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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

FO: Vianne


Yes, the appearance of the banner above means that my Vianne is done and my second Outfit Along outfit is complete with just 2 days to spare.  And you know what, it looks pretty alright.

After the minor setback I suffered when my first planned outfit just looked wrong wrong wrongitty wrong I was fully prepared for this not to work.  I had done my homework and knew that in theory it should be good, but this project was a bit of a shambles from beginning to end so I was pleasantly surprised not to fall at the final hurdle as it were.

So, not to wallow in self pity, but here's all the things that went wrong:
  • The upper back.  Silly little mistakes that would be fiddly to fix led to me ripping back and restarting 8 times.  I have never ever bothered to cast anything on that many times before, I generally hit 4 times and call it doomed.
  • Loads more mistakes in the lace, all due to me reading the chart for the wrong side.  Mostly I realised right away but there are 3 little 'personalised touches' to the lace pattern that remain.  I didn't catch the third until I was taking these photos.
  • The button band.  I was required to pick up a certain number of stitches around the while band.  Because that would have involved me engaging my brain and working out how many to pick up in each section it went horribly wrong.  I went for the 'wing it, it'll be fine' approach.  Guess what, it wasn't!  First go round I didn't pick up anywhere enough and the band just pulled the whole thing in leaving me with a weird shrug looking thing.  Second go round I'll admit to still eyeballing it, but I'm calling it good enough.

And the good, because there is always a good side:
  • It turned out fine.  It took ages, but I have a cardigan I can wear with my dress.
  • The colour.  I'm having a weird love affair with yellow at the moment, it's so pretty.
  • The yarn itself.  I used DROPS Cotton Merino and it is now right up there with my favourite yarns.  It is lovely and soft and the cotton content meant that I didn't mind knitting with it when it was warm.  The plies are slightly different shades of yellow, making the whole effect extra lovely.
  • The sense of achievement I got when I finally finished the flipping thing.  I'm really glad I didn't give up because this cardigan is pretty special really.  The details are lovely and I have seen so many lovely examples popping up throughout the OAL.
Right, I'm off to knit a baby hat or something equally small with no freakin' lace.  Big thanks to Andi and Lauren for hosting the OAL, it's been really fun :)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

FO: Burda 9492

It's been a little while since I've sewn anything for my kids, I've been in selfish sewing mode recently so I thought it would be nice to whip something up for Miss Cassie.  I've bought quite a few kids patterns recently, unfortunately not too many in Felicity's size which is how come I'm mainly sewing for Cassie.  She'll get to wear all of these clothes in turn so she certainly won't miss out. 

The pattern I chose was one of a load I picked up in the recent Burda half price sale, Burda 9492.  It's for Age 4 and up so I made the smallest size for Cassie and there is certainly room for her to grow.  I went for View A because I thought that the shorter skirt would be better for the Autumn with leggings underneath.  It came out far too long though so I'll be making her a short version before the summer is out.

This skirt reminded me of all the reasons I love to sew for kids, it took me very little time, very little fabric and it was really lovely to see how happy Cassie was swishing around in her new skirt.  The fabric I used was the leftovers from my Simplicity 1325, which in turn was the leftovers from my first attempt at a Grainline Moss skirt.  I only bought 2m so I'm quite amazed as to how much I squeezed out of it.  As soon as I finished this little skirt I did make sure I'd thrown out any little scraps that were left because I am very much done with this particular fabric!

The pattern is really very simple, with little details that make it a little less bog standard.  I love the pockets at the front and patch pockets are included for the back but I decided not to bother with them.  The skirt is elasticated but only at the back, which is nice and easy but the front skirt is gathered to match.  My gathering on this one is absolutely appalling and if this hadn't been a tiny skirt for an active toddler, made out of scraps I'd have unpicked and done it again, but she's generally moving at the speed of light so who will know?

In knitting and OAL news, my Vianne is nearly done.  Just the button band to cast off and the sewing in ends and blocking.  This is my second attempt at the button band after I woefully under estimated how many stitches I'd picked up.  This cardigan has felt a bit cursed from the beginning so please keep your fingers crossed that I am finally done with it!


