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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Child's Waistcoat & Bell-bottoms Part 1

After receiving a large pile of fabric from my sister-in-law, I still had lots of sewing to do after making hats for my nieces and nephew. I decided to start by making a matching waistcoat and trouser set for the three year old girl.
Part 1: Conceptualization, Pattern Design & Fabric Layout
Part 2: Constructing the Waistcoat
Part 3: Constructing the Bell-bottoms
The patterns can be downloaded from Click here for the pattern.

Every design projects start with visualizing the concept. I grabbed a pencil and sketchpad and made a start at it.

Deciding that I liked the first concept (I have been toying with the idea for a while now), I added colour with a set of fine-liners.

I soon realized that this would not satisfy and opted for my watercolour pencils instead.

Derwent has some of the loveliest ranges and this set of 72 pencils are among my favourites. Add the water-soluble metallic colours and you can't go wrong.

I like the Pentel Aquash brush for these kinds of projects and used it as usual. You can of course use any watercolour brush.

Here are the fabrics I had in mind for the project. Aren't they lovely?

Pattern Design
The first thing I do when designing patterns is to create a large enough space to do it in. In this case I glued 6 A4 pages together. This proved to be large enough to design all of the patterns on. Quite a bonus.

I have taken careful measurements of the child an have asked for a set of clothes that was threatening to become too small (since this would be closest to the actual body size). Armed with these I set off to design the pattern. I used the clothes to check the paper sizes against the clothes' sizes. This is very handy when the actual child isn't at hand. The waistcoat would require only two pattern pieces, but the trousers will be a little more complicated.

Fabric Layout
I cut only the front and back patterns for the trousers as well as the back for the waistcoat from Fabric1.

I used a poly-cotton for the lining, because I wanted the waistcoat to be reversible. If that is not important to you, you can cut this from actual lining. I cut the back of the waistcoat as well as the front from this fabric, Fabric 2.

I cut the front of the waistcoat, both of the bell-bottom inserts and the rouge strip from Fabric 3 which was a sheer fabric with sequins glued on. I would come to regret this choice of fabric, especially when making the trousers, but it gave me an opportunity to show you another trick for when you're working with sheer fabric.

Because two of the front panels for the waistcoat was cut from a sheer fabric, I needed to enforce these, as well as take away some of the transparency. I cut the pattern pieces from a cotton vilene/stiffening and ironed it on to the fabric.

In Part 2 we will make the waistcoat and the trousers will follow that.
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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.

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