VFT London aka the twirly summer dress!

Hi! I made something for my daughter for a change so thought I’d pop on and show you! I made it with the intention to sell the style, so I was allowed. ūüėČ

It’s the Violette Field Threads new pattern – the London dress. I made the most of the couple of days of sunshine we had!!

twirly summer dress standing pb

I made it in a gorgeous Liberty of London cotton lawn that’s adorned with sweeties! So cute! I realised how apt it was to be making a London dress out of Liberty fabric afterwards. ūüėÄ

The dress features a ruffly hem but I left that out (who’s got time for all that ruffling haha… I’m really not a ruffles and frills person) and just added 3″ to the length of the skirt.

twirly summer dress sitting pb

It’s got the teeniest bodice, a really full skirt, and tie-up straps. A quick and simple sew, with just a few techniques required – gathering, bias binding, and the usual seams and hem!

twirly summer dress flat lay pb

In true matchy matchy Pink Bobbins style, I made a matching bow hairband, and it’s safe to say little A loves the outfit and wants to wear it ALL THE TIME!! ūüôā

sweetie twirly dress and hairband pb

Can you blame her? Just look at the spin effect!

twirly summer dress twirling pb

I totally recommend this pattern, it’s brilliantly written and the outcome is just so gorgeous.

Of course if you don’t want to make your own you can always by mine at Pink Bobbins. ūüėõ

Beth x

Felt play phone

EXACTLY one year ago today I won a giveaway over at Me and My Veritas for a pre-cut felt play phone kit. And I just finished sewing it up!! So I have to quickly share… Jana, I’m not sure if you blog anymore or if you will read this but just in case you will, I would like you to know it’s no longer sat in the drawer!

It was dead easy to sew up, yes I don’t know why it took my so long to get round to it. Jana cut all the fiddly pieces out and all I had to do was sew them together and stuff it.

If you want to make your own, you just need some scraps of felt – here’s the tutorial and free pattern!

Now without further ado… ta dah!!

felt play phoneThat’s the front! This is the back:

felt play phone

I sewed half of it up at the poolside when S had her swimming lesson last week, almost all the other half in the car at the weekend and I stuffed it and sewed up the gap this morning. I wish I always remember to take something light to sew in such situations as I hate to sit and do nothing. And now I feel accomplished!

And A likes it. She immediately called Grandma!

felt play phoneAnd took some snaps of me!

felt play phone

So thank you to Jana at Me & My Veritas for the adorable kit! ūüôā

felt play phoneI’m just sorry it took a whole year for me to put it together!

Beth x

Jeans to Girl’s Dungarees Refashion

I’m sooo excited about this make. I have to say that I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

I made my 5 1/2 year old some dungarees; she’s been pestering me for some ever since I made her little sister some last year.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

If you have been reading my blog for a while you might remember that I made my last dungarees with the help of Made by Toya’s fantastic free pattern. Well the pattern is for a 2 year old, and I wanted one for a 5 year old. So, I had to use my noodle this time round. I didn’t even bother looking for another ready-made pattern, which in hindsight was rather odd.

My motivation to get them made this month was my¬†recent joining of The Monthly Stitch. If you’re¬†not aware of this, it’s basically a collective of sewists¬†who can join in with monthly challenges related to sewing. And you can dip in and out as you wish so¬†I joined in December and will partake in any challenges that I fancy! Hopefully it will keep me sewing and push me further into experienced-seamstress-land.

January’s challenge was ‘Denim Never Dies.’ I imagine the name was borne from the fact that denim never goes¬†out of fashion, but I took¬†another approach to the ‘never dies’ part of the¬†name in that I¬†used recycled denim.

I started with this:

jeans to upcycle

And had a lot of fun chopping them up into this:

chopped up jeans

[In case you’re curious, here’s the tutorial that I used for cutting them up so that I got as much fabric as possible out of them. I was only left with a few scraps.]

So next I thought about how to go about creating dungarees to fit my daughter. Luckily my daughter has a dungaree-dress that fits so I basically copied the bodice, adding on a seam allowance. I drew quite a generous seam allowance so that I could make it smaller if I needed too! I took a risk here because I went straight ahead and cut out the denim. I guess because it was free I didn’t panic about wasting it. Or maybe I have a lot of faith in myself?!

making dungarees

I took out Made by Toya’s dungarees pattern and measured the clothes up against it. As you can see below, my daughter’s jeans are not much bigger than the pattern for a 2-year-old(!) so that helped a lot.

