Sunday, April 18, 2010

The O+S ice-cream blouse

What a difference a week makes! This time last week I was blogging about my frustrations with an Amy Butler pattern, and today I am on top of the world after making one of the glorious new Oliver + S patterns.

I heard about the new O+S patterns a while ago and was really looking forward to their release. The very first garment I made was by O+S and I'm a huge fan. The end results are always gorgeous, the patterns are so easy to follow and I always learn something new during the construction.

I was lucky enough to be given the ice-cream dress pattern soon after it was released (thanks mum!). I already knew that I wanted to make view C - the blouse - first, after seeing this version by Liesl of O+S on Flickr. In fact I am still on the hunt for the perfect border print to make a similar blouse.

I didn't have any fabric in my stash that I thought really suited the blouse, so I chopped into an old top of mine that I haven't worn since my honeymoon, and used a plain navy blue cotton for the yoke. I don't normally use such strong colours for my little girl but I am thrilled with the result.

As expected, the pattern was fabulous. Nice and easy to follow - there were none of those confusing re-reading moments. The construction is very clever and leaves a nice, clean finish.

As I'm still fairly new to sewing (will be my one year anniversary with my machine in June!) I try to learn something new each time I sew. The pattern suggested that this top would suit French seams, so I gave it a go as the fabric was very soft and lightweight. I used my trusty Sewing Book and a couple of online tutorials to learn the technique and am really chuffed with the results. I can see many more French seams in my future.

I really can't wait to get back to my machine and make more of these tops and a few of the ice-cream dresses too. I made this version in a size 3 for next (Australian) summer, just hope it fits Sweetpea well then!

The finished top

With a white cloth above the yoke lining to show off the very cute notch detail. So simple but so pretty. I was really tempted to use red thread for the top-stitching on the yoke but in the end (after 2 cups of tea and half a block of chocolate) decided that there was enough detail there with the notch and busy fabric.

Super proud of my first ever French seam!

Little Sweetpea modelling it. She is a sz 2 and the top is a 3. Hopefully it will be perfect by next summer.

The top I sacrificed to get the fabric for the blouse. Well worth it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The 'Easy' Empire Waist Top

Not sure where to start with this blog post, there's so much to say about the top I just made my daughter.

First of all let me say I love Amy Butler. Her fabrics are gorgeous and her clothing designs are lovely. BUT - and it's a big 'but' - the actual patterns and instructions leave a lot to be desired.

I own her book Little Stitches for Little Ones and to be honest it's one of the reasons I started sewing (that and the fabulous O+S patterns that I saw at a market one day and just had to have). It's got so many cute projects with lovely photography and gorgeous fabrics. I've made a couple of things from the book before without too much drama, but this top was really difficult.

First of all, the sizing. The patterns in the book only go up to sz 9-12 months. Disappointing, as my daughter is 2 years and 2 months. I decided to have a go at enlarging the empire waist top pattern for her and was really shocked to discover that the 9-12 months size was actually too big for my 2 year old. Now she is not a tiny kid by any means, she's bang on average weight for her age, and super tall, right at the top of the height chart. Yet I had to shorten this top by 3.5 inches and it still reaches down to just above her knees. I realise this top is meant to be roomy but it would absolutely swim on a 1 year old.

The pattern instructions are really flaky. I read and reread them several times before I cut into my fabric (which I love by the way) but still found them so confusing. I doubt very much the pattern was tested. I persevered with them to construct the bodice but after that kind of gave up and did my own thing. There are very few diagrams too, and the ones that are there are frankly a bit silly and point out the obvious. They don't really help much with the construction of the top.

All in all I'm happy with the finished result, although it's not as polished or well thought out as many other patterns out there. The bodice is quite bulky (6 thicknesses at one part of the shoulder) and as I said before, the sizing is way off. There are some good bits though, the top itself is super cute, and there are some lovely details, such as the slit on the cuff and the double stitching around the v-neck and sleeve.

If you're going to attempt this one yourself, be prepared to adjust the size considerably (especially for a child younger than 1) and be prepared to improvise when the instructions just don't make sense!

I used fabric from Annette Tatum's House collection: Lilac in navy and Garden Vine in lilac. I love it. Blue and purple is one of my favourite colour combinations.

The finished top. The lilac band at the bottom is my own addition to help tie it all together. I took 3.5 inches off the length but added 3 inches to the sleeve to make it a 3/4 length sleeve.

The back. It fastens with a loop and button, which I haven't sewn on yet.

It's got some cute details - I really like the little bow and the cuff slit.

I really like the double stitching.

My daughter taking it for a test drive. She's scrunching it up here - it actually falls to about an inch or so above her knee

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hoppity hop

I haven't got any new sewing to post, although I do have a few things in the works at the moment and hope to finish them soon.

In the meantime, here are some little felt bunny finger puppets I made using this tutorial over at the Purl Bee. Little Sweetpea found them on her egg hunt on Easter morning. It's nice to be able to give her something other than chocolate (which in all honestly gets eaten by me anyway).