Monday, September 14, 2015

Sewing for Kindergarten 2015

Since I also have a kindergartner this year and therefor is participating in the series myself, I decided to split up my participating post from the introduction post (which you can find HERE). I hope that makes sense.

So this year it was littlesister E's turn to start Kindergarten and she was very excited for this new adventure because whatever big sister is doing she naturally wants to do too. 
She started in preschool 2 times a week when she was 18 months old and the last year she went in 5 days a week from 9-1pm. Her preschool did a great job preparing her for what to come in Kindergarten so I didn't feel like this was a GIANT change for her, but a change for sure! Her school day certainly got a whole lot longer (school starts at 7:40 am (zzzz) and ends at 2:50 pm. Homework was another change. And bigger expectations over all. One of the best changes was of course the fact that both our girls are now in the same school. Everyone - especially the driver (me!) - loves to only have one destination and one carpool to sit in each morning and afternoon.

All participants will answer these questions in their post and here are my answers.

- Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten? If not what number child is this?
Nope, my second and last. Big sister W started 2 years ago and is now in 2nd grade.

- Do you feel like crying or celebrating?
- And what about your child?
Celebrating! She was excited which made me excited. The school urged us to use the carpool from day one and she jumped out without even saying goodbye, ha.

We are in a year-round calendar school so the year started in mid July and we are one week away from our first 3 week track out and reality has certainly hit now. She still jumps out happy from the car but I get lots of hugs and kisses first and she has definitely tried to pretend to be ill a few times to be able to sleep a bit longer in the morning (and then of course waking up super early on the weekends where she could sleep in, gah).

- What kind of school does your child attend? (public, charter, private, homeschool)
We have changed from public to private school this year. We were not unhappy with our previous school but we are very very happy with the new one.

- Question to your kindergartner: What has been the best and worst part so far?
E: Best part: recess. Worst part: homework.
(Hehe, surprise surprise.)

Our school has a dresscode and I have a permanent bookmark to that page on my computer, haha. I have always loooved sewing school clothes for my kids because stylish but comfortable and practical everyday clothes is my favorite thing to make. So I decided to grab the challenge, embrace the restrictions and get the best out of the new situation. I have been sewing school clothes on and off since June, some I have shown you on FB and IG and some I have saved for this post.

The general gist about our dresscode is this:
Dress pants and shorts, knee length skirts and jumpers (sleeve- and collar-less dress). Woven materials only. Solid colors in navy or khaki. Which in my world means just navy, ahem. I'm sorry I'm just not a khaki fan unless we are talking a Burberry Trenchcoat, bahaha.

Polostyle shirts and dresses only. Cardigans, fleeces and sweatshirts. No hoodies. Solid colors red, navy or light blue.

There are of course more details but these are the things I can sew and I feel like I have quite a lot of possibilities. 

Finding fabric have been the most fun. When you are forced to sew only with solid colors then texture, quality and drape matters extra much and I have found some great apparel fabrics I would otherwise never have ordered. I will tell you more about them during the post under each item.

Here we are with the first outfit. A store-bought polo (they are required under jumpers) and a navy jumper. This is pattern 'm' from the Japanese sewing book Girly Style Wardrobe by Yoshiko Tsukiori. The sleeve 'wings' are a very popular details with this little lady and has already been worn twice this last week after the dress made it into her closet.

The fabric is me re-discovering cotton gauze. Double gauze gets all the attention these days but if you are looking for some more drape, gauze is your friend. Yes, it is a tiny bit see-through but since she will always have a polo plus knit play shorts or tights under it is not a problem. It's really perfect for garments with lots of gathers. 

The yoke with the square neckline is made with what I think is Belvedere Cotton
The reason why I'm not sure is simply because I have ordered so much different navy fabric and yes, I did save the order summeries BUT it was only after awhile that I realized that it would have been smart to cut out tiny samples and attach to the order so re-ordering favorites (like this one) was easier. Now I have a list of 10 navy fabrics to choose from, gah. I can of course exclude some that I know is not this one but yeah, I'm fairly sure this is Belvedere cotton. It looks like sateen but with a shirt fabric's weight and drape. I also made THIS school jumper dress for big sister in this fabric.

I made my yoke double layered instead of following the pattern's suggestion with a neckline facing on the inside. It makes cutting easier and it certainly makes the inside much more beautiful with hidden seams all over.

The next jumper is a remix of The Antalya Dress by Coffee & Threads Patterns.
I didn't do massive changes. I curved the neckline more so there was room for the polo shirts' collar under and then I cut away the cap sleeves to make it sleeveless. Boom, you got a jumper.

I added seam allowance to the back bodice piece and put in an invisible zipper in as opening.  The fabric is Cambridge Cotton Lawn from Kaufman. The quality is amazing like any other Kaufman fabrics although an overall ironing before the photo shoot would probably have been beneficial to the overall look, haha.

