Saturday, 5 August 2017

Back to School Blog Tour with Pickle Toes Patterns

Adorabelle on Aurora

Welcome to the second stop on the Pickle Toes Patterns "Back to School" blog tour!! I'm excited to share with you PTP's Adorabelle pattern!
While in Australia we must send our children to school in uniform - even in the public school system, this little number is great for wear all year round! So, if your child is a uniform wearing one, Adorabelle is perfect for after school or weekends instead!

This PDF pattern includes sizes 12 months to 16 girls. 

Adorabelle is a versatile pattern designed for knit fabrics - so some experience sewing with knits is beneficial when attempting this sew. No one technique required to sew Adorabelle is difficult, however I'd recommend for sewers of at least confident beginner level.

Adorabelle comes with a range of sleeve options - sleeveless, flutter, short & long bell sleeve. You can also opt to add the flutters to the short and long bell sleeves to create even more looks!
This version of Adorabelle has the long bell sleeves with the added flutter. I love the way the bell is gently sloping and not too generous, as my daughter would find it too irritating. (Over generous sleeves get in the way of busy play!) 

I love that this pattern can be made to create so many looks, it represents real value, a pattern that can be visited again and again.

Adorabelle has three circle skirt options. Triple layer, double layer & single. You could opt to create a peplum style top with the shortest single layer or even a simple dress, using only the longest skirt option! Your imagination is the only thing limiting you! Layer as you will! Or not at all!!! Leave off the skirts, add seam allowance, hem and you have yourself a beautiful top!

But WAIT! There's more! Not only do you have all those skirt and sleeve options, but there are two hood options!! Or go for the simple neckband.
Instructions are given for lined or unlined hoods. I opted for lined hoods as I personally prefer the finish. This dress has the (what I like to call) "peasant style" hood. I've never come across a pattern with a hood quite like this and I found it so totally FUN! It's curly & whirly, full of whimsy and everything that sets an imagination run wild! Plus, my daughter thought it was very fun too! So a real winner!
Drawings of peasant style hoods - as found on Google images

Now, I'm not done with explaining options! So just hold up a little longer!
If your sleeve, skirt and hood/neckband options aren't enough, you can add a wonderful front pocket!! (Please see my versions below for this example.)

"Wait! What's that?"


Make your own Fabric Rosette

You may have noticed on my dress I have added a little rosette? This is a dash of my own flare, however I'm very pleased to share with you exactly how I made it!

To make the rosette, simply take one piece of knit fabric - 12" x 4" (to change the look, cut your piece longer/shorter/taller etc.)
Press your fabric, wrong sides facing (one long side will be the fold.) Mitre your short ends of the fabric (this means cut a 45 degree angle), the tip or point will be towards the folded edge.
Next, set your sewing machine up to sew a basting stitch (longest stitch option with the loosest tension.) Sew one or two rows of basting stitches along your long raw edge - starting and ending at the tips of your mitred corners.
Gently gather your fabric strip & curl into a "rose shape" (like a spiral.) Tack your rose to hold it in the desired shape. Next hand or machine sew your rosette onto your dress! There is no need to finish edges as knit fabric doesn't fray! Too easy!!

"Come to the dark side!"


The Adorabelle circle skirt has fantastic twirl!!

I added a luxe factor to my dress by adding panne velvet which also has a good stretch factor so suited this dress nicely!

My daughter absolutely loves this dress and I enjoyed the sew immensely! Please keep reading to see my two other versions of Adorabelle

The cat's meow! Woven skirt Adorabelle

This version of Adorabelle has the simple hood (lined again), long bell sleeves, front pocket and double layered skirts.

My daughter is slender and requires a blend of sizes, (2 width and 4 height.) The Adorabelle pattern has layered pattern pieces, which makes sewing a blended size a breeze!

