Before I left for my birthday drinks & dinner, I was able to hop outside really quick and take some photos of my newest make & official first make towards my 2016 Vintage Pledge.
I feel so very 50’s with my blouse & hair even though I’m wearing thoroughly modern jeans.
I can’t believe it’s already May and I’m only now posting up my first ‘vintage garment’ of the year. While I did post about my 1940’s suit, it technically wasn’t made in 2016 – just blogged about – so it didn’t seem fair to add it in as an official Vintage Pledge Garment.
Oh and hello Me-Made-May, I am totally participating in you too!
I don’t have enough bottoms to feasibly wear more than 1 item per day – but I consider it a win if I do. So I’ve just committed myself to wearing one me-made article each day.
Back to my blouse…
I used the Spadea N-1149 pattern, I personally call it my Katharine Hepburn pattern. It was a very happy day when I finally snagged this off ebay a couple of years ago!
I love Katharine Hepburn and her movies. I think she’s utterly lovely but she had a dislike of her neck so you can always spot her in fashionable, high-necked dresses, tops, or sporting a scarf. This Charles LeMarie (aka Spadea) design is no exception.
Image courtesy of Blonde at the Film (Quick aside: I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole that is The Blonde at the Film; such a great site full of old, new-to-me movies and love all of the drool-worthy stills.)
Katharine even wore a short necklace on top of the dress to ensure the neckline stayed closed.
As you can see – I didn’t make a dress but I made up a little blouse instead.
- Raised the armscye up by 3/4″ – both on the bodice and the sleeves.
- Shortened the dress into a blouse height
- Shortened the sleeves to elbow length
- Omitted the cummerbund/belt
Fabric & Notions Used:
- Stretch Cotton via Emma One Sock, currently being re-ordered & in stock soon.
- Marcy Tilton also has some in the black colorway.
- Steam a Seam for easy hemming on sleeves and bodice
- Iron-On Interfacing for neckline/collar facing
My first iteration of this was a dress in green silk shantung for Christmas. But when I made up my muslin I made it short & loved the look of it. I knew I had to make up this dress but as a blouse later on. The idea ended up in that “When I have time I’ll do _______” category of makes; its not high priority but would be fun if I did. Somehow I just decided that now was the time to make it and I’m so happy I did.
Being a second make, it was supposed to be easy and effortless.
Shall I just say it was a horrible nightmare of a make and the scissor print is a pun on my mistake. Cutting!
I decided to cut this pattern late in the evening after a full day of something-or-other. The first piece (back bodice) was cut and then by the second (front bodice) I realized I had to cut it shorter than I intended. But… I accidentally cut it at the longer-length and had no room for the sleeves.
All in all, my cutting mistake meant I had to piece in one sleeve in the worst way possible – right across the arm. Ugh!
It was such a stupid mistake and I was just angry with myself… I mean I know better right?!?! But I still love this little top. Note to self: Don’t cut anything later than 10pm!
I used my scissor print on this top b/c I actually fell out of love with it shorty after purchase. I know….I know!
This top started off as an easy make, just something to wear around the house – gardening and whatnot since I didn’t care for the fabric anymore & I wouldn’t care if it got grubby.
But… now that it’s all sewn up I luuuv it and have since fallen back in love with my fabric – despite the horrible sleeve cutting error. (So far no one has noticed which I find both surprising and entertaining.)
Happy sewing and remember to think while you cut! :)
So much seems to be happening in my life right now and it feels odd to not share it – even if it isn’t about sewing/knitting.
My last blog post was about my initial planning of my veggie garden – since then my little seedlings have been growing non-stop.
(Cilantro, Sun-Flowers, and Spaghetti Squash)
It’s so fun to watch them grow and know that they’re all doing good and are happy in my basement light set-up. As a result, Felix and I had to get a move-on with building our raised planter boxes.
Felix and I have been spending the last few weekends working on these boxes. Boy are they huge! They’re each roughly 6×4 feet and I love the way they’re turning out.
We’ve been talking about & thinking about these boxes and the construction almost non-stop for a solid 3 weeks now.
I’ve been running errands to various garden stores – not an easy feat when you live in the city – and our supplies are busting at the seams.
I’m making a sub-irrigated type-system of planter bed. It basically will always have a reservoir of water at the bottom and the soil has to be *just right* for the moisture to wick up to the plant roots. I’m hoping they’ll work great for us and I’ll be able to water less over the summer and focus on other things while my veggies grow and feed us.
My parents are moving. My parents have been talking about moving out of the state for quite some time and all of a sudden it’s happening in less than a month from now. This is my childhood home and I really haven’t taken the time to address my feelings about it yet.
As happy as I am for my parents about this huge change, it’s going to be hard and I’m not looking forward to it. We have a lot of memories together in this house – lots of growing has been done here and it’s hard not to associate the house with all of those good & bad times.
