Jalie 3133 and the easy way to finish kids knits

Kids simple knits are usually very expensive in Australia, with a double pack of these body suits usually $18 from target, which are probably also made by children in terrible conditions, so I decided to have a go at making them myself, with decidedly mixed results.

Jalie 3133

The pattern I chose was Jalie 3133, which is a bit larger than A4 and is printed on sturdy paper. If you’ve never made Jalie patterns before, they are designed to be traced and used over and over again, which is quite fantastic as some of the patterns come in 22 sizes, from children’s to adults.

Sadly 3133 only goes up to 2 years, so you’ll miss out on the striking image of myself in a bodysuit. We all have our disappointments in life.

The first 3 were not terribly successful, but for varying reasons.

Jalie 3133 organic cotton baby onesie

This blue and purple jumpsuit I sewed the shoulders around the wrong way. So the first step is to clear mark the pattern back piece. When putting the sleeves onto the crossed over shoulders it’s really easy to not pay enough attention. This is actually the view from the back. Whoops!

The second and third jumpsuits were made out of a very stretchy organic cotton, which was so unsuitable for this. Even using iron on stabilising tape, the right needles, “0” pressure on my pressed foot this stretched out horribly. Are shown below, the shoulders just fall off the coat hanger.

Jalie 3133 baby onesies

These two were too difficult to stabilise the binding and they stretched out horribly. Then, to add insult to injury the snaps would just not stay on.

At this point I was just going to write this pattern off as a loss. The binding strips for the neckline were just too annoying, hemming the tiny little sleeve was annoying, and the snaps fell off.

Cue Fold Over Elastic and the raglan tee!

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic blue

Realistically, little miss is getting too big for onesies now, but raglan tee’s are still great to get over her giant head. Modifying the bottom of the pattern (read here that I just folded up the ends of the front and back pieces) this was looking a little more promising. Then, I decided to finish ALL the pieces with fold over elastic first following roughly this process here.

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic zigzagThe sleeves, front and back hem and the front and back neckline were all finished first using the fold over elastic. I’m pretty happy with the final finish. Experimenting with two different sizes of FOE, the thinner size seems to look nicer, which I buy from Bumbino, and Australian ebay store based in WA.

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic sleeve

The next step was just to attach the sleeves to the front and back pieces, overlock, then overlock the sleeves and body. Too easy!

Jalie 3133 raglan baby toddler FOE fold over elastic

The final Jalie 3133 count?

1 x purple bodysuit for pjs
2 x pink bodysuit for pjs
2 x blue tees
2 x blue and gray tees
4 x white tees

Overall, this pattern is really (and surprisingly) turned out to be a Tried and True pattern! I just wished it went up a few more sizes now.

My winter delight – Maria Denmark Audrey C dress

Coming out of Me May May, this is by far my favourite dress at the moment.  It’s snuggly and warm, and really comfortable.  Perfect for a melbourne winter really.

maria denmark audrey dress

Maria Denmark drafted two different versions of this dress, utilising different cup sizes.   If I was going to be really fussy I would have loved it if the two cup sizes were a B and a D, just for a bit more differential.  It has two darts up the back to provide some gentle back shaping, so the skirt flares out flatteringly over some less flattering areas.

maria denmark back darts
Fabric

As a first cut of the pattern, I used a stash fabric which was gifted to my stash.  Double win.  It’s a very thick fleece knit with very little give.

Fit

As a result of the lack of stretch in the fabric, the pattern is a little tight over the shoulder.  The fit through the hips is lovely, but may also be a little large if you had a super stretchy knit without recovery.

Audrey Maria Denmark dress neckline

 

Techniques

Serged all the seams.  It makes life very, very quick.  I heart knits and serging.  I used Vsielofix (also known as Steam a Seam) to the neck and sleeves, then serged, then pressed over and twin needled.  See my pretty twin needling?  It comes up beautifully on fleece.  This was a fast and happy make

maria denmark audrey c dress arm

Future learnings

Make more.  Now.

FO: The red organic cotton Tiramisu dress

After loving my first Tiramisu, I quick smart ordered some organic red cotton jersey from fabric.com (which incidentally arrived the same week).  It was beautiful and slinky, and delicious to cuddle.

dress knit sewing pattern

This was an absolute pain in the arse to sew.  The weight of the skirt meant I altered the bodice front 4 times, and I need to go back and raise the back band of the waistband, as it’s significantly dropped.

