We are so pleased to announce our partnership with The McCall Pattern Company to bring Clever Charlotte patterns to JoAnn Stores across the nation! We've been working with the fine folks at The McCall Pattern Company to expand our reach to sewers across the Nation. Not only are our patterns available on the McCall's Website, they are also available at your nearest JoAnn Store!
Someone is excited to start Kindergarten! To celebrate the occasion I sewed up an Orchid Top & Skirt this week.
I chose a nice sky blue corduroy for the skirt and paired it with some vintage fabric I found at a house sale over the summer. Love those house sales.
I love the classic look of this outfit for back-to-school. My daughter loves it too since it doesn't inhibit her balancing act.
I chose simple white buttons for the back placket so as not to distract from the bold pattern in the blouse.
Now that schooldays are upon us, are you, too, back at your sewing machine??
School is out, at last.
Despite some unseasonably cooler weather, the kids have already been out playing in the sprinkler in new swim suits, had our favorite summer treat, Fro-Yo, and stocked up on summer reading at the library. Bring it.
Here's Miss N sporting a new Galena Dress over her swim suit, post-sprinkler.
This variation of our newest pattern shows what a statement a bold solid fabric bias tape can make against a printed dress.
The dot fabric is a double guaze by Kokka Fabric/Tomotake from the Muddy Works collection--allegedly in navy but really charcoal gray. Glad I am a gray person.
The hot pink bias trim is one of my favs--Kaffe Fasset's shot cotton in magenta. The shot cotton is super soft and compliments the super-soft, divine feel of the double gauze.
All fabric was purchased from Pink Chalk Fabrics.
You'll notice I added a strip of color at the bottom of the dress too--this required an extra wide strip of bias tape binding (a 4" bias strip yields a 1.5" wide finished strip of color). I was easily able to make this wide strip from the same 1/2 yard of contrasting fabric I used to cut the other trim pieces. Note, the wide folded bias tape replaces the flat bias tape called for in the original instructions.
I folded the 4" wide strip in half, wrong sides together, then pressed the two long edges to the inside 1/2". Next, I sewed the wide strip to the raw bottom hem in the same way we instruct sewing the narrower folded bias trim on the sleeve hems. I overlapped the short ends near one of the side seams
Can't wait to see what fun adventures this summer brings!
Thank you for your enthusiasm for our new fall collection! I am happy to report that the patterns are now in the shop and ready for pre-sale orders. To celebrate, our older pattern collections are on sale for 20% off for the next two weeks, so now's the time to pick up some of the earlier looks that have been on your list.A quick note about the pre-orders: we anticipate shipping out new styles the week of 9/17. All orders that have any of the new patterns will be held until the new looks are ready. If you want to get something more quickly, we ask that you place a separate order. As always, you'll enjoy our low shipping rates on all orders.
With those announcements out of the way, Carla and I wanted to share some recent photos of our little ones wearing the cover looks so you can get a feel for the fit and the design details we have included with each pattern.
The Olivine Dress has 3 pleats on the bodice that match up with the 3 contrasting pleats on the skirt to create a sunburst effect. [PS Look for the fabric kit for this cover look to be in the shop later this week.]
Here's a little shot of the pleated side panel on the Jasper Jodhpurs:
In addition to the asymmetrical zipper on the front of the Jasper Vest, we've included an option to gather the back of the Vest to bring it in a little at the sides. We've covered the gathering with a two-buttoned tab, harkening back to our Finch Shorts.
We also added some contrasting pocket stitching on the front of the Vest for a little added interest. You can see a little of it here. Again, completely optional.
Here's a close up of the ankle placket of our aptly-named Peridot Ankle Pants.
For the button loops, the Peridot pattern uses braided button loop tape with elastic loops spaced 1" apart (such as that used on bridal gowns). The tape typically comes in black, white and off-white.
Glitter shoes not included, though wouldn't it be great if they were?
And one last parting shot of those wonderful Olivine pleats. I am working on a full tutorial of this dress for all of you, coming up soon. I think this will be a great way for any of you who may be leery of sewing pleats to see just how simple they can be!
A note about sizing: these clothes are all sewn in our 3T size except for the Jasper Jodhpur Pants, which are a 2T. You can see that Miss E is quite a bitter taller than my Miss N, even though they are only 6 months apart. Both girls are 4 years old: Miss E is a 4T in most RTW sizes and Miss N is a 3T (2T in some pants). So as a general rule, I'd say these patterns run slightly larger than commercial sizing.
We hope you'll hop on over to the shop and check it all out!