And one more thing:
I don’t think it comes as a shock to anyone, but I’ve gained a bit of weight; I’ve gotten a bit… shall we say… thick. heh My clothes do still fit – but I know once summer comes, those won’t be fitting. Felix and I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it.
We’ve done South Beach diet in the past and each time we see less dramatic results. And that’s all right. I’m just focusing on eating right and the S.B. diet really helps us on that path. It’s a *reset* button for us/me to cut my addiction to all things sugar/chocolate and to re-train myself that protein & veggies are my friends.
And yes – we had one last indulgent meal at Bang Bang Pie Shop before S.B. day 1.
Okay… a bit of Crafting talk:
I’m still sewing/knitting – but it just feels silly to sew something I’ll just have to possibly alter in a few weeks. That being said – I’ve gotten creative while sewing up my garments.
I’ve been sewing my garments in a completely different way than pattern directions state. I’ve been attaching a bodice FRONT to the skirt FRONT, bodice BACK to skirt BACK – THEN – sewing the side seams from skirt hem to the sleeve hem in one long pass. I’m doing this so that I can super-easily alter any garments that may get too large (or small) at the side seams instead of having to unpick the whole waist seam to take out the side seams for more/less room.
Happy to share some images/how-to’s if you guys are interested.
Well… that’s about it for now. It’s a lot to contend with and Felix and I are staying very busy. Hopefully I’ll manage to get out this weekend and take a few photos of my recent makes – but if things go the way they’ve been going – I imagine I’ll be having garden box images to share instead. :D
I am so excited… I’m embarking on a new adventure – veggie gardening.
For the first time ever, I’m now able to start a veggie garden since I now have a usable backyard (more on that later). I’ve been waiting for this for over a year now…
I wasn’t able to get it started last year in time, so I had to wait a whole year since it just made more sense. I’m doing a modest start – modest but huge. heh
My mom is moving and she wasn’t able to give me a lot of the herbs and flowers that she generally starts in her basement for the spring – so in addition to starting some vegetable plants inside, I’m also undertaking starting flowers for my yard. What is a benefit of her move, is that she’s letting me use a bunch of her growing supplies: trays, cells, planter boxes, and even a grow light shelf thingie.
This is my first time ever starting any kind of plants from seeds. And to be completely honest, I’m kind of a black thumb – plants get hardy in my presence since I toughen them up with lack of water. lol Plants generally do die in my presence, so this is all very new to me. Complete newbie and having fun!
I’ve ordered the bulk of my vegetables from Baker Creek seed company – all non GMO and organic of course. Thanks Michelle! And a lot of the flower seeds come from Park Seed – thank you mom. :D
Some of these seeds are so small! I mean it makes sense, I just never really thought about it before.
This is a begonia seed – it comes in the mail in this capsule that you open:
The seed is then encased to make it larger:
I don’t exactly call that larger – but how small are they really is what I want to know!
I’ve already made my first rookie mistake – I didn’t pack the cells enough with seed starting mix. In my attempts to keep things nice and loose, I didn’t add enough soil & lightly pack it down. It’s not kept seedlings from starting (lucky me!) but I will be fixing that for next year. Like I said – rookie mistake. But now I know. I imagine I’ll be making a lot of these types of mistakes – but it’s okay.
I planted the first round of seedlings on Monday, March 14th (top shelf) & the the second round was planted on Thursday the 17th (bottom shelf). I should have started these a couple weeks ago, but I just wasn’t ready yet.
And just one week later, look!
The long greens is bunny-tail grass and right in front is my oh-so-happy Basil.
Yay – I didn’t kill anything, it’s actually growing!
Okay – it’s really small, but the cell in the upper section is my first little petunia coming through.
Another petunia coming through in the middle cell below:
Isn’t it so mini?!
As you can see I have quite the collection of plantings.
What’s on the docket for Flowers:
- Phlox (mix of colors)
- Bunny Tails Grass
- Begonias (reds mix)
- Bells of Ireland (which I found out are not Irish but are from Indonesia)
- Petunias (blue/purple mix)
- Zinnias (pink)
- Marigold (white)
- Dianthus (B&W)
- Chrysanthemum (golden ball yellow)
What’s on my veggie list:
- Green Peas
- Green Beans (bush variety)
- Yellow Beans (bush variety)
- Scallions (aka bunching onions)
- Summer Squash & Zucchini
- Spaghetti Squash
- Bell Pepper (red or yellow – can’t remember which off hand)
- Herbs: Parsley, Basil, Cilantro
- Lettuce: Butter lettuce, Beleah Rose lettuce, a romaine called Little Gem lettuce, and micro spring greens
Its a lot of stuff – but at the same time not exactly a ton of veggies. I’m hoping that this will be my learning year – well of course it will be. But I’m hoping to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and how to maximize space. I’m also hoping to start supplementing my bunnies’ lettuces and herbs from what we get from the grocery store. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully feed them from my garden, but supplementing it at the least while eating some yummy greens myself is what I’m aiming for.
