Wednesday, 16 September 2015

De-stashing before it makes the stash

After I finished my Martha cardigan I was left with three balls of the green cotton yarn.  Instead of finding a home for it to go to - and languish for who knows how long - I decided to find a pattern that I could knit to use it up.

Enter "Fresh mint" - I cute little camisole top pattern by Linden Down that's knitted from the top down.  Ravelry link.

It took just over the three balls I had, so I bought a ball of something similar and did a few stripes at the bottom, which hopefully looks like the colour change is a design feature!

The back is exactly the same as the front:

I think I'll be making some more of these tops - or variations of them as they're very simple and a good little stash buster.

In other knitting news, I'm just about to send off the Module 4 of the C&G course.

We're off to London tomorrow, so I might as well make use of sending it locally rather than internationally.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Martha cardigan

I've been back from holiday now for a couple of weeks - I should have been blogging, but haven't as I've been feeling peculiarly lonely.... I think it's just the post holiday blues and that we've now been living in Switzerland and this apartment for 2 years and I start getting a bit antsy after 2 years somewhere.  It'll pass.

Anyway, while I was away I finished off the green cardigan I had started.

As I mentioned before, I converted the pattern so that I could knit it seamlessly - so I knit the back and the fronts at the same time, including the side seam shaping as I went along, up until the armholes.  I then knitted the two sleeves (in the round) also to the armholes - I had to knit them inside out so that I could do the eyelet stitch in the round, but that wasn't a bother.

Once I got to the armholes I joined everything together as per EZ's set-in sleeve method (p86 Knitting workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann) and kept on going.

I think the sleeves have come out pretty well - it's not such a difficult method to do and it was lovely not having to sew any seams at the end.

Here's the back - lots and lots of eyelets.

I added buttons from my stash - it needed 7 buttons - I didn't have 7 all the same, so have added an eclectic almost matching set in a blue/green colour, which I think looks fine.

More info over on ravelry.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cardigan disaster

A little while ago I had a washing disaster with my favourite hand knitted cardigan and it ended up like this:

Whoops - I'd hand washed it and then put it in the washing machine on a very low spin, which it apparently didn't like. 

This is the Geodesic cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio.  I made this back in 2012, and at first it was too big.... but over the last 3 years it has become a firm favourite, so I was very sad when it came from the wash looking like this.

Not to be deterred I wet it again and gave it a very huge block..

This was more, I have to do something rather than putting is straight in the bin attempt.

It came out looking like this:

So, better, but now it's wavy around the edges from where I pinned it.

While I'm not quite ready to let go of it yet, I have cast on another cardigan. 

It's the Martha cardigan (eyelet version) from Rowan 37.  I've converted it to be knitted in the round and when I get both sleeves to the underarm I'm going to attempt to do the armholes using the EZ set-in sleeve method (p86 Knitting workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann). 

I love wearing cardigans but I seem to have a real lack of hand made cardigans - this oversight needs to be addressed. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Tablecloth top

David was travelling back from the UK the other week and had the instructions to try to get me a sewing magazine - I don't get them all the time, but once in a while it's nice.  He let me know the options and I looked them up to see what I fancied.  I ultimately went for Simply sewing, but while I was browsing I noticed there was a free template to download for the Anna Tunic by Amy Butler in the Sew Home & Style magazine.  Now, of course you're meant to buy the magazine in order to get the instructions - but where's the fun in that? ;-)

I used the magic of the Internet to learn how the back is supposed to look, and get a few snippets about what people thought of the pattern - the general consensus seemed to be that it's a pretty simple pattern, that attaching the yoke had caused some problems and the armholes tended to be too high. 

In my stash I had some fabric which I picked up for free at a local street fair - so free pattern and free fabric, seemed to be made for each other.

So, it came together pretty easily, I didn't have problems attaching the yoke, but then I probably didn't do it the way the pattern intended, but it looks fine.

 I ended up reducing the height of the yoke by about 3cm as it was far too height around my neck and I found that the armholes were too high.... I lowered them by about 1 1/2".

The original pattern had a lining, which I skipped, so I used bias binding to bind the armholes and did French seams.

I also added a belt loop at each side to keep the belt under control a bit, it can then wrap around the back and tie at the front.

I found some pretty buttons in my stash to finish off the yoke at the back and to keep the free theme going.

I think I like the top, it's maybe a little tablecloth-esque and I think it looks better with trousers than shorts, but I like the colour and the shape and that I could make it completely from stash materials with a free pattern :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Green spotty Butterick B6026 shirt

I think this is one of the tidiest things I've ever made....

