KCW Summer 2013 (Winter): Day Four and Outfit Five

A quiet day today since I was out of the house all morning. I finished two pieces of clothing which I started last night and started on another one.

Flying Blue Vehicles Shirt and Pants


I wanted to do something to represent the flying car for Chamber of Secrets. I used a car stamp and fabric paint to stamp the material before I started, then made a simple T-shirt with blue ribbing for the neck and the arms. For the pants, I used the free You Call It pants pattern, made from an old t-shirt. I used some old dance material to make pockets, sewing them in circles to look like car lights.

This was a really easy project which worked really well, except that the pants are a little long for Squirm. I’m going to put some elastic in the ankles which will enhance the harem-ness of the pants, and hopefully help them fit better on his legs.

Flying Blue Vehicles Outfit 1 Flying Blue Vehicles Outfit1

There’s not really too much more to say about this outfit except that it seems to be very comfortable!

Flying Blue Vehicles Outfit2 Flying Blue Vehicles Outfit5

KCW Summer 2013 (Winter): Day Three and Outfit Four

After whipping up more than half my planned outfits in the first two days, I decided to run off track today and create something completely unplanned. I had some nice fabric around, which worked beautifully, and before I knew it, I had a lovely outfit made which really consolidated some of my sewing skills. (I also started and nearly finished another outfit which was planned, but I’ll wait until tomorrow to share that one)

Since I didn’t take any photos of the sewing process today, I’ll just share the actual outfit.


Off We Go T-Shirt and Shorts

Off We Go Shirt and Outfit5

I chose the material for the shorts and shirt together, hoping to have a cohesive outfit. The shirt material was from a women’s shirt from the op shop, while the shorts material was quilting cotton from East Coast Fabrics. (I used some old poplin I had to line it). I used the KID Shorts from MADE (and the lining pants tutorial) and my self-drafted pattern for the shirt.

I started with the shorts, which was an excellent idea, since I used the shirt material to line the pockets and realised that it was really, really stretchy. To make the shorts, I made up a pair in the outer material and a pair in the lining material until I got to the waist band stage, then attached them together before doing the waistband and the hems.

Off We Go Shorts1
Off We Go Shorts2

A peek in the pocket

Off We Go Shorts3

The shirt was just a basic t-shirt, but I added a pocket with a slight pleat on it, and a couple of  straps and buttons just for interest. I sewed one of them into the shoulder seam, which made it really easy to attach, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the other one until the shirt was together and then I attached it to the arm. Then we were ready to go . . .

Off We Go Shirt and Outfit1 Off We Go Shirt and Outfit2 Off We Go Shirt and Outfit5 Off We Go Shirt and Outfit4 Off We Go Shirt and Outfit3

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter): Outfit Three: Wombat Diary

For this Kids Clothes Week I am aiming to create outfits which are inspired by picture books and movies. As I finish the outfits, I’ll share my inspiration and the process

Wombat Diary – Jumper (Sweater) and Shorts


I ADORE Diary of a Wombat. I first read it when I was teaching Year One on prac and I laughed so much I had trouble finishing the book. It’s the Diary of Mothball, a hungry and persistent wombat who ‘befriends’ a family and demands a lot of carrots. After looking through the book I knew exactly what I wanted to make . . .

Wombat Diary Outfit01

I wanted a cuddly, but vaguely vintage look for this one. There’s lots of great photos around from earlier times of young boys wearing jumpers (sweaters for those who think jumpers are dresses) and shorts. And it’s quite practical in Queensland where our winters are kind of a joke to those from colder climates. For the jumper, I wanted to recreate the boarded up door which Mothball begs in front of. I wanted the shorts to be the dark brown of the wombat, but with appliqued carrots poking out of the pocket.

I used two old jumpers from the op shops for this, plus material from a men’s shirt to line the shorts. For the patterns, I used my old favourite, the Beachy Boatneck, but went up a size to make a roomier jumper. For the shorts I used the KID Shorts pattern, but with cut down pockets and adding a waistband. (Plus, did I mention that I lined them? This was pretty advanced for me!)

To do the front of the jumper, I arranged and then sewed the ‘planks’ onto the front piece, then made use of my inability to sew in a straight line to add detail lines.

Wombat Diary Outfit03

I might yet add ‘nails’ to it, but I’m pretty happy with how it looks for the moment. I then made up the Beachy Boatneck as in the pattern (I love this pattern), but was able to use the pre existing hems for the waist and the sleeves (yay!)

Wombat Diary Outfit04

To make the shorts, I actually made two pairs – the outer and the lining – but without the waist or hemming. I waited until I’d made them up to add the pockets, which was a bit trickier on sewing, but meant I got better placement than I have been getting. I also sewed the carrots on at the same time.

I attached the two pairs of shorts together at the bottom of the legs, which was a process fraught with fear and concern and I have no way to explain it to you, except to let you know that it worked, and that there must be an easier way!

Wombat Diary Outfit07

I then turned them into each other, added a tag and then sewed on the waist. And then I had some shorts!

Wombat Diary Outfit34
Carrots in the pocket!

