Adelaide's wardrobe

Shirring and gathering

Yesterday was wild and wooly in Melbourne.  The wind howled and rattled the doors and windows in my attic studio.  I had the Count of Monte Cristo for company via Audible while I did a little summer sewing.

Shirred blue shorts

This is a pattern from early Townmouse days - circa 2003.  It hasn't seen the light of day since then.  But shorts are perfect to scoot around a boat deck in, so Adelaide will wear these when we go away in September.

I think the shirring makes them a little more interesting than a standard pair of gathered shorts.

Shirred shorts detail

You could really do this to any pair of shorts that use a waistband casing for elastic.  I turned the top of the shorts over by 6mm, then another 3.5cm (as you would to make a casing for 1 inch wide elastic).  I did my first row of stitching to catch the hem of the casing, then continued adding further rows of stitching that were one foot width or quarter inch apart.

Then with a little time to spare before school pick-up I found a remnant of pretty Liberty Lawn from my first Townmouse season in 2002. I love this pretty print that I think is called Meadow.

Frilled bikini

It's a little hard to make out what this is, but it's a bikini bottom with a little frill across the back.

Frilled bikini detail

Again I used my favourite foot on my trusty Husqvarna - the rolled hem foot - to hem the band of frill.  

Now I will be on the hunt for a plain white or pink rash vest to go over these to protect skin from our harsh Australian sun.


Superfine bias binding as pocket trim

Yesterday was a very productive day in the studio.  I finished four garments. The first is in the previous post, the second one I posted on Instagram, the third was a sample for an upcoming pattern release.

The last one, coming in at around 1am, was a sundress for Adelaide.  I couldn't stare at my pretty pile of fabrics from Amitie any longer, without cutting into them.  This delayed bedtime by several hours.

When I can't find a ribbon in my stash to go with a fabric I rather like the look of superfine bias binding.

Superfine bias binding 2

This binding is made using a clover bias tape maker and this binding comes out at one eighth of an inch wide.  It's too fine to tuck the ends in so I just knot them and snip off any frayed ends.

Superfine bias binding 3

See what other people are sewing here for Show and Tell Tuesday on the Fresh Squeezed Fabrics blog.

Fresh Squeezed


A variation of the Isabella Flutter Sleeve Top - A Bonus PDF Pattern

I've had fun playing around with the Isabella Flutter Sleeve Top pattern to make a variation on the design.

This is similar to one I made earlier.

Isabella flutter sleeve top pattern

Here it is with the skirt I gave you a sneak peak of yesterday. The skirt is a simple gathered skirt with an elastic waist at the back and flat waistband at the front.  It pulls on, has deep pockets and a change in stripe direction around the hem.

Striped skirt front

This is one of the fabrics I picked up at Amitie on Monday - the first one I cut into. The pockets are lined in a sunny yellow fabric for a bit of contrast (and because I was running out of fabric).

Striped skirt pocket bag

But lets get back to the top.

Isabella variation sleeve detail

This white fabric is a beautiful Oxford shirting cotton from Italy.  It's the same fabric I used here. The fabric is left over from Townmouse clothing production and I have about 6 metres still on the roll that I save for special projects.

Something else that I've been saving for a special project is the cotton picot edging on the ruffle. This was a purchase in Paris and I wish I'd bought triple the amount.  I'd love to use it on everything and it's very hard to find. (If anyone knows where to get it please let me know.)

Isabella variation sleeve detail 2

I think I'm loving this version of the Isabella top more than the original.

Isabella variation

So I've drafted up some instructions on how to modify the original pattern to achieve this style.  All the lovely customers who have already purchased the Isabella Flutter Sleeve Top pattern now have this additional PDF file in their Inbox.

All new purchases of the pattern will automatically include this additional information. So you get two designs in the one purchase. So if you haven't already been tempted to try the Isabella Flutter Sleeve Top pattern, maybe now you will be?

A traveling dress

I always thought traveling had two Ls.  

Anyway, there were still some decent sized scraps of the Liberty left after making the dress and yesterday's top from a two metre piece.  Completely smitten with this dress I pinned onto my Children's Clothing Board:

Colourblock dress

I headed to my attic studio to see about replicating it.

I pulled out an old Townmouse pattern from about six years ago.

2010 Empire line dress

This sleeveless empire line dress consists of a bodice and skirt with simple shaping at the seam. I thought this pattern would suit for attempting the same look as the colour blocked dress above.

I didn't have a good red and enough navy for the skirt in my stash and it was too late in the day to squeeze in a visit to Amitie, so I squeaked it out of just enough green and faded navy.

Adelaide a-line dress 1

This dress was easy to make.  I was worried the bow detail and neck edging would look dodgy, but with a bit of fiddling they turned out fine.  I bound the sleeves in a matching Liberty binding.

