Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Making pants while the sun shines: ruffled bloomers tutorial

Thank you to all those who left nice comments about the ruffled bloomers last month. 
Here, at last, are some instructions!

You can download the template here .
It should print out at the correct size on A4 paper with the printer set at 100% scaling.

A note on sizing - these are made to fit my 16 month old daughter. The size is determined by the elastic at the waist and legs, so they could easily be made smaller or larger. Soft, super-stretchy baby elastic would allow for flexibility and growing room.

You will need to trim the right side of the paper along the ends of the printed lines
(although if your baby is in cloth nappies you could leave it untrimmed - the extra couple of inches might come in useful).

In addition to elastic, you will need: 

Three strips of fabric measuring 1.5 inches x width of fabric, finished on one long edge (I cut and finished these in one go with my lovely overlocker).

One bloomer front, cut on the fold using the template outline.

Four bloomer back pieces: A, B, C and D (from top to bottom).

Two bias strips for finishing the leg holes.

Ruffles first:

Gather the unfinished long edges of each of the ruffle strips until they are each about 16 inches.

Bloomers back:

Lay one ruffle onto piece A, with right sides together and the gathered ruffle edge aligned with the bottom of piece A.

It should look like this. (The ruffle is a little longer than the bloomer pieces - I find it easier to trim it later once the whole back has been assembled).

Now lay piece B, right-side down, on top of the ruffle, aligning the top edge of piece B with the bottom edge of piece A, so the ruffle is now sandwiched in-between. 

Pin the three layers together.

And stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance (apologies for the upside-down picture above).

Press all the seam allowances up towards piece A, and topstitch through all layers above the ruffle to encourage it to lie flat.

Now it should look like this...

Pin the first ruffle out of the way, and repeat the same process to attach piece C to piece B, with another ruffle in-between.

And then attach piece D to piece C, with a third ruffle...

Bloomers back completed:

Side and gusset seams:

Place the front piece on top of the back piece, pin the side seams (making sure the ruffles are lying nicely) and then trim ruffle ends.

Sew the side and gusset seams with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 
(I did this with the overlocker to finish the seams at the same time).

Fold and press and 1/4 inch hem at the waist, then fold again and press a 1/2 inch hem to form a casing for the waist elastic.

Sew around the waist, leaving a little gap to thread the elastic later.

Bias casings for the legs:

Fold and press a 1/4 inch hem along one long edge of each of the bias strips.

Then stitch the unfolded long edge of the bias tape around each of the leg openings, right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Press the bias tape to the inside and stitch along the folded edge to form a casing for the leg elastic, leaving a small opening to thread the elastic.

Measure the leg and waist elastic to fit your baby, thread through, and sew up the gaps in the casings.

Beautiful spotty pants with ruffles!

 (And the front view too).

Do let me know if you make some!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

sorbetto sundae

This is the Sorbetto top from Colette patterns - the stuff that sewing obsessions are made of. 

It only has two pieces (front, back), and can be cut from less than a metre of fabric. The fit is forgiving, yet still flattering, and it pulls on so there are no fiddly fastenings. And, best of all, it's available as a free download.

With so much to recommend it, you can't blame me for having got a little carried away...

Despite my frenzied mass production, I've yet to make this patterns in its original form. It lends itself so readily to a bit of adaptation that it's hard to resist tweaking a bit. The Sorbetto proper has a centre-front pleat, sewn down and pressed outwards, and decorative bias tape on the outside. The bias tape I had on hand was nothing special, so it had to stay hidden, and the pleated front just kept evolving away from the original...

I started out with this: pleat inverted and left open. It was a purely practical choice based on allowing a bit of extra tummy room in case the pattern proved un-generous in its sizing. I needn't have worried - it just right (though Colette works in American sizes, so I did have to measure myself and check the chart).

No pleat at all here - I cut with the fold of the fabric on the pleat line instead - because I didn't have much of this silk and was trying to eke it out.

A fully lined version, double-layered as this cotton voile is more or less transparent. No bias tape for the facings here, as the lining does that job instead, and no pleat either.

The pleat is back, still inverted, with buttons down to the level of the darts. This is copied wholesale from JohannaO's photo on flickr, perhaps my favourite variation so far.

And finally, a summery Sorbetto with gathers where the pleat should be.

Truly, it works every time! This pattern is pure sewing therapy at the end of a long day.
(And I can hear the Colette website calling me back to spend some actual money next time...)

Friday, 8 July 2011

What a good idea...

Ever since I read that the carbon footprint of an avatar on Second Life is equivalent to that of a real-life human being, I've been wondering (perhaps worrying) about the carbon footprint of a blog. But now I think I've found an answer, and better still, a solution.

Have a look at this.

My blog is still in its infancy, and at the moment its emissions could probably be offset by a small lettuce, but I'm hoping it will grow over time, and now it will have a tree to grow alongside it.