Friday, 31 August 2012

Newborn Onesie (with free pattern) and Coordinating Trousers

Continuing my learning journey with stretch fabrics I wanted to try using the elastic overlock stitch on my sewing machine. So I decided to attempt a newborn onesie outfit using a couple of old t-shirts.

I've been meaning to make a few pairs of the t-shirt pants using the tutorial and pattern over at Roubidou and now seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I also decided that I would try my hand at drafting out a newborn onesie pattern, since I haven't been able to find a small enough one online anywhere. You can find this pattern in the Patterns section (use the tabs under the header band above to navigate there).
My nephew is due to be born at Christmas so long-sleeves would have been more appropriate, but for simplicity I decided to leave the sleeve challenge for a future revision to the pattern. 
I made a slight change to the pattern/tutorial for the t-shirt pants by shortening the rise and adding a contrast waistband. I used a folded over strip of stretch fabric (about 70% of the length of the pants waist) stretched to the length of the pants waist. I finished the armhole, neck and leg/crotch edges  of the onesie in the same way.

The pattern is very simple with limited instructions... when drafting it, I hadn't intended to share (I hadn't even worked out how to share documents on a blog). But the finished pattern is pretty neat and tidy and the project worked out well so I decided I wouldn't be embarassing myself too much by sharing. If you do want to use it and have any questions then leave a 'comment' and I will try to help.

Bring on the BLUE!

A couple of weeks ago, after hearing the news that my brother and sister-in-law's second baby (due at Christmas) is a little boy, I promised some boy projects. Since then a very good friend asked for some hand-made clothes for her daughter as her christening present and so I have been on a deadline with baby girl clothes. But I haven't forgotton my promise, and after nearly two years of working in girlie colours, I have been chomping at the bit to get my teeth sunk into some boy creations. So here is the first...

These are the 'Washday Blues' trousers from the book Making Baby's Clothes (Rob Merrett). Strangely, the photos in the book show the top pockets on the front, but the instructions say to place them on the seat of the trousers. I liked the look in the photos so went with front pockets, but I suppose they would be cute either way. I made the size 0-3 months, but they are quite big... I have found that the sizes in this book are definitely on the generous size. It's not a problem though as, having conquered my fear of buttonholes when making all the pockets for these trousers, I added buttonholes to the elastic so the waist is adjustable. And... the fabric is a gorgeous cotton seersucker, which being a woven fabric it is doublesided, so the legs can be rolled up and still look really smart. So the little dude should get lots of wear out these.
Keep following for more baby boy projects coming soon...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Baby girl trousers

On a roll with patterns from my new book (Making Baby's Clothes - Rob Merrett) I decided to have a go making the 'Shanghai Milly' trousers.
The front has contour stitched patch pockets. This is the first time I have made pockets this way and I really like the effect. The only problem I had was that the cotton fabric is very tightly woven and quite heavy, so all the layers of the pockets were a bit difficult to sew... I had to take it really slowly so as to not bend the needle.
Rather than hemming the trouser legs, the bottoms are finished with binding which I think makes them look a little bit more feminine maybe. As does the front tie.

I realise that cream and beige probably aren't the best colours for toddler clothes but the print is just so pretty,  I couldn't resist. Fingers crossed the intended recipient likes them and that her mummy doesn't mind that she will probably have to put them through the washing machine a lot!

Toddler Jacket

This weekend I bought the book "Making Baby's Clothes" (Rob Merrett) as a way of bumping up my collection of basic pattern peices. The book has 25 designs for 0-3 year olds, and although not all the projects are to my taste, I could see potential in almost every pattern piece. So for £12.99 it was a bit of a bargain.
A few months ago I bought half a metre each of a couple of 'Darla' (Tanya Whelan) fabrics. It was a complete impulse buy, spurred on by the bright colours and half-price sale. However, I haven't been able to find a pattern that would cope with the prints (damask and stripe) that really are more suited to upholstery than clothing. The only thing I could think might work was a jacket/ coat and have been looking for a suitable pattern (that requires relatively little fabric) ever since.
And this is where my new book comes in. The book has a few different jacket/coat designs, and I decided to make a jacket combining features from a combinaton of two or three projects that use that same basic pattern pieces.
One of the patterns gave directions for lining the bodice, which gave me the idea of making the jacket reversible. I thought the process through carefully, drew diagrams and fiddled with folds of fabric and everything went to plan, except that the bottoms of the sleeve would not fit around the free-arm of the sewing machine, even with the extension table removed. So I was stuck with raw edges on the sleeves. I fudged my way through, using contrasting home-made binding and the finished effect isn't too bad (but it's not perfect and I know it). I will have to work this project again and figure out a better way of attaching the two jackets - Maybe I should join the sleeve bottoms before setting in the sleeves? I will have to investigate methinks.
And here's the reverse...
I'm not sure I like the stripe - It reminds me of pyjamas. But the recipient might like stripes and it gives options. And since the bodice would have been lined in stripe anyway, it seemed to make sense to do a little extra work and give more options.


And here is the jacket being worn by 'Minion 6' of the Minion Garden. Isn't she just gorgeous!!!


