Summer in Ireland is FULL of festivals everywhere, and one of the largest in Galway is the Galway Races. It is a week solid of horse races with lots and lots of high fashion and hats. What better way to immerse ourselves than do some ridiculous family outfits?

Doug convinced me to sew up formal wear for this. He is one of my biggest sewing supporters as he doesn’t bat an eye over fabric I buy and willingly purchases machines I beg for, so I couldn’t let him down. He decided I needed to sew up a few suits however. Now, to someone who doesn’t sew it does not seem like such a monumental task. But sewing up a men’s suit?!? Uh, no. Not in my skill set. He kept begging however, and purchased all I needed (from Minerva Crafts, thanks to their cheap Ireland shipping) so I took it on. And by took it on, I mean I sewed up EVERYTHING ELSE first because I was terrified of sewing menswear.


First up was the littlest guy’s suit. I thought it would be a nice introduction into how a jacket is constructed, and if I messed up beyond repair it was only a 3t amount of fabric and not a huge loss. I went with Burda 9443. When I started sewing, I used lots of paper patterns (I didn’t know PDF ones existed yet) so wasn’t too intimidated by it, but it has been so long since I’ve used one! It was a challenge, but I made it through. His suit came complete with welt pockets on the front, full lining, and welt and slant pockets on pants along with a fully functional fly. I was pretty amazed I completed it. I went with a straight 3t for the whole thing despite his measurements being ALL OVER the place on the chart (9-12m for most, 4t for belly, 2t for height…) I decided trying to figure out how to grade that many sizes on something with such complicated instructions was too hard. Fit was great though, aside from sleeves a bit long. Pants were long too but I just hemmed them up.

Next up was the oldest, since I used the same pattern for him. I whipped up the second pair of pants like a pro. I do wish I sized up on the vest, but it works. Pants fit him so well without any adjustments so I was very pleasantly surprised. He is super skinny and RTW clothes tend to be too wide and short on him…so if you have a kid with a similar build, this is a great formal wear pattern to have.

With some of the tough sews out of the way, I concentrated on Little Miss C’s look. She wanted a maxi dress, and she absolutely loves the Annie dress from Violette Field Threads, so I combined it with the Emmaline dress to do a tiered skirt. I used some of the cotton linen fabric along with some satin ribbon for the braided straps, and the paisley is a voile. Simple and straightforward to make because I’ve made her countless dresses before. Since I knew she was going to be cold in a strappy dress out of lightweight fabric, I whipped up a Seville Cardigan from New Horizons Designs to go over it. The fabric is a scuba knit and did not have good stretch for the bands, so I just hemmed the curved edges on the coverstitch.

For myself, I wanted to do an off-shoulder dress with  a flounce so immediately thought of the Mama Cassie from Made for Mermaids, with the flounce hack from the blog. I was going to mash with the Pirate Pencil from Patterns for Pirates but decided to go with something a little less fitted (reason why to come) and instead mashed it with Sew Straight and Gather Uptown Downtown dress (I didn’t want a seam at the waist). I also used the pockets from the UT/DT because when you’re making your own dress, it NEEDS pockets. Fabric is scuba (same as Char’s cardi). I just wish I had done something to weigh down the skirt somehow so that it would have been more practical for West Ireland winds!


Last, and I mean very last….like I waited until the week of the races to start….was the suit for Doug. I chose Vogue 8890 and started on the pants first, thinking they would be similar enough to boy’s pants that I could handle them. I had to grade between sizes to accommodate his measurements but after 2 days, I made it through and he had nicely fitting, functional pants. So.many.pattern.pieces. I then tried to convince him that pants and a button down would be great, and maybe I’d even make him a tie….but no dice. He insisted I take on the coat. So another 2 days later, I did it. I made a men’s suit coat. That fit. I still cannot believe it.  I did do some small modifications (I didn’t have hair canvas laying around since I’m not a tailor, so used interfacing….and left out pockets in the interest of time)….but it fit. And no one would think it’s homemade from first glance. He absolutely loves it, too….so I think I’m on the hook to make him more clothes in the future.

I had to modify some storebought hats with scrap fabric and paint to coordinate (well, Doug did the painting for me), and added some coordinating ribbon to Char’s fascinator to jazz it up….but then we were off to enjoy the races! Kids had a blast picking horses to win, and taking in the excitement of being there. We had some pretty amazing weather considering it has been pretty rainy here lately (and chilly for Floridians….around 18 degrees Celsius). I even picked the winner for the last race so we ended on a good note!

In the process of making all these outfits happen, we ended up making a little something else too…..and the reason I went with a less fitted dress. Baby #4 is due to arrive in early 2018!

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