Last Minute Shenanigans

A present for my daughter’s friend, finished just a smidge too late whilst they are out at the birthday party.  It’s hanging up waiting for them upon their return. (Hence no modelled shots. Also, it is currently absolutely tipping it down with rain and dark and grey, not ideal light conditions for a last minute photo shoot).


It’s not the right time of year to make a cape. All the appropriate and even vaguely appropriate fabric that was in my local shop a few months ago is now in their warehouse to make way for the summer stuff. So I ended up with this cute denim fabric with an all over cross stitch design. Which is a little on the stiff side, but I think it’ll do.


The pattern is the Oliver and S Forest Path Cape, which I have made two times before.  This time I skipped my collar hack, as I didn’t think it would work in this stiff fabric, and I didn’t make an inside pocket, as I ran out of time, but I did include a hanging loop.  Oh and I definitely didn’t do pom poms, too much with this fabric.


Actually the whole thing ended up a bit rushed as my son has been ill and my mum is in hospital with a broken leg, serve me right for leaving things to the last minute. Still, it is a quick and easy make, especially third time around. My machine passed it’s first post service buttonhole test (hooray) and I sewed the buttons on with a cross stitch, it was meant to mimic the fabric, not sure it quite does, but the contrast thread still looks good.


In an ideal world I would’ve got some turquoise lining fabric, but I made do with this polyester shirting instead, due to budget constraints.

Right, now to await judgement from the 9 year olds…

When is Selfless Sewing Really Selfish Sewing?

When your kids are playing up and you have guests imminent/staying and you want to forget it all and go to your happy place, of course.

Of course, under those circumstances, you need some quick makes, simple things, either rectangles or well known patterns.

Just over a week ago I ended up giving a neighbour who was in labour a lift to the maternity hospital. Which of course meant that she (and her partner, and her mum, and her sister) had to go in the camper van (and the kids ended up hanging out with my slightly bemused next door neighbour for half an hour). She got there in time (in fact, in plenty of time, despite looking like she only had a couple of hours to go it turned out to be a long labour) and they are now at home with their new daughter.


So of course, I wanted make a little something as a momento for them and I ended up getting some more of the camper van fabric to do some, plus some co-ordinating yellow polka dots (as our van is yellow).


This taggie blanket uses ribbons from my stash and has her initial on one side in satin.


And the matching sunhat is maybe a little big for her at the moment but I hope it gets some use (her Dad modelled it for me, I think he was quite taken with it). This one is not rectangles but I have used this pattern so  many times I can run it up so fast now.

Even though I only bought half a metre of each fabric, I still had some left over. Which was useful for making a couple of pencil cases to give as presents (the girl was invited to two birthday parties on consecutive days), they have a few pens and things inside them.

And then thanks to Felafel and the BeeFelafel and the Bee I stumbled across this little wallet/purse tutorial and managed to make one of those up too as it takes quite a small amount of fabric. (It’s a little deeper than the tutorial to minimise the number of vans mangled in its making). I still have a little left over, although hubby has run off with the scraps of the polka dots.


Finally, this one is not camper van themed, rather a (very badly photographed) satin pillowcase as a gift for a friend who was supposed to be convalescing after a major operation, but as that has been postponed for a while, it’s now to give her sweet dreams in the mean time.




And all the heads they shall be covered up.

Are you bored of hats yet? I seem to make them a lot. Knitted and sewn. Sometimes a quick project is what you need.

This weekend it was the sewn sunhat variety, right in time for the thunderstorms to hit! (Well, it was Glastonbury festival weekend so I guess the SW was due a little rain).

double trouble

double trouble

First up, I finally made the sunhat I’ve been planning to make my daughter for ages (possibly a year, eek). Another Oliver and S one, reversible, blue gingham, to match her school uniform, with butterfly’s on the other side. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you, I did make two, cos I realised when I was cutting I had enough of each fabric for two and her friend has a birthday next week (different school, same ubiquitous blue checked summer uniform though). Hers is a smidge bigger than the gift one and has her initials embroidered on one side in gold, as I’ve never made two identical ones before and didn’t want to get them mixed up! (Lazy mummy rather predictably got lambasted for not embroidering her friends initials on the other one too.)



