Wednesday, 31 May 2017

OAL 2017

June arrives tomorrow and with comes the OAL, or Outfit Along, which is a really fantastic challenge that I love to take part in. The idea is to sew one garment and knit another to make an outfit.

For the last two years I have knit cardigans and sewn dresses and this year will be no different. If this took place in winter then I would probably sew jeans and knit a sweater but for this time of year I'll stick to dresses and cotton cardigans. This year the official patterns are the new Untangling Knots cardigan Anaheim and the By Hand London Kim dress. I'm really loving the cardigan and I'm going to knit that but I'm not wanting to make the dress so I spent a bit of time perusing my pattern collection to find the perfect dress for this cardigan.

In the end I settled on Colette's Hazel dress. I've made it twice before and really like it but I've been wanting to make one with stripes for ages to really make the most of the seaming on the bodice. I've chosen a black, white and green striped cotton which i hope will look super and for the cardigan I've gone for a simple black cotton because it matches my fabric and also because little black cardigans are so useful for me. I can't wait to get started! The OAL runs from tomorrow until the end of July and I hope to be finished long before then and maybe even complete a second outfit. We'll see how it goes though.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Fresh from making the Sew Over It Nancy I decided to make another of their patterns that I've had for a while and not made up yet, the Vintage Shirt Dress.

I've been wanting to make a shirt dress for a while and I have several patterns in my stash, but I started with this one because it is relatively simple compared to some of the other I have.  I decided to make the sleeveless version of this for several reasons.  Firstly because it will be nice for the summer but also easy to slip a cardigan over if it is chilly, secondly because it would be quicker to make, thirdly due to the sleeves too tight issues I've had recently and lastly because I just prefer the look of this dress without sleeves.
I bought the PDF of this pattern, so my first job was to print it and stick it together.  Because I was making version 2 I went ahead and printed the file entitled PDF 2, a not too taxing 32 sheets to assemble.  However once I'd finished I realised that I was without several key pieces and upopn further investigation I reallised that I'd just printed the 2nd PDF of 2, both of which were needed.  Cue me begrudgingly sticking together another 32 sheets.  After all that I made sure to trace all of my pieces so that I would never have to go through that again if I needed a different size!

With regards to size I ended up choosing the size 10 which is the size I'd used for Nancy and Heather.  They'd both fit fine everywhere instead of the sleeves but I wasn't sure if that was due to a larger amount of ease included in those looser fitting patterns.  This looked as if it might fit closer so I considered sizing up but ultimately stuck with the 10.  I'm glad I did because I would even say that this is a shade too big.  It certainly doesn't nip in at the waist as much as I would like so I need to have a look at the fit as a whole before I make another to see if I need to size down or whether to just bring the waist in a little.

This was a very quick and simple dress to make and I'm really pleased with how it looks, except for one tiny little error that I made very early on in the process.  Can you see it?
Can you see it now?
Yep, I chose this lovely cotton fabric with cute little cottages, farm animals and adorable dog walking men and the first thing I do it cut it out upside down!!!!!
I could say this was an entirely selfish move because it's the right way up for me to see when I'm wearing it and because the print is quite small no one has actually noticed until I've pointed it out, but I still feel like a massive doofus.  Mostly I'm hoping that people will be too mesmerised by my super sparkly buttons to notice!  Ah well, it's a talking point, to be sure and no one else will ever have one like it which is entirely the point of sewing one's own clothes I suppose.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

2017 Boo Challenge: Almost Autumn

Hiya!  I'm gonna keep this one short and sweet because I've knit this pattern before and there's not all that much to say.
I previously knit this in grey Knit Picks Gloss Lace and, while I do love it and wear it, it is a bit small and the yarn hasn't really held the block as well as I would like so I knew I'd knit it again before too long.  This time I used Fyberspates Gleem Lace in the Lundy Island colourway which is absolutely beautiful.  The overall effect is a light greeny colour but there are lots of subtle shades within that which I really enjoyed as I was knitting.  The yarn, 50% silk and 50% BFL felt really lovely as it ran through my fingers and the finished shawl feels equally lovely and has blocked wonderfully.
Last time I only included one repeat of the main lace pattern, so this time I decided to do two to make a bigger shawl.  If I'm honest I was a bit surprised about how huge this actually turned out but having wrapped it round me I'm definitely feeling the love for it's hugeness!  I'm not sure I'd want to make all my shawls this size because it did feel like I'd be knitting it forever but I'd definitely like a few more bigguns in my collection.
The only thing I don't love about knitting this pattern is that you only start adding beads in the last few rows.  It's not really a complaint at all, but I do so love adding beads and the anticipation was starting to get a bit much towards the end.  The beads are Toho size 6 in gold lined black diamond.  I had a bit of trouble picking beads because of all the colours in the yarn, but these are fairly neutral and the sparkle of them keeps them from being lost entirely.  I like to switch between having my beads stand out and be the star of the show and having them act in a supporting role like here.
I can see me knitting this again in the future, I've had a lot of compliments on this one and I'm contemplating making the next one as a gift for someone special.....  For the mean time though I'm one clue in to the Just Be You MKAL and I've cast on another Boo Shawl for the gaps in between clues so my needles are pretty busy.
P.S.  It's my birthday today!  Happy Birthday to me and May the Fourth be with you!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


I've had my subscription to Seamwork magazine for a while now and I've been fairly slack about actually making projects from it.  I've also not really been sewing so much just recently so the Astoria sweater seemed like a nice quick and easy project to keep me sewing and also to prove I'm making use of the Seamwork subscription.

Before cutting into my sparkly sweatshirt fabric that I had been saving for this project, I did something largely out of character and whipped up a practice run first out of some red ponte left over from my Heather dress.  This was mainly because I wasn't too sure about sizing, I'd made Moneta in an S and that fit nicely so I figured I'd just make the same size as it is the same pattern company, but I also didn't want it to be too close fitting as I'd probably be wearing stuff underneath.
Ultimately, this is just about wearable but I wouldn't want to eat a big dinner in it and the neckline sticks up a bit where it's not sitting right so I decided to cut the M for the main event.  I also changed from mid length to full length sleeves because the shorter sleeves are a really weird length on me.

The fabric is a sparkly jersey with a loopy pile on the other side, it's not quite as warm as what I'd traditionally think of a sweatshirting but it's kind of sweatshirty if you know what I mean.  It's actually lovely and soft, sometimes glittery bits can make a fabric a bit scratchy, but this is not like that at all.  The only really problem I had with it is that the loopy bits on the back do unravel a bit so my cutting table needed a good sweep when I was done.

This one fits much better, it is still close fitting but there is a bit of room in there to wear something underneath.  Somehow I managed to cut the waistband on the cross grain meaning that it has very little stretch but this just make getting the sweater on and off a little more awkward than it should be!  Other than that I'm really pleased with this and it will be a really nice cover up for spring to throw over dresses and higher waisted skirts for cooler days and evenings.

This was a really quick little project, I think I made both of these tops on successive afternoons and that includes assembling the PDF.  So, great as both a wardrobe builder and also for when you need a quick win to get you back into the swing of sewing.  It's definitely getting a little warmer here now and it's usually about now that I start to slow down the knitting and pick up the sewing a little more so it's been nice to dip my toe back in the water with a few quick little projects.