Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Wardrobe Project 11/19/2014

I have been sewing and knitting pretty regularly.  I made a lovely floral print blouse from the same pattern as my white Lekala blouse, but didn't take any photos.  I made my first attempt at a bra for myself.  That one is in time out right now because of fit issues.  Most of my knitting lately is for Christmas gifts.  So nothing I can blog about there, either.

Yesterday I did some repairs on my kitty print pajama pants I made last year.  The drawstring waist was just not working in the knit, so I cut off that waist and put in a casing and 2 rows of 2/8 inch elastic instead.

Today I made a really bright pink tshirt to wear as the top with those kitty pajama pants:

The pink is a cotton double knit, and it seems like it got ruffly every time I did any topstitching.  I had similar issues with my grey double knit skirt. I had not stay stitched the neckline, but I wonder if that would have been enough or if I should have used stay tape or something.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Wardrobe Project 10/21/14

I have some recent finishes to share.  I will attempt to get more photos of the wardrobe project taken regularly, so that I can participate in Me Made Mondays.

Last week, I finished up my Antler Cardigan.  My knitting buddy Julie, of Knitting at Large, gave me this lovely yarn for my birthday back in March. It is Berroco Vintage, an acrylic/wool blend.  I knew as soon as she gave me the yarn that I wanted to make a round yoke sweater with it.  I needed to make many adjustments to the pattern to adapt it to fit me- I basically just recalculated all of the numbers for the sweater below the armpits, including the sleeves, to fit me, based on my swatch.  Then I needed to figure out how to transition to get the numbers to match up to the pattern to knit the yoke.  I also had to add repeats of the cable to make the yoke deep enough for me.  At the end, I knit the back neck shaping from Hiro to make the sweater sit better on my back neck area.

Bear with me, I am not good at arranging for photo shoots, but I do what I can!

Back view:

The grey knit pants were also made by me.  They are a heavy cotton jersey knit, and I drafted the pattern myself from an article in a special edition issue of Threads about fitting.

I have been on the lookout since I started back sewing, for patterns that are closer to fitting me as drafted, to avoid this Frankenpattern exercise for fitting:

This is just one sleeve!  I have been known to use an entire roll of Scotch tape for one garment! (Winter coat, I am looking at you!)

You can imagine my thrill, then, when I tried Lekala patterns.  This company offers a ton of patterns on their website, and you can get them custom made to your own measurements!  I made this cute white blouse with Lekala pattern 5114 from white cotton shirting I bought at JoAnns.  For this blouse I made the pattern mostly as drafted. I mistakenly neglected to enter the information that I have big arms, so I needed to add some to the width of the sleeves, but I am hoping to correct for that on future purchases. I was short on fabric so I left the cuff off of the sleeves, but I am not a big fan of cuffs anyway.  I also drafted a facing for the back neckline.  I love love love this blouse!

I am getting ready to make another version in some lovely cotton lawn I bought in a floral print.  I made a few adjustments for the next version- cutting off the big point on the collar, adding a couple of inches to the overall length of the blouse, and adding a little more ease at the bottom to try to prevent strain on the buttons when I sit.

I highly recommend Lekala patterns, with a few caveats. First, some may be put off because it comes as a PDF file that you have to put together.  I used glue stick for this, and honestly it was way easier than all of the taping I have to do to make a regular pattern fit me.  Since I plan to make this more than once, I traced the pattern pieces onto tracing paper for ease of storage, and threw the originals in the recycling bin.

Second, the instructions for Lekala patterns are notoriously bad.  This makes the unsuitable for beginners. I had to find instructions for putting in the collar on the internet. That was not a problem though, because I am a fairly experienced seamstress, I really just needed a reminder on how to do it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I Do Still Sew, Honest!

I have done a lot of sewing this year, but I flipped back through my posts and find that I do not do much sewing blogging.  I think my issue is totally the photography.  I do not have a sewing room, but sew in my bedroom.  As you can imagine that leads to a good amount of clutter.  Then since I don't have a mannequin, finished object photos mean me modeling, and most days my mental health is just not ready for that.

Last week I took this bundle I won at Sew Expo in Baltimore some time back:


and sewed the strips into sets of 3 and laid out this rail fence quilt for Project Linus.  (The lovely model in the photo above is my grandcat Stella.)


