January 21, 2012

Samantha Slippers

Filed under:Favourite Things,Sewing,Zakka — Aileen @ 15:04

I just realised that I have once again forgotten to take photos of my knitting. I have a blue shawl that is nearly finished and is quite possibly my most gigantic one yet. It is colossal. I cannot wait to cast it off… mostly because I want the needles to get stuck into a Bedford sweater (can’t find a link to the actual pattern page but that’s what it looks like).

In the meantime, I have some slippers to show you.

It’s the Samantha slipper pattern from I Think Sew. It’s a downloadable PDF. What I really like about the pattern is that each pattern piece for each size is on its own page, so I only had to print out two pages. The instructions were extremely clear so overall, this was a simple and reasonably quick sew – about two hours.

I used some leftover cord from my Proper Attire Skirt and some leftover material from my sewing machine cover. I sewed a US size 5 which is about a UK 3.5-4.

They are super comfortable and even though they’re not the warmest, they are ideal as house shoes, guest slippers, a thoughtful present or as travel slippers that can be rolled up and tucked away in your handbag.

I was thinking of giving these to my organ teacher since she has the same shoe size as me (I borrowed her organ shoes once). All in all, this is a great pattern and I’m sure I’ll be making it again.

I put my polka dot blouse on hold momentarily because I thought I needed to get more buttons. But while I was tidying up, I came upon another packet of the same buttons in another size. It turns out that they’ll be fine for the cuffs, so I’m hoping to make a start on those buttonholes later.

Work has been extremely slow lately but I have put myself in for a number of projects (orchestral piano with wind band for an opera, a flute duo concert, rehearsal pianist with the same opera company as last summer) so I have a feeling that it won’t last. When I get down about not working so much, Alb always reminds me to enjoy my free time while I can…

I started a very simple t-shirt, the Scout Woven Tee. Also a downloadable PDF, it was quite the instant-gratification pattern. I got the material at Pippa Blue while I was in Galway at Christmas and I’m sorry to say that I got the last of it. I will talk more about the pattern when I finish it off but for now, I’ll leave you with a close up of the print. I think you’ll understand why I was drawn to it.


January 18, 2012

What’s the craic?

Filed under:Sewing,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:32

Last week was busy musically and quiet otherwise – I had a concert with a saxophonist in town (which went really well and we got a great audience) but my sewing machine was at the repair man. Actually, it was at the man who takes it to the repair man. This may be useful information for some of you – there is a very good Singer repair man working in Harold’s Cross but he has a north-side office in Drumcondra too. So I was able to bring my machine down on the bike (see here) and the guy in Drumcondra dropped it back to me on Saturday. A good few things needed to be replaced in it, disintegrating cogs aside, so it was good for it to get a thorough service.

The last few days have been spent on this. It’s nearly finished.

I’m really happy with how the collar and stand came out. It was fiddly at times but I worked very slowly and it paid off. Isn’t the shape of the collar cool? Just a touch of ’70s curve.

Here’s the french seam down the back. It makes a really nice finish and I think it’s a seam I’ll definitely come back to. Ever since I made my shorts, I’ve been increasingly aware of how frayed exposed seam allowances can get on the interior. I don’t have much interest in getting a serger yet, as it is costly for something I would only use occasionally, so I think this seam is a good compromise for now.

I like the cuff detail. I am a big sucker for cuffs that you can fold up over the cuff of your jumper or cardigan. I like this one especially because, for my first blouse, it saved me the extra work of making a placket for a button closure. This way, I can adjust my button placement and fold in the excess to what suits me. What I may do is put two buttons on each cuff: one to fasten the loop to as the cuff is now and another to fold the cuff in. That way, I can have a finished look if I leave the cuff loose and have the option of making it tighter.

…And speaking of buttons…

…I decided to go the way of covered buttons. Just ‘cos.

They’re not that hard. Buttonholes on the other hand…

…I’ll get there in the end.

(I’ve knitting to show but I forgot to take photos!)


January 8, 2012

Bits and bobs

Soon after my last post, I ran into some trouble with my sewing machine. In short, it ground to a halt and no amount of jigging about would fix it. I opened it up to find a cog had partially disintegrated so off to the repair shop it went. I’ve been busy with other things!

These tray cloths were started in November some time. I finished these fruits and wanted to stitch another before I sat down to hem them.

