Sewing for Small People

When it comes to sewing for kids, I’m torn. The home sewist in me loves the idea of cute and quirky unique clothes lovingly made by hand. But my practical side wonders whether it’s ever really worth the effort. Perhaps I’m guilty of a nostalgia for my own distant childhood of homemade clothes. I mean, what’s not to like about pink knitted balaclavas with pom-poms on?! Let us not even mention the brown crimplene flares with white crosses on that worked like bully-magnets. My sister and I won’t have been the only ones to have spent their childhoods in highly flammable apparel.  I guess what I’m saying is that there seems to be a perennial mismatch between mum-made childhood clothes and the gratitude of the recipients. Should I really expect my fickle small people to appreciate the work that goes into the clothes they request on a whim?

GBSB Shirred Dress

So, I’m still waiting for my youngest small person to decide whether she wants to try on her new GBSB Shirred Elastic Dress from the Fashion With Fabric book. It’s hard to gauge her impressions as yet, but I am rather pleased with this little number. It was my first attempt at shirring, and it was far easier than I ever thought. The whole project was an evening’s work.  I used elephant/mammoth print cotton lawn bought on Goldhawk Road, which I’ve seen on a few other blogs. See Amy of Almond Rock’s blog for a more grown-up take on the fabric, and a discussion on whether it’s an elephant or a mammoth!

GBSB Shirred Dress

More success has been had with these fantastic reversible sun hats. In fact it was hard to get my hands on them for the photo! The pattern is from the Oliver & S book, Little Things To Sew, and was really simple to follow.The topstitching around the crown and on the brim give this hat a really high quality finish. I made both hats up in left-over quilting cotton: Amy Butler’s Tumble Rose pattern, and the hyacinth one is an old Kaffe Fassett. The sizing comes up a little small, so perhaps they won’t last as many years as I’d hoped.

I found the pattern online for free:

Pattern and instructions: http://www.melaniefalickbooks.com/storage/STCCraft_OliverS_BucketHatPattern_.pdf

So, are your homemade gifts received with compliment or complaint? And will they one day grow to appreciate them, or should I just give up now and go back to selfish sewing?

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GBSB Casual Trousers

Thanks so much for your lovely comments about the fate of Sew South London. It’s really wonderful to hear that you enjoy the posts. I feel motivated to continue, but at a different pace. I’m really looking forward to writing some more varied posts. With all the sewing I’ve been doing there’s not much mental space for anything other than finished garment posts. I also think I might re-brand as Sew South East Asia!

I’ve been having a push on summer clothes as it’s been glorious spring weather here in South London, and as you know I’m soon to head out for the horizon. Of all the patterns in the GBSB: Fashion With Fabric book that I most wanted to try out (after the drapey dress) was the casual trousers. The original pattern was for a playsuit. Brave as I am, there’s not many than can pull off a good playsuit look once you get past 18 months old.
GBSB casual trousersThe pattern took half an hour or so to trace off, then maybe the same again to cut out. The sewing didn’t take long either! Sometimes you just need some instant sewing gratification. The first pair are black with white polka dot viscose purchased from The Wimbledon Sewing Shop in Tooting. The drape is fantastic on these trousers, but the downside is that they do look (and feel) a little like pyjamas. In fact when I wore them, my personal stylist (aka Mr SSL) politely enquired which train I would be taking to work. He then informed me that he’d be on a later train. He literally could not believe that I would wear pyjama bottoms to work.

GBSB casual trousersPair number two were made with delicious Indian cotton from The Cloth House in Soho, purchased with my final batch of birthday vouchers. I didn’t try to pattern-match the block print, other than to line up the pattern pieces at the same point on the hem. As luck would have it, there’s one point on each outer leg seam that matches perfectly. As the seam tapers in, there’s no chance of matching the print the whole length of the seam.

GBSB casual trousersThe cotton paid drapes differently and create less of a clown-like silhouette. Both pairs are comfortable to wear. The elasticated waistband was quick and easy to insert, but to avoid the granny-trousers look I think you need to have a top covering it.

The light’s not great in these photos. To incentivise my photographer I told him he didn’t need to leave the sofa. All credit goes to my clever pre-schooler who took the photo at the top of this post!

Single White Female in South London: Thimberlina’s GBSB dress!

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Lucky lucky me! I have a dress to blog about today that I can take no credit for. Last week, Thimberlina posted about her GBSB drapey dress, and how she wasn’t entirely happy with the finished garment. The consensus from her readers was that although it was an interesting design, it wasn’t massively wearable due to its Humpty-Dumpty-esque design. I couldn’t disagree more! Despite its egg-like proportions, It was love at first sight! So, Thimberlina very kindly sent it down to South London for me to rehome it, and maybe even remodel it. If you haven’t come across this dress, it’s from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric, published to accompany this year’s TV series.

IMG_0412Wearing someone else’s hand-made dress reminded me of the 1992 film ‘Single White Female’, where creepy new housemate takes stalking to a whole new level altering her appearance to look like her host. Am I showing my age here? Sorry, Thimbelina. I hope this isn’t too disturbing to read about! I won’t be moving to Yorkshire just yet (sadly).

There’s really very little to say about the dress. Thimberlina described the construction process in her post. I was going to consider whether to make any alterations. But the truth is I just love it the way it is! My daughters have nick-named it The Moon Dress for obvious reasons! I’ve worn it here with black tights and my trusty white Church’s brogues. From the photos, it looks like I might have static issues.

IMG_0417I will try to force myself to hem it before I wear it to work next week, and will come up with a suitable retort for those asking whether I’m expecting again! Having seen the photos, I think Thimberlina’s right about the hands-in-pockets pose being most flattering!

A huge thank you to Thimberlina for sending me a gorgeous dress and for doing all the hard work. There’s definitely wardrobe space for this dress in my house!