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If you follow me here at Nuala Sews hop on over to my new home, Clootie Dumplings

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Burda Style cotton summer dress

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Summer’s not here yet but I live in hope. It’s been howling a gale all day – typical West Coast of Scotland weather – and good for nothing except staying indoors and taking photos. And working on my summer wardrobe of course. This is the poetically titled Dress with Gathered Rectangle Skirt and Cap Sleeves 02/2011 by Burda Style. According to the Burda Style website this is one of their most popular patterns and I’m not surprised as it’s an easy breezy summer style that has the perfect amount of vintage flair. In keeping with the vintage shape I used a cotton that I picked up in a charity shop . What a find! I scored 6 metres for about £3 so there’s plenty left to make the family some matching attire should I take a notion to pass us off as the Von Trapps.

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I muslined the bodice and based on that I cut a size 38 and did a 1.5 inch FBA. The neckline was a bit low for me so I raised it 2 inches. Other than that the fit is fine. Next time I will probably raise the waist seam an inch as it’s a tad low but nothing I can’t live with on this version. I also changed the zip to a centre back zip instead of the side zip that the pattern calls for. The only major style change is the skirt. I don’t think gathered skirts are the most flattering on me so I changed it to inverted pleats which I measured and then basted in place to check the distribution before committing with the machine.

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The bodice is lined and the skirt is underlined in plain black cotton to give it a bit of body since the fabric is quite lightweight. This makes the dress quite hefty and gives the skirt – and the pleats – a bit more definition which I think looks quite nice. Despite the weight I am hoping it will stand up to a hot summers day…though it may be a while before we get one of those in this land of eternal wind and rain!

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A Mini Hudson Pants Refashioning

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The boy never sits still. What 2 year old does? He prefers to jump around, climb furniture and roll on the floor so what better than a pair of Mini Hudson Pants to make his adventures more comfortable? These breeks by True Bias are the perfect mixture of style and wearability for any child. And adult in fact…I’m eyeing them up for myself too.

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As for the fabric… My eye was caught a while ago by some sweatshirts on a sale table in Zara. They were massive and shapeless, made from organic cotton and incredibly soft. I bought two – grey and navy – and to be honest they were quite hideous as ladies’ jumpers but I was sure there would be enough fabric in each one for some mini hudsons. I was right. I even used the neckband for the pocket bands and the sleeve cuffs for the leg cuffs…and there’s some fabric left over for a hat or gloves or whatever (but that can wait until next winter now). Lovely stuff! They were constructed almost entirely on the overlocker except for some zigzag stitching on the pocket bands and the waistband. I really love this pattern. The trousers are modern and stylish and the pieces come together really easily so I can see myself making many more pairs in the future.

I thought I had scored an absolute steal given that organic cotton sweatshirting is expensive but when I got them home and scrutinised the label it appears they were composed of about 30/40% organic cotton and the rest man made. So not as good as I thought. Anyway the fabric was still lovely to work with and the trousers are super-cool so I can’t complain.

The tshirt is a reworking of one of dad’s old ones using Ottobre Design 4/2014. It’s the same pattern I used here but with short sleeves. This is a great basic tshirt pattern and fits the boy really well. Enough said really.

x

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Burda 6874 in the Wild

Mostly I’m a selfish sewer. And why not? ‘Tis my time…those precious, fleeting, snatched hours in the evening when the babes sleep. I don’t have much time to sew and I have way too many plans for my wardrobe to make much time for kindness. I did once agree to make a jacket for my sister. She bought the fabric, I cut it and partially assembled it, then…promptly forgot about it. It now languishes in my ufo pile. Actually, the reason I stalled was the pattern was wrong for the fabric choice, it wasn’t behaving and would have required too much work to fix. Lesson learned there: pick something tried and tested when lending your sewing time to someone else’s wardrobe. One day I will try to fix it. Or perhaps make her an entirely new jacket.

Despite this aversion to kindly sewing acts I embarked on a shirt sewing mission for the man. He was rather taken with the idea of a Liberty shirt when we were last in London but, you know, being a sewer and therefore prone to fits of ‘I can make anything cheaper’ arrogance I said I’d make one for him.

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The pattern is Burda 6874: a classic button-down shirt. The fabric is not Liberty. This version is more of a wearable muslin made up in a lovely soft – and more affordable – cotton flannel. I thought it best to try out the pattern before splashing out on the designer stuff.

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I made a quick muslin to check fit – good thing, as I had to go down a size. Apart from that the shirt fits well out of the packet. And now, as the unselfish sewing bug has got a hold of me (whether I like it or not), I am looking out for a suitable man-friendly Liberty print for the next instalment. One, of course, that can stand up to some high jinks in the local park.

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A special shout out to the Bernina edge-stitch foot #10. I couldn’t have down it without you, you wondrous piece of metal.

