Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Avana Sailor Semi-Success

I first discovered the French children's sewing pattern company Ikatee when they contacted me last year with the offer to try one of their sewing patterns for free. I tested the Corfou dress pattern (which I reviewed here), and have been excited to follow their business developments and new pattern releases ever since. 


When Ikatee released the Avana pattern earlier this year I was, of course, smitten. Dolores completed surprised me by saying she liked it too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is a sign that she's relaxing her desire to wear exclusively the girliest of clothing styles. So I grasped the opportunity and threw the Avana pattern in my virtual cart before she could have a change of heart. 

What really sold this pattern to me was all the style options included. The first choice you need to make is between the 'sailor' or 'urban' looks. From there you can pick between shorts, 3/4, 7/8 or full length legs. Then there's two types of optional braces to consider, and, if you're making the urban look, whether or not you want to include the belt loops and waist tie. Phew. You may need a rest after all that decision making. 

(image source: Ikatee patterns)

So Dolores and I agreed on making the sailor option with the corresponding 'H' shaped braces. I was making this at the tail end of summer, so we went for the 3/4 length. She's about to turn five, so I cut the 5 years size, but chose the 6 years length because she seems to be taller than a lot of kids of the same age, plus I was hoping these would last a full calendar year. 

Another option included in the instructions is the choice between regular elastic or adjustable 'button hole' elastic. I went for the regular elastic option as that's what I had in my stash. The instructions themselves are very thorough, with digitised illustrations for each construction step. Generally, I found following along no problem, however I did develop two tiny gripes: the first is that, through including the steps for constructing all those different options, it lead to a bit of confusion when trying to work out which bits applied to you and which you could skip over. Secondly, the translation into English was a bit clunky at points, and the instructions could have benefitted from being run past a native English speaker before they were published. 

Fabric and buttons:

Like so much of my fabric stash, I have no clue where this 1.5 metre length of aqua poly/cotton twill came from. I've had it in my stash for so long that I remember having it on my fabric shelf when I lived in Barcelona circa 2009, although I know I had it when I lived in the UK prior to that. I've always loved the colour of this fabric, but could never figure out what it should become. Mainly I was confused by its weight: a bit too hefty for a blouse or top, but a bit too lightweight for making a skirt or shorts that I'd feel comfortable wearing. However, for kidswear, the weight seems to be just right. 

I don't know if it's still the case, but for a while, about five years ago, it seemed to be really easy to buy sets of vintage/retro buttons on cards like these. I found them on a number of market stalls and in haberdashery shops in a number of towns, as well as in Snoopers Paradise in Brighton, which is where these probably came from. I'm not sure if they are legit French vintage dead-stock, or just a cute repro. Either way, these lovely buttons have been in my stash for at least five years, and FINALLY found their purpose by matching this fabric almost exactly. 


The first point I need to make is that I'm AMAZED Dolores has agreed to wear these aside from for the indoor photos. I genuinely thought that I was making these exclusively for my own joy of making them. However, so far she's worn them twice, both times with this awesome striped M&S t-shirt that I picked up brand-new from a charity shop. 

Generally, I'm a big fan of this pattern. All the style options, plus a wide size range (from 3 to 12 years), make this pattern excellent value for money. There are plenty of thoughtful details, like including two options for top stitching around the front buttons on the sailor version. Plus, I really like how the braces are detachable, and the instructions require you to make two sets of button holes so that they're adjustable.

What isn't so great is that they have come up quite small. And even on the longest setting, the braces are a bit short, and they don't sit very nicely at the back (see above). The second time she wore them out of the house, we agreed to leave the braces off, so I think that is how they are going to be worn from now on. I was hoping they'll still be of use for spring/summer 2019, but I predict that I'm going to have to pass these on to a smaller child and make Dolores the next size up.


BLD in MT said...

Cuter. Than. A. Bugs. Ear. (Glad she's wearing them out in the real world and everything!)

Unknown said...

I really like the braces - could you tweak the pattern a little? For example, my kids have dungaree shorts which have straps that cross at the back, and they sit very nicely (since they angle in where they join the waistband). Or you could add a smidgen of elastication to the straps (once you made them longer) so they hugged a bit more? I find slippy straps on dungarees personally very annoying, so I imagine Dolores did too. But they're so adorable to look at!

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