RTW jeans

First, I made the bodice. I had to cut the pieces in two halves rather than a whole because of the small amount of fabric I had. But I think the seam running down the centre isn’t too noticeable.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

The first thing I did was to decorate the¬†bodice¬†pocket. You may have seen the sneak peek I showed on my Sunday Sevens post last week! I embroidered a Hello Kitty face using a simple chain stitch. And it’s not perfect – her face should be more squashed than circular – but I’m pretty darn proud of it!

Hello Kitty Embroidery

So that went on the front pocket of the bodice. That pocket was one of the most irritating parts of the whole project because I attempted the topstitching along the top edge three times to get it accurate! And then found that the denim had stretched so the pocket is not as square as it should be… I hope it’s not too noticeable.

I’m happy with the back bodice, which all lined up pretty damn perfectly even if I do say so myself. You can’t really see but the centre seam is spot on running into the ‘v’!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I used a hot pink thread instead of a blue that would¬†have been¬†more forgiving for wonky stitching for two reasons: 1) There was a bonus ‘pink’ challenge on The Monthly Stitch so I thought I would incorporate some pink (hence also the pink linings), and 2) it makes it that bit more unique!

I had a moment of sheer genius-ness when I thought I could use the belt loops on the jeans to create the loops for the straps to go through (I wanted to copy the dress’s straps that I was using for reference/measuring).

Girls dungarees

I love how that part turned out. The straps slip through the loops, fold over and fasten with a purple heart button. The buttons don’t match, but hey-ho, I was using what I already have.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I then sewed up the bodice as per Toya’s dungaree pattern. All went swimmingly, I am very proud to report!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

Finally I got started on the trousers section. I totally made this up as I went along because I made them differently to how you usually make basic trousers. I had to¬†cut up another pair of jeans (incidentally although they’re too short for me they’re one of my favourite pairs; this was the ultimate sacrifice!)

Jeans to refashion into dungarees

Yes, I¬†did only start¬†the trousers once the bodice was finished; a risky move because I wasn’t sure if I could even find some matching denim… but I was getting excited!! Luckily the denim is a pretty good match.

I literally chopped off the legs and kept them as they were РI just cut curves into the crotch to make that, and unpicked some of the seam on each side to fit the pockets in. The jeans were bootcut so rather flared on a five-year-old, so I narrowed one of the seams on each leg; but I kept the thick seam and the hems!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I flipped the legs around so that the¬†part that’s more faded and worn from my knees is at the back – and it doesn’t look bad at all.

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

My daughter loves the front pockets as they are apparently bigger than normal ones! I cut them¬†(and also the¬†lining for the bodice front pocket) in a Hello Kitty fabric I had lying around. I love that I could make an item of clothing so uniquely tailored to my daughter’s taste!¬†I don’t know what happened to the length of the pocket, by the way, but it was all OK in the end!

Little girls Hello Kitty dungarees

The lining for the front pockets, back pockets and bodice is a pink spotty “fabric” that was a duvet cover. So this really is an upcycled garment!

Because I made the trousers a funny way (keeping that seam and hems) it did take me quite some time to get them sewn up… the main annoyance was the back pockets. They’re still not straight now, which bugs me –¬†it really shows up in the photo below –¬†but to be honest I’d had enough of the stretchy denim!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

As you can see, I also did some embroidery on these pockets – Hello Kitty’s bow and initials.¬†I am aware that the K is a bit wonky; I should have taken more time over it to be honest.¬†I was impressed with my youngest daughter who said ‘Hello Kitty’ when I was halfway through the bow! Bless her, she has excellent observation skills. She’s only 2; she clearly has an older sister with Hello Kitty everything!

All that was left to do once I’d got the trousers stitched right(ish) was to attach it to the bodice. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with my seam matching considering the denim is stretchy!

I slipstitched the bodice lining in place to cover the messy seam – this is probably my favourite part of the whole garment!!

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

I literally finished these at 10:30 last night – with today, the last day of January and the Denim Never Dies Challenge deadline, left to take photos and put up this post!

