jennifer

Dec 222013
 

If you’re anything like me, you had a rude alarm call last week when you realized that Christmas was coming up fast and that it was probably time to start your holiday knitting.  I don’t do a lot of holiday knitting, but when I do it’s always at the last minute and overly-ambitious.

In my previous post, I mentioned how Josh and I are going to Florida (leaving Christmas Eve and returning several days into the New Year).  Our incredibly friendly neighbors have agreed to care for our animals while we’re away and I am beside myself with gratitude.  As a ‘thank you’ I decided to knit them up a pair of hats.  Knowing their preference for cult horror films and the macabre, I thought that using the skull colorwork motif might be a big hit with them.

It’s always a little unnerving knitting something for someone when you don’t know their exact measurements, so I made my best guess about the sizing.

For the smaller hat (upper left) I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes sport weight in Fedora an Mink Heather, and the larger hat is in Knit Picks City Tweed (DK weight) in Orca and Snowshoe.  For both hats, I cast on 180 sts and worked in k1,p1 ribbing with US 2 needles, then switched to US 3 for the main body and colorwork.  For the decreases at the crown, I kind of improvised doing 18 decreases every other round.  Were I to knit another one of these hats some time, I might make a more inspired crown section, as this one is pretty boring.

Anyway, I still have A LOT more gift knitting to do in a short amount of time.  I’m looking forward to finishing up my deadline knitting so that I can catch up on my millions of backlogged knitting projects over the trip.  We got another big dumping of snow (though, fortunately, the temperatures have warmed up significantly) and I’m looking forward to leaving winter behind during our trip.  It seems like it’s been a long time since we took a real vacation and I’m very excited about taking long walks on the beach in the balmy 70 degree temperatures.

 

Nov 242013
 

Well Readers, I am humbled.  I thought I was doing so well with the making of this dress, but it is so riddled with errors that I cannot imagine wearing it in public.  Readers, I would appreciate your thoughts about this dress.  Keep in mind that it’s not actually finished… the sleeves and skirt still need to be hemmed and the seams pressed.  I was working on this dress last night when I got to this point of being able to try it on as a mostly finished garment and it wasn’t until then that I noticed all of the errors.  Josh had a male friend over for a social engagement and when I showed them my dress, they assured me that no one would notice the errors… but I’m pretty sure that anyone who sews or has an eye for garment construction would notice, and would be appalled.

First off, I need to do my normal apologizing for my photos.  Not only is the black fabric hard to photograph, but behind me on the wall is my dark green decorative ruler holder which makes it look like there is something strange going on with my left shoulder.

Anyway, I’d like to start off with the positive… I love the fit of this dress!  The pattern is Simplicity 1882, which is an “amazing fit” pattern that has separate pieces for each bust cup as well as separate skirt pieces for “slim fit,” “average fit,” and “curvy fit.”  I used the piece for the A cup and the “curvy fit” skirt piece and the dress fits me very well right out of the envelope.  Which is very awesome!

The black fabric is some stretchy twill that I’ve had in my stash for about a year.  I am very happy with the pairing of this fabric and this pattern – - the fabric has a nice slinky drape that is well suited to this dress and it feels very nice to wear.  Even though I don’t need anymore fabric, I would like to procure some more of this fabric and make a well-made dress.

As I’m looking at these photos, I’m wondering if there is excess fabric at the front of the skirt or if that’s just how I’m standing.  hmmm…

Here’s the side view, where one of the errors is pretty obvious.  Josh and his friend said that this particular error is not a big deal, but I think that it is a big enough deal to actually be a deal breaker and I’m kind of annoyed that I didn’t even notice it until I had the dress almost fully sewn.

Back view.  I’m sorry that this fabric is not very discernible in these photos.

Yeah, there definitely seems to be excess fabric at the front of the skirt.  I wonder what is up with that…

Anyway, except for all of my errors, I love all of the style and construction details of this dress.  It has a contrasting collar and flaps for the pockets (OMG, I love these pockets!), princess seams that actually fit and flatter my bust, and a really nice waistband that works well with my proportions.  The sleeves are funky and I’m going to change them next time.  I also like the degree of fullness of the skirt.

