Completed: Stripey scoop neck t-shirt

Whoah! I sewed a garment for myself! Now, that was long ago! I suddenly really wanted something new and colourful to wear. It had to be a quick make without any fitting so I pulled out the pattern for a scoop neck tee by Meg McElwee that I’ve used before. That t-shirt is probably my most worn self-made garment ever so it seemed like a safe bet to use it for some fuss-free sewing.

The fabric is a bit of a funky striped knit that I originally bought with the intention of making a dress for my daughter. When I laid down the pattern on the fabric, I realized I could just fit it on with nothing to spare. With the uneven stripes in this print there is only so much pattern matching that you can do so I only sort of did this for the sides and made sure that both sleeves at least featured the stripes in the same order.

Yes, it’s in Dutch…

I had to laugh a bit at myself because after making the first t-shirt years and years and years ago (pre-blogging) I had written down on the traced pattern that I had made the t-shirt 1 inch shorter than the pattern. Years later I used the same pattern to make a maternity t-shirt and then wondered whether I had also removed that 1 inch from the pattern or not and wrote that question down on the pattern as well. I can now attest that yes, I did indeed cut off the 1 inch from the pattern. I think nowadays I make clearer notes when I modify a pattern, or at least I hope I do.

I wore my new t-shirt the entire day before taking pictures and I can already tell that it is going to be another winner in my wardrobe.

Does anyone else suddenly feel the need for brighter colours in their life? I wear a lot of dark blue and grey and have done so for years but now I want more purple and greens and maybe even pink? We’ll see what comes next. I probably need to get some more fabric first, this was the only colourful kid fabric that my pattern fit on.

Completed: a foxy nightdress

I made another pyjama for my daughter. Like last time I used the crossover tee pattern from Meg McElwee’s book “growing up sew liberated”. I did lenthen it by 3.5″ though to turn it into a nightdress.

She still fits in the size 3T that I made over a year ago but has definitely grown a lot since then so this time I made size 4T. There wasn’t enough fabric for long sleeves and she’ll probably mostly wear it during the summer so I opted for short sleeves. Last time I also made matching pyjama bottoms but as it turns out she doesn’t really like to wear pyjama pants and certainly not during the summer so I didn’t bother.

I tried to match the foxes on the two front bodice pattern pieces and this worked out reasonably well. To do this I first pinned the large front pattern piece to the fabric and then placed the pattern for the underlap on top. I drew around a couple of the foxes and made sure to match the foxes to those spots when I placed the pattern on the fabric.

For the ribbing I had a couple of options in my stash and went for the light blue because it was most summery.

Except for the top stitching everything was sewn with my overlocker. I used seraflock thread in the loopers for the first time and am pleased with how this turned out. This thread looks a bit fuzzy and is softer than regular overlocking thread. The edges of the seams feel very nice against your skin. I’ll definitely use this again!

My daughter is super happy with her new nightdress and I hope she’ll be able to wear it for a long time.

Completed: A pair of toddler pyjamas

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I made some garments! Admittedly, quite simple ones, but I did try some new patterns which was fun. Ever since my daughter spotted a fabric that I had used to make a pair of pyjama pants for myself she has been bugging me to make her a pair too. With the weather warming up she has recently transitioned from sleeping in an insulated onesie to real pyjamas so she could actually use another pair.

There wasn’t enough left of that particular fabric though, so I had a look in my stash for something else that she liked. I still had plenty left of a Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey with an Ann Kelle print. It might look familiar to some of you because I also used it for one of the maternity t-shirts that I wore during both my pregnancies. It feels very soft so I think it will make a comfortable pair of pyjamas too.

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No, I did not even attempt to do any pattern matching here.

I chose the sleeping johns pattern from Meg McElwee’s book “Growing up sew liberated” and decided to just try making them with my daughter present in the room. While tracing the pattern I warned her that if she made the tracing paper shift she’d get wonky leggings and she understood that this was something that we wanted to avoid. It is a very simple and quick pattern to make with only one pattern piece. We actually managed to pick a pattern and fabric, trace the pattern, cut the fabric, adjust my overlocker (someone had put several of the tension dials to 1 so I was extremely glad I had done a practice swatch before starting on the real thing!) and assemble the leggings except for hemming during a single nap of my youngest daughter.

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She also found this owl ribbon I had used previously in a pair of trousers I had made her and wanted me to use it for this pair as well.

 

I made the leggings as instructed except for how the elastic was put in. The instructions tell you to fold the waistband down to create a casing and then to put the elastic in between the fold. The elastic and casing are then topstitched at the same time. I prefer to first overlock the elastic to the top edge of the legging and then folding the whole thing to the inside to stitch in place. I think my method is easier to get right because the elastic is already tamed.