Since I’m a researcher by trade, I have a notebook going of all of my planting info for each vegetable/flower and a section for my notes. It’s going well so far & I continue to find new information to add. My mom just laughs at me but at the same time I think she’s excited for me that I’m doing this – as she is a mega gardener and is always happy to help me.
Where is all of this going??
Felix (and I will help) are going to make raised Sub-Irrigated Planter beds this coming weekend.
We settled on this design via the Family Handyman (Click on image for the source)- after extensive searching on my part. This look and sub-irrigating design will hopefully work very nicely for us.
This is also very new for us – going to the store to build something on our very own without the assistance of Bob, my step-dad. It will be a good challenge for us but hopefully a do-able challenge.
Yay gardening! My new adventure is just beginning.
It feels totally silly to post up my winter knits now that the weather is turning to spring here in Chicago. But here we are, as I try to squeeze in as many of my winter garments from 2015/2016 onto the blog before it’s officially Spring.
Luckily the weather was still a bit chilly when we took these photos, as I still needed my down jacket.
Both of these small projects, I knit during the winter of 2014/15. Yes you’re reading that correctly. 2014/2015, as in last year; somehow I moved on to other projects before completing these two.
With the hat, I needed to finish that front gather section piece and the gloves were only waiting for me to weave in the ends. Totally silly…
Sometimes I just drop the ball at the very end and start knitting something else and forget about the earlier projects.
In any case, I did finally finish these up in early 2016. It put a little spring in my step to have a knit hat and gloves finished so quickly. :D
The hat pattern was a pretty quick knit. Yarn used?? I’m sorry to say have no idea. I made this so long ago with a remnant of yarn I had in my stash that I don’t even recall it. I know its a super wash worsted-weight wool, if that’s any help for you. It feels very squishy soft and has lots of stretch.
When I make hats, I generally just keep trying them on to figure out how long to make them & figure out my decreases at the crown on the fly (referencing the pattern of course). I often don’t even keep track of the changes as I generally only make one hat from a given pattern.
The one change I can tell you is that I knit a little band on the front instead of doing the yarn wraps that the pattern called for. I just think mine is a bit cleaner of a look in this way – personal preference change.
For the cable-knit gloves, I know I used a Cascade 220, worsted-weight yarn – which was also a stash buster for me. With my mini hands, I cast on fewer stitches than what was called for on the original Sm/Med sized glove. I just had to do a bit of refiguring to keep the cable sections centered on the front of the gloves.
I made this hat and glove set in this winter white to match all of my other winter accessories. I frequently knit a hat in say a bright purple and realize I have nothing else to match with it. Needless to say, I have many winter accessory orphans in my closet.
In the winter I look like a crazy, color-blind gal wearing a purple hat, green & white scarf with brown gloves. Not exactly the best look – especially from a maker of things.
So this glove and hat set – while it can be worn together quite easily, I made them to coordinate with all of my other colored pieces. (So I don’t look too crazy…)
Took these photos in front of an obliging fence on walk to Sunday brunch. As such, I tried to keep these as relaxed and natural, as this is what I generally look like on a Sunday morning. :D I do feel like I missed an opportunity for some victory rolls in this knit turban… perhaps next time.
Hello. I’m back today with a proper wrap dress – as in an actual wrap dress (not a faux wrap dress like my Wren).
I’m smitten with my classic, comfy wrap dress using Vogue 8784.
Technically this is a wrap dress for both woven & knit fabrics. I know right?!
I have yet to make this (or a muslin) in a woven material, but you can bet its high on my spring sewing list. I just made a muslin last night with a woven material – I was surprised that it fits very similarly to this knit version – I just need to add some wearing ease at the waist and bust and then I think I’ll be in business.
It was a chilly, yet sunny day so I had to wear my (prescription) sunglasses throughout; hopefully its not too distracting.
I got this fabric from my local fabric store in the remnants section. I knew I’d use it to make a dress & luckily I found two decent length pieces. I think this dress costs a whopping $10. It’s a mystery jersey, sweater knit fabric – probably a rayon-poly blend of some sort.
It’s not a jersey fabric per say – but has little tiny knit stitches on the face of the fabric. Most would call it a sweater knit, but it really behaves & moves like a jersey. I’m just trying to be as clear as possible here – as I learn more about knit fabrics myself I’m trying to help everyone else here understand what kind of fabric I’m talking about. Think about your perfect mid weight, yet semi-drapey cardigan and that’s what this is like.
It has lovely bold flowers of cream, peach and fire-engine red on a charcoal grey background. While the fabric already seems like its getting a worn look on the charcoal background, this thing doesn’t wrinkle! I keep it folded on a shelf and every time I pull it out to wear it – zero wrinkles. It’s amazing!