Now the errors!  (And again, I haven’t yet done a pressing on the seams and the fabric is covered with fuzz from the sewing / serging process, so ignore those for now).

Here’s a close-up of that error from the side view photo.  Somehow on just one of the pockets, I have the wrong side of the fabric on the right side.  If I had done this on both pockets, then I don’t think it would be as bad, but to have the wrong side showing on just one of the pockets I think is a big deal breaker for the wearing of this dress in public.  I’m wondering if I need to get a better light to have next to my sewing table… the only reason I can fathom for how I did this without noticing until the dress was almost finished was that perhaps my lighting isn’t good enough.

This next photo shows four errors, but I’ll only discuss two now, and the other two with the following photo.

One PAINFULLY OBVIOUS error is that I did a very poor job at matching up some of my seams.  This is one of those sewing skills that I need to do research on how to do better.  For the front bodice, I had to rip out and re-sew the princess seams and the waistband several times before they were satisfactory.  But this particular seam, which is where the front bodice and front skirt meet the back bodice and back skirt, don’t match up at all.  Part of that is due to another error that I made (discussed with the following photo).

Another PAINFULLY OBVIOUS error is that my stitches are showing through and I obviously forgot to check the tension on my serger.  Perhaps if I had used black thread rather than white and purple it wouldn’t be as painfully obvious, but this is still a grave error to make.  Shame on me!

This is all really embarrasing, by the way.  I feel really ashamed.

The next two errors I don’t think are as painfully obvious, but they do significantly impact the other errors and the overall appearance of the dress.

The first error was somewhat intentional.  After I had cut out what I thought were all of the pattern pieces, I realized that I hadn’t cut out the pieces for the back bodice and that I had cut everything out in such a way that there weren’t big enough fabric pieces leftover for my two back bodice pieces.  I returned to the fabric store from whence I had procured the original black fabric (approximately one year ago) and procured a somewhat similar fabric for the back bodice.  I couldn’t find an exact match but convinced myself that this new fabric was similar enough that it would be okay.  Well Readers, even with my sometimes low standards and lackadaisical approach to stuff, it is not okay.  It looks like crap!  It looks like my pocket with the wrong side showing.

The other error, that I also didn’t discover until it was too late, was that I somehow forgot to attach the back waistband pieces in between the back bodice and back skirt until after I had already installed and fully finished the seams of the zipper.  For me, installation of a zipper is a point of no return.  And let me just boast that I did a really good job on this zipper.  And I used my serger to finish all of the seams.  There was no way that I was going to rip this out.  I rip out a lot of seams in my sewing life, ripping out zippers is too much.  So on this dress, I have a finished front waistband and no back waistband… no wonder my front and back didn’t match up at all.

I would like to direct your attention to how I managed to match up the darts on my back bodice and back skirt.  At least I can do something right.  And I love all of my serged seams!  The twill fabric was actually very prone to fraying, so the finishing of the serged seams worked very well.

As with most things in life, there are some good things and some opportunities for improvement with this dress.  I’m trying hard to not be disappointed with all of my errors and focus on the positive (a dress pattern that fits right out of the envelope!).  I’ve already started cutting out the pieces for version two.  Both fabrics from my stash, I’m going to have the below plaid linen as the main fabric and the navy linen as the contrasting fabric.  I intend to take on the challenge of matching the plaid across seams, as well as improving the quality of my sewing from the error-ridden black dress to this one.

What do you think, Readers… any words of wisdom? Words of sympathy?  Have you ever all but finished a sewing project only to realize that it was filled with egregious errors?

Nov 172013
 

I feel silly for making a big deal in my previous post about how I was excited to show you my latest sewing make, when it is “just” another Renfrew, but I think this might be my favoritest Renfrew to date!  A stripey ‘frew!

I sewed this up using my new serger and it came together SO FAST!  I did somehow screw up the serging of the neckline and had to re-serg it… therefore, the neckline is wider than the pattern would have it, and I think I even like it better.

