November 27, 2014

Coup de Coeur

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Hats,Knitting,Sewing,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 21:13

I recently developed an inexplicable but undeniable urge to knit a red hat. It had to have ear flaps and it had to be Malabrigo. Do you ever get these fixations? And the immense, trivial, satisfaction when you find all of these things condensed into one item?

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This was taken a few days. It’s since been finished and graced with a white pompom. I have enough left for mitts. I think they might need to have matching pompoms too!

On the sewing front, this has been happening:

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I rejected a bow thanks to adequate floweriness but there are gathers. Finished soon, I hope.

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November 24, 2014

Nascha Mini Skirt

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '14,Finished Objects,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 07:00

Here’s a little something I made a while ago. Maybe I have mentioned before but I am smitten with the Named sewing patterns. I don’t think that every pattern is for me but I adore their aesthetic. They have such a clear idea of their style – their distinctive design is like no other.

Needless to say, I was excited to see what their Autumn/Winter collection would hold. I wasn’t disappointed. There are lots of trendy items but the ones I am most drawn to, other than this little skirt, are the Wenona shirt-dress and the Shadi knit skirt. I think this collection, of the three they have released so far, have the best spread of ability. There are fun, stylish patterns suitable for a quick sew or a beginner, but there are more challenging ones too. I think they hit the balance just right with this one.

Anyway, let’s see the skirt!

This is really just a wearable muslin. I ended up with a strangely shaped remnant piece of coating that I struggled to use so I thought this might be nice. I wasn’t sure about the sizing but having made a few things from this company now, I know I can trust the finished measurements and sizing suggestions. I think I sewed this in a straight 38. Because it’s supposed to sit below the waistline, I wasn’t sure about tapering to a 36 at the waist.

The only downside to this project was my choice of fabric – it was just a bit too thick. Sewing that exposed zipper was a bit of a pain because the fabric just wanted to squidge out at every opportunity. But I got there and it looks ok!

This isn’t a very flattering photo but it shows you how low the skirt sits on the hips. I totally regretted using such thick fabric for my facings :O It looks like I’m wearing a tyre unless I pull my top down.

The one thing I love about this pattern is the level of finishing that’s detailed. It’s not quite the quick sew you would imagine it might be but it’s quite posh in there.

I especially like the way the points at the front are handled with the lining. There is very little hand sewing required.

I’m not really one for short-short skirts so I was not prepared for how… immobile this is. I can just about sit down in it. I was looking about for other reviews and someone, somewhere, mentioned about sewing this in a thick knit or a ponte. I would definitely entertain something like that – anything with a tiny bit of stretch would be amazing! I do like to sit down every now and again.

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November 20, 2014

November Outfit

I have a combination outfit for you today! I knit the cardigan in the summer and made the skirt recently. I think they go really well together.

Let’s start with the cardigan! I really wanted a cropped cardigan to wear with the few high-waisted skirts I have. I used Debbie Bliss Mia from This is Knit. It took about 8 balls.

I didn’t much like the selection of patterns on Ravelry so I just kept it simple and used the Barbara Walker recipe for a top-down set-in-sleeve construction.

Do you notice a button oddity there? I sewed on four buttons but cut the top one off (I can’t remember why – there was a reason at the time). I’ve changed my mind and think it looks better with the top button… but now I can’t find the one I cut off! I’m sure it will turn up during some excavation or another.

As for the skirt, I used a sturdy failsafe pattern, the Colette Ginger.

I didn’t change anything from the last time I made it – I grade from size 6 at the waist to size 8 at the hip. Rather than making a separate lining, I overlocked the lining and shell pieces together. It’s not as nice a finish, but I’m hoping it will help maintain the shape better over time.

I must concede that my original navy Ginger, made in September 2012, needs to be retired. Everytime I put it on, I take it off again because it just looks worn out. It is completely misshapen and the lining has disintegrated on the inside (pre-overlocker sewing!). It was a good and faithful skirt.

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November 17, 2014

FO: Dark and Stormy

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Knitting,Stash Down — Aileen @ 12:01

This cardigan has been a long time in the works. Well, the actual knitting didn’t take very long but I had intentions for about five years! How very satisfying to finally get down to it.

Pattern: Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman.

Needles: I think 4.5mm.

