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Monday, July 11, 2016

Vintage Simplicity 6908 Pattern Review & Contest

simplicity 6908I am a member of Pattern Review and pop in once in a while to see what contests they have going.  They happen to be having a Vintage Pattern contest, so I ran to my stash of patterns and found one that had been my mom’s years ago.  It is from 1975—Simplicity 6908—Size 5 for children’s halter top, knit shirt, shorts and skorts (or pantskirt as the pattern calls it).  Unfortunately my kids are too big for size 5, but I have a niece who is 3 years old.  I figured it would be too large for her, but I went ahead and tried it anyway.  I was thrilled when she tried the outfits on and they fit.  I made three outfits for her—view 1, 2, and 3 (with a bow as in view 5). View 1 and 2 were so easy!  View 3 of the shirt, using stretch knit fabric was such a pain!  I hate working with knits and this pattern reminded me why.  The rickrack around the neckline and sleeves was being difficult, so I gave up after ripping it out several times, and just put a bow on it instead.
Here’s my review . . .

Pattern Description: Child’s Top, Halter-Top, Pantskirt and Shorts

Pattern Sizing: Size 5 (Breast 24, Waist 21.5, Hip 25, Back—neck to waist 10)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but even cuter!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but some instructions were vague. I had to re-read them over again at some points in the instructions.  Luckily there were drawings that made sense.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I liked how simple it was, and that it came out really cute.  The halter top was the easiest.  The knit top was very difficult.  I either need lots of practice and to read up on tips on how to work with knits or simply stay away from them altogether.

I did not like how the instructions say to sew ribbons for the straps/ties for the halter top.  The first halter top I did, I carefully took out the seams where the ties should go, poked them inside about half an inch deep, then stitched over them at the edges to keep them in place.
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The second halter top I made, instead of using ribbon, I used the same fabric that I used for the facing (contrast for the halter) and made ties the same way you’d make bias tape.  I cut two strips 1 7/8”  wide by width of fabric.

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Then I used a 1” bias tape maker.
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Then I used my Adjustible Bias-Binder Foot to sew the the strip, folded in half.  The Adjustible Bias-Binder Foot makes it very quick and look very nice.
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With the second outfit I made for view 2, I zigzag-stitched the ends, but on the third outfit, I folded over the ends and stitched them.
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Then I stitched the straps to the facing, sandwiching them between the front and facing (right sides together).
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I stitched them numerous times on the inside to keep them from coming out.  Straps seem to be the first to come apart, whether it is store-bought or handmade, so I’ve learned to sew them over and over again for reinforcement.  By sewing the straps inside, it looks much nicer and it’s easier to turn because you can just pull the strap out.
For the shorts, the front waistband (E) needs to be an inch longer in order to fit properly. For the halter top, since two pieces are sewn together in the front, when using fabric with images, I need to remember to line up the images prior to cutting out the pattern.
With the knit shirt, the instructions say to make a casing for the elastic for the sleeves.  I tried to do it without the casing and just stitch the elastic directly to the sleeve.  It did not work.  I tried many times and failed.  I finally made some casing by making my own bias tape out of broadcloth.  It was so much easier after that.
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For the knit shirt collar and sleeve hems, and pantshirt leg hem on view 1, I used my 1/4” (6mm) rolled hem foot and a straight stitch.  It makes it so much easier.
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For the knit shirt bottom hem, I used my 9mm Flat Fell Foot (aka flat felled foot, felling foot.)

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For the zipper, I basted the back seams together, then lined up the zipper on the back, stitched it, and then ripped the basting stitch out.  I learned that a while back on a Youtube video. It is the easiest way to attach a zipper and it covers it so that you can’t see it.
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 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Fortunately I did not have to make any size alterations.  Size 5 fit my niece perfectly.  Her measurements are 21, 20, 25.  As mentioned above, I lengthened the waistband so that it fit properly, and stitched the straps sandwiched between the facing and front.  I also used the same contrasting fabric for the waistbands as I did for the halter top facing in view 1 and 2.
For view 2, I did the shorts a little differently.  I stitched the front to the back on the side seams rather than front-to-front and back-to-back as the directions say. For the Rapunzel outfit, I cut two pieces of contrasting fabric, both 4” by length of fabric, pressed it in half, gathered it with a long stitch, and stitched it onto the bottom seam of the shorts (right sides together), then flipped the ruffle, and pressed the seam up and edge-stitched on top. I think 44” was a bit long, as I ended up cutting off about 3 inches.  Gathering it by pulling the thread was time-consuming and caused a lot of fraying.  It was also difficult to get the gathers even.
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For the Tinkerbell outfit, I used my Ruffler Foot for the gathers.  I played around with it for a bit to get the right size gathers.  I ended up setting it to every 6 stitches and used the default stitch length.  When it was finished gathering, the 44-inch strip was 22 inches.  I sewed each strip on the shorts legs and cut off the rest.
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Fabric Used:

View 1: Cotton (Quilter’s Showcase from Joann’s—Anchors and Dots)
            Eyelet Bows Lace
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View 2, Rapunzel
: Corduroy and Cotton (Licensed fabric – Rapunzel, and Premium Quilting fabric Stonehill dots)
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View 2, Tinkerbell:
Corduroy and Cotton (Licensed fabric – Tinkerbell, and Keepsake Calico – Elegant Vine Purple.)
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View 3
: Fashion Stretch Bottomweight, and Stretch Knit (Doodles).
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Would you sew it again?
Definitely! The halter top and shorts/pantskirt for sure, but probably not the knit top.

Would you recommend it to others? Of course!  It is very simple and fun.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed making these outfits.  The possibilities are endless for fabric selections.  Using my techniques and specialty presser feet make it even better--they are a must.  For view 1, I actually ran out of lace for the pantskirt legs.  I misread how much I needed and was 5” short.  The lace I bought was on clearance at Joann’s (and I bought it all), so I couldn’t just run to the store and pick some more up.  I didn’t want to put mismatched lace on it.  I ended up ordering some online, but figured it will be too late by the time it gets here.  (Update: I received the lace and was sent the wrong one anyways.  I received heart lace rather than bows.)

Here is my adorable niece loving her new outfits :)
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Heart Pattern Review Country Mice Pin Keeps

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I made the base using a 6” circle and following the instructions on Fiskars.

I used the Happy Heart Pattern Country Mice Pin Keeps EPHHF-256 for the mouse.  I changed a few things on it.

I used duck cloth for the mouse body.  It was really tough to work with because of the stiffness and thickness of it, but it gave the effect of primitive, which is what I was aiming for.

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I grundged and sanded twice to really darken it up.

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Instead of sewing the arms and legs in a fixed position, I used buttons so that they can move.  I did sew the mouse to the base, however.

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When making the bonnet, it is difficult to get the ear holes to line up just right.  I placed the bonnet on over the ears, then snipped a small slit for one ear, pulled the ear through, then snipped the other side.  I also drafted my own dress bodice rather than making the torso out of the dress fabric.

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I couldn’t find Sisal cord, so I used Panacea Products Brown Sisal-50 grams.  I just pulled a few strands and threaded a needle, just as the directions for cord called for.

I used brown cloth-covered wire instead of white.

Overall, the instructions were very easy to follow, and are organized.  I love Ginny’s patterns, and she is a very kind lady.  The mouse turned out pretty cute.  The only thing I would change on the pattern would be to make the head and torso one piece rather than separate.

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