And look! I even tried to match seams!  I’m happy with the pattern matching across my body seams, but I failed on the upper part of the sleeves.  Bah!  I think part of it was simply because I’m still so new to using the serger – - I think that if I had been using my trusty sewing machine that they might have matched up better.  Oh well.  Also, I apologize for my hem being folded up in these photos… I really need to consult my appearance in a mirror before snapping photos!!!

Anyway, not much else to say about this except… TAH-DAH!  I love the way it turned out.  Also, this fabric was something that I bought for one whole dollar at the thrift store and I had just barely enough yardage to make this ‘frew.

My current project is Simplicity 1882.  This is an ‘Amazing Fit” pattern which I’ve never tried before… it has pattern pieces to customize for “average fit”, “slim fit” or “curvy fit” as well as separate pieces for each bust cup size.  I’m pairing the A cup bodice piece with the “curvy” fit skirt piece and am excited to see how this turns out.  My fabric is a stretchy twill (that has been in my stash for about a year) and it’s going to be a “little black dress” with the dotted fabric for the contrast pieces at the collar and pockets.  If this dress turns out well, I think this pattern could be one that I will make over and over, as I feel very inspired by its stylishness and utility.

I bought the above pattern at the pattern sale happening now, where all Simplicity patterns are $1.  I also procured the below patterns for $1 each.  I am presently feeling very motivated to make more dresses.

Nov 112013
 

Over the weekend, I whipped up two long sleeved knit tops for the cooler temperatures.  The pattern is V8323, which I’ve made successfully before.  It features princess seams and a shawl collar, and I’ve been wearing the one I made last winter a lot lately, so I made two more tops from this pattern.

This purple one is from a really nice interlock that is so soft.  I’m not sure if all of those ripples in the fabric show in real life or if that’s just the photos, since I was posing with my hips kicked out a bit and shoulders leaning back.  Either way, the top is VERY comfortable.

I also made a green version out of some knit fabric I bought from a thrift store for just a few dollars.  I like that these tops have a bit of positive ease, it makes them feel more comfortable and relaxed.  However, I do think they are a bit large in the shoulders.  I had also tried to do a small-bust-adjustment on the princess seams, but that may have done something funny to the shawl collar, I’m not sure.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how these turned out.  Perfect for the cooler temperatures!  Also, they came together VERY quickly, in part with the help of my new sewing friend, which you can see in these photos.

Yup, I bought a serger!  And I feel like such a copycat…  Connie recently wrote about getting a serger and it gave me pause to wonder if perhaps I, too, would find my sewing life improved with one.  I then consulted with my friend Amy (who acquired a serger about a year ago) and she was quick to affirm my suspicion that a serger would be a great asset to my sewing experience and also recommended to me the same model that both she and Connie have.  Geez, twist my arm already!

Now that I’ve finished these two tops, I’m thinking about doing a parade of Renfrew tees.  I also want to make a wool coat.  And several more pairs of Thurlows.  And some dresses.  Decisions, decisions!

I have also been knitting A LOT lately.  My current project is a secret but I am very excited about it.  I’m trying really hard to get it done because I want to work on not-secret projects.  In particular, I bought the pattern for Kraken Knuckles for the giftalong and am hoping to join in on the fun.  This is, of course, completely ridiculous of me because I keep buying patterns with the assumption that I will have time to work on them.  Several months ago, I wrote about how I bought the patterns for Ginkgo , EliaAmbergris, and Manu and am still very excited about knitting all of them, but it has been as though TIME does not grow on trees.  Then two weeks ago, I bought Monomania and Hitofude, despite the fact that I have no time.  And now, I want to make these gloves.  Life is hard when there is so much awesome but so little time, yanno?  If there ever is enough time, I was thinking of knitting the gloves in purple and orange Koigu, what do you think???

Nov 012013
 

I hope you all had a happy, fun, and safe Halloween yesterday!  I actually forgot it was Halloween until about 4:30pm, when I scurried to the store to buy candy for the Treaters.  Despite having a lot of kids in the ‘hood, we don’t get very many Trick-or-Treaters, but I suspect the ones we did get, appreciated the treats!  I was excited to see that one small boy was dressed as a chicken!  What a copy cat!

