Monday, 31 August 2015

FO: Burda 9440 for Made Up Initiative

A few days a go I pledged to make a pair of trousers for Cassie as part of my donation to the Made Up Initiative and I'm pleased to say that they are done and boy are they cute!

I used Burda 9440 which includes shorts, trouser and cropped trousers to fit ages 2-7.  Cassie chose the full length trousers because she like the flowery fabric on the pattern envelope.  She had a little trouble understanding that hers would be different, but I was happy she chose the longer ones as Autumn starts to loom.  All in all there's not much to say about these, they're pretty simple kecks for a child and I'll be making a pair of these for the girls every time there's fabric left over from making trousers for me.  I did, however, learn a few lessons during the course of this project.

  1. Trust your instincts.  Before I began I wasn't really sure why trousers for a 3 year old needed and elastic waist and a zip fly.  I went ahead and sewed the zip in (twice, Burda directions struck again!) and she can get them on and off without opening them no trouble.
  2. Don't get cocky.  Just because you've sewn several waistbands on to fly fronted trousers doesn't mean you can completely ignore the directions.  There was a reason the waistband was so long and checking before chopping off the excess might have been a good idea.  Subsequently there was no room for a buttonhole but because these don't need to open a small snap did the trick. Phew.
  3. When using a safety pin to guide elastic through a waistband channel it is generally good idea to remove it before sewing the channel shut!
  4. Upon finishing a project for your child they will declare loudly that they don't like and cry while you try it on them.  Do not expect gratitude.
So that's that.  I can't wait to see what everyone else made.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

FO: New Look 6262

I was tempted to call this project a WIP as I'm really seeing it as a first step towards a much better dress, but after I'd taken photographs of it I realised that I really like it, despite it's little problems.  I always feel a bit like I'm being super picky and negative when I point out all of the flaws in the things I make or that I'm being too self deprecating.  However, I want to keep getting better and to make better things and acknowledging when things aren't perfect is definitely a part of that.  Also I don't want anyone looking at my photos and wondering if I really think I made this dress in the right size!
And really, that is all that's wrong with it.  Normally I don't mind things a little loose, it gives me a bit of room for chocolate biscuits, but this is a little big all over.  The bodice is just a smidge too long and the extra room all round makes the back of the dress droop down.  This is mostly helped by wearing a belt to hold everything where it should be.  The bust darts are a little too low as well giving me loads of extra room just under my boobs.  Sexy!  I think most of this will be solved by making a smaller size although I'll get my ruler out next time just to be sure.

Oh and then there's this.
The world's least invisible invisible zip (invisizip?).  I rarely use invisizips (yep, I'm running with it) because I have no real problem with people knowing I have a zip in my clothes and I have a massive stash of ordinary zips.  This pattern called for an invisizip and I thought I hadn't done one in ages and I could use the practice if I had a suitable one in stock.  The only one I had that matched was much shorter than I needed, but a quick pinning and trying on told me that I would be able to get in the dress if I used the short zip.  So far so good.  And then I got out the requisite foot for my sewing machine and everything went wrong.
Yep, I appear to have ended up with the drunk version which apparently thinks that its ok to have the bar thingy that attaches to the machine way over to one side!  Apparently my tiny brain was completely unable to compensate for it's wonkeyness and my stitching ended up all kinds of nowhere near the zip teeth.  The whole experience was a bit too trying for me, especially as the zip teeth also weren't feeding through the grooves properly either and the thought of doing it again was making me stabbity.  Its really neat and even, despite the fact that it shouldn't be seen, so I've decided it stays.

Other than that, this is a really pretty dress and the fabric is lovely.  It looks really different from close up and far away.  Up close it's all about the humming birds and butterflies (or 'blies' as Felicity calls them), but from a distance the leafy pattern is the star of the show.
So, moving on, my next sewing project will be fulfilling the pledge I just made for the Made Up Initiative, which was launched by Karen of Did You Make That?  I was really happy to donate to the National Literacy Trust as reading has always been a big part of my life and as I pass that on to my children I know that not everyone has that.  So with my children in mind, I've pledged to make a pair of trousers for Cassie before 10 September.  I've traced the pieces today so I hope to update soon.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

What's in Progress?