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The book suggests combining the sleeping johns with the crossover tee to create a set and since I still had more than enough fabric left I decided to do just that. I even found a good matching ribbing in my stash and now sort of wish I had finished the hem of the pants with ribbing as well to get an even more matching look. The t-shirt is also easy to assemble although I did scratch my head a bit at the edgestitching of the neckline ribbing until I realized that the overlap is actually stitched closed during this step. I also first sewed both sideseams and then attached the ribbing to the bottom instead of sewing one side seam and then attaching the ribbing before sewing the other side seam.

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The size chart in the book put my daughter in 3T, the garments turned out a bit larger than the Dutch size 104 my daughter now wears. I don’t have any size 110 yet to compare it to but I think the 3T is closer to that than to 104. She’ll be able to use this set for a good while.

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And if you thought that just because I had made sure the overlock stitches looked good before starting on the legging I could simply start sewing the t-shirt a couple of days later, think again. This time someone had found the differential feed and stitch length dials. And no, I did not even attempt to unpick those teeny tiny stitches. After all, if you touch something, things may get wonky…

 

 

Completed: Maternity t-shirts

Having experienced over 8 months of pregnancy so far, I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. I am looking forward to holding and seeing this little human that is growing inside me, but wish the growing inside me part didn’t have to happen first. If only I were a bird, or a man. My husband might argue that being married to a pregnant woman is not easy either but I don’t see him willing to trade with me right now. Especially with that whole giving birth part of pregnancy looming on the horizon.

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Funnily enough, I don’t think I look all that pregnant in these pictures.

During the moments I didn’t feel too crappy I managed to do some sewing but not that much. My sewing machine hasn’t been neglected this much since I first got it! Today I thought I’d show you some maternity wear. Actually, I’ll show you the only maternity wear I made…

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From the side though, there’s no mistaking what’s going on in there!

When my belly started to expand a bit too much to still fit comfortably in my regular wardrobe I adapted a t-shirt pattern hoping that I could use it to sew some t-shirts/sweaters that would last me through the rest of my pregnancy. I believe I was 24 or 25 weeks pregnant at the time (it took a while before I grew huge). I used the t-shirt pattern from Meg McElwee’s Sewing with knits Craftsy class. I made two t-shirts from this pattern years ago and at 25 weeks I was still wearing these although they started to get a bit short in the front. The fit of this pattern is a bit looser than the other t-shirts I made for myself which made it more suitable for an expanding body and a good starting point for a maternity shirt.

Changes made to the pattern:

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Schematic of changes (in red) made to the sewing with knits t-shirt pattern. The original pattern has shaped side seams but I found it too much trouble to incorporate this into the drawing.

  1. Added 1 inch to bottom of both front and back bodice because the rise of maternity pants is much lower than in regular pants and I wanted to keep the belly band of the pants covered.
  2. Added notches on both front and back bodice to make sure I could align the pattern pieces properly after all the changes that were later made to the front bodice only. The top notch is 18 cm from the top and the lower notch 6 cm from the bottom. I based this on how the original t-shirt fit me and took into account that I would lose some fabric in the seam and hem allowances. The area in between the notches is basically where I expected my belly to start and end at its largest, so where extra room is needed.
  3. Added 8 cm of extra length to front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly.
  4. Added ½’’ of extra length to bust area of front bodice to allow extra room for all those additional cup sizes that you accumulate during pregnancy (it’s quite crazy, really).
  5. Graded out the sides of the front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly. Started with nothing just below the top notch to 1 inch at widest part of belly and then straight down to the hem so in total 2 inches were added to the t-shirt circumference.

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My husband calls me turtle when I wear this t-shirt…

Construction wise the only changes that were needed were that the extra length that was added to the belly part of the front bodice was gathered to fit in between the two notches of the back bodice. The extra length at the bust was simply eased into the back by stretching the fabric between the top notch and top of the bodice as they were sewn together with my overlocker.

I managed to complete 3 t-shirts and I have pictures of 2. The third one is plain grey and I prefer to wear the ones shown here. Pictures didn’t happen until 36 weeks in a quick “let’s a least get pictures of these shirts while I’m still pregnant shoot”. I should have paid more attention when I put the shirts on, the one with 3/4 length sleeves was twisted a bit, the left side seam is oriented too much toward the front and the right side seam towards the back. Ah well, at least there are pictures…

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After more than 10 weeks of wearing these shirts regularly I can say that I am very happy with how they turned out. They are very comfortable and the changes I made to allow for expansion appear to be sufficient to also last the couple of weeks I still have left. I am glad I managed to make these shirts, I think I have worn them often enough to warrant the time spent making them and I feel much more comfortable in them than I would have been in the ready to wear shirts I tried on in stores and didn’t buy.

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Normal service will most likely not return anytime soon on this blog as it took ages to get this single blog post done… I’ll be back though, there are too many things I still wish to show you.