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Starting a Summer Wardrobe


After a very long hiatus from kids apparel sewing, I'm back in the thick of it making a summer wardrobe for this, now, teen girl. This would have been an excellent idea had I started in the spring but that's not how most of my projects get done.

I stopped sewing for the kids mostly due to time. Driving them around to their activities took all of it!
However, it's been difficult to find nice clothes for Monkey Pants pretty much after the age of nine. Nice clothes are no where to be found and fit is nearly impossible as she seems to be of elvish blood --short torso, wide shoulders. Because she's been in dance the last few years and attended a charter school last year, she's been either in school uniform or dance wear most of the time. But summer is definitely a time she needs, what I like to call "real clothes" and she was badly in need of shorts and cool, summer tops.

The Shorts

After making a thourogh review of all of our Ottobre magazines, we found she has outgrown most of he patterns there and I was looking for something a tiny bit more on the sophisticated side for her age. So we moved on to my old Burda magazines just in case we found something there that might fit her in womens. It keep forgetting, that she's approaching the women's sizes now even though she's still pretty petite for her age. 

Found just the right thing, Burda 2/2013 #129. And they start in a smaller size 34 in the magazine pattern. They fit her perfect! I think the only thing I did was make them slightly shorter.

Pattern: Burda 2/2013 #129 Linen Shorts
Fabric: Cotton Twill JoAnn
Notions: invisible zipper
Total Cost:  $8
Size: 134
Age: 13
[Shoes: Salt Water Sandles]
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Monkey Pants decided to wear these for three days in a row so they were a bit wrinkly by the time we got around to taking some photos.
About the fabric -- shopping for apparel fabric locally is even worse now than in years past. With the closing of Hancock Fabrics, we are now only left with JoAnn. Apparel fabric choices -- dismal.  After a third combing through the fabrics, this floral cotton tweed caught my eye. I had to take it away from the other bolts to really see if it wasn't old lady, curtain fabric and I saw the shorts in my mind. Score! We then, combed the store a second time for a coordinating fabric for a top since she has no "real clothes" to wear with them, and finally settled on this quilting cotton. I really liked the print on it despite the fact that it's quilting cotton. At least it has a nice brushed cotton feel to it.

The Blouse

I had a bit of an idea for a sleeveless top, mandarin-type collar, but absolutely no luck finding a pattern in my collection that would work for her and fit.  I expanded my search and came across Lekala Sewing Patterns. I decided to look further and give it a try.  What's really interesting about these is that you can get the pattern customized to your measurements. Well, that's exactly what she needs. You can pick a US or European size, or you can enter custom measurements and adjustments. Now, you only get the pattern in that one size. It's a PDF pattern you will then have to print out. However, I do like, that it gives you several options on what size paper you'd like to print on so you are not limited to a letter size and piecing together a bizillion pieces of paper if you happen to have a larger format printer at home which I do. I'll talk more about Lekala patterns in an upcoming post for my second Lekala project, a simple summer dress using style #4230.
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Pattern: Lekala Blouse #4557
Fabric: Brushed quilting cotton for JoAnn
Notions: invisible zipper
Total Cost:  $10 including pattern
         (already had zipper)
Size: Custom
         Height 153cm
         Bust 76cm
         Underbust 66cm
         Waist 62cm
         Hip 83cm
         Full Hip 84cm
Age: 13


I loved the way this turned out! So cute, I started wishing I could have "real clothes" too! Ha ha.
Of course, the quilting cotton is a little bit on the stiff side, which is the only downside to this. It has an invisible zipper closure on the side which I was afraid would upset the sensibilities of Monkey Pants, but as she has actually opened her mind to new fashion horizons with our summer sewing endevours, she was totally fine with it and it makes for a nice, clean lines in the front and back.

Lekala Sewing Patterns

As far, as my first venture with Lekala Sewing Patterns, I feel like there are a lot of pros and a few cons as well.

Pros:
  • Customized pattern with no hassle or guessing work (which is what I usually end up doing)
  • Buy only what you need. So you don't need to buy an entire magazine which makes the cost lower, or go to the store for the Big Four pattern companies. 
  • Cost is reasonable $2-$3 a pattern. You can buy them in bundles to lower the price per pattern. So I got mine for $2.

Cons:
  • You can only make one size from the pattern. I can't use it to make a blouse for me. I would have to enter my measurements and purchase a new pattern file.
  • If you make a mistake entering measurements or other options such as what paper size you plan to print on, there is no "undo". You have to make the changes and purchase the pattern again. On the other hand, they do provide a couple of try-out patterns for free to help familiarize you with the process and help you not make stupid mistakes (like I did with the print paper size).
  • Sewing instructions consist mostly of the order in which the garment is constructed. You will need to know some basic and more advanced sewing techniques to put it together correctly. I completely did not understand how to assemble the placket on the blouse according to the instructions and ended up just making it up as I went along. I have no idea if it was the right way or not.


At the end of the day, I would say, if you do not have average measurements, and who does? And you are not a complete novice sewer, definitely give these patterns a try if you haven't already. 



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