Big sister was a helper on this shoot and she was standing behind me suggesting poses to her. I'm guessing this is one of them, haha.

And a quick tip for drafting sleeveless dresses. Remember to make the sleeve opening a tad deeper than you normally would if you plan on it being worn with shirts or tees under it. I know that is super logic but I thought I would mention it anyway.

Oh, and I also drafted a full facing to finish neckline and armscye.

If you want to see my version of the original dress and read the review THIS is the post for you. (It's a good one, you really should.)

Next up is a 3 piece all handmade outfit.
The Goodall Cardigan which is a free* and brand new slouchy cardigan pattern from Petit a Petit Patterns
*Join Celina's FB pattern group to receive it for free.
The Rowan Tee turned polo from Titchy Threads
And a skirt with big pleats and an elastic waist (pattern #19) from the Japanese book A Sunny Spot - Girl's Simple Clothes.

I have always said that there was no way I was ever sewing polos - especially because you can buy them in okay qualities for not a lot of honestly I'm not quite sure why I decided to do it anyway. I guess it was the pressure of my own sewing series or something, hehe.

I decided to start with my favorite kids tee pattern The Rowan Tee because then I knew I didn't have to worry about getting the fit right too. Since The Rowan Tee is drafted for a hoodie or knit rib in the neck opening I knew I had to make the neck opening smaller for my collar and a classic polo look. I added 1 cm / 3/8" all around the neck opening and that was it. I drafted the collar and added a classic button placket...which I got the math wrong on and cut the slit too deep and a landslide of problems happened. BUT I do have a tutorial for one with the right math...maybe I should have consulted it too, haha. Find it HERE.

I also learned someting else while making this. I wanted to cover the seam where the collar is sewn to the neck opening and I thought I had seen it done with narrow grosgrain ribbon sooooo that's what I did. Except it didn't work because the neckline was too curved and the grosgrain ribbon obviously does not stretch. So I had to rip that out and put in bias tape. Lesson learned! And I'm sorry I didn't think of taking any photos of it for you but you can just spot a hint of neon orange in the neck opening.

The fabric is another from Kaufman. A cotton denim jersey knit Indigo. It is not very stretchy which makes it quite perfect for all the stitching you have to do when you make a polo (collar and button placket can obviously only be sewn on your sewing machine not the serger.) The original type of fabric for polos is called pique. Apparently it comes in all types of textures but THIS one is the one I would consider 'classic' polo pique.

HERE is the link to my post about the original Rowan Tee.

The cardigan has the most amazing slouchy look and it is such a fun and easy project...made even more fun with my Janome cover stitch, whoop. I was helping with the testing of the pattern and we realized during the process (but after I made this one) that if you use knit with stretch (and this fabric has quite a lot) you should size down. I made size 5 and it is big but not so she can't use it right away. I kind of love it like this but now you know if you like cardigans to be a bit more 'fitted'. 
It is made with my new favorite type of fabric. It is French terry made from bamboo rayon and cotton, it is thinner than normal French terry, stretchy, has amazing drape and it comes in a lot of great colors. How is that for a winner fabric! 
And regarding colors I have a little epilogue to the faith of this cardigan because as you know my kids are not allowed to wear the clothes I have made them before it has been photographed (if I'm choosing to blog it...which I usually am) SO big sister W wore it to school a few days after this photo shoot (it kind of fits her as a 3/4 sleeve length summer cardigan, ha) and was told that the color red was not the school appropriate one (it's too light)- waaaah. And the most stupid thing is that this fabric also comes in the perfect red, I even bought that too (it's sold out now) but I just choose this lighter red because I liked it better, ugh. That will teach me to try to bend the rules for fashion, haha.
SO I have bought some fabric color and see if I can get it darkened up at bit. That should work.

The skirt is one of those example why I love Japanese patterns so much. Simple and yet with a perfect detail. At first glance it might look just like an elastic waist skirt but it actually have big pleats. And I learned something new - something very very logic but never the less would I not have thought of it myself I think. They placed the pleats with a little distance so that when I pulled the elastic through and gathered the waist the pleats got pushed together and are now placed right next to each other. Genius!

The fabric is a linen and cotton blend which I'm slowly warming up to. I have never really been a linen fan but I must admit that it is quite perfect for this type of school clothes. It's Kaufman again again.... Essex Linen Blend. It comes in 46 colors and prints and I'm linking to the full collection.

And last but not least a more structured jumper. The pattern is the not yet released Miss Polly Pinafore pattern from Sewpony.
When I saw the preview of the pattern I just knew it would be perfect for school so Suz was generous enough to send it to me so I could sew it for this post even though it's not done yet. Thank you so much Suz!

I'm sad that the dress looks so big on E in these photos because it really looks good in real life. I made it a little bit big so there is room for the growing kindergartner but it's not too big.
Another thing that makes it look bigger than it is, is my fabric choice. It's made with a cotton twill which is a rather stiff fabric type.