When I told my daughter I was making her friend one two she told me to save it for her upcoming birthday, not sure if I’m impressed or insulted. Anyway, construction wise these were the same as all the other times I’ve made them. This time I remembered interfacing (my daughter hates a floppy hat) but only had the useless stuff that always wrinkles and doesn’t stick left in my stash. I decided to try it anyway and finally noticed that it has instructions printed along the selvage, and, err, when you follow them it works just fine. Whoops. The only other difference was using some fancy colour change pink machine embroidery thread that I inherited for the topstitching on the brim as she’d been eyeing it up in my sewing box.

"It could be my weekend hat"

“It could be my weekend hat”

Next up, a hat for a 16th birthday present. Now, I’ve never been very fashion conscious but I’m pretty sure that I would have hated a friend of my mums to make me a bucket hat for my 16th birthday. I’m obviously very out of touch as apparently they’re “in” at the moment and the young woman in question is eagerly awaiting me to make her long promised hat. I had thought of something in denim, but got distracted. Then I heard that she would quite like purple flowers or birds. Neither of which I have, but I did have some purple butterflies, surely that’s close enough?

this is what cool teenagers look like, right?

this is what cool teenagers look like, right?

I opted for a plain dark blue (slightly textured, some kind of quilting cotton I got for a baby project and never made) for the reverse, and appliqued one butterfly on, following a top tip I read recently of using glue stick to hold it in place (well, it’s washable). I didn’t use interfacing this time as I was using a quilting cotton and another fairly stiff fabric. The fabric was all from my stash but I couldn’t resist this flowery bias trim with a lacy bit – as I thought it really lifts the blue side and actually it’s not too busy with the butterflies (which I was a bit concerned about).

applique and trim shot

applique and trim shot

The different finish meant a slightly different construction, I made both inner and outer hats, then pinned them wrong sides together and did my topstiching on the brim (I actually did concentric circles and everything rather than being lazy and doing a spiral). Finally I added the binding, which means my brim is about 1/2″ bigger as I didn’t need that seam allowance. But 16 year olds like to hide from the world at times, right? I hope the size is right, my family have really large heads, so it fits my 7 year old, who is rather hoping it wont fit the intended recipient, so she can have an extra hat. (I’m hoping she’ll get acquire some tact and empathy sometime before she’s all grown up.)

quick and dirty molly fix - half way there

quick and dirty molly fix – half way there

Finally, I made Issy Ahman, time travelling maidservant automata to the Countess Isabella a mob cap to wear instead of a pith helmet. I have no idea of the correct method of constructing mob caps, this one was a large circle(ish) of burgandy jersey (cos that’s what I had in burgandy), with a khaki embroidery anglaise trim added and then some horrendously expensive elasticated stuff sewn round to pull it in (that’ll teach me not to check the prices of trims before asking for them to be cut).


We managed to intersect timestreams so I could present it and she seemed pleased, as far as I can tell. As a bonus, she sorted out some washing for me before disappearing off to look for her missing mistress.

everyone should have their own maid servant automata to help around the house, isn't this what we were promised in Tomorrow's World?

everyone should have their own maid servant automata to help around the house, isn’t this what we were promised in Tomorrow’s World?

And now I’m planning to not make any more hats for a few days. In fact, what I need to do is have a big pre friend staying tidy up, but I expect I’ll get distracted and sew something random instead…

Easter Bonnets

Warning the free Oliver and S sunhat pattern is seriously addictive. A quick fun make, albeit with a rather fiddly step of getting the top to attach to the sides. Doesn’t take much fabric.


