Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finished Off! - Heidi and Finn Cowl Neck Jumper Dress

I have had this pattern for ages but haven't got around to making it until it was almost too late.  Issy will be five soon, but wears a size 7 or more, and this pattern only goes to a size 6 (oops!).  So I tried my hand at scaling a pattern up with excellent results :)

I made this out of an owl fleece I found on special at Spotlight.  It's lovely and snuggly and makes a nice change from the usual pink she would choose :)  The pattern shows the dress in a plain red:

but I think it works nicely in a medium sized print.

To scale it up I did the following:

  1. I cut the two body pattern pieces on the fold but moved them in from the fold by about three quarters of an inch (so adding 1.5 inches in width to both pieces, in the centre of the pattern piece).  This only works because the pattern was straight at this point and the neckline wasn't too skewed by this.  I couldn't have done this with a v-neck without thinking a bit more carefully on this.
  2. I added some length to each of the body pattern pieces by slashing them in the middle, around the natural waist (where the pattern handily didn't slant enormously at either side anyway).  I did this instead of just chucking some on the length as there was a substantial amount to add and this adds to the length without changing the skirt shape (if you add to the bottom, the skirt will end up much more flared than it is, as the length is grading out to a flare).
  3. I also added a little bit of length / arm room by increasing the top of the shoulder on each body piece about half an inch (so an inch in total).
  4. Adjustment three meant I had to redraft the armhole a little bit - essentially to add that inch into the top arc of the sleeve, otherwise the arm would have been too small for the sleeve.
  5. I lengthened the sleeves, following the taper given by the original sleeve.

I did not adjust the cowl, as the instructions / pattern show it is cut deliberately too large for all sizes then fitted to the neck after the main body of the dress is constructed.  I think this method works well and it was particularly helpful for me as it meant I didn't have to work out how much my neck and shoulder adjustments would mean I needed to add to this piece :)

I also did not adjust the ties at all, though I cut them a bit longer deliberately.  With ties I think the material you make them out of is quite significant in terms of how long they can be without looking funny (I am still not sure these aren't too long).

I have no idea what she is looking at here...
While this pattern is super simple and great to sew, I am really pleased with this effort for severl reasons.  Firstly, its a lovely dress for winter - nice to have something really snuggly but still a dress.  Secondly, I upsized a pattern which I never done before (with the usual planning and sanity check help from Jill at Patchworks).  It's good to start on a simple pattern and begin to understand how you need to think for this sort of thing, though there is a caveat here about how adult patterns do not scale up in the same way - so with a kids pattern the sizes usually track around evenly, whereas with adults patterns the difference in one area (such as the bust) could be significantly more than the difference in another (such as the sleeve length).

Another reason I am chuffed with this is that I sewed the whole thing from start to finish on an overlocker (serger).  I have used the overlocker I have access to a bit here and there for seam finishing while machine sewing patterns, but this is the first overlocker from start to finish project.

Finally and probably most importantly, she seems pleased with it - and so I am too!

Ciao for now...

Monday, April 2, 2012


So I am meant to be making party bags for Issy's 5th birthday.  But instead I have made Marcus a coat (buttons yet to be finished), cut out a coat and dress for Issy, learned how to continental knit and have allowed myself to be totally distracted by Ric Rac patterns.  A friend at Brown Owls was making the Kinder Girls on Saturday and all of a sudden I found myself in possession of the Kinder Girls pattern:

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And the Disco-Bot pattern:

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Thank heavens I didn't see the Gulliver pattern there or I would be in possession of that too:

And I recently invested in some of the Aneela Hoey A Walk in the Woods fabric range

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which means I really probably need to get this lovely Little Red doll made to go along with the duvet cover I plan to make from the fabric...

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I sense some doll making in my future!  AFTER I make the party bags (honest...)