Sunday, September 27, 2009

Central Park Hoodie

Here is a new sweater for my crazy lovely daughter:

It is the Central Park hoodie from the fall 2006 issue of Knitscene. This sweater is pretty popular on Ravelry, which I didn't get until I needed something cute and easy for the child who decided to go to college up by the Canadian Border. (Ok, it's only an hour-and-a-half away from Seattle. Not like it's in Alaska. But I worry about her getting cold.) It was a very straightforward and easy knit. Although, it took me nine months to finish it. Yep, I started it in February. What should have taken me a maximum to two months, took me nine. Mostly due to knitting ennui. I go through not-so-interested-in-knitting phases, and this one was quite a long one. But, I finally got it all together for her before the weather started to turn.

One other thing of note is that it is knit with Lion Brand Wool-Ease (a wool and acrylic blend.) I, like most knitters, am easily seduced by lovely yarn, although I am less likely to spend as much as I would on fabric. (Although I am kinda cheap there too.) Wool-Ease is pretty low on the glamour scale, but I find it has a place in my knitting. I have a couple of Wool-Ease sweaters for myself, and I find the yarn is good for basic workhorse items that I wear all the time. I almost always make my daughter's sweaters of this yarn because it is machine washable and dryable, and even at 19 she is unlikely to handwash anything. Nor do I want her to. At this age, I don't want her to view homemade sweaters as a burden. Much better that she get some use out of all my hard work instead of worrying about ruining everything.

I have a feeling that I am going to have to make the buttonholes smaller, or the buttons bigger, but she is testing it out right now to make sure. All in all a worthwhile project. Before I start a new sweater, I need to finish a sweater vest that has been sitting around for over a year. Ack!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pencil Skirt

Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Pencil Skirt:

I cut this out about nine months ago and never got around to sewing it. I think I cut out a size smaller that I usually did and then realized that I quickly outgrew that size. Crap. But, I held onto it, and when I recently lost weight, I thought I would just put it together and see what happened. It's perfect around the hips, but a smidge too loose in the waist. Still wearable. If I make it again, I will make the darts a little wider. (If I try to take it in at the side waist, I will never ever ever get the hip curve right. Take my word for it.)

This was super simple to sew. Waist and skirt are lined with black polyester lining, the zipper is hand picked. I also like the very deep hem. (also done by hand.) The fabric is a yummy black wool crepe that I bought at Fabric Mart. I am not overly fond of the Plain and Simple A-Line skirt cut, but I really like the pencil skirt. I imagine this will become a staple in my wardrobe.

Next up, a new sweater for Io.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Vogue 2902

First off, here is a picture of Bradie in the dress. Two things: the bust wrinkle in the picture is not there in real life and we were in a hurry to get to the fair, so the picture could have been better.

Let me assure you, this is not how Bradie is going to style this dress. She bought special red heels and I made her a little belt to match the yoke. She was super excited to get the dress and told me she had never worn anything that fit so well. Ha!

Simplicity 2614

It's hard to see the details of this top because of the busy print, so this is about as good a picture as I could get. You can just see part of the neck tie at the top. This was a fun blouse to make, and I like the tie and sleeve variations. With the right fabric, this pattern has a retro feel, and I can see myself making up a bunch of these. (This one is made from a very light weight cotton lawn that I bought from fashion fabric club.)

I got to use both my narrow hem foot and my edgestitch foot, and this was my first time making a mostly bias garment. The fit is really good except for some pooling at the back waist, so I am going to try to a swayback adjustment on a muslin for the next iteration.

I am currently working on a Hot Patterns' pencil skirt in a beautiful black wool crepe. All I have left is the waistband. It's still a little warm in Seattle, but I am going to need it for some functions coming up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vogue 2902

Yay!!! I am finally done with Bradie's dress. (Vogue Vintage reissue 2902.) This is not a great picture of the dress, but it will suffice for now. I am hoping to nab a photo of Bradie trying it on before we go to the Puyallup Fair on Saturday.

Here is a better shot of the bodice:

This dress is fully lined (bodice with self fabric and skirt with polyester lining.) The fabric is cotton and I needed a little over 4 yards. Here is a picture of the inside of the dress:

The lining could be a little longer, but I had some issues with the hemming. After several false (or bad) starts, I ended up applying a navy, store-bought bias tape to the hem, which I think looks really good.

There is even a little inside belt to help the dress from pulling too much on the shoulder straps. (it provides some support.)

There was a lot of hand sewing on this dress: The yoke attachment, inside lining, and inside belt. It wasn't very complicated to sew at all, but it took me so long because I kept getting sick. I used two new pressure feet on this (edgestitch and narrow hemmer) and I have to say, I don't know how I ever lived without them. I am sooooo happy to learn new stuff.

I also have a new blouse, Simplicity 2614, which is my new favorite blouse pattern.

I can't get a decent flat picture of it, so I will try to get a shot of it when I am wearing it on Saturday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The New Look

It has been a lot of fun looking at everyone's Chanel-styled jackets at Go Chanel or Go Home, and I debated for awhile about joining in (I could sure use the skill-building,) but as I thought about it, I realized that the Chanel jacket is not the jacket for me. Don't get me wrong, I love Chanel: past and present. However, I have really never been much of a fan of the jacket. For me, the true love jacket is from Dior's New Look Period.

photo by Willy Maywald.

I love the fitted top, wasp waist, and wide bottom (the better to wear with a full skirt.) I am going to think very hard about trying to recreate something similar. (But maybe not accommodate such a full skirt.) Since I have never made a fitted jacket before, I will probably start with Vogue 8333.

This style does not have the little peplum thingy, but I think it is a great place to start while I do more research and look at vintage patterns. I have a Claire Shaeffer pants pattern, that I have never made btw, and the instructions look thorough enough that I don't think I will be too intimidated.

Coming up next, a new blouse and Bradie's vintagey dress.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quilting Cottons and Other Stuff

Hey! I have not completely disappeared from the planet, although I have been sick and not sewing much. (I have a mystery stomach ailment that has been making me pretty miserable. Although not as miserable as the antibiotics they put me on for a condition it turns out I do not have.) I am almost done with Vogue retro reprint 2902, and I recently bought a whole lot of patterns for fall, so I am hoping to get a few things done this month.

But let's get down to today's topic of interest: sewing with quilting cottons. I've read a few blog entries lately where folks were adamantly against it for a variety of reasons: fabric not suitable for clothing, not really cost effective, looks home-ec. I am a huge offender in this area. I try to make items that will suit the fabric (like my T-Shirt substitute pattern and skirts) and sometimes I fail grandly. There is just something about these fabrics that I really like. I have branched out to more conventional apparel options, but I think quilting cotton still has an appeal. (I also think it is especially easy for new sewists to handle.) I understand the arguments against it, but in the end I think it is fine to sew with whatever fabric you want. No matter how amateurish or Becky-Home Ecky your final garment looks. If you had fun making it and you feel good wearing it, what's the problem? If I wanted my clothes to look ready-to-wear, I would buy ready-to-wear. But I seldom do. I want my clothes to look better or weirder or whateverer, and sometimes I am, in fact, going for a Becky-Home Ecky vibe. I love having the option to make whatever I want, no matter how stupid it is. It's why I sew.

Up next, pictures of the new Vogue dress and some future projects. Have a good weekend!