patternmaking

Freddie Shortalls

My newest pattern is now available - the Freddie Shortalls.  

Freddie Shortalls 5

I think this is my favourite of the Townmouse patterns for little boys.

The shortalls are very simple to sew and look cute on their own, or layered over a shirt or tee.

Freddie Shortalls 6

These two little boys of mine are now teenagers - both over six foot tall.  Yikes.

Freddie Shortalls 9

This pattern uses shirring elastic to provide gentle gathering at the back waist.  If you haven't sewn with shirring elastic, my pattern links to this video which is a useful guide to getting the elastic to behave for you.

IMG_3309

During the testing of the pattern, one of my testers used an alternative to the shirring elastic which I thought was genius and works just as well. This clever seamstress didn't have shirring elastic on hand so stitched a channel for regular quarter inch elastic instead.

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To make the shortalls this way you will need regular quarter inch elastic.

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Simply stitch two parallel lines slightly wider than the width of the elastic, parallel to the top of the shortalls according to pattern markings, catching the facing.  

IMG_3311

Attach one end of the elastic to a safety pin and thread the elastic through the channel, between the shortalls and facing.  Remove the safety pin and stitch the channel closed at this end, securing the elastic in place.

Now you can gently pull the elastic until the shortalls have gathered to the desired amount.  Then stitch the elastic in place at the other end of the channel.  Cut off the excess elastic.

Freddie Shortalls Hybner 5

 


A busy life and a new pattern

Wow, life gets busy doesn't it?  I have been largely neglectful of my Townmouse Pattern business for the last two years.  It has ticked along without me.

Our children are growing up.  

Adelaide is 9 and has developed an obsession for horse riding.

Adelaide on Tappy

We have two children old enough to drive (both still Learner drivers).

Max Tractor

We have a new family member of the four legged (canine) variety. We now have gender balance in the home!

Lucy and Tilly

We renovated our farm house last year. While the builders were on site, the site manager and I made improvements to an old barn on the property. I feel very proud of the makeover we have achieved on the barn.  It's amazing what a lick of paint and a pergola can do. Bunnings became my favourite store. We made simple changes on a budget that brought about improvements to the look and feel of the building. It's now a busy AirBnB rental.  So yes, I've also become an AirBnB host in the last 12 months.

TheBarnRedHill

Lately though, I've found my way back to my attic studio.

Studio 1

I had a big tidy up a few weeks back and now I'm enjoying spending time there again. A podcast or Netflix series and a dog (or two) at my feet for company and I am back in my happy place.

Studio corner

Yesterday I launched my latest pattern, the Sienna Gathered Skirt.

Sienna blue blue stripe

I had done 80% of the work on this pattern two years ago, and then life sidetracked me.  

Adelaide in skirt

I enjoyed getting back to the old files and bringing them up to a standard to release to you.  I'm even thinking I might make one of these for myself.

Sienna launch blog

To celebrate the launch there is 15% off all patterns until the end of July with the code SIENNA15.

I just love this rose gold stripe version by Kristie @thesewcraftybaker who kindly tested the pattern for me.

The big question is, what pattern to work on next?


New Cuffed Pants Pattern

October went by in a blur of travel and general business.  Will and I managed to head away on holiday to Morocco, which was divine.  On the way home he had a couple of meetings in Copenhagen and Prague so we had two nights apiece in those cities.  Copenhagen was my favourite and we can't wait to go back and explore more of Scandinavia.

Now it seems like the end of the year is rapidly approaching. 

Chloe Cooper Cuff Pants

I snuck this pants pattern into my store a few weeks ago. It and the Adelaide sundress have been the most popular patterns according to my store stats.  I love this pattern. Adelaide lived in these when she was a toddler.  I found them indispensable and the perfect solution when she was crawling.

Cuffed pants blue

They feature two back pocket options - a gathered pocket and a plainer pocket - so that when their bottoms are in the air as bubs scoot around on the floor there is a cute detail to see.

