November 22, 2013

Neckwarmer for chilly weather

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '13,Finished Objects,Knitting,Shawls,Stash Down — Aileen @ 14:51

It’s turned decidedly more wintry in these parts lately, with biting wind and low temperatures. It’s a good thing, so, that I finished this up recently.

I’m not sure exactly what got me on to the track of wanting to knit something like this but down the rabbit hole I went.

The pattern I used was September Set, or 150-19 from Drops. The pattern also includes a matching beret and mittens.

I used Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester in DK from This is Knit. I decided to change the grey in the pattern to brown and matched most of the other colours to the pattern. If I remember correctly, I got two balls of the brown and one each of the other colours (dark pink, light pink, white). I ended up needing just a tiny bit more of the dark pink and light pink and so now have more than enough to make a matching hat of some description.

What I really like about it is a slight adaptation I made, which was to knit the ribbed neck until I ran out of yarn. It is super long and very, very snug.

I don’t like a draught on the back of my head so I often tuck my hair into a scarf and pull it right up to my ears.

I blocked this by steaming it with the iron. It worked surprisingly well. The only thing I regret is perhaps not using a slightly bigger needle size – colourwork is pretty inflexible when it comes to stretching over the shoulders and sometimes this rides up. It’s not grave and certainly something I can live with. I think I used a 3.75mm. I probably should have used that for the rib and gone up for the colourwork. Oh well! It is still toasty and warm for weather like this.


November 13, 2013

Pleated Moss

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '13,Skirts,Stash Down — Aileen @ 22:11

I mentioned the other day when I showed my first Moss skirt that I’d already made another. Well, here it is.

I love the shape of the original but riding a bicycle in it is a precarious situation. I added a pleat both in the front and back.

I went for the very plain and simple way of adding pleat, namely cutting an extra rectangle and folding it into position. If I’d really thought about it, I could have cut the pleat in a way that it was mostly part of one side of the front, like a kick pleat. Never mind – it worked out perfectly fine. It was a good lesson in remembering to consider all options first.

You may notice that the front pocket protrude a little. This is on purpose, to make them extra hand-friendly. One of those neat little additions that endears Grainline patterns to their makers!

As before, I used scrap fabric for the facings and pocket linings. I finally got to use the flowery bias binding I bought for this very project. I bought it at least six months ago.

A quick round-up: the pattern is the Moss mini skirt. I used navy cord that I bought at the 2012 K&S show. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to use this. I finally realised that there is no situation imaginable where I have too many navy skirts. This was brought on by washing my navy wool/cashmere skirt and finding myself suddenly stumped for outfit ideas. Clearly, I wear it more than I realised. Anyway, this has filled the gap. The bias binding, I found at Rubanesque. I haven’t been in a while but last time, they still had a lovely, varied selection.


November 11, 2013

Dotty Renfrew and Knit Scout

Someone went away for the weekend and I did some sewing. I did other things, too, but Saturday was mostly spent sewing, knitting and drinking tea. It was one of those perfect November days: calm, sunny in the morning, foggy in the afternoon, low light, damp air. I often feel like November gets forgotten about in the Christmas bustle.

I did quite a lot. Some slow sewing on a silk blouse I’m working on that requires a lot of concentration. A random cushion cover I had been putting off. Then some quick fixes – another pair of jodhpur leggings like these and two tops.

Yet another Renfrew top. Though this pattern really lends itself to many, many iterations, I have exhausted my fascination with the cowl neckline. Long sleeved jersey tops are my most worn item. Usually I buy them from Gap but have recently noticed that their quality and longevity has taken a serious downturn. So, I decided to explore the crew neck version of my pattern. I raised the neckline 2″ at the front and wish I had done the same at the back. It looks ok though.

The (rather wonderful) fabric I received in the post on Friday. I decided to try out a new vendor on Etsy – Land of Oh. They’re based in Korea and what attracted me to them was their combination of reasonable prices with reasonable postage. Sure, I can buy for cheap from the US but postage tends to be crazy. It is pretty difficult to find good jersey in Ireland and the UK. Sure, it exists, but it’s about €20/m and often isn’t very good quality. So I ordered this cotton interlock and a light chambray to try this shop out and was really happy with the service. They say to allow 3 weeks for delivery but I had mine in about ten days. They messaged me straight away when they had dealt with my order, and my order was exactly as described on the site.

Other than raising the neckline, I lengthened the body by 7cm and left off the hem band. I used Bondaweb hemming tape, the kind where you put it in between the hem and then use the iron to glue it all together. I did that so the hem wouldn’t go all funny when I twin needled it. It worked pretty well. The other thing I did was make the cuffs narrower. I took off an extra 2cm.

I was really disappointed with my neckline initially. It was sticking up all straight, even though I topstitched it. I left it to one side and then, last night, I decided to get over it and read up all about knit necklines. Turns out I just didn’t press it enough! I used the Megan Nielsen tutorial.

While I was on a roll, I decided to make something I’ve been meaning to do for ages and ages – make a knit Scout.

