leaning more towards a-line skirts, and thought this might fit the bill. I’ll have to see how it feels when I wear it properly – these photos were just of me trying it on for a short while. In any case, I do like the built-in pockets!
Perhaps the most pleasing thing about making this was that I managed to get it made in a school day. I had already cut the fabric, but I started sewing it around half nine and it was done with time to spare before I had to go and pick up my daughter (my son was at nursery for the day). I can’t remember the last time I started and finished something in the same day – it was a good feeling!
Thank you to Minerva for sending me the things I needed: the pattern, zip, fabric and bodice lining.
Today I’m excited to show you my newest dress, made with fabric bought on Goldhawk Road at a sewing meet-up last year, and the Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1607 pattern.
Last summer I made the crazy strap version of this dress, and although it was fun to wear out on a hen night, the straps really got on my nerves, so I haven’t worn it since. However, I really liked the shape of the dress and so I finally got around to making the other view of the pattern, which is the same silhouette but with a vest style bodice with a mini crossover detail at the back.
This dress is very fitted around the tummy, and as it’s not exactly my best feature I wanted to build some support into the dress, so as well as interfacing the midriff section (which is basically more of a waistband), I also interfaced the ‘yoke’ section (i.e. the stomach bit), and made a facing for that as well, and then I thought I might as well add in a skirt lining so that I can wear the dress over tights in the winter.
When the dress was made I was pretty unhappy with the crossover straps at the back – they stuck out and looked really silly, so I had to unpick the stitching and reposition them. I love the strap detail but the dress would work just as well without, as a low V back.
At first I thought the dress was too tight, but having worn it today to walk to school and back, and to take my son to playgroup, I’ve decided I don’t care! It wrinkles a bit at the back, but I’m not going to let that worry me. I think it goes without saying that I did not wear those shoes all day, however! I wore these for the photos then changed into my silver Birkenstocks!
The daughter of a good friend of mine is turning three today, and although I live 100 miles away from her, I was passing in her general direction over the weekend and so was able to pop in to personally deliver her present – a pair of hand-made pyjamas!
I’ve used this pattern several times now – New Look 6932 – and always been pleased with the result. The pyjama top is a bit fiddly, especially the yoke and its facing, but nothing a few deep breaths, gritted teeth and pint of gin can’t get you through. The thing I love most about these pyjamas is the leg frill: it’s so cute! The last time I made these for my own daughter, I forgot to trace that particular pattern piece, but this time I made sure I had it.
I’ve had the fabric in my stash for over three years – funnily enough the only thing I had used it for before now was for an applique heart to put on some personalised baby bunting…the baby being none other than the beautiful three year old recipient of these pyjamas! When I bought the fabric I had no idea it would be destined for her and her alone! It’s a medium weight cotton and the background colour is white, although on some of these photos it looks almost pinky but that’s down to my photography/lighting/camera.
I didn’t really expect my friend’s daughter to be so excited by the gift, to be honest, because I assumed when it comes to presents most children would rather have toys, but she liked them so much that she demanded to wear them immediately! This was brilliant as it allowed me to get a few snaps of her wearing them!
Apparently she has declared all her other pyjamas are rubbish! :-)
Happy birthday, beautiful girl, have a wonderful day :-)
This month’s project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is a pair of Liquorice Allsorts pyjamas for my son. I chose Simplicity 1574 – a toddler pyjama pattern for a traditional woven pyjama set (although it does also have options for a t-shirt top, and even a robe!) I chose the fabric by searching through all the novelty prints and choosing one that wasn’t too cutesy or babyish, but still fun, but not so cool that I’d rather make myself a dress out of it. It might surprise you to learn that I don’t want a Liquorice Allsorts dress, despite my penchant for novelty, so the fabric was safely destined for my son from the word go.
When it came to choosing what size to make him, I was already thinking I might have to go up a size bigger than his age. He’s not quite two and a half yet, but he’s a 91st-centile baby for both height and weight, so when I measured him I wasn’t surprised to find I’d need to cut him the age 3 size! The pyjama bottoms have turned out a teeny bit long, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before he’s grown taller again, so I’m leaving them as they are.
The pattern came together really easily. The construction of the shirt top is well designed, and the pyjama bottoms are easy peasy to sew. I’ll definitely be making him some Christmas pyjamas using this pattern!
The insides are all overlocked. I could have faffed around with enclosed seams, but as this was my first major sew since February I just didn’t have the patience to make it unecessarily complicated.
When I presented him with the pyjamas, I also bought him a packet of Liquorice Allsorts and we had fun matching the sweets to the pyjamas. Us teachers have to make everything educational, you know.
So there you have it – a very tasty pair of pyjamas! Thank you to Minerva for sending me all the supplies I needed for this project!
I want to leave you with a pointless, non-sewing related question: which is your favourite Liquorice Allsort? I like the blue and pink bobbly ones. I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term for them.