Cuffed pants white

These pants take no time to make, with no tricky closures. You don't even have to sew buttonholes, as the button closure on the cuff is faux.

Chloe cuffed pants denim

A denim pair with Liberty cuff and pocket would be rather fun to make.

Cuffed pants cord

These baby cord ones were snuggly and warm for winter.

Cuffed pants pink winter

A number of people have asked me about the little white top featured in the first and fourth photo.  It's on the list of patterns to publish but won't be available until next year.  The Matilda Gypsy Top starts in size 6 months and is a cute top to pair with the cuffed pants.

I've paired them together in my store with 10% off when you buy the two together.

When you sew the pants, please share your finished garments in the Townmouse Patterns Facebook Group. We'd love to see your work.


A beautiful adaptation of the Adelaide Sundress and a tutorial to do it yourself

Hello dear readers. A few posts back I promised I would show you how to adjust your Adelaide sundress to make the pattern as a top.

I'm very excited to show you the most perfect version of the pattern made up by the very talented seamstress Angie from blog Edith and Eloise.

Adelaide sundress by Edith & Eloise

Seriously.  How divine is that photo!  The light, Angie's beautiful daughter, the fringed boots - I just adore everything about it. Clearly Angie is not only a talented seamstress.  Her photos are breathtaking.

So let's get to it.  I've put together a very quick and simple tutorial that shows you how to adapt the dress pattern to make a top.

If you have any problems following the steps, please email me (link at top of left sidebar).  I was so excited to show you Angie's pretty top that I put this tutorial together very quickly.

See more photos of Angie's clever sewing on her blog Edith and Eloise.  Thanks Angie for making the pattern look so beautiful.

You can buy your Adelaide sundress pattern here.


Introducing the Adelaide Sundress

It's always exciting to launch a new product. After a few final tweaks to the pattern yesterday and some wonderful assistance from the lovely seamstresses who offered to test my pattern, the Adelaide Sundress is ready.

Adelaide sundress with text

I know for many of you your summer is coming to an end, so this may be one to have up your sleeve for your next summer holiday.  For us in the Southern Hemisphere we have just entered Spring. The blossom is out in abundance, the snow is melting and our days are sunny.  We are getting excited for summer.

To encourage you to grab this pattern now, I'm offering 10% off any purchases in my Etsy shop with the coupon code ADELAIDE. This is valid until the end of September.

Coupon badge Adelaide

 

The dress pictured in this post is actually a top.

Adelaide sundress blue pin dot

I'll be coming back with another post about how to adapt a dress pattern to make a top.  It's really very simple.  But first you'll need the dress pattern.  So head over to the Townmouse Pattern shop and grab your copy now.

I'm pretty sure you're going to love this pattern.  The feedback from my testers has been positive, and it's certainly one I love to sew.  If you make up the sundress, don't forget to share it on Instagram and tag your images with #townmousepatterns

See what other clever seamstresses are featuring around the world here.

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Adelaide sundress in size 1

A friend of mine has had a little baby girl.  This was the perfect opportunity to make a little Adelaide sundress in size 1.  I added some extra length to suit an 18 month old, as that will be her age come summer  next year.

Adelaide sundress size 1

I've been playing around with the neckline and finishing the collar with hand stitching on the inside, leaving the collar without top stitching.  This was not possible for commercial production, but is definitely so for home seamstresses. I think I prefer this finish.  It's softer.  

Adelaide sundress size 1 hand stitched finish

So this means adding a little extra detail to the pattern instructions, to give seamstresses the option of either method of finishing.

Adelaide sundress in Liberty size 1

Adelaide was eyeing off this fabric and fortunately I have another metre or so of it.  Perhaps I should try this pattern as a top.


A sundress pattern in the making

I'm in the middle of drafting the sewing instructions for my next pattern.  It's the one most requested - this one:

2010 Sundress

I must confess that this is my favourite dress pattern from the Townmouse range.  Adelaide has had quite a few of these over the years. I'm calling it the Adelaide Sundress.