Five reversible sunhats, count ’em

I’ve documented my addiction with this pattern before. This particular batch got started last year. I had quite a bit of lawn fabric leftover after making my mum a Tova so I made some baby tops for small people I knew. There was still fabric left over, so I cut a matching sunhat out for the smallest baby and squeezed one out for her mun too (just, one side needed piecing). Problem is, she has 3 sisters, so before I knew it I was planning 5 reversible sunhats, plus 2 more for my two. Strangely enough I didn’t get very far.


bravely modelling in the park on a decidedly less than sunny day

They ended up in my pile of “current” projects for a while, until I rediscovered them whilst looking out pocket fabric for my 2nd pair of junipers. Somemhow, compared to trouser making they seemed fairly straightforward and I got 3 1/2 done. Another push yesterday saw them finished in time to hand over at a playdate in the park. Now we just need some sunny weather for them to wear them in. Well, maybe not for a few days until I’ve got around to making my two theirs…


the baby hat her hat on for approximately 0.3 seconds before pulling it off. Again.

Construction details: err, as before really. Seam allowance of 1/2″ is included in the pattern pieces. Attaching the crown to the sides is tricky – use many, many pins. Although I seem to be able to do it without cutting notches in the sides these days, not sure how. Having the crown underneath and the side on top when you go to the machine works for me. I forgot to use interfacing on the brim and they seem ok. I use this construction method and topstitch the brim in a spiral, cos I’m lazy.

Oh yeah, and the hat cut in size 3-6 months to match the blouse is still on my pile, I had to start again with that one as it clearly wasn’t going to fit any more, as that young woman has grown a lot in the last year!

Anna inspired cape

Hi there, how’re you doing? I hope the sewing gods have been keeping your bobbins full and lining up your pdf’s for you.

This week I have (probably unrealistic) plans for 3 woolly things with linings. This is the second started and the first finished. As The Boy decided to make his sister a dress for his birthday (blog post coming soon, well, as soon as he finishes it), I ditched my original idea of making her a dress (I didn’t want the competition!). Instead I decided to use the Oliver and S Forest Path cape pattern

Princess Anna is Elsa 's younger sister, Dez's Cousin and the main ...

to make an everyday wear cape that was inspired by Princess Anna (from Frozen of course)

Any resemblance?  (excuse the photobomb)

Any resemblance? (excuse the photobomb)

I couldn’t find the fabric I wanted locally, so after a lot of dithering I bought some wool suiting online. Turned out I did too much dithering before purchasing, as it only got here the day before her birthday. Having given up on it getting here in time, I then rushed out to gather the other supplies needed and planned an evenings sewing to get it finished in time. Only to end up falling into a deep sleep before the kids bedtime due to unexpectedly having to take medicinal antihistamine (note to self, don’t believe the manufacturer when they say they’ve listed all the potential allergen ingredients in bold, read the non bold items too, just in case). Probably a blessing in disguise as there’s less pressure to rush when you start a project after the deadline.

The fabric is from Remnant Kings and is described as “Colourful cerise lightweight coating wool. Ideal for a light summer coat or suit … 30% Wool, 70% polyester … Dry Clean Only”. It was more than I normally spend on fabric, but I only needed a metre and I’m really happy with how the end garment looks. Note to self, sewing with decent fabric has the potential to make your creations look more professional. However, the fabric doesn’t seem so very different from the cerise boiled wool available locally at half the price. I’m not sure how different as having initially dismissed the boiled wool, I’m loathe examine it in more detail only to discover it’s the same stuff. Oh well, like I said, I only bought a metre.

side view

side view

I also washed it on a wool cycle in the machine. Despite it being dry clean only. I was using Lladybirds theory of treat it how you want to treat the garment before you start. It seems to have survived fine although it stank of germaline when wet, presumably something they’ve treated it with.

Attatching the bobbles

Attatching the bobbles

I put bobbles on to mimic Anna’s cloak. I nearly didn’t, because they are so twee, but I knew my daughter would love them. They were the end of the roll and not quite enough, I thought I got some matching ones at another shop, also the end of a roll (hmm, local shortage of pink bobbles suggests that I am not the only person to be making something like this), but when I got them home they were bigger and orangier and clearly didn’t match. However, this lot went from the centre back to the curve at the front, so I decided that looked intentional. I attached the ribbon in my seam allowance, bobbles facing inwards, before sewing the main cape and lining together, like you do with piping. It went ok, but then when I clipped my curves I must’ve clipped the tape because one bobble each side under the arm had a snipped through thread and fell off, so I had to reattach them by hand. Other than that they went well.