While I love florals – I am always very careful to avoid having the flower motifs fall on certain parts of my body. I’ve made this mistake on prior garments – but it really only takes one ill-placed flower to learn your mistake. I’m always pretty mindful that flowers/large motifs don’t fall on boobs/butts.
I made my usual alterations, but nothing crazy. I left the shoulders a bit wider than I normally do on my garments; they’re not dropped shoulders but they do fall off the edge a bit for a more square/modern look. I’ll just say this is my go-to dress for work now; I pair it with all colors of tights and shoes/boots for the winter.
This dress pattern called for a lining. Being a sweater knit fabric, I really didn’t want to line this. Instead I drafted my own neckline binding; one piece for the back neck and 2 pieces for each wrap front. I made sure to leave the length around 2″-3″ shorter than what I needed as to help pull in the bodice wrap section to prevent gaping.
No safety pins needed for this wrap dress!
The binding only goes as far down as the front wrap piece at the waist. After that I just did a simple fold (twice over to encase the raw edge) and stitch on the skirt edges, utilizing my favorite knit sewing notion (steam a seam, lite), in 1/2″ width.
I love using steam-a-seam on my knit edges. It keeps everything quite stable and even (no rolling edges) while I do the final stitching. I accidentally bought the regular steam a seam (not lite) and I’m fighting my way through it. The regular stuff is really too heavy for knit fabrics – it seems more for woven quilting purposes. I used the 1/4″ width on my sleeve hems for a nice narrow finish & a zig zag stitch.
I should mention… I’ve never used a dual needle top stitch finish before. I have the needle, but I’ve found that no one ever really notices my stitching (except for me) and I’m happy living with the zig-zag stitch since it’s really so easy to do.
You can see a tiny bit of the zig-zag hem here too – along with my new, favorite shoes.
I’ve always loved the vintage snow booties, but they never come in my size. I was totally stoked to find these calf-hair version in the kids section of Nordstrom’s this past winter. Love them so much. :D
For this dress, I actually used the sleeves that came with the pattern. Due to the square shoulders of the dress, the cap of the sleeve was a bit shallower than my Renfrew sleeves and they worked better for this bodice. The sleeves on this one ended up a bit loose, but it works. Will modify for next time, no big deal.
I love this skirt; nice and full & swingy when I walk. The skirt is catching on my tights a bit; I have since lost my 1/2 slip to prevent the tights/dress cling. Seriously… its like it walked out of my house, I can’t find it anywhere! I have no idea where it would have gone… If you see it around, please send it back home to me.
That’s all I have for you guys on this. An easy, effortless, and classic wrap dress. I want a closet full of these, as they’re so great to pull on and go. Hopefully my woven version will be just as effortless to make as this one has been.
When the Wren dress was launched by Colette Patterns a couple of months ago – I couldn’t help myself and bought the paper pattern immediately.
I love the shoulder gathers and the faux-wrap effect so much so, that I started in on it as soon as it arrived. But I already knew from seeing a couple of other versions made up that I didn’t like the way the sleeves were hanging/fitting nor did I like the skirt.
Now I’m not going to sugar-coat anything – no ablogagizing here either today – just me telling my honest opinions. Okay let’s do this thing! :D
I’ve since learned that when I purchase a Colette pattern, they do need a lot of bodice modifications for them to fit me correctly. I always have to raise the armscye and sometimes the bust area is off. I already know this before I purchase any one of their patterns; that it will need some fitting & muslins to work. I don’t think this is an issue, they’re just draft for a different body than mine – but everything I’ll state goes beyond this.
Ugh- my photographer (and I) did not see that my bunny belt isn’t fully clasped. :(
I’ve sewn enough patterns by now to know if its *me* or if it’s *the pattern*.
I’m generally happy to make modifications for design changes – like using a slim skirt from a different pattern instead of a full skirt as given. But I dislike doing is using a different pattern’s sleeves because the original ones don’t hang/fit nicely.
From the get go – I decided to ignore the Wren sleeve use a sleeve that works on me – Sewaholic’s Renfrew sleeve. It’s a basic knit sleeve that just works on all of my knit bodices.
Wren Sleeve below in white, Renfrew Sleeve on top:
I cut the size 8 Renfrew sleeve btw. You can see how much narrower & fitted my Renfew sleeve is compared to the xs size of the wren.
I decided to use a different pattern’s sleeve for two reasons 1.) I didn’t want to bother fitting a different knit sleeve and 2.) The Wren sleeve has excess fabric at the armpit. When I was first seeing this dress made, the sleeve just looked off. There seemed to be a bit of fabric pooling near the underarm area – one of my pet peeves – and I just decided to use what already works for me. I could have re-fit the Wren sleeve, but why waste my time?!
On to the bodice…
I made up my muslin in some light-weight rayon knit that I had laying around and you guys – it was bad! So bad….
