Tuesday, 26 July 2016

OAL 2016 Update

I've barely mentioned the Outfit Along recently and, I won't leave you in suspense, that is because I've been making very slow progress!  Because I'm starting to fear that I might not finish by the deadline I figured I may as well do an update now in case it's a while before I get to do an FO post.
Given that I completed 2 outfits last year I'm feeling a bit perplexed that I'm struggling to complete just one this year.  So what's the hold up?  Firstly is the yarn, I've gone for a 4 ply this time around so while I blasted out a Miette cardi in worsted weight yarn in just over a week last year, progress has been understandably slower this year.  The cable ribbing in particular took for-actual-ever to complete and there was a point where I thought I'd be knitting that bit for the rest of my life!  Once I got past that point the rest of the body went fairly quickly and I started to think that I was home free.  And then....(this is where the excuses start)... I got sick, it got hot, I got super busy and time just slipped away. Of course, in between everything else I also have to work in the evenings (coolest part of the day) so there's that too.
Ordinarily feeling ill would be a nice excuse to sit on the sofa and knit, but I've had this horrible cough and cold that has just taken it out of me, its been a really busy time too so I've just been exhausted.  Of course as soon as I started to feel better then it got really hot and sticky, not ideal knitting conditions for a sweaty betty like me.  Over the last few days I have managed to find some cooler moments in which to knit.  I was pretty happy when I knocked out a sleeve in an afternoon only to realise as I was reading the directions again for the second sleeve that I'd started the decreases too soon and I need to knit it again.  Ugh.  So at this point I have nearly completed the first sleeve for the second time and I'm praying for some cooler weather as the deadline approaches.
Hopefully soon I'll have a finished one a bit like this!
Just in case I seem like I'm complaining too much, I will say that the things I have been busy with have all been really nice and I've had a lovely few weeks.  Cassie has been on several visits to her new school and it's been lovely to see her become excited about starting in September.  I'm finding it hard to accept that she is old enough for school but she is so so ready and I know she is going to love it.  Lissy has been for a couple of visits to her new preschool and she is also really excited to start.  We were all a little worried because she can be very reserved in social situations but she just had the best time.

Cassie also had her preschool graduation which took place at their summer fete so there were loads of people there to watch.  The kids all did a little performance to 'We will Rock You' and Cassie KILLED it.  She was playing air guitar and headbanging for all she was worth, it was epic.  And now I have her home all day, every day until September, I'm undecided on whether this is a good thing or not!

So that's it for my little update, I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and getting at least a little knitting done.  With any luck I'll be back on Sunday with a finished cardi to show off, but perhaps not.  Wish me luck!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Tilly & the Buttons Megan

It has been hot hot hot here the last few days and I haven't been able to do much except wilt on the sofa and occasionally curse because I have to work and that means going outside!  Before the heatwave hit though I finished this Megan dress from Tilly Walnes Love at First Stitch book.
I'm going to be upfront and say that I'm very much in two minds about how much I like this dress and I think that like my last Tilly make, Coco, it's going to take a few wears before I'm truly decided.  In principle this pattern was the one that sold me on the book.  It's meant for beginners and I really don't need a pattern for a headscarf or a gathered skirt but I really liked the look of Megan.  The high waist seemed like a really good idea, particularly as I bought the book a few months after having Felicity and had a few lumps and bumps to skim over.  In reality, however, the skirt continues to be slim around the waist before curving out before the hips so not necessarily the greatest tummy hider after all.  Less of a high waist and more of a high waist seam.  To be fair I did make a size smaller than my measurements suggested so it may be that if I had used the suggested amount of ease it would look different.  I'm fine with it as it is though, Felicity is 2 1/2 now so I'm not feeling the need to hide as much as I did back then!
My real issue with the dress though is the sleeves.  Are they too sticky uppy?  They feel a little costumey to me but maybe it's because I don't have anything else really like it in my wardrobe.  Perhaps in a slightly lighter fabric the effect would be less pronounced. I think that the fact that I tried this on for the first time and looked in the mirror with the sun shining behind me so I looked like a silhouette rather than a person just exaggerated the evil queen shoulder effect!  In reality I think they're ok except when I lift my arms and then they do look a bit weird.

Construction on this one was fairly straightforward as you would expect form a learn to sew book.  The layout of the book is a little annoying to me as someone who already sews because the directions are broken up with boxes and panels offering in depth explanations of techniques.  Obviously this is super helpful to the target audience but led to me having to flip around to identify the actual order of construction style directions.  Of course this is not really a criticism just something which was a bit of a pain for me.
The fabric again is 100% cotton with a slightly ridiculous letter and stamps print on it.  I keep changing my mind about how much I love this fabric which may be part of the reason I'm still undecided on the dress as a whole.  Cassie loves it though and I have plenty left, so expect to see a little letters dress for her before too long.
However, for all my complaining there is plenty to love about this dress.  The shape is really nice, it is very comfortable both for work and home.  It offers pretty good coverage if you, just as an example, got really sunburnt in your Belladone dress and need to hide a bright red diamond on your back!  Because the skirt is slim this uses a modest amount of fabric and has left me plenty out of 2m to make a child's dress.  I'll definitely be giving this one another go in a slightly lighter cotton at some point, just to really see how I feel about those sleeves!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Colette Hazel

