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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December 8, 2013

Monkey top, totally see through and a question

‘Monkey top’ is our household name for a raglan two-tone t-shirt. A long time ago, Alb had a top that had dark brown sleeves and a light brown body. I joked that it made him look like a monkey, since that seems to be the standard cartoon colouration of a monkey – brown arms and light brown body. All joking aside, he has pretty good shoulders (read: pointier than a knife) so it’s a style he prefers. I like it too, but it is really hard for it to look good on a woman. My shoulders are nothing more than where my arm meets my body and a raglan sleeve does nothing to enhance that. I really wanted a two-tone top to match my green Moss skirt and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the style needed to be raglan. What to do?

For a start, once I went searching I realised the dearth of good raglan patterns out there for women. I found this Burda pattern for raglan tops with a nice array of options but eventually I came to the conclusion that it’s more respectable-woman-with-shoulders than clinging-to-my-teens which, to be blunt with myself, is more the look I’m after.

It made sense, then, that I found the perfect pattern in what is essentially a tweens pattern. Browsing the Girl Charlee site (very popular for knit fabrics but based in the US so I don’t bother ordering what with customs etc etc), I found that they have a large pattern selection, most of which are downloadable. I dithered for weeks over the Curved Patrick Raglan but eventually bought it.

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What I did was cut the largest girls size for the top part and largest boys size for the chest and length. After some thought, I added an extra 1/4″ to each seam for the body, increasing the finished width from 34″ to 35″. I adapted the sleeves, which comes in two pieces – short sleeve with additional ‘undersleeve’ extra, and just joined the undersleeve to the short sleeve. To this, I added an extra 1.5″ because I have long arms. I cut the largest girls size for the whole sleeve but if (probably when) I make it again, I’ll use the largest boys size for the width.

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I was skeptical about the neckband but it turned out great. On the whole, it’s a good pattern. It’s a little pricey but considering that if you have kids, you do get a lot of sizes. I’m assuming most people buying it are not hijacking the largest kid’s size for themselves.

I should have said, the fabric is from Land of Oh Etsy shop. They’re based in Korea. Reasonable prices, fast shipping, highly recommended. I used their cotton interlock which is soft but not too stretchy.

So, the see through. I’ve been working on a silk chiffon top. I used Deer & Doe’s Blouse Airelle as my base, turning the V-neck into a round one and adding a big long neck scarf to tie into a bow. Sounds good, right?

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It is completely transparent. I mean, it’s lovely and the scarf-bow thing is really snug, but I might as well be wearing an invisible blouse. Usually I just wear a tank top or vest under these kind of things but I feel very undressed in this. It never occurred to me to underline it as I did not think it was quite so sheer. I’ve been thinking about it all morning and my conclusion is that I should underline it. Thankfully, I sewed on that whole scarf bit by hand, so it will be easy to unpick and resew without damaging the fabric. In such a situation, I’m tempted to think, God, I should have just bought the one I saw in Dunnes… but I know that in the end, this will be nicer and last much, much longer. I found the crinkle silk chiffon in Hickey’s Henry St and they still have some if you, too, want to embark on a three month long, french seamed, invisible elephant.

Lastly, I need your opinion, people. I want to make a winter coat. A basic, every-day coat. I’ve never made a coat before so I just want to keep it simple. My musts are: navy, plaid lining, outside and inside pockets, knee length. No need for a hood. I acquired the most amazing navy wool melton (a really tightly-woven wool, more like a felt, traditionally used for sailor’s jackets!) and a matching navy/white plaid cotton to line it with. My first thoughts were to make a duffle coat but now I’m considering the Veste Pavot from Deer & Doe. I think a duffle would be great if I tended towards regular rambles through undergrowth or seaside adventures, not to mention satisfying my inner Enid Blyton. However considering that the main things I do are cycle to various works, cycle to town, walk about in town, walk about in supermarket, maybe something smarter would be a better use of my fabulous melton. Thoughts?

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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.

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November 14, 2013

Chuck reknit

Filed under:AW Wardrobe '13,Finished Objects,Knitting,Sweaters — Aileen @ 22:12

This technically isn’t new. I made it last winter but never wore it as I was unhappy with a few things. Firstly, I made many errors in the front chart. Then, the sleeve caps were both different and misshapen. I finally got around to ripping it out and reknitting it.

The pattern is Chuck by Andi Satterlund (Ravelry link). I was more attentive second time around and am happy with the result!

As you can see, it’s fairly cropped so is better with high-waisted skirts and dresses than trousers. Managed to get those cable crosses right this time! Overall, the pattern is clear (when you actually look it) and it’s a pretty quick knit.

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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.

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