After finishing my Nathalie cardigan and my 70s dress I was still in selfish mode and started two more projects just for me.  Once they are done I have promised Cassie that I will make her something, but I'll make it a quick one so that I can get on with more things for meeee!

Driftwood has been in my queue for ages, it's right up my alley and definitely qualifies as a wardrobe essential that will get loads of wear.  I'd been giving a lot of thought to yarn and colour combos and never actually made a decision so I'd put off making it.  Its was only when I was looking at my UFOs and my stash that I had a flash of inspiration and decided to rip out an old project and combine that yarn with some of the same yarn in another colour from the stash.

The UFO, Brights 2 from Rowan Studio 9, was started in 2009, picked up again briefly in 2010 after I had a little push to deal with my longest suffering UFOs and has languished in this state ever since.
Please note that the only thing in the post I linked above that ever got finished were my alpaca socks and they fell victim to Stu and the washing machine not long after they were finished.  Clearly I had no real desire to finish the thing so it was definitely time to rip it out and put the yarn to good use.  I had a load of black Rowan Calmer sitting in the stash waiting to be a bolero cardigan that I was only half convinced that I actually like so it seemed like a good idea to combine the two and knit some thing I'd actually, well, knit.
Sewing-wise I'm currently sewing up New Look 6262 in some lovely bird and butterfly print viscose. I'm just about to stick the zip in and then its just sleeves, neckline and hem left to do.  If this turns out nicely then I can see me making a few versions of this dress in the future.  It's really simple, but has a few different options to mix and match and make each one a little different.  There was another project that I finished before that, but Stu referred to that garment as abomination and he is almost certainly correct so I'm avoiding photographing it for the moment.  But I will share it soon, when you're least expecting it, BAM there it will be in all its day-glo glory.  Betcha can't wait!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

FO: Style 3954

I'm currently going through a bit of a 1970s pattern thing and I've been picking up a few patterns here and there on eBay if I spot them for cheap and in my size. Some of them I'll probably never make, but I really like the illustrations on the envelopes so I'll keep them to look at even so. As soon as I received this particular pattern, however, I wanted to make it right away. So I did.
Poor old Stu got roped into one of those conversations that probably felt fraught with danger as I quizzed him about which version I should make. "Do you think those puff sleeves are too puffy?" "Is the collar too twee, will it make me look bonkers?". He very helpfully confirmed that yes, the sleeves are a little overly puffy but no, he quite liked the collar. So I cracked on, safe in the knowledge that I had someone other than myself to blame if that collar made me look ridiculous!
The construction on this one was fairly straightforward. My previous project, which will never see the light of day, was made using fabric that was basically just a dick. Compared to that this pretty viscose voile behaved itself beautifully and the pattern came together nicely. The collar isn't quite as neat as I'd have hoped, especially using a contrast fabric causes it to stand out quite a bit but it's not bad enough for me to actually want to do anything about it. Next time I will shorten the pattern for the sleeves a bit, I've taken them up and they need shortening a wee bit more but they will always look a bit off because there are elbow darts currently hanging out halfway down my forearm! I know I have short arms, I own a jacket that was designed for 13 year olds and the sleeves on that are even a couple of inches too long so I don't even know what I was thinking when I assumed the sleeves would probably be ok. Basically I'm lazy.
Other than that I love it. It's a little roomy which means that I don't have to worry about having a big dinner and busting out of it and also that I can wear if while it's still fairly warm because there's a bit of air circulation going on. It's nice and comfortable and long enough that I can mess around with the girls without flashing anything I oughtn't. Now I just need to break them both of the habit of sticking their heads up my skirt.....