Using the equivalent of steam a seam (which is fantastic) was the only way to make this dress, but the other problem?  If you went within 2 foot of this jersey with an iron it would mark.  Luckily, and the how or why of this is beyond me, after washing there were no iron marks.  It looked seriously burnt before.  Gah.

Thank god this pattern is worth it.   It’s well designed, the dress is lovely, and the way you choose your size is positively inspired. At the recent Social Shopping day, there was three Tira’s (one striped, one solid, one print) worn by BelleKirsty, and myself and it was decreed to be super dooper comfortable, although more suited to stable knits.   Incidentally, if you go to MyMessings blog, you can see us all in action shopping, and I love this photo as it’s totally pick the out the sewing patterns we’ve all used!

If you weren’t aware that knits have stability, the general guideline is the more you swear while you sew it, the more unstable it is.    You know what also doesn’t help?  Forgetting to change your sewing machine needle, and using a sharp heavy weight needle.  Oh my, did that punch big holes in the fabric.

tiramisu by cake patterns side view

Fit

While this was more frustrating to sew compared to my first Tiramisu, this version is terribly comfortable.  It’s my go to around the house and out and about dress, as I slip it on and forget I’m even wearing it.  I still love the Tiramisu pattern, and would recommend it to anyone, especially beginners with knits, however if you are a beginner do go for the more stable knits, and check out sewing cake for hints and tips, and even to follow the tiramisu sewalong.

Tiramisu cake patterns back view

In the above photo, even though I’m not standing straight (so the CB seam looks off), you can see how the whole back looks like it has stretched down. The lightweight cotton means in the fit check, I cut off at least two inches off the front of the bodice, and I need to do the same for the back, but perhaps only a inch.  Without raising the back of the waistband, the shoulder seam is pulled forward towards the bodice.

The pockets also pull on the dress and stretch, which means my iphone is too heavy for the pockets, however snotty baby tissues are fine, and considering that’s the usual contents of my pockets it still works ok for me.  Pre-baby though, on such a lightweight jersey I would skip the pockets.

Fabric

This was an organic cotton jersey from fabric.com, which cost USD$7.98 per yard.

The cotton is lightweight enough to wear on a 37 degree day, even with the length and skin coverage.   My overlocked at the outermost setting still was stretching any seams on this cotton, and I had to use steam a seam fusible tape on everything.

The big plus for this fabric is that even though it’s lightweight, it doesn’t stick to every lump and bump along the way, which is also a factor of the well designed pattern.

Techniques

For the cutting out of the Tiramisu I used a rotary cutter and self healing mat, as it is the easiest way to maintain the grain and not have the fabric slipping.  For pattern weights I alternated between canned tuna and canned kidney beans depending on the size of the pattern piece.  I snipped all pattern markings with my scissors.

Every seam ended up being stabilised with the birch haberdashery equivalent of steam a seam.  Which is seriously the only way to sew slinky knits.  The seams were mostly just overlocked, and then a single line of topstitching done with my sewing machine (eventually) with a light ballpoint needle.

I haven’t bothered hemming the dress, it doesn’t really need it and I’m lazy.  WIN.

Future lessons

The biggest problem I have at the moment (which is actually a really small problem to have in your life) is how to remember what needle is in my machine. I end up throwing out needles all the time as I have NO IDEA WHAT IT IS. It’s getting to the point where I either need to never leave a needle in my machine, or ask everyone else how they remember…….

While the drape of this fabric is beautiful, for now I might keep using it (totally buying more) for t-shirts, and maybe some underthings.  It’s washes up really nicely, retaining it’s softness so it could make very comfy underpants.  More on that another day…

FO : Maria Denmark Day to Night top

Over the christmas break I went a little MIA from both the internet and my sewing room.  Finishing up at work on the 21st, I was at home until the 14th of January, so that should have been heaps of time to sew.  Right?

After loving the Kirsten Kimono Tee, I joined forces with the tweeters to pester Maria Denmark to release the Day to Night top after seeing a sneak preview on twitter.

Maria Denmark day to night top

In the week around Christmas, I greedily used every nap time and bed time to cut out all the glorious things I would sew.  And the Maria Denmark day to night top was one of them.  With a little bit of this cotton/rayon blend jersey left, I wondered if I could eek out another Kirsten kimono blouse AND the day to night top.  (The correct answer is yes, and I possibly could have cut out four tops if initially I had cut responsibly).

