Christmas outfits for four – in less than two weeks

I’ve been busy at work the past few weeks, and couldn’t decide at first whether to buy coordinated Christmas outfits or sew something instead. I only decided two weeks before Christmas that I wanted to sew, then spent the next two days in planning mode – shopping for fabric, choosing the patterns, making sure that I could finish on time (I almost didn’t!).

The fabric that started it all was this cotton poplin. Sidney found it within 5 minutes at Spotlight Singapore while I was browsing around shelf by shelf:

It was on sale, and since Sidney always chides me for buying just the exact amount of fabric needed without including a buffer for mistakes, I went ahead and got 5 meters. Good thing I did, because I wound up making a cutting mistake on the bodice of Lia’s dress. Thankfully, I had enough spare to work with. In fact I had so much fabric that for the first time I was able to make a circle skirt for myself, and I love it! Except for the hemming part – that was a pain so I did bias binding instead.

Finding a complementary fabric for Sidney and Sam took longer but finally I found one I liked at Teoh Huat Textiles at People’s Park.

The problem was that the green in it was really dark and not very noticeable, so we decided to make bright green cardigans for the boys to make it look more Christmassy. Of course that meant I also needed to make red cardigans for the girls.

I originally bought green and red cotton jersey at Spotlight to make the cardigans, but when we got home, Sidney said he wanted something thicker. It wasn’t wasted because the green went to the Christmas onesies I made, while the red will be used for future projects.

The next day, I went to Thye Guan at People’s Park to buy ponte. I got red ponte but the only bright green I could find was neoprene, which was not easy to sew. My serger couldn’t handle 3 layers!

So how did I finish four outfits in less than two weeks? First – set small goals daily. Each day I would have a goal of what garment to finish. One frustrating moment for me was when I planned to finish the two green cardigans in one night. I’ve done the cardigan a few times before and I knew it was a quick sew plus I’ve already had the fabric cut out. What I did not anticipate was how my serger would mess up my plans. When I tried to attach the neckband, it started skipping stitches really badly. I had to cut new pattern pieces again because it was damaged by the serger – good thing I had extra fabric! I rethreaded at least 5 times, and cleaned and oiled my serger. It didn’t help. In the end I realized it was because it couldn’t manage three layers of neoprene. So I serged most of the cardigan (like the side seams) but every time I needed to sew three layers (like the neckband), I would use the zigzag stitch in my sewing machine instead.

Second – minimize distractions. I always watch Netflix while I sew because I want something playing in the background when I sew in the middle of the night. I realized that when I’m watching a new movie, I would be less productive because I would often pause and watch. That’s fine if I’m not on a deadline. But since I was, I switched to watching some of my trusty TV sitcoms (Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn Nine Nine) because I’ve watched them so many times I would barely look up while sewing.

Anyway, here are the patterns I used (affiliate links included for E&M only) and some modifications I made.

For Sidney:

Jensen shirt by Wardrobe by Me (reduced shoulder width by 1 inch and shortened sleeves by 1.5 inch)

Chapman cardigan by Ellie and Mac (went one size bigger)

For me:

Betty dress by Sew Over It (made SO many modifications on the bodice and I’m still not happy with it, need to make even more modifications and I’m about to give up on this pattern!)

Chapman cardigan (went one size smaller, shortened by several inches, removed waistband and hemmed the neckline instead of using the neckband)

For Lia:

Be Amazing dress by Ellie and Mac

Kids Chapman cardigan by Ellie and Mac (shortened by several inches)

For Sam:

Cool Shirt by Frocks and Frolics (I like the instructions for attaching the yoke and collar and used the same technique for Sidney’s shirt)

Kids Chapman cardigan by Ellie and Mac (no modifications)

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