Monday, 10 August 2015

FO: Nathalie

I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this one! After failing to finish it before the start of the Outfit Along I ended up putting it aside for the duration and only picked it up again a few days ago. In the past I've put projects aside only to go back to them and find that I have absolutely no idea where I've got to and what to do next but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd made it very clear where I'd got to on this one. I was knitting the sleeves two at a time and I'd got about half way so I didn't have much left to do at all.

After that there was just a bit of seaming to do. The main body is all knit in one piece but the sleeves are knit flat so they need to be seamed after they're set in. The shoulders also needed seaming as well as the centre of the collar before it is sewn down at the back of the neck. All in all, fairly painless although still a little more seaming than I like to do!

Once I'd finished and popped it on I wasn't entirely sure I liked it but the next morning I gave it a quick steam blocking and wore it to work. Every time I saw myself in the mirror I found I liked it a bit more and but lunchtime I'd pretty much decided that it was my favourite cardigan in the world. It's the perfect level of slouchy without constantly falling off because the arms fit nicely. The colour is pretty neutral but not boring, the cotton and linen mix gives the yarn a sheen which is almost silvery and really lovely. It also makes it a great summer cover up if you live in the land of unpredictable weather like me.

I've mentioned the pattern before, being a DROPS pattern it was basically a scary looking wall of text and it was well worth taking the time to write it out in a simpler format that I could follow. There was nothing difficult in the pattern but the format is difficult to work from so I would definitely recommend rewriting it in sections. I know some people avoid DROPS patterns because they're difficult but really they're just presented awkwardly and they have loads of patterns that I like the look of. Here is my DROPS bundle in my Ravelry faves if you're at all interested. Next up though is a completely DROPS free zone, a Driftwood sweater in Rowan Calmer.

Pattern: DROPS 146-1 "Nathalie"

Yarn: DROPS Bomull Lin - 53% cotton 47% linen in grey blue


Saturday, 8 August 2015

FO: Grainline Moss Skirt

A while back I started to think more carefully about the things that I make, I often spend many hours knitting and sewing and I wasn't always ending up with things that I would wear that often. There are so many patterns and wonderful projects out there that catch my eye and I totally need, like right now that actually won't be useful parts of my wardrobe. Identifying patterns that will go nicely with the clothes I already have and are styles that I wear often has become really important for me. As soon as I saw the Grainline Moss pattern I knew that it was very much the wardrobe builder I was looking for. I love little denim skirts for all year round, bare legged in summer and with leggings or woolly tights in winter.

My first attempt at this pattern was a total disaster. I have no idea exactly where I went wrong, but it was just very very wrong. The bit I was worrying about, my first front fly, went in reasonably problem free but the front and back didn't match up and in fudging that the pockets ended up weird and then the waistband didn't fit on. It was there that I finally gave up. This time I took a lot more care just to be sure the same thing didn't happen again. I think it may have been the 1/2" seam allowance that did me in the first time so I sewed the whole thing on my overlocker this time because it was easier to sew the smaller seam allowance without forgetting and accidentally sewing the usual 5/8" on the odd seam. This also meant that I could keep my sewing machine ready for top stitching which I did with a double plain/sparkly thread combo again. This time with a bright metallic blue. Mmmmm, shiny!

I did still have a couple of issues with this skirt. My front fly has a weird pucker at the bottom, I unpicked and resewed it so many times but it kept coming out funky so I decided to leave it and do better next time. I'll be trying out a different method too. The waistband was also an issue again, it was just far too short but I managed to stretch it to fit and it looks fine. I've had this problem a couple of times recently and I'm starting to suspect that the problem is actually my interfacing pulling everything in when I iron it on. Time to try some different stuff to see if that helps.

Other than that I love this skirt. It is exactly my style, is really comfortable and goes really nicely with my work polo shirts. I'll definitely be making up a few of these in the future. Once I've upped my front fly game I can see me being able to churn out one of these in a few hours. In fact., I love this skirt so much that I'm just about to cast on a sweater to wear with it.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Get 'em young

Just dropping in today with a series of photos I call 'New Fabric in the Post'!