Selfless Sewing: Double Trouble Outfits

Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanIn the few years before I moved to Cornwall, one of my nephews has been the recipient of more of my sewing creations than anyone else, including myself. I’ve graduated from endless bandana bibs and fabric shoes, to dungarees and t-shirt rompers, to full on big boy clothes. I always feel kind of guilty that his elder brother doesn’t get much, so I decided to make them both outfits, which unfortunately aren’t matching due to their virtually opposite styles.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanFirst up is 3 year old Baby Bear. When I was last at Birmingham Rag Market with my sister (his mum), she picked out a brown checked fabric for £4 a metre for me to sew another Berkshire Blazer as his green velvet one gets worn a lot. I used an assortment of polycotton scraps left over from the bandana bib making for the crazy lining, added some navy pleather elbow patches and a requested hanging loop. The outer fabric was such a loose weave that I didn’t think welt pockets would work, so there are some dodgy faux welts (AKA fabric strips) on the front instead. I also cut the back piece on the fold and left out the front darts because of the loose weave and my laziness.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanThis is the third Berkshire I’ve sewn and although I love the results, there’s a few things I’ve found with the pattern. The fabric requirements are generous; in the two previous versions I’d used fabric that was much more expensive than I’d ever bought before, and was left with quite a lot, and with this version I got the blazer and waistcoat out of 1.3m. The instructions don’t mention when or where to interface; I’m not sure if it’s because it’s classed as an intermediate pattern though. Also, I almost ran into trouble on the wool mix blazer (not pictured on the blog) when sewing the buttonholes as the fabric layers were so thick, so you might need to think about bound buttonholes.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanThe waistcoat was self drafted and uses more scrap fabric as lining for the back piece, this time some blue winceyette from a Mario costume I’d previously made for Big Bear. The front and faux notch collar (is that even a thing??) are one piece, lined with the same fabric and then folded back on itself. I bit the bullet and did proper welt pockets seeing as the faux ones looked a bit crap and this kid loves pockets.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanWhile we were at the Rag Market, Baby Bear decided he wanted to spend some of his money on three white plastic elephant buttons (I think he wanted a reason to use my “sewin’ ‘chine”) so I drafted this pullover shirt with a stand collar and button placket, and played with stripe placement. I tried the continuous placket cuff method, with a very narrow cuff and stashed button. I’m pretty happy with the sewing and stripe matching in general, but it could do with being a bit bigger as it’s a bit of a squeeze getting it on and off. Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanThe cord trousers were upcycled from a pair I’d made Big Bear for Christmas. They were without a doubt the most professional looking item I’d ever made, all french seamed and nice contrasting waistband and pockets, but I must have snipped too close on the faux fly, because after Big Bear wore them continuously for 4 days, a hole appeared where the fly curve meets the front seam, and my heart broke a little (just like when Baby Bear painted acrylic paint on his Christmas gift handmade shirt). Anyway, the only way to fix them was to unpick multiple seams, cut them down and make them Baby Bear sized.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanBig Bear is much more picky with his clothes than his little brother, and, if given the chance, would live in tracksuit bottoms and hoodies because he hates anything itching his skin.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanThe Christmas cord trousers were acceptable probably only because his favourite aunt had made them and then told an exaggerated story about how the shop lady said this was the softest fabric in the whole shop. So, I found a perfectly sized cord offcut at the Remnant House in Bude and raided my stash for pocket/waistband fabric, matching ribbon for the hem, and elasticated waist buttons. I bias bound the front and back crotch seam and french seamed the legs. The fly is another faux fly because that’s what he likes. I added an angled back yoke, but ran out of fabric for patch pockets, so I think it might look a bit girly.

I drafted a raglan sleeved t-shirt and upcycled a charity shop man’s t-shirt with a fine grey and white stripe. I unpicked and reused the ribbing from the neck, but stupidly didn’t make the back neckline higher, so it looks a bit rubbish. I serged and then topstitched all the seams to hopefully stop whinges about itching.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanI found a lightweight jumper dress in the same charity shop that I upcycled into a hoodie. The original arms were pretty thin so I just cut a new sleeve cap. I sewed then serged new side seams, shoulder seams and then the sleeves. The hood was made from the top back of the dress and sewn to the neck with a stretch straight stitch. To be honest, the more I tried to match the stripes, the less matching actually happened, but I doubt a 7 year old really cares.Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . PanWe did a quick photoshoot when they came down to visit, and I now have complete respect for all those sewing bloggers who manage to get amazing photos of their child models!Selfless Sewing | Pattern . Paint . Pan


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