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

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.

Saturday sewing

It's been a long time since I've spent time pottering in my studio.  In between children's parties and sporting activities yesterday I spent some time playing with Liberty fabric and came up with this.

Adelaide in Liberty top

This top is a mixture of this pattern and this pattern (seen here on Princess Isabella of Denmark).

It has the little keyhole detail and an empire seam with gathering underneath.  Adelaide has the prettiest pink cardigan to wear with it.

Adelaide's Liberty top

Thankfully Adelaide isn't too choosy yet about what she wears. She has her likes and dislikes but I don't make the mistake of asking her what she wants to wear.  If she had it her way she'd be wearing a synthetic fairy dress most days, even over tracksuit pants. (Now there's a good look - not.)

Lisette Traveler Dress

Recently my much loved industrial sewing machine died on me.  I bought it second-hand when I was pregnant with Max. It served me unfailingly for 12 fabulous years.  I cannot imagine how many thousands of kilometres it has sewed.

Shirtdress profile

Industrial sewing machines are simple beasts - they take two men to move them around, are very ugly and only do a straight stitch.  Despite these limitations they are brilliant to work on and I really couldn't be without one in my life.  So after determining that my old machine was perfectly fine mechanically, but new technology in motors had rendered it useless, I traded it in for a newer second-hand model.

Inspired by my new toy I did some sewing for myself.  I love Liesl's Oliver + S patterns and was keen to try one of her women's patterns under the Sew Lisette brand.

One of my favourite daytime outfits in the summer is a shirtdress.  I have several in my wardrobe and they seem to suit my shape.  So the Traveler Dress it had to be.


The fabric is a navy and white shirting cotton I had in my stash.

I made a few modifications to the pattern.

Shirtdress collar

I made the collar as a two piece collar. Just because I like playing with collars and my patternmaking skills need a bit of brushing up on.

Shirtdress sleeve

I made it sleeveless for a more streamlined look.  I bound the armhole with some bias fabric.

Shirtdress hidden pocket

And my favourite modification: I added hidden pockets in the skirt side seams.  You can just see the top stitching I put there to keep the pocket lining in place.

I love this pattern.  It's a great fit and cut.  I'm very happy with it, as I suspected I would be, knowing Liesl's work.

Now that I have this garment as a guide, I've made some adjustments to the pattern. I always trace my tissue, store bought patterns onto patterncard for greater accuracy.  Now I'm ready to make the next one (in a fabric that looks a little less like a girl's school uniform).

Home made doll's clothes for Christmas

Henri was going round the house with his clipboard this morning, asking his siblings what they wanted for Christmas. (He must have raided Tom's stationery supplies for next year to find said clipboard.) Adelaide's response was "doll's clothes".

Doll clothes in progress

This sweet little doll is so lovely to cuddle because of her soft body.  The problem is she needs high necks and sleeves to cover her undergarments.

Ruffle dressI drafted a pattern block for Amelie (dolly's name) - a simple bodice block with sleeve.  

I used a few scraps to replicate my most favourite of all Townmouse dresses.

This one fits the bill with its high neck and elbow length sleeves. 

Now I know that the pattern block is a good fit I can create a few more variations for Amelie.

I have a sweet little suitcase, purchased from Lark, that I can put Amelie's wardrobe into.

A quick trip to the local button shop is on my To Do list today to buy some simple press studs so Adelaide can easily dress and undress her doll.

Doll clothes

I'll let you know how I go with the rest of Amelie's wardrobe. There might have to be a few matching dresses for Adelaide in the mix.

Shirt dresses

I love a shirt dress.  I have a few in my wardrobe and I wear them a lot in summer.

Shirtwaist dress

This is my favourite.  It's classic and comfortable.

Shirtwaist profile

I'd like to try replicating it; maybe in a blue shirting stripe with self tie belt.  I've gathered a few patterns, including this one, which I plan to modify to get a similar look to above.

Jump rope

And speaking of shirt dresses, here is Adelaide wearing hers - the Jump Rope Dress from Oliver + S.  This is such a cute pattern.  I will definitely have to find the time to make another one of these.

My creative space

It's great to get back to some garment making.

I have a few metres of striped shirting in four colours: pink, red, pale blue and navy.  It has a fine handle and is rather lovely to sew with.

Raglan top

Before I cut into a precious Liberty (yes, the real stuff) or other favourite fabric when trying out a new style I make a quick sample or toile. But I can't bring myself to waste my sewing energy on a cheap calico.  I'd rather make it out of something that, if the pattern works, is at least wearable.  So I use this shirting.  

I guess when making children's wear, fit is not so crucial, and the fabric requirements are quite small.  If I was making a sample garment for myself I probably would use a calico.

Raglan top detail

This is a little raglan top with a front placket and neckband.  I wasn't entirely happy with the fit of this one.  There's another one in the works with less fullness.  I've taken a few cms out of the width of the front, the back and the sleeves.  Because this one is so voluminous it will go into Adelaide's cupboard until next year.

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.

Pretty Liberty dresses

Last night, in the middle of screenprinting butterflies for t-shirts, I was stopped in my tracks when a fabric I'd been pondering caught my eye.  I decided then and there to make Adelaide a dress for today.

Liberty girl's dress

She has been wearing this top a lot, so I wanted to make a dress version, which is cooler for hot days.

Liberty dress side view

Again I used food to keep her still enough to photograph.

Liberty dress shoulder detail

I do love a little flutter sleeve on little girls.

Liberty dress back view

I had thought about making the bodice with a higher neckline - just to provide a little more sun protection; but I do love the look of this pattern from the back, with the two little buttons in the centre.

Liberty dress front view

Shhh, don't tell Mummy, but I'd prefer to hang out in my PJs.

Speed sewing

Making a garment for the second or subsequent time is always so much more satisfying.  You get a quicker and expected result.

White top and bloomers

I repeated this top, and yes, this time I did play with the sleeve ruffle.  Rather than the ruffle being doubled or on the fold, I hemmed it using the rolled hem foot on my machine.  This gives the hem a little more stiffness (rather like the fine wire put in florist's ribbon).  

Ruffle detail

As a result, it ends up with a nice fluted, flowing shape, rather than rigid gathers.  I think I prefer it this way.


Here's another pair of the much loved Oliver + S bloomers.


I love the crisp white in this fabric.  It lends itself to being paired with a white top.

Tee and bloomers

And because a little girl needs options, I've used some fabric scraps on a Townmouse tee.

What to make?

I'm trying to think of something very special to make with this precious piece of Liberty lawn.  It's a seasonal from a few years ago, and I don't know how it passed me by.  I would have loved 60 metres of it.  As it happens, I only have one metre; which means I only have one shot at getting a garment right.


I'll show you any finished products worth seeing.

See more creative endeavours at Kootoyou