Sunday, February 01, 2009

Penny Frocks

My nice niece (called Penny) has her birthday on Christmas Day. A year ago I bought her toys, but the shops were all so segregated into boys things (fun, interactive) and girls things (domestic-ish, pink, useless) that I warned my brother well in advance that next time I would make things, and got measurements of niecey in about October. So, having planned well in advance I managed to fit in making two things even though the wimmin's conference organising was getting a bit of an obsession by then.

First of all the Penny frock. It was a choice between a Simplicity pattern and a New Look Project Runway pattern. I actually bought both patterns and then dithered about which to choose. The Project Runway patterns don't look that appealing to me. Maybe it is because the pictures are always so small on the pattern cover, and they look weirdly "trendy", and unpractical. I decided on the Simplicity and even traced the pattern. Then I compared it to the New Look P.R. pattern and realised that it had a huge amount of ease (about 6") so was going to look rather style-less on a four year old, and that the Project Runway pattern was a lot cuter! So I switched. It turned out to be a lot of fun. These P.R. patterns have lots of optional extras, that are quite easy to add. I made the frock as a sleeveless version from a rather thin cotton, and lined it with a red silk (both from my stash), and then made a silk sash for the waist. I don't know how hard it will wear, but kids clothes only need to last a year, right? I haven't seen a picture of her wearing it yet, but I understand she has done so, so perhaps it fits.

To encourage the inner tomboy in Penny-niece, I also made her a hoodie. The was made from left over sweatshirt fabric. So that's 3 hoodies this piece of fabric has made - one for James, one for Simon and one for Penny! This is the Jalie hooded jacket pattern. I also intend to make this one for myself and I have already bought some windpro fleece from Malden Mills. The pattern was great. It was easy to make (no easing - just stitching pieces together and top stitching), but with lots of pieces and top stitching it looks quite cool (I think). I haven't had any feedback on whether the jacket fits or not (or whether niecey is allowed to be a hoodie-girl!).

A week after posting it all off, I was thinking about how impoverished a present of stuff stitched from spare fabric was, when I spotted a local shop that sells moderately nice kiddiwink clothes. I couldn't believe how expensive they were, for things not as nice (IMO) and certainly in less nice fabric. Kiddies clothes are also fun to make. Not quite as fast as dolly clothes but things like cutting out are much easier, and the clothes come together quite quickly.

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