Hi! I’m thrilled to be the next stop on the Pickle Toes Patterns “Back to School” blog tour and today I’m sharing a new take on the Adorabelle pattern.
The Adorabelle is a top and dress pattern designed for knit fabric. The pattern covers an enormous size range of 12 months to 16 years and has a range of sleeve lengths and options, hood styles and skirt style options, so, in itself, represents incredible value for money. I wanted to share with you some slight modifications to the original pattern that will give you some more options and enable you to build a mini back to school capsule wardrobe for your young lady from just this one pattern.
Essential to any capsule wardrobe, and particularly a wardrobe suitable to a changeable weather climate such as the one my daughter and I experience living here in the UK, is a jacket or cardigan. This was one of the garments I created from the Adorabelle pattern. I also chose to use the pattern to create a separate skirt and top (the top option is already provided in the pattern). As much as my daughter and I love dresses, separates are always preferred on days my daughter has P.E. (physical education) or gym classes as they are easier for her to get changed into or out of independently. Separates obviously work particularly well for a capsule wardrobe as the separate pieces can be mixed and matched with other garments.
The Adorabelle Hooded Cardigan
The first thing to mention about my modifications, or ‘hacks’, is that they require no alterations to any pattern pieces, just an additional piece. In order to create the cardigan front you simply do not cut the front pattern pieces required to be cut on the fold on the fold. This will mean you have two separate front bodice pieces which are mirror images of each other. You do this whether you choose to use the solid front option or the front and side panel option (required if you would like to do pockets). As I was adding a band piece to the centre front of my cardigan to form the placket I did not add any seam allowance to the centre front – I was already making the front piece slightly wider in adding a band.
If you are adding pockets, as I did, you also need to cut two separate pocket pieces (mirror images) as opposed to one piece on the fold (again no additional seam allowance on the centre front so that it fits perfectly on the front bodice piece). Follow the instructions in the pattern to complete you bodice (steps 1-10).
Adding a peplum
If you wish to add a peplum to your cardigan, as I have, you will need to do this before attaching the hood and band since the peplum forms part of the bodice length measurement required for the band calculation (below). You need to cut the front peplum in the same way as the front bodice (and pockets), as two separate pieces and not on the fold. Attach the peplum skirt as outlined in the instructions (23-25).
You can make the cardigan longer or shorter by using more or less skirt pieces or omitting them altogether (if you omit the skirt pieces remember to hem the cardigan prior to measuring the bodice for your band piece).
Attaching the hood and the band
You will be creating a single layer banded hood for this cardigan so you will only need to cut two hood pieces (mirror images)
- Pin the hood pieces right side together and sew the centre seam.
- Turn the hood right side out and pin it along the neckline right sides together matching the centre seam to the centre of the bodice back and the ends to the centre front of the bodice. Sew the hood to the neckline.
- Create your band piece. First, measure the distance from the bottom of your cardigan to the neckline (where you attached the hood). Add this to the measurement given in the pattern for the hood band and add 3/4 of an inch seam allowance (3/8th inch seam allowance for either raw end of the band) – this gives you the total length of the band. My band width was 2.5 inches, as advised in the pattern. You will need to add two marks, or notches, on your band piece to indicate where you band should meet the hood on either side – this is because you want the band piece to lay flat without stretching along the bodice but stretched slightly along the hood (as required in the pattern itself and to form the shape of the hood) – the notches or marks will indicate where you need to stretch.
- Cut out your band. The grainline of the fabric needs to run across the width so that you have stretch running the length of the band to enable you to stretch it around the hood.
- Fold the band in half across it’s width, right sides together, wrong sides facing out (picture 1). Sew the short ends at either end using a 3/8ths of an inch seam allowance to close the ends of the band. Turn the band right side out, folded in half across it’s width, with wrong sides together, right sides facing out (picture 2)
- Attach the band in the same way described in the instructions: Pin the band along the centre front around the hood and down the other side of the centre front, right sides together (matching the raw edges) – be sure to pay attention to your marks/notches and only stretch around the hood. Sew the band to the front and hood.
Adding the band completes the Adorabelle hooded cardigan.
I made my hooded cardigan in cotton lycra but you could also make this in french terry, or looped back sweatshirting, (with good stretch and good recovery) for a slightly warmer cardigan. As there is 2 inches of ease in the Adorabelle pattern, I wouldn’t think you would need to size up if using a slightly thicker fabric like french terry, but, as always, I would recommend making a muslin using a fabric of similar qualities first.
The Adorabelle Skirt
The only additional piece required for the skirt is a waistband to which you attach the skirt pieces to as opposed to the bodice (steps 23-25). To calculate the waistband length I took my daughter’s ‘preferred waist’ size and deducted 3 inches (the ‘preferred waist’ measurement refers to the measurement taken at the place my daughter usually wears her waistbands as opposed to her natural waist) and then adding on 3/4 inch seam allowance. Depending on the stretch of your particular waistband fabric you may need to deduct between 2-5 inches from your preferred waist size, I would recommend checking the fit of the waistband before attaching the skirt pieces. The width of my waistband was 8 inches – as the waistband was folded in half, wrong sides together, in a similar way to create the hood band or neckband, this made me waistband 4 inches wide less the seam allowance) when finished. Continue attaching the waistband to the skirt as you would a neckband – divide the skirt (all layers together if creating a layered/ruffled skirt) and the waistband into quarters and match the quarters. I found it easier to gather the skirt (using a gathering stitch) between the quarters rather than stretching the waistband to catch multiple layers of skirt pieces/ruffles. If using multiple layers of ruffles, as I did, I would recommend adding clear elastic to the seam when attaching the waistband to the skirt as the skirt can become quite heavy and will distort the seam.
Completing my Outfit
I used the original Adorabelle pattern to create a simple short sleeved top using the pieces and instructions provided in the pattern.
My daughter absolutely loved her out-of-this-world, twirly, ruffle-tastic outfit, and, as they are all separates, the individual garments looked equally good on their own as well as together and can be used in multiple ways across a school week.
If you are inspired to create your own mini capsule wardrobe using the Adorabelle pattern you can purchase the pattern with 25% discount using the code SEWAMY. The code can be used against any purchase on the Pickle Toes Patterns website with a minimum spend of $7.50 and is valid until the end of the Pickle Toes ‘Back to School’ blog tour on 31st August 2017. Remember to share your creations in the Facebook group.
Don’t forget to visit all the other hosts of the Pickle Toes Patterns “Back to School” blog tour for more inspirational ideas to help you create the DREAM back to school wardrobe. The associated giveaway offers you the opportunity to win Pickle Toes Patterns Store Credit.