Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer Came to an End, School Began

Two weeks ago, my little sister began her last year of Jr. High. How can that be?? How can it be that summer's already over? And, crazier still, how can it be that my little sister is this grown up? Almost done with her pre-highschool years? These things have snuck up on me!

The calendar isn't lying, August is almost over and school really is in full swing. The school bus rumbling down the road at 6:30 am is proof of that. And my little sister's wardrobe of outgrown clothing isn't lying either. The girl is growing up - and it's time to make her some new school clothes! Cute, comfortable, and easy to wear clothes, perfect for throwing on quickly those mornings she has to leave the house earlier than she'd prefer. Welcome to my slot on the Winter Wear Designs Back 2 School blog tour!

I set out to clothe my fast growing little sister for the new school year, armed with an old knit maxi skirt and a stack of Winter Wear Designs patterns. Oh, and some rayon fabric from Walmart, but I'll get to that later. First up, let me tell you about the skirt that became a fabulous pair of comfy, cute, sister approved, pants!

I spotted it back in the spring. Back when I was making myself jeans. Denim, and denim-look, fabric was on my mind. I saw it, abandoned on that thrift store rack, and I just knew it was destined to become a pair of pants for my sister. A pair of pants that looked like jeans but were actually sweatpants. Ultra fashionable and ultra comfortable. My sister needed pants like this and the XL faux denim maxi skirt just couldn't be anything else. Thus, the skirt came home with me, and I began searching for the perfect pants pattern.

The Aviator Pants pattern by WWD was just the pattern I needed for this skirt to pants transformation. First I prepared the skirt by removing the waistband.

Then I removed the back pockets, and the skirt became a viable piece of fabric - ready for the pattern!

It took a bit of finagling to get the entire pants pattern on to the skirt! The skirt was cut at a slight A-line with the hem being slightly wider than the waist. As the widest part of any pants pattern is at the top, the crotch curve, I basically had to lay my pattern out "upside down", with the top edge of the pants at the hem of the skirt, for the pants pattern to fit onto the width of the skirt. In order for the pattern to fit on the length of the skirt, I took advantage of the angled lower leg seam option included in the Aviator pattern. Since I was able to offset the upper and lower leg pieces while cutting out, I was able to fit the entire length of the pattern onto the skirt. That wouldn't have been possible if I'd cut the legs as solid pieces from waist to hem. Angled pattern pieces are great when using limited amounts of fabric! And angled seams look pretty awesome on finished garments as well - especially when they're top stitched!

Even with the angled seams and the topstitching, the pants went together ridiculously easily, as knit pants are apt to do. At the bottom of the leg in the front you can see top stitching from what used to be the back yoke of the faux jean skirt. And at the bottom of the back of the leg there's a lovely topstitched curve. That used to be the faux front pocket of the skirt. With the angled seams and the evidence of the fabric's former life, the lower legs are my favorite part of these pants!

The cuffs and waistband are made from a navy cotton/poly/Lycra blend I found in my stash. And to add a bit of jean-ness to the pants I re-used the back pockets from the original skirt.

To up the range of motion, and the comfort level, I added a crotch gusset to the pants. This isn't actually included in the pattern, but it's a very easy addition. You can just use the gusset piece from any gusseted leggings pattern. The range of motion a crotch gusset allows just can't be beat!

I finished the pants in one evening, gave them to my sister, and she's worn them pretty much constantly since then. 

Apparently they're comfortable. And she likes them. 

So, with the pants done, and approved and accepted by the sister, it was time for me to move on to the top half of her wardrobe. She needed some nice, new, well-fitting, shirts to wear to class. I picked two different Winter Wear patterns for this particular task - the Refined Raglan and the Omega Blouse. Both patterns are for woven fabrics, which was perfect as I'd scored some lovely, drapey, woven apparel fabrics while on vacation earlier this month.

First I made the Refined Raglan, out of a pink, orange, white, and black rayon challis.

For a little extra sass, I cut the sleeves to elbow length (halfway in between the 3/4 and short sleeve lengths on the pattern piece), and added gathered sleeve flounces.

The founces are just rectangles, cut several inches wide (maybe about 5"?) and approximately twice as long as the bottom of the sleeve was wide. The bottom edge of the flounce is actually the selvage edge of my fabric, so I didn't bother hemming it. Thankfully this fabric had neat, pretty, selvages!

Even with the added sleeve ruffles, the Refined Raglan was a quick, gratifying, one evening after work sew. Thus, the following evening I was able to whip up the second shirt I'd picked out for my sister (and I believe this one is my favorite of the two shirts). The Omega Blouse!

This softly gathered yoked blouse looks incredibly sweet and grown up all at once, and it's just perfect for my sister! This tree climbing monkey, whose growing up faster than I'd like sometimes, while still being the same ornery little sister she's always been.

I made up the short gathered sleeve, and shirt tail hem option of the Omega blouse in an amazing blue floral synthetic crepe. I'd contemplated saving this fabric for a dress I plan to make my sister eventually, but fabric was really perfect for the design, and I have no regrets.

For a little extra something, I added lime green piping to the front yoke seam.

The finished shirt looks both elegant and playful, with very little effort. Perfect for school, church, or anything else! I think this pattern is a repeater!

In fact, I'd say all three patterns can be made again for my sister - and soon if she gets her way! The pants, raglan shirt, and blouse make a great beginning to her back to school wardrobe. Now I just need to make more! 

She's already picked out fabric from my stash for a second pair of aviator pants, and requested a tunic-length Omega blouse to wear with leggings, so I guess I need to get on that!

She's back in school, and I get to clothe her for the occasion!

Don't miss out on any of the stops on the 
Back 2 School Blog Tour 2018

Monday 8/27

Tuesday 8/28

Wednesday 8/29
Carrie of BeriBee Designs
Livia of  Liviality

Thursday 8/30
Diane of Sewing With D

Friday 8/31
Jessica of Jot Designs
Patricia of Sew Far North


  1. What a wonderful post :) Your sister is so photogenic, and the clothes you made for her suit her so well. You're a wonderful sister!

    1. Thanks! It's a lot of fun to sew things for her!

  2. I love the piping on that Omega! What a lucky lady :)

    1. Thanks! Piping is one of my favorite things :)

  3. Every thing looks really good. That Bella is one lucky little sister.