Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finch Fantastic

Elsa's (and Zara's)birthday is coming up and I always make them a new outfit.

Elsa chose the Finch top and shorts as much for me I think as for her.
She knows I have been itching to make all these patterns.

Even though she is almost 12,she is quite petite and her measurements put her in the size 6.
I went with the size 8,as we are not into summer yet and she is growing up very fast!

Off we go tiddly-peeps!

To make pattern matching(and life)a little easier I drafted the whole pattern piece rather then cutting it on the fold.

Following the instructions sew the shoulder seams making sure they are mirror image.

Apply the interfacing to shoulder taps as directed.

Interfacing applied,shoulders seams pressed flat.

Transfer the velcro markings. Yes,do it now,then it is done and then it will be in exactly the right place!

Isn't it nifty?

Charlotte,you are clever!

Following the pattern,pin the neck and arm seams.
Take your time,use plenty of pins you will have to sew slowly to create the beautiful curve anyway.
I pin the shoulders and then the rest,smoothing as I go.

After stitching,give it a good press and trim the seams.
I like to use pinking shears.

Pull the top right way out.
It will be a bit snug,gently keep pulling and then it will free up and come through easily.
Be gentle,remember that you have trimmed the shoulder seam and snipped the locking threads.

Using a chop stick gently push your corners out and start rolling the seam and finger pressing it.

I like to roll the main fabric slightly to the inside.

Once you are happy with the finish give it a good press.

Lovely,isn't it?

Top stitch the arm/neck seam starting a good inch from the beginning of the seam.
This needs to be able to lie flat for later sewing.

I like to reverse over the shoulder seam to strengthen it.
It is so annoying when this pulls apart after a few wears.

Take your time to give it a good press.

Following the instructions open up the top,match the side seams and pin,paying particular care to matching the under arm seam.
Consider neatening the side seams before pinning them together!

Press the seam open.

Roll and press the seams.

Join up the topstitching on the under arm seam.

Now,it was about now that things got a little messy......
My lovely voile was fraying as I looked at it and was obviously a lot more fragile then I anticipated.
Bad fabric choice!
Charlotte gives you very clear instructions on how to finish the hem differently,I will try that way next time.
And next time I did...see here for the ''proper'' way.
I had to make a detour.

I decided to stitch the top together at the hem.
I did a cm hem with my outer top.

Then a slightly deeper hem on my lining.

I then pinned the two together.

Stitch the two layers together.

This worked really well however the binding looks so sweet!

Now the fun begins!

Sew the velcro in place to your transferred markings. I like to round the corners to avoid scratching tender cheeks.

Making the bow.....

Pin and stitch the two bow pieces together leaving an opening for turning.

Trim the seams as directed.

Turn and press.
I chose to topstitch.

Following the instructions fold and press your bow to shape.

Pin and stitch the bow folds in place.

Random photo of family life.

Following the directions make the bow centre.

Trim the sewn edge. Press the seam open.

Make a tube with the seam running up the centre back.

Sew the edges together. You may wish to neaten the seams,I used a narrow zigzag.

This is what you will have!

Now the next bit is a little fiddly......don't do it with a toddler on your lap!(I warned you)!

I chose the removable bow you may choose to stitch it in place!
The velcro needs to be attached to the back of the tube. It could be hand sewn on but I am happy to fiddle to get things sewn on by machine.
I sewed inside the tube,working from the end to the middle and then repeated that on the other end.

I sewed with the wheel,I didn't bother with the foot pedal.

You can see where I started and stopped.

Nice and neat and sturdy!
(This has to go through at least four girls)!

Back to our bow-Clever,clever Charlotte!

Thread it through,have a fiddle and ta-dah!

For ease of laundering I elected not to sew mine in place. I just used a little safety pin to secure it.

Although Elsa declared she would never ever wear it,I decided to make an optional button feature.

Securing it with some sticky tape I sewed a beautiful cocoanut button to some velcro.
I then trimmed the excess of the sides and with a few dabs of craft glue......

Here we go!

Or,like Elsa,you may prefer this?

Oh,that fabulous back!

Oh,that fabulous bow!

Look at that drape!

How nicely is this finished?