I quickly realized that the fit of the dress fully depends on the negative ease in the knit fabric – the bodice gets it shaping from the the stretch in the fabric.
The wrap of the bodice is where the majority of the ‘fit’ comes from – not really the side seams or darts (no darts in a knit generally). On a knit dress – this may seem fine but you guys it wasn’t. If you pull the bodice fronts (that cross over section) too tight the whole front of the bodice lifts up to your boobs – if you leave the bodice fronts too loose and you have a gaping mess.
On lots of the dresses I’ve seen, people are either sitting down or are wearing belts to hide the fact that the bodice is pulling up the waistline, the center part of the skirt. All of this is due to the bodice fit.
You can see my front waistline is slightly higher than the back.
This doesn’t seem as much of an issue on the fitted skirt version as it is on the gathered skirt version. You see the tightness of the skirt (the negative ease) is what they’re using to get a good fit and when the skirt is also tight everything seems to balance out with the bodice. Not so much for the gathered or full skirt.
I get that this is all a bit sticky – if you’re using a knit fabric, you sure can! use the stretchy nature of it to your advantage to create a nice fitted silhouette! I love having negative ease in my own knitted jumpers. But Wren…. the negative ease with that cross front on the bodice causes issues in the fit.
On top of all of this – did you notice that barely anyone’s dress ends at their true waist?? The bodice looks like a long empire or high waisted dress. Perhaps this is design decision, but I like my dresses’ waistline to land on my actual waist.
The Pattern Pieces:
These are my bodice front pattern pieces. The pink lines is what I used for my first muslin.
The pink lines/modifications should have worked, as I picked the size on the envelope that fits with my measurements. Sizes which I’ve used in the past that work for me & their patterns.
The outside lines is the second alteration – what I had to do to get it to fit AFTER the horrible first muslin.
I always know that I have to raise the armscye on my bodices so that’s not a biggie. And I frequently grade from one size to the other from waist to bust. But look how much more I had to raise the armscye and shoulder!
This is what helped get the bodice longer but you see I added about 1/2″ to the bottom bodice in the front too. And the neckline piece (piece on the right), I had to cut between the Large and XL size on the length and width.
The size Large corresponds to a 40-42″ bust. LOL In NO WAY do I have that large of a bust, I have more of a 35″ bust and 32″ under-bust measurement.
And do I even need to remind anyone that I’m short-waisted?? Mega-petite coming up on 4’11” in height.
What you all might be thinking – ‘Well, Liz if your fabric isn’t stretchy, of course you’d need to cut a larger size.” My fabric was as stretchy and wonderful as could be. If anything I had more stretch than need in the pattern, so that can’t be it.
Here is the back bodice piece:
Again the pink is the first cutting line that should have worked via my measurements & the pattern measurements on the envelope.
To be fair – I did raise the back neckline for my own personal preference. But I had to add so much length to this back piece – less than the front. But if you recall – my front bodice was still a bit short in comparison to the front of the bodice.
All of this is just-plain-off.
Overall, construction on my dress was a breeze. My skirt went in without a hitch – even though I used a skirt from a different pattern. I sew in my knit skirts using a zig-zag stitch. Since I had a full skirt, I applied some clear elastic to the seam allowance to keep it taught, but stretchy. Then I serged it, catching the edge of the waist’s seam allowance together with the elastic. (Sorry I forgot to add in that photo.)
For all of the hems, the instructions state to turn & press the seam allowance, then stitch it down – including the neckline. Since I didn’t feel like fussing with drafting even more on this dress, I just followed the instructions. And I regret it.
Knit necklines, I’ve found, almost NEED a separate neck band. It helps keep everything in shape and for a wrap dress, it would help keep the neckline from gaping.
My knit fabric is lovely – one of my purchases I made in Paris last September. It has great recovery and feels so soft to the touch. So the fact that my neckline has gaped with wear – only highlights the fact that this needs a separate neck band.
Again, I know it’s not my fabric since no other area has had an issue with gaping or stretching out without being able to recover. I now have to pin my neckline closed so it doesn’t gape.
I’m disappointed by this pattern. Even knowing I would have to make modifications for fit – I modified way too much on the Wren knit dress than on any other knit tees or dresses I’ve made in the past. The sleeve has too much upper arm ease, the waistline is too high, the cross-fronts on the bodice raises the waistline higher, and there is no neckline band included in this pattern – causing me to draft my own for any future makes.
All that being said – I do love my Wren. But it’s not a result of the pattern, but of my own modifications I’ve had to do on it. I feel like I could have modified one of my own wrap dresses that I’ve made to include neckline gathers, which is the only design feature that I love about the Wren dress.
It’s with very mixed feelings that I’ve even written up this blog post. Colette patterns are the reason why I started sewing in the first place. I wanted to make their dresses so I learned how to sew, just so I could make a Macaron. But now… not so much.