Following on from my Adelaide success I thought I'd stick with Colette and make a Hazel dress.  I've had the pattern in the stash for a while and it was about time I made one up.
Weirdly (for me anyway) I made a muslin mostly because I was unsure on size.  I'd made Adelaide in a 4 because of the looser waist, but this dress has a more fitted waist so I wasn't sure if I could get away with it.  At the same time I was worried that the bust would be too large in the 6 so I figured I may need to blend between sizes.  My old sheet muslin seemed fine in the 6 though so that's what I went ahead and cut out.
Construction of this dress was very straightforward.  Rather than following the instructions exactly I pinned and sewed and seam finished all the separate bits production line style rather than doing the bodice and then the skirt and then the facing.  I used an invisible zip like the pattern called for and followed the instructions for sewing the facing around the zip which was really quick and looks super neat.  I can't believe I've never done it that way before but I'm definitely a fan!  All in all this dress only took me a few hours and I had another lovely little summer dress for my wardrobe.
The fabric is 100% cotton and is so bright and vibrant, I love it.  It is perhaps a little heavy considering there is gathering involved, but it's fine really except that it does highlight a few fitting issues that really should be there considering I made a flipping muslin!  Essentially the sheet fabric I used for the muslin was nice and soft and kind of moulded into my body but this cotton is much more structured and stands away from my body, mostly under my arms and around the back.  As I'd suspected there is a bit too much room around the boobs and I'd have been better off sizing down around there.  Oh well, I still like it and I'm dying to make one up in a stripe to really show case the seam lines at the front so I'll be having another go at this one very soon I'm sure.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Seamwork Adelaide

Up until recently I will admit that I had no intention of subscribing to Colette's Seamwork magazine.  I wasn't feeling that enthused about the monthly patterns and I didn't really see paying each month for patterns I didn't really want.  Then they changed the subscription so that you get 2 credits each month that you can spend on any of the Seamwork patterns and that seemed like a better deal because there are a few patterns I quite like even if I'm not overwhelmed by the entire back catalogue.  Then they had a sale on the Adelaide dress, which I really like, it was $5 for the dress and only $6 for the monthly subscription and so I was finally sold.  Just to prove I was getting my money's worth I thought I'd go ahead and make Adelaide straight away!
This was truly a very quick and easy project, the most difficult bit of sewing this dress was figuring out the enormous pattern on the fabric.  I've had the fabric for ages just waiting for the right pattern to come along.  The print is very distinctive and very large and I didn't really want to break it up with a waist seam.  Working out how the pattern would meet at the snap placket was a bit of a headache for me, my brain just doesn't deal well with things like that but in the end I just made sure that each side was symmetrical and let the join fall where it may.  I think it worked out not perfectly but nicely enough even if it was entirely by chance.

Size wise I went for a 4 for this dress, looking at my measurements I should probably have gone for a 6 but there is a fair bit of ease included at the waistline and I find that too much fabric around the old mum tum is not a pleasing effect on myself.  I know Colette draft for a fuller bust than I have too so I felt reasonably safe sizing down and I think it fits quite nicely.
All in this is a really nice addition to my summer wardrobe and I'll definitely whip up another before too long.  It really did only take a few hours even with faffing around with the print on my fabric.  Next time I'll take a little more care with the placement of the snaps, especially around the bust because that is definitely contribution to the gaping I've got going on around that area.  The snaps are much better placed the further down you get, obviously I got more practiced as I went along so maybe the lesson to be learned is to start setting your snaps from the bottom so that you are a pro by the time you reach those all important ones that are guarding your boobs.
So I'm slowly starting to get a few pieces in my summer wardrobe which is a good job because it's flipping boiling here right now!  Knitting has unfortunately fallen by the wayside as the temperature has risen (yes I see you looming there OAL deadline) but I'm looking forward to getting stuck into more summery sewing over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

FO: Butterick 6004 for Lissy

Just ignore the dirty dishes, too busy sewing!
I don't sew for Felicity as often as I'd like to, which is a shame because she really loves to show off her clothes.  As soon as I open the front door to the postman she's right there beside me swishing her skirt and asking him if she likes her dress.  Waitresses, Cassie's preschool teachers and check out attendants are all expected to admire her outfit of the day.  Unfortunately though I don't have a lot of patterns for her.  There are baby patterns and kids patterns from 3 up and only a small number (that I actually like at any rate) for in between.  Being titchy tiny I can make up baby patterns for her but the style isn't always right.
Butterick 6004, however, seemed like a nice choice.  Pretty and summery and sized from age 1.  I made the smallest size and there is plenty of room in there, I should really have lengthened it a bit though!
I'm currently having a dilemma with shop bought clothes as Lissy is very skinny but still a reasonable height for her age so clothes are either very baggy or far too short.  As a sewer, with a measuring tape, I shouldn't really be running into this problem, but I'll know better next time.  In my defence she was potty training when I made it and she kept dangling longer hems in the potty so short dresses were a godsend and she can always wear it with leggings in polite company.
Overall this dress was pretty simple, I did make a bit of a botch job with the bodice lining but she's 2 and she never stands still so no one will notice.  She loves the fabric, she adores cats (today she told me the kitten she plays with when we walk home from dropping Cassie at preschool is her best friend) so it's perfect for her.
It's actually really lovely fabric all round, light and airy, soft with a lovely texture.  Just perfect for a little girl to swish around in.
And one more little photo of my cutie...give us a twirl Lissy!