Thursday, March 23, 2017

Completed: Sontag Shawl

In my fantasies, I’m a former World War II army nurse who’s on vacation with her husband in Scotland when I come across some ancient stones, fall through a worm hole, and end up in 18th century Scotland where I eventually marry and fall in love with (in that order) a devastatingly handsome, chivalrous man and live adventurously ever after.

Just kidding. That’s the plot of one of my favorite novels: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I started reading the series in college thanks to my friend Emilee and have since followed Claire (the heroine) and Jamie (the Scot) through several sequels.

Last year Outlander fans’ long-time dream came true when they made the books into a movie. It’s a STARZ mini-series and it’s OUTSTANDING. The actors are exactly how I’ve imagined the characters, and the writers stayed true to the novel’s plot.

One of the unexpected joys for me was seeing the wardrobes. Claire’s woolen shawls had me drooling on my knitting needles, and I immediately set to work creating my own version.  
(I overexposed all of the photos -- it's impossible to show the texture/color of the yarn otherwise because it's so dark!)

After an exhaustive search of Ravelry, I landed on a Sontag shawl pattern by Kay Meadors. I chose a Pure Wool Worsted (super wash) by Rowan in a beautiful brown.

The result is exactly what I wanted! I messed up the pattern (Leave it to me to mess up something so simple!), but fortunately I was able to finagle it. 

This yarn is delightful! It’s so, so warm. It’s soft, too, but would be itchy directly on my skin. When I pictured wearing it, I imagined it over a button-down shirt with a pair of jeans - just like this!

I can tie it in the back to make it snug, or I can let it go free and just wear it as a shawl. In the winter I usually skip coats and go for shawls, so this will get tons of wear.

This winter was relatively productive for knitting! I finished a few hats, this shawl, and a pair of fingerless gloves for a craft swap. I also started and re-started and re-started and re-started The Peacock Eyes Cardigan but COULD NOT get the lace pattern. I’m going to attempt a lace shawl as a starter and put the sweater on hold until I can master lace.

My Christmas present was knitting related! They’re Lykke interchangeable needles purchased through Fringe Supply Company. It’s so nice to have a complete set of circulars instead of having to dig through bags to find separate ones. I highly recommend these needles, too. They’re smooth as butter.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Completed: Megan Nielsen Reef Camisole & Shorts

(All the details are at the bottom of this post...)

Pattern: Megan Nielsen Reef Camisole and Shorts, views 1 &3
Fabric: Nicole Miller stretch chiffon from JoAnn Fabrics
Size: xs shorts, medium camisole
Modifications: added 1" to top length, took in over 1" on sides
Thoughts: I LOVE THIS PATTERN! I loved it so much when I first saw it that I forked over the postage and cash for the real, paper pattern. I'm so glad I did because I'll be making it again and again!

The cross-over yoke -- perfection.

The fabric was tricky, but I prevailed. Here are the things that helped:
ironing freezer paper on which pattern had been traced directly onto the fabric then cutting the pattern pieces out
block fusing interfacing as Megan's instructions suggest
stay stitching

It would've been even better if I'd had the appropriate needle, but mine was just a tad too thick.

The shorts are waaaaay too low rise for me. You can see in one of the photos above just where they hit -- I mean loooow. I'll add a full 2 inches to the rise. This view is super short, too, without the cuff. But I love them for pajamas.

This fabric is delightful. I LOVE the colors and the texture and drape is gorgeous. I wish I'd bought more!

The only complaint I have is that I abhor facings, but I can live with them in this top.

All in all, I'm super pleased with this project!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Completed: Carolyn Shorts/Self-Drafted Tank

This'll be a quick post - just a review of the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files. I've sewn them before and tested the pattern but don't think I ever shared about them here. (They're pajamas, but I wear them out of the house, fyi.)

The top is self-drafted - copied from a top handed down from my sister. I'm still working on it, but this version turned out wearable at least. The bodice top is fully lined, and the skirt piece isn't. I like the style and have gotten the fit right, but it still needs tweaking.

Pattern: Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas, view C.
Fabric: quilting cotton purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN. This fabric is so pretty!
Fit: I've got another pair of these shorts that I wear ALL THE TIME, so I knew they had a low rise. However, with the wide waist band, I don't mind the lower rise. There are some drag lines on the back that I didn't notice until looking at these photos, so I'll have to do some work on that before I cut into the Liberty I bought last year for another pair.
Modifications: None. I used piping around the leg cuffs and wish I'd done it on the pocket seams, too.
The fit is excellent and as usual, the instructions are superb.
I don't really have any cons. I love these shorts.

We're doing a "soft start" of school next week, which means trying to ease out of summer and into routine. It'll be. . . interesting. Either I'll get absolutely no sewing done or my sewing room will be my hiding place at the end of the week and I'll sew up a storm. We'll see. . . 

Have you seen a top pattern for knits similar to this? I hate drafting my own, but I really want this specific style.


Completed: Sophie/Jalie Swimsuit

The absolute BEST part of learning how to sew my own clothes has been solving The Great Bathing Suit Dilemma. The Dilemma: in my 38 years on this earth, I've owned one store-bought bathing suit that fit. One. 