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

FO x 3: Lady Skater

As promised I'm finally getting round to writing my little round up of recent Lady Skater obsession.  I still haven't managed to get any photos I'm really happy with but hey ho, you can't win em all.

So first up was my practice plain black version that ended up being my first entry for the OAL.  While it looks really nice with my Miette cardigan it's not the greatest dress I'v sewn but it was a really good starting point to working out any adjustments I needed to make.  Essentially it was far too long in the bodice and consequently far too long altogether.  I was happy with the size chosen though so I felt pretty confident to go ahead and cut out the bits for both of the next two dresses together after shortening the bodice pieces by two inches.

I actually made both dresses side by side, production line style and while it took a little longer before I got a finished article I managed to finish the pair of the in less than a week.  The pattern really is very easy to sew, it comes with a really detailed set of instructions as well as a shorter crib sheet for if you'rte feeling confident.  I just used the crib sheet and found that it was enough for me, next time I will highlight the bit about adding clear elastic in the waist seam though because I totally forgot this time.  Oops.

All in all I'm really happy with both of these dresses but I extra, super love the pink and grey striped version.  It was a bit of a pest to cut out and my efforts to pattern match turned out to be completely wasted.  The stripes are so thin that it doesn't really notice at all, but it would have been really gratifying if they'd have all matched up nicely.  I'm really happy with the how neck band lined up though, I definitely gave myself a pat on the back for that!

Not sure what colour you'd call this and it's kind of horrible, but I love it.  I'm going though a weird yellow phase, so although this probably isn't yellow it sort of fits with the general theme. The pattern itself is just printed on one side so it's not as soft and lovely as the pink and is really the only reason it's not as high up in my affections.  The jersey is also a little heavier and has sagged a little after a few washes, but it's not too drastic (you know what probably would have helped there?  Clear elastic!).

So this is a pattern I'd definitely recommend.  This is the style of dress that I like to wear, it looks pretty put together but is comfortable like a t-shirt.  It comes togethjer really quickly, especially now I have an overlocker and I've had loads of comments about my dresses and people are really surprised to learn that I didn't buy them!  Look out for more of these in the future, I've got a black and grey one I'm dreaming about already.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Hi there!

How is everybody? I've been a bit quiet over the last few weeks, but not to worry it's actually because I have LOADS of stuff to talk about but I've been far too lazy to take any photographs. Much as I'd like to think that I can paint such a vivid picture with my words that photographing my projects would be entirely unnecessary I am entirely aware that this is not the case. Photos notwithstanding I do so hate to neglect the blog so I'm just popping in to say hi and do a little intro of what to expect in the next few posts. I'll just fill the place up with photos of my kids which is always better than pictures of me.
So, I have a trio of Lady Skaters all finished and already doing heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I'm still not done with this pattern either, be prepared for total Lady Skater overload! I've also finished two skirts and cut out all the bits for 3 more projects. It's been super hot and humid here recently, so sewing has been way more appealing than knitting.

My second OAL cardigan, Vianne, seems to be taking an actual lifetime to complete. I'm finally ready to start on the second sleeve but I'm stalling because picking up stitches is still on my list of things I hate to do and once that's done I need to pick up a whole load more for the button and neckband. Ugh. It looks pretty though and I've still got until the end of the month to finish my outfit so I'm going to cast on something else procrastinate for a couple more days before forcing myself to just do it.

In 'other' news, the girls seem to be growing up more quickly every day. I finally got off my bum and got Cassie all signed up for preschool in September, it's going to be really good for her but I can't quite believe that she's old enough yet! Lissy is learning new words and phrases at a rate of knots, my favourite this week has been 'bum', teehee! Talking about getting up off my bum, I realised that I really need to squeeze some more exercise into my life. I've been really good and went for two runs this weekend, despite being waaaaaay more unfit than I realised and I'm feeling super motivated to keep it up. I hope you are all doing ok and I'll be back soon with some project photos.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

OAL 2015 Outfit 1 complete!

From the ashes of original planned outfit I'm really pleased that Plan B has already produced an actual wearable outfit.  I present Miette with a pretty boring yet super useful Lady Skater in black jersey.