Nearly there

Nearly there

The lining isn’t “proper” lining fabric, but a heavier fabric that colour matched better, possibly polyester satin, but I’m guessing here. My fabric knowledge is pretty low and the shops I use often have no labels on their fabrics. Anyway, it wasn’t as bad to work with as I feared and has added some weight to the lightweight wool which I think works well. I was good and tacked it in place before pressing it. My old sewing teacher would’ve been proud.

Mandarin collar

Mandarin collar

I used this tutorial to draft a mandarin collar. I figured I could always remove it if it didn’t work, but I’m really pleased with it. It’s 2cm high rather than 1″ as suggested, to scale it down a little (and because I had metric graph paper to hand 😉 ) and I changed the height by .5cm rather than 1/2″, but other than that I followed the tutorial exactly and it was remarkably easy. I didn’t bring the collar all the way to the front due to the overlap and I curved the end down. I also stitched some “stuff” on to make it look more fancy (no idea what to call this, not normally by cup of tea). I like how it came out. I was planning to put more “stuff” around the edge of the cape but the Girl vetoed it and I think she was probably right. Sometimes less is more. So now I have several metres of this “stuff” leftover and something similar yet different I bought in green (silly me, shopping without fabric samples so I bought both).

understitching on collar and hanging loop in action

understitching on collar and hanging loop in action

The only other change I made to the pattern was to add a hanging loop to the facing, because why wouldn’t you?



The buttons are just perfect, large, dark wood with a snowflake design painted on. I was so pleased to find those. (Yet I failed to get a decent close up of them sorry). I sewed them on with some vintage button thread I inherited.

Moon spotting

Moon spotting

I’m really pleased with this make, it’s come out better than I’d imagined and looks really smart, like something that you’d find in a trendy kids clothes boutique (with associated price tag). As we’re coming up to spring here I’m hoping it will get a lot of wear and will take less persuading for her to put on (she doesn’t like layers, but I’m hoping the Anna factor will win her over, combined with the fact that its not fitted in the arms, a coat over jumper is a major uncomfortable issue with that girl!). I’m not likely to make this pattern again in a hurry (I don’t think she needs more than one cape) but if I had a timemachine the only thing I might change is to add a pocket. I realised at the end this doesn’t have one. I think you could get away with a welt breast pocket on the lining.

I think she likes it!

I think she likes it!

The pattern is a super easy make and comes together quickly. The instructions are good and cover things like gathering the seam allowance of the curves before bagging it out to help the lining lay flat – I would never have thought of that. And, with a few minor tweaks, I reckon it makes a good practical every day dressing up item too.

What’s your favourite every day dress up make?

Boring trousers

I wanted to make my son a pair of trousers, as he’s been feeling dissatisfied with his existing pairs (I previously described this as him having trouser issues which is a phrase that made Hubby wince and declare “never describe me as having trouser issues”). The Boy looks at his plain coloured trousers (blue denim, dark green cord, err black with loads of colourful pockets on) and he looks at his sisters leggings and tights with their riot of colour and patterns and it doesn’t seem fair. And it isn’t. There is no rhyme nor reason to it. I tried pointing out that the gender pay gap and glass ceilings for women weren’t fair either and he agreed wholeheartedly. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

He dubbed them his "mechanical leg" trousers

He dubbed them his “mechanical leg” trousers

So, nice bright trousers for the boy was my plan. Something to cheer him up. Then I went fabric shopping. Finding fabric suitable for clothing the legs of boisterous boys is not easy locally. Finding such fabrics in bright colours, nigh on impossible. I suppose I could have used some of the red and white stripey fabric I made an apron with but that is too much for my taste. So I came away with some, khaki-ish coloured mystery fabric, that feels like it has cotton in, looks almost like it’s double shot with a similar tone giving it a slight sheen, is thin but very dense, pins and needles leave marks in it and it feels almost like it’s some high performance/waterproof fabric. Wierd. Also, dull. But hey, at least it’s not black. Or blue. That’s a start, right?

