I was excited when I found out that autumn was the theme for the second week of competition in Project Run + Play. It’s my favorite time of year! I was able to mix some of my very favorite elements into a stylish and super fun outfit for my tween daughter. Tweens are so hard to sew for. They’re picky, for one, and have developed their own sense of style. In addition, this age category, somewhere in between a girl’s and a woman’s shape, is so underserved by pattern designers. Patterns don’t fit well and are often either too old or too young in style. I’ve become pretty adept at modifying patterns to fit better, and definitely at choosing patterns that will suit her for both size and sensitivity. Even though I sometimes have to use adult patterns, she’s still my baby, and she still loves the things her mama makes her.
About the time I started thinking about the direction I wanted to take for this outfit, my custom order from Backstitch Fabrics came in. When I saw this Harry Potter panel, I knew right away what to do. Not only are the colors perfect for an autumn theme, but Harry Potter and Hogwarts School always makes me think of autumn. With that inspiration, I knew I wanted to do an outfit reminiscent of a Hogwart’s uniform, but with a Muggle twist. I decided on a structured skirt and blazer; I used pleated plaid for the skirt and a luscious embossed velvet for the blazer. I decided to lighten up the outfit by turning the panel into a color blocked raglan t-shirt.
I based the raglan on the Rowan Raglan Top, Tunic, and Dress by Made for Mermaids. I altered the neckline to be a slight V, and color blocked the body. The stripes on the panel were all at the top, but I decided I preferred a thin stripe at the top and a thicker set at the bottom, so I cut and pasted. I added a few pieces of yellow interlock to fill out the panel to the size needed for the shirt front. I used a dark red interlock for the sleeves, sleeve cuffs, and neck binding. My favorite detail on this shirt, though, is the stripes I added to the sleeves.
Using the sleeve pattern piece, I carefully cut 1″ strips of yellow interlock to fit along the sleeve where I wanted them, in this case, just above the bottom cuff and just below the armpit. I used some washaway hem tape to hold them in place while I top stitched them on (be sure to check that they’ll line up at the sleeve seam before you top stitch), and then was able to sew the shirt as normal, using my modified panel and sleeves. I’ve made a lot of raglans, but this is definitely my favorite.
I self drafted the skirt using a brushed cotton plaid from JoAnn Fabrics. I couldn’t decide between box pleats or knife pleats so, after a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to use a combination. The majority of the skirt is box pleated, but there’s a surprise panel of knife pleats in the back. I also added an invisible zipper on the side rather than an elastic waistband to keep the skirt fitted around the waist and hips.
Then there’s the blazer. Oh my goodness, this blazer! Let me tell you, it was a labor of love! I was browsing Pinterest for inspiration when I came across this Burda Style pattern. “YES!” I thought, and bought it before I thought again. After downloading it, I realized that Burda Style doesn’t add seam allowances to their pattern pieces. I figured that out by taping two pencils together with a spacer to make my preferred seam allowance, and then tracing my printed pattern pieces on to craft paper. But then I pulled up the instructions. The ENTIRE tutorial file is only three pages long, and two of the pages talk about material requirements and fitting. Yes, that’s right. The instructions for this very detailed blazer fit onto ONE 8.5×11″ sheet of paper, and there are no illustrations or pictures for reference. Oy. Ok, Genie, gird your loins and dive in!
I chose an embossed black velvet and a red satin lining, both from JoAnn Fabrics. The body of the jacket went together easily, as did the inseam pockets. But then I got to part about the buttonholes. There are more buttons on this thing than Hagrid has pets! There are 15 buttons on this jacket, five on the lapels and five in each sleeve! I learned a new technique–bound buttonholes. A quick Google search found me several tutorials and, while definitely more complicated than a regular stitched buttonhole, they weren’t as bad as I feared. *snort* Finishing the bound buttonholes and sewing on all of the buttons took almost as long as the rest of the jacket did.
Be sure to visit Project Run + Play to cast your vote and help us stay to compete another week!
I have managed to end up with an outfit that I’m proud of AND my tween loves, so I’m going to call it a win-win. Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget…it’s leh-vee-OH-sah, not leh-vee-oh-SAH.
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