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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October 12, 2014

Progress

Filed under:Cardigans,Knitting,Sewing,Stash — Aileen @ 14:09

You guys, I am almost finished my Dark and Stormy cardigan! I am very excited about this prospect. I finally got around to winding a final ball and picking up the stitches for the shawl collar and button band.

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I was going to buy some wooden buttons to put on it but I’m going to see if the reindeer antler ones I got in Iceland that time will suit it 🙌

I have another two, smaller, things that I have been knitting but I’ll save them for another time. I also did a ‘big shop’ for winter sewing. I barely have a spare second to spend browsing in shops in town now, so I ordered a few things. I find the less I buy in person, the more focused my projects are. I literally spent two months considering all my options before ordering. Here’s the fabric:

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On the left is a stretch twill for a pair of high waisted skinny pants. Think 50s. The light blue is chambray for another popover shirt. The dark stuff on the right is a light navy wool. I got 1.5m so I’m a little torn regarding its destiny. It will probably be culottes though.

I have some lovely leftovers from last year, so I’m hoping to add a straight skirt and a little jacket to my wardrobe. I’m getting to the stage where, after a few years of almost constant wear, I need to retire a few things – about two of my original blouses have lost shape and colour, and my original navy Ginger skirt is a wreck. So I’m looking forward to replacing them.

I think I’ll share a separate post on patterns – I picked up a few new ones in various sales and I have some trusty ones you’ll have to pry from my cold dress hands before I give them up!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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October 7, 2014

Knit all the things!

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Knitting,Mittens — Aileen @ 11:30

It’s that time of year again! After a glorious Indian summer, I think it’s safe to say that Autumn is well and truly upon us. Autumn and winter are my favourite seasons in Dublin – we often get dry, clear air and long dry periods. Spring can be bitterly cold here and summer is frequently heavy, cool and humid. So I’m ready to enjoy my favourite season!

Things have been busy, going back to school (I teach evenings, 20 hours a week) and starting a chamber music residency. The residency is fantastic, but time consuming, and involves traveling to Galway once a month. So far this has entailed getting the first train down, playing for 2 hours and then getting straight back on the train. I hope for the next session, Alb will come with me and we can stay over a day or two.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of knitting! I’ve been working on a cardigan. This guy is deep stash.

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The yarn is Berrocco Ultra Alpaca and I bought it when I was in Chicago in…2007? I think?! The pattern is Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman and I actually casted on for it years ago. It sat there, with the needles and everything. Thankfully my gauge hadn’t changed! I finished the sleeves yesterday and just need to pick up for the shawl collar. I love it already. The yarn is a beautiful colour blend – it has traces of blue and red throughout so I think it will match many things.

Recently completed is a new pair of mittens!

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I’m so happy with these! I used a pattern from the Selbuvotter book and about 75g of cream Jamieson Shetland and ~35g of navy. My other pair totally bit the dust last spring thanks to a hole that I neglected to mend :(

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I really like the decreases on the tops!

I have some knitting for men to do next but after that, I really want to do another deep stash sweater!

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September 27, 2014

September shorts

Filed under:Finished Objects,Pants and Shorts,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 14:35

What sort of September would it be at all if I didn’t make a pair of shorts?! Luckily for me, it’s been a warm and beautiful month.

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The pattern is the Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts. The fabric is leftover light denim from a shirtdress I made over the summer.

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I lengthened the leg about 5cm and tapered them in so they weren’t so square at the hem. I cut a size 6 so it’s a little snug around the waist but perfect everywhere else.

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I’m really happy with how the stitching on the back pockets came out! I finally took the plunge and bought an edge stitching foot. I have one that is an original part for my machine but it can only be used when stitching along an actual edge, like on a collar. You can’t use it for top-stitched edges that are in the middle of the garment. Anyway, it’s really easy to use and I can get pretty consistent results already.

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I used a contrast plaid that I had about 40cm of, to sew the facings and pockets. This was partly because I’d run out of denim but also because I like to use a contrast on the inside :D

It’s been a very busy month, between going back to school and various music commitments. Not to mention that I had to move all my sewing gear into another room, so I’ve been out of action for over a fortnight. But here’s what I’ve been working on today:

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It’s a Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt. I’ve made others but I think this might be my favourite yet! It’s a wool-polyester blend that I got from Truro fabrics about this time last year. It’s quite a floppy weave so I’ve attached the lining to each piece to give it more structure.

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This will give you an idea how I worked the pocket. I overlocked the lining to each piece before sewing stuff together, it works quite well.

That’s it for today, enjoy your weekend!

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September 9, 2014

Reboot

Filed under:Books,Reviews — Aileen @ 17:12

Hello again! It turns out that giving two recitals, learning lots of new music AND escaping for a few days doesn’t leave much time for other things. So, until I get some outfit posts organised, I’m going to be talking about some Autumn inspiration.

First up, I’d love to review a book I got ages ago, called Simple Chic by Machiko Kayaki. I ordered it sight unseen, hoping that because the title is in English that it was an English translation. It’s not. It’s in Japanese! But upon careful study, that’s actually not a huge problem. Maybe it’s not for a total beginner but if you have some coffee and a good sleep, it’d probably be fine.

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The book features primarily dresses, with one pants, two tops, a coat and a suit. I’ll show you each one.

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The first is a simple sleeveless tie blouse and the pants. Unfortunately this is the best photo you see of them but you can get a better idea of what they’re like from the instruction schematic:

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Next is a little black dress (I’ve just traced this off!).

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It’s such a pity the garments are largely made up in dark colours but I understand if they want it to be more chic-everyday.

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No. 4 there actually looks more like this:

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Isn’t it nice? You’d never guess from the photo. Next is another sleeveless top and another type of shift dress.

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Then there are two more summery sort of frocks.

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One of my favourites is unfortunately practically invisible in the photo! It’s a pleated skirt with pockets.

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It actually looks like this:

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I really like this one, it’s got a cool beatnik feel to it and I think would be great with leggings.

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Then there are two more Asian style garments, a blouse and a dress.

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Here’s that coat I was telling you about.

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I love how the illustrations portray it, a bit of Sherlock Holmes going on I think! Then there’s a two piece dress that I adore. This is certainly in my future. They put the skirt in by itself as an extra pattern, which I think is a bit silly, but anyway, it’s still nice.

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There’s a fairly shapeless long sleeved dress – I wonder if you could use the sleeves on other garments?

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And lastly, there’s the suit. The skirt is a simple A-line so you could use it by itself.

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There you have it. The patterns are on sheets and you need to trace them off. They don’t have seam allowances included, which I rather like, as you give more or less leeway as you desire. The sizing IS fairly limited. I reckon they mostly correspond to UK 8-10-12. However, the instructions are clear about what the finished measurements are so it’s easy to tell what size to pick.

Another thing I really like is that they instruct for most things to be lined. The instructions for this is really clear, both how to trace off the lining pieces and to install it.

Overall, it seems like a really good book of nice work basics and I’m looking forward to working my way through it!

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