There are so many things I want to get sewn before I leave in January. Clothes for me to wear on the World Race. A new fall dress or two for right now. Some things for my mom. Things to sell in order to raise money so that I can actually leave in January. Then, of course, clothes for my sister, because she's growing like crazy and is really fun to sew for.
On one hand, since she's growing fast, and outgrowing her clothes, I have a good excuse to sew for her. On the other hand, she needs to stop growing, she's getting too big! Ok, no she's not. She's doing exactly what a 12 year old girl is supposed to do, but since she's my little sister, she's supposed to stay little forever. Ok, no she's not. It's actually fun to see her growing up (most of the time). There is one problem though, it's getting incredibly hard to find cute patterns in her size. Every time I sew her something now I have to first either size up a too small kids pattern, or size down a too big women's pattern, or totally re-design a basic existing pattern in her size. Most of the time I don't mind doing this. I love learning more about pattern drafting. Occasionally, however, I think of how nice and easy it would be to just pick a pattern and sew it, without having to re-make the pattern first.
On instagram Steph from "The Eli Monster" kids patterns put out a call for testers of her new girl's skirt pattern, the "Susse Skirt". I fell in love with it. I really like most of the patterns she puts out. The best part? The Eli Monster patterns come in sizes 12months to 12 years. Yes! Size 12, not 8 or 10, but 12, my sister's size! This new pattern was a full gathered skirt with shoulder straps and a scalloped hem. I knew my sister would love it! So, of course, I applied to be a pattern tester, and was excited to hear I'd been picked!
Step one, picking out the pattern, done, next came finding fabric. I showed my sister a picture of the skirt and she had definite opinions on what fabric she wanted. Finally she decided on a pink and red cotton floral print for the skirt and a pale pink cotton for a matching blouse.
That done, I received the pattern to test and received a very nice surprise, this pattern has pockets! (As you know, pockets are mandatory in almost any dress or skirt I sew.) This PDF pattern consists of three things, the instructions with clear pictures illustrating each step, the pattern pieces, and the cutting chart. There are pattern pieces for the scalloped hem facing, the waistband, the shoulder straps, and the pockets. The skirt itself consists of three rectangles, cut out according to the cutting chart. This makes it really easy to cut out with a rotary cutter.
So, I got the skirt cut out one Saturday evening before I went to hangout with my friends. Then the following Sunday afternoon I got the skirt sewn together. This skirt is easy to sew with each step nicely explained in the instructions. Before long the skirt was done and it was time to make the matching blouse.
I adapted the bodice pattern of Simplicity 1174 (used here to make the Gryffindor Dress) to make the blouse. I made the plain short sleeves slightly puffed, added a keyhole neckline and a ruffled collar, eliminated the neckline facings, and finished the blouse off with some bias tape made from scraps of the skirt fabric. The resulting blouse turned out just as I'd hoped and paired perfectly with the skirt!
My sister was delighted with the whole outfit! I sewed the skirt a straight up size 12 and the fit is perfect!
The full skirt spins wonderfully!
The straps are removable. The pattern suggests attaching them inside the waistband with buttons. (I used snaps, but I think buttons might have worked better.) This means the skirt can be worn with or without straps, or you can crisscross the straps in the back so they don't fall off the shoulders.
This was a fun pattern to make, and the finished product surpassed my expectations. A huge thank you to Steph for letting me test it! The pattern is now finished and for sale here, if you're interested in it. I already have plans to make a couple more of these for both my sister and other little girls I know.
Meanwhile, my sister is wearing her new skirt as often as she can.