Anyway, now that it is the first of November, I am excited to tell you all about the Independent Designer Gift-A-Long happening on Ravelry.

This is an event wherein some 170 independent designers are collaborating on a promotion and craft-along (both knitting and crochet!) to drive the spirit of gift-giving.  Now is a GREAT time to start on your holiday crafting and this event is intended to help motivate and encourage those efforts.  Participating designers are offering 25% off on selected patterns starting today until November 15th, but beyond that there is a group where crafters may share photos of their beautiful works, as well as have opportunities to win prizes!

I am including all of my designs in the promotion, even though they aren’t the most “gifty”.  Just use the promo code “giftalong” for 25% off.  However, there are hundreds and hundreds of amazing designs in the pool and I, myself, have been drooling over all of the Pinterest Boards that the organizers created and plan on making a few things.

I’m going to spend the weekend sifting through all of the designs and hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you what I’ve decide to make.

Sep 252013
 

Garments sewn using fine fabric and couture techniques maintain an edge of quality that other garments, sewn with cheap fabrics using novice sewing skills, lack.  Of course, this coat that I have sewn is an example of the latter type of garment, resplendent in it’s cheap fabric and novice sewing techniques and errors.  If you are interested in coats made with fine fabric and couture sewing techniques, then you are at the wrong place!  If, however, you are interested in a novice sewer’s journey to become a better sewer, and possibly having some laughs along the way, this is what I can offer.

Pattern(s): Butterick 5685 with the neckline of Butterick 5425
Fabric: cheap anti-pill fleece for the main fabric (gray) and cheap “fancy” fleece for the lining
Notions: snaps

I believe that I have mentioned elventy-billion times that I am very cold sensitive.  And, let’s just face facts here, wool and natural fibers are great, but nothing really traps body heat like good old fashioned cheap acrylic fleece.  This project reminds me of when, a few years ago, I knat myself a ‘snuggie’ (or, ‘slanket’) using cheap acrylic yarn.  That knitted “Mummy Bag of Shame” is possibly the warmest item in my possession.

A while ago, I got the idea into my head that I wanted to sew a coat (and you were all helpful in narrowing down my pattern choice).  Ultimately, I decided to sew two coats – - one “practice coat” out of affordable fleece and another serious coat out of a nice boiled wool.  For this “practice coat”, I wanted basically a super warm and cozy fleece bathrobe that I could wear out in public.  My friend Amy has made a fleece coat similar to this before and had some very helpful tips for me.

I’m mostly happy with how this coat turned out.  As you can see above, the fabric pulls in weird ways and I’m sure this is because I’m not very skilled with the ol’ sewing machine.  The thing that disappoints me about this coat is that I didn’t do a good job on my snaps.  This was my first time doing snaps and I think I need to read some tutorials about them, because they keep popping off.  At this point, I actually need to procure more snap fastener dealies, as there are currently two snaps that have fallen off.  This, of course, means a trip out to Joann’s and I’d rather chew my arm off.

The main fabric is some anti-pill fleece and the lining is something called “fancy fleece” and both were on sale for 70% off at Hancocks.  The fancy fleece is very soft and feels very nice as a lining.  I intentionally made the coat a little big so that I could wear several sweaters underneath of it (truly, I like to bundle up very thoroughly in the cold).

Oh! I just realized that I was wearing my ridiculously silly slippers in all of these photos!  Speaking of fleece, these fleece slippers have been warming my feet for going on 15 years and they are the silliest and warmest slippers ever.

The coat has in-seam pockets which I managed to position at the correct height for comfortably inserting my hands into.

As for modifying the main pattern with the neckline of the other pattern, I was able to trace the neckline of B5425 onto the pattern piece of B5685 and it worked very well.  I used the neckband piece for B5425 and just added some length to it.  Super easy!