I was reading Rhonda Buss' blog the other week, she often posts an inspiration post on a Monday morning, and on this particular morning she posted about dart manipulation.  I love a little added subtle detail to clothes - I think it elevates them above the normal and often adds a little femininity.  In this particular post she linked to Butterick B6026, so I thought I'd give it a go.  After realising that it was a ridiculous amount to buy it here in Switzerland, I ordered it from the UK.  I had some fabric in my stash that I had bought from Just Sew in Penrith (probably my favourite sewing shop - it's convenient for when we visit my parents, but they often have nice fabric in at a reasonable price, especially compared to the absurd price of fabric here in Switzerland).

Anyway, pattern and fabric chosen I got going...

There are clusters of darts at the waist, neckline and the sleeves - in order to mark on all my lines I used a pilot, frixon pen... I read in a blog (can't remember which one) that lines drawn on by these pens disappear when you iron them - and then come back again when you pop the fabric in the freezer.  I haven't had a need for the latter part of this, but for drawing lines on fabric this pen is great.

 Sleeve dart lines...

...and sewn

I also used it to add a sewing line to the corners of my collars to keep them neat:

As you can see, once it's stitched and ironed the pen disappears.  I did, of course, check this on a scrap of the fabric before I went ahead and did this - especially on the darts where I was marking on the right side of the fabric.

Anyway, back to the shirt - it came together really well - everything lined up nicely :-)  To get a really neat finish I constructed it using French seams throughout (have I mentioned I love French seams?)

I sewed a straight size 10, with no alterations....

I think the shape of it's really flattering - it almost makes me look like I've got a waist!

 And the dart details add just a little extra something.  The ones at the neckline get a little lost under the collar, but I think the others, especially in this spotty fabric look really nice.

As I said, I'm also proud of the inside: French seams, including the armhole seam.

I'm also pleased with how neat my collar turned out.

The buttons I used were in my stash - I had a set of 6 white shirt buttons... I think these might have come from my Nanna as they were on a pretty old piece of card.  I then added a single wooden button at the collar, just for fun.

All in all I'm really pleased with this shirt and how it fits.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

wear what I make - update

At the end of March I posted about a faux suede jacket I was planning on re purposing....  I thought I would give a bit of an update on progress.

It appears that I do have enough fabric to make the Burda silk motorcycle jacket I had hoped to...

Here are a couple of pictures of where I've got to so far:

I'm not rushing this project - it's quite tricky.  The zip had me stuck for a little while as it needed to be shortened and despite looking up how to do it on the Internet and being persuaded it was easy peasy I couldn't do it and had to get David's brute strength involved.  We did it in the end and it's half way installed.

The collar didn't go on quite right at first...well, the left side was fine, but the right side was too long - I'm not entirely sure what the problem was, but I ended up increasing the front dart that you can see on the picture above.  I'm hoping that was the mistake and occurred due to inaccuracy in my mark transfers or sewing and doesn't come back and bite me later on.

The welt pockets were a bit tricky too - I did a couple of dummy runs on some other fabric first - just as well as the first one didn't work at all.... the welts didn't cover the zip, but I wrote notes and got it figured out and managed to successfully make a pair of zipped welt pockets.

Proof that there's two!  And not too bad....

And a picture of the back - just to be thorough.

The sleeves still aren't cut out - I haven't figured out if I have enough fabric in the original huge boxy sleeves to do the two piece sleeve drafted in this pattern, or if I have to do some redrafted one piece sleeve to use the fabric I have available.  That's something that can wait till after the summer holidays.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

wearing what I make - Vogue 2117

It's hot at the moment, so today I'm wearing a sundress I made back when I lived in Knoxville. It's made using Vogue 2117 and it looks like I cut a straight 10.  This dress is quite neat inside, with seams finished off, which is good for some of my previous sewing!

It doesn't often come out of my wardrobe, although I don't think it looks too bad... I'm just naturally a dress wearer.  So, why don't I wear it - apart from the not really wearing dress thing?

I'm not sure if you can tell from this photo, but the straps have ended up a bit wide on me and the armholes are a little high - the edges are all finished off using bias binding, so if I could find some that's similar to what I used originally I could at least sort out the armhole problem, which might make me wear it more.  I've pinned the straps to my bra so they don't slide down all the time. 

Today I've been mostly wearing it with a cardigan, which covers up all the problems and keeps the straps in place, I've felt pretty comfortable in it - so I think I should give it a few more outings out of the wardrobe than it's used to.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Frances and baby Janet matchy matchy

I decided to make Frances another sun dress after making her princess dress and thought I would give the free Oliver + s popover sundress a spin.

I used some pale pink with white spots cotton fabric which I picked up in Just Sew in Penrith a little while ago - it turned out to be thinner than I remember, but that doesn't really matter for a sun dress for a nearly 6 year old.  I also used some plain pink fabric for the yoke and ties.

I cut out the 6 year old size but left the 8 year old length, added some rickrack at the yoke edge and french seamed the side seams.

