Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pattern Testing for Heidi and Finn - Playday Dress

I got picked again!  I love pattern testing for Heidi and Finn - their patterns are super stylish and they are usually straightforward, quick sews with really great results.  I always feel drawn towards more "adult" (I don't mean tarty!), sophisticated looks for the kids clothes but then feel bad as they are just kids and want to be kids.  I am not sure if I get the balance right sometimes when I shop for them, but the Heidi and Finn patterns epitomise the perfect mix of looking a bit classy while being functional and fun and appropriate for the dudes.

Gushing aside, this one was a real winner:


It only took me three hours from start to finish, including taping and tracing the pattern.  As you can see the pattern is pretty simple, with the only real details being patch pockets:


And button tabs:


I got the buttons from The Stash Cupboard (a local yarn shop who also sell fabulous buttons) - I chose something to girl-it-up just a little, a kind of sparkly white with a flower in the centre.  In the original pattern there are two buttons on each tab (one by the neck and one near the end of the tab) but the young lady suggested a button on each pocket instead, which looks great :)


As the dress is called Playday, she went outside to play in it and it worked a treat as it's nice and comfy.


Size-wise it seems pretty much spot on. I made the size 8, which is about the size I would be buying in rtw for madam (she is only five...eek!).  It is maybe slightly ungenerous around the arm area so getting it on and off is a bit more effort than usual, though some of that may be down to my fabric choice (a thicker, ponte knit).  I also added maybe an inch to the bottom as she is particularly tall, though I suspect that's a her-thing rather than a standard sizing issue.


I wondered about the best pocket placement and spent a lot of time faffing around with it. Turns out I needn't have worried as she likes them exactly where they were supposed to be :)

As mentioned above I made this in a grey and cream striped ponte (ponti?  I have seen it spelled both ways...) knit which was in my cupboard already.  I trimmed the neck, arms and pocket tops with the same knit but going vertically instead of horizontally.  The button tabs and pockets were made out of one of the many grey ponte purchases I seem to have in the cupboard.

The colours might seem a bit more sombre..but am painfully aware that here is Tassie we are in the last few weeks of summer, so I thought this would be a good transition dress to autumn and winter; it could likely be worn with a long sleeved top underneath in the depths of winter too.

I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone with a small person.  I tested the size 6 - 12 so am not sure if it comes in smaller sizes (they usually do).  I will certainly be making at least one version of this every year I think, perhaps more if I make one for summer out of a lighter knit and one for winter more like this one.

And best of all, she likes it :)


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chloe Pants - Muslin 1

So as previously mentioned, when I saw Tessuti had a lovely pair of relaxed fit pants called the Chloe Pants, I knew I needed to buy the pattern (my name is Chloe, in case that's not obvious..!).  While I was there I also bought some lovely chocolate pin-striped linen to make them.

I am definitely not brave enough to dive into my first pair trousers without at least one muslin and am in fact about to start my second.  So here is the first attempt:

[what the heck is my hair doing in this picture??!!]


As you can see they suit some very wooden striding about in the garden :)  These are made from a kind of olivey green homespun and from the thigh top down I love them.

While I could just wear super long tunic tops and call it finished, I am not that kind of girl (anymore - it surprises me a bit).  And this is the reason:

[So glad this picture will be on the internet for the rest of time...]


This can only be described as butt-sag, and it ain't pretty.  There are a few issues causing this...Issue one is that I have a flat-ass, which I inherited from my mum.  She hadn't realised she had a flat-ass (or at least hadn't thought enough about it to give it a name...) until I pointed out my fit issues with this to her the other day.  I kind of wish I hadn't for her sake :)

What I mean by flat-ass is that my bottom is not all perky rounded out like the J-Lo's of this world.  I have read that you can have surgical implants, but it seems like a lot of effort for a part of me I don't see - so I might adjust the pattern instead...




 And here is a close up of my bum in all it's flattened glory.  That wrinkly creasing under the butt cheeks should be filled with what might be called "booty" if I had one, but I don't, so instead there is lots of excess ease.