We are excited to share Clever Charlotte's three new looks for fancy affairs, school, and play! Look for a separate announcement in the next several days when the patterns are ready for pre-sale.So, without further delay--
1. Olivine Dress: Our signature dress--lots of pleats really make the Olivine Dress sing and will have your little girl twirling on the dance floor. Have fun selecting a special fabric (like the Liberty Tana Lawn we've used here) for the contrasting skirt pleats and pockets!
2. Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants: There is no shortage of special detailing in our Peridot Blouse & Ankle Pants--the detachable Peter Pan-style collar can be modified in any number of ways to embellish the Blouse or a ready-to-wear dress or sweater in your little girl's closet. The accompanying skinny Pants have a row of 5 buttons at each ankle. We've styled them here with covered buttons in a contrasting fabric, but this is the perfect opportunity to use other decorative buttons in your stash.
3. Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants: The modern lines of our Jasper Vest & Jodhpur Pants are perfect for boys and girls. The Vest has an asymmetrical zipper up the front. We show it here with a gathered back and buttoned tab (harkening back to our Finch Shorts). We think the Vest is a fun accent piece for any outfit as well as a warm, practical layer for chillier days. The Pants have an elastic back waist and pleated side panels that lend a comfortable feel of European styling.
We hope you like the new looks as much as we do. Here are a few other close-up shots of each new pattern in the collection.
We hope you'll pin the looks you like on Pinterest!
As noted above, we'll be announcing the start of pre-sales soon--with a special offer for our other patterns. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you haven't already so you don't miss a thing!
Did you know that you can get the entire Spring 2012 issue of Stitch magazine digitally, including our Flutter Blouse pattern?? The complete issue is 50% off now through 5/28/12, so now's your chance!
Just a quick note to say that we've received our new woven clothing labels. These are the same that are included with our patterns.
By the way, if you recently purchased a pattern from us that did not have a label--we apologize that we were temporarily out. Send us an email at: email@example.com and we'll gladly drop one in the mail for you!
Here's a shot of one of the newly-designed labels sewn into the Finch Shorts I finished up last weekend...
My blogging lately has been following the classic 80/20 rule: I've spent about 80% of my available time thinking about posting, but only about 20% of my time actually posting. Truth is, I tend to work my best when I am inspired or excited about a project and I almost let elsie marely's Kids Clothing Week Challenge go unacknowledged here for lack of a project idea.
But I got the bug when I saw Cindy'ssecond Flutter Blouse, which you'll recall was the pattern we created for Stitch Magazine's Spring 2012 issue. The Blouse would be perfect for Nora's summer wardrobe and would be one I could get excited about since I haven't sewn it up since we finalized the design last August.
To get the real user experience, I downloaded the pattern from the Sew Daily website and followed the instructions provided in the Spring issue, which, incidentally, differed a bit in construction from how we drafted the original instructions. So, in a sense, this project had that "new to me" feel.
The paper pattern has to be pieced together from 9 sheets of 8.5x11" paper printouts, carefully taped together. Though knowing better, I forgot to print out the pattern at full scale, so the first set I printed is probably more appropriate for an American Girl doll--that could make for an interesting experiment, no?
I've used a lavender sateen for this blouse, which is light enough to gather easily, yet create fullness in the sleeves. I thought you'd appreciate seeing the blouse in a solid fabric so you can get a true sense of the blouse's details. I haven't found the right embellishment yet for the bottom hem, as shown in the magazine, but will keep my eye out for something special to add later. The front buttons are 1/2" covered buttons and I used a 5/8" shell button in the back at the keyhole opening.
Some Basting/Gathering Tips
The sleeves are gathered along the neckline using a long basting stitch. I thought this would be a good time to share some tips that I have learned to make basting and gathering even easier.
First, when I sew a stitch line for gathering, I like to backstitch a few stitches at the beginning of the stitch line and leave the thread long at the other end. Conventional wisdom tells you to leave the threads long at both ends. Maybe this is just something that happens to me, but I find that I often end up pulling out some stitches at the opposite end of the stitch line in the process and have to re-baste, often after the garment is assembled. Backstitching at one end of the basting line prevents this by locking those end stitches in place and giving you something to pull against, if that makes sense?
As you may be able to see above, my second trick for basting a gathering line of stitches is to use a contrasting thread in the bobbin. This makes it easy to identify the thread that I am supposed to pull on and is a great way to use up bobbin thread from past projects.
Here's a close up up of the gathering on this blouse--I pulled on the coral thread on the underside of the sleeve pieces until it matched the length of the facing piece. The contrasting color also helps me know which thread needs to be removed after stitching the gathers in place.
