Monday, 24 March 2014

New Jacket for The Squiglet

Serendipity has smiled upon us in the past couple of months, Squidge's growth spurt and need for a spring jacket has coincided with a sewing competition run by Hillarys. Seeing the Calluna Amethyst fabric, I had to apply. Funnily enough, Squidge was next to me and pointed to the exact same fabric, so great minds think alike.

To promote their new Country Crafts range of fabrics, Hillarys generously sent 100cm x 100cm of fabric to me, and asked that I make something. Anything. The only prerequisites were that the item made must be original, and involve their fabric.

I've also taken to reading the Hillarys blog page too; (Psst! It's where information about upcoming competitions will be!).

Squidge had full artistic control over this one. She chose, and so I used the Silver Lake pattern from Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy J.S. Langdon and Sabine Pollehn, but I made some quite major changes to the original design and pattern.

For one thing, that jacket design is quite boxy and once I had made it following the instructions, it just didn't look right on Squidge. She's too girly, to twirly for a boxy coat so it got unpicked and tailored a bit.

For another thing, Squidge doesn't have an ipod or anything that would require the sleeve pocket from the pattern.

Finally, Squidge prefers slightly fuller sleeves. It's a "sensitive armpit thing" apparently. Personally, I think it's more of a "having her own style thing" or a "just likes pouffy sleeves thing".

Obviously, the fabric provided wasn't enough for a spring jacket for a quickly growing eight year old child, so I added two unpicked velvet cushion covers and a reused separating zip to the mix.

Well, I have spent two weeks finding extra time in amongst housework and home educating Squidge... ok, so I ignored the housework except for essentials, and Squidge is pretty easy to be honest. I have her a workbook, make sure she's occasionally fed and watered and all's good. My dining table is still heaped with a mixture of sewing items and home ed stuff (mostly sewing to be honest), and the floor still has velvet fluff EVERYWHERE, but I am happy.


 cutting the first piece, I am always terrified of cutting into a beautiful fabric.

 Pinning the sewn up side inserts, and checking everything aligns well before setting them aside to do the inserts on the back piece. I topstitched the inserts with a satin stitch too because Squidge said she wanted the joins to stand out more. The great thing is, the topstitching also served to stop any interior shedding or fraying. As this jacket is unlined, I figured I better do something so that she can take it off and not look like a beaniebaby. Also, I made that bias binding for the pocket tops. Jus' sayin'.

Using my ironing board as there's no space left on the dining table and the floor's too low....

This is a view of the velvet yoke, piping, fullish sleeve top and overstitching to make the yoke lie properly. All Squidge's idea.

Well, once it was properly put together, both seamed and overlocked to make it hard wearing for a child, the collar was attached on the reverse by machine but I hand stitched the top bit down so that it was the right shape. My sewing machine is a bit like a newly tamed horse, you never know when it's going to go full pelt so I prefer to hand-stitch some bits. I hand stitched the blind hem too so that the velvet didn't bruise and the hem doesn't show, and then I defluffed it from all of the threads and velvet cuttings. I think it's a hit. She likes the pockets, and the collar, the cuffs, the fabrics... she's all round happy. I think she also enjoyed being consulted at every stage, she's got exactly the jacket she ordered.

I love it, it's got just the right amount of quirk.

And look! It doesn't just work for flower smelling and looking pretty, it works for playing aeroplanes too:

For doing park things: 

And finally (most importantly) it looks stylish, even while being cheeky:

She wants a mini backpack made from the offcuts, but as it's got to be patchwork now due to the size of my offcuts, it wont be done before the competition closing date. It'll be online in a couple of weeks though lol.

Having seen my friend's entry, I was terrified and almost thought of giving up..... but then I decided, if I don't enter, I have no chance at all.

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