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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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.

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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.

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August 5, 2013

Finally!

Switzerland came and went – this was my third time now so it was much, much easier. I know the airports, train stations, town plans, where to eat, where to shop, all the things that take up time and mental energy. As always, we all had a great time. I met lots of new people and made new friends. It was the first occasion I had prepared work pretty much all by myself without much external input so it was rather gratifying to see that work out as I intended. I have some video of my concerto performance but I am still trying to figure out how to extract it from the clutches of my phone! When I do, I will try to find a way to share here.

Since my return, I have been split in three ways: practice in preparation for some small things I agreed to in September and October, knitting and sewing, and attending to the summer list of chores. You know those chores. The ones where, during the year, you open the door, throw something in and quickly shut it again. I’m doing pretty well on all fronts. Since I’m quite sure you don’t want to hear about how OCD-fulfilling I find practising with my eyes shut or how I spent an entire day covered in dust building shelves, here is some crafting news…

I spent a decent amount of time swatching, mocking up patterns and cutting out. Most of this resulted in the answer, no, this won’t work. I was hoping to get a wearable muslin out of my first Archer shirt but it’s too small across the front. Perfect everywhere else, though, so I cut out a revised version from some light blue chambray I’ve had for a while. I fell foul of two summer sales; one at Fabric HQ where I bought this lovely tiny floral print, currently cut up into a short sleeved blouse….

…and this marvellous white-on-white cotton, which is slowly making its way into the world as a pleated skirt.

I would normally have finished this in two sittings but a few things held me up. Firstly, I wanted to have a side zip but also pockets. Although manageable, this takes time. Then, when I was pressing in the pleats, I noticed that the fabric is extremely see-through. I dithered over what kind of lining to use. I could use an acetate, which works well if I wear tights but is horrible against the skin. I could use a cotton voile or gauze, which is nice against the skin but sticks to tights. The optimal is silk something but silk satin is very expensive, so what to do? While I dithered, I started working on a green silk Pendrell to go with the skirt. I’m recycling this, which was a bust and I never wore. Anyway, I was in Hickey’s for the second sale I mentioned, when I overheard a funny conversation. A woman wanted to cover lampshades in silk but didn’t want it to be expensive (?!). After refusing many types of silk, the saleswoman dug out some silk habotai lining. At €9.95/m, this was acceptable to the woman. I was standing at the counter with my red georgette, looking at this lining and knew that I, too, had my solution. It’s pretty sheer but it does the job. I hope to show both soon! All they need are hems and hooks and eyes.

So, that red georgette. I went into Hickey’s to see what was in the sale. I cannot explain why I always want to make a summer dress in August but here I am again. After much mulling, I decided to go with Hazel because I love the way the shaping in the bodice can be illustrated with stripes. I was after a cotton or linen something with stripes; I found a cotton ticking for about €9/m in the sale. While I was there, I spotted the red georgette. It’s polyester and is like a crepe, with a matt dimpled texture and a really good, grippy drape. I got 1.25m and I am 99% decided on a pattern.

The knitting has been disappointing. I spent a lot of June working on a black cardigan only to run out of yarn a whole sleeve to go. I got more but naturally, it’s a different dye lot. I was really hoping it wouldn’t show but it does! It totally does! I have two options. I could try and hunt down more of the original lot on Ravelry… or I could rip it out and knit a different pattern with less cabling. I think I will rip it out because even though I am only one sleeve from being finished, I’m not really in love with it. Facing this reality means that I am not that upset about the prospect of ripping it out. In the meantime, I’ve cast on for a pattern that I’ve loved for years – Helene from Quince & Co. I gave it a go when it first came out but poor yarn choice meant that I never completed it. This time, I’ve gone with the original linen recommendation. I’m using this, Katia Lino in ‘Biscuit’. I think this is the first time I have ever washed a swatch… but it was very revealing. A typically scratchy, stiff swatch…

…was transformed into a drapey dream.

Looking forward to sharing the skirt and top soon!

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December 7, 2012

December Outfit

Filed under:News!,Sewing,Skirts,Stash Down,Tops — Aileen @ 13:53

The story of this outfit goes back about three years to when I purchased a pair of brown boots. I had never owned a pair of brown boots before and so was unprepared to find that they went with nothing I owned! The logical conclusion was to buy a brown skirt. I found a nice, heavy cotton one in Zara for pretty cheap and wore it a lot with the boots. But it is not very warm and isn’t lined, either. It’s starting to look a bit shook up. This winter I decided that should I come across some nice brown wool, I would make a new brown skirt.

This day last week, I decided to visit Murphy Sheehy’s because I haven’t had a chance to visit in quite a while. They had just gotten a delivery of wools and despite the selection, this was the only decent brown. But it is very decent: a soft herringbone with beautiful drape.

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Pattern: The same one I used for my tartan skirt, the skirt part of Simplicity 8042.

Fabric: The fabric was something like 160 or possibly even 170cm wide so I managed to eke the skirt out of about 60cm! I only bought a metre but still have a useable amount left over. I used a 100% silk satin to line it so despite the overall loftiness, this is a super-snug skirt.

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The top is another Renfrew! Check out the first one I made here. Leaving off the cuffs and lower band means I can squeeze this out of 1.6m. I used a 100% polyester ponte de roma knit that I got in Hickey’s.

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I really like the shape of the skirt. I think this is my go-to plain skirt, it doesn’t take very long to put together at all.

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I used a bias binding to finish the hem. This was my first time doing this and it was really easy. I’ll probably use this from now on!

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…And another first – I used the rolled hem feature on my overlocker with great success. I am so unbelievably awful at hemming lining so this is my solution, I think, until I learn another way. It only took about five minutes! I used a silk satin to line it and whilst it is so lovely and not at all static-y with tights, I am so bad at cutting it out it’s not even funny.

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