I paired the blouse with some wonderfully soft Finch shorts made with a gray chambray. Look closely, do you see what I changed in this pair?
The pleating around the bottom cuff are now gathers. This is a super simple change:
- Omit the pleats along the bottom hem of each front and back pieces, and, instead baste a stitch line about 3/8" along the bottom hemline, starting and stopping about 1/2" from the out/inseam. Sew the front and back pieces together to form the basic shorts.
- When you attach the cuff, match the cuff at the two seams and pin at those matching points.
- Pull on the basting stitches to gather the hemline to match the length of the cuff between the pins. You'll need to separately pull 4 sets of basting stitches. Adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced along each leg and pin to the cuff at frequent intervals. Sew the cuff on as normal. Et voila.
Here's a close up of just the shorts. So cute!
I hope you all got some sewing done for KCWC.
The Short Answer:
Here, there, somewhere and everywhere!
The Long Answer:
Thanks to you, dear readers, Charlotte's showing up all around the globe--Maine, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Australia. Today we're featuring some of the wonderful things you've sewn up the last few months but you can always see more in our Flickr group. A big thank you to all of you!
Secondly, a number of you have been asking when we'll be introducing our next set of patterns. We'd love to tell you that Charlotte's been busy preparing the final details on a spring/summer collection. But the truth is, we took a little break after the 2011 Fall/Winter collection came out. But I am happy to tell you that we are deep in the throes of putting together our 2012 Fall/Winter collection & we have a lot of great ideas percolating. We also are hoping to have it go live much earlier than last year (Aug vs. Oct).
Carla & I are very committed to introducing modern, trendy looks that appeal to your older children as well as the younger ones and we know you won't be disappointed come August.
In the meantime...
Charlotte wants to hear from you!
Because we value your opinions and we want desperately for our collection to stay relevant to you, Charlotte has put together a short (anonymous) survey that she hopes you all will see as an opportunity to tell us what you'd like to see/what you think is missing in the pattern world (such as specific types of looks, more patterns for knits, for boys, digital patterns, etc).
The survey is just 7 questions and should take only 3-4 minutes to complete. The link to the survey is below, and we'll be posting it on the sidebar of the blog for a while so you can easily find it. To get the most out of the survey, we'd like your help to pass the word on to your friends and family who sew asking for their input--the more, the merrier!
Of course, we'd like to hear from you anytime, so you should always feel free to send us an email with ideas and suggestions for us.
Since last summer, Erin and I have been talking about reworking the Starling Dress into a sleeveless version. Inspired by a family portrait created by my 4-yr old, I took up the challenge last week.
Evelyn brought home a picture of our family the other day and I melted. "Daddy is the one with the really long legs. [Baby sister] Wren is lying in the grass. Those are clouds in the sky." So dang cute.
Apologies in advance for not documenting the process step by step in photos, but I began modifications by adding a scalloped hem to the original pattern pieces. First, with right sides together, I sewed the outer linen fabric to the muslin lining at the hem, leaving the back seam open. I approximated the scallops to be roughly the same size. To get perfectly spaced scallops, I would have measured the total distance and evenly divided that to ensure the scallops aligned precisely at the center back seam. But who has that kind of time?
After the scallops were sewn, I trimmed the seam to 1/8", clipping the curves slightly where needed. I turned the garment to the right side and pressed the hem. This created a nice finish between the outer linen and the muslin lining of the dress.
Once at this stage, I began the process of embroidering Evie's original design (while drinking wine at Erin's house). Don't compare the original drawing to the embroidery too closely... I got distracted (by wine) and mismatched some of the colors.
A self portrait of the artist herself.
After finishing the embroidery, I modified the original single yoke piece by separating it into two back yoke pieces that overlap the center front yoke piece at the shoulders. The new back yoke pieces are secured by a faux button closure and some hand stitching on the underside. If crunched for time, stick with the single yoke piece-- it is not necessary for the sleeveless look. FYI, the new yoke pieces are lined with muslin.
Obviously I omitted the original raglan sleeve pieces. Looking back, I'd probably take out some of the ease under the arm. As it is now, the armhole is a bit too big for wear without an undershirt, but with the dress length, there's ample room to grow!
Evelyn off to create her next masterpiece.
Clever Charlotte is excited to announce that you can find our newest pattern at your local bookstore in the Spring 2012 issue of Stitch Magazine!
