Friday, 3 July 2020

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Woodstock Swing Tee


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.


One of my favourite things about making clothes for my kids is that it offers a great way to make use of small pieces and scraps of fabric leftover from adult projects. But something I've struggled with is finding uses for leftovers of light-weight, slinky jerseys. I made a few Celestial tees by Figgy's patterns when Dolores was about 2yo, which looked nice worked well in drape-y jersey. However, I wanted another option up my sleeve, plus the grown-on/dolman sleeves didn't give as me much small piece-busting opportunities as a style with more seams might allow. Enter: the Woodstock Swing tee by Hey June Handmade, which I stumbled upon when looking for something else entirely. Big ol' thanks to Hey June Handmade for sharing this, and some other great-looking patterns for free.  

(image source: Hey June Handmade)

Pattern type:

The website says it best: 'The Woodstock Swing Tee is a casual trapeze-hem top for Juniors.  It features a wider neckline and short cap sleeves as well as a slight high-low hemline.' My daughter hasn't owned a garment this shape before, so I wasn't sure how she'd take to it. However, she loves wearing leggings and leggings-shorts (is there a word for those? Cycle shorts maybe?), and I felt that this type of garment would work really well with those, as well as feeling nice and breezy on warm days. 


Sizing info:

As I've discussed previously, many free sewing patterns for children's wear are only graded up to five or six years old. It's kind of annoying that the free patterns dry up a bit just as your kids become independent enough to allow you some extra sewing time! To highlight some great-looking free pattern options for 6 years and up, I compiled this blog post. I love that the Woodstock Swing tee is graded form 6 years all the way up to 16 years. Plus, I really think it's a style that would look good on both a 6 year old AND a 16 year old, opposed to looking too grown up for a 6 year old, or too childish for a teenager. 

The sizing goes up in twos, so ages/sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 are included. On my first try (the stripe-y version pictured above) I made my 6yo the size 6, and although she wears it, it looks a little small, particularly across the shoulders. For my second attempt (the pink/white/birds combo), I made the size 8 which I think fits her better, and will possibly see her through two summers. 


Fabric Info: 

Designed for knits with at least 30% stretch, I would go a step further and suggest that it is most suitable for lighter weight jerseys that drape well.  

Findings:

This pattern was really enjoyable to use. Accessing it through the Hey June Handmade online shop was easy, and the pattern is very professionally produced. The instructions and pattern pages are all in one PDF, and the pattern pages span ten sheets. Allegedly this pattern features the layers function, which allows you to save printer ink by only printing the size/s you need, but for some reason I couldn't get that option to work for me on this pattern. 

The instructions are clear and simple with each step demonstrated with an illustration. As with most free sewing patterns, I'd say this one is beginner friendly, and an enjoyably speedy make for more experienced sewers. You could easily whip up one of these the evening before going on holiday for example, without breaking into much of a sweat. 
I'm really pleased with the finished garments, bar the slight sizing issue as mentioned above. Finally using up some of my slinky-knit scraps was very satisfying, and she has worn both of them a number of times since it became warm enough. 


Customisation ideas:

I had every intention of actually making a few of the pattern-hack ideas I had for this pattern. But I'm afraid any different versions have yet to happen as other sewing patterns have been lining themselves up, crying out to be tried instead.
  • Use another slim-fit knit pattern with a long sleeve (like the Ester & Ebbe top pattern by Thread by Caroline perhaps) to make this into a long-sleeved top pattern also.
  • Extend into a dress
  • Add a ruffle around the hem, possible shortening it also so the final length remains similar to the original.
  • Add a ruffle into the sleeve seams (again, like the Ester & Ebbe top pattern perhaps). 
  • Add a patch pocket on the chest
  • Apply decals, screen prints or appliques to the front.
  • Create seam lines within the front and back pieces to create even more scrap-busting and colour-blocking opportunities. 


Would I make it again?

Yes, I'm sure I will when my daughter reaches the larger sizes. As I said above, useful free patterns for older kids, and in particular teens, are hard to come by so I think this one is pretty valuable. I'm still committed to trying out a hack or two also. Extending the hem length into a dress might make a great warm-weather nightdress option.  

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