Monday, 18 September 2017

Swing top for child with back wrap feature

I promised I would give some ideas for how the wrap top I made for Fleur could be made if you don't happen to have a convenient wrap beach skirt of the right length hanging around (or any other bit of fabric you can recycle). 

Back view

You need a piece of fabric about a metre or more wide, by roughly the length you want the top to be, a light stretch fabric being ideal. You also need some stretch bias binding or T shirt rib for the neck and armhole bindings. Or you could make your own binding from the main fabric. My fabric was a silky finish, but any light knit that will drape will would be fine. A yard wide might be a bit tight, depending on the child, but most fabrics come in about 45" or 114 cm wide plus.  (This is for a small child up to 5 years old, but you can increase the dimensions as long as you have a suitable pattern. See ideas below.) It also needs to be about 18" deep or 45 cm plus. A large adult T shirt might also have enough material. As you can see from the skirt I made mine from (which is folded in half in the picture below), this was on a slight curve. But a straight piece of fabric would wortk fine - you just need to cut the hem into a curve.
Ideally, a fabric that doesn't need hemming, like a knit, would work best. My material was already finished, with a slightly frilly edge. A serged edge or even a zig zag edge would also work, But do you want something that will drape loosely, especially at the back. If you were going to use a non-stretchy fabric, I would aim to cut it a bit more on the bias,

So, having found a suitable piece of material, you need a bodice pattern, with a back and a front. I used Climbing the Willow's basic bodice top, a free PDF pattern, to make this top. It comes in sizes 18 months to 5 years old. I used the age 5 for this. But there are several other free PDF patterns that you could use if you wanted a different size. For example, this peplum top from On the Cutting Floor comes in sizes 1-8, and you could just use the top part of the bodice and extend it. There is also this one from Imagine Gnats, which is available up to size 14, though I haven't personally used it as yet. For a two year old, there is this lovely swing tank top from True Bias, which would be perfect. (I've also stretched this pattern for a three-year old, and you can see the result on this post (near the bottom).)

Or you can draft your own pattern, if you feel adventurous and don't want to be constrained by sizes. There's an A-line dress draft from Frills and Flares, which is fairly simple, or this one from Stitch and Pink.

The plan is to make the top without any seams, just wrapping round at the back. So, as you can see from the layout above, I put the centre front on the fold.  I then slightly overlapped the top of the side of the back (as I wasn't going to have a seam, I reduced the pattern by the seam allowance) but I FLARED IT OUTWARDS at the bottom of the side seam. (If you were to use an A-line pattern you probably wouldn't need to do that, for example the Frills and Flares pattern, or the True Bias pattern, as they are already flared.) Then, I duplicated the back, and pinned that on as well, also a little flared. Then I cut out around the whole pattern neck and armholes (but not the bottom). On the assumption that you are using rectangular material, you will need to cut the bottom edge about 5" longer than the centre front, curving upwards to meeting the side seam of the second back piece.

When you open it out, this is what you get. You could then finish the whole of the bottom hem by serging or zigzagging. This will probably give you the slightly frilly effect l already had. And now, you can proceed the same as on my earlier post, to put the top together.

This makes a really cute top. My grand-daughter oves it, as it's very easy to pull on and off.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Another skirt and top

In my last post, I wrote about Fleur's new skirt and top. Fleur's little sister Rose couldn't be left out, so I made her a new skirt and top this summer as well. She's 2 and a half, but the top pattern was age 4, so it was nice and loose for summer. 

Again, the skirt was a simple gathered skirt. It looks a bit long in these pictures, in fact both the skirts do. This is mainly due to the fact that these two little girls had not had lunch yet, and so their waists were a little skinnier than normal! So the skirts had slid down a bit below their waists. I offered to tighten the elastic, but their Mummy said no, just wait till they've eaten!

For details of the free pattern I used, and how I went about making these, read on.

