Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Janey Jump Around (night) Dress

I made this back in May for Munchkin's 7th birthday (I know, how time flies, they grow so fast, where has my baby gone etc etc). This is only the second nightie I've sewn for her, she'd always been a pyjama girl until her auntie bought her a Disney Princess fancy nightie for Christmas and after that there was much pleading for nightdresses to be sewn.

Very pleased with her new nightie :)
I used the Janey Jump Around Dress pattern from Peek-a-boo patterns which I downloaded a while ago but hadn't used. I made an age 8 as I thought it would last a bit longer and I was really pleased with the fit. The pattern has a lovely faux wrap front which is a lot easier to sew than it looks. I left off the button fastening and just top-stitched part of the front instead so that it didn't gape.

Pipsqueak gets in on the act.
The fabric was a nice soft jersey from the Magic Fabric Shop, £2 a metre, and I wish I'd bought the whole roll. All clothes should be made from bright pink soft jersey with cats on. The neck band and sleeve bands were scraps from an old black t-shirt of mine.

The back. Love the modest length :)
I think the pattern works really well as a nightie and I'd definitely make it again. The pattern is 6 months - 10 years, so for a freebie you get a lot of sizes. I used my overlocker which made it very fast to sew up, but you could quite easily do it on a standard machine and the instructions are very clear so it would be great for beginners. I can see why it's called a Jump Around dress - you could do pretty much everything in it and a) not expose yourself to all and sundry as it's a great length, and more importantly b) not feel restricted. Perfect for the girl who loves dresses but still insists on climbing every tree in sight. Munchkin is just happy that it's comfy to sleep in and has cats on :)

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Owl Tunic

So, I'm back. Maybe just for one post, maybe for a squillion, who knows. We'll see.....
The reason for my return is this competition from Simplicity patterns. And here is my entry:

I look a little surprised....maybe it's because my mouth has been replaced by a giant flower?
I'm calling it the Owl Tunic, for obvious reasons when you look at the fabric up close. I used the lovely free pattern that Simplicity sent me and decided on view A, as I liked the pleated sleeves. My original plan was to use this fabric to make a muslin and then use a different fabric to make my final entry, but I liked this so much I stuck with it.

Fabric up close in all its feathery glory
The pattern was quite easy to put together and the instructions were clear and detailed. I made a size 10 without any alterations, as I've sewn Simplicity patterns before and a straight 10 usually fits. Next time I would shave a tiny wedge out of the front as my decoletage decolletege deccoletig collar bone area is a bit narrow, and although the neckline sits fine when I'm still, there is a tiny bit of gapeyness when I move around. Otherwise I am very happy with the fit.

I was a good girl and followed the instructions exactly, even understitching the neck facing, which made a big difference.

I must admit, I do love a bit of understitching :)
I'm pleased to say my invisible zip is pretty invisible. I asked Mr Pickledweasel to confirm its invisibleness by looking at the back of the tunic while I tried it on, and he said 'Yes, but you haven't pattern matched.' That's what happens when you let your significant others watch the Great British Sewing Bee. I did try to pattern match, honestly, but my eyes went a bit funny after 5 minutes and I gave in.

Don't look at it too long, it's a bit like one of those Magic Eye books.
The only thing I changed about the pattern was the length. I tried it on un-hemmed and it was just a teensy bit too short for me - something I'd wear with opaque tights and boots, but as this was intended to be a spring / summer outfit for work, that kind of length would involve the Revealing of the Knees of Doom (not a very pretty sight), so I decided to make it into a tunic instead. I took 5" off and then did a 1" blind hem, something I haven't done for ages. I have a blind hem foot for my machine which makes it a doddle, and I love it. It takes a bit more preparation than a standard hem, but it looks great.

My lovely hem. Look, no stitches!
The fabric was from the Magic Fabric shop (yes, it's still going, they're open 6 days a week now instead of just Mondays and Thursdays!) and was £2 a metre. I think I used about 2 metres and the zip cost £3.90, so the total cost was just shy of £8. Not bad, eh?

The front. It's a very good for hiding lumps and bumps by the way :)
The fabric was kind of like a scuba stretch but without the stretch. It was nice to sew with, quite silky on the printed side but still had enough stability not to go crazy when I put it under the presser foot. In terms of time taken, I'd guesstimate 4 hours from start to finish. I cut all of the pattern pieces when I was on holiday last week on the Yorkshire coast, on a lovely big dining room floor in the cottage we were staying in. I'd seen all sorts of birds during the week, so it felt appropriate to be working with feathery material. I am seriously considering sewing up some capes with the leftover bits I have, so the little pickledweasels can pretend to be owls too.

How much do these wings sleeves look like little owl hoods?
Overall I'm very happy with my new owly tunic. I'm pretty sure there is another one in the pipeline, this time with a bit of a tropical theme (and some lengthening so the Knees of Doom won't be involved). So thank you to Simplicity for giving me the chance to take part, and for the pattern, I've loved making it :)

"This'll never work...what am I meant to do with the flower, eat it?"