I spent AGES laying the pattern pieces out to get the four pattern pieces to fit, and then to fold the fabric on the grain.  Right, so picture my fabric folded up all neatly, with all my pattern pieces sitting perfectly on their respective folds on the floor.  I get halfway through cutting out, literally half way through one piece and the baby wakes up.  I duly attend to her needs, and pop her with Daddy so I could just spend 5 minutes to finish cutting out.  AND CAT-TASTROPHE.  This MONSTER has decided to play and roll about on my fabric.

Charlie, destroyer

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, the cat survived, I rescued my fabric and it probably ended up a smidge off grain.  The initial story was how I had the week of cutting out fabric, remember?  My sewing got hijacked by two weeks of DIY.

Tragically, sunflower yellow walls, burgundy trim and green cupboards that were the lovely stylings of our home were not quite our taste.  Variations of white on white on white?  Yesssss please.  In honour of my long arduous hours of sanding, paint stripping, priming and painting (which are still to be completed, there is a whole lot of gloss paint destined for those skirting boards, and doors to be hung), my newly completed day to night top has been photographed in the newly painted hallway and study.

Back view

Fit

Very comfortable.  This top is drafted without any seam allowances, (and I forgot to add them) and it fit beautifully, so for my personal preference for this top, this seems to be the right way to remove a tiny bit of design ease.   I am thinking I need to start doing sway back adjustments on my tops, there always is that pooling sitting there.  It’s an easy adjustment to ignore, as most the time I can’t see it.

The cowl drapes nicely, but can dip a little low at times.  Then again maybe I’m just getting more conservative.  Or, maybe I didn’t read the instructions right and missed something.  I won’t rule that out.  Ever.

Maria Denmark day to night top

Bend safe check

Fabric

This is the same fabric that I used for my Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee (what a mouthful!), blogged about here, managing two kimono tees AND a day to night top out of this.   Not bad for 2.1 metres and a grand total of $8.10.  Jealous much?

lovely soft knit fabric easy to sew

Techniques

The construction of this blouse is quite straight forward, with side seams serged, the back neckline finished with elastic and the hems/arms done with a twin needle.  The twin needling needs a bit of a press in this photo.  The really neat thing about this pattern is how the cowl is folded and sewn into the shoulder seam.  It’s a nice detail and finishes the top well.

maria denmark day to night top

Future lessons

This top needs a fabric that won’t relax so much during the day as the cowl got a little more daring as the day progressed.  By 5pm at work, if the cowl dipped at the right angle it showed a little bra.  Just a little hint.  Which doesn’t bother me at work but a little more at playgroup.   All said, I’m really tempted to try and combine this top with the tiramisu waistband and skirt, a kind of take on SewbusyLizzy’s sewing dare, which is the day to night top as a dress!

FO : Maria Denmark kirsten kimono blouse

The real test of how much you love an item of clothing for me, is if it ever makes it to the wardrobe.  This top get pinched out of the washing basket and worn again before being folded and put away.  Admittedly, my washing does occasionally linger in the washing basket, but who wants to be folding clothes when they can be sewing?

knit fabric

Sewbusylizzy is a big supporter of Maria Denmark patterns, and after hearing about them so much on twitter, I decided to go the low commitment route and try her free pattern, the kimono blouse.  This was a pattern that I expected to never wear, as it’s completely unlike any of my other tops.  It fit perfectly with only a small grading between sizes as a lazy bust adjustment.

I named this one of my top 5 favourite patterns of the year as it goes with everything.  I wear it to work under a suit, with jeans or a skirt for days at home and at playgroup.  It’s amazing with with the heat wave we’ve been having as it just skims over your body.

Maria Denmark Kimono top

Fit

Perfect.  This top is drafted without any seam allowances, (and I forgot to add them) and it fit beautifully, so for my personal preference for this top, this seems to be the right way to remove a tiny bit of design ease.

Fabric

This is a cotton/rayon blend from GJ’s fabrics on Lygon St Melbourne.  It was a quick remnant table find, and was a bargain.  I really shouldn’t tell you where it was from in case there is any more left to buy.  IT’S MINE.  In EVERY COLOURWAY.  I managed to squeeze another two tops out of the remnant.  That’s how much I love it, and the tiny slivers of offcuts are holding my tomatoes to stakes.  So also a great gardening fabric.

lovely soft knit fabric easy to sew

Techniques

Time for a small confession here.  I didn’t follow the instructions at all, I did faux twin needling and was amazingly lazy in every conceivable way.  I serged up the sides, and used steam a seam on the neckline, hemline and sleeves before doing my shocking faux twin needling as my twin needle needed replacing.  At least I used a stretch needle!  The neckline stretches out by the end of the day, so really Maria has it right and I’ll be using stretch elastic next time.  Promise.