I got this green stripe jersey at the 2012 K&S show for cheap and figured it was time to stop hanging on to it and just make it up! I used my modified pattern – I raised the neckline 2″ and my bodice has some waist shaping included. I also made the sleeves longer.

I was talking to Alb when I took the photos so I didn’t notice my sleeve was flipped up there! I ended up taking the whole thing in about 2cm at the side seams. The neckline was a micro disaster but it turned out ok-ish. I think I may cut another binding and resew it. There are a few wibbly bits.

Considering that this is more of a wearable muslin than anything I was expecting to turn out well, I’m pretty happy with it.

As for the knitting, all I did was watching movies and crank out that teal Larch cardigan I was telling you about. The good news is that I’m already at the armholes so hopefully I’ll have something interesting-looking to show soon.


November 7, 2013

A rolling Moss gathers no Archer

I have some things to show you! In fact, I have a massive backlog thanks to my photo failure the other day so let’s get going. I am well and truly on the Grainline bandwagon so here is my first of two Moss Minis. Apologies in advance for Asleep Face.

This was a wearable muslin in a way. I only had 80cm of a remnant bought about this time last year. So absorbed was I by the puzzle of squeezing everything out of this remnant, I totally forgot to check the grain. The whole thing is ‘upside down’ but I don’t care. There are a lot of things I love about this pattern. It is a really nice, casual straight skirt. It looks really nice from the back.

It has a great back yoke piece which you could have fun with depending on your fabric.

It has pretty much the world’s most perfect skirt pockets.

And the fly instructions are clear and easy to follow.

To recap the deets – this is the pattern. Mine, obviously, is not a mini skirt. I lengthened it by about 6″. I also tapered between a size 6 for the waist and a 10 for the hip. This took a bit of planning since the pockets are part of the front but it worked well. I used 80cm of 150cm wide olive corduroy, found in a remnant basket. It was about €8 I think. I used scrap fabric for the pocket linings and the waistband facings. It took maybe two sewing sessions so all in all, a neat little project.

There are many, many Moss mini skirts out there in Internetland by now but I think it’s one of Grainline’s more recent patterns, the Archer shirt, that has solidified her reputation for impeccable drafting. Here’s my first take (again, there are others to show).

I had an overwhelming urge to make a denim shirt. For months. And for months, I searched for the perfect chambray but it was not to be found, not even online. I finally found this stuff in Hickey’s.

As you can see, it’s pretty much the ideal weekend/camping/travelling/sickday/beach day shirt. This is not the kind of thing I wear to work, obviously, but I’m not at work all the time!

It’s a pretty good layering piece, and those shirt tails mean that if you tuck it in, there is definitely no draft at the back!

I really like the fit across the shoulders and the separate yoke piece means you can have some biased fun if you wish.

For some reason, it was the idea of a light coloured shirt with dark top-stitching that really had me going. Unfortunately for me, this particular chambray is so squidgy, I did a lot of ripping out, especially on the plackets. I did not expect such a problem. It turned out ok, though, I think. Also – I defy you to find buttons that are a true navy. Holy God.

I love the angled cuffs. There’s the option to sew them straight, too, or I’m sure you could easily make them curved.

The collar is really well drafted and with some careful sewing, I was able to get my stand turned, sewn down and looking respectable from both sides. Easier said than done.

Again, I made some adjustments. After sewing the Scout t-shirt, which has a huge amount of ease, I was wary of this pattern. I have practically no shoulders whatsoever and oversized anything isn’t really a good look for me. After a lot of measuring of the pattern pieces, I cut a size 0, despite it being a good three sizes too small according to the sizing chart. I added 3/4″ total to the front at the widest part of the bust, tapering out from the neckline. On my next one, which I will show very soon, I also added an extra inch at the hips.

It’s not necessarily the quickest project, as shirts always take attention to detail, but I’m hoping it will end up being one of those indispensable multi-purpose garments.


August 26, 2013

FO: Silk Pendrell

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Sewing,Stash Down,Summer Wardrobe '13,Tops — Aileen @ 11:59

The many incarnations of this green silk! I used it to make the ‘portrait blouse’ from Gertie’s book for better sewing, but the style didn’t suit me at all. Luckily, it didn’t use up much fabric at all and I had enough left over to make this. I salvaged the green zip from the previous blouse also.

Pattern: Pendrell by Sewaholic. I made this before, this time last year.

Fabric: Green silk, kind of like a habotai. I got it in Rubanesque on sale for something like €9/m.

For this iteration, I decided to add some of the sleeve ruffles. They were really easy to put in with the princess seams but still time consuming, making the ruffles and making sure they were even throughout. I’m reasonably happy with how my neckline turned out, considering how completely disastrous necklines have been for me recently.

I was planning that this be part of my August outfit (with the white skirt I made) but for some reason, the two just do not go together. I would have shown the white skirt here but I spilled tea on it so it is going round in the washing machine as I type. Anyway, I think it’s a nice top and something I hope to wear a lot.