I'm not sure all my recent scrap-busting projects are having much of an impact on the overall volume of scraps and small fabric pieces in my possession, but it must be helping a bit. Plus, I'm really enjoying the challenge of trying to make nice and genuinely useful things from what some might perceive as waste. Oh, and these projects are working out really cheap! Let's look at my latest obsession...
Whilst trawling through the contents of my Ottobre magazine stash for inspiration, this simple vest/camisole pattern from the 6/2013 edition seemed like the perfect candidate for useful scrap-busting projects. Dolores has almost grown out of the largest size you can get of those vests/onesies with the envelope neck holes that fasten with poppers under the bum. I've sourced her a few hand-me-down regular vests, but more are required as there's always a couple in the laundry at any one time. Enter, the Peppi camisole pattern...
I went for the less fancy version of the pattern which consists of just one front and one back pattern piece. Having compared her current vests to the graded pattern pieces, I decided to trace the size 92, which is ever-so-slightly bigger than she requires at the moment. Ottobre magazine patterns are like Burdastyle ones in that, having traced them off, you need to add your preferred seam allowances. I added some allowance to the neck edge and arm holes (as the magazine advises), to allow for the edges to be folded over and top-stitched when the picot elastic is applied in two steps.
My first two versions (pictured above) have the elastic applied in the way. Can you tell which was my first attempt at applying the picot?! For my second two vests (which are the next size up, size 98), I ended up cutting away the neck and armhole allowances that I'd added to the pattern pieces so that I could use fold-over-elastic instead of picot. Fold-over-elastic (AKA FOE) is applied in one step, flush to and enclosing the raw edge, so does not require extra allowance added to where you intend to use it.
The fabrics I used for these vests come from all over the place. My first attempt used up a scrap of luxuriously soft organic cream interlock that was given to me by Offset Warehouse (also used here and here). The fine floral jersey was a small sample that I got from a previous job. The turquoise knit (which might be a fine rib) was from a second-hand men's Uniqlo t-shirt that I was donated. And the fish print knit with a heavy lycra content (which I previously used for toddler leggings and undies for me) was given to me by a friend who had bought it with the intension of sewing for her daughter, but could never quite find the energy. They all have fairly different properties, and it was fun to see how each behaved as I worked with it, and as a finished item.
The sparkly star iron-on detail on the cream vest came from a stash that I received whilst at university (in 2000!) and the cute bear iron-on transfer on the turquoise vest was given to me with a number of other woodland-themed transfers by the lovely and very awesome Kathryn from Kathryn's Busytown. I am now officially obsessed with applying iron-on transfers to things to make them more exciting. Dolores is obsessed with trying to pick the sparkles off the star one.
So. Much. Fun. I've come to realise that a key element in what I consider a fun project these days, is speed. And these are quick, both to prepare and to sew up. If I ever end up with some knit that isn't big enough for adult vest and pants, toddler/child vests is probably what it will become. I also like that it works with both picot and FOE (now that I've figured out a successful picot application!), so that means I'll have more options for making good fabric and elastic combos. Although I didn't do a great job with the pink picot, it lies much flatter when actually worn and is still a perfectly functional garment, although it won't be winning any awards.
I was intending these to be worn layered underneath other garments, but now I think about it, I think the fish print one at least may work well in hot weather too. Although at the, what my husband refers to as 'the fag-end of winter', it's so hard to imagine a time when my family may require no-sleeved garments!
Pattern: Ottobre magazine £9.99 (however, I have also used a leggings patterns from this edition twice and it has a little girl's knickers pattern which I also plan to use a thousand times once potty training is underway)
Fabric: £0 all donated and reclaimed
Elastic: about £3's worth (the pink picot was part of a secret santa present, the lilac picot was given to me by Textile Garden but sadly doesn't seem to be on their site anymore so I can't cost it, and the FOE probably came from Walthamstow market for less than £1 a metre)
Iron-on transfers: £0
Total: approx. £2.66 each, however I plan to use this pattern soooo many more times.