And don't forget the complimentary name label!



In conclusion.
So easy to make,so,so,so easy to make!
Good instructions,the tricky bits have illustrations.
MEASURE your child! Elsa measured a size 6,I made a size 8.
I think a 6 would have fit better but she likes it roomy ''And Mummy,I will have breasts soon''!
Don't remind me....
I truly love the quirky feel of these patterns. So smart and neat and funky without looking like something from a circus.
Buy this pattern for the shorts.......but you will make the top over and over!
x N


  1. love the top!I like that she can swich the button ans bow, it's a very nice touch. I'll have to add this pattern in my next summer wish list, almost fall here!

  2. Wonderful post! Love, love, love the bow! Good job Nicole.

  3. Chloe is looking over my shoulder and says "Oh, it's lovely!" Let's not talk about why she's awake at 20 to eleven at night, let's focus instead on how I now have an excuse to buy this pattern!!

    Another gorgeous job!

  4. Thank Sharon. I must say I think this would make a lovely popover in wool or velvet over a skivvy in winter. It would dress up little pants or legging no end!

    Thank you Sarah and I am definitely sharing your bow love!

    He he,she doesn't have school tomorrow? I used to give Son&Heir a late sleep and then keep him up with me when Jed had meetings.
    I hope you love these patterns as much as I do,I never thought I could buy anything else after o+s but these beautifully fit the different look I was after while still being a well made children's pattern.

    Thank you Melissa,and the comic book is in pride of place on his desk next to the laminated photo!

  5. Great post Nicole! I love this top - moving up the list as I type!
    I actually like it with the button best :-)
    (btw - love the random family pic too!)

  6. Thank you Justine.
    I took that photo while I was sewing,I couldn't resist Missy M!

    x N

  7. This one and the Wren dress are in the post coming to me now - I can't wait!
    The bow and the back are gorgeous - lovely.

  8. Thank you and enjoy Karen!
    Remember to measure your girlie's the patterns are a lovely generous size! You will have many years of sewing ahead of you!
    X N

  9. Nicole, you've done it again...I really want this pattern. Your girls are even more petite than I realized! My youngest, Greer, is 9 (she will be 10 in December) and she measures right at size 7 on Charlotte's pattern. Do you think it would be very difficult to size up either piece? Hmmmmm...decisions!! Thank you for another fabulous tutorial! You are so generous with your expertise!

  10. If Greer(gorgeous name)measures a 7 I would be inclined to make the 8 for next summer or the 6 if she will wear it right now.
    They are a casual fit they merges easily between sizes.( IMO )

    Thank you Margaret!
    x N

  11. Nicole:

    Love the plaid! I also love the alternatives you've left yourself with the velcro at the tab--the bow, the button--I am sure the list of additional accessories will continue to grow.

    Don't you think the top could be extended to make a cute dress? Oh, the possibilities!

    Thanks as always for the great post, we are glad you enjoyed sewing it up!

    Erin & Carla of Clever Charlotte

  12. I love this top! This pattern is on my Christmas wish list, which I have not so subtly shown to dear hubby. ;)

    I thought I'd like it best with the bow, but when she has it on with the button, I like that even better! So cute!

  13. Thank you Erin and Carla,I do hope Charlotte approves!

    The Tremendous Twins have suggested Finch dresses for summer,think soft linen trimmed with MOP buttons. A little like this

    I hope you get it in a stocking Sandi-they do gift vouchers as well,I have used those!
    Button or bow? I cannot choose either!

    x N

  14. Thanks for all the details Nicole. Lovely job. I think the fabric is perfect. My little one won't be in size 2 until next summer or fall, but maybe I should snap one of these up so I don't have to worry about them going out of print.

  15. Thank you Melanie,and yes,if you love it-buy it now!
    I have heard more then one person call the Finch shorts 'Grown Up Puppet Show shorts' but I think they stand alone!

    I think this would be a lovely winter top in a felted wool with maybe blanket stitch around the edges?
    What do you think?
    x N

  16. Hi Gorgeous readers!
    I have just done some editing regarding hemming this fabulous top! I am so sorry if I confused anyone,I am such a dunder head!

    By the way,the new patterns are on the site! They are fabulous!