The sweater parade continues! I wasn't joking when I said I planned to bombard you with woollies. Like I mentioned previously, balancing between knitting posts and sewing posts is something I haven't been able to get a handle on. I'd really like to have my knitting slate clear before June, so bear with me. Two more after today and I'm down to socks... and a shawl... But, I'll get some sewing in there soon. :-D
This sweater was knit from the Arvingen pattern by Pia Herno. It's a poncho-like sweater with an abundance of positive ease. Mine is knit using Rowan Polar (60% wool, 30% alpaca, 10% acrylic), and it's delightfully squishy and soft.
Yesterday, the weather turned cool, and I was able to wear my Arvingen as part of my Me Made May line-up. This is the type of garment that is incredibly easy to wear... even if it does make one look somewhat like a flying squirrel. (HA.)
Similar to my last project, this was a quick and uncomplicated knit. The shape of the sweater is created through a series of increases alongside the center seams. The sleeves are a spin on a classic raglan. This is sweater knitting 101, in a very "not your granny's knitting" kind of way.
This is a "one size fits most" pattern. I'm wearing it here with approximately 18 inches of ease through the hip, for reference. I think that it would be easy to modify, but I didn't attempt to do so on this project.
That's all folks! Tune in next week when Bullwinkle and I teach Boris and Natasha to knit. :-D
I'm truly racing against the weather as I attempt to unload my knitting UFO pile. There's still room for cuddly sweaters, however. It's going to reach the 80's by the end of the week, but yesterday was damp and cool and the perfect opportunity to wear and photograph my Winter Weeds cardigan.
I don't have a lot to say about this one. It was quick and easy. There's nothing complicated or unusual about it, unless you count the back where there's a bit of contrast stitching and bobbling used to create a lovely little wildflower/weeds design.
The lapels are knit directly onto the body of the cardigan. There's a slip stitched edge on both sides, but it doesn't prevent the fronts from curling. Even after blocking, they want to roll. If I had any yarn left, I'd be tempted to apply some sort of border to keep them turned out.
But I don't, have any yarn leftover, that is. I very nearly wasn't able to complete the collar. I was short a few rows on both sides and had to stretch it a little bit to attach it. In fact, I had so little yarn remaining, I needed to use a contrast yarn to seam the collar. Talk about cutting it close!
The yarn is my favorite part of this sweater. It's Rowan RYC Cashsoft, and it was a delight to knit with and incredibly squishy and soft to wear. However, it's not very forgiving. There is an irregularity showing on the back right shoulder- either from tension or some inconsistency in the yarn. I'm hoping that, in time, with enough washes, it will relax into the background.
I don't mean to seem so underwhelmed by this project. It's a solid sweater that I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear from. I was glad to have it yesterday. It's got an easy sort of style to it, and I like the back. But, it is a bit of a bore to knit. Fortunately, I finished this in under a week; otherwise, it wouldn't have held my attention.
P.S. I'm pledged participation in Me-Made-May '15. I've been keeping track of my daily me-made outfits on Instagram. Are you wearing your me-made clothing this month?
Oh, HELLO! It's been a while, hasn't it? I took a little unexpected hiatus from blogging. I'm having difficulty managing my energy level. The combination of the changing season and a nasty sinus infection got the better of me. After a round of antibiotics and lots of rest I'm starting to feel more like myself. Still, there's something funky hanging on my immune system and I can't quite shake it. I'm currently trying to ignore it away. I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, I thought I'd better get back to blogging before summer descends and I miss my opportunity to clear my slate of some of the knitting I've been accumulating.
I'm a year-round knitter, and there really is no end to sweater season, as far as I'm concerned. I'll simply switch from wool to cotton, alpaca to linen, etc... Of course, there's always socks. They're small and manageable during scorching summer weather. The knitting never ceases. But, there's something silly about showing you a giant wool poncho in the middle of July, I think. Which means, I have a little bit of playing catch-up in front of me.
Fortunately (or not), May in the Midwest is pretty chilly. Not only do I get to bombard you with finished sweaters, I get to wear them for the duration of the month! This recent addition to my sweater collection is Praline by Gudrun Johnston knit in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (55%Merino, 33%Microfiber, 12%Cashmere).
This pattern was lovely to knit. The instructions are very comprehensive. The stitch pattern is effortless, without being stockinette, and very easy to memorize. The thing that really sells me, of course, is that there is actual design and technique incorporated into the pattern. The body of the cardigan is knit seamlessly from the bottom-up and the sleeves are set-in beginning at the underarm join- a nice alternative to raglan or seamed sleeves. The little pockets incorporated into the front of the sweater are a cute detail. They aren't overly functional; though, I could certainly hold a few doggy biscuits in them.
I knit my sweater per the instructions for the size 34 1/2, and I think that I might have been better off knitting the smallest size to get a fit more comparable to that of the modeled version. I'm tempted to toss this into the dryer with a damp towel to see if I can create a bit of negative ease, but that's probably a task left for a day when my head isn't so foggy. What are you up to? Have you already cleaned house of your winter projects in preparation for spring?
