Sunshine in the Snow

My latest project was a mistake. I ordered french terry to make a sweatshirt, thinking it was the same fabric I had seen in the store, but I was wrong. Ordering fabric online is hard.

 Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn, available in sizes 12m-12Y.

Instead of soft and fluffy bamboo, it was structured cotton but with stretch – almost like ponte. It was never going to make a good sweatshirt.

The fabric is great, of course. It just wasn’t the one in my head. lol.

But it was exactly the right colour. And I had been looking for dusty rose ponte de roma for ages at Kid No. 4’s request, with no luck – it’s a bit late in the season and the spring fabrics are all coming out now.

The bow in the front is a big hit.

So I found a new project – the Heidi and Finn Cowl Neck Jumper Dress and Sweater. I have sewn this dress many times before, but in smaller sizes – three times in ponte for a structured look, and three times in ITY (interlock twist yarn) for really soft stretchy tops.

The size is just right – there is a little room to grow.

The cotton french terry worked out really well for the dress. It gives enough shape that the neckline looks good, but the cotton will be a bit cooler in spring and summer. I went with short sleeves because of the fabric.

I finished the hem with a double needle.

This time I made the dress in a size 12. The sizing is really close to a retail size 12. It fits really well, with just a little room to grow.

I don’t have a serger – I used the jersey stitch on my regular machine, and a double needle for the hem.

And yes, that means it’s my last kid in the largest size that this pattern offers. I’m a bit sad that it will need to be retired soon.

I made the short sleeved version since I think the fabric is more suited for spring more than winter.


Pattern Review: Cowl Neck Dress and Sweater by Heidi & Finn, available in sizes 12m-12Y.
Fabric: French terry (95% cotton, 5% spandex).

Size: 12.
Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: About $30.
Sewing Level: Confident beginner.
Modifications: None
Results: Great, as always. This is a reliable pattern and quick to sew.

Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Heidi & Finn several years ago, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.

Cozy in Flannel

When you haven’t been sewing for a while, it’s nice to start off with a nice easy project. Flannel pyjamas definitely fit the bill – or so I thought!

A photo of an Ottobre magazine pattern sheet.

The first challenge was finding a pattern. My youngest are tweens now and finding a pattern in that size range is tough. Most Big 4 patterns stop at size 12, and tend to be a little “young”, while women’s patterns often start too large, the fit is off for tweens, and the look can be a bit “old”. Ottobre Magazine to the rescue!

The Zen pyjama set from Ottobre Magazine.

The two great things about Ottobre magazine are 1) the size range (50-170) which covers tiny infants to about age 14-15, and 2) the styling. The styles are age appropriate and fun, but cool enough that my kids will actually wear the clothes.

Of course, you need to trace out each pattern piece from the cryptic pattern sheets onto tracing paper. You might want a cup of coffee before getting started!

Ottobre patterns come on double-sided sheets of paper – each about 60 cm by 100 cm. This issue comes with three of these. They include all the pattern pieces for all the garments in the issue, in multiple sizes. You trace out only the pieces you need.

The cut of the garments is always great, and the instructions are good, if brief. There are some tutorials online for plaquettes, cuffs, etc.

Once you get the hang of it though, it’s worth the effort! It’s also a good value, since you get 40 patterns in this issue. And even if one is a rectangular scarf, the others more than make it worthwhile. More recent editions have about 25 patterns.

OTTOBRE design® kids WINTER 6/2011 which includes sizes 50-170 (EUR pattern sizing system). This issue includes a section on sleepwear.

So the next challenge was the flannel. I love sewing with flannel. The fabric sticks to itself, in the best way, making it unnecessary to pin much.

Of course, my kids suggested solids, but it seemed so boring.

Two types of flannel and some bamboo jersey.

Me: “Don’t you want a colour, or something fun?”
Also me, but later: “Wait, this is a window pane and a wobbly stripe! &^%@#!”

Anyway, I got a perfect pattern match on the window panes and a close-to-perfect match on the stripe.

Window panes have been defeated!

Cats have been conquered!

I made a couple of modifications. I lengthened the boxer short to a pant, and I added a really wide hem at the bottom – maybe 5 cm/2″. I really like this look, but it also lets me lengthen the pants when the kids grow.

It’s tough to see, but these pants have a super wide hem.

I remember how amazed I was when I learned that most men’s pyjamas come with pockets, so I was determined to add some. I just copied the pocket from Vogue V8964, which I’ve made previously and trimmed it down a little.

And I added ribbon to the back of the waistband so you can tell which way they go.

A ribbon in the waistband for sleepy pj wearers.

For the top though, they wanted bamboo jersey. This fabric has an incredibly soft hand – amazing to sleep in. But of course, it’s slinky.

I finished the neckline with fabric bands, and used a double needle to hem the sleeves and bottom.

This pattern also had some modifications. I made a short, cap sleeve. I also lowered the neckline by about 2.5 cm/1″. I found the neck was really high, and not great for pyjamas with this slinky fabric.

It’s a really good fit.

I have to say the sizing from Ottobre was perfect! And my kids love these pyjamas and insisted on wearing them immediately. I had to wait until clean laundry day to fish them out to photograph them.


Pattern: Zen t-shirt/pajama top (38) and Green check boxer shorts (37) from OTTOBRE design® kids WINTER 6/2011 which includes sizes 50-170 (EUR pattern sizing system). This issue includes a section on sleepwear.

Fabric: Ivory bamboo jersey, and two types of cotton flannel from Fabricville. The cat pattern was one of their in-house prints.

Size: 158 (about a kids’ 14).

Cost: Magazine $13.50. Fabric: About $70 ($35 per pair)

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: Top: Lower neckline, shorten sleeve. Bottom: lengthened pyjama pant, removed the fly, wide cuffs, added pockets.

Results: Great. Great fit and very comfortable, I hear.