The other issue is that these are too big around the waist / hips area:


 This picture would be far more illustrative if I thought to take it from the side without my hand in the way, but you will have to imagine how far my thumbs are out from my waist (a good inch and a half, if not more).  


This enhances the butt sag and also makes the trousers a bit uncomfortable because they keep slipping down.  They are wearable but only for slobbing about (happily, I am masterful at that).

So - what are the main aims for muslin two (this time in a dusky grey-blue homespun)?  One is to take a tuck out of the pattern right about where my hand is in the picture below:

[This does look a bit like I am giving my bum a cheeky pinch and failing abysmally to make contact...]


This would give roughly the effect shown below - which fits the flatty much more flatteringly (too many f's and t's in that sentence...).

[Look!  More pictures of my bottom!]

I will also take some in from the sides and a fair bit from the waist.  According to measurements I thought I needed to add some to the waist but I have ended up taking most of that back again.

I would also like to change the pattern a bit to have the zip at the front rather than the side, and to add a waistband (so I can wear a belt, which I like).  This sounds like a big change but isn't really, particularly if I keep the zip as an invisible zip so I don't have to make a fly front.  I will probably do it on the next muslin and then decide whether to keep the change in the linen version.

After that, I think a winter version in a drapey wool would be amazing, perhaps with a cuff?  And a skinnied version like the pants I just altered which I haven't yet blogged.  Ooo and a light grey linen version for next summer, maybe with a kind of cargo-esque pocket detail.  Oh yeah and...

I should probably sort the fit and finish the other muslin first :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pattern testing for Heidi and Finn - Ballet Sweater

I was very happy to be chosen as a pattern tester again for Heidi and Finn.  I love their patterns and have previously made the Cowl Neck Jumper Dress and also the Uptown Hat (which I also pattern tested here).  I have the Urban Unisex Hoodie pattern ready to make a hoodie for Marcus for this winter (it's on the list you don't know about yet..!)

This time the pattern was the (not yet released) size 6 - 12 Ballet Sweater.  The smaller size is already in their etsy pattern shop.


This sweater is stinking cute!  Super quick and easy to make and a massive brownie point winner with any young lady as girlie and ballet obsessed as mine.

Here is my version.  We start with the serious "getting ready for the dance shot"...


I took madam with me to the mighty Spotlight to pick fabrics for this number.  She chose the combo herself and was surprisingly not distracted by the several hot pink and lurid other options they had there.  I wouldn't actually have chosen cream had she not been there - partly as it's sheer enough that you see the seams (not that she cares) but also for the dirt factor.  She might pretend to be a princess but she certainly doesn't behave like one!  (Well, maybe The Little Princess...).

Here's the how happy with myself am I? picture:


I chose to omit the ties on the pattern as someone is very "I can do it myself" right now and she can't tie a bow yet.  I just noticed I didn't press the band as nicely as I could have, which is irritating me.  There were even specifics on doing this in the pattern *hangs head in shame*.

On that note, I should say I like the pitch of these patterns.  They are reasonably brief in words, but with lots of pictures.  I don't really need every single thing explained, so I prefer this.  For example, she tells you to baste the front pieces together at one point, but doesn't detail what a basting stitch is.  I think that's good (we all have google, surely?).  Similarly she doesn't harp on about how scary knits are or whatever, she just gives you various options depending on equipment (i.e. serger/overlocker, machine with stretch stitch etc), all of which will likely achieve a good result.  I don't like it that the "put it together at home" pattern pieces don't have those line up arrows on them, but on this pattern which is super simple (three pattern pieces), it's not exactly a show-stopper.

Apparently it meets the twirling test (I love the closed eyes here...she wasn't blinking, she is just super serious about twirling!):



And yes, I had to whip up a skirt to match.  I used the leftovers from the band of the top for the waist band, and a folded over length of the main fabric to make a gathered, semi-twirly bubble skirt.  It is gorgeous, but annoyingly perhaps the best picture of it was from the back (whilst twirling again, of course):



And then the serious, dreamy, ballerina time was over.  She had reached the "what more do you want from me mother" phase:


I guess every ballerina has their limits!