Future lessons

The finish on this would have more professional if I had made it as per the instructions.  While I can often sub in techniques, it doesn’t make them better.  A little knowledge can be very dangerous!

You can download this pattern either at Craftsy or at Maria’s website, ShopOnion.  There is a rumour on the internet that Maria will be releasing printed patterns this year… Very excited!

Renfrew V2 – another confirmed case of Renfrew-itis

**disclaimer – I do sell Sewaholic patterns, so I’m not blogging to sell her patterns, but I sell her patterns (and blog about them) because I really love them)**

SewbusyLizzy diagnosed herself with a severe case of Renfrew-itis, and it seems so be striking down sewers around the world.  (I suspect there are a few Melbourne cases with both Thornberry and SewBrunswick both up to large numbers…at last count I thought I saw Renfrew number 6 at SewBrunswick?

This really is my favourite pattern, I’ve worn my pink one as soon as it comes out of the wash, and having undertaken the Seamless pledge (no buying new clothes for a whole year) this is going to be a staple.  At the moment view C the cowl neck is my favourite, as it’s nice and warm in winter.  For real warmth I should make the long sleeve version, but inevitably long sleeves always get pushed up to my elbows anyway so might as well save on some fabric.

Please let me present, Renfrew number 2, the matched stripe stretchy version.

This one was quite difficult to get a decent photo of, as soon as we began taking photos I was attacked by a wild pack of dogs.  Or two overly affectionate Pointers.

We ended up with more photos of me patting the overly enthused dogs.

This pattern was pretty easy to cut out to make the stripes match which was unexpected, as long as you think long and hard about the seams lines, instead of the pattern lines you should be able to match up the stripes with a bit of thinking prior to cutting.

Fit

AS this knit was much stretchier than my first Renfrew (an interlock knit),  strangely enough it was loose.  Fancy that.  I lengthened the torso of the pattern by an inch, which wasn’t necessary in this fabric as lacks the recovery to ride up at all.  The lengthening just makes it look loose around the torso.  The other (now obvious) but disappointing thing was the cowl neck which drapes beautifully in a firm knit is droopy in this fabric.  In saying all the above, this renfrew is still completely wearable and gets quite the workout in my wardrobe rotation.

Fabric

This was a pretty cheap cut, $7 a metre from Darn Cheap fabrics in Heidelberg, and it may pill.  So far it’s gone through the wash a couple of times and it’s still ok, but the large vertical stripes look faintly fluffy.  I won’t be too upset if it has a short life span, as the fit and collar could have been a little better.

Techniques

To sew this, I used my normal singer sewing machine with a zig zag stitch medium stitch width and about 1.5 stitch length from memory.  The other adjustments was the use of a ball point needle and adjusting my presserfoot to 0 pressure.  Sewed like a dream!   To match the stripes I cut the corner of the front at the same point as the corner of the back (where the seams would match under the arm).  Really, once the grainline of the pattern pieces were straight, I checked the stripes of all the pieces to make sure the sleeves were sitting on the same ‘part’ of the pattern.  It’s hard to explain, but if you get a cheap stripy material with a changing patttern it’s easier to work it out looking at the fabric and the pattern pieces as you go.

Future lessons

I will use stretchy knits like this for a Renfrew again, but I’ll cut a much smaller size in the sleeves and from the bust down and make the round neck version.  My tip, if you are using a stretchier knit cut at least one size down.

So what makes this a case of Renfrew-itis?

How about the four Renfrews here?  Two are cut out (the purple and the stripes) and the black is laid out for cutting, and the blue earmarked for another!  I might divert it and make something else however, 6 Renfrews might be a little excessive?
I’m cutting all my knits in one go before borrowing my mothers serger, so I’ve been listening to the Stuff you missed in History podcast while laying out all this fabric.  Learning and sewing, it’s a beautiful thing.  My local library lets users borrow audio books straight to your Iphones so I’ve even been listening to some fiction.  Brilliant!