Saturday, 29 December 2012

Anyone for tennis?

I did lots of sewing for Christmas presents this year, mostly for my two sweet, little nieces. The biggest project was this tennis outfit, which was made according to stringent requirements stipulated by Miss 7. She wanted a college-style jacket with a zip and short sleeves and the number '64' on the back.

I immediately remembered that Andrea (and her daughter) of Fabric Epiphanies had used Jalie pattern 2795 to make a boys college jacket. I also have this pattern, so that was my starting point. I decided to make a little matching skirt using Jalie pattern 3023.

 I made the jacket first using white stretch mesh fabric for the main jacket with contrasting pink knit fabric for the waistband, collar, cuffs and pocket welts.

Before sewing the jacket together I made the number applique for the back. I searched the internet for 'college fonts' and found one I liked. I couldn't get it to install for some reason, so I copied the font picture into Word, cropped and resized it, then printed it out. I traced the large outer number on to the glue side of some fusible interfacing and fused it to a scrap of pink fabric. I pinned it to the back jacket piece and sewed it on with a narrow zig-zag stitch.  I repeated the process for the inner number with white fabric and sewed it to the pink number.

I made the jacket according to the pattern instructions in a size J. I chose the size based on exact measurements. If I was making this again I would go up a size or two as it just fits now with no growing room! The upper/top sleeve is made from two pattern pieces, one finishing at short sleeve length and one to make a long sleeve. I just used the piece that finished at short sleeve length along with the the two lower sleeve pieces, which I shortened accordingly. I finished it off with a cuff of pink fabric.

The collar was made with a long strip of pink fabric that I tapered at the front edges to get the 'college' look. This led to a slight problem with the upper zip edge, which would normally be hidden inside the jacket collar. I overcame this by adding a scrap of fabric to each side of the top of the zip. The process took a bit of trial and error so I made myself some instructions in case I ever needed to do this again (see below).

The zip was attached to the jacket leaving the last 3cm unstitched. I cut two pieces of knit fabric 6x2cm, folded each in half and stitched about 0.5cm from the long edge. This was turned right side out and the corner placed over the upper edge and teeth of the zip. I used a narrow zig-zag stitch to attach the fabric to the zip, then trimmed off the excess, sewed in the zip and topstitched. This gave quite a neat finish.

I added a little heart charm for extra girliness.

For the skirt, I used the Jalie 3023 skirt pattern without the sewn-in pants. I used a size K this time, one size up from the measurements I had, but again, this only just fits! I made the waistband from white cotton lycra as the mesh did not have enough stretch. I added piping in pink and a smaller number applique done as described above.

This outfit took a lot of time and I agonised over the size before Christmas day. I had my 7 year-old son try it on numerous times to check the fit (he is a very tolerant child!) and I almost made another in a bigger size, but my sewing machine suddenly died on Christmas Eve, so that was the end of that idea!

I watched little Miss 7 open her present with bated breath. Would she like it? Would it fit? Would she wear it?

She loved it.

Her beautiful, sparkly Christmas dress was cast aside as she rushed to put on her new outfit. She wore it all day and, by all accounts, has worn it every day since. I don't know who's happier, she or I :)

Oh, and the other good news is that my sewing machine has been fixed by the amazing man at Cockburn Sewing Centre. He has performed miracles on my machine and I highly recommend him to anyone local to Perth. Life is good for Auntie Meggie :)

PS: this outfit has been entered in the 'Sewing for children' competition on 'Sewing Pattern Review'. It would be great if you could vote :)


twotoast said...

Very cute - and professional! The choice of numbers is a great combination (my year of birth!!)

Judith said...

Sewing for others can be extremely rewarding, particularly when the results are as good as this...J

Carolyn said...

Well done Auntie Meggie! You've done a beautiful job and the tennis outfit is adorable AND looks so professionally finished :)

Zella said...

What a great outfit for a little girl, you are so lucky to have a tolerant son, I tried to get my son to try on an outfit I had bought for my niece many years ago (they are the same age) but he was having none of it and was most put out at being asked!!

JenC said...

Your niece's outfit looks terrific! (And yes, Cockburn Sewing Centre have worked miracles for me too).

fabric epiphanies said...

This is a lovely outfit! I found this kids sizes in this pattern quite small as well. Thank you for the reference to my post by the way.

Marianna said...

This is extremely well done, Megan! The finish at the neck is excellent.

I don't think I'd ever given any thought as to how those collegiate-type numbers are produced... I think I assumed a machine made them! Very clever.

I did laugh out loud at you using your tolerant son as a model!

Happy New Year!

Megan O said...

Thank you! I'm not sure why she wanted '64', but it was obviously a good choice :)

Megan O said...

I completely agree, but it has you on tenterhooks wondering if they'll like it - far more than a bought present!

Megan O said...

Thank you :) I think my lovely model helps a bit, but I was rather pleased with myself too!

Megan O said...

He is very tolerant, but only wore it for a few seconds, so I had to be super-quick with my adjustments! Thank you.

Megan O said...

That's good to hear. They are always so helpful, fast and reasonably priced there. Thank you for the comment :)

Megan O said...

You're welcome :) I do try to squirrel away good ideas, when I see them, to use myself at some stage. I'm so pleased you like it.

Megan O said...

Thank you Marianna, I did feel a bit like a machine with all the Christmas sewing I did this year! I hope my son continues to model for me, it is most helpful!!


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