Monday, 30 July 2012

Something for the Boys!

Today I attempted my first boy project. I had intended to make some shorts with a flat front and elasticated back to fit a little boy aged 3. However, somewhere along the way something must have gone wrong, as they have come out smaller than I would have liked. I think they will probably be a better fit as cropped trousers for a 12-18 month old. Luckily I know a little boy just about to celebrate his first birthday so they should make a nice hand-made gift for him. So here they are...

I used the 'Kid Pants' pattern and tutorial over at Made as a starting point and added pockets to the front. A couple of thing I really like about the pattern are that the front scoops down slighty so it's less likely to dig into the little man's tummy, and the back looks like it has plenty of room for a nappy.

The main fabric was upcycled from an old skirt. The pocket material is from Monsterz by Michele Brummer Everett for Cloud 9.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tutorial - The Milly Capris

I tend to get an idea in my head and just run with (learning from my mistakes as I go). Today however, I did lots of planning and remembered to take photos so hopefully I can give you an insight into how to make some baby capri trousers like the ones I have made in preparation for Milly's visit next week. So here goes...

First find a pair of trousers that fit well, or a pattern that you know you like and that fits. I really like Jessica's Baby Snap Cargo Pants pattern from so I used this as a starting point. This pattern narrows at the ankles but since my capris have a cuff at the bottom I cut my legs straight and also a little shorter (since they are capris). - I folded the bottom of the trouser leg pattern under.

These trousers would probably work in any fabric, but I had an old pair of jeans ready to be upcycled so decided to use them. I placed the pattern so that I could keep all of the original inner and outer leg sems as the finish is much more professional than anything I could do. I also saved the fabric cut out in the curve made for the crotch to use as back pockets.

Then you need to find a contrasting fabric for the cuffs, waist band and edging for your pockets. I used Amy Butlers Midwest Modern - Happy Dots in Linen.

Cut the pocket edging to match the width of the top edge of your pockets. The cuffs need to be long enough to fit comfortably around the baby/child's leg, under the knee. I did mine about half the length of the whole bottom leg edge. I cut mine 4 inches deep. The waist band has a flat front and an elasticated back so you need to cut two pieces of different lengths. I used the same depth as for the cuffs. The front waistband length should be half of your child's waist measurement plus 1 inch. The back waistband length should be the width of the back of the trousers plus 2 inches. 

If you cheated like me and kept the original seams, you need to unpick 2 inches at the bottom of each outer leg seam. You also need to unpick 2 inches from the top of one outer leg seam. If you are working from scratch then you need to sew the leg seams, stopping 2 inches from the bottom of both outer leg seams and 2 inches from the top of one. Next fold the seam allowance under and stitch to secure. Then you are ready to sew the crotch.
Turn one leg right way out and slip it inside the other leg, making sure to match up the inner and outer leg seams. Stitch and then finish edge. Turn the whole thing right way out and you should have what looks like trousers (fingers crossed). If you are adding pockets to the back, now is the time to do it. I'm not going to go into how, just use your favourite method style.

Now we're ready to add the cuffs. First use a  running stitch around the bottom of each leg to gather it so that it is the same length as the cuff. Next press the cuf fabric - Turn the long edges under and press. Then turn the short edges under and press. Fold the cuff in half and press (trim any corners that poke out if necessary). Slip the gathered edge of each leg between the two layers of the the cuff and pin in place. Use the fold at the short ends to enclose the open edges of the trouser leg. If you want to add buttons and loops like I have, now is the time to slip the loops into the open front edge. Top stitch all the way around the cuff.

The last big job is to add the waistband. Join the two waitband pieces at one end then press the waistband in the same way as for the cuffs. Before attaching the waistband, attach one end of a piece of elastic at the top of on outer leg seam. The elastic should be as long as half the child's waist measurement (or a little shorter if very stretchy). Pin the elastic down vertically along the side seam so that it doesn't get caught in any sticthing. Now slip the front top edge of the trousers between the two layers of the front wasitband. I added a pleat to each side of the front to make it fit well. Make sure the seam of the waistband matches the side seam of the trousers then pin the back waistband in place. You will have about an inch of waistband left when you get to the edge. This will be where you put the button hols. Top stitch all the way around the waist band, leaving a gap along the bottom edge of the wasitband at the point where you attached the waistband and the short edge at the end where the button hols will go. Then attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic and pull through to the end. Secure by stitching through the waistband just in from the trouser opening edge. Then topstich the short edge of the waistband closed.

That's it... all the tricky stuff done. Now you just need to make the buttonhole on the waistband at the side opening and add your button (and buttons to the cuffs if you have added loops.

And here's my finished 'Milly Capris'.

 And that's the end of my first ever tutorial - Hope it makes sense.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Polka Dots and Bows

A while back I made some shorts with a paper-bag style waistband to them and really liked the effect.

I wanted to make a skirt with a similar type of waistband. However, my niece is still in nappies so skirts also need knickers (nobody wants to be a walking Pampers advert and surely it's good to instill modesty at an early age). I was worried that having an elasticated waistband on the knickers with the paper-bag waist on the skirt would be too bulky, so I decided to try and roll the two projects into one. The finished product is a layercake-style skirt with paper-bag waistband with built-in knickers. And here it is...