Pictures like these remind me that it won’t always be winter, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

The fruits were taken from a Sublime Stitching book and the others, from Doodle Stitching (motifs collection). I return to both of these resources time and time again. The motifs collection particularly is cute and interesting to stitch in equal measure.

I finished my hap shawl also. What a giant this turned out to be!

I ended up using the whole skein of tan and about two-thirds of brown. I’m not sure what I’ll use the rest of the brown for. I might make some felted coasters. The shawl is very scratchy and hairy, but it’s unbelievably warm. I find something very comforting about its sheepy smell when I pull it around me. The pattern is an oldie-but-a-goodie, this one, one I imagine I will make yet again in the future.

And here’s something that I acquired over the holidays.

Both are from etsy. I went searching initially for a simple sleeveless dress pattern – something I could use a few times over and embellish differently. In the course of my searching, I came upon the blouse pattern. I love pintucking in blouses and haven’t been able to find one in the shops that fits well enough to part money for. I love the short-sleeved version, too. Nice to wear when you want to wear a t-shirt but need to be a bit more dressed up. I am really looking forward to sewing all of these up!


January 6, 2012

FO: Grey wool dress

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 07:15

Ok, this is the last one for a while now – I have stacks of knitting to show, plans to discuss.

Pattern: Anna Dress by Amy Butler.

Fabric: 1.5m of grey, blue and black plaid from Fabrics Galore (K&S show), €18 approx. Lining, €4.50 from Murphy Sheehy’s (caught just as they were closing; my thanks to the girl who stood inside the door looking at me knocking and shouting, I need lining please! and didn’t think I was crazy – that’s what I call a kindred spirit).

I adapted this a bit. I took out the gathers at the centre front. I took in the waist. I put in a zipper under the arm. I took out the back yoke closure and cut the yoke as two pieces on the bias. This is what it looks like without the belt.

It is quite roomy but it’s a nice cold-weather outfit to have because I can fit pretty much any close-fitting sweater underneath it.

The belt pulls it in a bit at the back but you can see how the yoke lies. Initially I was a bit disappointed with this project. I was so excited about the fabric that I think that nothing I sewed could have possibly lived up to my dreams. However, this is a very practical, though somewhat unglamorous, dress. It is warm, comfortable, easy to move in, easy to cycle in, presentable on an ordinary day – all the things I need from a piece of clothing to wear to teach or play in.

And I love the lining.


January 5, 2012

FO: Seasonal Shorts

Filed under:Finished Objects,Pants and Shorts,Sewing — Aileen @ 07:54

At least this way I will definitely have a pair of shorts when our one day of summer arrives! All joking aside, this was a most enjoyable project. It’s difficulty suited me well and I learned many things from it.

Pattern: Shorts from Burda magazine, 6/11.

Fabric: Home dec cotton from Murphy Sheehy’s. I wasn’t too fussy about a fancy fabric, I just asked the lady for ‘fabric for shorts, please’ and she suggested this. The price was right – something like a tenner as it was very wide.

This was a project of many firsts for me: first with a zip, first with matching up a pattern, first with a waistband, first with bias-cut pockets (though that was my own doing), first pattern even remotely close to pants. I’m pretty pleased with how the waistband mostly matches. It was tricky and I re-basted it a few times to allow for the curve. I think it was worth it.

This was the first invisible zip I put in. It was easy enough but I obviously didn’t stop to reflect on the fact that the zipper of an invisible zip is much bigger than a regular zip, and that therefore it would need more room at the top! Or better yet, a bit of space and a hook and eye. Still, it zips all the way up and gives the most satisfactory fit across the back. That’s not a gaping zipper in the photo, by the way, it’s the pocket. I had a lot of fun getting both the fabric of the inner pocket and the fabric of the front and back legs to all match up. (I know, I know – taking so long with these things is why I am showing this in January, not July – but it was worth it!)

I really like how they lie on the front. Having seen a lot of pant-fitting issues shown and discussed on various forums lately, I am pleased with how they fit in the crotch, too. I also love how the lines disappear into each other in the seam and darts…

…and disappear similarly in the back. The pockets on the back are so useful, I am really glad I didn’t leave them out… and that I cut them on the bias!

All in all, this was a lovely advanced beginner project that I really enjoyed and will definitely sew again. It fits great and is extremely comfortable. I have the denim I bought at the K&S show ear-marked for a skirt but if I have enough left-over, I will make another pair of shorts with them.