It might seem like we’re still in the middle of summer, but the calendar tells me we have just two more weeks until the girls head back to school!! This week, the Pattern Anthology Team (no longer selling patterns) released their fall fashion line for girls and boys – The Alphabet Collection. And it. is. awesome!! Somehow, these girls let me in on the fun and I got my mitts on the collection ahead of time. I am so excited to participate in the Pattern Anthology pattern tour! I’m not only going to be showing you the shirt, vest, jacket, AND pants that I made from the collection, but I am also going to tell you all about the generous fabric and notions provided to me by the sponsors that are helping to make this tour extra fabulous!
First, about the Alphabet Collection – it is a unisex, fall line, designed with “back-to-school” in mind. The four piece collection includes slim pants, knit raglan tee, a shawl collar vest, and a zip bomber jacket. The pieces are meant to be layered, mixed, and matched and there are SO many options in every pattern for all the customization you could ever want. Each pattern is graded for sizes 12/18 months – 8. Okay, now on to my version of the collection…
I made all four pieces for Olivia, who will be 8 in a couple months (EIGHT!!! How did that happen?) As you may remember, though, she is tiny. Teeny tiny. Since I was working with fabrics that had been ordered online, I had no room to screw up the sizing. Comparing her measurements to each pattern sizing chart (which seemed to be consistent with one another, by the way), all the patterns told me to make her a 4T. hee hee. I knew she’s a bit taller than she is wide, and what I ended up doing for all the garments was trace the 4T pattern pieces, but adjust them all to a size 6 length. This actually worked out almost perfectly – the only exception is the sleeves on the jacket, which were just a little snug over a long sleeve shirt. The fur fabric has no stretch to it at all, which could be part of it, but I will make the size 6 sleeves on the jacket next time for Liv.
Let’s start with the jacket then, shall we? This was the first piece from the collection that I made. I chose this beeeuuutiful faux fur fabric from Michael Levine for the jacket and it turned out beyond amazing. Everyone in my family loooooves this jacket. I actually purchased the fur to use on the vest, but once I started petting it, I just had to make the jacket out of it. Andrea Pannell’s Study Hall Jacket is super fun and has all kinds of great options for pockets and a hood, and different cuff methods. Since the fur is really bulky, I skipped all of the pocket options, and I would’ve added a hood, but Olivia is not a big fan of hoods, so I went with a collar.
Turns out, I love the little ruffled collar – it’s so sweet! I used a cotton jersey blend knit from Girl Charlee for the collar, sleeve cuffs, and waistband. This lightweight knit was a little unconventional, but the gold coloring went so well with the fur, and I had seen Shauna reinforce some knit with interfacing so I copied her and it gave the jersey just enough structure to stand up next to the fur. Another thing I really love about this jacket is that it can be fully reversible. Not so much with the fur….but definitely for the next one. Coats & Clark have these perfect zippers for the jacket – they are nice, sturdy metal and they’re reversible AND separating, so you can use them on the jacket and have flawless reversibility (is that a word??).
The fur is a little tricky with the zipper, but I went in and topstitched the fur away from the zipper and that helps keep it out of the way when zipping. I was really happy with the pattern, though using it with the fur is maybe not a good beginner project. It’s pretty awesome once it’s finished, though, so I hope some of you will try it!
Next, I made the BBC Vest by Shwin Designs. Olivia was especially thrilled by the potential in the vest and squeals that she’s going to wear it all the time in third grade. I think it makes her feel ultra chic. Personally, I am swooning over the little peplum ruffle around the bottom on the girl’s version – isn’t it so cute?
