Christmas 2014: Sewn Gifts

Apologies for the complete lack of posts recently; life, and a dodgy internet connection have gotten in the way, but hopefully I’ll be better at posting now.

I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves needles, thread, fabric and lots of buttons.

Heart Cut-Out Girls Dress

Heart Cut Out Dress | Pattern . Paint . PanI told my only niece that I’d make her whatever dress she wanted, and this is the (slightly toned down) result! I self drafted a bodice and added a heart cut out at the back, slightly squared off neckline and flutter cap sleeves with a scalloped skirt hem to make a dress that’s wearable for more than dressing up!

Heart Cut Out Dress | Pattern . Paint . PanThe main fabric is a cotton and the skirt and sleeve lining some kind of poly, both from a visit to Tahim’s Drapers in Coventry (online store here), with a scrap of pink cotton from my stash for the bodice lining and hem, and a navy scrap for the waistband and sleeves. I used pearl-ish flower shaped buttons on the full length button placket at the back.

Berkshire Blazer

Velvet Berkshire Blazer | Pattern . Paint . Pan This is my 4th Berkshire, and it’s definitely my favourite yet! However, it’s been over 6 months since I last sewed this pattern and I had totally forgotten how annoying the pattern is. Seams don’t match and there’s so much ease in the sleeve cap. Anyway, I’ll draft my own pattern next time. This is navy cotton velvet from the same trip to Tahim’s Drapers, with navy and white striped polycotton lining and some ancient store bought navy satin bias binding trim. I decided to use the bias binding as I thought it would make the welt pocket easier as it’s so much thinner than using velvet for the welt flaps, and it worked; I think it’s probably my best welt pocket yet. I added the bias binding to the top of the patch pockets and at the sleeve hem too. Velvet Berkshire Blazer | Pattern . Paint . Pan

Campervan Shirt

Campervan Shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanAnother nephew is campervan-crazy and saw this cotton fabric while we were at the Birmingham Rag markets back in the autumn. I didn’t buy it then, but found it again when I visited Tahim’s Drapers. The pattern is a RTW rub-off I made for the first time last Christmas but that still fits now. I tried to make it easier for myself by not having a proper button placket and didn’t add a back yoke or front pocket as I thought they’d just get lost in the print.

Campervan Shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanThe underside/inside of the collar, collar stand and cuff, and the cuff placket is plain blue from some ancient Ikea fabric, and the button placket on both sides and bias hem is a scrap of cream polycotton. I really thought it’d be way too crazy, but I think it’s actually quite cute, and I’m quite happy with all my pattern matching, despite the headaches it gave me at the time!

Personalised T-Shirt

Personalised T-shirt | Pattern . Paint . PanThis was meant to be a super quick make to use up some iron on letters my sister bought years ago, but due to my serger refusing to serge more than 2 layers of fabric, it turned into one of the most rage-inducing projects ever! I nearly chucked out the whole thing since I was pretty sure my sister had totally forgotten about the existence of the iron ons, but I eventually persevered, mainly because I really liked the personalised back yoke. I used grey jersey scraps and a navy t-shirt in my up-cycle box, so essentially this was a free project!

Christmas Pyjamas

Boys Christmas Pyjamas | Pattern . Paint . PanThese weren’t a Christmas present as my sister bought the brushed cotton stag fabric and asked me to make my nephews new pyjamas for Christmas Eve. My guestimating on how much fabric I needed (£3 per metre from Birmingham Rag Market back in the Autumn) meant I needed to add contrasting panels using some dark grey jersey I’d bought to make myself another Lady Skater variant, but I think they actually look better with the stag pattern broken up a bit. I drafted a cross over neck design into the front yoke, and a matching back yoke. I learnt my lesson and serged all my pieces before sewing them together so my serger couldn’t have a sh*t fit. The sleeve hems are finished with self fabric bias tape, and the leg hems are turned up twice and machine stitched. The trousers in the photo are pre-elastic which is why the waist is so straight. Apparently they are the most comfy PJs ever, so that’s a definite win!

Advertisements

The Tiniest Clothes

Little Geranium Dress & Perfect Diaper Cover | Pattern . Paint . PanI’m one of 5 girls and 2 boys, but that trend seems to have been reversed in the next generation as I so far have 5 nephews and only one niece, who I was 9000 miles away from when she was a baby.

So when one of my closest friends had a baby girl, my plans to make burp cloths from some Makower jungle animals fabric went out the window when I realised I finally could make tiny dresses!Little Geranium Dress | Pattern . Paint . PanI settled on the free Little Geranium dress by Made By Rae and Perfect Diaper Cover by Dana Made It, with some mini blue and white floral cotton from Trago Mills. To be honest, it was a bit of a mission choosing fabric, trying to take into account my taste, my friend’s taste, my friend’s husband’s taste and suitability of colours and patterns for a tiny baby, but at least I’m happy with it!

I followed the directions for the dress despite my normal construction method for a lined bodice being different, and next time I’ll go back to my old way as I just find it easier. My skirt gathering was a little crap as I stupidly didn’t mark half and quarter points to line up with the bodice. I used sew in poppers instead of button holes as apparently they are easier to un/fasten than buttons. Overall, it wasn’t as fast to sew as I thought it would be, but this was down to the fiddliness of sewing something so small when I’m more used to sewing for at least an age 5. It’s a great basic pattern with big potential for variations, and is also available in larger sizes (0-5 and 6-12years) for $10 each size group.

Perfect Diaper Cover | Pattern . Paint . PanThe instructions for the nappy cover are equally easy to follow, but this time I did ignore them for the leg binding. I did try it Dana’s way with folding the fabric in on itself to make a tube for the elastic, but I couldn’t get over how unpretty all the wrinkles were. Instead I made some bias binding, sewed it to the wrong side and folded it all over to the front. I actually prefer the look of this as then the inside only has a row of stitches and no ridge of fabric that could rub the skin. I french seamed the side and crotch seams. I’m not sure how what size little I is now, but her birth weight was about average, so I used the amount of elastic given in the instructions.

I’m really happy with how my gifts turned out, and I’m just hoping they fit for at least a little bit. I don’t know how practical they are really, but every girl should have a pretty dress, even if she’s not yet 3 weeks old! Now to find more baby girls to sew for…

(Apologies for the dodgy photos, these were the trial ones to find which background was best, but I was so excited to get it in the mail that I forgot to take proper photos the next day, duh.)Little Geranium Dress & Perfect Diaper Cover | Pattern . Paint . Pan