Skort for school: essential for summer


School skort

Every summer my daughter has to wear shorts to school under her summer dress or skirt if she wants to do any gymnastics on the playing field (it’s a modesty thing I presume).  This year, I forgot to buy any new shorts and she forgot to mention that last years were too small! I decided that there had to be a better solution out there, surely someone would sell a school skort (skirt with shorts built in underneath)?

Apparently not.  All I could find was culottes.  So I then went on the hunt for a pattern.  All I could find was culottes or tennis style skorts.  But, being a brave and fearless seamstress (!) I decided I could alter a tennis skort pattern.

Making the skort

I found this lovely Heidi and Finn Tennis Skort pattern on Etsy.

Tennis skort pattern and tutorial PDF 6y-12y easy sew skirt shorts uniform

We then went to my favourite fabric shop, The Eternal Maker, and found some really nice grey jersey (Robert Kaufman – Laguna Jersey Heather Pepper).    It’s super soft and has just the right amount of stretch.

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The Tennis Skort has an extra skirt layer on-top which I left out.  I also had to adjust the width of the shorts and skirt as my daughter has a tiny waist.   I used her old school skirt to work out the length of the skirt (but I still made it too long and chopped some off at the end and re-hemmed it!).  I used a pair of her leggings (fold in half and line up the curved edges to the pattern) to adjust the width of the shorts. The shorts I made longer as my daughter likes them long – but you could leave them the original length.   I pinned the shorts together with safety pins and made her try them on – it worked as they fit nicely.

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…but I don’t have a serger so I can’t sew jersey…

Neither do I!  I followed the instructions on the pattern for using a stretch stitch, and it worked fine.  I use a walking foot and ball-point needle which worked well.  The instructions are clear and have photos for each stage.

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I’m still fairly new to sewing with knit fabrics, but I think that the better the quality of the fabric, the easier it is to sew – so don’t be put off giving it a go.  I didn’t have any problems with it rolling up at the edges or stretching out of shape – which I was expecting.

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The result?

For once I’ve managed to make something my daughter likes and her school friends were impressed so it must be good enough!   I tried to get a good photo showing the shorts underneath but she was spinning so quickly the skirt stayed in place!

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And it’s not only good for cartwheels in the playground, but trampolining in the garden!

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Plus I can now make her one for tennis (if I can get her out of her leggings…)

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Free Sloth cuddly toy sewing pattern

Snoozy Suzy Sloth sewing pattern

Download the PDF pattern to make Suzy

Sleepy toddler?  Use this sewing pattern to make them a suitably sleepy friend.

There’s something rather cute about Sloths and they make a change from teddy bears!  I’ve designed Suzy the Snoozy Sloth to be very soft, floppy and cuddly, the ideal companion for any little one to snuggle up with.  It’s a fairly simple pattern to make, although sewing with plush fabric takes a little bit of getting used to – it’s worth it for the extra cute cuddly softness though!   Enjoy using your free sewing pattern to make your very own cuddly sloth toy!

The instructions are here: Suzy Sloth Sewing Instructions and the pattern pieces are here: Sloth sewing pattern

Sloth sewing pattern
Sloth sewing pattern

Sloth sewing pattern

Suzy Sloth Snoozing

Best toy patterns

I love making dolls for my daughter because you can give each one their own personality and style.  They also make great presents as they are special and unique.  I’ve selected some of my favourite doll and toy patterns – it was meant to be a post just about dolls, but then I saw ‘Felix and Charlotte Fox’ and had to add some animals in!  They can all be found on Etsy.

Best felt toy patterns

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Beanie Boos T-shirt Tutorial

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My daughter decided that her Beanie Boos Lion, ‘Hero’ needed a make over.  So I’ve made a new t-shirt for him (slightly girlie fabric but never mind!).  The pattern should also fit other medium size Beanie Boos that are in the same ‘sitting’ position (e.g. Tasha, Safari, Maddie etc).  I used a girls skirt from a charity shop for the fabric.

If you haven’t sewn with jersey before, this is a good size to practice on!  There are some good tips on different websites – I used the Tilly and the Buttons tips when I started experimenting with jersey (not that long ago).   I do have a ‘walking foot’ for my machine which does make a difference, and I use ball point needles.   I used a long zig-zag stitch for all of the t-shirt.

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Sock Alien Tutorial

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It’s all about ‘Space’ at the moment – at my daughter’s school anyway.   It wasn’t part of the homework but my daughter, Amelie, decided to design a sock Alien to take into school and to write about.  She even offered to make it herself – if I could help with the sewing machine bit (I still haven’t made the ‘plague’ rat she designed for the last topic!).  So I made the one that features below and she made her own one, which she didn’t want to feature on my blog in case everyone copied it!  The Alien does need legs because it can fly, obviously…

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Create a ‘busy box’

What’s a busy box?  It’s a box (any box will do!) where you can keep small toys and games ready to pack in a bag and take out and about.

Pinterest Graphic

Keeping a selection of toys in a box all together makes it  easy to find something small enough to go in a handbag or for your child to carry when you go out.  Handy for car journeys (just take the whole box and place on the back seat), restaurants,  church or anywhere else where you want to make sure the children have something to keep them busy.

Here’s some tried and tested (by a 6 and 9 year old) ideas.  You’ll know what your children are into and can tailor the box contents accordingly.  Continue reading


Sienna’s outfits…

I’ve been busy making 18″ doll clothes for my daughter’s American Girl doll (Grace) which she’ll be getting for Christmas.  However, now she has bought Sienna (an Our Generation doll) I couldn’t resist giving her some outfits early.  So here is what I’ve made so far…

Simplicity pattern 1515 has become my favourite ‘go to’ pattern for leggings, tops and skirts. You can but it on-line in the UK at Jaycotts.   It’s a good basic and simple pattern that you can adapt easily.

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Simplicity pattern 1515

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Our Generation Doll

We have a new arrival in the house; her name is Sienna.  My daughter didn’t want to wait for her Christmas present (Grace – American Girl doll) so she decided to take matters into her own hands and spend her savings on an Our Generation doll.  They have recently started stocking them in our local toy shop (Kids Stuff Toys, Chichester) and she has had her eye on ‘Sienna’ since she first appeared on the shelves.

I would like to be able to compare her to the American Girl dolls, but that will have to wait until after Christmas.   My daughter is very happy with her!  She comes with a pink corduroy skirt, faux fur gilet, stripy long-sleeved top, pink tights and white shoes.  She’s similar in size to the American Girl dolls but cheaper at around £30.

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Sienna in her box

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