I actually did spend some time considering the fit of this coat, comparing it to a fleece jacket that I wear all of the time (but sadly, is covered in paint from all the various home improvement projects).

This coat has princess seams, which I like, and based on my learnings from previous projects, I successfully took out all of the bust ease to make myself a flat-chest coat.

Even though this is not at all a couture coat, I am very happy with it!  It is very snuggly, cozy, and warm.  Basically, a bathrobe that I can wear in public!

Coming down the pike, I’m working on a “plan” for some fall / winter sewing and I’ve been pairing up fabrics and patterns.  In particular, I’m hoping to bust more of the remnants in my stash.  My last two sewing projects have been larger projects, so I think my very next project will be another simple knit top.  Oh! And in the upper right hand corner of the below photo, you can see the pattern for some 80′s style hammer pants (along with a bedsheet featuring a stylish print from the 80′s) that I will be sewing up for my Halloween costume.

Sep 142013
 

Thank you all for the feedback about which coat pattern I should sew!  There wasn’t a clear winner, which didn’t help my decision-making, but I’ve decided to make two coats.  More on that later!

I’ve finished two sewing projects that I am excited to show you.  The Jasmine Blouse by Colette Patterns and another pair of Thurlow Trousers by Sewaholic.

I believe this is my… eighth?… pair of Thurlows so I don’t have much to write about them that I haven’t already blathered on about.  Despite my beginner sewing skills, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can whip up a pair of mostly-well fitting pants without any problems.  My front fly came together smoothly and the welt pockets line up well and look pretty neat.  I do think I need to pinch out a little bit on the front crotch, as a final fit modification.  Otherwise, these are my favorite me-made trousers yet!  And I finally got them to be the perfect length in the leg – - previously, I’ve always cut them too short.

Now that we’re coming into fall, I’m planning on making three more pairs of Thurlows.

The blouse is another story.  It’s a pattern I’ve wanted to sew for quite a while.  A blouse using woven fabric cut on the bias and sewed together without any closures but still fitted enough to be flattering.

Unfortunately, I used a slippery / slinky fabric that was difficult to work with and I don’t think I got it cut exactly on the bias.  As a result, there is some weird pulling and unevenness in the tension across the torso that I find not only weird to look at but also weird feeling to wear.

Below, you can sort of see the weird pulling.  I think if I used an easier to work with fabric, then my novice sewing skills wouldn’t be so painfully obvious.  I still think the blouse is wearable by my casual standards but it’s not a piece that I’m very proud of.

Also, you totally can’t tell, but somehow my sleeves are different lengths.   ???

I’ve finally decided that I don’t need bust darts or bust shaping of any kind ever.  Let’s just face facts here, I am virtually flat chested.  I actually did an SBA with this blouse but there is still a ton of droopy fabric around my bust area, which I find extremely unattractive.  I’ve read that Colette patterns tend to be better for more bustier gals, and I think I should basically make the fronts of patterns almost identical to their backs, thereby removing any and all bustnitude.

Anyway, the blouse doesn’t look this terrible in the bust zone unless I pose like in the below photo.  Above, it looks more acceptable.

As for my coat sewing project, I’ve decided to make two coats!  The first one is going to be a hybrid of B5685 and B5425, basically with the body of the former and the collar / neckband of the latter.  I’m going to make it out of fleece for the main fabric and fleece for the lining!  A double layered fleece sweater coat!  Definitely one of my more brilliant ideas.  Hancocks is currently having a sale on fleece and I procured some exceptionally tasteful fabric for my brilliant sweater coat.  The coral floral fleece is something called “Fancy Fleece” so this project is going to be so fancy!  Anyway, for the second coat, I’m going to make a Minoru in a beautiful deep purple boiled wool.  I’ve ordered the pattern and hope for it to arrive in the next few days, at which time I anticipate being finished with my Fancy Fleece Coat and can make a serious go at the Minoru.

Sep 102013
 

Well Readers, I’ve decided to sew a coat and I’d like your help!  I’ve been wanting to make a coat for quite a while, in part because my currently used coat has been very well used and has seen better days.  Below are some of the coat patterns that I am considering.  At the end of this post, I have a link to a poll where I’d love to see what pattern you all prefer!

