June 28, 2014

Liverpool Shirtdress

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 13:36

Happy weekend! Did you happen to notice how today seems a little brighter than usual? That the planet is somehow better aligned…? That would be because, after a whole week of (thinly disguised) patient waiting, I finally received the replacement part for my sewing machine! Thank the heavens. There was a LOT of cutting out this week. You’ll see the fruits soon, I hope, but for now, here’s something I finished a while ago.

The ‘Liverpool‘ was the very first shirt pattern I used (see here!) and I have to say, for a total shirt novice, it was perfect. At the time I bought it, I never, ever considered that a shirtdress, which is a variation offered in the pattern, would ever be on my agenda… but here we are.


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For this, I used a lightweight denim found in Hickey’s. I think it was about €12/m and I needed about 2m. I made the same adjustments that I made for the other shirts – I added an inch to the centre front and I took about 2cm out of each sleeve cap.


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A feature of this design are the double darts on both back and front and I really like the fit it gives. That said, I think a dress this dark benefits from a belt.


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When this was in the planning stages, I had an idea to use a fantastic little fat quarter I picked up a while ago. I was thinking to use it for the inner collar stand to give it a bit of life. In the end, I decided not to, as it would be more versatile if it remained plain. Since I wear neck scarves a lot (usually when cycling), I decided to just hem the fat quarter and use it this way.


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I think the pattern is based on maritime flags.


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And yes, the end result is a little zany BUT it can be removed!

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June 25, 2014

Autumnal June outfit

Filed under:Blouse,Blouses/Tops,Dress,Finished Objects — Aileen @ 12:03

I completed this early last month but didn’t have a chance to take photos until today.

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Sorry it’s a bit dark! The dress is a very dark navy wool crepe. It’s the Dakota dress from the Finnish company, Named Patterns. I’ll confess, I was blown away by their first pattern collection last winter. I really hesitated in committing to making up any design, though, because they are so fashion-forward and I didn’t know if it would suit me. Thank God for the internet! Seeing many reviews convinced me it was worth a go.

So, the dress! It has many panels and a shirt-like hem on the skirt, making it really swingy and comfortable. It also has a shawl collar.

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Since it’s meant to have something worn underneath, I didn’t bother over fitting the sleeves.

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I made an error when joining the bodice pieces. Unfortunately this was after I overlocked the whole thing so the bodice ended up a touch snugger than intended. It’s still possible to get into without any kind of closure, which is great, and I can only imagine how comfortable this would be in a heavy knit.

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And the blouse? Also from Named! It’s the Fran blouse – an unusual item with kimono/batwing sleeves and a long bow.

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I got the fabric in Japan and figured I’d get much more use out if it as a blouse! I’m excited to have used it already. The only difficult part about the blouse was tracing the pattern from the print out. With the sleeve combined, it’s sort of an awkward shape. This is mostly on me, though, because I don’t have big paper right now. Anyway! I love this blouse.

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You can see how much room there is under the arm. I thought that might be annoying but it’s not. I think this style works because it is well fitted everywhere else. It was a really quick make, mostly because you have the option to just turn under the fronts to make the button bands. They do provide extra pattern pieces in case you don’t want to do that. My only error was not giving a little extra room at the hips. You can see is a bit pulled at the back.

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However, this is only an issue when I’m wearing it out over something fairly bulky – over tights or leggings, it’s fine and I probably well never wear it like that anyway. I prefer it to be pretty fitted through the waist for tucking in.

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Look how long the ties are!

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I had to look up a video to see how to tie them properly!

Since this was my first time using this company’s patterns, here are a few thoughts. Firstly, I personally like how paper economic their PDF patterns are. They overlap the pieces and you trace it off. Some people don’t like that. I’m not a huge fan of how you only get 2 sizes nested per file because if you’re between two sizes that are in two different files, I don’t even know how you would get around that. Thankfully I don’t have that problem right now.

I think they’re fairly pricey but they’re impeccably drafted and the instructions are excellent. Add on top of that the unique design and aesthetic and basically, you get what you pay for. Between these two designs that I’ve made up, the only thing I take umbrage with is their sleeve opening finish. It’s rubbish. They have you make the slit and sew down an unfinished edge. I cut plackets and finished them properly. On the Fran blouse, they have you use the unfinished seam as the opening. Because I french seamed the lot, that wasn’t practical so I finished that seam as normal. Then, I cut a separate slit and moved the pleat. I finished the slit with the placket and sewed the little cuff on then. A little more time consuming but it will survive the wash better!

If you’d like to give these a go, they’re currently on sale for Midsummer!

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June 19, 2014

A dress and some spinning

Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Spinning,Stash Down — Aileen @ 18:23

Ah, summer is here! I would have posted before today but – weather. It’s been so lovely here that I have only left the house to go to the supermarket. My week has run a little like this: practice, coffee in sun, practice, water in sun, chores, tea in sun, practice, fruit in sun…rinse and repeat!

I have been sewing, too, though that has come to abrupt halt. More after I tell you about this:

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I made this yesterday in about an hour. I used my favourite-so-far t-shirt pattern, the Alexander pattern on the Tessuti website. It’s a download and what I love about it is that it comes with a petite size! No futzing around for narrow shoulders! I adore the fit so I decided to extend it into a dress, using the shape of another dress as a guide for the general shape and length. I forgot to include extra for the hem so it’s a bit shorter than I intended.