Not having a boy’s trouser pattern for non-stretch wovens, I bought the Oliver and S Art Museum Trouser and Vest pattern. Hmm, that’s a cute picture you used to illustrate your pattern Oliver and S but the fabric you used for the trousers makes it impossible to see what’s going on! I bought the larger size for my 8 year old, which is billed as sizes “age 5-12”, but if you check the pattern envelope (I didn’t) it’s actually sizes 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12. Which was slightly annoying as I have a tall 8 year old so wanted an age 9 really.

Back pocket cog detail and topstitching

Back pocket cog detail and topstitching

After some measuring of the boy I decided to cut a straight size 10. I did change a few things around in construction. I started by adding the front pockets (as per the instructions) – wish I’d realised how near to the seamline the pocket edge was, they’re rather chino like (again, this is actually clear on the pattern diagram, I just failed to notice), I’d prefer something more scooped out and jeansey. If I make these again I think I’ll alter this. Then I “self drafted” patch back pockets (i.e. traced round pockets on his jeans and added seam allowance) rather than put welt one’s from the pattern in as I was going for a more casual look (I guess in America going to the museum is a more dress up occassion than it is for everyone I know?).

The thick, gold (but not metallic) thread that I used for topstitching was in some stash I inherited. It came on this cardboard bobbin that won't fit in my machine and I never knew what to do with. Until I realised it made the perfect trouser topstitching thread and sat ok on the bobbin winder spool on my machine. Hooray.

The thick, gold (but not metallic) thread that I used for topstitching was in some stash I inherited. It came on this cardboard bobbin that won’t fit in my machine and I never knew what to do with. Until I realised it made the perfect trouser topstitching thread and sat ok on the bobbin winder spool on my machine. Hooray.

Next, I flat felled the outer leg seams using the Coletterie tutorial. I think it’s more common to flat fell the inside seam (you can’t do both, because of trouser/sewing machine geometry), but hubby has a pair flat felled on the outer seam and I had A Plan.

Cog detail for the front right leg

Cog detail for the front right leg

The plan was to decorate the trousers and make them less plain. I had a complicated design idea of cogs (a bit steam punky) that was beyond my skills with a brush. Luckily I found some stuff rolled up in a stripey bag with my sewing things, it had no label but I thought it was freezer paper, so I tried and it seemed to be so. I’ve never used freezer paper before (the first time I came across it I wondered if they meant something akin to greaseproof paper, but it seams to be a craft product, so I’ve no idea why it has that name), which you can cut into a stencil, iron on and then peel off after painting. It was quite easy to use (even without instructions) but the stencil is obviously only as good as your cutting out skills! The advantage is that you can put bits inside others (e.g. you can cut the circle to go inside an O, unlike a solid stencil). After a bit of experimenting I decided to do a layer of black paint (it took a lot, the fabric seemed to resist the paint in a way I’ve not seen before, adding to my suspicions of slight waterproofness) then 2 layers of either silver or gold fabric paint, leaving it to dry and setting with the iron between layers. I used Dylon, which is the only fabric paint I’ve ever had and usually works fine.

that wraps around to the back

that wraps around to the back

A bit of time later and The Girl helped me reveal a cog on one of the back pockets and 3 interlocking cogs (go me) on one front leg that slightly wrap around the outer seam to the back. Some of the black is showing, but I’m happy with that, it helps the cogs stand out and just makes them look a bit dirty 😉

Botched fly

Botched fly

Next, more construction time. I used Oliver and S’s Zipper Fly Tutorial to make the fly functional. It was all fairly straight forward except step 10, where I got confused, and instead of sewing just the zipper tape to the faux fly (fly facing) I topstitched it from the outside. I blame the photo, which looks like that stitching line is pinned from the outside, so I assumed it was stitched from the outside (actually, I kept getting confused as to what photo’s went with which step, otherwise it was well explained. I prefer a good diagram to a photo myself, but I suppose for a free tutorial one can’t complain. Except they recommend adding a functional fly to age 5+ trousers, which is the whole upper pattern size, but they don’t add instrucitons as they’d be “too long”, so maybe a diagram isn’t too much to wish for seeing as the insructions with the patterns are diagrams). Anyway, I didn’t want to unpick it as this fabric keeps holes (and creases don’t iron out either), so I left it. It didn’t look so bad until I sewed an approximation of the topstitching line I should be sewing. The two lines together look wierd. But I’m hoping people will be distracted by the shiny cogs.