Patterns I already own:

I do think patterns that I already own should receive first consideration.

Butterick 5425

Pattern Description: Misses’ Petite Coat. Lined coats are close-fitted with flared shape in two lengths, have princess seams, side seam pockets, gathered sleeves, back belt with non-functioning buttons and collar variations. A, B stand-up collar. C: convertible collar. A: length is 3″ below mid-knee. B, C: length is 6″ above ankle.

What I like about this pattern:  First off, I prefer View A, the shorter length version.  I love the stand-up collar and the fuller skirt.  I like that this coat is fully lined, has princess seams, and side seam pockets.  This pattern also looks like it is within my realm of sewing skill.  And as for time and patience required, it has 12 pattern pieces to cut out and sew, and has 49 total sets of instructions (see below, for comparison), so I think it would take an amount of time and patience that I can handle.

What I hesitate about this pattern: I don’t think I like the gathered sleeves and would probably change those out.  This pattern also uses a lot of yardage – - for the smallest size, I’d need about 5 yards for my main fabric and 4 yards for the lining – - this is a hesitation in terms of how expensive it will be to buy the fabric.

Vogue 8884

Pattern Description: Misses’ Coat and Belt: Semi-fitted, partially interfaced, lined coat has collar, collar band, shoulder pads, yokes, and two-piece sleeves. Topstitching. A, B: Side Pockets. C: Seam detail, welt pockets, sleeve tabs, loops for tab and self belt.

What I like about this pattern: I love everything about this coat!  It looks so stylish and functional.  It also requires significantly less fabric than the first coat – for the smallest size, I would only need 2.5 yards of main fabric and 1.75 yards for the lining.

What I hesitate about this pattern: This pattern might be above my skill / patience level. In contrast to the above coat, this pattern has 25 pieces to cut out and sew, and 85 total sets of pattern instructions.  I am also hesitant about it because I think this is more of a jacket, ideal for cool weather, not a COAT for the cold winter.

Butterick 5685

Pattern Description: Misses’ Jacket and Coat: Semi-fitted, lined jacket or coat have modified shawl collar, princess seams, side seam pockets.

What I like about this pattern: This coat is almost a hybrid of the above two.  It is very similar to the first, except has a shawl collar rather than a stand-up collar and has a straight ‘skirt’ rather than a full ‘skirt’.  As for time and patience required, it has 17 pattern pieces and 30 sets of pattern instructions.  I’m not sure which collar I prefer – the stand up or the shawl – I like them both!  As for the fabric yardage, this pattern calls for 2.5 yards for the main fabric and 1.75 for the lining.

What I hesitate about this pattern: My only hesitation about this pattern is that I’m not quite as drawn to the style of it as the first two, but I obviously like the style enough to have bought the pattern and include it in this list of coat patterns to sew.

Simplicity 5930

This is a vintage pattern I picked up for 65 cents somewhere.

Pattern Description: Misses’ Front-Wrap Coat in Two Lengths. The lined short or long front-wrap coat with shawl collar has long set-in sleeves, cuffs, patch pockets, topstitching trim and tie belt slipped thru self fabric carriers. Coat may be made with fur fabric collar and cuffs.

What I like about this pattern: This pattern is quite a bit different than the others in that it’s a wrap-front and has patch pockets.  The pattern pieces are uncut and, despite the wear on the pattern envelope, it appears that no one has ever removed its contents.  It has 12 pieces to cut out and sew together, and about 22 sets of instructions (though, they aren’t numbered like the more modern patterns are).

What I hesitate about this pattern: I am hesitant that a vintage pattern will assume more sewing knowledge and skill than I possess, and perhaps require more advanced skills.  Also, because of the wrap-front, this pattern seems to take quite a bit of fabric – - for the short coat, I’d need 4.5 yards for main fabric and 2.5 yards for the lining.

Patterns on my Wishlist:

Even though I do not own the below patterns, I have been admiring these for some time.