Our Phoebe Flutter Blouse has delicate little pintucks on the front that can be accented with those cute little buttons you've been storing at the bottom of your button drawer for just the right occasion. The gathered raglan sleeve is a cinch to sew and provides a little volume to catch spring breezes. We think this blouse will pair perfectly with our Raven Pants for inspecting spring's emerging daffodils or with our Finch Shorts when summer dials up the heat index.
For the version featured in the magazine, we finished the bottom hem of the blouse with rose velvet trim. The fabric is this terrifically lovely Liberty print, Sarah's Secret Garden, available through PurlSoho:
Get Your Copy of Stitch!
The issue is out in bookstores now and is available to purchase online at the link above. Lucky for you, we also have an extra copy to give away! Just leave a comment below for an entry into a random drawing for a copy of Stitch's Spring issue. "Like" us on Facebook and we'll give you another entry into the drawing (if you are a new or current Facebook friend be sure to note that in your entry for an extra chance to win!). The giveaway closes next Wed. at 11:59 EST. We'll announce the winner on Thursday.
**Update, here's a quick link to our Facebook page!
Good luck and happy sewing!
~Carla & Erin
All magazine images Copyright Stitch Magazine 2012. Photograph by Joe Hancock Used with permission. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted.
Here we are, as promised! We still have some finalizing to do before our new patterns will be in the shop, but we are just too excited to wait any longer to share these with you! We hope you like the new collection.
So what's in the new collection? We again have 4 looks this season with a total of 6 pieces, and, as we'll be showing you in future blog posts, these pieces work interchangeably so that you truly can build an entire wardrobe before you know it.
So here's the rundown of all 4 patterns. Let us know what you think!
Chickadee Blouse & Skirt:
The adorable, feminine Chickadee Blouse has a lined bodice and an off-set collar. It is paired with the "faux-wrap" skirt--meaning it wraps around the body but is sewn closed so that it doesn't flap up during wear. The Chickadee Skirt is fully lined and requires no hemming! Genius, if I say so myself. We are also trying out buttonhole elastic in the skirt's back waistband this season because we think it adds flexibility in the fitting process.
The Eider Tunic hits mid-thigh and cinches at the waist. Think of all the fun ribbon possibilities for the waist ties! It can be worn over leggings or, in the event of colder temperatures, with pants (Raven Pants, anyone?). It features pintucks on the contrasting front yoke as well as on the sleeves at the wrists.
This is the real gem in the collection. Our Kestrel Coat features a gathered, slightly poofed back and sleeves that evoke vintage couture lines. The pointed collar also serves as a built in scarf, weaving into itself to keep little necks warm. The navy velveteen used in the photo makes the details a little hard to see, but we'll have more views soon to show of the Kestrel Coat's special charms.
Raven Hoodie & Pants
Finally, a look for both boys and girls! The lined Raven Hoodie is reversible. It has cropped, kimono sleeves (so they are one piece with the main body of the garment--no separate pattern piece). It closes with a simple waist tie, though we bet you can think of lots of fun ways to modify the closure! The Raven Pants have a small pintuck running down the front of each pantleg & there's an elastic back waistband (again using buttonhole elastic for added fitting flexibility). We provide three pocket options that can be sewn to the front or back of the Pants (or even to the Hoodie, if you are so inclined).
~Erin & Carla
As a final lead up to the "big reveal" of our new Fall/Winter looks [right here on our blog this Monday(!!)], we leave you this weekend with some behind the scenes shots from our cover shoot back in August. Isn't Miss A, our current "Charlotte", just the sweetest? Her personality truly mirrors her smile. Thanks, Miss A, for putting up with the many hours in our studio under the hot lights!
We'll see you all back here on Monday!
Sign Up for Our Email Updates!
One last thing for our readers--we've added a button to our website so that you can sign up to receive Clever Charlotte updates via email. Be the first to learn of pattern releases, product updates, sales events and the like. We promise to keep the emails to a minimum! Just enter your email address in the box in the upper right corner.
[Note, you may already be on our list if you've previously placed an order with us or signed up using the button in our shop.]
Happy Sewing! ~Erin & Carla
Our Sandpiper Capri is a unique pant design that leaves the side seams open to the breeze. While different from the standard pants patterns you have probably sewn, the Sandpiper Capri is extremely easy, if not easier, to sew. Once you understand how this pant is assembled, you will find it a quick and rewarding project and your little girl will love dancing in the results.
In this tutorial, I walk you through the basic construction of the pants so that you can follow along with your printed pattern. To help you with this, I've cross-referenced the steps by number from the written instructions.
