Cali Faye Collection January Peplum
When I first had kids, I made that age-old rookie error of imagining them as my little dolls, mini-me’s I could dress up until they were at least, well, 21. I had visions of carefully coordinated sisters in sweet summery floral frocks, chambray smock-tops, shades of navy, plum and mustard for winter and soft blues, oatmeal and white for summer. Natural fibres, muted colours, hand knits, leather buckle-up shoes and woollen tights. I had it all perfectly planned.
Of course this vision was dashed in next to no time, after one too many bruising toddler tantrums over the non-negotiable need to wear some glittery, bubblegum pink piece of hideousness… again. I quickly realised that these small people come into the world with a strong sense of who they are and what they want to wear. And most of the time it’s easier to just go with it.
So I’ve sat back and tried to bite my tongue through the pink phase, the fairy dress as daily uniform phase, the strictly no dresses phase, the soccer shorts with skivvies phase, the leggings as pants phase, and many phases in between. I’ve tried my best to quietly guide and coax my little peeps down a vaguely tasteful path, with the very occasional sweet victory delivered by home sewing. Because I’ve found if I choose a pattern I like and give them some sort of choice in the fabric (even if only between two options), they’re likely to ‘own’ the final product, and wear it proudly. I call it styling by stealth.
So we’ve muddled along happily like this for years, but all of a sudden I find myself with a tween on my hands and my styling by stealth trick is under threat. Because I’m fast discovering there’s not a lot of options for tweens in either RTW or patterns. It’s a clothing dead zone. Kid labels and patterns generally cater for ages up to around 10 (a small few stretch to 12). Meanwhile the smallest adult size doesn’t fit many of them until they’re at least 13 or 14. And for these in-betweeny years, there seems to be bugger-all available. It doesn’t make sense – surely there’s money to be made in the tween clothing market?
We’re not quite there yet, so in a last ditch effort to make this kid some clothes before I lose her to the tween zone, I’ve been making up the largest size in a few new kid patterns. And so far this top is her favourite – the Cali Faye Collection January peplum. Not only do I wish it went up to a kid size 12 or 14 – I wish it came in adult sizes, as I’d be tempted to make one for myself. I love the way it sits higher in the front, and the slight flare of the sleeves.
I’ll admit when I was piecing together this top, I worried that it would be too small. But while it’s a little tight in the sleeves when she raises her arms, the rest of it’s a perfect fit. I’ve never used a Cali Faye Collection pattern before, but I’d recommend this one and will try others – the pattern is well-drafted and the instructions are simple and clear. It’s pretty straightforward, with an invisible zipper inserted at the back (I botched mine a bit, so no close ups!), some gathering at the skirt, and neat contrast shoulder panels – which I didn’t use contrast fabric for, as I couldn’t decide on what to match with this floral print.
The fabric is a lovely micro-cord that Klarissa found in an op-shop in TWO colourways. She generously gifted me the blue piece (as you can see from these photos the blue obsession runs deep in my family), and I’m happy to have finally put it to use. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with the black one. We’re loving floral cord around here lately – it’s not often easy to come by, but The Fabric Store has a couple in their online store at the moment which are pretty lovely (here and here), and of course there’s always Liberty…
This top’s getting a lot of wear and I’m hoping to squeeze a couple of summer versions in before she outgrows the pattern. In the meantime, I’m madly researching tween patterns to get us through the next couple of years. Please let me know if you have any good suggestions – or if you’re a budding pattern maker, might I suggest a tween range…? It would make you rich in no time, I promise!