It was the Middle Girl's birthday last weekend. She'd asked for a stunt scooter. Oh. Dear. God. Whilst the thought of the damage she could potentially inflict on herself on such a thing fills me with the kind of dread all parents will no doubt relate to, this gift request sums her up. Her bright blue and shiny aluminium speed machine has already given her a fair amount of fun on the school run, and I know she is plotting some fun on ramps at the park when the weekend comes round again.
The Middle Girl has been having gymnastics lessons since the start of the year. We signed her up, thinking it would suit our sofa leaping, handstand/headstand/cartwheeling child. Being absolutely honest, I'd hoped that this would give her a space to practise all her energetic antics, and reduce the amount of crazy stunts attempted in our living room. It hasn't. But, she absolutely loves going to gym. It is her thing that she does, and (perhaps not insignificantly) that her sisters don't.
I had held off buying her the proper gear - the class she goes to has plenty of kids wearing leggings and tshirts, alongside those kitted out in shiny leotards, so I thought it wouldn't do her any harm to wait a while.
As her birthday approached, I started to make noises that this might be something we could buy her as a present.
|Toucan fabric from Funkifabrics|
I have recently discovered Funkifabrics - they specialise in brightly coloured designs on stretchy fabric - and this is partly what inspired my latest birthday present sewing adventures.
The first thing that hit me when I looked at the designs was how vibrant they all were. Because Funkifabrics prints to order, there are squillions of eye poppingly exciting designs to choose from. (Think child in a sweetie shop.) Almost too much choice if such a thing is possiible - I refined my search criteria to just a few categories that I thought would appeal as potential dress making material.
I have a few favourites that have made it to my mental short list (ready to go back and buy once my existing fabric stash has shrunk a bit).
I might start with a copy cat pair of running tights, like Scruffy Badger.*
I would like a dress out of this fish fabric.
I can definitely picture either Skater Dresses or some leggings for my girls in the cow print.
I lingered over this zebra print for a long time, picturing a Skater Dress for myself made out of it.
And then this tropical toucan kitsch gloriousness caught my eye. Although I had originally planned to make a dress for myself out of it, once it arrived, the colours were so vibrant and the overall design so much fun that I knew it would make the perfect leotard for my budding gymnast.
I couldn't keep this gift idea as a complete surprise, as, once I'd bought a pattern, it was obvious I needed to take quite a few careful body measurements. The leotard was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the pattern - it was under a fiver, and it came with good instructions, and saved me a load of guess work compared to a vague plan I had of tracing a pattern from an old ballet outfit. Hurrah for the internet.
As for the finished leotard - it has been judged a Big Success by my most particularly tricky customer. She loved the toucan on her tummy, and was chuffed to head off to gymnastics in her new leotard, knowing no one else would have one like it. It has held up to a lot of stretching and leaping about, and the colours have stayed nice and vibrant after a second run through the washing machine.
High on the success of making a garment I would have previously thought too tricky to try, I fleetingly considered offering to make some for the rest of the gymnastics class members. And then... well, I got a grip. There are a lot of other things left to sew. For me.
In the meantime, a big thank you to Funkifabrics for generously giving me my choice of fabric to review. As already stated, I'll definitely be back for more.
*I did copy Scruffy Badger. Only with toucans. Well, I couldn't let my Middle Girl have them all to herself. Did they make me run faster? Oooo, yes! Ahem. I mean no. But I love them all the same, and, more importantly, they did not fall down once during my four mile run. Check out my Instagram feed to see what they look like.