The Sandpiper Capri basically consists of 4 pattern pieces: Front, Back, Front cuff, and Back cuff. In this example, I’ve chosen a striped cotton fabric for the main fabric and polka dot print for the lining. To start, I adhered the interfacing to the wrong sides of the lining waistband. Next, I sewed the Front to Back pieces along the inseam of both the lining and the main fabrics (Step 4A).
Once the seams are pressed, line up the crotch seams for each side of the pant. The picture below shows the main fabric being joined at the crotch seam (Step 4B). Repeat for the lining fabric.
Now the Fronts and Backs of the lining and main fabrics are sewn (at inseam and crotch) and it is time to sew the main and lining pieces together. Before doing so, place the twill tape where you have marked at the tabs of the Front waist (see pattern piece for placement). Sew the twill tape just inside the 1/2" seam allowance as shown below (Step 5A). Once the twill tape is secure, I like to pin it to the right side of the fabric away from the seam allowances so that it doesn’t get caught in the seams I plan to sew in the next step.
With right sides together, sew the lining pieces to the main pieces all around the edges of the garment. (Step 5C) You see below that I pinned the Back main fabric to the lining fabric starting at the bottom left, continued up the pant leg to the Back waistband, across the waistband, and down the other pant leg. In the photo, you can also see that I have repeated this pinning on the Front leg pieces. After pinning in this manner, sew these seams.
Trim all seams just sewn to approximately 1/8”. (Step 5D)
Next, reach into one of the pant legs and pull the entire garment right sides out. (Step 5E) You are left with a garment that has no raw edges except where you will attach the cuffs. Press around all the edges of the garment for a crisp finish and topstitch to secure the main fabric to the lining.
Now, on to the cuffs. Sew the front cuff to the back cuff and press seam allowances open (repeat for both main and lining cuffs). (Step 6A)
Before attaching the cuffs to the bottom of the pant leg, you should choose whether you want your cuff to match or contrast with the pant leg. Here, I have chosen to contrast the cuffs/pant legs and, therefore, I pinned the polka dot cuffs to the striped pant legs (right sides together)a. (Step 6D)
Next, I match the striped cuffs to the polka dot cuff (rights sides together) with the end of the pant leg sandwiched in between. It is a bit difficult to see from the photo above that the striped cuff is under the polka dot cuff, but it is. Now I am ready to sew around the cuffs from one edge of the pant leg to the other, pivoting at the corners of the cuffs, leaving that portion of the cuff that is atop of the pant leg open.
Once sewn, I trim the cuffs all around to approximately 1/4”, leaving a 1/2" allowance at the opening. (Step 6E)
Then flip the cuffs to the right sides. (Step 6F)
When you do this, you’ll be left with a hole at the bottom edge of the cuff where you turned it through. Press, then topstitch around the entire cuff from one edge of the pant leg to the other, making sure to catch the seam allowances to close this hole. (Step 6G)
The only steps that remain to complete the garment is the addition of buttonholes and buttons at the waist.
There you have it--the Capri pant! Hopefully these pictures of an actual garment make it clearer to you how to tackle each step. I promise it is super easy and fun! Send us pictures of your finished Sandpiper Capri pants… we’d love to add them to our project gallery to inspire others.
Welcome! If you are joining us from Sew Mama Sew's May Giveaway Day, we are happy to have you and to showcase our brand-new Spring/Summer Pattern girls sewing pattern collection. Each of our patterns is for girls, sizes 2T-8. We've written the instructions with the advanced beginner sewer in mind. To help sewers of all skill levels, we offer tutorials, inspiration, and pattern variations for all of our patterns right here on our blog.
In our shop you will also find the fabrics and notions featured on our pattern covers so that you can recreate our looks at home. To make getting started even easier, consider one of our companion One-Click Sewing Kits designed for each of our patterns. In each Kit you will receive everything you'll need to complete a look with a simple click of your mouse--from the fabrics to the interfacing, thread and other notions, all in just the right amounts. You choose the fabrics, we'll do the rest!
Please take a look around our shop and blog, but first, be sure to enter our giveaway!
We are happy to be offering one lucky winner 1 of our new sewing patterns. Enter below by leaving a comment in the Reply box. Make sure to tell us in your comment which of our 4 looks you would like to win: Finch Shorts & Top, Sandpiper Capri & Top, Starling Dress & Shirt or Wren Dress!
Other Giveaway Notes: U.S.+Canada mailing addresses only. You must submit your comment by 11:59 pm EST, May 25th. The winner will be selected from all eligible comments by random number generator & will be announced here on Thursday, May 26th.