I went home to see my parents last week, and while I was there I stumbled on a great little book called Making Baby’s Clothes (at The Works for a bargainous £3.99). It’s got a great selection of girls and boy’s clothes for ages 0-3, with ideas for simple customisations like changing the collar or sleeve length, or adding some quirky appliqué.
It has some really inspiring pictures, patterns included in the back, and it does outline important techniques like setting in a sleeve and attaching a collar. However, I probably wouldn’t recommend it for complete beginners as the instructions, although fairly detailed, could perhaps have used a few more pictures to make it a bit more clear. It’s also easy to miss a step due to how the directions are laid out.
My favourite project by far was this little blouse, it looks so pretty and grown-up, and just about something that I could manage in an afternoon. I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Peter Pan collars – and I was desperate to make something with one for little E. Okay, technically it’s just a rounded shirt collar, it doesn’t lie flat like a true PP… but close enough?
I really liked the three-quarter length bell sleeves with elasticated edges, although when she was wearing it they did start to bunch up a little bit round her elbow, so if I made it again i’d consider making them full length.
The yardage instructions were a little confusing – they are only given for extremely wide 154in fabric, and in only one size, so I just tried to squeeze it into a 3/4m piece of scrumptious rainbow printed cotton.The pattern matching is non-existent, it’s not that straight, but I don’t care. The drawstring tie is made from scraps folded over and sewn together, I managed just enough from what was left over.
It should have buttons, but yet again I’ve gone for Kam snaps, as they’re just so quick and easy, and the chance of finding five matching buttons (or even the same size) in this house is slim to none… they’re regularly sprinkled all over the floor and in my shoes by this little one here.
I learnt a few important things during the project that I’d like to share:
- Don’t bother with facing in a children’s collar, even if the instructions direct it – it’s far too stiff and uncomfortable.
- When making elastic casings for sleeves, iron the seam allowances before you sew the main side seam and attach it to the blouse, because it is so tricky after.
- Don’t be afraid to add a bit of topstitching or understitching if you think the garment needs it – these steps weren’t included in the instructions, and I added some topstitching to the edges of the front of the blouse to secure the facing (fabric folded behind to strengthen the part where the poppers fasten). I felt much better about it after!
It was a 2 year-old pattern, and worked out just about the right size, although I think next time I’ll go up a size and make the collar bigger. I think it would look cute slightly over=sized. I’m also going to ignore some of the instructions and change the order of some of the steps, particularly attaching the collar and sleeves, which seemed to be the opposite way to how I’ve done them before.
I’m going to post a short tutorial about how to transfer patterns from a book (at least my preferred method), especially from books where all the patterns are printed on one sheet.
I was pretty please overall, but I guess rainbow shirts must be pretty unisex as she got called a boy three times when we were out, but I guess that’s just because it’s a shirt, and it fastens high-up, hipster style.
Oh, and I don’t have any full-length shots as she puked on it not long after.