Woven Skirt Hack

The double skirts on this version have been sewn in woven fabric! A hack to the original pattern that I will now explain!
I opted to only have two layers on this dress - the longest & second longest skirt. Rather than cutting circle skirts as per the pattern I cut rectangular skirt pieces and gathered them.
For a size 2 in the width cut 2 pieces of fabric at 30" by the height of the circle skirt pattern piece (plus seam allowance - half an inch is already allowed for in the pattern, however, you may wish to add extra.)
So one will need to print the skirt layer pieces you wish to emulate. Measure the height of the skirt on the fold line and add for a seam allowance if required - woven fabrics need hemming!
For each size larger than 2, add an inch to your length. For example, for size 3 width, cut two pieces at 31" long, for size 4, cut 2 pieces at 32" long etc. Or for the smaller sizes, reduce by an inch for each size smaller.
Once you have your rectangle skirt pieces cut, sew the short edges (with right sides facing), finish the raw edge - serge or zig zag.
Hem the bottom long edge of your skirt pieces - I like to fold 1/2" then another 1/2".
Run two rows of basting stitches along the top of each skirt piece. Gather to fit the top of your Adorabelle. If you have more than one layer on your skirt, baste your layers together before stitching to your top.
Sew your skirt to your top, make sure you finish your seam as woven fabric will fray! Add elastic as directed in the original pattern - heavy skirts can stretch and distort your top without some stabilization.
Press seam towards the top, top stitch using a stretch stitch. Now your dress is ready to wear!

If you've just scrolled past the hack, you will now notice that this skirt is woven! Not a difficult modification to make to the Adorabelle.

Made with soft cotton jersey, the top of this dress is lovely to wear!

The pocket option on Adorabelle is clever indeed. Not two side pockets, but one adjoining pocket!! Perfect for warming hands or storing snacks/treasures!

I added a pop of colour to this dress by using pink velvet to line to pocket and hood!

My little Miss loves cats! So I'm always on the look out for fabulous cat fabrics! Cotton poplins also make for a beautiful gathered skirt.

Now dear reader, I'll just let you scroll! Photos are my favourite part of blogs and I hope you'll enjoy mine! But make sure you get all the way to the end, there's a nice little surprise down there!



Adorabelle, let there be warmth!


Its true, in my part of the world it is chilly! (Clearly our winters aren't as cold as some!) However, my little trooper braved the weather so we could show you a very summery version of Adorabelle, because this pattern truly is versatile!

I will confess that I don't know much about US, UK and EU dress codes for schooling, however, if it is covered shoulders you need and it's still warm, then the flutter or short sleeve option on Adorabelle will have you covered! (Pun intended!)
This is the peplum top skirt length and paired with bubble shorts or leggings, it truly is it's namesake! Adorable!

I used cotton jersey for the main shirt and then paired with lycra for a fun beach look!


*Top tips for working with knit*

Use plenty of steam if you notice your knit warping
Use a walking foot on your sewing machine
Lift your garment gently when sewing to reduce the risk of drag (which causes distortion)
If you find your knit curling up when you are trying to press hems, use a starch spray instead of steam
Use the right needle for sewing with knit! Ball point or stretch
When sewing on a regular sewing machine, use a stretch stitch!! I like to use my small "lightening bolt" stitch - but a small zig zag will also work
Keep a small (or large) stash of chocolate near by.......for those times when you might feel like hitting your machine for being naughty! Reach for the chocolate! The chocolate I said!!

Molly Mermaid made for the perfect feature on the front! If you have a special panel you've been looking to use, then Adorabelle is the pattern! Or, like me, add some FMA or embroidery.

I love Jeanine from Stitch Arts FMA designs! They are my go to for adding that something special to a garment
Even the peplum skirt has great twirl!
 Well done dear reader! You have made it to the end!! It has been an epic post! But I couldn't share all the delights of Adorabelle in just one sew. I promise you'll feel the same!
Now for the best bit! You can get your own copy of Adorabelle at a discounted rate! 25% off with coupon code "ADORE"
I'd love to see what YOU do with Adorabelle! Make sure you join the Facebook pattern group, share your creations, find inspiration and get all the latest Pickle Toes Patterns news!
Thank you Kellie for providing me with the Adorabelle pattern and having me along for the Pickle Toes Patterns "Back to School" blog tour! It has been so much fun and I look forward to visiting all the blog stops!
Time for this bus to get going! See below for the full tour schedule.
Happy sewing! See you next time!
~ Zoe ~

Sunday, 30 July 2017

A Pocket Full of Sunshine & Runaround Dress - PDF Patterns by Duchess & Hare

Pocketful of Sunshine Dress

This is the newest pattern by Duchess & Hare, the "Pocketful of Sunshine Dress". I was delighted to test this visitation of the classic sailor look.
This PDF pattern includes sizes 2 - 12, with layered printing options.

This pattern suits sewers of intermediate sewing level as not only does it require 4 - 6 buttonholes (snaps really won't do for this one I'm afraid!) Along with a side dress or invisible zip.

