Category: Girl patterns

Sewing clothing for girls.

Pattern Review: Ruby Jean’s Closet “Fashion Play Take-Along”

 

This Post is full of photographs which are upside down: viz –20140804-192602-69962683.jpg

This is a pattern by Ruby Jean’s Closet, a digital download, for a folder that is designed to allow young and not so young fashion and sewing fans to keep their tools, projects and inspirations all in one place. I have to confess that I made it a year ago for Wee Bear’s 6th birthday present – a brand new Janome 9020 sewing machine. You can use a UK lever arch file, easily bought in a stationary shop (go for something plain and light colour if you are using a light colour fabric print!) without too much fiddling, in spite of US folders being a different shape.20140804-192604-69964299.jpgAbove you can see the little pockets that are there for (left to right) pencils, glue stick and scissors – I didn’t bother buying special fabric scissors. Below, you can see the clear plastic fronted fabric zip pockets – these are GENIUS and so easy to make. I bought the ‘plastic fabric’ on ebay, and used normal quilting weight cotton and zips from John Lewis. I know, I am so frustrated at the lack of decent patchwork fabric in Edinburgh it’s crazy.20140804-192605-69965885.jpg

Here is Wee Bear concentrating VERY HARD on her first sewing lesson – we are in the amazing David Drummond Sewing Machine shop at Haymarket, Edinburgh. His staff are very kind and knowledgeable about the machines. She was shown how to thread the machine, do stitches in a straight line and stop at the beginning and end of the lines.20140804-192641-70001848.jpg

20140804-192639-69999510.jpg

I used my new embroidery machine (also from David Drummond!) a Brother V3, to edit and make a little patch for her front pocket, so that it meant i could use my new toy too.20140804-192637-69997888.jpgI’m tempted to make another for myself – they are incredibly handy for small projects and great to keep bits and pieces together – I can imagine that if you were taking a patchwork or similar technique class then they would make life easy AND have tons of scope for customisation. I liked the techniques and didn’t have any false starts, as I would expect from Ruby Jean’s Closet, whose patterns are clearly written and easy to follow. Recommended.

Jocole Endless Dress

I made my last *cough* digital pattern purchase this year and went for the Jocole Endless Dress. It’s possible, with a bit of tweaking, to make hundreds of dresses that are all different. Jodie worked it out. She clearly likes maths.

I am planning three or four dresses -at least- from this pattern but when I had a hankering to make a quick frock with a cream alençon overlay, guess what I grabbed? Yup.

20140121-192917.jpg
What I hope you can see is how closely the 6 bodice (empire length) matches the pattern I had to seriously refit from her last emergency gotta-have-it-now dress? Yup, no alterations & it sewed up super.

20140121-193120.jpg

I cheated: I used the scalloped edge of the lace for the skirt & arm hems. I used Velcro at the back closure & didn’t make a placket in the skirt, which I just cut in two parts, rather than two separate backs. I think I’d cut the sleeves with a bit more room at the sleeve head but otherwise, perfect.

20140121-193759.jpg
You can see the short sleeves have been lengthened a bit – it is January – but I used the top to quickly cut an A-line under dress because I want the chance to swap it for a brighter colour – pink is first up.

I’ve got a doll dress cut & ready to sew – they’re included with the pattern! – plus enough lace for a 6-12 month size too. When I get a chance, I will get decent photos of all 3 – and recover that armchair! Seriously, I dislike the chair & rug SO much…

A Proper Party Dress. Part 4 – and dolly came too.

On the morning of her 5th birthday, Wee Bear woke to sun & clouds, as usual for June in Scotland. The party dress looked amazing – for the ten minutes it stayed on!

20130705-094154.jpg

Alas, some little girls arrived & announced they weren’t wearing party dresses – after her big entrance. Peer pressure starts early, so the party dress came off & another, normal frock went on. I tried not to want to throttle anyone too much… even though my eyes were still bleary from the late nights of sewing. I’m happy it fits her so well.

20130705-094519.jpg

Apart from a frantic time tracking down a bouncy castle (ordering the first one for July wasn’t a great move!) it all went as well as I had expected. Too many girls in a state of high emotion and after the same fancy dress and balloon caused a bit of friction. Who knew that being five was so stressful?

The big presents came on her actual birthday, including her doll: Lily Sugar, as she was immediately renamed.

I had spent a while the night before making a little party frock for her doll – I used a plain lined bodice pattern from the All Dolled Up book, then gathered scraps of tulle and net all together – using them as one layer was much faster and made the skirt a lot neater at the waist. Finally, I attached the soft Velcro strips – a normal width strip cut in half. It is only made from the soft loops but seems to stick together nicely and doesn’t scratch.

20130705-095521.jpg

I’ve never seen her so happy to get a present: she hugged her close, decided she had a new little sister but – best of all – immediately wanted to wear their matching clothes. I can see many happy hours of play in our future (and sewing in mine!).

20130705-095736.jpg

A Proper Party Dress. Part 3: assembling!

We are only one day away from Wee Bear’s big party: we are all in a haze of sleep-deprivation and excitement but at least I won’t be up sewing her dress at 1am (as usual: no, this time I am sewing dresses to match her Tulipe doll!).

Once we had adjusted the pattern of the Chloe Dress it was a dream to assemble the bodice. The simple round necked, sleeveless, lined bodice (I used a super soft acetate type fabric) is self finishing, so the only exposed seam was at the waist:

20130630-120945.jpg

I was sewing too fast to take many photographs and the instructions are super clearly illustrated. I have to comment again on how much I enjoy working from their patterns! However, cutting out the yards of net and tulle would have been easier if I had used a roller cutter and mat, as I do for my quilt projects.