Adelaide sundress test

Before I send the pattern out to testing I have to make sure my own instructions make sense.  I've made the above in a pretty Liberty to make sure I remember all the correct steps for assembling it.

Adelaide sundress test 2

I've had a lot of requests for my patterns in larger sizes.  I've graded the pattern up to a size 10 - an easy thing to do because this is not a fitted garment.  So my sample today is in a size 10. I will be persuading  ten year old Henri to try it on for me tonight. I used to get away with this when my boys were much younger. I'm not liking my chances of convincing a ten year old boy to put on a dress!

Now I have the long task of finishing off the instruction diagrams.  Each one of these can take many hours. Then I will be writing the instructions to accompany them.  I hope to have the pattern ready for launch at the beginning of September - our Spring.

Would you like to help me? Would you like to test this pattern? I need a few seamstresses of varying skill levels to test my pattern for me.  I can guarantee the fit will be correct, because this dress has already been made in the hundreds.  I need a little help though, in picking up any little detail in the pattern and instructions that is incorrect or could be improved upon.  If you're up for the challenge, please fill in this form and I will be in touch.  Hopefully I will have a complete pattern to send to testers within a week or so.

UPDATE: Thank you for all your lovely and generous responses.  This request for testing has now closed. Stay tuned for the pattern's release.

See what other clever people are sewing over here for this week's Sew + Show.

Sew and show


New Townmouse Pattern - the Henri Long Shorts

There is a new pattern in my Etsy store.  This one is for boys. It's called the Henri Long Shorts.

Henri long shorts 3

When I was growing up my Australian godmother was living in Paris with her young family.  Every Christmas they would come home to Australia for a visit.  Her son, at 5 or 6, always looked terribly dapper in his long shorts and polo shirts.  It was a very different look to that sported by Aussie children in the 1970s.

Henri long shorts 4

This pattern was very much inspired by the French style brought home to Melbourne by my godmother.

Henri long shorts 10

I've just spent a lovely morning looking through my collection of family photos.  

Henri long shorts 12

Over many summers these long shorts were all my boys wore. They had about 6 pairs each.  All their summer shenanigans took place in their long shorts.

Henri long shorts 17

Fighting, jumping, racing, digging, fishing, you name it.  The shorts stood up to the task.

Henri long shorts 11

And then if I needed to smarten them up for a more formal occasion, the shorts did the job paired with a polo top or shirt.

Henri long shorts 8

Here we are trying to get a nice photo for Daddy's office.

Henri long shorts 9

Not the greatest photo of Adelaide - it looks like someone has stuck a pin in her.

Henri long shorts 16

The Henri Long Shorts are a very simple pattern to make. They are ideal for the beginner seamstress.  I've rated them One cotton reel out of Five.

Cotton reels 1

Do you like my cotton reel graphic? I had fun drawing that in Illustrator.

Henri long shorts 13

The shorts feature a gathered waist and 4 patch pockets. All you need is around a metre of fabric (yardage for each size is detailed in the pattern listing) and about half a metre of 1 inch elastic. They suit a range of fabrics from denim, linen, cotton, seersucker or cotton canvas.

Henri long shorts 14

If you make a pair, please tag your photos with #townmousepatterns on Instagram or post them in the Townmouse Patterns Flickr group.  

Coupon badge Henri

To entice you to try them, please use the coupon code "hellohenri" to get 10% off any patterns purchased before Sunday 16th August. Happy sewing.

 


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?


Future Townmouse PDF Patterns

I'm having fun reviewing all my old patterns and working out which ones I want to release next.

I have two that I'm currently working on.  I spent about four hours yesterday 'drawing' gathered pockets in Illustrator.  That is exhausting - fun but exhausting. It's about 100 times easier and quicker to sew them than it is to draw them in graphic design software.

Pockets

But you tell me.  Which Townmouse pattern would you like to sew?

