Where’s Spot (Kids Clothes Week: Oct 2014)

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When you work as a teacher in the primary system and you build your own classroom library, you tend to have a lot of picture books. Which can make it hard when people want to buy books as gifts. When people asked what to get for Squirm for his first Christmas, I started thinking about classics we didn’t yet own – one was my little sister’s favourite series – Where’s Spot by Eric Hill. As Squirm’s grown older, he’s fallen completely in love with his Spot books and it seemed like an excelled Kids Clothes Week choice.

The plan for this outfit started with the shorts. I wanted to include the lift-the-flap feature which the Spot books are so well known for. The obvious place for these was the pockets and I decided to make them so they lifted up completely with text underneath. I used stash fabric for the shorts and fabric from an old pair of shorts of mine for the pockets.

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I used the Clean Slate shorts from Blank Slate patterns – the version with no front pocket or fly – and drew pieces to create the back and front of the pocket. Each piece had 2 pieces of fabric (4 altogether since there were 2 pockets) and then the top of the pocket was top stitched to the bottom. They were then basted to the top and sides of the shorts so they would be held by seams when it was sewn together.

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Under the pockets I cut out 2 ‘speech bubbles’ done in ‘Spot style’ and stamped ‘Where’s Spot’ on one side and ‘I’m hiding’ (one of Squirm’s favourite sayings on the other. I sewed these on, first with a straight stitch, then a very short zig zag. Then I just sewed the rest of the shorts together as normal. I’ve become a real fan of these shorts – there’s a lot you can do with the variations offered and they’re really easy to make up.

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For the shirt, I used the Blank Slate ‘Just a Jersey’ pattern. First, though, I created the end of Spot’s tail to tuck into the yoke of the shirt. I used a scrap of stretch corduroy for the tail, topped with some more fabric from my old shorts. This was backed with the same fabric as the yoke, so it didn’t end up too thick. Then I sewed the neckband onto the yoke and arranged the tail, sewing it on before I added the front and back of the shirt.

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Squirm absolutely loved this outfit. He loves finding Spot’s tail, loves holding up the pockets and was 100% happy to pose for photos. Again, I think I’ve created shorts that will go with a lot of other clothes, but they have a lovely little twist you don’t find in RTW. I’m really looking forward to making more clothes like this even if it’s not Kids Clothes Week.

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Sadly, I won’t finish the last piece I started for KCW before we head away on holidays. It’s partly finished, but needs a neckband and arm bands before it’s complete. I really like it, though, so I’ll make sure to share it when it is complete.


Rules of Summer (Kids Clothes Week: Oct 2014)

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The theme for Kids Clothes Week this season is Storybook, and it’s one I’m embracing whole-heartedly!

Each Christmas we have a tradition of Squirm receiving a book from us, but my husband is the one who chooses it. Last year he chose the (now award winning) Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan – one of our very favourite authors. This is a richly-illustrated, look at relationships between siblings and free time and story telling and I highly recommend it. It’s also one of Squirm’s favourite books.

So, it quickly became an obvious choice for this Kids Clothes Week

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The actual outfit was pretty basic – shorts made from the Clean Slate pattern and a t-shirt from the Tee Times Three pattern, both from Blank Slate Patterns. However my original idea for the t-shirt changed when I started putting together this pile of fabric

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Using red and orange fabric from my stash and orange and red-pink fabric from old clothes of mine, I decided to colour block the front, back and sleeves of the shirt in rough strips. I traced the pattern, drew in cutting lines, then traced it again to include seam allowances. I was absolutely sure I’d made mistakes doing that, but in fact it all came together really nicely. Some of the strips I joined ‘back to front’ so that I’d have the dark overlocking stitches as features. They were then sewn down, extra strips of fabric were added and rows of stitching were included.

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Once I had the pieces all together, it was a pretty simple job of making the shirt. I did sew one sleeve on ‘back to front’ to get the same overlocking feature. All was going incredibly well until I broke my first overlocker needle which meant the neck wasn’t quite as neat as I’d hoped, but it still came together nicely.

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With such a busy shirt, I wanted more subdued pants. I also wanted some shorts which would go with a lot of Squirm’s wardrobe – I’ve felt like we’ve been going a little too ‘novelty’ with some of his shorts these days. I started with this picture:

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I wanted to use the quite subdued colours with the splashes of red. I decided plain shorts, but with red and orange ‘ears’ poking out of one of the pockets. Then on one leg I wanted to include the clothesline and the red sock – which of course started it all . . .

The main issue with the shorts was the fabric. It was scratchy and frayed, so I underlined it with a cotton print. It worked okay, but I would have chosen something with more quality if I’d been buying fabric for this project instead of clearing out my stash.

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I really love these shorts and the little touches which connect them to the book without being in your face.

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Finally, Squirm is old enough for me to get some really good photos. He wanted to walk to the local playground this afternoon, so I dressed him in his new outfit, took advantage of the overcast sky and realised just how much Shaun Tan inspiration you can find in your local suburb. (Warning – the next bit gets really picture heavy – I was overwhelmed with the toddler who’ll let me take photos and the inspiration of Shaun Tan)

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I had an absolute ball making this outfit – I was almost sad when I was done. Shaun Tan writes and illustrates such beautiful books – it was so much fun to be inspired by that.

