Thursday, 29 September 2016

Simplicity Sewing Challenge 2016

After taking part in the Simplicity Sewing Star competition and being 'highly commended' last year, I was excited to see it was running again for 2016! When I saw the options available for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge, I chose the children's wear pattern Simplicity 1206. This pattern includes a dress, waistcoat, trousers and even a bow tie. It only went up to age 4, so I knew I'd have to grade it up.

My daughter is 5 years old, obsessed with cats, a bit of a tom boy and never walks if she can run or dance! She is most comfortable in leggings and t-shirt, but also likes a skirt or dress she can twirl in.

I decided to make a complete outfit from the pattern, refashioning items I already owned or found in charity shops. I discussed it with Miss V and my brief was:

Colour: Pink / purple
Theme: Cats / flowers

I started by tracing off each piece, grading them up as necessary and deciding what to change.

Simplicity 1206

Dress: I liked the shape of the dress, and the yoke is a nice feature. I decided to keep it simple and make it into a top, but decided to make it from knit fabric to make it comfortable and easy to wear.

Pattern Alterations: As I was making it from knit, I cut a size 4 and left off the bottom ruffle to make a floaty top. The back of the top and yoke were cut on the fold as I didn't need any closures.

I decided to create my own fabric, so made a stamp from a cat drawing by Miss V and cut up a large pink t-shirt. I used a fabric ink pad and was very pleased with the outcome.

Handmade cat stamp

Trousers: I was close to making it a twirly skirt, but Miss V would need to wear it with tights or shorts underneath. I came across a tutorial on Sew Country Chick for culottes, which are modest, but also have a nice bit of movement. I'm not a fan of culottes on adults, but they are very cute on little girls!

The tutorial also inspired me to make them reversible. It was a good excuse to use another cute fabric and easy to turn them around to hide ice cream stains!

Pattern alterations:

As I was making them reversible I omitted the pockets and belt loops to reduce bulk. I removed the pleat from the front piece, straightened the side seams, lengthened the crotch seam and slashed and spread the shorts to give some flare. The elastic goes all the way around rather than having a flat front.

I started off making them knee length, but my first attempt was too long and not wide enough, so I shortened them and added in extra width. Using drapey fabrics from a dress and blouse gave them a nice amount of twirl.

Waistcoat: I was looking at some vintage patterns and was inspired to turn the waistcoat into a kimono sleeve cropped jacket.

Pattern alterations:

I extended the shoulders to turn it into a kimono sleeve and rounded off the front seam to give a nice shape. I made the jacket out of a purple curtain with a black satin lining. I used just 1 button as closure. To make the jacket extra fun, I wanted to use crochet pom pom trim so made some using a tutorial from By Hand London. The longest part was hand sewing it on, but I was very pleased with it.

Crochet pom pom trim

Now it's time to see my cute model, I think she's got just the right amount of attitude!

To make the outfit perfect for Autumn, she paired it with a long sleeved top, tights and boots. The hat and sunglasses help finish off the diva look!

Overall I am very pleased with my outfit. The individual pieces will go well with her other clothes. I love the fact that Miss V had some input and it suits her style perfectly. She especially loves the top, so I think that will get a lot of wear.

My favourite is probably the jacket. I have a circle skirt made from the same fabric and I'm quite tempted to add a pom pom trim to it! I already have another jacket planned for her out of some vintage cat fabric.

I can't wait to hear the results and see the other entries, it's amazing how different they all are!