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The fabric I got for mega cheap from Minerva fabrics, I think about £4/m. Seriously, if you’re looking for cheap jersey (why is it soo expensive here?!), check them out! I was hoping it would be more like a Ponte but is a touch more like a sweatshirt fabric, it’s not quite as elastic. However, it does the job and will be really cosy come Autumn, too.

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So… Right as I stepped away from sewing my hems to press them, my sewing machine suddenly started to sew at top speed of its own accord. It was both frightening and spooky in equal measure! I dashed over to switch it off only to be met with a long, slender snake of smoke coming from the foot pedal. I disconnected everything and left it be. It still works fine, though I can still smell something when it’s running so I’m not inclined to use it in its current condition. I don’t want to damage the main motor.

Upon further internet reading, ‘foot failure’ is common. It is possible to replace the capacitor that has failed but as the pedal is a closed unit, I either need to run the risk of breaking it while trying to open it or pay to have it serviced. From what I could find out, they tend to be just replaced as a unit. As I know that my service man charges a set fee to investigate anything (and I thoroughly dislike dealing with him), I decided to cut out the middle man and sourced a new replacement online. I should have it soon.

Anyway, have you all been enjoying the world cup? I’ve been using it as a good excuse to dust off my spinning wheel and start working through my modest, but beautiful, fibre stash. You may recall that I participated in two fibre clubs a few years ago. Some I spun up immediately but others have had to wait their turn. I started spinning up a silk hanky a while ago – I finished it earlier this week and decided to cast on with it immediately.

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Wow, I was not expecting silk to be so challenging to spin. I’ve heard others describe it similarly. I thought, ok, maybe it’s slippery? I can deal with that. Turns out that silk is super, super sticky. Almost grimy. Not only that, but it is really hard to draft evenly in any way. It’s very stiff. It was an interesting experiment but I’m glad it’s done. Needless to say, it is not my finest example…but I do like how it’s knitting up.

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Here’s my latest project. It’s a beautiful superwash merino from Laura Hogan. It practically spins itself! I’m spinning this as fine as I can control with a hope to making socks. We’ll see!

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June 12, 2014

FO: Helene

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,Knitting — Aileen @ 13:43

This has been a long time in the making! I first started it on honeymoon with a sport weight yarn, but it turned out too thick and dense, so I ripped it out.

I really liked the design so last summer, I bought some Katia linen and knit it again. Although I’m really happy with it, I think that something even more lace weight would be better. Other than ordering the recommended yarn, which is a 4 ply linen and $$$ when you factor in shipping, this was the closest I could get. I think a lace cotton would probably work out really nicely too.



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The pattern is from Quince & Co, who, by the way, have the most wonderful aesthetic. You may not like all their designs, but the way they’re portrayed really makes you WANT to like them. The front and back are knitted both the same and then you sew them together. They’re knitted side to side, which makes it tricky to judge the length. This turned out a little shorter than I prefer but looks fine with a high waisted skirt.

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The pattern is really well written and with a little concentration, the shaping for the neckline is no problem to follow. The rest is very straight forward.

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I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to wear this – I really wasn’t sure what to wear it with – but it seems grand with just a Penney’s t-shirt underneath.

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We’ve been having very mixed weather these days. We had big thunder and hailstones earlier this week, but today is lovely out. To put it in context for non-British Islers, lovely is 18℃ with not much of a breeze. Regardless of the sun, the air can be quite cool right into July, especially along the coast, which is the majority of Ireland. Therefore, days that can be enjoyed with neither jacket nor tights are to be treasured! Enjoy your sun – I’ll be back soon with something different!

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June 9, 2014

Belated March Outfit

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,Sewing,Skirts — Aileen @ 12:01

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! It did pour in Galway but I had a good time anyway. I didn’t finish any sleeves on my red cardigan, but I did get the button band done. I’m not sure how much yarn the sleeves are going to take so I figured I should do the band first since that’s more important in a way!

So here’s something I finished up in March. It was an extremely busy month, musically speaking, so this was the majority of what I achieved.


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From the first time I saw it, I really loved the newest Lisette for Simplicity pattern. I think it’s number 1666. The pattern includes these two – a very simple, unlined straight skirt and peplum top, as well as a beautiful dress version of the top and a bag. The bag is like a big tote and, although super practical-looking, is not the best match for the other outfits. I’ll probably make it all the same though!


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I used polyester georgette from Hickey’s for the whole thing. I bought the red months apart from the black but they turned out to be exactly the same type. Georgette has a sort of matt, crepe feel to it, so it has a good drape but isn’t quite as posh looking as satin.


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I was really unsure about the top, because I’ve never worn a peplum before and I was afraid it would make me look huge. Can you see how the centre back panel lays flat? It’s the same on the front…so the end result is a bit more streamlined than the usual circus tent.

I finished the skirt first and have worn it many times. The top I haven’t worn at all but like all concerting gear, I’m always glad to have it on hand during a busy period.


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I don’t usually stand like this…but you can see how the sides flutter!

All in all, this was a very manageable pattern. I think that it really lends itself to dressing up or down. For example, you could make a totally casual outfit in a denim skirt and floral top. Or even more dressy in lace or brocade. As with all of the Lisette patterns, the fit is a true petite: I cut the size for my measurements (I think it was a 10?) and needed no shortening of the torso or a different size for narrow shoulders.

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