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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August 9, 2014

Belated July outfit

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,News!,Skirts,Stash Down,Tops — Aileen @ 17:26

Hi all! Last month was a busy one as I was preparing for and then away on my usual course in Switzerland… And when I came back, I needed to continue preparations for a lunchtime recital which I gave yesterday.

Anyway, it’s good to be back! I have lots of things to show you. First up, here’s my wee July outfit. Not the most summery but perfect for a day like today.

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The skirt pattern is from an Ottobre magazine. Have you heard of these guys? It’s Finnish magazine. They put out about four issues a year for kids – which seem great but I’m no expert – and two for women. They tend to focus on nice basics. What I love most about their magazines is that they use normal people as models and give their dimensions. So there are lots of short and normal sized people in it! This wrap skirt is from an old summer issue. It’s unlined but has a total overlap at the front and pretty substantial facings, which I took the liberty of binding…

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It fastens with a button on both sides – a flat one on the inside and a decorative one on the exterior side. You’re supposed to put a decorative button on each side of the front but I didn’t bother.

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As for the top, it’s the Alexis pattern that I downloaded from the Tessuti site. I’ve used this a few times now and it’s just perfect. I bought the flannel with a massive discount at Hickey’s. I don’t know why it was reduced so much, but I’m glad! It’s so soft and snug.

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That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon… I have TWO knitted garments to show you as well as a dress and my August outfit!

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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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February 3, 2014

January outfit #2

Nobody probably noticed but I was foiled in my attempts to post an outfit for October. There were two reasons. Firstly, all my photos were out of focus thanks to user error and secondly, in said photos, I noticed a fitting problem that I couldn’t rectify. So I have put the blouse of said post to one side and here’s the skirt that I made in another combination.

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The skirt is Sewaholic’s Hollyburn, a flared number that comes in three lengths – this is the middle length. I used a chocolate brown wool crepe from Truro fabrics. It was my first time using a wool crepe but it won’t be my last! It’s one of the easiest fabrics I’ve ever seen and pressed like a dream. Swoon! The pattern is very straight forward, with a high waist and pockets. I’ll definitely be making this in a shorter length for summer!

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The shirt is the Grainline Archer modified into a henley. I kind of tore my hair out over this one (needlessly) but I learned lots from doing it and it turned out well. I used a lovely light, pale blue chambray that I got before Christmas.

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I don’t think this is necessarily the best blouse to wear with this skirt but I do like pale blue and brown together.

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I also finished my Larch cardigan! Short row shawl collars are sloooow to knit. Everything looked a bit uneven so I blocked it with great results.

For this, I used eight balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply so as cardigans go, definitely not the most expensive.

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It has a really, really nice drape which I think will go even better over skinny jeans or belted with a pencil skirt.

The instructions say to work the shawl collar and then sew the side edge to the cardigan. I didn’t think that would be easy to accomplish neatly so I attached it as I went, picking up a stitch each time and working two together. It worked fine but because I was working back and forth, the two sides ended up a bit different.

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In the end, I sewed in a little ridge in the inside to make them both look the same. Upon close examination I guess it’s not undetectable but I doubt many will care to examine.

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I’ve been wearing this a lot recently! It’s been so stormy and miserable here, I just love pulling this on.

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January 18, 2014

January outfit

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '13,Blouses/Tops,News!,Sewing,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 21:22

I started doing these outfit posts in spring last year and I found it a really good incentive. It gives me a focus for the month – sometimes I feel pulled in different directions – and it’s a decision I don’t make lightly. I try to make things that go with other things I have. I have on occasion made an outfit that doesn’t really go with many other things (like this) but I try not to do that. Anyway! Here’s January’s. Good basics.

The pattern for the blouse is an experiment in combining features of the Grainline Archer shirt and the Lisette Traveler shirt. Mostly, I just used the bodice, collar and hem curve of the Lisette pattern and the sleeve length and cuffs of the Archer. It worked ok I think. It looks better tucked in.

I used some basic cotton lawn which I had to order from Truro because it is impossible to find here. As you can see from the photos, it’s reasonably sheer but considering that I rarely wear a blouse without something over it, I don’t care about indecency. I don’t think I’ll remake this iteration, although it was a good exercise. I think for me, I like two totally different types of blouse. One is like a true Archer shirt – loose and casual with no darts; the other is a true dress shirt – fitted with darts front and back. I have yet to find the perfect shirt pattern but I grow closer as I refine my needs.

The skirt is actually a pair of culottes! When I saw Burda 6980 last autumn, I knew it had to happen. I used to have a pair as part of my school uniform in national school and even then, I thought they were amazing. I bought 1.5m of the navy herringbone from Murphy Sheehy’s expecting to need it all, given that culottes are really just giant shorts, but I got this out of 85cm comfortably. Incredible, really. I have enough for another skirt!

A special mention for this pattern and the individual Burda patterns. I’ve made a reasonable amount of patterns from both the Burda monthly magazines and the individual patterns that you buy from the catalogue. Although the magazine patterns tend to be more simplistic, I have found the drafting in both to be, by and large, really excellent. Their sizing and proportions are really geared towards reality rather than an ideal, particularly in their pants. This pattern is a perfect example. Usually I have to grade between two sizes to get the fit between my waist and hips right but in Burda, that’s just one size and absolutely spot on.

So, about the pattern. It’s very simple with a zip at the side and facings that go on the inside. The back facing is split in two to facilitate any fitting needed. I sewed my facings on to lining because the wool would stick to my tights otherwise.

So, nothing very exciting but I’ve already worn both lots. Wishing you happy sewing and knitting for the weekend!

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