The vest whipped up in just an hour or so and was a simple sew. I used this ultra silky sateen from Organic Cotton Plus. I really loved the black and cream contrast in the pattern and since this particular fabric is 110″ wide, I have plenty leftover to make some more pieces. I could see this fabric as pants or a jacket, too – it’s a really fun, versatile print, right? This was my first time ordering from Organic Cotton Plus and they really offer a nice selection of fabrics and notions. They’re also the only organic fabric retailer who is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certified – and I don’t know if it’s just because I was using their sateen or if it’s because the fabric was free of chemicals and what not, but this vest fabric is the softest sateen I’ve ever felt. Anyhow, the fabric print is a little more modern than my usual picks, maybe I was channeling a little Shwin&Shwin or something – whatever it was, it turned out to be a big hit with Liv and with me! The vest also has a darling racer back feature – it’s an adorable surprise – gives the vest that much more personality. I’d like to get a few more of these vests sewn up in some solids, too.
On to the W Pants by Blank Slate Patterns. So, pants and Olivia just don’t get along. I cannot tell you how hard it is to find or even sew pants for this girl. Not only is she tiny, but she loves her pants to be skin tight and she hates the bunched up waist that happens when you take a girl whose measurements are in the 3T/4T range and try to stick her in pants that meet her height at closer to a 6/7 size. I wasn’t sure how the W Pants would end up fitting, but they actually turned out really great for her! I used a stretch denim, also from Michael Levine, which was a really nice denim to work with. It’s soft and stretchy, but substantial – I actually think it would be really nice for adult jeans – thick enough to smooth out any, ehem, unevenness. But anyway, I finished sewing these pants and felt suuuuper accomplished. Melissa walks you through the simplest zip fly installation ever – it turned out absolutely perfect – kinda dreamy, if a zip fly can be dreamy. And Coats & Clark came through again with their shorty brass jeans zippers.
I put another brass zipper in for the back pocket and I think it adds a little bit of cool. I noticed Olivia standing around with her hand in that back pocket and her hip sticking out to the side – she thinks it’s cool, too. It was one of the poses she kept coming back to during the photo shoot – makes me giggle.
And then she slowly zipped the pocket closed and made sure I was still taking pictures. heehee! When I sew these pants again for my wild child, I’m going to have some fun with some colored zippers and changing up the back yoke with some contrast fabric – I love that feature, but I knew it would be an issue with Olivia some rainy morning when she’s complaining that she has nothing to wear and the pink contrast on her cool W Pants doesn’t match the slightly different pink shirt that she just has to wear that day… but that’s just her – my other girls like a little extra flair.
The W Pants have nice front pockets (I lined them with some of that organic sateen I used on the vest), beltloops, and a waistband with just the right amount of elastic for the size 4. AND…..I discovered a new love while sewing these pants – the Coats & Clark Jeans Topstitching thread. Holy cow, you guys, this thread is significantly thicker than the all-purpose thread and it is perfect for topstitching on jeans. I didn’t really realize that when ordering the thread, but I am absolutely going to pick up some in other colors for contrast on future denim projects.
Last, but not least, let’s talk about the Recess Raglan Tee by See Kate Sew. This pattern is a touchdown in my house. I have BIG plans to whip up about a thousand of these in every knit from my stash. And I have a HUGE stash from Girl Charlee. I think Girl Charlee is hitting the blog/sewing world by storm – have you been to their site yet? The first time I visited, I checked out with a cart of nearly 20 different knit prints. The next time, another pile of knits. It’s almost scary how much you can love so many knits all at the same time. This chevron print that I used for the Recess Raglan is one of my (many) favorites. The tee is such a fast sew. You could practically sew the kids up a shirt in the morning before school! I’m not even joking.
I went with the ¾ sleeves and sewed all the main seams on the serger, finishing the topstitching on my regular machine with a quick zig zag stitch. I made this one in a 4T, with 6T length, like the other garments, and Olivia and I agree that it’s a perfect fit. I like that it’s a little longer and fitted, but not skin tight. It makes a nice layering tee, and will really be a nice base piece for screen printing and showing off some fun fabric mixes with the raglan sleeves and cuff options. I couldn’t get too crazy here – already maybe pushing it a little with the pattern mixing between the tee and the vest, but there really are a lot of options.
So, what do you think of this fall collection? Pretty great, right?