Adelaide a-line dress 5

I think a visit to Amitie is on the cards, as I'd like to get some red and navy and try a more nautical themed dress - maybe even a navy striped or checked neck binding.  We shall see what turns up.

Adelaide a-line dress 2

The buttons aren't quite right, but I'm not sure what would be, given the change in colour.  As it was I changed the thread 3 times when stitching the buttonholes (neckband, bodice, skirt).

Adelaide a-line dress 3

This is another clothing item for our sailing holiday.  I think I'm on a bit of a roll now.

You can see what other seamstresses are doing here.

Sew and show

Kid's Clothes Week Traveling

KCW caravanI didn't think I'd have time to sew for Kid's Clothes Week this time around, given it's school holidays for us.  Fortuitously though, Will has taken the three boys to a friend's farm with two other fathers and sons for a bit of all boys time.  What luck.

I've been sewing another secret project this week that I will blog about soon, and I had just under a metre of pretty Liberty left over on my cutting table.

We are planning a sailing holiday in the Whitsundays this September so I'm making a few breezy and light tops and dresses for Adelaide to wear.  It can get very hot and humid so Liberty is the perfect fabric.

Flutter top in Liberty

Adelaide is tall for her age so I've gone up a size.  This will fit her well into next year.  We liked this top so much she wore it yesterday under a navy cardigan.  This Liberty colour way is perfect for blue eyed Adelaide, and it also works well with a beautiful aqua green Jacadi cardigan she has.

This flutter sleeve top is quick to make, even though I unpicked and reset the sleeves three times.  I don't like it when the sleeves stick up too much, and this one is just scraping through - just.  It's funny how with every remake of a pattern I still tweak the design.  Does anyone else do that?

Sewing the Franklin Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Company

It's been a while since I've sewn someone else's pattern.  And this one was so cute.

Franklin Dress 2

The Franklin Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Company was beautifully drafted and quick to sew.

Adelaide is already a fan.  For my first attempt at this pattern I used a wool/cotton Liberty in one of my favourite prints - Betsy.  This colour way is perfect for winter.

Franklin Dress 1

I learned about this pattern because it is the basis of the "Flip this Pattern" challenge on the Frances Suzanne blog.  The challenge is to use the Franklin pattern and add your own twist to it.

I didn't do anything too extreme to the pattern.  I added some piping in a coordinating solid colour at the bodice seam on the front and back.

Franklin Dress 5

And I also added a sleeve cuff that I gathered the end of the sleeve into, rather than finishing the sleeve with elastic.

All in all both Adelaide and I are happy with the end result.  I could also see this pattern making a very cute blouse.  That might be my next flip for this pattern.

Franklin Dress 6

I'm also going to be on the hunt for some more Liberty in this wool/cotton blend.  It's so practical for our cold Melbourne winters and rather lovely to sew with.

A tame top for kids clothing week

Well I'm not very good at sewing to a theme - obviously - as this top is about as tame as it gets.  The theme for Kids Clothing Week this time around is Wild Things.

I'm not very wild.  And my daughter is not really known for her wild ways.  This top suits us fine.

Grey flutter top 1

This is a variation on one of my favourite self drafted patterns - the keyhole flutter top.  I used the same top shape, deleted the keyhole detail and inset the flutter detail into the top, to sit above the armhole binding.

Grey flutter top 5

The flutters have just the right amount of flounce and gather to sit under a cardigan without creating too much bulk.

Grey flutter top 4

As usual I've finished the flutter detail with a rolled hem.  My old Husqvarna machine does this stitch particularly well and it's about the only thing I use this old machine for these days. My newer Bernina just doesn't seem to do this stitch as finely.

Grey flutter top 2

For something a little more wild, pop over to the project pool on Kids Clothes Week to see all the clever creations.

I'm also linking up to Sew + Show today over on Straight Grain. Follow the link to see what people around the world are sewing.

Sew + Show

Sewing a playsuit

When I was little I used to have outfits in my wardrobe that my mother referred to as 'playsuits'.  It's an old-fashioned notion I guess.  I consider this little ensemble a playsuit because it's casual and comfortable and easy to move around in.

Flutter top 5

These little shorts I whipped up as part of Kid's Clothes Week.

I used the Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts pattern which I love.

Shorts 1

I made a couple of changes.  Firstly I graded the pattern up to a size 6.  Then when it came time to put the cuffs on I thought they might look sweet with a simple hem.  I didn't want them to end up too short, so rather than just turning the shorts up and hemming them I made a contrast band to put on the inside.

Shorts detail

You don't really see this detail when the shorts are on, but I love knowing the inside of a garment is pretty like the outside.

