Sunday, 3 November 2013

More Little Emily Cardigans

It's so nice to hear that people are getting stuck in and knitting up some Emily Cardigans for the fantastic charity Emily's Star (free pattern available on the patterns page).

Here are some gorgeous baby boy Emily Cardigans made by Caroline.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Baby Boy Waistcoat

I generally find it quite hard to think of/find sewing projects for boys and so my nephew tends to get a little left out when it comes to hand-stitched clothes... I tend to knit for him instead. But today when I was browsing for inspiration I came across a smart and simple baby boy waistcoat on Prudent Baby.

I had some left over brown cord from another project and a pair of stretchy cotton mix tweedy trousers that I knew would be perfect, so I set to it. And here's the result...

Seersucker autumn tunic dress

Seersucker is one if my all time favourite fabrics and a few weeks ago John Lewis had a selection if bright seersuckers on offer; I couldn't resist!

Whilst I was there I also browsed the patterns and came across burda kids 9503 dress and tunic pattern. It seemed like the perfect project for my new seersucker as a long sleeved tunic in light seersucker can be layered with leggings and long sleeved tees for the cooler weather.

I was pretty excited and got going straight away... but only just finished this wekend. I'm pretty happy with how its come out, but there were a few hiccups along the way...

After two unsuccessful attempts at following the instructions for the button placket, I gave up and did it 'my' way... the delicate seersucker would not have survived a third seam ripping!

I'm also not so keen on the instruction to sew the sleeve seams, hem and then set in... on the hanger the underarms seem a little bulky. Hopefully it will look better once it's on a wriggly almost-three-year-old body.

And my final complaint is that the 5/8" (1.5cm) seam allowances look rather excessive to me... I trimmed some down after sewing, which felt a bit wasteful.

Other than that, I like to top/dress. I love the fabric and used some bright green snap fasteners for the front that pick up on the fine green lines in the fabric and finish it off beautifully (plus snaps make for easy toddler self-dressing abd mean I don't have to make buttonholes!).

The Little Grey (Pink) Dress

I have had my eye on the free Little Grey Dress pattern over at unpetitdesign for ages and the little lady is finally big enough for me to use it. I have a ridiculous amount of pink fleece so rather than a Little Grey Dress, she got a Little Hot Pink Dress instead.  It was so quick and easy to run up, I will definitely be making more! And here it is (photos of her wearing it to follow once the temps drop here)...

Emily's Gift - Neonatal Boxes

In the past I have blogged about a very special charity Emily's Star and a free preemie knitting pattern for the 'Emily Cardigan' can be found on the patterns page.

I love knitting for Emily's Star, but decided recently to try something new... teeny tiny ragdolls for teeny tiny girls.  I used the Tilly pattern from Sewn Toy Tales (Quinlan & Hurlston), but instead of photocopying the pattern to 200%, I used it as it is.  And the result is a cute doll that is the size of a dessert spoon.

I love the finished product, and it was a great way to use up all the bitty fabric scraps that I can't bring myself to throw out, but they were incredibly fiddly and took a lot longer to make than I anticipated. Definitely worth the effort though!

Long time, no blog!

Well it has been a while since I last blogged. A combination of no laptop, a new job and selling my house and buying a new one has hijacked both crafting and blogging time. But...

It is half-term and there is a lull in the moving tasks so I plan to catch up blogging (I have downloaded the blogger phone app so we will see how that goes) and have my very own belated KCW.

So watch this space!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Tutorial: Baby boy trousers with front pockets