Skirt to dress refashion - Version 2

I while ago I posted a skirt to dress refashion. The original skirt was one of my mum's old linen-mix skirts. She actually gave me two, the blue one and also a lilac one. This weekend I used the lilac one in another 'skirt to dress refashion'. This time I used a bought pattern (from the book 'Making Baby's Clothes - Rob Merrett) and made the 'Garden Miniature' dress (a dungaree style/ pinafore dress).

I made the dress in the 9 month size, and there is a teeny tiny voice in the back of my head telling me that linen is probably not the most suitable fabric for toddler clothing, but who cares?! The fabric just feels so lovely and the colour is perfect for a pretty little girl, so hey-ho.
The pattern pieces and instructions/ diagrams were pretty clear and it only took one evening to make the dress. The shoulder straps tie in pretty bows, which means no fiddly fastenings to attach. The pattern called for buttons and button-holes at the side-openings, but as usual I decided to go for poppers/snaps with the buttons being non-functional and just for show.
Originally I searched through my button stash for purple buttons but couldn't find suitable matching sets and so used pink buttons instead. Now I'm thinkin the pink adds a nice contrast to the plain style of the dress. What do you think?

A little bit more stretch

Having been semi-successful working some jersey/knit refashioning projects I decided to have a go at mixing some jersey with other fabrics and make a dress with a jersey bodice and cotton skirt
The bodice was refashioned from an old halter-neck style top that I haven't worn for years. The top had a stretchy edging (wrapped over like bias tape) around the neck that lead into the ties for the halter-neck. I patiently sat and undid the stitching so that I could reuse it for the edging of the dress bodice. And I think that it was worth the time and effort as it adds some 'fancy' to a very basic dress.
The bodice pattern was just a simple one I made from another top that fits a 9-month old. The back is made from one piece as I figured that with the stretchy edging the neckline would have enough give to fit over the head without an opening. Then I when I started piecing it together I wasn't so sure and decided to add a split to the back. I used scraps to face the top edge and a larger scrap to create a band on the other side of the opening (that will lie underneath). I found some pretty coordinating buttons in my stash and for a millisecond contemplated making button holes. But I hate making buttonholes and was also a bit worried about how they would work on stretchy fabric and decided that poppers/snaps is more practical with babies anyway (that's my excuse, not laziness, honest!). So I added poopers/snaps and the buttons are non-functional and just for show.

The skirt is made from cotton with 5% lycra. The lycra makes the cotton gather up so I only needed one width of the fabric to make the skirt. It's not a very full skirt, but looks gathered without too much fabric impeding efforts to master crawling.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Persevering with the knit fabrics

This is another refashion project, using an old t-shirt with a fancy neckline.

I've been looking at this top on and off for a while trying to figure out how best to utilise the beaded neckline. Everytime, the first thought that came to mind was a bolero style cardigan. However, the curve on the neckline is inverse to the traditional curve of a bolero cardigan. In the end, since I kept coming back to the same idea I decided to just go with it and see how it came out.

I cut the pieces using a basic bodice template, cutting the back piece at the bottom of the back of the t-shirt to incorporate the original hem (less work for me!). The fronts were cut to incorporate the beaded neckline as the front edges, making sure to line up the pattern piece with the grain of the fabric (which made the trimmed edge look a little bit weird but was important, I think). I turned under and stitched the front bottom hem and the front edges above the beaded edge.

Next I pinned and stitched the shoulder seams. To finish the neckline, I took a long band of the same fabric (with the stretch going widthways). I folded this in half and lined up the raw edges with the raw edge of the neckline, stretching a little as I went. I tucked the raw short ends under. I folded the neckband up and the raw edges back and then topstitched.

I cut some simple sleeves, using the original sleeves of the t-shirt, lining them up to use the finished edges of the sleeves. I set these in, pinning and stitching. Then I joined the side and sleeve seams

I decided that because of the curve going the opposite way to normal, the cardi needed some kind of fastening at the top to keep it from gaping. I toyed with a button and ribbon loop, but in the end dedided on a tie ribbon instead.

Looking at the finished cardigan, I do wonder if I could have created the curve going the other way by tucking the bottom of the beaded band into the side seam. But I guess that's something to explore in another project.

Conquering knit fabrics

This week I have been challenging my uneasiness about sewing with knits and other stretchy fabrics. I have quite a simple sewing machine and it doesn’t seem to really like stretchy fabrics and sometimes the threads catch up and make a mess on the underside of the stitching or just break altogether. However, I have been doing lots of blog surfing and reading up on the subject, and this week decided to give it another go. Luckily my refashion pile has lots of old t-shirt tops in it so that gave me the chance to practise without having to splash out cash buying fabrics.

I started out with a pretty t-shirt top given to me by my mum. It had a nice lace, sequinned edging around the front neckline, so I decided to try and utilise this. I know quite a few baby and toddler girls so figured I’d use this top to make a pretty, but comfy dress.

I used a basic bodice pattern to mark out and cut a simple t-shirt/ a-line style dress that can be pulled on over the head, carefully lining up the front bodice neckline to incorporate the pretty lace.