Summer skirts and tops

I've recently posted about one of my grand-daughters who only wants to wear dresses, and my attempts to persuade her into shorts. One of her cousins, Fleur, is the complete opposite, and will only just be persuaded to wear a dress for church. The rest of the time, she wants to wear trousers or shorts. But her Mum thought she might consider a skirt and top. So I set out to make her a skirt and top (and of course, eventually, one for her sister).

The top was a recycled adult beach skirt, with a nice wrap around feature at the back, and the skirt was this nice whales and sailing boats thin knit fabric, which was an on-line purchase. You can find out how to make similar clothes after the jump.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

More new baby clothes

I've probably bored all of you to death as I exhort you NOT to make first size clothes, but probably, like me, you can't resist, and then you may regret it afterwards. In my last post, I wrote about making baby dresses for my newest grand-daughter, and how some of them were too small from day one. In this post, I'll continue on the same theme a bit, but with a few other baby clothes.

They are all easy to make. I'll give you some ideas about free patterns that work for a small baby (though not that small!)

Read on for more information and ideas.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Back to baby dresses - don't make them too small!

I haven't had to make baby clothes for a couple of years now, so it's nice to have a baby to make things for again.

Unfortunately, I don't often enough heed my own advice. A few months ago, I urged readers NOT to make first size baby clothes for a baby shower. Suffice it to say, I ignored that advice. But - I repeat - don't make first size clothes for babies!!! See my earlier post .

Above is two-week old Ada - in a size 3-6 months dress!

In this post, I'll review some of the baby dresses I've made for Ada from free patterns, and show you my tips (and my mistakes).

Friday, 28 July 2017

Shorts for small girls (2)

In my last post, I wrote about some shorts I'd made this summer for my grand-daughters, using the Craft Passion Kids Shorts pattern. Nice though it is, the shorts from that pattern hadn't entirely worked to my satisfaction. I think the pattern probably works better for boys. 

In fact, Jane completely rejected her pair. And normally, she loves the clothes I make her. So I thought I'd have another go, making something she would think a little bit more feminine. (She wasn't supposed to be a pink, frilly girl. But her childminder has several daughters older than Jane, and I think the girliness of these older girls has caught her imagination.)

Well, she looks happy enough with this outfit - and did actually agree to wear it for an outing to Ham House. I'd used a different shorts pattern this time, and I think these shorts do seem a better fit. To find out more about these shorts and the top she's wearing with them, read on.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Shorts for small girls (1)

I made these shorts for Fleur over two years ago, when she was about 18 months old. I loved the pattern I used, Summer Shorts by Caila Made (and recommend the pattern and tutorial). It's basically an Age 2 pattern, although it is suggested that you can try printing it bigger or small for different sizes within reason.

However, all my grand-daughters are growing! Where did the last 2 years go? So I thought I should do some research on alternative free patterns for shorts.

The first one I came across seemed perfect, size wise, so I launched into making new shorts for the girls. In this post, I'll tell you about my experiences with the Craft Passion Kids Shorts pattern, in size 3 and size 7. In the end, I think this pattern probably works better for boys than for girls, but the pattern and tutorial are offered free, and are straightforward to make up, so I still think they are worth a look. So read on to find out about my experience with this pattern.

Adapting pattern sizing

Recently, I made a number of pairs of shorts using the Craft Passion kid shorts pattern. It is only made in sizes age 3 and age 7 (and the author says the sizes may be small, as they are for an Asian sized child). I decided the age 7 would probably work for Fleur. She's only 3 and three-quarters, but very tall for her age, and mostly wearing age 5-6 clothes. So if an Asian size 7 would come up small, that would probably be OK. Rose is 2 and a half, but I figured the age 3 would work for her. But what to do about Jane, who is 3 and a half, and now starting to grow  into size 4-5 clothes? I decided a bit of interpolation would be needed. It doesn't usually work to just take an even amount off, or add an even amount on all the way round a pattern. In this post, I'll show you how I did it, in case you have a pattern you need to alter size-wise. 

Here is the first pair of shorts made from the size 7 pattern.

Age 7