A friend of mine is expecting a baby boy any day now, and since I couldn't make her baby shower I wanted to make her something a little bit special.
Having really loved the KID shorts with front pockets that I made for my niece, I decided that it would be cool to make some baby boys trousers with similar pockets. The lovely rich brown corduroy came from my refashion pile. It's really thick and cosy and has a little stretch, making it perfect for this project.
I drafted a basic pattern using a pair of 3 month sized flat fronted trousers. I lowered the front waistband slightly for comfort and added a bit of room into the back for a bulky nappy (I'm not sure if my friend will be using disposable or fabric nappies so it's always better to have too much room than too little). Then I drafted a J-shaped patch pocket to fit. I haven't included photos or too much detail on the pattern drafting as I am no expert, but if you are after a 3-month sized pattern I will upload mine as soon as I get a chance... watch this space!
So here's how to make them...
First cut two pockets (opposites) from the main fabric and two from a contrast fabric. Since I was using corduroy I cut my pockets with the grain going horizontally so that they pop out from the trouser. Take your piping (if you want to use some) and attach along the curved edges of the lining fabric, right sides together. I use my zipper foot for this so that the stitching is as close to the cord as possible. Then place the main pocket and lining pieces (with the piping attached) right-sides together and stitch around the curved edges, over the stitches from attaching the piping. Again I use the zipper foot for this. Turn the pockets to the right sides through the end openings.
Next, with right sides together, sew the curved crotch seam of the front pieces and press. Repeat for the back pieces.
Now place and pin your pockets to the front. I did this by eye, but it's a good idea to make sure the pockets are equidistant from the centre/crotch seam. Trim any excesses at the waist and edges and then baste in place.
To attach to the trouser, topstitch around the outer curve. I did this in a matching thread, as close to the piping as possible, but if you haven't used piping, you may want to make the topstitching a feature by using contrasting thread and two rows of stitching).
Place from and back pieces right sides together and pin inseams and outer leg seams together. Then hem the bottom of the trousers to your desired length.
Next create the front waistband and back elastic casing. How much you fold over will depend on the type of elastic you use. I used 17.5 inch length of 3/4 inch elastic and for the first turned under 1/4 inch, then 1 1/4 inches. Press well (and pin if you want), then stitch close to the bottom edge of the back elastic casing only (do NOT stitch the front waistband. Thread the elastic through the back casing using a safety pin (I also pin the loose end of the elastic to the trousers to stop it pulling all the way through) (Please excuse the upside down photos... Picasa is doing weird things to my photos at the moment and haven't had time to figure out what's going on).

 Now secure the elastic to the waistband by stitching as close to the side seams as possible. Then you can sew down the front waistband. It's a bit tricky to get the front flat waistband to sit nicely, but  since there is no elastic going through this, it doesn't matter if the waistband is narrower in places.
And voila! You should have a beautiful pair of boy's flat fronted trousers with front pockets.

I decided to team them up with a shirt in the contrast fabric. I used the free Baby Boy Button Up Pattern by Jessica over at Me Sew Crazy. It's a great pattern, with clear instructions and has some lovely features like a back yoke and pleat. And for the cooler months coming up, it looks so cute layered over a long-sleeved vest or under a knitted sweater-vest.


Jiminy Sweater

In preparation for autumn/fall I have been knitting up a storm to ensure that my niece and nephew have some cools knits to wear once the weather cools down. My niece has already had a couple girlie cardigans which you an see here and here. The little guy has had a couple of sweater vests (here and here) but was lacking a proper warm sweater, so I made him a Jiminy by Rowan in Paton's Smoothie yarn in teal.
Rowan Jiminy Sweater
Rowan Jiminy Sweater
Although my nephew is only 7 months old, I decided to make the jumper in the 12-18 month size. He is really long/tall and growing like a weed so bigger is always better. What shocking is that the sweater doesn't look all that big right now... but the rib pattern has a lot of give in it so I think he should get enough wear out of it this autumn/winter.
Rowan Jiminy Sweater

Rowan Jiminy Sweater


Retro KID shorts

Not long ago a colleague gave me some fabric that she had been holding onto for years but never used. One of the pieces was a relatively heavy woven cotton fabric with a fruit and veg print. At the time I really didn't know what I would make from it, but I never turn down free fabric. But once I saw the KID short pattern from MADE by Dana I decided that the fabric would be perfect for a pair of little girl retro shorts for my niece.
KID shorts
I went for the flat-fronted version with front pockets and white piping. I lined the pockets with some purple polycotton which picks up the purple in the print.
My niece loves the shorts and chooses to wear them whenever they are clean. Unfortunately, she only owns a couple of t-shirts that don't clash with the colourful print, so some of her outfit choices are a little bit garish. But who cares when you are 2-and-a-half?!
KID shorts
KID shorts
KID shorts

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Variation on the KID shorts

This week I finally caved in and bought the KID short pattern by Dana at Made. I probably didn't need another shorts pattern but this one gives so many options and has sizes right up to age 10... and it costs less than £4! So really it was a must buy.
Since purchasing the pattern have made a few pairs using the tutorials over at Made. They have come out great so I will post a round-up once I get a chance to take some photos of my niece and nephew wearing them.
This evening I was going through my stash and came across some bright and cheerful lime green and blue spotted print that really needs to be used on summer clothing. So I decided to play around with the KID shorts pattern. And here's the result...