It’s fine if you don’t agree with me. I just couldn’t, in all honesty, post up this dress without stating my hardships with it.
When I saw the Riptide sweater pop up on Ravelry, I just knew I had to make it!
After blogging about my 1940’s suit, I bet Riptide is not exactly the sweater you all think I would knit – and I admit, I’m right there with you. I tend to fall on the side of ‘vintage modern’ and this sweater is totally ultra-modern, probably best worn with leggings. I’ll never – ever wear leggings – they are just not made for someone like me. lol Fine on other people of course… But I digress.
After I accidentally felted/shrunk my Channel Cardigan so bad it couldn’t be saved, I was in the market to knit up a new, cozy cardigan. Something to keep me warm on the coldest of days in my house – which can get down to a chilly 57 degrees on the worst of days.
I started to knit this one, but the intricate cable pattern was taking too long and the days were quickly getting colder here in Chicago. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the Brooklyn Tween Winter 2015 pattern launch – within two days I had gone to my LYS to buy yarn and I cast on that same day.
Just shy of two weeks later I had a wonderfully warm sweater knit up.
I bought 7 skeins of Beroroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in Indigo, a wonderful navy blue color. My LYS only had 7 of the 10 skeins that I needed. I bought the 7 thinking I could find the extra three on Ravelry or elsewhere online.
Lucky for me – I ended up not needing those 3 skeins after all. I was perfectly on gauge with this sweater so it’s quite odd that I used far less yardage than was required. It was a blessing in disguise that I was not able to get all the yarn, as it would have been a waste. (I even have 3/4 of my last skein that is unused).
Before I get ahead of myself, I should add: I hate chunky weight yarn. I dislike it with a passion! You see… the patterns I’ve always used with Chunky weight yarn were patterns that had negative ease. Me, chunky weight yarn, and negative ease = disaster. I never, ever wear the projects I’ve made with that combination, not even for lounging around the house. Case in point #1, and case #2. Sure they’re great looking garments – I just don’t feel very good in them. I feel like a sausage in a large casing. Can’t say it any better than that.
But this sweater… is a horse of a different color! I’m smitten with it. I am a convert. I’ll still never knit up anything with negative ease that uses a chunky weight yarn – but I’m no longer writing off this yarn like I had in years’ past.
I was determined to keep this knit simple, with very little modifications, if any. It’s such a generously sized sweater I didn’t see the point in making modifications…
What I did modify is as follows:
- Cast-on in between the smallest and 2nd smallest size at the hem. Decreased more frequently to arrive at the smallest size at the bust.
- Shortened the yoke by 6 rows.
More details on my modifications can be found on my Ravelry Riptide project page.
Being knit in a chunky yarn – it was a really quick knit. I technically knit this up (twice) in 2 weeks.
Knowing I wanted an ultra large, layering sweater I knit it in the second smallest size giving me the recommended positive ease as stated in the pattern. I knit all the way up to the armpits and realized it was too large. It was so big it would have been roomy even on Felix. I frogged the whole thing and cast on once again.
Once I got the to fancy yoke cable decreases & Brioche stitch I was confident I knew how to knit the Brioche stitch without any pattern directions. Well… I was very wrong.
I know the Brioche stitch when knitting flat – not when knitting in the round. So once again I had to frog all the way back to the yoke and re-knit the upper bodice & neckline once again. I could have left it as it was, but I really liked the defined stitches so I chose to fix it.
So technically – I knit this one sweater twice in two weeks.
Like I said a million times already, good thing it was a quick knit!
My favorite part of this sweater (besides how wonderfully comfy it is) is the cable decreases. These kind of decreases were not only fun to knit but this method of yoke decreases really does fit my narrow shoulders much better than a raglan yoke decrease pattern. You can bet I’ll be on the lookout for more sweater designs with this type of construction in the future.
You’ll never guess what I did after this…. I found some languishing yarn in my stash and knit a second one. :D But I’ll save that for next time.
I’ve long since wanted a vintage suit in my wardrobe, somehow stars aligned and I felt compelled to finally make one for my very own.
This pattern I used is McCall’s 5094, a sweet little suit from 1943.
Looking back on my Etsy purchases, I bought this suit back in 2011 – if you can believe it! I bought it because at the time I loved the spring suit look (view B) and knew it would look divine in a swingy rayon.
Instead, I made this up in view A, but I made my sleeves full-length.
I knew that I would get much more wear out of this during the winter in long sleeves than I would in shorter ones. I used a mid-weight wool crepe in a muted blue that I had in my stash. I had intended this wool crepe to be used on a different dress, but oftentimes things get reallocated, and I had enough yardage in this one fabric to make both the top and the skirt.
Besides my normal fitting adjustments on the bodice, one major modification I made was to the skirt. The skirt is a very simple one, rectangles that are simply gathered at the waist – aka a dirndl skirt. I cut out my fabric and basted in the waistband to check the fit with the bodice – it was awful!! The skirt was so full at the waist with all of the gathers it looked like I was wearing a sac and the peplum stuck out at the oddest angle because of it.
