March 31, 2013

Easter top and greetings

Filed under:Blouses/Tops,Finished Objects,Sewing — Aileen @ 13:07

Despite my best intentions to take lots of progress photos – and there has been progress! – it hasn’t happened. I wore my green dress and jacket last night but it was too dark for photos 🙁 I’m glad I made and brought them (along with my other Ikea flowery dress and accompanying linen jacket that I made last autumn) because this is a very dress-and-jacket place. Warm enough to not need tights or covered shoes but cool enough to warrant something on the shoulders.

Anyway! Since I don’t have photos if my green dress yet, I have photos of my Easter top. I made this in January in a fit of blah and ennui.


Pattern: Longer sleeved version of the Market top by Lisette. I have gotten such mileage out of that pattern; it lends itself to endless variations and is perfect for summer wear.

Fabric: some quilting cotton that caught my eye when browsing Fabric HQ, a neat little online shop in the UK. I used my parcel motel to avail of affordable postage. Their service was quick and given how I love their selection if prints, I will probably order again sometime.

Modifications: I made a few. Firstly, the sleeve is supposed to have a ruffled cuff. That is really nice if you live in a place where layers aren’t essential. Ruffles are impossible under a cardigan sleeve. So, I cut a straight cut and left a slit at the inner elbow. A bit makey-uppy but it works great.


I french seamed all the insides which I think is a good way to go with a quilting cotton. I also adjusted the neckline. I had sewed on the neck band as per the pattern but it came out very wrinkled. I tried steaming gently to no avail. I removed it and re-sewed it with the same result. By this stage I didn’t care for the neck band and so dug out my carefully stored leftovers and made a bias binding. I was hoping to leave it exposed on the edge but it gaped alot so I folded it in and sewed it down.


I also took out the gathers at the top if the sleeve cap and just used small pleats instead.

All in all, a nice little project and I’m happy with the result. The little birdies are so cute!

I wish you all a happy weekend, a happy Easter if you’re into that kind of thing and a happy hoping for spring.


March 28, 2013

Brief dispatch

Filed under:Travel — Aileen @ 14:01

I am aware that my home country is covered in horrid, unfair, unseasonal snow so I won’t dwell too much on this… I am away. I am on the sub tropical island of Madeira. There are bananas, rum, the sloshy sounds of Portuguese, a little knitting and crochet, a lot of hills, and most importantly this:


Pics of my project progress to come!


March 21, 2013

Sticking to the plan

Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Stash Down — Aileen @ 13:25

The green jacket was quite the disaster – the neckline was too wide, the armscyes too deep and narrow. Despite my best efforts, I could not salvage the pattern. So, I decided to cut my losses and start again. Luckily the shop where I got the cotton to begin with had a little bit left (1.2m) and it was plenty for a second version. I used the pattern for this blouse as the basis. I traced off the front panel and added my own lapel, using the dimensions from the other pattern. Then I traced off a facing for it. It wasn’t very difficult at all.

The angle of the photo doesn’t reflect the fact that the hem of the jacket is parallel with the bottom of the waistband. It doesn’t look it but it is. I swear!

I was in a shop last week and I saw a Ted Baker coat with running stitch on the collar. I thought it looked nice so I used the same for my lapels. It killed two birds with one stone because it keeps the two layers together and stops the bottom one rolling out. I used the same thing for the hems of the sleeves.

You see that I used a floral ribbon for the hems. This was partly to give a bit of life to the insides and also to help keep the shape of the hems.

The whole ensemble works really well together and I’m glad I persevered with the jacket! No modelled photos today because the weather is awful -the light is poor and it is too chilly to strip off! Hopefully at the weekend conditions will improve.


March 13, 2013

Stitching in general

Filed under:Hats,Knitting,Sewing,Stash Down,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:58

I love learning new things. Of course, part of this is making a lot of mistakes, getting stuck and having to figure it out.

Fitting. Lots of fitting.

Basting and re-basting. Discovering that my hand-stitching does not hold up under the weight of the fabric. I could probably persist but I think some plain old top-stitching will sort this out.

It is difficult to learn new things about the same things – therein lies the challenge.

Searching for a better way to work decreases in an uneven rib. Still not perfect but better than it was.

A birthday hat for a friend. Challenged myself to learn a new cast-on for rib and I love it. Challenged myself to do something a bit different for her with a honeycomb texture. It didn’t quite work out but now I know what will work and it’s better than what I imagined initially.

I’ve been living in this since the weekend. Yes, it’s a small blanket. Yes, it’s the dreamy cloud that is Malabrigo Lace and yes, it has already started to felt into itself! The pattern is Quill. I wear it doubled over with a shawl pin and then open it out over my knees when I’m sitting in the evening.

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of people saying the same thing to me: That’s amazing! Do you sell what you make? I have had many conversations about this with people in different areas – dress designers and tailors, fellow knitters, non-crafty friends and strangers alike. On one hand, it is difficult to price attractively that rewards your time, skill and materials. On the other, there will always be a market for high end, hand made, well made, unique things. So, I suppose it’s about balance, marketing properly and being aware of the value of what I make. I am thinking about these things an increasing amount as I move into a new phase of my life. I am finished my music studies and I have music work that I love and that is about as secure as it can be right now. Alb encourages me to consider all the things that I can do and not get boxed in by doing just one thing. The more things I can do to make a little money, the better. It sounds like the perfect summer project if you ask me.

What do you think?


March 11, 2013

Snow day sun dress

Filed under:Sewing,Stash Down,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 14:10

I have a real knack for sewing weather-inappropriate items and this is no exception! I opened the curtains today to full-on blizzard conditions. Of course, now the sun’s out and it’s all but melted. It’s still windy and bitter like only March can be. I think March’s speciality is hail, actually. You’re out enjoying a walk in the sun and fresh air when the next thing you know, you’re being pelted in the face with hailstones. Cessation is only guaranteed when you are thoroughly soaked and not a comment before.

All this to say that I finished my dress yesterday and it is wonderful and I cannot wait to wear it!


Here is the waistband and the pocket. No modelled photos until I finish the jacket as an added incentive to get it done!

No fear, though. I printed out the pattern and cut out my fabric last night. To my surprise, it is a very simple pattern, made even more so by not adding a lining.


This is one of the fronts, the angle is the lapel that will fold back. On I go!