Carrots in the pocket!

The waist band actually sits too high on Squirm, so I’ll end up folding it down and sewing it, but they look wonderful and were actually a lot easier than I thought they’d be. They’ll look even better after an iron, but the light and my model were fading, so we ventured into the wild backyard for some more glamour shots.

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I am really proud of this outfit – it fits well, looks great and will work well with other outfits. It was also really fun to make, which is just an added bonus!

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter): Outfit Two: Seeker

For this Kids Clothes Week I am aiming to create outfits which are inspired by picture books and movies. As I finish the outfits, I’ll share my inspiration and the process

Seeker – T-Shirt and Pants


I’m a massive Harry Potter fan, so I was eager to make some clothes inspired by Harry Potter. For Kids Clothes Week, I wanted to use the movies as inspiration rather than the books. When it came to the first movie – Philosopher’s Stone – Quidditch seemed the perfect way to go.

I was conscious that I wanted the outfit to look like clothes, not a costume. I also wanted the different pieces to be wearable with other clothes.

Seeker planning1

My original sketch

The material for the shirt was basic knit material from Spotlight, while the material for the pants came from skirt from a local op shop. I used my self drafted shirt pattern, but redrew it to allow for the two different materials. For the pants, I modified the KID Pants pattern adjusting it so it would fit Squirm better.

I’d started sewing the shirt together yesterday, piecing the front pieces together and joining them to the back (which was already painted) at the shoulders. I also had one sleeve in yesterday, so today I just needed to finish the other sleeve, then sew up the sides. Finally I needed to hem the sleeves and bottom of the shirt.

To add interest, I was adding top stitching at the front and sides as well as on the hems. I really need to work out some way of sewing in a straight line though – it would look so much better if I could do that.

Seeker Shirt1 Seeker Shirt2

The pants were really similar to the KID Shorts I made yesterday. The material was cut in all sorts of directions and turned out to be much stretchier than I thought it would be. Nonetheless, they came together really well, and I sewed on a fake fly and some fake pockets which added to the fairly simple pants.

Seeker Pants1 Seeker Pants2

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the model to wake from his nap and time to head out into the sun for some photos

Seeker Outfit2 Seeker Outfit4 Seeker Outfit5
Seeker Outfit7

Not quite the right kind of broom 🙂

Seeker Outfit8

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter) : Day Two

Back into it today for Kids Clothes Week. This time I got a bit more sleep (thank goodness!) but also a later start because Squirm had his swimming lesson first up in the morning. Once we were back and we’d hung the washing on the line, it was time to get into the day’s sewing.

Day 2 Work3

Some early morning, before swimming pinning

I’d started working on the Seeker t-shirt yesterday and it came together really quickly today. I still can’t sew straight lines, but other than that it looks really good. The pants that went with it came together really, really quickly – once I’d worked out which was front and which was back, anyway

Seeker Outfit2

My model was having his nap when I finished this outfit, so I put it aside and went on with the next on my list – a jumper (a sweater for those thinking of dresses) and shorts inspired by Diary of a Wombat. The sewing went even faster this time, even though this was a slightly more complex outfit – more details and even lining for the shorts.

I finished the whole outfit in time to get some great photos (and get the washing off the line) and realised that I’d made two whole outfits and four individual pieces today – I’m now more than half way through my planned list. Now to decide if I’ll continue the list tomorrow or if I’ll do something completely different!

Wombat Diary Outfit08

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter): Outfit One: Donaldson’s Dairy

For this Kids Clothes Week I am aiming to create outfits which are inspired by picture books and movies. As I finish the outfits, I’ll share my inspiration and the process

Donaldson’s Dairy – Shirt, Shorts and Cardigan


One of our favourite picture books is Hairy Maclary of Donaldson’s Dairy. This lovely, rhyme-filled book introduces a number of dogs who head out on a walk together. The main dog is Hairy Maclary.

I was inspired by two different images from the book – the one above and the last image in the book. I decided to sew a blue shirt with railings painted on (like the railings in the above image). For shorts, I was inspired by the last image, where Hairy Maclary hides underneath a checked blanket. Finally I decided to make a black cardigan (black for Hairy Maclary) with an image of the mail box on the back.

Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan02

My original sketch

I sourced my material at a couple of op shops – a woman’s t-shirt, a women’s sweater and a men’s business shirt. (I forgot to photograph the t-shirt before I started cutting)

Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan04 Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan03

I partly made the shirt and the shorts at the same time this morning while I was waiting for the shops to open to buy a new iron. The shirt was the Beachy Boatneck pattern from Blank Slate Patterns. It’s one of my favourite patterns and I didn’t even need to refer to the instructions to make it this time. The material of the shirt was my main difficulty – it’s an incredibly fine rib which has caused me problems before, and I think I’ll avoid it as much as I can in the future. I find that simple seams and hems often stretch despite my best attempts, so because of this, I left the shirt sleeves unhemmed. I might do something about it later, but for now it’s fine.