I wish I had pictures to show you just how bad it was… Suffice it to say I took at least 6 inches (on the fold!) out of each skirt piece. I nearly reduced the skirt fullness in half and it now looks much closer to the pattern envelope. I could have gotten two skirts out of the original fabric pieces.
It may have been an appropriate skirt if I was using a light weight fabric like a silk crepe de chine or a rayon – but in my wool crepe it was just too puffy-looking.
This is one of my favorite makes of 2015, and really, it holds a place in my top 5 outfits I’ve made, of all time. It’s not a garment that gets frequent use in my wardrobe, but I love it ohh soo much. It’s one of those unique, chic pieces that I can now always turn to when I need something a cut above the rest or for work functions.
I have a propensity to make all sewing projects more complicated than they need to be. I purposefully wanted to keep this suit simple so that I could finish in time for a deadline (a presentation I was giving at work). True to form, one thing led to another and I found myself adding lining to the bodice and making my own shoulder pads.
Felix and I ventured out to the University of Chicago campus for these photos. There’s wonderful architecture down there and I knew it would be a perfect backdrop to pair with this suit.
While the University is extremely close, I haven’t made the time to walk around as much as I should – what with all of our house work and winter upon us. So driving down to scout out cool locations for blog photos is a wonderful excuse for us to see more and more of campus.
I don’t think I addressed it before but my hair – it’s now brown. :D I loved my pink hair and I kept it pink for a full 9 months. But it was so much upkeep I couldn’t handle it anymore and I thought it was time for a change. Do I miss my pink hair – Yes! But I could only wash my hair ONCE a week in order to keep the pink from fading until my next 6 week refresh. And I do love being blonde (my natural hair is an ash blonde) – but I wanted to try something different – and chestnut brown seemed like a nice change of pace.
This is my first time setting my brown hair too.
While nearly ever outfit I think “Gosh this would be even cuter with pink hair” I think the brown looks nice and rich. Perhaps I’ll go blonde again in the summer months, but for now, the dark brown is continuing to grow on me.
Happy Sewing you guys!
As many of you know, we lost Quincy to (basically) old age last November. He was such a sweet tempered, easy going bunny – his loss left a hole in our hearts.
What got me through was giving Phineas all sorts of extra attention these past few months. I luuuv my little Finn.
He’s the perfect combination of sassy, fun, affectionate and it only helps that he’s adorably-Disney-cute. Since Quincy passed, Phineas just hasn’t been himself. He perked up again after a month or so, but there were still spots in the house he would no longer venture alone. He needed his old pal, Quincy, to give him the courage to hop into the dark corners to explore – he needed that companionship.
Felix and I started to talk about adopting right around Christmas & New Year’s. I was getting the itch to get a pal for Phineas and I admit – I love having two bunnies in the house. Of course if it were up to me, I’d be living in a house with micro pigs, dogs, birds, lambs, alpacas and more. But we finally agreed that we could handle a second bunny, once again.
We spent a long Saturday visiting 2+ shelters and met all manner of bunnies. At the end of the day, I formed a top-5 list and at the top of the list was Janis Hoplin (aka Daisy).
Daisy, a former classroom bunny, was listed at the shelter as being cage-aggressive. After (no doubt) getting poked for a year in a classroom, she was a bit skittish and protective of her space. I really can’t blame her.
When I first met her, I stuck my hand in her cage to pet her in and boy did she she react! She lunged at my hand to scare me off, like she was going to bite me (but didn’t). Of course I pulled my hand out asap as I didn’t want to get bit. But then I tried again.
I moved slow and she reacted in the same manner, but this time I didn’t flinch. She puffed up her body and reluctantly let me pet her. She slowly relaxed and seemed to like what I was doing. I pulled my hand away to see what she would do and she followed it – begging for more. She got to the point where her body was almost falling out of the second-story cage opening as she was leaning into my torso enjoying all the attention I was giving her. I was smitten!
We waited until the following weekend to bring Phineas in to meet her and a couple of the other bunnies – but mainly her. If Phineas didn’t like her – all bets were off. Luckily Phineas seemed to be okay in her presence and it was a quick and easy decision to bring her home with us that very day.
I’ve purposefully waited to share our new addition since 1.) We didn’t decide on her name and 2.) We were waiting until her and Phineas were bonded together.
Since bringing Daisy home – I’ve been working with her a great deal on her manners.
It was pretty clear that she hasn’t lived in a home setting before. She also wasn’t used to having a pen space, but was always living in a cage. But most of all, I’ve been working with her on her cage-aggression. After having 3 bunnies before Daisy, I knew that we could help her. While I adopted her because I felt a connection with her, I also had a hunch that no other family was going to give her the best chance like we would/could. She just needed some extra attention & patience and I knew she’d come around.