Sorry that was loooong but there was a lot to say!! Well done for getting to the end – and thanks! ūüôā

Upcycle jeans to girl's dungarees! @AfterDarkSewing

Bring on the next challenge, I say – which is ‘solid colours’ if you’re curious…

Beth x

The Mr Tumble Jumper

If you’re a parent/work with kids/know kids at all you should be aware of this guy who is very irritating but has some kind of magical powers with kids (i.e. he’s a brilliant children’s entertainer):

Mr Tumble Source: bbc.co.uk Source: bbc.co.uk

My 5-year-old was obsessed with him, and now my nearly-2-year old is. She calls him ‘Bumble.’ And she loves his spotty bag.

Now, getting to¬†the point – I made¬†a fleece for said little girl, and it’s spotty¬†– hence we christened it the Mr Tumble jumper. (I’m well aware that it’s not technically a jumper since it’s made out of fleece, but in my household we tend to call everything that kind of resembles a jumper a jumper…!)

Mr Tumble Jumper (Little girls fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

This really was a¬†bribe of mine that luckily paid of because she was not keen at all for me to pull it over her head until I told her it’s¬†a Mr Tumble jumper!

I used the pattern in Love Sewing magazine (issue 7); the Foxy Tunic. The lowest size is 2 years so I just made that even though little’un is not 2 until the end of February and wears age 1.5-2 years. There’s no harm in a little growing room. The sleeves are rolled up a good few inches and it’s¬†more like a tunic than a top…

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

By the way, don’t ask why she’s wearing a woolly hat inside!!

It’s probably half a foot too long for her, haha…

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

But really, it was lucky that I didn’t grade it down a size because once I made it I couldn’t fit the darned thing over her head. And no, my daughter does not have an abnormally big head. So I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know if it’s the pattern’s fault or mine (probably mine) but it was a pain in the bum to say the least. I ended up unpicking the facing away and stitching it further from the edge, creating a lower ‘v’ at the front. That was not fun. I used stretch stitch; nice and strong but¬†it was torturous¬†to unpick, particularly when you’ve got all that fuzzy fleece getting in a… fuzz. But thank goodness once I had finished it, it did do the job – however¬†I did¬†lose some of the facing in the process. And it’s still not as loose as I would like it to be! But I was not going to unpick it again!!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

Luckily¬†the rest is lovely. I really enjoyed working with fleece; it was so easy to sew and I didn’t need to bother finishing any edges apart from those of the facing (which is a nice blue-y colour knit I have in my stash). I like it peeking out. ūüôā

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

It features little splits at the hems, which are kind of pointless because it would be big enough without them, but they’re cute. The pattern called for twill tape to make them. Well I didn’t even know what that was but I found some kind of tape in my jar which is either twill tape or something like it… so I used that. My sewing was scruffiest at this stage. I think it probably slipped a bit. But because I was sewing white on white and it’s on the inside and it’s only a kid’s top… I didn’t worry about it!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

The only changes I made to the pattern were to omit the strips on the cuffs because as I said they are too long so I don’t think they would have worked… and I didn’t sew down the facing (apart from close to the neckline). Sorry – you’ll only get what I’m on about if you know the pattern! I might change my mind and do this so it stops flapping up, but I’m fearful because I’ve messed around with the neckline enough already!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

I definitely want to make another top in fleece before the weather changes. I’m not sure about this pattern, though, because of the neckline. Any suggestions, please?

Beth x

Easy Peasy Crayon Roll

How cute is this?

Crayon Roll

I’ve seen¬†a few of these¬†at craft fairs and suchlike – it’s a crayon roll. It looks¬†simple to make; I added it to my ever-growing ‘to sew’ list a long time ago. Then I noticed the tutorial in¬†issue 4 of Love Sewing magazine (which I keep mentioning here!) and that was enough to encourage me to make one that¬†evening.

My daughter requested it be made in elephant fabric, and if I don’t have enough then it could be made in polka dots. Well, she got what she wanted!

crayon rolls

I’m surprised I haven’t come across them on Pinterest, but I’m sure there must be a tutorial or two floating around somewhere!

It’s basically two rectangles of fabric with another rectangle (that’s been folded in half lengthways) sandwiched in the middle. That shorter rectangle has vertical stitch¬†lines running down it,¬† attached to the fabric underneath, to store the crayons in.