Flutter top and shorts 1

And the floral trim certainly made them more appealing to Adelaide and she couldn't wait to put them on.

Flutter top 2

A little more sewing

Where has this week gone?  I have found far less time to sew than I thought I was going to.  February is always so busy with school information nights and the like.

Yesterday I finished off this little top for Adelaide as part of Kid's Clothes Week.  Not much upcycling of fashion takes place in a house that has too much fabric stashed away:

Keyhole top 1

This is a simple top to sew and I've made it a few times since it first appeared in the range in 2006. In fact I sent a custom made one to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark when Princess Isabella was very young and found images of Isabella wearing it.

It was fun to sew this pattern again.

Keyhole top 2

I am very partial to a flutter sleeve and use this detail a bit in various patterns.  I also enjoy sewing the keyhole detail at the front of the top.  It's a simple way to add interest to an otherwise plain front.  With contrast bindings you can achieve a different look again too.

Keyhole top detail

This was the top as it appeared in the range in 2006

Charlotte in keyhole top

Next I plan to make a pair of Puppet Show Shorts to go with the top.

  Flutter top 1

Kid's Clothes Week Day 1

For the first time I am participating in Kid's Clothes Week. After being an observer of this fun initiative I am excited to be joining in. This time round the timing has worked for me.  A new school year has started and I have finally found some time to hang out in my new attic studio.

To ease back into the sewing groove I've pulled out an old favourite pattern from my range - dating back to 2004.

Ruffle dress pink 1

This is a moderately easy pattern, with a bit of fiddling around with the ruffle collar.

Ruffle dress pink 2

Adelaide was very happy with the fabric choice so I'm confident this one will see the light of day.

Ruffle dress pink 3

This pattern also works well with the sleeve and neckline ruffle in a contrast fabric.  This is how it was originally produced for the Townmouse range:

Scarlett in the Ruffle Dress

This pattern has always been a personal favourite from the Townmouse range.  I like the way it falls from the back too. It's not overly fitted so is practical on a hot day when some protection from the sun is required (not a problem in Melbourne this summer I'm afraid.)

Ruffle dress pink 4

Can't wait for some more sewing time tomorrow.  I have a little top cut out and ready to go.

Burda 9501 is finished

This pattern is a real winner.  I'm thrilled with the results.

Adelaide Burda 9501

The fit is really lovely.  I made it in a size 6.  Adelaide is only 4 and a half, but she wears mostly size 5 and 6.  The sleeves were a little long, as to be expected, so there's an inch or two of sleeve hem to last a couple of winters.

Burda 9501 side

I did make a few changes to the pattern.  I increased the width of the upper collar piece by about 5mm. It could do with another 5 to 10mm so it rolls better. (See how it is curling up a little in the photo below?  That's what I mean about not enough roll.  A little more steaming with the iron might fix it.) I also wish I hadn't top stitched the collar.  I think the coat looks more professional and grown up without all the top stitching.  I didn't top stitch the rest of the coat as the pattern instructs.  Once you do buttonholes and stitch on buttons it holds all the seams in place.

Burda 9501

 I also raised the position of the pockets by about an inch.  In fact I think they could be even a tad higher.

Burda 9501 lining

The lining has worked out well. I so much prefer a cotton lining to a silk or synthetic lining.

Burda 9501 back

The back detail is really sweet on this coat.  The empire line seam gives the coat a more youthful look. Again, I wish I hadn't top stitched it.  I might unpick this.

Overall I'd definitely recommend this pattern.  It's got about 18 pieces which is a drag to cut out. I think the result is worth it though.

A coat for Adelaide

We will be having a white Christmas this year.

Coat fabric

In just one month we are headed to Europe with the children. It has inspired a little sewing for Adelaide.  She will need a new coat.  I couldn't resist this heavenly cashmere/wool/alpaca fabric in a very pretty nut brown.

So then I had to find the perfect fabric with which to line it. That is what the fine spot fabric is for.  The Liberty will be used for a shirt.

I decided to play around with a new coat pattern.  I'm using Burda 9501.

Burda 9501 coat pattern
This is a lovely pattern to use.  The coat has a slim silhouette with a pretty pleat detail in the back.  I made one in navy cashmere (leftover from Townmouse production) to trial the pattern.  The fit was great, but I'm going to tweak the collar and raise the placement of the pockets slightly.

There was no difference between the upper and under collar pattern pieces, which meant the collar didn't roll and sit the way I like.  I will be increasing the size of the upper collar piece this time around so it sits a little better.  I would recommend this pattern though.  It's quite challenging but the instructions are clear. 

I'll post pics once it's complete.  Navy is always hard to photograph.