I won't go into too much detail about the dress today, I've already got versions 2 and 3 on the go so I'll do a separate post about the pattern in more detail when they are all done.

This black version was always supposed to be a test run of the pattern, but my sudden realisation that it would be a great match for Miette meant that I was a bit more invested in it than a normal test run.  Honestly it could have turned out a little better but it's pretty good for a first stab at a new pattern and the two garments together make a really great every day outfit.  I have made tweaks to the pattern for future dresses but this one is perfectly wearable and is lovely and comfortable as only a jersey dress can be.

In other OAL news I have got to the point of joining the underarms of my Vianne without having to rip back again at all.  Casting on 9 times for a single project was making me wonder if this cardigan was doomed but I'm hoping I've moved past all that now... of course now I'm knitting the fronts and back all together the potential for mistakes is much higher so I'm not counting my chickens yet!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

OAL 2015. Plan B.

Although I was a little disappointed that my first intended OAL outfit didn't work out I didn't despair for long.  Far from having no outfit, what I actually had was 50% of 2 outfits, I just needed to decide on what to pair with each of them.  Of course I wanted to avoid any more dud outfits so I thought a little bit  carefully about what would go together this time.

When working out my original pairing my only real focus was whether the yarn and the fabric would go together, I didn't really consider whether things like how the necklines would look together, which obviously turned out to be a mistake.  To avoid this again I put on my dress and tried it on with some cardigans out of my wardrobe and now I know that I will be much better off knitting a cardigan a v-neck.  As luck would have it the Vianne by Andi Satterlund that I had already started to knit has a v-neck.  I'm making it in this rather fetching/completely horrible (delete as applicable!) shade of yellow which I think will look pretty good with the pale blue chambray.  Progress on this cardigan had been slow due to the fact that I have now ripped in back 8 times.  8 times!  I'm sure that's some kind of record, I would usually have given up and started something else by now but I will be persevering because there is really no good reason why this keeps happening.  The pattern isn't difficult, I think it's just that with all the lacy bits it's not so easy to just fudge when I make a tiny mistake and during the early stages it's easier to just rip back and start again than fiddle about trying to fix it.

I was initially a bit stumped as to what I was going to sew to go with my Miette.  Because that lovely forest green is not a colour I really wear (until now, seriously, I loves it) I didn't have much in the way of fabric I thought matched it nicely.  So I put it on the back burner and got on with cutting out the bits for a Lady Skater with some plain black jersey.  Realising that my cardigan looked perfectly nice with a black vest top and jeans I figured that fate may have stepped in and provided me with an answer.  Once I'd sewn up the shoulders and added the neckband I popped the bodice onto Headless Hannah, did up the cardigan over the top and bingo!

Not bad eh?  So that's the plan!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

FO: Weldon's 9134

This dress was made with the intention of being the second element of my outfit for this year's Outfit Along. I really wanted this to be great so I was really good and made a muslin first, I was pretty confident it was going to turn out well...and you know what, it really did.
Because this is a vintage, one size pattern I wasn't sure whether it would be the right size, but I'm mostly happy with the fit. I had to remove nearly 4 inches from the length in order to not look like I'd borrowed this dress from a giraffe, but I'm short so this was hardly news. I do have some slight armhole gapeage, but frankly I'm not a perfectionist, it will do.
I did slightly change the order of construction, because I thought I knew better than the pattern. NEWSFLASH: I didn't. Or at least I did, but I didn't actually go and check the exact directions from the last time I did it that way and complications arose. I overcame, but lessons were learned!
The detail which really drew me to this dress was the curved bottom of the bodice, I love the way it rises at the front and dips at the back and has topstitching in order to highlight that. I spent ages thinking about which colour to use for my topstitching. I wanted it to be a detail, but I also didn't want to go too crazy. I was just on the verge of going with baby pink when I remembered a whole load of metallic thread I bought a while back for plying with my handspun. I used a shiny pink and doubled it with the blue thread I used to sew the rest of the dress, I think it's quite a nice effect.
So the dress is a success, but now for the bad news:
NOPE! These items do not an outfit make, or at least not one I'd happily wear in public so this particular combo will not be my entry for the OAL after all. Panic not, I have a plan...sort of...