Then I cut some strips to finish off the armhole edges and the back neck edge. Since the bottom edge of the top is unfinished, I decided to go for the same effect with the bands. I started with the back neck edge and pinned the band to the neckline, right-sides together. I stitched, then folded the edging up and stitched together edges down, then topstitched. This worked way better than folding raw edges under and sandwiching the dress between neckband layers... no catching or breaking of threads.

Next I stitched the shoulder seams together and then pinned and stitched the armhole edging in the same way as for the back neckline.
The last step was to pin and sew the side seams together, being careful to match up the bottom edges and the armhole edges.

I’m quite happy with how the dress turned out, but I think I might add some ties to the sides around the middle (to tie at the back) to the dress to give it a bit more shape. What do you guy think?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Clickety Clack!

Although it is summer and we do finally have some sunshine, I am thinking ahead to the autumn and have been knitting away.

Here's this week's projects...
'Baby Wrap Cardigan' from
'Cool Knits for Kids'
(Gunn & MacDonald)
'Sunshine' from
Rowan 'Miniature Classics'

The Baby Wrap Cardigan is for a friend's little girl. She wanted this cardi in size 6-9 months, but the book strangely only has guidance for 3-6 and 12-18 months. The pattern called for chunky weight yarn, so playing around a little bit, I found that using Sirdar Calico DK on 4mm needles and following guidance for the 12-18 months resulted in a cardi that would fit a 6-12 month old.

Having listened to feedback from my sister-in-law about cardigans with ties and how they are fiddly and come undone a lot, I decided to replace the ribbon tie with a big pretty button.

The Sunshine sweater is a project that I have had on the go for a while, having picked up a few balls of Sirdar Snuggly White Whispers at a bargain price. The sleeves are in a very very pale pearlescent turquoise. The body has wide pearly white and narrower turquoise stripes.

The intended wearer is currently still residing in its Mummy's tummy, so I have been waiting to find out the gender before finishing off the button bands and adding buttons. And on Thursday I found out that for Christmas this year I will be getting a baby nephew,  so I set about getting the sweater finished.

So watch this space for more baby boy projects!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Flutter Sleeve Top

Last week I shared my Flutter Sleeve Dress with you. A friend of mine really liked it and requested a flutter sleeve top for her 4-year-old and here it is...

I followed the original tutorial at Scattered Thoughts of a  Crafty Mom, but added a gathered ruffle to the bottom edge.

 I had exactly half a metre of fabric and that was just enough to make the top and a cute little snap-clip to match. The flower is made from a fabric circle and a coordinating button - There's a great tutorial for how to do this over at Sew Easy Being Green which I also used to get me started on the coordinating hairband for the Flutter Sleeve Dress.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Flutter Sleeve Dress

This week I stumbled across a great tutorial and pattern for a cute girlie top at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom and decided to use it as a starting point for a dress for my goddaughter who is celebrating her 2nd birthday this month.

I pretty much followed the tutorial to the word. The only differences were placing the bodice pattern piece just over an inch from the fold, since this is for a smaller child than the tutorial is designed for. And obviously, wanting a dress, I extended the length, following the A-line shape as set by the bodice pattern piece.

I started out with exactly half a yard of fabric and it was just enough to make the dress, with a little left over for a hairband and yoyo flower.


A while back, for my Mum's birthday, I bought her a book called "Knitted Toy Tales". It's a really lovely book, so when I stumbled on another book in the series called "Sewn Toy Tales" I just had to buy it. Unfortunately, I did not look too closely at the pattern pieces at the back, and failed to notice that they need to be enlarged, so I couldn't start on a project straight away. Since then I have forgotton numerous times to photocopy the pages and then forgot I had the book altogether until recently. I now have a pile of fabric scraps so large that they threaten to take over my living room, so this summer I decided to get the pattern copied and have a go at a few toys. The books suggests enlraging by 200%, however since going from A4 to A3 is 141% I stuck with that... I didn't have the time or patience to work out how to copy at 200% and not miss out edges of the page and bits of toy body parts.

So my toys are a little smaller than the books dimensions, but I had no problem piecing them.

So here is Finnegan Frog, Tilly Doll and Alexander Caterpillar...


It may have seemed quiet at Ribbons and Bibbons this week, but I have been on a crafting frenzy, meaning no time for blogging.

This month one of my goddaughter's had her 2nd birthday. Her little brother also had his first birthday and her big brother will be celebrating his 3rd birthday. And tomorrow is their birthday party! So for the past couple of weeks I have been working on some special birthday presents for them.

Some of you may remember my Quilt Roundup where I shared some photos of quilts I made for these three lovely children back at Christmas. Their mum loved the quilts so much that she made a request for smaller, lighter quilts for the buggy and car.

A while back I bought a bundle of Cloud 9 Monsterz fabric and luckily I had quite a few pieces left. The colours and patterns are just perfect for kids snugglies, and it's 100% organic cotton. As I was limited time-wise I went for a very simple design with a fairly large centre panel surrounded by squares. To quilt, I used a zigzag pattern, wth straight diagonal lines through each square. I also added a monogram of each child's initial to their quilt (for the personal touch, and also to add stability to the centre panel).

So here they are...