Monday, 30 January 2017

Latona Dress

Introducing the Latona Dress by The Eli Monster.*

The first version I spied of this dress was Steph's entry in the 2017 International Rijksstudio Awards.  Designers use artworks from the Rijksmuseum to create their own artwork.  Having just been to the Rijksmuseum, it was especially intriguing to look through the entries and reflect on our own visit there. Pictures of Steph's entry are included on the pattern page.

This dress's special feature is its stunning back - an angled centre panel with two rows of buttons to set if off.

How about those buttons! I was looking for bright yellow buttons, but couldn't find what I wanted. Then after a rummage in the 50% off basket I found these beauties.

Can I just take a moment to point out how the hexagon shapes mimic the hexagons in the fabric.  Totally makes the handsewing of the buttons worthwhile (that's what you get when you choose buttons with shanks).

This fabric is the same design as I used for the Kosmos Dress (blog post), just in a different colourway.  I've found it to be a nice solid poplin that wears well, and presses out nicely.  The reds and oranges, look fiery as she spins.

And this dress is just right for spinning.

For photos Miss 5 wore 2 different petticoats (or a petticoat, an old tutu), and nothing underneath.  The dress looks great regardless of how much puff there is going on.

Making the petticoat was a bit of fun. I was able to test out my ruffler foot, and figure out how it works (can't suppress the engineer in me). It made gathering the tulle so much faster.

The dress has both sets of buttons functional, but there's a placket in the skirt on only one side, so you don't need to do both sets of buttons to take it on and off.  This would have to be one of the easiest plackets I've sewn, it's a great little technique.

There is also understitching around the bodice neckline for a beautifully presented edge. I've also been using my new tailors ham, which has made pressing curves like that so much more fun.

The pattern is sized from 18 months to 12 years.  I sewed up a size 5 width, and 6 length.  The position of the pattern pieces, and instructions in the pattern make it easy to make adjustments like this.

It's on sale for release, so don't forget to grab yourself a copy - Latona Dress

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase the pattern I receive a small commission at no cost to you. However, my opinions, sewing, and super excellent bargain buttons are all my own.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Wearing handmade while travelling recently spent 4 weeks living out of suitcases.  Here's a quick recap via photos .....
If you want to see more, check out my Instagram account

Each time I repacked the kids bag I was struck by just how versatile and useful their handmade clothes are.

So here's a bit of a review of the handmade clothes in their suitcase. Most of the photos I took while we were away involved jackets over the top of everything, so photos are of when I first made them.


I would have to file these as the most useful and most worn handmade items in the suitcase.
These two So Sweet Cinnamon Sweaters* (Candy Castle Patterns) were FANTASTIC! The combo of the cowl and the hood kept my two sweeties nice and warm. This holiday was one of the reasons I signed up to test the pattern - they needed new sweaters all winter, but I needed an external deadline to make me sew them.


We only packed two dresses for Miss 5. One was her Anneliese Christmas Dress (MCM Studio Designs). It layered up nicely for more than just Christmas Day.

The other was the long sleeved Bubble Gum Dress* (Candy Castle Patterns). The wrap-around dress makes it perfect for adding layers underneath to stay nice and warm.

Long Sleeve tees

Master 8 was most commonly in a Brandt T-shirt  (Kelly J Designs). Both versions I had made for him were in nice soft, stretchy knits, so very comfy. The cross-over turtleneck is fantastic - high enough to keep him warm, but not tight or restrictive (like the skivvies I remember from my childhood).

He also had his Parker's Vintage Fit Tee* (Everything Your Mama Made and More) - this version with the 'double sleeves'.

Both kids had a Sotnos Tee* (The Eli Monster). This one in a black waffle knit for Master 8, and a tunic length in upcycled French terry for Miss 5.

She also had a Tee Times 3 (Blank Slate Patterns) in more upcycled French Terry, with the hem and neck bands from the original shirt. Sometimes this was a shirt, sometimes a light sweater - depending on how many layers were required that day.