There's not a lot really to say about this dress, it's such a simple little pattern - well written and not very hard to sew.  I made continuous bias tape for the bias binding rather than using the pattern piece - basically to not eat into too much fabric.

I think it looks good on Frances and although she's not looking very happy about her dress in this photo - she does like it... 

and here's her "smile" to prove it...

 It went so well I thought I'd better make baby Janet a matching dress....

 I used the free doll popover sundress from Oliver + s this time - it's meant to be for an 18" doll so I took 1cm out of the centre front and back and the yoke.  I also removed about 1 cm from the top of the dress and a couple of cm off the length.  Luckily I had a bit of rickrack left, but went with shop-bought bias binding out of shear laziness.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

wearing what I make - self drafted skirt x3

Now that the weather's better I'm able to start carrying through a promise I made to myself of not just wearing jeans all the time - but making an effort to wear more skirts.  My jeans are pretty much all worn out, and although I have a pattern and some denim to have a go at making my own jeans... I had a go many years ago, but it's time to do it again and make a staple in my wardrobe me-made.  I haven't got to them yet.  Anyway, back to now and the skirts. 

I think it was back when we were living in Norway in 2006/7 part of our TV package included fashion TV, or something similar and I would sit and watch some fashion shows when I was having my lunch (I was working from home at the time).  I watched a Tom Ford for YSL Rive Gauche show and saw this skirt....

I liked how it is a pencil skirt but loved the movement in the hem. 

A little later I came across this in a magazine (Don't ask me which one as I have no idea :-)) and thought I should give some pattern drafting a go.  I'd already made some self drafted slopers and this was an opportunity to test them out....

I ended up having three goes (or wearable muslins) and or course, it's so long ago I can't remember which order they were made it... but from how they fit I suspect this one was my first:

It's a bit baggy around the stomach/hip area and looks more A-line than the original inspiration.

I think this one was second:

It fits a bit better around the waist and I think is a bit flared.

And, finally I think this one was third:

None of them really look like my inspiration but they're all wearable.  I've still got the pattern I made so maybe I should have another go at some point and try to make one that's even closer to the original.... I think it needs to nip in more a couple of inches above the knee and then flare out to give the more dynamic shape needed rather than the pleasant enough, safe, A-line shape.

And this is also proof that I wear one of the sorbettos that I made in March 2014.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Princess dress

Not long ago I mentioned to Frances that I was planning to make her a new dress - she's now at the age that she likes to have a bit of input in what I make her so went away saying she was going to be a fashion designer and came back a little while later having drawn the following picture:

It's nice, isn't it?  Frances is 5 (6 in September) and I find it really interesting how she draws things.  Anyway, back to the dress.  She explained that she wanted it to have puffy sleeves (like a princess has) and be really long so that it covers her feet (again as this is apparently how princesses wear their dresses), she also wanted a flower on the front and bows around the bottom.  No pressure Mummy!

I explained that I had some spotty fabric that her Grandma had brought us last time she visited, so we were going to make it out of that - but I'd do my best on the other design elements.

I don't think I did too bad... I used the bodice from the Absolutely A-line book, sleeves from Burda 2463 with added band cuffs and the rest is two rectangles inspired by this free Boho Maxi dress pattern

It's unlined apart from facing in the bodice,

And the fashion designer's reaction?

This is her doing her princess pose (we probably should have brushed her hair too - but I guess she's going for the tousled princess look).  She would still like bows and flowers, but I'm trying to stall on that... I wonder if I could find or make her a flower broach.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Tiger update

Rory's tiger costume is finally fully finished.  It's been mostly finished for ages, but he repeatedly said he wanted back paws too.

Anyway, back to his costume:

I made it using patterns in the cute and easy costumes for kids sewing book that I have.  The book has loads of simple costumes that can very easily be adapted into whatever you fancy.  I mostly used the lion costume, but used the black cat head and then the back paws are adapted from another pattern.

I found a free pattern for fleece boots/socks on Rhonda's Creative Life and made them up in some more of the tiger fabric - her original pattern calls for them to be overlocked together, with the overlocked edges on the outside.  As I don't have an overlocker I made them so that all the seams are on the inside.  It's meant that they're a little slim in the foot and leg, so next time I make them (as I'm sure he'll grow out of them before he grows out of the rest of the costume) I'll make them a bit wider. 

He then insisted they should have pads on them (like the front paws do) - I used some black sock stop to draw the shape of the pads which seems to have done the trick.
You can just see the pads in this photo.  

He loves the costume and apart from being a little confused when he's putting it on as the top fastens at the back, it's a real hit.  It even has a fantastic tail that's attached to the bottoms. 

 I think next we need some super hero costumes - but first I have some other WIPs I need to get shifted, and a dress request from Frances.