Angled belt loops

Angled belt loops at basting stage

Back belt loop variation

Completed crossover back belt loop variation

After the fly, it was fairly straight forward construction. Sew inside leg seam. Hem trousers (confession time, my first row of topstitching was too low down, so I had to do a double row). After that the boy helped me measure and cut out the belt loops. The pieces makes enough for 6 loops but you only need 5. He wanted to use all of them, so I suggested we do a cross loop at the back, as I’ve seen on Ready To Wear trousers. I basted those two belt loops at a 45 degree angle facing outwards at the two notches either side of the back seam, the other four I placed as instructed.

attaching elastic to waistband facing

attaching elastic to waistband facing

Then there just the waistband to do. I used some lining fabric for the inside waistband but I changed the construction order so I wouldn’t have raw edges on the inside. I sewed the lining edge down first, then I sewed the ends together (as you can’t have a continuos loop waistband with a fly) around the zip. Next I added a piece of elastic in the back of the waistband, attatched to the lining at either end and at the backseam. The amount to use was trial and error and got ripped out and replaced. It’s still a bit baggy, but hey, he’ll wear a belt with them. To finish the waistband I folded the outside edge down, tucked the seam allowance under and topstitched it into place all around the edges of the waistband (i.e. I sewed a rectangle when topstitching_. I realised at this point that all this stitching meant that the two lots of understitching I did when joining the waistband pieces and also when I’d attached the waistband to the trousers were probably redundant. Oh well.

Waistband part attatched (Zip from a bundled I got cheap from)

Waistband part attatched (Zip from a bundle I got cheap from Make do and Mend Pre-Loved Craft stuff Facebook page)

I used a short stitch length zig zag to attatch the top of the belt loops, like I’d done at the top of the patch pockets on the back (another idea from some RTW trousers). Last but not least, I well and truly messed up the buttonhole in what seems to be an unfortunate trend and ended up finishing it by hand. I used the sample button from Hubby’s wasitcoat.

Location - models choice

Location – models choice

And voila, one pair of trousers, not too hard to make, the complicated steps were the ones I added myself really, plus the functional fly. Another time I might try following the Grainline fly tutorial as I remember that went well on my Moss mini’s. Also I did skip the welt pockets, but I know the Oliver and S welt pocket tutorial is ace from my recent waistcoat make. The trousers fit, with a belt and a bit of rolling up at the bottoms, so maybe I could’ve got away with an age 8, but I didn’t want to make them and then him to grow out of them a month later. They have met with approval, so we’ll have to see how they fare in rotation with the pack of brightly coloured ready made trousers his cousin sourced and sent down.

Summer Fair Tops

A while ago I made my mum a Tova blouse for her birthday. I was so excited upon finishing it that I forgot to photograph it, so no blog post yet.

This is the second Tova I made, and like the first I was left with a lot of fabric left after cutting. Not just a few inches, we’re talking in the order of a metre left here (didn’t actually measure it, sorry).

So, I had a biggish piece of a beautiful soft cotton lawn left, in a floral print I would never wear (I am not a floral person). And my daughter has loads of clothes at the moment (and making something for her means having to make something for her brother).

Now my friend was expecting her fourth child, so I bought the lullaby layette pattern from Oliver and S. I thought the fabric would make a lovely shirt to help cover up a newborn in hot sunny weather.

By the time I got around to cutting it she was 2 months old, so I cut a size 3-6 months and I got a size 6-12 months out of the fabric too for the 9 month old who lives next door. I figured making 2 shirts at the same time was much less than twice the hassle of making one.

The instructions were (if you know anything of the reputation of Oliver and S) unsurprisingly very clear and easy to follow and gave a lovely finish to the garment. But I did have a little trouble of my own making. You see, I was wondering how to finish the seams (I don’t have an overlocker/serger) and it occurred to me that I had seen a tutorial on the Grainline website for French Seaming all the seams in a top – including the armholes. Now, a fiddly little baby top is perhaps not the best place to practice a new technique but as it came with a generous 1/2 inch seam allowance I decided to go for it as the idea of neat enclosed seams that would be itch free for delicate skin appealed.