Sewaholic Minoru

Pattern Description: The Minoru Jacket is a zip-front weekend jacket with a secret hood hidden inside the wide collar! If you prefer, skip the hood and let the dramatic collar be the focus. Flattering raglan sleeves are comfortable and easy-to-sew, and the elastic waistline creates a slim, curve-hugging silhouette.  No need to choose between having a hood OR a cute collar. The hood is tucked away in the wide, roomy collar, ready for when you need it, but stays hidden when you don’t! The collar looks great done up or left open. The jacket is fully lined, with interior patch pockets to stash your cards and keys safely and out of sight.  Practical and pretty!  Sizes: 0-16 (all sizes are included in one pattern!)   Skill Level: Intermediate

What I like about this pattern:  This is a much different style than the other coats I’ve considered and I think this might be one of the more practical styles for me.  I like that it has a hood and uses a zipper closure rather than buttons (hence, warm!).  I like that it has raglan sleeves which I tend to find more comfortable than set-in sleeves.  I also LOVE how it has a pocket to tuck the hood into the collar.  I love that it has inside pockets, though I would probably also add side seam pockets.   Style-wise, I’ve seen versions of this pattern that have truly blown me away (for example, I LOVE this one).   With regards to fabric, it takes about 2.5 yards for the main fabric and 2.5 yards for the lining.

What I am hesitant about this pattern: The skill level is listed as intermediate and I still consider myself an advanced beginner.  I’ve made several of Tasia’s patterns and I know that they tend to fit my body well (this should be in the PRO paragraph above) but I do have a tendency to be pretty dumb about pattern instructions that have fiddly bits and this pattern looks like it might have fiddly bits.  As for time and patience, I don’t know how many pattern pieces this has, but I suspect that it might be comparable to the Vogue pattern above.

Uptown Coat

Pattern Description: Fitted jacket/coat features faux double breasted design with a deep collar. The empire waist provides a flattering cut and front and back pleats add a charming touch. Fat quarter version of the jacket is optional.

What I like about this pattern: I love the style of this coat!  It takes 3.5 yards of main fabric and 3.25 of lining fabric.  I’m not sure how many pattern pieces or sets of instructions this has, but it looks similar to the above Butterick patterns in terms of time and patience required.

What I hesitate about this pattern: I’ve never sewn any patterns from this designer.  I’ve sewn Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue, and Sewaholic patterns before and I know how they fit and how the pattern instructions tend to run.  With this pattern, those things would be a mystery.

 

Below, I’ve embedded a survey and I’d love to get your feedback about which of these coats you think I should sew.  If you don’t like any, I’ve added a space to recommend a coat pattern.  The survey may also be found here, in case it’s not showing for you below.

Sep 092013
 

I finished this dress over the weekend and like it better than I thought I would.  I was concerned that the fabric would yield a gaudy thing and I still wonder if the cut of the dress (and fabric combination) emphasizes my pear shape, but I like it.

Pattern:  Vogue 8146
Fabric: Poly knit
Notions: just thread
Modifications: converted to knit fabric (took out 5″ of ease, omitted zipper at back)

I bought this fabric a while back to make a knit skirt for a friend and, after having made the skirt, still had quite a bit remaining and felt compelled to use it up.  I decided that a very simple pattern would be best for this print and this pattern is indeed very simple.  The pattern is for a woven fabric so I took out five inches of ease to compensate for this very stretchy fabric and modified the bust to that of the Renfrew tee (because I didn’t want to have any bust darts to disrupt the pattern print on the fabric) (and also, I don’t need bust darts ever).

I like that this dress has facings – they give a nicer finish than if I were to do some kind of bound hem.  I also love the cut of the upper part of the dress and think that I would like to make just a top out of it.  In fact, I might trace out a pattern for a top based on this (with all of my mods etched out).

Oh wow, print and pattern combo seem to emphasize the old derrière.  

I didn’t hem the bottom of the dress, as knit fabric doesn’t fray, but I did cut the bottom hem along the print patterning for fun.  I also did a reasonably okay job at matching up the print across seams (see above – okay enough for me, at least).

