Secret Squirrel - Beware those pretty shark teeth!

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 14:57

Squirrels might look cute and fluffy. But this one cost me blood and tears. (And that's before I wrestled with a shark  an elephant and a boa constrictor).

Yes really, I stitched my finger with my sewing machine sewing this number...
For those not familiar with Secret Squirrel, he's skipping around sewing blogs on his way to Straight Grain's blog,  offering a monthly challenge. The official Secret Squirrel stop is over at Amos El blog, and this is my 'sew along' version. It's my second  Secret Squirrel outfit, the first is here and you can see all the outfits at the flickr group.

Secret Squirrel had hooked me in with his September themes, suggested by I Seam Stressed the Little Prince, Green, Bias, Great White Shark and Zooey Deschanel.

My sewing brain went into overdrive with shark's teeth and this illustration from the Little Prince forming the basis for my vision.

Grown-ups looking at this picture see a hat, says The Little Prince, but this is actually a picture of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant. 

The vision materialised into this white blouse, adorned with a yoke of 'shark's teeth' pintucks and green bias hand-made piping (Kerching... that's shark, green and bias all ticked off, phew). But getting this blouse to fit, and realising that this required some serious ironing, led me to question my sanity!

Of course the blouse had to be white. I just couldn't bring myself NOT to have white shark's teeth. 
But it was a nightmare to photograph. I hope you can make out the detail. 

AND this blouse has only been worn for five minutes for the very first time in these photographs, and it ALREADY has a smudge on it...What was I doing to myself with this idea?

But doesn't it look pretty!
Mr As-it-seams said it's a bit 'flouncy choirboy'. I was aiming for more 'cute peasant'. Like everything I make, it's big on Missy, particularly the bouffant sleeves. If I can find a last ounce of emotional strength I may refashion them. But overall I'm chuffed. I love the structural effect of the sharks teeth.

Basically they are pintucks, snipped and ironed in place as alternate triangles, then over-stitched with a zig-zag. It was simple but required  industrial style ironing and every pin in my tin. 
I stumbled on this tutorial, and I've done my first ever tutorial over here! The pattern for the blouse is loosely based on the Sunshine Blouse, which in turn is adapted from a Burda pattern. The yoke is lined in muslin, and it closes with a single mother-of-pearl star button ( a bit Little Prince?) and a hidden press-stud. The button loop is handmade in matching green embroidery thread.

This blouse was actually pretty straight-forward, but I made it late at night and kept messing up, particularly the fit. Because of the shark-teeth yoke, the neckline couldn't sit too high, or too low and I kept stuffing up. My seamripper has been hard at work unpicking and re-doing this bodice twice! If I thought more carefully about fit at the beginning this would have been easy. Doh...

Now. What about that elephant in the boa constrictor? Well this shark's blouse is teamed with a pair of bubble shorts which could not have been a more different sewing experience. I whipped them up in a couple of hours using Do Guincho's bubble short pattern

 After my blood-sweat-and-tears blouse, this was A BREEZE. It felt like Marta from Do Guincho was practically threading my sewing machine, with her detailed instructions! I made them in the softest brown corduroy, and lined them in - ta dah - elephant print cotton lawn! 

Missy LOVED this print, so much that it was almost a shame to hide, so I added pockets to the pattern. 
blouse might have been the most ludicrous garment to have sewn for a three year old, but the bubble shorts were the opposite. 
Wearable, fun, so cute and yet practical. As you can barely see them under that flouncy blouse, I took some extra pictures on an autumn walk, to give the shorts the show they deserve!

Phew - you have made it to the end of this post, nearly! 

Well, Secret Squirrel, I failed to include Zooey Deschanel, (I was going to make a fringed scarf, because she has a fringe, or bangs). 

But a shark, an elephant and a boa constrictor, not to mention a scheming squirrel all sapped my "sew-jo." *
So, if I mention again that I'm ever going to sew a white blouse - please redirect me to this post!
* sew-jo, a sewing term passed to me from Jenya at While She was Sleeping!  Love it Jenya...

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  1. That blouse looks spectacular! I love the shark teeth... Thank you so much for sewing along with Secret Squirrel :-)

    1. Thanks, I loved sewing along! Was really inspired this time..

  2. Fantastic job Victoria! I love the detail of the blouse. Those pintucks are amazing and you should be very proud of this outfit.

    1. Ah thank you. I learnt a lot sewing this - sadly I don't think I'll make another one though!

  3. Those shark teeth are stunning Victoria! Such a beautiful detail :) So what the blouse got a smudge on it within the first 5 minutes :) A little wash - ta-da, Missy can wear it again :) I love the shorts, too! They seem so comfy! And the elephant print - I am with Missy on this one - love it :) Well done :)

    I borrowed the term sew-jo from someone else, I thought it was so funny :)

    Better go start working on my SS outfit :) See you around :)

  4. Wow!!!!! Soooooooo much work! It nearly brought a lump to my throat! Thankyou for sewing along. Fantastic technique!!!:)

  5. Victoria, I LOVE this!!! I was scratching my head trying to come up with a savvy way of incorporating "shark" in there... your interpretation is brilliant!!! I love everything about it... beautiful blouse and super cute shorts. They amount of work in there in incredible. Good for you girl!!!! I haven't made my version of September's acorns yet... still trying to get through a few other projects waiting on the cutting table. But I might just steal your idea of the triangular pintucks for shark teeth (and totally credit you for it, haha!) if my other idea fails miserably. Oh, and I love that closeup of Missy (third pic of her from the top). Was a gorgeous little girl... and she appears so serene in that picture. :-)


    1. HI Natalie! Go for it with the shark teeth pintucks! Honestly they look amazing, but are surprisingly easy to do. It was the rest of the blouse that was a fiddle. I wasn't sure what I was doing - sewed late at night, making it up a bit and kept messing up! Don't be fooled by Missy's serene gaze! That was me catching a lucky camera moment. She gave me a grand total of five minutes modelling time, before running off to play lego with her brother. Most of the time she doesn't stop talking, or singing! Serene - NOT...

    2. Haha, I hear you about the serene look. I have the same battles when taking pictures of my two littlest ones. I normally just manage to get pictures of them from behind as they are running away from me. And then when I finally do get a decent shot, I realize when editing the picture that the poor child had snot streaming down her nose, or chocolate smudged on her cheek. Sigh. Not easy at all.

  6. Hey, Victoria, I just noticed you have me on your sidebar!!!! Hon, you are so sweet!!!! Thank you so much!!!!


  7. I'm so in love with your shark's teeth pintucks. The dress looks delicate and very well made with these details and the "oh so clean" white fabric. The shorts are cute and seem comfortable! Great job!

    1. Thanks ! The 'teeth' were actually a lot easier to do than they look! And I loved the clean white look too - but it hasn't lasted for long! The shorts are a much more practical option!

  8. I love everything about your outfit!
    Thank you so much for linking to my bubble shorts pattern. I hope you liked it!


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