So, front placket done and in place, back pleat done, shoulders french seamed, neck binding on, sides french seamed, sleeves french seamed, armhole gather stitches sewn all good. I’m ready to attach the sleeves to the blouse. Except they’re too big. Way too big.

armhole/sleeve sizing discrepency

armhole/sleeve sizing discrepency

Can you see the two pins marking the bottom of the armhole on the main blouse, and how that is nowhere near the bottom of the sleeve.

I was confused and unsure what to do next. Recut the sleeves? Gather them? Where had I gone wrong? I could end up with huge sleeves or too small ones or too tight armholes. I was sure the fault was mine.

I left my sewing for a week or more. When I came back to it I realised what my mistake had been. I had decided to sew my seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance, trim, turn and use a 1/4″ seam allowance to enclose the raw edges. But I had somehow forgotten that the 1/4″ seam allowance is marked by a line on my presser foot and instead decided that the edge of the presser foot is 1/4″, when in fact it’s 3/8″. So I’d used 3/8″ stitching line, making my finished french seams take 3/4″ seam allowance – which was 1/4″ more than intended. This made a big difference on such a small garment. After some more thinking I decided to gather the sleeve head between the notches (as a little gather more gather than intended wouldn’t hurt), and then trim a little bit out of the blouse, to extend the bottom of the armhole down to meet where the sleeve actually reached, hopefully thereby avoiding too tight armholes.

the fix

the fix

I cut little “v” shapes off the blouse and then sewed on the sleeves, actually using a 1/4″ sewing line to make the french seams this time.

frenching all my seams

view of the finished french seams

The french seams came out ok and attaching a sleeve this way was surprisingly easy despite how small they were. I must confess, I didn’t actually press them with an iron, it was too fiddly to contemplate and I don’t have a tailors ham, I thought I’d iron creases in everywhere, so I just “finger pressed” them which seemed to work ok in this lightweight fabric.



Once that was done the blouses were easy to finish and were both well received. Both mums have commented what a useful garment it is to cover up babies in the hot weather we’ve been having and how difficult it is to find such items in the shops. And apparently both babies went to different summer school/church fetes/fairs the weekend after I made them wearing their new tops.

It’s a little hard to see the details on the finished garment as the floral pattern shows on both sides of the fabric, so not having any babies to hand I requisitioned my daughters doll for a pose.

Still a little Growing room in this one

Still a little growing room in this one for Baby Taylor

So apart from that little drama of my own making, the pattern is great. I had a little trouble lining up the pdf as usual for any patter I download, as whatever I do (yes, including asking it not to scale) my printer stretches one side a bit longer than the other. It was really noticable what the problem was on this pdf as the pattern had helpful fient 1″ grid lines to assist with matching up.

The instructions were clear and concise. The finished garment has a placket (bound slit) down the front which is explained really well. It makes a really big neck opening – which is essential in babywear in my book (having to take off a garment that with a small neck after it’s been soiled by an exploading nappy is no joke). It does hang open slightly when worn, indeed like a Tova, which I wasn’t expecting. Looking again at the pictures on the Oliver and S website the shirt there seems to have a snap fastening placed half way up and indeed there was a snap fastening placement guide that I didn’t use. So this is probably my fault. But I’ve just looked at the instructions again and it’s not clear to me where the step is I missed. The issue is that the instructions for the shirt are mixed in with the instruction for the body suit, as many steps are the same. There is an “add the snaps” section and point 1 says that it’s for View A only (which is the bodysuit) so I assumed that all the instructions there were for the bodysuit. The picture for point 2 about attaching snaps to the placket shows the 3 snaps of the bodysuit – I’m assuming I was meant to figure out that I should be adding a snap to the shirt at this point too. Anyway, it works fine without a snap it’s just a different style.

I recommend making summer versions in a cotton lawn and it is surprisingly easy to use French seams throughout, provided you check what distance you’re sewing at!