Donaldson Dairy Shirt and Shorts1 Donaldson Dairy Shirt and Shorts3

The shorts were made to a slightly adapted KID Shorts pattern. Because Squirm has big cloth nappies, I needed to add a bit extra in a few places – I tend to cut to a bigger size, then add an inch to the waist. I’ve used this adapted pattern a couple of times now and I really like it.

I had the worst time cutting these shorts. I did it way too late at night and ended up cutting four front pieces. Then I cut two back images, but not mirrored. Luckily I had enough fabric to finally get the pieces I needed! I used the shorts template as well, and added a little strip of fabric as a detail to the pocket.

Donaldson Dairy Shirt and Shorts2
Donaldson Dairy Shirt and Shorts5

Fully covered nappy bum!

The cardigan was also from Blank Slate Patterns – Cool Cardigan. My version was incredibly basic – no cuffs (I used the ones from the sweater), no pocket, no waistband. I haven’t put buttons on it yet, and I’m thinking I may not. I appliqued a letterbox on the back of the cardigan – a simple white rectangle with a cut out and a green strip for the top – but otherwise kept it very basic.

I had a couple of problems with the thickness of the material, so I might try a different needle next time I use this kind of material. However, although the cardigan isn’t perfect, it does fit him really well and looks pretty cute. Luckily he woke up from his nap and the rain held off for us so we could get some photos of the whole outfit together.

Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan11 Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan10 Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan13 Donaldson Dairy Shirt Shorts and Cardigan12 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots3 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots2 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots1 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots5 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots4 Donaldson Dairy Model Shots7

Have you made anything for Kids Clothes Week this week? Are you a Hairy Maclary fan?

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter) : Day One

So, today was the first day of my first Kids Clothes Week. Unfortunately my day started quite a bit earlier than I had intended, with Squirm raring to go from 4am. By 7am, I was ready for my day to begin, with the machine out and a cup of tea ready to go.

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013

Of course, the minute I started the machine, I had a visitor checking out my progress. (By the way, growing molars sucks)

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013

I didn’t have an iron, so there was limited work I could do before the shops opened. But I could start on the pockets . . .

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013

Then we raced to the shops to get a new iron (very green) and something much more important – a MASSIVE coffee

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013

In the end I have three finished garments, or one entire outfit, plus I’m part way through another t-shirt (with colour blocking! Very exciting). I’ve enjoyed this being my focus, particularly since I was running on minimal sleep. Usually  this means I curl up on the couch and do nothing, but today I was left with a real sense of achievement. I got the clothes and the dishes washed too, so I really was on top of things today 🙂

I’ll do another post on the complete outfit I finished today (Donaldson’s Dairy Shorts, Shirt and Cardigan), but while I get that together, here’s a couple of photos . . .

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013 Adventures of a Subversive Reader: KCW Summer 2013

KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter) – Prepping Part 2

I seem to be learning an awful lot in my preparation for Kids Clothes Week. Learning how to manipulate the material I’ve got, how to not blow the house up using the iron. Learning how to make bias tape, button holes and cool trim. Learning that I’m still struggling to make pants and shorts that will fit over the cute big nappy bum. Learning how to fabric stamp and coffee dye. Also learning not to cut shorts out too late at night – unless you want 4 fronts or 2 backs that face the same way . . .

Here’s some more photos of my prep process 🙂

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KCW: Summer 2013 (Winter) – Prepping Part 1

Alas, it seems I may have gone completely overboard in preparing for Kids Clothing Week. I have 6 outfits planned which involve 13 pieces of clothing. Preparing goes beyond simple cutting out and includes painting and stamping. And yet, I’m having the best time. I figure that this is a great chance to really make some lovely things for Squirm, and a good focused time to do more than random pieces.

Bring on Monday (once I finish the cutting out and painting, that is!)

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KCW: Summer (Winter) 2013: The Plan

Kids Clothes Week begins in one week and one day, and this will be my first attempt at it. The challenge is pretty easy – spend at least an hour a day sewing kids clothing for a whole week. From what I can tell, a real community feel emerges from this week, with everyone sharing photos of their achievements and sewing along together.

Because it’s my first attempt and because I’m feeling a little ambitious, I’ve set myself a few additional goals. I want to:

  • Pay extra attention to my finishing, linings and seams. I’ve been watching (devouring) the Great British Sewing Bee on You Tube and I’m definitely struck by how much better things look when they’re finished properly
  • Make full outfits which are inspired by books/movies
  • At the same time, make pieces which can be worn in different combinations and with different clothes (so not too costume-ish)
  • Use thrifted adults clothes as much as possible. There’s a couple of exceptions to this, but I’ve just found a couple of great op shops near me with really affordable good quality stuff

This is pretty ambitious, especially since I will need to do some fabric painting as part of the preparation, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge. This next week will be spent selecting and practicing patterns, cutting out material and painting it, making sure I have all the notions and ‘stuff’ I need and reading up on all the necessary techniques.

A pile of old clothes ready to be turned into new clothes!

A pile of old clothes ready to be turned into new clothes!

Squirm checks out his latest pair of shorts

Squirm checks out his latest pair of shorts

Have you ever taken part in a week long challenge?