20130630-121311.jpg I somehow vastly over ordered, so have enough left for at least one more dress in the same colour – if I changed the under net & lining colour, it could be an adorable blush pink, or maybe a winter ice blue?

However, as it is so fine, the tulle squishes when sewing: my Janome 6500 goes through just about anything (although it hates buttonholes) and it wasn’t long before I had assembled the layers. I chose to gather them separately and it added a bit of bulk (and time) – the matching doll dress was gathered all together and is much neater around the waist.

20130630-121810.jpg

It’s a lot of fabric. I think I would find a different way to gather it – I struggled slightly to keep the gathers from stretching out again. When it has been gathered incredibly small, it is simply sewn onto the bodice. I would imagine it is possible to leave the lining a little unattached at the bottom 1cm of the bodice and it could be folded up & sewn to enclose the skirt seam: it is of course quite bulky.

I got around it this time by adding a skirt lining with a rolled hem. I made a skirt>dress>lining sandwich

20130630-122308.jpg
So that when the lining was folded down, it covered the exposed skirt edges:

20130630-122412.jpg

I attempted to neaten it up & stitched below the seam but It was immediately unpicked. Don’t try at home!

By this time, it was past midnight – so apologies for the shocking pictures! I fluffed the sash assembly but it worked out in the end: a few hand stitches to hold it in place and I was done! I really wish I had bought proper nylon chiffon & tulle from the USA but I am working on my favourite online fabric supplier Plush Addict to import it on rolls for awesome pettiskirts!

20130630-122754.jpg

20130630-122814.jpg the sash ties in a large bow: a silk bodice & tie would look beautiful for a bridesmaid or flowergirl.

20130630-122940.jpg
The finished dress front. Photos of it being worn to follow!

A Proper Party Dress. Part 2: modifying the pattern & cutting

Once the fabric arrived and we had plenty of fun rolling the net and tulle onto long cardboard tubes, I had a serious look at the Chloe pattern.

The two main pieces, bodice front and back, are very simple and taper slightly in at the waist. My child doesn’t. She has a tummy that is perfectly normal, from looking around her ballet class, and her sensory issues mean that she can’t stand to wear things sitting at certain points on her body.

Getting out our trusty ‘Swedish tracing paper’ from Gloriarty we copied the pieces out & pinned – carefully – onto her body.

20130624-140055.jpg
Obviously it doesn’t have the same handle as fabric but there are a few obvious issues: length, tummy, armholes.

20130624-140158.jpg
Even taking off the seam allowances, it was going to be uncomfortable (and go unworn, no matter how pretty).

20130624-140303.jpg
You can see how much I have taken off the armholes front and back here – even with our dodgy floor as background! (I promise to get nice white matboard soon).

20130624-140435.jpg
And in comparison to the ‘standard’ pattern (which is beautifully drawn & clearly marked) – her shoulders are narrow and delicate while she broadens out in the middle. As for an adult pattern, I added length to the centre front but blended it back in to match the side seam length.

20130624-140741.jpg
Finally, I used the transparency of the pinable, sewable tracing paper to centre the design on a flower. This is an incredibly wasteful way to use fabric & the opposite of my usual “squeeze ’em in” technique, but for special occasions & large print, it’s worth doing. I did the same across the back and sash, so that when buttoned up the back flower would look unbroken too. This was mostly by eye & I pretended I was putting a zip in to get it right.

20130624-141037.jpg
Finally, I cut the same pieces from a smooth & soft lining (once we had confirmed it was smooth enough), and the huge pieces of net and tulle: each layer is made from two panels roughly 16 inches by 2 & 1/2 yards, joined at the sides and gathered into a tiny waist…

20130624-141313.jpg

Next part: assembling the dress or ‘how I learned to love tulle’.

A proper party dress. Part 1: the ‘Chloe’ dress by Violette Fields Threads

Quite unable to believe how beautiful my daughter is (really) I decided that we needed a party dress to match. The ‘Chloe’ by Violette Fields was a natural. Their photography is jaw-droppingly beautiful: haunting, evocative, adorable, classic, I can’t find enough words to describe how much I admire their work. Sometimes I just look at the site for some eye-happy-time. (This image courtesy of the incredibly kind team at Violette Fields Threads).

Chloe PDF pattern

The Chloe is simple in concept: yards of tulle, net and nylon chiffon (more on that in a minute) are gathered lovingly onto a straight forward lined bodice with buttons, topped off with a sash to tie in a large bow at the back. The execution takes a bit more patience and care if it is to look as stunning as the images on their site. I mean come on: look at this one – you just want to sew, right?

Fiona bustled dress & top

First choosing the fabric. Wee Bear is remarkably literal at the moment. Things are, largely, black and white. So when she saw the large rose print on the tea-length dress model on the pattern front, that was what we had to have. The *incredibly* helpful ladies at Violette Fields replied to my desperate email trying to source the original: it was a Heather Bailey print, from her Garden District collection of a few years ago. Of course, it is no longer available. However, I found ‘Hello Roses’ which is similar enough for a happy nearly-five year old and her mother.

Hello-Roses-in-Cream-by-Heather-Bailey

The cream looked best and so then we tried tracking down the tulle and net. I wanted something fresh and pretty, so a pale green rather than pink (which can often make the Wee Bear look washed out) was on my search list. Most net greens are, frankly, hideous. I was delighted to find Harrington Fabric and Lace down in Nottingham (where British lace was produced in great quantities last century and a rare surviving remnant of our home cloth production). Their website needs a redesign but again, helpful and speedy service – although the pale green tulle was out of stock. We compromised on green net and ivory tulle, exactly like the original on the cover.