The Bombshell happened, so my drawer had two bathing suits that fit. Unfortunately the store-bought one is 9 years old and has started to show wear in *ahem* inconvenient places. Plus it shows a lot of skin, and I go back and forth about how much skin I want to show in a suit. (I'll show copious skin while running. Because running = sweat = least amount of fabric possible.) 

A girl's got to have two bathing suits.

Just my luck! Heather of Closet Case Patterns sent out the Sophie Swimsuit for testing! I knew the top wouldn't work for me. It's adorable - a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. - but I simply can't wear formed cups. Still, I tried it, and it sewed up beautifully with her instructions. Alas, it didn't suit my frame. Specifically, it was like trying to put a AAA battery into a spot designed for a C battery (except we're talking boobs here, in case that was too vague). But I LOVED the Sophie bottoms!

I hunted around and found Jalie 2446, "Mix n Match Bikini" - it's the style of my store-bought and is the best style I've found to work for The Ladies with Tiny Ladies.

(Oh. I got my hair dyed. Permanently. It took a full year to work up the nerve. It's close to my natural color, but not. I both regret it and love it. It's a whole other post.)

Patterns: Sophie Swimsuit (bottoms) by Closet Case Patterns and Jalie 2446, view A.
Fabric: swimsuit fabric purchased at Let's Sew in Evansville, IN.
The Sophie bottoms are snug, but I like them that way because they don't fall down even though they're high rise. I am VERY long waisted, and the bottoms hit right at my natural waist. I like where they hit around the legs - there's modesty, and I don't feel like they're going anywhere they shouldn't.

The Jalie top fits perfectly. I've started going up to a Medium in tops, and it makes a world of difference.
I didn't make any mods to the Sophie bottoms.

For the Jalie top, I doubled the width of the underbust band. It was just too narrow. That whole band would've risen right up to my neck without anything to hold it down. Plus it looked out of proportion. Also, I don't do back hook closures on my bathing suits. One failed on me one time, and it only takes once. I sew that puppy closed and slip it on over my head. I accidentally swapped the direction of the cups, so the centers and sides are reversed, but it's no big deal. Lastly, I gathered the bottoms of the cups to add a little volume.
I like the high-waisted style. It's modest but still cool, in my opinion. The side panels give lots of visual interest and opportunities to play around with fabric. I've seen some gorgeous fabric combos floating around the Internets.

And Heather's drafting/instructions are always spot on. She's gone to great trouble to make this suit available in tons of sizes, so it's a PDF, but it's so well done and it's not much to print. *disclaimer: I'm a fan-girl.

Jalie 2446:
I'm "meh" on Jalie patterns. This is the third one I've sewn, and. . . "meh." This will be my TNT bathing suit top, but I still feel "meh." The halter ties aren't long enough, the underbust band was too narrow, the cups had no visual interest once attached to the band. . . I mean. . . "meh."

Overall I'm pleased, and this baby will see plenty of action in August! Have a great week everyone.

What's your favorite swimsuit pattern? Do you like one-pieces or two?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Acorn Valley Knit Dress

Today we're a stop on the Acorn Valley blog tour!

We used knit fabrics from the Acorn Valley collection (Riley Blake Designs). Eliza and I chose to use the Flutter Multi and Bloom Dot Red fabrics. Patti Young was gracious enough to send us our choice of Mod Kid patterns along with the fabric, and I thought the Abigail dress would suit Eliza best.

The Fabric

The colors are vibrant and withstand washing. The fabric is soft and of an ideal weight for children's clothes.

See that center gore piece? It took me ripping and reassembling the front and back gores at least 4 times to get the bodice seam lined up properly. This knit fabric was stable enough to handle that ripping, tugging, finagling. I was shocked. (I serged the whole dress, so seam ripping was pretty tough on it.)

The Pattern
SIZE: 3t width, 4t length
FIT: Overall I was pleased. The sleeves seem to run big. I had to shorten the neck and sleeve bands, which is to be expected as stretch varies with knit. The neckband is wide, so consistent and accurate stretching while sewing is crucial, and it still may not lay perfectly flat. 

The length is great - the 4t hit right at Eliza's knees. (She's probably the height of a 4-year-old.)
INSTRUCTIONS: Again, I was pleased overall. Word to the wise: Make sure to line up those center gores carefully so that the bodice seam is lined up on either side of the center gore, otherwise you'll be doing lots of surgery. 
LIKES: This is an ideal pattern for showing off different fabrics. It's also super comfortable and great for play.
DISLIKES: This is my second time doing a banded short sleeve on a knit dress without using rib knit, and unless it's snug to the arm, I just don't like this style of sleeve. It's a preference thing.

This was my first time doing a lettuce edge hem and I LOVE IT for knit dresses. It's going to be my go-to hem now as every time I do a twin needle the hem falls out, and every time I do a basic fold over, it doesn't want to lay flat after a wash. Rolled hem all the way, baby.

There are also flannels in the Acorn Valley collection, and Patty is giving away a box of 1 yard cuts. Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.

Here are the rest of the stops on the tour!
Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid
Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with some Big Girl clothes, including a bathing suit! Have a great weekend, everyone. xo

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