This Saturday is the first home game for JMU football.  We have season tickets so we can see our son play in the marching band (which let me tell you produces way less stress than we had watching him play football!)  I had bought a JMU tshirt, but I was not happy with the fit, so:




I slit the tshirt from top to bottom under the arm.  Then I sewed in tapered panels cut from purple fabric I got from JoAnn's in the section labeled "performance knits".  This fabric feels pretty nice, I might go back and get more and make an entire shirt!  Anyway, I cut the panels tapered to try to get more of an A-line shirt.  I hemmed the purple fabric to match the grey and now I have a comfy shirt to wear to the game!

Friday, September 05, 2014

On the Needles (and Hook!) Friday Sept 5, 2014

Last week I finished the fingerless mitts for Matt that I started a year ago!  I thought they would be good to wear for band practice once the weather turns cold, and he could still play the sax.  Since he lives off campus this year he might need more warm clothes for the bus stop this winter.

IMG_2584.jpg I used the Center Ice Hockey Mitts pattern.  I sized up the cast on to 51 stitches for his 10 inch wrists and took the thumb increases up to 17 stitches to be sure his thumb would fit in.

Last Saturday at knitting group, my knitting buddy Dottie was cleaning out her stash, so I scored a big batch of cotton yarn of the Peaches and Cream variety.  It was perfect timing, because I had been thinking all week about working on my crochet skills (or lack thereof) by making a shopping bag.  There was some red yarn in my treasure pile that would just fit the bill!

IMG_2588.jpg I am also concentrating on trying to finish up my Antler Cardigan so that I can wear it to JMU football games when the weather turns cool.  I am past the halfway point on the body.  I remembered too late that knitting a seamless sweater means endlessly long rows of knitting and this one is stockinette, but it will be great once it is done!

Linking up with Patchwork Times for On the Needles Friday...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Downton Abbey Exhibit

Last month I spent a week with a dear old friend.  We have been friends since we were in 6th grade or so, and I love visiting with her.  We took a day trip out to Winterthur to see their Downton Abbey costume exhibit.

The exhibit was fabulous and inspiring!

It was so interesting seeing the costumes up close.The details were really surprising- they really do not show up on camera.  There were dresses that had amazing textures or embroidery that were not shown that clearly on tv (although I will concede that I also do not have the best eyesight and should wear my glasses for tv watching!)

They also had a ton of information comparing life in the UK in that era to how the inhabitants of Winterthur would have been living.  That was a really interesting look into the details of history that we do not always hear about.  The relationships between the rich and their help were very different in the US than they were in the UK.

I enjoyed seeing Lady Edith's wedding dress.  My photo does not do it justice, but just the fabric was so lovely in person, and they had a mirror set up so we could see the details on the back.


It was wonderful to see the construction details on some of these garments.  Some were made with vintage materials, often mixed with modern fabrics for structural support.  Sometimes there would be components that were hand beaded or embroidered long ago, which they would use as part of a larger garment.


This red dress was my favorite in the whole exhibit!  I forget who wore it, but the front panel is beautiful beaded flowers, and there are a ton of layers that create a flowy feel, but still provide the needed structure.  I love the lace sleeves!

We are planning a return trip before the exhibit ends, and to see an embroidery exhibit that is there now as well.

Friday, August 08, 2014

On the Needles Friday Aug 8, 2014

Holy crap it's August! Well things got a little crazy this summer, but there really is no excuse.

I just finished my Celaeno shawl, which I started nearly 2 summers ago.  The yarn was bought in Princeton NJ when we took our son there for a football camp. The yarn is Isager Strik Alpaca 2.  It is really soft, and has a bit of a fuzzy haze to it.  I added silver lined purple beads and I really love it.

 This month I started new socks for the OpArt sock knitalong, Alhambra.  I am using 2 colors of knitpicks stroll.  These socks will match a sweater I am planning in similar colors.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for on the needles Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I am trying to knit my way through the book Op Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden.  This is the second book I am knitting through- I have almost knit all of the socks in by CookieA.  (That one is evidently a collector's item based on the Amazon pricing!)

I am knitting Op Art Socks with a group, and the April/May sock is Albers.  Albers is knit in a very unique way- you start by knitting squares, then join them together with stair step modules.  At some point my sock looked like this:

...and to be honest I could not imagine how on earth this was a sock!

Then I sewed up the leg seam and knit the heel and sole, and it did turn into a sock, but one that was already longer than my foot before I even knit the toes!

To fix this issue, I sewed a double row of stitching on my sewing machine around the sock where you see the orange marker on my foot.  I cut the end off the sock (eek!), and then picked up stitches on the edge and knit the toes.  This gave me a wearable sock.  Now I just need to finish the other one!

Linking up with Patchwork Times, on the needles!