Back to Forest School

by - 07:00

Today is my stop on the Back to School Blog tour with Made It patterns. Use the code btssws for 20% off all patterns from the Made It pattern shop until the end of August.

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You might be thinking, 'err, hang on a minute, don't you home educate?'. And you'd be right. My kids are home educated, so they don't go back to school as such. However, a lot of their clubs and classes do stop for the school summer holidays, only to restart again when the schools go back. The thing my kids are most looking forward to restarting is Forest School. So I thought it only apt to create a 'back to Forest School' outfit.

The thing with Forest school down here in Cornwall, UK, is that it is regularly wet, and 9 months of the year are not only wet, but cold and windy too. My son has outgrown his trusty waterproof dungarees and coat that he's worn for the past two years straight, so now was definitely the time to make something warm and waterproof for him.

When I looked at the Made It pattern shop, I did initially wonder how I was going to pull off an outfit suitable for wet and mud. But I think I nailed it!

I chose the Bookfold trousers, and the Stevie shirt. Made in the suggested fabrics could give a formal to casual look. But I wanted to change that up a bit. For the shirt, I went with a quilting weight cotton that my son had picked a month earlier. I'd intended to make him a short sleeved shirt in a different pattern, but never got round to it. Then I wanted to use soft shell to make the trousers. I scoured the internet fabric groups trying to find something half cheap that might match the shirt fabric, and came up a dead loss. Then on a spur of the moment trip into the local fabric shop, found they sold a couple of dark coloured soft shell fabrics. The price was a touch more than the online prices I'd found, but I didn't have to add postage on top (making it cheaper in the end!), and I could actually get a feel for the fabric, and more importantly, my son chose the grey colour.

It turned out that the grey was a good match for a grey in the shirt fabric. But it wasn't easy. My son measured age 5 for waist, age 9 for hips, and age 8.5 for height. I ummed and ahhed over which size to make, and how much grading to do, but in the end, just did a straight age 9. I figured I could use less elastic in the back waistband, or cinch it in more as it's buttonhole elastic. I was worried about excess bunching, but I needn't have as they worked out just fine.

The trousers would have been an easy sew in a more appropriate fabric, but the thick softshell didn't help me. It didn't iron flat, I couldn't press seams open, or to the side, and it was really thick when the waistband attached to the fly and around the pockets. But I did it none-the-less. I really like the little hidden pockets in the back yoke. I used scraps of the shirt fabric to provide an orange peek from the slit pockets. And front pockets that are big enough to store sticks and stones in.

The fly is fully functioning. I used plastic KAM snaps hidden in the fly shield, and a large metal popper for the waist band. I wanted something with a bit of strength, and ideally would have used a button, but little boy loudly chose the metal popper. I used the same orange thread as the shirt as a contrast on the grey fabric to add a matching touch. I also used my twin needle to top stitch possibly more than I should have to help flatten out some of the seam allowances.

The shirt was a fantastic sew. I have sewn casual shirts before, but never successfully put in cuff plackets, or such a neat neckline placket! The instructions are clear, with really helpful pictures to guide you through the techniques, some of which were new to me. I love the simple bound neckline and the tab detail across the button placket down the front, it's such a nifty design feature.

The end result is a lovely little trouser and shirt set. The trousers are warm, windproof and showerproof, and the shirt is slim enough not to get in the way when a fire needs to be lit, or a stick whittled.

Check out the other bloggers on the tour, and don't forget that using the special code btssws will get you 20% off from Made It patterns

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TRUDY - Fox and Me
BROOKE - Idle Sunshine
MARIA - My Cozy Co
EMILY - Enjoyful Makes
THAO - Little Cumquat
SASKIA - She Who Sews
MIRANDA - Inspinration
ANN - Atelier In ‘t Leerke
TOYA - Made by Toya
OLU - Needle and Ted

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  1. Those Book Fold Trousers are on another level. I am amazed how well you pulled it off in the soft shell fabric. WOW!!! The shirt is fantastic too, the whole outfit is pretty damn cool. I love it. Thank you for being a part of Back to School with Madeit Patterns.

    1. Thanks for having me on the tour. Your patterns are so modern, and suit my boy perfectly. Next time I'll make the bookfold trousers in a more suitable material... the softshell was a BIG challenge!

  2. This to jaw dropping amazing, I absolutely love it!!!

  3. The forest school sounds like lots of fun. I wish I could find something similar where we live. The trousers are amazing!!! I love everything about them.

    1. Oh, forest school is excellent. I especially like that I can drop them off and not have to hang around in the cold and wet, which is my least favourite thing in the world to do!

  4. Totally awesome! Both pieces are gorgeous, but those trousers make me very envious..

    1. Thank you so much Miranda. Although it's been a cold summer, I'm just waiting for it to be cold enough for him to actually wear them. He gave them a good trial in a very, very wet day a couple of weeks ago, but got a bit hot still.

  5. YOu have created a stunning outfit! Every single detail is perfect! I had no idea there was such thing as too much topstitching hahaha