Itty Bitty Baby Gifts - Part 2

Today the sun finally showed its face and my favourite mini-model was able to show off the summer outfit that I made for her a while back (to see the original post click here). And Milly (aka Minion 6 from has a fab Mummy who took lots and lots of lovely photos to share with you all and here are some of my favourites. Isn't Milliy just scrumptious!!!

Looking ahead to the autumn...

I love sewing because there are so many projects that you can be whizzed up in a couple of hours for almost instantaneous satisfaction. However, there are probably few things as satisfying in crafting, as completing a knitting project.

So today I am sharing with you my latest knitting project - A cosy jumper/pullover for my niece, ready for cooler autumn weather. 

She is nineteen months old right now and I followed the 2-year-old measurements so it should last her through autumn and winter. It's the biggest knitting project I have undertaken but the pattern is pretty simple, and uses double-knit yarn and 4mm needles, so it shouldn't have taken too long to knit-up.  However, with it being summer I've felt less inclined to pick up the knitting needles (there's something a bit odd-feeling about knitting winter clothes in summer) and it took a lot longer than it should have. The plus side to knitting in summer though is that you can often pick up really nice yarns at bargain prices (this makes me think I'm not the only person who knits less in summer). And the yarn I picked up at a bargain price for this project happened to be my all time favourite 'belle organic dk' from Rowan by Amy Butler. It's 50% organic wool and 50% organic cotton - so soft and silky! And it comes in a really wide range of colours, including some great bright and rich colours. I also used a Rowan pattern - 'Starr' from Miniture Classics.

Everything about the top is simple and classic, which I love. And with the cute star, pretty edging and a few sparkly buttons on the back, I think it will be the perfect addition to a little girl's autumn wardrobe. What do you think?

And I'm pleased to report that the little lady must really like it... despite temperatures in the high 20s today, she wanted to put the top straight on and model it for us!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Big Bows

Having spotted a few very cute tops and dresses sporting big bows this spring, I decided I really wanted to make one. However, unable to find a suitable pattern or tutorial out there I was forced to have a go from scratch.

I started out with a a pattern piece for a dress bodice that I already had in my stash and drafted out what I though was a pattern that would work. Inevitably, and in my usual style, this became a project through which I would learn many things... all of which learned through mistakes. Needless to say, this top was stitched and ripped out many times before I felt it worthy enough to be gifted to my friend for her gorgeous baby girl.

It doesn't quite match the picture I had in my mind, but now that I've seen it modelled by a gorgeous little girl I'm more than happy with it. And for those of you who are interested, the precious little lady modelling the top is Milly (aka 'Minion 6') from

Saturday, 7 July 2012

More shorts!

A while back I took some fabric from some old trousers and used it to make the balloon shorts. The fabric is pretty lightweight making it cool enough for summer, but being a dark colour makes them versatile enough to be worn in cooler weather with tights/leggings under. So I decided to use what was left to make another pair of toddler shorts. After trawling all my favourite blogs for inspiration, I finally stumbled across the Pocket Capris Tutorial over at Elephants and Elegance.

As a starting point, I used a pretty standard pattern for elasticated waist trousers that I think probably originally came from Emma Hardy's book Making Children's Clothes (but I can't be certain). I shortened the legs and shaped them a bit at the inner leg seams and followed the Pocket Capris Tutorial for all the pockets.

I teamed up the grey fabric with some cute airplane print fabric (from the Monsterz Range by Cloud 9). I decided to add the bow to the front of the shorts as I was worried the airplanes made the shorts look a little masculine. Hopefully it's enough of a finishing touch to girlie them up!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Too lazy for buttonholes!

Since making the fitted apron top by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom I have been toying with the idea of altering the pattern to make a toddler dress. I'm not keen on making buttonholes and button bands so the apron-style back really appealed to my lazy nature. The top was so quick and simple to whizz up I figured making a pattern and dress along the same lines couldn't be too hard. And I wasn't wrong - This little dress only took 2 hours to make from drafting the pattern to the finished article and I love it!

I must admit, the red fabric is a rather cheap and nasty stiff polycotton. But since this was a bit of a trial I didn't want to use any of my really nice fabric in case it didn't work.

I had intended for the loops and the straps to be made completely out of the white fabric. But it came from my scrap bag and I didn't have a long enough piece. I added the red fabric to the ends and I think it has actually worked out quite nicely with the red being against skin and the white contrasting against the red of the bodice.
I think I may be making more of these if the summer ever arrives!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fitted Apron Top

A little while ago I stumbled across a tutorial for a apron-style top (open/ tied back) over at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. I briefly thought about making one for my niece as the top is super cute, but came to the conclusion it's probably not really a good style for a toddler. So I decided to pop the page into my favourites until I found the right person to make one for. I didn't have to wait long though, as this week I was invited to a birthday lunch for one of my goddaughter's who is now 8. I didn't have her individual measurements but the style of the top allows some leeway, so I drew up a pattern using standard 8-year-old girl measurements.

I used the the rest of the Midwest Modern - Garden Maze fabric (Amy Butler) that I bought last week and coordinated it with Happy Dots from the same range).

The back is really interesting, with the shoulders passing through loops to tie in a big bow.

Looking at the finished top, I can now see how I could alter the pattern to make a toddler-friendly dress by joining the bottom section of the bodice (which would become the skirt). And being a little lazy, I love the idea of making a dress with no fiddly button holes or zips. What do you guys think?