Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween- Sailboat tops

Happy Halloween!  We don't really 'do' Halloween, to be honest, so I didn't make costumes for the boys... but I had this cute fabric and it seemed a shame to let it gather dust for another year.  So I turned to the Oliver and S Sailboat top pattern, which I've made before.

The fabric is from Modes4U, a Hong Kong based shop which specialises in all things kawaii (Japanese cute!), including fabrics.  And they offer free worldwide shipping on orders over approx £51.   I didn't quite have enough to make both tops, so Big Cub got red sleeves on his.

If I'm honest, I'm not too happy with the fit of these.  When I made this pattern in the past I found that just using the size for the boys' ages worked well, so I cut a 4T for my almost 4-year-old, and a 7 for my almost 7-year-old, and I figured that they should have some growing room.  They really don't.  The sleeves are really short, and the tops themselves could do with another couple of length too. 

That said, they are very cute.  I do love the cute design features of this pattern- the topstitched facings and the button (or in my case popper) neck opening.

 I hope you've all had a fun Halloween!



Thursday, 6 October 2016

Safari adventures- giraffe hooded tees

I forgot to write about these when I made them a little while ago, but the Project Run and Play 'Signature Style' sewalong gave me the incentive to post.  If I had to sum up my 'signature style' it would probably be 'cute animal prints'.  Or maybe 'bright, interesting colours'.  Or maybe 'slightly different, kind of funky stuff for boys'.  I think this is a bit of all three?

The pattern was from Ottobre magazine, Summer 2015.  I've made it before, and it has rapidly become a firm favourite.  It's quick and easy, great for layering and a bit different from a normal t-shirt as it has a hood with a cute crossover collar-effect at the front.

The fabric is a cheap and cheerful knit from Fabricland.  I saw it in the shop and just had to buy a metre.  Big Cub's school was having a Jungle-themed non-uniform day, so this print seemed like a good choice.  The boys' tops are the same pattern and the same main fabric, but with different lining and binding colours, so they're not too samey.

I'm hoping as the weather turns cooler we'll continue to get plenty of wear out of these- they will look great with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath.  We're hoping to go on many more adventures before the winter sets in!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Small cub in Autumn

Autumn has not really arrived here in London.  The mornings are sort of cool, but the sun still gets hot so it's mostly shorts and t-shirt weather for the boys still.  There are piles of fallen leaves here and there, but mostly the trees still look bright and green, and the grass is still parched and dry from the summer heat.

Nevertheless, I had some fun ideas to sew along with Project Run and Play's 'I'm in Autumn' challenge. Autumn is the time for going out for walks and collecting things, and  Small Cub loves to collect feathers.  Especially dirty, horrible feathers.  They get put in bags and left there and forgotten about- so I thought a feather-collecting hoodie would be a great addition to his Autumn wardrobe.

The hoodie is made using a free pattern from Brindille and Twig.  I made a size 4-5 as Small Cub will turn 4 soon, and I wanted it to be big enough to wear a t-shirt underneath.   I really wanted to try this pattern because I loved the detailing along the raglan sleeve seams.  As my chosen fabric for these bits was a super curly jersey, I used iron-on hemming tape to iron the strips to keep them flat and stable.

The only change I made to the pattern was to add the ribbon along the pocket, making little loops for Small Cub to put his feathers in!

Main fabric: jersey-lined plush from Plush Addict
Lining: striped jersey by Lillestoff
Ribbing and scraps for applique: also from Plush Addict
Fox print grosgrain ribbon: Fabricland, Kingston


I also made him some trousers to match.   These are made using a free pyjama pattern by Craftiness is not optional.  I added acorn applique knee patches, and 2" to the length. I love the little button-up cuffs!

Main fabric:  Fabricland, Kingston.
Cuff fabric: striped jersey by Lillestoff

 Small Cub had a great time collecting feathers, and hopefully he will get lots of wear out of this top as the days grow cooler.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Pokeball hats- sewing along with Project Run and Play

In the Pocket Fox household, Summer 2016 will forever be remembered as the summer of Pokemon Go.  I had been planning on making some Pokemon trainers' clothes, and the Project Run and Play sewalong was a great incentive to do something right now. 

Small Cub had declared that he's going to dress up as a Pokemon for my sister's wedding.  Some days he says he's going to be a Beedrill.  Some days he says he's going to be Ash.  And some days I try to tell him he's not going to the wedding in fancy dress...  but never mind that.  I know the boys would love to dress up as Pokemon, but I didn't want to do fancy dress costumes.  I wanted to make something useful, that they will actually wear, and eventually decided to make pokeball hats.

The hats are from a pattern from the Summer 2015 issue of Ottobre.  I've made at least half a dozen sun hats from this pattern for the boys this summer, but you can never have too many hats.  It's always good to have one at home, on to keep at school or nursery, and a spare for when you can't find the one you normally wear.  It was easy to see how I could adapt the pattern to make a pokeball hat.


I don't know why they always pull these faces.  It's a mystery.

Small cub helped to make the pokeballs, by choosing the buttons and pressing the foot pedal while I sewed the stripes on.  The middles are a strip of 1" black cotton webbing, and a black cotton circle.  We're really pleased with how they turned out.

The hats are reversible... so you don't have to show off your pokeball if you don't want to.  Big Cub's is plain royal blue on the other side, so he can wear it as a school hat with a secret pokeball inside!  They also have secret name labels which tuck inside the lining, so you can wear the hat either way without the label sticking out.



The boys can't wait to wear these next time we go on a pokewalk! 


Sunday, 22 May 2016

4-hour silk top- Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger

At 10 yesterday morning I had 2 metres of Liberty Torrington silk crepe de chine, and nothing to wear for my sister's marriage blessing in the afternoon.  By 1.35 I left the house in a brand new top! 


The pattern is the Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger.  I wanted a top which was loose and comfortable but which covered my shoulders.  I had made a top from a different pattern last weekend, but despite me making a muslin before cutting into my proper fabric, there was a problem with the fit which renders it unwearable (until I can figure out how to alter it).  I had been getting ready to make the sailor top and had already lenghtened the pattern and done a full bust adjustment using this tutorial.  So on Friday evening I made a muslin of the Sailor Top, and on Saturday morning I set to cutting out my precious silk.

This was my first try at working with silk, so I had read up on some hints and tips.  First one- I pinned the silk between layers of tissue paper, with the pattern on top, and it cut like a dream.  I also read that microtex needles were good for sewing with silk (they were not.  They wouldn't pick up one single stitch, but I had not problems with a standard needle) and to use special silk pins (which are nice, and very sharp). 

Once I got to sewing this was pretty quick and easy. I used my serger to finish all of the seams which looks nice and neat, even though I did have to mess around a lot with the tension settings on my machine. 

I didn't use facings for the sleeves- I just did small double folded hem and it worked very nicely.  I didn't follow the pattern for the hem at the bottom, either- I was lazy and in a desperate hurry so I grabbed a roll of bias tape and used that.  I thought it might be too stiff for the silk fabric, but it drapes pretty nicely.

Oh and the main place I cheated was on the collar.  Firstly I understitched the facing, then I basted the facing and main collar piece together.  When it came to sewing it I attached it all in one go, instead of attaching just the main piece and then the facing.  I pressed the seam allowance down and serged the edges.  It's not as tidy as the 'proper' way but it still looks good, and it was super quick.


I'm really pleased with this top.  It does gape a little at the neck, so before I make another I will amend the pattern to sort this out. Sara at Sew Sweetness had this same problem so I'll be using her instructions for how to fix it.

I hope I'll find the time to do more silk sewing soon.  It was well worth the effort!