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Three Sorbettos

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Things have been slow on the personal sewing front since having my second baby in the summer. Several factors are hampering my stitching  – lack of time, demanding baby, the usual…I’m sure many can relate to this! However, the main issue is breastfeeding and the very negative effect that it has on my daily wardrobe. I can’t wear my dresses unless I want to strip to feed – no thanks – and while I could be stylish in a nice top it is all too easy to reach for a comfy jumper in the sleepy haze of morning. Oh and it doesn’t help that it is currently freezing outside! Now this shouldn’t really stop me from forward planning – I do have some ideas in the pipeline for the Colette Peony and Moneta dresses, McCalls 6696 shirtdress (love it!) and a pencil dress in african wax cotton (I got loads from my lovely friend who works in Kenya) – but there is no point in trying any new patterns until I have stopped nursing and my body has bounced back to normal. I made that mistake two years ago when I fitted a Burda jacket – FBA and all – only for it to be too big in the bust when my body changed post-nursing.

Now…as sewing is highly addictive and one must continue to sew, the best way around this is to sew some repeat patterns.

Enter Sorbetto.

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I made this first one a couple of years ago out of an old French Connection tunic that was headed for the bin. It was intended as a muslin and and I had plans for others which never did materialise. Although a muslin it is very wearable. The fabric is a nice, soft chambray and despite the hideous painted plastic buttons (which I have bought replacements for) it is not a bad wee top. I think I cut a size 6 and did an FBA of around 1.5 inches however I can’t be entirely sure since I traced around the modified pattern pieces and didn’t write down the changes I made. I’m pretty sure I also dropped the bust dart by a couple of centimetres as I normally do with Colette patterns.

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The following two were made recently. The first is a beautifully soft viscose with a lovely drape and an infuriating unwillingness to stay crease-free. Ironing it is like painting the Forth Road bridge – by the time I have made it to the back the front has crinkled again. I’m sure I could spend my life standing at the ironing board trying to tame the thing and for this reason it may not get that much wear however lovely it looks. The second is a shiny polyester – much more practical from a washing and ironing perspective but probably not so good on a hot day! On this version I did a slight dipped hem at the back. It looks incredibly wonky in the photo but it is not in real life.

Both of these tops were stash sewing but I like the pattern so might invest in some summer appropriate fabrics. It might be January but I live in hope that the frost lifts eventually. And at least in the meantime I am sewing something – anything – for myself. There will be more to come…

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Ottobre jersey tops for the boy

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I recently discovered Ottobre Design magazine in WHSmith in amongst all the dull crochet and cross stitch magazines that seem to be stocked everywhere (seriously, who buys them?!) I grabbed it without hesitation, despite the eye-watering price tag, figuring that with so many patterns it’s got to be good value for money. Now that I’ve made something I can say I’m really happy with it and look forward to making more. There are loads of lovely and practical clothes for kids from babies up to teens so it could get a lot of use. Even the tracing wasn’t as much of a chore as it usually is (Burda I’m looking at you…) probably because being child-sized the pattern pieces fit on my cutting mat and I did’t have to shift the paper around as I was tracing. Last year I made the Made by Rae Flashback skinny tees but despite cutting a size MUCH bigger than the age of the boy (I know he’s big but really…) he didn’t get much wear out of them before they were straining to cover his poor wee pot belly. Ottobre sizes are based on height rather than age so it’s easier to select a size that will fit without being derailed by the age guide.

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The pattern is the Mushroom jersey top from the Autumn 2014 issue in size 98 cm. As with last time, I used organic cotton jersey from Kitschy Coo. This stuff is lovely. The woodland animals are a hit with the boy and he gets loads of compliments when he wears the top. The second one is my favourite though as the stripy cotton is amazingly soft. Both tops used just under half a metre of the main fabric and are finished with organic cotton ribbing for the neck band and cuffs.

As an added bonus the stripy top has welt pockets!

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It’s the first time I’ve done this with a knit but they went together without any hassle. Ottobre instructions are as detailed as Burda – that is, not at all, so if you are a beginner you might struggle to follow them. Best to consult your instruction manual of choice for help with this stage. Hopefully my construction stands up to the extreme conditions posed by this wee man…

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So there you have it. Two more practical, cute AND organic cotton tops for the boy. And this time they fit better and, hopefully, for longer.

Coming soon…more sewing for me again, YAY!

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Skinny Tees for a Chunky Boy

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I made these wee cuties with the Made By Rae Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. My boy is 20 months old and big for his age so to be on the safe side I cut the size 2T which should be, according to their website, ‘a bit big when the child turns two, and a bit more snug as they near the age of three.’ Ha! Didn’t quite work out in this case. They are both very snug but still passable thanks to the stretchiness of the fabric. Next time I’ll go much bigger.

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The fabric is from Kitschy Coo and feels as lovely as it looks. I had a really hard time choosing the fabric as Amanda has some amazingly colourful prints – and all organic cotton! I’m spoiling the boy! I was trying to recreate the look of the very expensive Swedish brand tshirts you get in the fancier shops but for less money and my plan has worked a treat. I reckon I used about £6 worth of fabric for each one – still more money than you’d spend in Asda on a kids tshirt but who wants an Asda tshirt anyway?! Not my boy.

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The tshirts were really easy to make. An hour for cutting and an hour for stitching. That’s what I call fast fashion! I assembled the main body with my overlocker then used a twin needle to finish the neckband and hem. Easy peasy.

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Two belly-rubbing good tshirts!

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