Yarn: Berrocco Ultra Alpaca that I bought in Chicago in… 2008? It doesn’t feel like that long ago but it was six years. I had 7 skeins and I think I only used about 5. Maybe 5 and a bit at the most.

I really enjoyed knitting this! I stalled out at the very beginning some years ago when I first cast on because the set up is a bit fiddly. You cast on at the top and work down – it’s basically a top-down raglan – and you have to establish the cabling. The beginning is definitely not TV knitting. Once you get going, though, it is.

The raglan shaping is not totally straight – it’s staggered to give a better shoulder shape. I wish I had measured a little more conscientiously because I could do with a bit less fabric there. It fairly bubbled out, actually, when I had finished, but I was able to steam it into submission.

I adore the cabling down the back.

This is a seriously warm cardigan, thanks to the alpaca. I really like the colour of the model in the pattern and think it would be a more perennial wear if worked in something a little less smothering like merino. Also, whilst I think mine looks fine now, I wonder about how defined my cables are going to stay, given the beautiful but massive halo of the alpaca.

Buttons courtesy of my first ever visit to the Knitting and Stitching show! They may even pre-date the blog. I remember buying them and thinking how perfect they were. Sure, it might have taken me ten years to knit them a cardigan but the chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time, amiright?

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October 29, 2014

October Outfit

I decided to bite my stagnant photography in the behind and went on a photoshoot-splurge today. Stand by for many, many belated FOs and outfits. Today, we’ve got a three-for-two! It’s the Bruyere shirt dress from Deer and Doe paired with the Sara leggings from Named.

Let’s start with the shirt!

If you click through on the link to the shirt pattern, you’ll see the style lines much more clearly than on my shirt. It has a waistband with a pleated skirt coming out of it. I really like this idea because it leaves it open to you how long you want to make the skirt. I kept mine to the original length which is more suited to being a tunic.

As you can see, there’s a really nice amount of ease all around the skirt. In terms of sizing, I cut a 36 for the neck and shoulders, 38 for the bust and tapered out to a 40 for the waist and hips. The fit across the back and shoulders is perfect but I need a tiny bit more room in the front so when I make this again, I’m going to add about an inch to the centre front between the neckline and the waistline.

The way the button plackets and the collar are finished off is great. There’s a front facing so everything is enclosed and it gives an amazingly clean, but easy-to-control, finish to the centre front points. I like the sleeve plackets but I think they’re a little narrow to be able to control with total precision. I think for the next time, I will add a bit more width to the piece.

What about those leggings, hmmm? I dared myself to make them. What an insane colour. I was hoping it would be darker than it turned out and then put off making them up because of it. By happy coincidence, it matches the fabric of the shirt perfectly so I had to make them!

I was really inspired by Novita’s version and used her adjustments as a guide. However, they turned out pretty short! Who knew that you need to bend your knees! I still really like them though.

The fit looks pretty good across the back but I had to take out about 6cm of excess after I put in the zip. Unfortunately for stretch materials, especially for fitted pants, it’s impossible to truly judge the fit until you have the zip in. Rather than take everything apart, I just removed the excess at the zip, which is why it doesn’t lie totally flat.

For my next go at these leggings, I didn’t remove any length at all. I left the front pieces alone but removed the 6cm evenly through the back pieces. They’re a little snug at the waist but I think given fabric’s tendency to loose its elasticity, they’ll probably wear in to be a good fit. Fingers crossed!

Here’s what they look like with just a normal pullover (from the shop… forgive me…).

If you’re interested in having a go at skinny pants, these are a really good place to start. Generally, I’ve found the Named patterns to be excellently drafted and well-fitting. These leggings take into account the stretchy nature of your fabric so don’t be put off by the finished measurements. They’re very straight forward to make, with just two pieces for the front and two for the back. There’s the centre back zip – I just used a normal one because my bum is usually covered. The only thing that makes them not a lightning-fast make is the top stitching down the front and back seams. You could totally forgo this. I personally like that detail so I did it both times.

I got smart on this pair and instead of just tacking down my facing like I did on the peach ones, I stitched in the ditch at side and centre front seams. This means I stitched right into the seamline from the right side to invisibly attach the facing. Errr… it’s not very comfortable. I could barely close them! They fit much better since I took out that stitching and just tacked the facing down like a normal person.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me and I’m really excited to share all my FOs from the last few weeks with you!

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