last gasp of 2013…

here are the last of my 2013 makes… my oldest daughter, Anastasia, is not a girly girl. she frowns at ruffles, frills, and anything pink. i bought this double knit in a color just at the edge of her acceptable range of purple and sewed up the anywhere dress from goto patterns. it’s a perfect dress that goes.. well… anywhere. essentially this is a t-shirt dress with sleeve length variations. since i used a double knit i cut one size larger than she measured.

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i typically do all my knits on the serger, but this time i went with my regular sewing machine for a majority of the construction. most of the seams don’t really need the stretch, so i’m not concerned about popped stitches. and if a stitch does pop, well duh i sew. also, i find that double knit is just too bulky for serging since you can’t press the SA flat.

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an odd thing about this pattern is that you are supposed to finish the neckline with a very large facing that extends most of the way down the armholes. while i kinda get the rationale of the giant facing (keeps the facing anchored and free of flip-ups) i decided to make a more standard-sized facing. now, i know you’re probably thinking ditch the facing entirely, genius! so hear me out—i do think it’s a legit neckline treatment, especially on a thicker fabric like a double knit. i serged the facing to the neckline, under stitched it with a zig zag, then topstitched about 1″ away from the neckline edge with a stretchable stitch. i have seen this in RTW and think it provides a nice clean finish. were i using a thinner fabric, i would probably go with a neck band, but it’s nice to try out alternatives finishes.

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to break up the solid color, i used a contrasting thread for topstitching. i have such a hard time with the twin needle on double knits (i always get skipped stitches!) so i used one of the decorative stretch stitches. overall this is a nice pattern, and one i will be coming back to many times. it comes in a huge range of sizes so the $9 price tag is very reasonable.

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for a completely different look, i also made her a slouchy dolman sleeved knit tunic. i picked up this crazy (and kinda ugly in a good way…) fabric from joanns, of all places. it used to be that i couldn’t find any knits there that weren’t 100% polyester, but lately they’ve been stocking a few nice ones. i believe this is a cotton/rayon/spandex… or maybe just a rayon/spandex… can’t remember anymore. while it’s great that they’ve been stocking nicer fabrics, the price tag is just so unreasonable! this was listed around $15/yd. what the whaaaat???? i seriously hate the “mark up to mark down” thing that goes on in US retail. fortunately they frequently do mark down by 40-60%, so i got it for a reasonable price. i make an effort not to over-buy on fabric, but i failed to consider the giant repeat, so i was pretty limited in terms of pattern placement. i just barely squeaked this out while matching side seams.

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i used the flashback skinny tee as my base and eyeballed a dolman-sleeve, using the sleeve pattern piece as a guide. i lowered and widened the neckline and added 1″ to the length and added a wide hem band to make sure it was long enough. turns out i didn’t really need to add extra length to the original pattern, it’s quite long as is. she’s pretty in love with this top, and i think it’s fun for that 80’s slouchy vibe that is kind of her jam at the moment. who am i kidding… i’d wear this top all the time too!

—lisa g.

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girl skater and flashback skinny tee

two popular patterns that have made the rounds with those who sew for kids are kitschy coo’s girl skater dress (of the same fame as the uber popular lady skater) and made-by-rae’s flashback skinny tee.

girl skater up first…

i bought a medium weight cotton/lycra fabric months ago with promises that i would do something with it for kid #2, Sylvia. she always gets short-changed in the “mommy made” department since she has to wait for big sister’s hand-me-downs, so i thought it would be nice to make her something of her own. overall this is a nice pattern, though i feel the sizing could use some work. granted, it does look just as pictured, so really i shouldn’t be surprised. the pattern is designed to get two years of wear. year one: below the knee and loose fitting. year two: at knee or above and more fitted. while i appreciate the concept i would prefer the sizing to have a good fit and if i want it to fit longer, make it a size up.

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since the sizes run in pairs (18mo/2y, 3y/4y, 5y/6y etc.) and Sylvia is average to small for her age (7, almost 8 yrs old) she ends up in between the 5/6 and 7/8 size. i decided to draft in an in between size with the bodice length of the 5/6 and skirt length of the 7/8. as it turns out, the 5/6 would have worked fine, though it would have been a tad short.

i was trying to give her a 3/4 sleeve, but utterly failed (i swear i measured her arm, so i’m not sure where i went wrong!). as it is, the sleeve hits at kind of an awkward elbow length, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

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overall, i’m a bit ho hum about the dress. i’m not in love with the fabric (way too busy), and i’m not in love with the fit. others have raved about the pattern, so maybe there’s something i’m missing, but for the $10-ish USD i paid for it, i should have just used the flashback skinny tee pattern i already had on hand (the fit of which is far superior) and drafted a skirt myself. my brain just has a hard time letting my hands cut a 5/6 for an almost 8-yr old.

on to the flashback skinny tee…

if kid #2 feels left out in the clothing department, pity kid #3, Isabella. not only does she have to wait until clothes have made it through her two older sisters, but by the time they have, they are worn nearly to rags by the time she gets them. it seems that the older my kids get, the harder wearing they are on their clothes. at any rate, she turned six a while back, so i took that occasion to make her a new top. she loves all things cozy and snuggly, so i decided to make a cowl neck, tunic length top.

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i’ve used the flashback skinny tee several times before (though never blogged) and the fit is great. it does live up to it’s “skinny” name, so take careful note of the sizing. my Izzie is a tiny girl, so i made her the size 5. to get the tunic length, i simply attached a wide hem band instead of turning a regular hem. then i nixed the neck binding in favor of a cowl.

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i’d tell you that i meticulously worked out these bits, but truthfully i cut them out of scraps and made the hem band and cowl to the dimensions i had available. see, a while back, the lovely Gail of Today’s Agenda sent me some knit fabric remnants that looked kid-sized, and since i’ve made some really cute tees, this being one! the fabric here is crazy soft, drape-y, and was super finicky to work with. regular bindings or hems would not have worked well, but these serge-on bands worked perfectly. anyways, the top turned out super cute and this pattern is always a pleasure to sew. the only change i ever make is to scoop out about 1″ on the front neckline whenever i make it for my girls.

i have a few new tops sewn up for myself that i’m very excited about (awaiting pics), and currently i’m elbow deep in trying to decipher a burdastyle coat pattern for my oldest that is about to make my eyeballs bleed. oy, they just don’t make it easy. wish me luck.

—lisa g.