KID shorts

Basic denim KID shorts with patterned side panels and patch back pockets.
These shorts are for my 7-month-old nephew. He is pretty big for his age (and I wanted these shorts to last) so the smallest 12-month pattern size will be fine. But I did decided to go for the shorter racer length hemline rather than the boy length. I followed the basic KID short tutorial with a few additional steps, which I will outline below...
First create a panel pattern piece by lining up the front and back pieces along the outer seam edge. I then traced the top and bottom edges outwards 1 and 3/8 inches each way. This creates a 2 inch panel with 3/8 inch seam allowances on each side. Next alter the front and back pattern pieces (reducing them in width to allow for the added width of the panel). Do this by folding under 1 inch down the outer edge.
Cut out your pattern pieces and (2 front, 2 back and 2 panels). If you are adding patch pockets cut 2 from the main fabric (I eye-balled mine so no pattern pieces, sorry). Also cut two pocket pieces from the contract fabric but extend the top edge by an inch so you can create a patterned trim.
To make the patch pockets lay one main and one contrast pocket right-sides together. Sew around the side and curved edges but not the top edge.

Trim the curves, turn the pockets right side out and press. Then fold the top edge of the contrast fabric down to the top edge of the main fabric, and turn down again to encase the raw edge of the main fabric. Topstitch.

Next attach the panel pieces to the front outer edges and press seams out towards the main (or heavier) fabric.

Follow the remainder of the tutorial for the basic KID shorts, remembering to place the back pockets and topstitch before sewing the side seams.

After making the waistband and encasing the elastic, spread the gathers evenly between the front and back. Then flatten out the top of the panel at the waistband, being careful not to the stretch the elastic. Then stitch along each seam (between the main and the contrast fabric). This will stop the panel gathering up along the waistband.

Follow the remainder of the basic KID shorts tutorial to hem and finish shorts.

KID shorts


Friday, 26 July 2013

Autumn Knitting for the Little Lady

The biggest perk of being a teacher is the long summer holidays. And as I have just left one school and won't be starting at my new school until the end of August, this year I have a summer that is totally my own with no classroom prep to get done.
So to make the most of this time I plan on getting ahead on autumn/fall knitting and sewing for my niece and nephew and here is my latest project for the little lady...

Rowan Rapunzel Cardigan
The pattern is the Rapunzel cardigan from the issue 30 of Rowan Studio. I made the cardi in age 3 (rather than age 2) as the short sleeves will make it perfect for layering once the weather starts to cool, so a little extra room won't hurt. The yarn I used is Patons Fairytale Soft Double Knit in white.
Rowan Rapunzel CardiganThere are so many little details that I love about this pattern... the cute hearts and subtle lacework... the gentle gathering on the front centres just below the yolk band... the feminine moss stitch for the button bands and sleeve cuffs... it's just so pretty!
The pattern goes from birth right up to 5 years so I have a feeling a I will be making a few more of these as time goes on!
Rowan Rapunzel Cardigan


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pleated Playsuit

I've followed Heidi over at Elegance & Elephants for a while now and always admired her classic kids designs. So when she offered a free pattern for her Pleated Playsuit design I hopped right on over to download it.
Things have been pretty busy around here with little guy's christening last weekend and couple more weeks before the end of term when I will finally be free to enjoy the biggest perk of being a teacher - Summer break! So it has taken me a while to pick out fabrics and actually get going on this project.
But finally, here it is (in size 2/3 year)...
E&E Pleated Playsuit

E&E Pleated PlaysuitI used a light cotton chambray for the main fabric and some of the Japanese floral print cotton from my last geranium dress project for the pocket linings and bodice facings. The blue flowers in the print pick up the blue colour of the cotton chambray really nicely. I made a few alterations to the pattern to make for easier dressing/changing. I used facing and snaps along the leg inseams for quick nappy changes (and because once the little lady has her clothes of she is often reluctant to put them back on - Little exhibitionist!). I also replaced the shoulder ties with flutter straps/sleeves with elastic threaded through them.
E&E Pleated PlaysuitE&E Pleated Playsuit

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Thinking ahead to autumn

The little guy is growing so fast these days that I decided to get ahead of myself and knit him up some 12 month sized clothes for autumn and winter.
After a quick chat with his mummy we decided that a staple for his autumn wardrobe would have to be one my all time favourite knits - The Floyd knitted vest by Rowan from the Miniature Classics pattern book.
Rowan Floyd Vest
The little guy already has one these in a teal colour that I made in KCW and looks absolutely adorable in it. And with the rubbish British summer we have been having, it has had a good bit of wear. This time I made the vest using Patons Fab DK in Airforce. It's not the lushest of yarns but it knits up with quite a bit of give/stretch in it, which is a must with the rate at which this little guy grows!
Rowan Floyd Vest
This is such a simple pattern and incredibly quick to knit up and I love the classic features, such as the little faux front pocket and smart rib edgings.
Rowan Floyd Vest
And for a little touch of fun I added some novelty airplane buttons to the back closure.
I had just enough yarn left over to also make him a hat. And what better style to go with the classic vest than a little knitted peaked cap (Bergere de France, Tricot Baby, Magazine 513). 
Rowan Floyd Vest