The first week she was home with us, I didn’t do any bonding sessions with her and Phineas, but was just trying to get her settled and calm. I frequently sat in with her, invading her space. Of course she didn’t like it, but she was also terribly desperate for attention and pets. She wanted me to pet her for over 30 mins straight and would grunt and stomp at me whenever I stopped or if I moved something in her pen, even an inch. Not very lady-like manners if I say so myself.
The more I sit down with her and re-teach her the proper manners (ie grunts & lunging will get you no where) the better behaved she’s becoming. She gets plenty of attention from me, but knows that if I stop, it’s okay; that more attention will come later.
She’s come such a long way in the last 3 weeks, but we still have a little ways to go. She no longer stomps at me (much) and hasn’t lunged at my hands for a week now. And after 5 bonding sessions with Phineas they’re now paired in the same space together – which is huge!
I can’t say they’re fully bonded, but they are co-living together which really is amazing! She still acts a bit skittish – but still… she’s only been with us for 3 weeks and I know she’ll calm down with some more time. She’s quickly turning into Phineas’ partner in crime.
She’s officially Phineas’ partner in crime! Since last Friday, they’ve been housed together and they’ve become such great pals. Phineas already has the confidence to hop into previously uncharted territory & Daisy is far less skittish than she previously was. Her manners are improving exponentially, she’s such a dear. It’s the most wonderful thing seeing these two buns binky around each other and chase each other for fun.
I met with some other very wonderful bunnies who could have also worked well for Phineas (thinking of you Charmin and Chase) – I wish I could adopt them all and give them all happy homes. If Felix didn’t keep me rational, I would be be that crazy bunny lady with a house full of them. For some inexplicable reason, I just felt that connection with Daisy and knew she needed to come home with us. I hope she feels the same way. :D
Welcome home, Daisy!
P.S. If you click the bunny at the top of the page on the right, it will take you to all of my bunny-related blog posts.
Nancy, a stand-alone pattern from Susan Crawford has long been in my queue to knit up. It is such a charming jumper, perfect for a chilly spring or fall.
I had all sorts of bits of extra Excelana yarn after making Tasha’s Victory Beret (yet to be blogged), that I knew I wanted to try to use them up. Since this jumper called for the same yarn in several of the colors I needed, I decided to stick with the original colors.
I could have modified a couple of the colors to what I already had in my stash… I just couldn’t bring myself to alter it. The color scheme is a major reason why I love it so much – I really can’t see it any other way. After getting my yarn & pattern purchased, I was off to the races.
I now have to admit: I completed this pretty little jumper last Spring. I finished it just as it was getting warm out, so I was unable to wear it until the weather turned cold once again this past fall. And….well… then I realized I had absolutely nothing to wear with it. This pretty little jumper ended up an orphan in my closet. :(
My Nancy jumper was a smidgen too long for my full skirts. I also don’t have any color-appropriate slim skirts in my winter wardrobe that would match this either. Nothing that I had in my closet seemed to work with it.
As I was shopping for my Paris trip last September, I bought these cute little cranberry pants and I knew they would work with my top. I know they’re not a 100% match, but after having this jumper languish for so long, I was fine with a 90% color match.
When I was inspecting the pattern instructions, one thing that stuck out to me was how wide the sleeves were at the armscye/bicep. I believe I cast on for the set amount of stitches & quickly realized it was just too large for me.
Even though I re-figured the entire sleeve and the fit is better than the original, I am still not completely satisfied with the fit. The more I make raglan styles, the more I am dissatisfied with how they fit on my shoulders/upper body. I just hate having that extra fabric at my armpit-fold area.
Additionally I decided to knit (just the sleeves) in the round. This took a bit of refiguring as the pattern stitch was written to be knit flat & I had to modify the stitch pattern to be knit un the round. Knitting a sleeve in the round gave me every opportunity to fit as I went along. If I were to knit them flat, I wouldn’t really ‘see’ how they fit until I went to seam them to the bodice.
As much as I dislike the extra-fabric-at-my-armpit issue, I’ve worn this sweater all fall & winter long. Since we’re having such a mild winter this year in Chicago, its given me the opportunity to wear this little jumper all season long.
As you know, I’ve haven’t been posting very regularly on my little ‘ole blog. There have been so many distractions in my life lately that this is the last thing I had time to do. Many of you have surmised that I’ve been too busy to sew or knit – which I have to say is NOT the case. I am ohh soo backed on posting my projects, that its kinda crazy. What I have been pretty decent about is posting quick pics on instagram.
As 2016 is now in full swing I’m recommitted to braving the cold, setting my hair, and getting outside to take some photos of my makes (also known as making Felix come outside to take my picture.) Stay tuned for more as I get my act together to share with you everything that I’ve been up to.
Cheers & happy knitting.