And they both had their Hemd Tops*. These are in a light cotton jersey, and their slim fit was perfect for layering under other shirts (or dresses)


Miss 5's corduroy Sprouts (Flosstyle) were in high rotation. A nice thick (and relatively warm) fabric, and room underneath for thermals or tights helped keep her little legs warm.

Master 8 was often in his Potato Chip Pants (Tie Dye Diva). He likes these ones as they stay up (he has narrow hips, so getting pants to stay up is a challenge). They're starting to look a little short around the ankles - must make him some more for winter. 

He also had a pair of Sandbox Pants (oliver + s), that I have no photo of. He insists that they fall down, but I love this pattern so much. Might have to adjust the waist elastic again and see if that helps.


For a special Christmas Present I made our kids and their cousins matching pyjamas for Christmas. These are the Alex and Anna Winter PJs (Peek-a-Boo Patterns)

How amazing is the fabric! It's a custom print from Starfluffle Fabric, check out their Facebook group here. The shipping cost to Australia was gut wrenching, but worth it for a once-off.

Hats and Scarves

Both kids had their own Helix Striped Hat (Corrie Purdum, via Ravelry). 

Rainbow colours for Miss 5 and red and grey for Master 8. His is somewhere in Europe, probably with my Brigit socks, having a nice little yarn party.

And as Christmas presents they each had a scarf knitted in brioche stitch (from Purl Soho's basic instructions). One was knitted between Ravels (Belgium) and Stuttgart (Germany), and the other between Stuttgart and Wagrain (Austria). Nothing like some long car trips to get some knitting done (as a passenger of course).

So that's what an Aussie mum makes to keep her kids warm for a European winter. Fortunately we left before the cold snap really hit - but we still went from -2 to 35 celsius, which was a bit of a shock to the system.

Hopefully, I'll be able to put up another post on "What I wish I'd had time to make before we left".

I have tagged all the blog posts featuring any of these patterns with "handmadesuitcase".  Here's a link to them all handmadesuitcase

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Christmas Anneliese

Late last year I was able to test the Anneliese Dress for MCM Studio Designs.


It was a perfect opportunity to sew up a super special Christmas dress.

Long sleeves because we would be spending Christmas in Austria (not Australia - so close in spelling, yet so far apart).  And I'm always a fan of a dress pattern that includes long sleeves.

I must confess that the slightly too-short sleeves are my fault. I adjusted the length for my slender girl, but didn't add enough to the sleeves. That's what happens when you don't double check arm measurements - I should have known better.

Linda has a background in heirloom sewing, and it shows in the lovely details in her patterns.  There are really clear instructions on how to get your ribbon loops just so. And clear instructions on installing an invisible zipper.  This was a slightly different method to previous ones I've encountered. I like knowing more than one way to do something.

Aside from the ribbon bodice there is also a 'tab' version. And, there are long and short sleeves - with a lovely amount of puff (head over to the pattern page to check out all the options)

This would make the perfect princess dress. It may even get a turn on the 'standard girl's birthday present' rota this year.

I'd love to be able to show you photos of Miss 5 looking lovely in her dress on Christmas day. But as usual, the whole day was a blur between presents, skiing (of course), and getting a Christmas meal ready in an unfamiliar kitchen.  Needless to say, the dress wasn't just worn on Christmas day, but other occasions when we went out to dinner. And with a singlet and longsleeve tee underneath, tights and boots on the bottom, and a nice warm jacket for outside, she was warm enough in the sub zero (celsius) temperatures.

As an extra bonus, for the smaller sizes it looks like it would be possible to use fat quarters for fabric (providing you had enough of matching fabric).  This dress was a size 5 in width, and 6 in length. The centre panel is from a fat quarter. I could have probably managed the other pieces from my stash of Christmas FQs, but there would have been a lot different patterns going on. Maybe 2017 will be the year of the patchwork-style Christmas dress.

The pattern is available from MCM Studio Designs, here.

On another note, did you see the gorgeous purple flowers in the background. They're Jacaranda flowers. The trees are South African, and flower in summer time. In our part of Australia they're synonymous with Christmas (along with Illawarra Flame Trees, Silky Oak and Christmas Bush), so they made the perfect backdrop for this Christmas dress.