I almost skipped the piping because I feel like I have had nothing but trouble with piping lately. But I decided to give piping another chance and I'm glad I did because the sewing went so well and I actually sewed the whole thing in one go. It's rare that I start and finish a garment in one go, so that is a compliment to Suz's pattern pieces since everything went together perfectly.

I love those shoulder flap details. I obviously had to make this in solid navy blue but I'm dying to have fun with some color blocking and/or prints. This pattern is screaming for it. But first I have to make another navy blue one because big sister has asked for one too.

Okay, we made it through. That was a lot of school clothes.
I hope you are inspired.

Dont forget to check out the other participant today Carla from Small & Friendly HERE

Thank you!


  1. OHH so many good things at the same time! <3 You're rocking the dress code! Absolutely love all the outfits but the Antalya is making me want to sew an exact copy! :D And booo for light red not being admitted, I love it! ;) E. is the sweetest little girl, so beautiful! <3 Love all her expressions but this last close up photo is stunning! <3

  2. I love all the pieces! The Japanese pattern is so so good! I am making the Antalya withou sleeves next. :) And Susanne's dress makes a perfect jumper! Very impressed by the polo! And the cardi looks so comfy! Perfection, as usual!

  3. That Sew Pony jumper is adorable!! I love the buttons you used. Your kiddos must be the best dressed in school. Our school went with a new uniform company this year, and the fit is terrible. We don't have options other than the uniforms they pick. It's so hard when I love to sew well fitting, cute clothes!

  4. I can't believe how adorable and chic you have been able to make "uniform" style clothes!! I love all of them! That pinafore is just fab! And she couldn't possibly be cuter! I think that cardigan will be my next sew! Thanks again for including me!!

  5. This kind of makes me wish for a dress code at my boys school. My favourite is the Miss Polly Pinafore. Love all the little details in the same dark blue. Beautiful!

  6. Your girls are beautiful! I love how you made uniform clothes look stylish :) The Miss poly pinafore is amazing!!!

  7. I love every single outfit you made! Their uniforms are so chic and stylish. Love how you made the Antalya sleeveless. I think my favorites (though it's so hard to choose) are the Miss Polly Pinafore and the pleated skirt. The buttons you chose for the pinafore are so beautiful. And E looks adorable in her glasses. Makes me want to get a pair like hers, though I wouldn't look half as good ;)

  8. So good! That last outfit with the knee socks, I can't even handle how cute she is!! Your sewing and taste is impeccable, and as everyone else said, I'm sure your kids are the most stylish in school! :)

  9. Mie, these are all so wonderful! I absolutely love the Antalya dress as a complete solid and I am in LOVE with the Miss Polly Pinafore dress pattern. The piping looks absolutely amazing and it is such a great dress.

  10. I love them all...But the modified Antalya I think is one of my favorites. I'm so impressed (in a good way, of course) in how you used so many different materials and they work perfectly with the patter you choose. My daughter uses uniform too and i just think "boooring" but you are making me change my mind with all those beauties...hmmm.

  11. oh my goodness they are all so cute! love them!

  12. Gorgeous Mie!! You have done so much great sewing!!! I love all of the things you have made!! Your Miss Polly is perfect and Evelyne is so sweet!!

  13. Everything is so, SO good Mie! You always rock everything with your impeccable taste! Even when you are conditioned to certain styles and colors. Amazing. That single colored Antalya is perfect. The Japanese skirt is one of my favorite skirt patterns ever! I have made a couple that didn't make it to the blog yet. :) Usually I am like you - no wearing of the new clothes until the photoshoot - but these ones were an exception. :) The Miss Polly dress is perfect! Love it so much...

  14. You've done an amazing job to work within the school's requirements but still create a really stylish collection of clothes for E. Your photos are so good too!

  15. I finally caught up with all your kindergarten posts! Oh my gosh your E is growing up too fast and into the most gorgeous little girl. Your photos are soooo good- I love all the sweet moments you captured and the the clothing so perfectly. And do I really need to tell you how much I love every outfit? Ummm yeah perfection. You rock, that's all. <3

  16. I finally caught up with all your kindergarten posts! Oh my gosh your E is growing up too fast and into the most gorgeous little girl. Your photos are soooo good- I love all the sweet moments you captured and the the clothing so perfectly. And do I really need to tell you how much I love every outfit? Ummm yeah perfection. You rock, that's all. <3

  17. Mie, your sewing is so great! I love all of these combinations and she'll surely be the best dressed kindergartener in the school! :) Also these photos are so, so lovely! And it doesn't hurt that she's an absolutely stunning child! <3

  18. Wow I love these dresses, I would not have thought that unicolored dresses would be so much fun, makes me rethink my shopping behavior!

  19. Wow these are all so good! I have never seen uniforms look so cool! In-love with all of your looks! XO


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