There are plenty to choose from.  Here are just a few. 

http://picasion.com/

This is just a sample of some of my favourites.  There are more to choose from here in this Flickr album.

I'd love to know which ones you would like to sew the most. I'll start a prioritised list.


Townmouse PDF Pattern launch

I thought the first of the month was a good time to share with you what I've been working on for the first half of this year.

When I wound up Townmouse four years ago I had in the back of my mind that I might like to one day turn my archive of patterns into packaged patterns for home seamstresses.  This was my main reason for not selling the business.  I had no idea at the time how I might go about this.  The idea was very much on the back burner while we bought and renovated our new house.  Over summer, with the epic renovation behind me, I started to think about what happens next.

Pattern archive

By chance I read about a great course that promised to teach me everything I needed to know.  And that it did. The stars had aligned.  I've been busy learning to use graphic design software and creating patterns and instruction diagrams to my heart's content. There is a wonderfully supportive and friendly community of fellow pattern designers and bloggers out there that I've discovered and connected with along the way.

So today I'm very excited and nervous to be launching my first three patterns.

THE MATILDA GYPSY DRESS AND TOP

Matilda

This dress and top was in the Townmouse range every summer from the beginning I think. The size range grew as my customers' little girls grew.  The tops were always in a favourite selection of Liberty prints with coordinating ribbon. For the dresses I would choose a quilter's cotton that caught my eye.

Matilda 1

Occasionally I see a little girl around Melbourne in one of these dresses - six or seven years on, faded and still going the distance.

I tweaked this pattern a lot over the years.  There are hundreds of patterns around for this peasant style dress.  This one fits beautifully with enough gathering to flatter little girls without being too voluminous and costume-like.

Cotton reels 1The other bonus is this is a super simple pattern to sew. Perfect for beginners. It rates 1 out of 5 in terms of difficulty.

THE ISABELLA FLUTTER SLEEVE TOP

Isabella for KCW

One of my all-time favourites, this top is a quick sew with pretty details.  It lends itself well to a variety of fabrics including quilter's cotton, Liberty and other summer-weight fabrics.

Isabella for KCW 2

I do love a flutter sleeve and they seem very popular at the moment.  I'm a stickler for the perfect flutter sleeve.  I don't like them too puffy and upright so I've worked hard to make these sleeves sit right.  I've got a future blog post planned on tweaking these sleeves to get different desired results.

Flutter top in Liberty

Cotton reels 2

This pattern comes in size 1 to 8 and would suit a confident beginner.
It rates 2 out of 5 for difficulty.

THE HARRIET AND HUGO PYJAMAS

Harriet & Hugo

Another mainstay in the Townmouse range, these pyjamas featured in both summer weight cottons, and winter weight cotton flannel with contrast collar.

These were popular with the grandmothers amongst my customers too. Pyjamas are always a safe option when gifting clothing to someone whose fashion choices you might not be sure of.

Harriet & Hugo 3

This pattern is a loose, comfortable fit with a super simple pair of elastic-waist pants and button through top.  The sewing of the collar uses a very simple method for quick construction and satisfying results.  

Cotton reels 2This pattern would also suit a confident beginner and rates 2 out of 5 for difficulty.

If you're nervous about tackling the top, team the pants with an embellished t-shirt.  The pattern includes tips on this with useful links to helpful products for detailing the t-shirt.

Flickr group badgeI've created a Flickr group where I'd love to see people share what they sew with my patterns.  

So far I'm the only member and I'm feeling a little lonely.  Please pop over and join the group.

My patterns have been up on my Townmouse Etsy shop for a little over a week now.  There were jumpy claps last night when I realised I'd had my first sale.  My first customer stumbled across my pattern somehow and decided to take it on. After years of selling the clothing you'd think I'd be over the buzz from someone liking what I create enough to buy it, but this first sale made me so happy.  

These patterns have been a labour of love and I'm very excited to be bringing them to market. I hope you like them.  I'd love any feedback and am happy to answer any questions. My email link is at the top left of my blog.

Here we go!


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