I’ve been more excited about sewing very recently and am currently working on another pair of wool Thurlow Trousers and have been dreaming about sewing for myself a wool coat.  Temperatures have, thankfully, dropped recently and I am gearing up for some Fall wardrobe sewing.

Aug 272013
 

A term in musical theory, Oblique Motion occurs when one voice remains on a single pitch while the other ascends or descends.  An apt name for my latest knitting pattern, the colorwork pattern for this sweater will have one knitting up or down on the right side, while the wrong side remains the same.  If you’ve knit my Unalakleet, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, what I mean is that the wrong side mirrors the right side, which makes working the colorwork a cinch.

Oblique Motion is a top-down cardigan with an allover diamond colorwork pattern. Cardigan features an upright collar worked in doubleknitting technique that is both reversible and wearable folded up or folded down. The doubleknitting continues down the overlapping front panels so that the underside looks equally pleasing as the outside and provides additional structure. The body and sleeves are worked in normal stranded colorwork knitting, with raglan shoulder shaping. The sleeve cuffs and bottom hem of the body are also worked in doubleknitting so that the fabric lies flat and looks neat on the underside. Cardigan is worked seamlessly and no steek is needed as the colorwork pattern is easy to work on the right side and the wrong side of the fabric.  Pattern is sized from 30″ / 76 cm to 60″ / 152 cm bust, with sizing increments every 2″ / 5 cm

Pattern Difficulty: Advanced. Pattern uses stranded knitting, stranded purling, doubleknitting, increases and decreases in stranded knitting, and grafting using Kitchener Stitch.

This is the first pattern I’ve ever rated as ‘advanced.’  Though, if you are comfortable with the above-listed skills, this is a very easy pattern to knit.  I decided to rate it ‘advanced’ simply due to the number of techniques involved – - as with anything, if you have the skills, it’s easy.  Personally, I love patterns that utilize different skills but are “easy”.  I designed the colorwork pattern to be easily “memorizable” – - I suspect that anyone who makes their way though the first repeat of the first chart will barely have to glance at the other charts for the rest of the sweater pattern.

That said, knitting this sweater is not for the faint of heart.  Consider this: a full length sweater worked with a combination of stranded knitting (and stranded purling!) as well as doubleknitting in fingering weight yarn.  It’s not one of those quick projects you can slam out in a weekend… or five weekends.  Even if you are going to knit the smallest size, you will be using almost 3000 yards / 2300 meters worth of yarn, and double that for the largest size.  This is a project for the Fearless Knitter.

As for what in the world I was thinking when I designed and knat this, it was my attempt to find a good way to use a handpainted yarn in a sweater.  I understand that the design of this sweater might be too bold for some, but I’ve always been drawn to boldness in fashion.

With regards to the handpainted yarn, I had a few skeins of the Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted sock yarn in the Crystal Colorway.  I thought it was such a beautiful yarn and I wanted to make a sweater with it, but even for me, handpainted yarns can be too bold for sweaters.  I tried a variety of different stitch patterns, swatched and swatched and swatched, until finally it occurred to me that I could combine it with a solid yarn and whip up a colorwork sweater.  BAM!

Sizing Information (click for larger view)

Materials Information

Yarn Main Color:Knit Picks Palette (fingering weight, 100% wool, 231 yards / 211 meters per 50 gram skein), Marine Heather Colorway – 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11 skeins

Yarn Contrasting Color: Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted (fingering weight, 75% merino, 25% nylon, 462 yards / 422 meters per 50 gran skein), Crystal Colorway – 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, skeins

Needles: One US 4 / 3.5 mm long circular needle for body and yoke, and set of US 4 / 3.5 mm double pointed needles for sleeves, or size to achieve gauge.

Gauge: 28 stitches by 36 rows = 4″ x 4″ / 10 x 10 cm in Colorwork pattern (stranded knitting) after blocking.

Notions: Stitch markers (6), stitch holders (4), tapestry needle, 1″ / 2.5 cm buttons (12)

Ravelry Pattern Page: Oblique Motion
  $7.00