Crayon Roll

The ribbon is sandwiched in between the layers, so the roll can be wrapped up like a parcel. It rolls up to just the right size to fit in your hand. Perfect for travelling ūüôā

crayon roll

crayon roll

It was a very quick and easy project; great for beginners, and those who have little time due to school holidays!

There’s only one little thing I’m slightly annoyed with. It’s that the end ‘pockets’ are smaller than the rest. I blame the instructions for that… if I was concentrating I could have added an extra 1cm to each side to make those pockets bigger. It’s not too bad, though, because narrow crayons do squeeze in there. It just looks uneven!

crayon roll

I was concentrating enough whilst reading the instructions to realise that they didn’t actually instruct to stitch the lines – only mark them. Ha, that’s an example proving you should read the instructions through start to finish before getting stuck in.

I will finish¬†with¬†a photo of¬†my big girl enjoying it. Year 1 at school begins tomorrow… which¬†means¬†I should get more time to sew ūüėÄ

Crayon Roll in use

Beth x

Taking a Break from Dressmaking

I jumped into dressmaking without much thought. A friend inspired me to make my girls dresses, and then along came Love Sewing magazine with that cute Brigitte dress pattern, so I started making a few things for myself. I really want to make the Simplicity K1609 dress, of which the pattern came free with Sew magazine (yes, I did kind of buy the magazine just for the free patterns!!). I made a toile almost immediately – I wanted a good fit after that Brigitte dress turned out a bit loose at the bust – which went really well and fits perfectly (which is a little annoying). So I just need to get cracking with the real deal – but I can’t choose a fabric! So in the meantime I’m taking a break from dressmaking.

This week I really did venture outside my usual sewing habits. I made a game! A travel noughts and crosses to be exact. The idea is from Sew magazine – the issue with the free pattern.

Travel Noughts & Crosses - Sew Mag 2

Thinking about it, of course most noughts and crosses games are fit for travel in that all you need is a pen and paper… therefore I would like to call my game posh noughts and crosses. It consists of a padded gameboard, which folds up fairly small so will be good for travel.

Noughts & Crosses gameboard

I like how it’s a good size; sometimes you get travel versions of games and they have miniature pieces – I can’t see them lasting very long. These counters are great; they can’t roll around or slip about and they’re easy to hold.

Playing Noughts & Crosses

The making was very straightforward. Literally straightforward. 90% of the sewing was straight lines in straight stitches.

Noughts & Crosses stitching

Making the counters got quite repetitive, and they were the most difficult part of the whole project. The crosses weren’t too bad; although they are fraying already…

Cross piece

…but the noughts were tricky because they required sewing quite tight circles. They turned out OK, though; there’s just one with a little gap where both lines of stitching slipped off the edge. I couldn’t be bothered to fix it!

Nought piece

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so grateful for the fantastic little needle up/down button on my machine; it got a lot of use during the stitching of those noughts! If you don’t have a machine with this feature – I’m telling you, you NEED one!!

Needle up-down button!

Once the shapes were sewn on, I then had to back them, turn them inside out, press, topstitch… it took forever. I took a photo halfway through the turning stage because I was bored! I do enjoy sewing, but it can get frustrating at times.

Noughts & crosses pieces... halfway through!

This was a great ‘stashbuster’ project. It is nice when you can make something out of what you already have, rather than buy in a couple of meters especially for the project, like I have to for my dressmaking. I used two lovely fabrics from The Makery (one that my mum sent me, which came as part of a free gift from a recent promotion – woohoo!), and I bought the rather suitable ribbon from them when I visited Bath a couple of weeks ago.

I Love Handmade ribbon

I then only needed a small amount of fabric for the counters. The result of using fabrics already in my stash is that the game is rather a mismatch of colours and patterns. I don’t think it’s too dreadful though.

Playing Noughts & Crosses 2

The whole project turned out great; however I did make one stupid mistake, which I didn’t notice until we were playing it! One of the backs of the counters is stitched on the wrong way round! Maybe that was my last one… Whoops. Maybe it’s a lucky one.

Backs of counters

I’m glad I’ve made this because we are going away this weekend – hooray! The idea was to spend a few days in the sun, at the beach… but it looks like the weather is changing and we will have rain!! So my posh noughts and crosses may just get a lot of use over the next few days!

Noughts & Crosses folded

Of course, you don’t need to be travelling to play it… my girls are already enjoying it ūüôā

Girls playing Noughts & Crosses

Beth x