Violette Field Threads
If you sew for little girls, I hope that you have heard of Violette Field Threads. They are an independent pattern company that produces some of the most adorable vintage inspired designs for girls from new born babies all the way up to tweens, and there are even a few patterns there for us Mums too. Although I’ve had a number of Violette Field Threads (VFT) patterns for a while, I never really got around to sewing them up – I’ve done a couple of Madisons (one for Veronica last summer, and one each for Veronica and Mathilda more recently). I’ve also made an Odette for Mathilda, which for some bizarre reason I’ve never blogged about, but…that is all going to change. I am currently in VFT heaven and have been sewing up all my patterns, in a kind of manic whirlwind!
A Capsule Wardrobe for Mathilda
Mathilda has had quite a big growth spurt since summer, and basically needed a completely new wardrobe – she has quite a few basic items which still fit just fine (leggings for one thing), but she was lacking the more substantial items to put together outfits for going out and about – and she had also pointed out that she didn’t have any dresses or skirts that were suitable for winter. So, during the previous school holidays, when I took some time off work, I got busy making up an entire new wardrobe for Mathilda, using almost exclusively VFT patterns. My intention was to create a kind of mix-and-match capsule with mostly separates. And it looks a little bit like this:
During this month I will show you all of these in more detail, most of them are VFT patterns, but there are also a couple of other special things in there too. Today I’m going to share what I made using the VFT Elise pattern – it is one of my favourites!
The Elise Pattern
I’m not sure why, but VFT have actually discontinued this pattern, so I’m really glad that I picked it up when I did. This pattern is for a knit t-shirt, with puffed sleeves, optional ruffle, an optional bib appliqué and keyhole closure at the back.
I made up 4 of these for Mathilda, with a variety of the available options. That’s right – I made four different tops from the same pattern!
Each time I finished a new one, it instantly became my new favourite – lol! This pattern is quite addictive. All fabrics are from Spotlight, the knits are mostly cotton – lycra/elastane blends. I hunted through the racks for these – it can be hard to find the right kind of fabric at Spotlight, but there range has improved, sometimes you just have to dig a little, and if we continue to be choosy about what we buy from them, I’m sure that Spotlight will continue to improve their range to suit. I will note here that Mathilda loves hearts, unicorns and sparkly things – so I went hunting for fabric with that in mind.
I made all of these Elise t-shirts in a size 9-10 for Mathilda. She has just turned 8 and takes an 8-9 in RTW. I find that VFT sizings are slightly on the small side, but these fit her perfectly and have just the right amount of growing room too.
Number One – Strawberries
For this first version, pictured below, I used the instructions to make the three rows of gathered strips down the front. This is not really part of the pattern, and the instructions for this particularly finish are brief, it appears on the front cover of the pattern though, so there are some notes to make it up.
I didn’t stitch my strips into a look though, I left them as a single layer and did a narrow rolled hem using my overlocker.
This fabric is very soft and the gathers drape quite nicely. The back of the Elise closes with a snap fastener – I didn’t even know that I had snap fasteners stashed away until I went looking for them, its years since I used them, so my skills at sewing them on are a bit rusty, but I managed it.
One of my favourite little gadgets:
The little keyhole though is finished with bias binding, which gave me the opportunity to use this handy little guy:
I’ve seen these a lot on Facebook recently, there are quite a few little video tutorials around about how to use them too, so I won’t go into much detail here. Essentially, this snap-on foot will fold the bias strip around the edge of your fabric so that it can be stitched on in one simple step! This foot is a cheap generic branded foot, and although it felt a bit fiddly at first, it works really well, and is one of my favourite things. The only tip that I will offer for using it is this: when you buy ready-made bias binding, look at the inside where the raw edges are folded in, one side will be slightly wider than the other – you should always put this side underneath, and then match up your needle position to the edge of the top fold, and should work nicely.
Number Two: Unicorns and Buttons
This version looks just like the other one pictured on the front cover of the pattern.
I used the bib option, with ruffles, and the faux button placket.
I used Riley Blake Swiss Dots for the polka-dotted fabrics. I had trouble gathering a double-layer of the ruffle, so I used half the width of the pattern piece, and finished the edges with the narrow rolled hem on my overlocker (as for the wide ruffles above). The buttons are small shirt buttons that I have a whole bag of. I love that VFT patterns give so many opportunities to use different notions such as buttons and lace.
Number Three: Sparkly Polka-Dots
This almost-all-white version is the only one that can’t be tumble-dried – the polka-dots are metallic and would come off. So, a little bit more care will be needed with this one. I didn’t add any ruffles to the bodice, instead I used the hem ruffle option. Which is really nice, however, I think that next time I try this I will simplify the construction somewhat.
I did all the neck bindings using my coverstitch machine, on this one, the raw edge of the fabric did not quite get caught in the stitching – and right at the centre front! Rather than unpick it all and do it again, I simply stitched a ribbon bow on top to cover it. The bow is actually navy, although it might look black in these photos.
Number Four: Hearts and Paper-Dolls
This next version, which also became my favourite, also uses the optional bib appliqué.
This is the only fabric that was 100% cotton, it is not as stretchy as the others, but it still works for this pattern.
The fabric for the bib is a woven, for some reason that I can’t remember I randomly bought a fat quarter of this fabric with a paper-doll print, I don’t have any other information about the fabric. The red polka-dot is Swiss Dots by Riley Blake. I couldn’t get the ruffle to gather using my machine, the fabric layers were just too thick. So I sort of half-pleated it onto the shirt front using about a million pins, and then carefully stitched it down. Once this was done, there was a noticeable ‘gap’ at the centre front, because I had the gathers all facing from the shoulder in towards the centre, so I hand-stitched a ribbon bow in place.
I had run out of bias binding by the time I got to making this shirt, so I finished the back keyhole with a binding strip made from the main fabric, and attached it with the coverstitch machine. This is a bit more bulky than the bias binding, but still gives a neat finish.
It has been hard to get any pictures of Mathilda wearing these things as they have gone straight into her everyday wardrobe! I will try harder to get better pics later on, when I show the rest of her capsule, but for now, here are just a couple of teasers:
And I think this was her favourite outfit, this is what she chose to wear for her birthday party:
Bonus Number Five: Unicorns and Sparkles for Veronica
And of course, little sister Veronica didn’t miss out – I made her an Elise from the unicorn fabric, with the sparkly polka-dot for the bib – the bib can be either woven or knit! And a simple ruffle, hemmed with the overlocker again.
The bib looked just a little bit too plain, so I added another ribbon bow to the centre front neckline.
These ruffles are the full width of the pattern-piece, I didn’t cut them down. As mentioned above, I ran out of bias binding, so I also finished the back neck of this one with a knit binding using the coverstitch machine.
This little munchkin lovers to model for me, so here she is:
I just love those puffed sleeves – there is quite a lot of fabric gathered in there, and it is not the easiest thing to sew, but it is totally worth it, because I think that they are my favourite thing about this top.
Favourite things is the featured subject of this month’s blog tour hosted by Sewing By Ti. I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing several versions of one of favourite patterns and one of my favourite presser feet. Make sure to visit all the other awesome bloggers below throughout the next month to be inspired:
Thanks for reading!