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How my week looked: October 19

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My week started with a toddler-free trip to Spotlight. My husband was home on Monday (he does FIFO work at the moment) and stayed at home with the toddler so I would have the freedom to hunt down patterns. When I got there I discovered that all the patterns – including Vogue – were on sale for $5 each. And once I used my Spotlight card that came down to $4.50 each. So I splurged a little, got some new shorts to play with, some hat patterns, jeans, blouse and a shirt dress. Lots of fun in store. Plus there were some lovely fabrics in the clearance section which I just had to bring home with me . . .

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My Kids Clothes Week (starting tomorrow!) will be cut a bit short this week because we’re heading away at the end of the week. So I’m only really preparing two outfits and anything else will be a bonus. Going with the Storyteller theme I’ve planned one outfit around Where’s Spot and another around The Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan. The latter involved every scrap of red or orange knit fabric I had and my son absolutely fell in love with that pile. (If you haven’t read Shaun Tan’s books yet, I recommend getting right onto that!)

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My fabric from the Remnant Warehouse sale arrived. It was pretty, especially the pink and green jersey.

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My sewing plans for the week changed slightly when we were invited to the birthday for a 3 year old girl. I had dreams of making a pretty dress, but I don’t know the girl very well and had to guess her size. Because of that, I decided a knit pattern would be best especially a pair of nice pyjamas and a bag to put them in. The present was very well received and should fit *phew*!

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One final piece of sewing – I finally hemmed my second pair of wearable Thurlow shorts when I realised all my shorts were in the wash. They fit really well, but sadly the fabric pilled where it rubbed together which was deeply annoying. Guess I’ll just have to make more of them . . .

Finally, here’s my lovely Squirm wearing his mum-made-outfit at the party today. It was held at a lovely boat themed park on the Brisbane River and he was terribly excited about all the boats – play and real.

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Have a great week – I’m not sure if I’ll post photos next week or the week after, I’ll see closer to the time. In the meantime, there should be some Kids Clothes Week posts

Kids Clothes Week: Blank Tanks

One of the things I love about Kids Clothes Week is the kick to try new patterns or to try new techniques. This week, I’m trying to clear through some of the scrap fabric in my craft room and I’m trying to use some new patterns. These two makes fitted those goals perfectly.

Blank Slate Patterns have a lot of simple patterns which are easily customisable. Although I’ve made lots of their patterns before, I hadn’t made the Blank Tank yet. But I’m preparing for warmer weather, so it seemed like a good time to make it.

The pattern doesn’t have many pages to cut out and is easy to piece together. It doesn’t take a lot of fabric, so it’s great for using old scraps. The pattern is terribly easy to put together (and would be really quick if you needed to whip up a few at the same time . . . I’m thinking I might get some Christmas presents out of this!). It’s really just add the pocket, sew the shoulder, sew the sides then finish the arms, neck and hem. The instructions provide a simple fold over method of doing the arms and neck, but you can play with binding it in knit fabric if you want. (Or add a little Peter Pan collar for a girl – that would be adorable!)

Oh, and apologies for no child photo – it’s still too chilly to be wearing summer clothes here. Plus my nearly two year old has decided to learn about tantrums this week . . .

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For this stripy one, I used a night gown which I’d found at an op shop. It was obviously a home made item, and possibly never worn. The fabric was terribly fine, which will make for a lovely cool top, but it was a bit of a challenge to sew with. I added binding to the sleeves, but just folded over the neck. The hem is just overlocked and I haven’t bothered turning it up .

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This one was made to prevent me ever wearing a deeply unflattering shirt again! When I was pregnant with Squirm, I was teaching at a brand new school. One of the things we needed to do was setting up school houses and house colours. The other two houses got purple and green as their colour . . . we got orange. Finding an orange shirt was challenge enough, but I also needed one which would work for my growing (and growing) belly. I found one which did the job, but it really wasn’t terribly flattering. Looks great as a top for Squirm though 🙂

The pocket is from a shirt I just made for myself and I just turned the neck and arms on this. I’d say I used the grey thread to match the pocket . . . but there was an element of laziness there and not wanting to track down my orange thread.

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So that’s Kids Clothes week started. Now, what to sew today . . .

Kids Clothes Week: July 2014

So, Kids Clothes Week starts tomorrow and I did have great plans of planning for it . . .

Then my local council decided to close two libraries without consultation, and I somehow found myself running a massive campaign against the closures, and all ideas of planning went out of my head! I’ve only just signed up 🙂

So, here’s my planning.

  • I want to start making clothes for spring/summer. The heat will be back before we know it
  • I want to use stash fabric and scraps. There’s some fabric pieces I have that won’t work for shorts for too much longer (my boy is growing!). And I have too many small scraps which will work for pockets and collars and trims etc.
  • I’m going to make some soft tank tops for summer sleeping. Sleeping tops are the biggest gap in Squirm’s wardrobe, and brief tops are the best in the summer
  • W-pants shorts. I love the pants and want to make the pattern up as shorts
  • Colour! Well, that’s pretty much inevitable
  • I might make something as a birthday outfit for Squirm. I do have fabric to make a Thomas the Tank Engine inspired shirt


This should be fun 🙂

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