Perhaps a clean slate is in order.

Every once in a while, I am looking for a clean slate. Not necessarily because I’m tired of my projects or don’t like them, but just ready to start something fresh. I’m in one of those moods today. I’ve got a bunch of things on the needles, but I’m trying to focus on a three at a time, a sweater, shawl, and something small.

I finished up the something small a few days ago and it inspired me. That something small was the first pair of socks I’ve knit this year!

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This is quite a departure for me, I believe I was up to 6 or 7 pairs by this time last year. But I’m focusing on other things this year, so I’m just not cranking out socks like that, which is just fine. These were pure pleasure to knit, the stripes were just mesmerizing. That gold is gorgeous! The main yarn is Tiny Human Knits in the Cumberbund colorway. I debated for a while over the contrast heel, but finally settled on Peepaloo Fields in the Tide colorway – leftovers from my Sunset Highway. I love them.

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This got me thinking. I leave for a work trip on Friday, and when I come back it will be spring break. Spring break means a fair bit of quiet crafting time around here, so I’d really like to be cracking into something fresh and new. With that, I took stock. Of the projects I’m focusing on, I’ve got a sweater, a shawl, and a sew that need finishing off.

The sweater:

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My Crumb, which only lacks sleeves at this point. Worsted weight sleeves can go pretty fast, so I’m hopeful here. This could even go on the plane and get finished up on the trip.

The shawl:

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This monstrosity is a) beautiful b) my Audra Wrap and c) taller than me. I am on the final stripe section, so it’s all garter from here on out. I am starting to get excited that this giant thing will be bound off on only 144 stitches. That’s pretty sick.

And last, but not least, the sew:

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This terrible night shot of an in progress make is my Rita Blouse. I’ve got nothing left but to finish off the elastic and hem it. It’s a bit tight in the bust and arms though, so I am going to try adding some length to the neckline elastic to see if that helps. If not, I’ll probably need to go up a size either in bust or all-over size for the next one.

I do feel like this is a bit of a tall order for a short week in which I have to get every member of my household ready for a trip, but hey, sometimes arbitrary goals are a fun motivator.


Happy making!

Dressmaking 101

For quite a while,  I’ve been itching to try my hand at dressmaking. I made myself a knit dress a few years ago, but that just didn’t click for me.

Enter B5748. This is a reprinted vintage dress pattern from the 1960s. I have loved it ever since I realized that most of Andi Satterlund’s dresses were a version of this pattern. I purchased the pattern on a sale and have had it looking at me since last summer. For some reason I recently decided to give it a go. I had fabric and yarn that were meant to go together and the sweater was cast on, so the dress had to follow soon. I started by making a muslin of the bodice:

 

I noticed some gaping in the back shoulders and a fair bit of extra fabric above my bust. After some thought and tinkering, I decided to lower the bust darts a smidge and take out a bit of the top back shoulder strap. I’m not sure if that was the best method for taking care of the gappy shoulders, but that’s what I did. The re-worked muslin fit much better.

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Not perfect, but definitely workable. With that, I got rolling. Now, as this was my very first fitted (very little ease in the bust) and one of only a handful of garments I’ve sewn, I was a little nervous about the brief instructions in the pattern. They really don’t go over the top with helping you out. That’s probably ok for some people, but I wanted someone to hold my hand.

Enter Gertie. In my pattern stash, I have a copy of the Night and Day Dress by Charm Patterns. One of the versions is a fairly similar style, so I tried out a muslin of that bodice as well.

 

Much worse! I think I straight up cut the wrong size. Certainly the bust is way too large, but the back is so tight! There is work to be done there. With all of that, I decided to go ahead with b5748 but use the pattern instructions from the Gertie pattern. That worked like a charm!

I wound up making a few modifications to the dress in the end. I switched from a side zip to a lapped zipper in the center back. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. The lapped zipper turned out fine, though I could use some practice. But the top of the zipper pulls a bit, and I wonder if that would just work better at the side.

Much as I wanted a full circle skirt, with the 44″  wide fabric and directional print it was not meant to be. I didn’t want flowers laying over on their sides! I wound up self-drafting a gathered skirt, more or less with success. I added pockets as well, because, well, pockets, damnit.

With all of that said, let’s take a look! I’m pretty stinking proud of this one.

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This fabric is by Anna Maria Horner – I was inspired to use this thanks to a remarkably similar the exact same dress on Andi Satterlund’s blog. It’s 100% cotton and sturdy and soft and lovely. This is one project where the inside is nearly as pretty as the outside:

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Gertie’s instructions really made a difference in how the finished product turned out.

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I love the neatness! I kind of can’t believe I made this. All-told this wasn’t too bad of a project. I think it was a good starter dress. It isn’t perfect, but that’s ok. I can’t wait to dive in and make another dress!

Pardon the nighttime photos and not-so-lovely set-up. I need to step up my outfit photography if I’m going to be making dresses!

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Truth be told, this dress makes me feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure if I’ll go straight for another b5748 or try to get a Night and Day bodice that works, but this style is hitting on all cylinders for me. Now to get cranking on a closet full!


Happy making!

 

 

 

 

In Which Lessons Are Learned.

Sometimes, a project doesn’t pan out. For me, that is always frustrating but I am trying to learn from my mistakes — especially in sewing, which is where this tale of woe occurs.

Yesterday, I sewed up the Mathilde Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons. I used a really lightweight white voile fabric, intending this to be a wearable muslin to see if I wanted to make more of these. Well, I wound up creating a very un-wearable muslin, but after many deep breaths I am here to tell you that it’s ok.

I have quite the long list of things that I learned. I know this was listed as an intermediate pattern and I’d say that’s right! I’m pretty proud of myself for (more-or-less) learning:

  1. Tucks
  2. French seams
  3. Buttonholes

Unfortuately, I also learned that not all tailor’s chalk washes out. And even on the wrong side, aforementioned tailor’s chalk will show through sheer fabric. So now, here you go, my Mathilde Blouse:

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Pretty cute, huh? I finished everything on it except attaching the buttons–because I was suspicious of the tailor’s chalk. I tried it on, clipping it shut in the back. It’s pretty cute, but really way too sheer for my taste.

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I also think I’d like it in a drapier fabric. My French seams turned out pretty nice, I think. That was a daunting step that turned out to be not too scary once you got going!

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But here’s the real kicker, the thing that makes this a definite unwearable…

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Those little blue dots, among other marks that can be seen on the outside of the top, sunk my little ship. (But my tucks look ok, right?) I think I will make this blouse again sometime in a drapier, more opaque fabric. The style of it is pretty cute. I will definitely be careful with the tailor’s chalk next time!

Happy making!

Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!