This dress has an optional sailor style collar (you can choose to leave it off for an alternative look.)

Deep front pockets to store treasures (you could also opt to leave these off - just cut two back skirts instead of one.)

Pockets are always a winner in our books!

This dress has traditional facings - if you have never sewn them, this is another factor to add to the intermediate skill level. I like to serge (overlock) my exposed facing edges. This dress isn't fully lined so serging is the neatest way to finish the facings (unless you want to go to the trouble of binding them, although this could create bulk.)
The facings are basically shaped pieces approximately 1.5" wide that fit around the armholes & collar. They are under stitched for a perfect look. Hand stitching internally is the neatest way to secure them in place. 

"Yep, that facing is seamless Mum!"

I prefer an invisible zip over a dress zip. Namely because I find the insertion easier (I maybe alone in this finding and a little odd! But it's the truth!) Personally I also love the finish!

Just enough twirl factor for dancing & play!
I created my Pocketful of Sunshine with the sleeveless look, although short sleeves are an alternative option.
Pocketful of Sunshine is a vintage length dress. Perfect for play when paired with leggings!
My dress is sewn from 100% quilters cotton and trimmed with satin ribbon.

This gorgeous pattern creates amazing dresses, perfect for special occasions or everyday play. All the testers created amazing examples and I LOVED each and every one!
To find out more or purchase your own copy of the Pocketful of Sunshine dress, please visit Duchess & Hare HERE.

Runaround Romper or Dress

While I'm discussing Duchess & Hare, I'm also going to share my other test sew for them! The "Runaround Romper or Dress."

This easy summer sew includes a number options, the biggest being the choice of sewing a dress or a romper!

This PDF pattern includes sizes 2 - 12 years, again, layered pattern pieces for printing ease.

The dress version can be paired with the separate bloomers - pattern included! These are vital if sewing the tulip skirt option (as the skirt splits right up to the bodice.) You can also opt to sew the straight skirt.

For my version I chose to sew the tulip skirt with bloomers

The back of the dress or romper bodice buttons up (or snaps if you prefer!)

The bodice has an elastic waistband to create a more fitted silhouette in the middle. 

Wide neckline gives good shoulder coverage.

My dress is sewn from 100% cotton poplin - fabric bought from Fabric Trove.

To find out more about the Runaround Romper/Dress, please visit Duchess & Hare.
To find out more on all the new releases and sales for Duchess & Hare patterns, please join the Duchess & Hare Facebook pattern group.

And now for something a little different! I am a real person, a real mum with a life happening!

Last weekend my youngest niece was baptised and I had the great honour of being a Godparent for the first time! To say I was thrilled to bits is an understatement!

I also had the pleasure of sewing the special girl's baptism gown!

All that hand sewing was worth it!

The amazing spread my sister-in-law organised! (We all love those amazing foodie photos!)

Beautiful snack spread by Just Grazing.

The cake tasted as amazing as it looked! Salted caramel filling......mmmmmmm....nom nom nom nom! Cake by Sweet Inspirations Perth.

This is my wonderful mother! Grandmother to the girl of the hour and my own children! She is the reason I can sew and a very talented lady. Not only did she sew the coat, top and scarf that she is wearing here, but she can also paint, create, knit, crochet, sing, play several musical instruments and speak several different languages. Add to this, she is also very modest about it all! I admire her, respect her and I'm proud to be her daughter. We live hours away from each other, so visits are far and few between, but each one precious! (Sorry Mum! I had to share you!)

Speaking of my Mum and lastly, to show you another side to my creating, here is a piece of artwork destined for an art show my Mum and her art group are running! It's a 5" x 9" competition, the only rule being that you create or paint your piece on a 5" x 9" board!
Of course I couldn't resist creating something with a sewing theme, so after some thought I decided to make a small scene inspired by Beatrix Potter's story "The Tailor of Gloucester." (I know you all know the "Tale of Peter Rabbit." This is likely a lesser known tale, but one of my childhood favourites!
It is a mixed medium piece, sculpted from clay, painted in acrylics and varnished. I named it "An Ode to the Tailor of Gloucester."   

Yes, that is a real needle! But if the old "Look but don't touch" rule is adhered to, no-one will be harmed!
 That's all from me for now! Have a fabulous week and happy sewing!
~ Zoe ~