Maybe the best part of sewing is having the ability to make exactly the things you want to wear. Then, there's that thing where you sew the garment you think you want, only to put it on and find yourself uncertain as to whether or not you actually like it.
Allow me to digress momentarily... NEW YORK! I failed to mention it here on the blog, but Liz and I made a day trip to New York for a fabric shopping extravaganza last fall. It was quite actually the most extravagant thing I've ever done. I had expiring airline credit to use, and no plans to take any trips. So, I decided I would fly to New York, shop and come home... All in the same day. It felt like something Beyonce would do.
It didn't take a lot of persuading to convince Liz to be my partner in crazy. We left Chicago at 6am with empty suitcases in hand. The entire trip was very short notice, but we were lucky to have some delightful New York Hostesses while we were in town. Lisette, Amanda and Fleur sweetly and generously came to meet us and showed us around some of their favorite shops in the garment district.
Of course, the trip wouldn't have been complete without Meg, so we brought her along. Remarkably, she was able to fabric shop in two places (Korea & NewYork) at once. That Meg, she's multi-talented! The day was a whirlwind. We had an excellent time and both managed to fill our suit cases before we returned home that evening. I'm not sure I would recommend this manner of travel/shopping, since it is a very fast paced way to spend the day. But, I'm glad we did it!
Where was I? Ah, yes. The fabric. I didn't have enough to sew a Robson, but I did have enough to sew a duster. I grabbed my copy of Simplicity 5834 and made a quick muslin. I removed an inch of width from the sleeves, narrowed the shoulders by an inch, and reduced the length of the jacket by 5 1/2 inches before cutting into my wool.
The construction of this coat is very simple. It's a long line design, so there is no shaping through the body. My finished jacket provides approximately 4 inches of positive ease through the hips and is hemmed to fall just below my knee. There is a slight A-line shape to the jacket created through darts at the front and back shoulders.
I wore this jacket over a dress to dinner with my grandma recently, and she smiled as she recalled sewing and wearing this style jacket with companion dress back in the 60's. She said it was very stylish to have coordinating jackets/dress ensembles and she made them for special occasions. My grandma was the first person to ever sit me in front of a sewing machine, and it was really cool to share a full-circle moment with her.
I plan to wear this jacket primarily as outwear, so lining was a must. As I'm not particularly fond of facings, I decided to clean finish the front edges, neckline and cuffs. Then, I set the sleeves using French seams, so that everything on the inside of the jacket is nice and tidy.
My sleeves are lined with a silver colored bemberg rayon. The rest of the coat is lined with lightweight teal cotton. All and all, this is a sewing victory, right? Except, it didn't feel like one. I put the jacket on after I'd finished sewing and looked in the mirror. I didn't feel nearly as cool or glamorous as all the girls in the pictures I'd pinned.
I walked over to ask Mike what he thought of it. His response was that, "It looks like you put it together correctly". This confirmed my doubts. This jacket isn't intended to button in the front, but, I thought, maybe that's what was missing. It wasn't. The buttons are fine. But I still felt odd. Perhaps the (lack of) collar was the problem.
I happened to have some bulky teal CEY Duchess in the stash, so I quickly whipped up an Ovate to wear with my new coat. That didn't do the trick either. Still, I do like my little shawlette, and I have been throwing it on to wear with my jacket on cooler days.
I'm still not sure about this jacket. I have been wearing it- daily. And, I feel a little better about it each time I do. Mike has come to the conclusion that he now likes it. He just needed some time to warm-up to it. Maybe I just need time to adjust too.
Do you find yourself uncertain about any of the garments you've made yourself? Did you come-around to them in time?
Sometimes I start a project with the pattern I plan to make. Other times, I choose the materials first. It usually works out fine, especially with yarn. Ravelry has really wonderful filters, and I use them to my fullest advantage.
In this particular instance, I knew I wanted to knit Mike a cardigan. I had some really beautiful army green Debbie Bliss wool/cotton stashed, and I thought it would be perfect for the project. Since I already had yarn chosen, I began filtering my way through patterns on Ravelry looking for a suitable match to pair it with. I narrowed the field: Male, Sweater, Cardigan, Sport, and I honed-in on the Lewis sweater by DROPS. It seemed perfect. Oversized. Textured. Shawl Collared.... By now, (especially if you didn't link to the Lewis pattern), you realize that this isn't the sweater I knit. Well, except I did. Mostly.
I knit the entire body and half way through the second sleeve of the Lewis before I admitted that I did not have enough yarn to make it to the end. The additional length I factored into the body and sleeves to cater to Mike's height ate-up my yardage, and I wasn't going to make it. I could/should have figured it out sooner. But, yarn chicken is a strange game of denial.
When I finally conceded defeat, I decided the best course of action was to immediately start knitting a contingency sweater. I might have lost the battle, but I intended to win the war. I went back to the stash and came up with two contrast colors. My solution, stripes. I also eliminated the textured stitch pattern.... and the shawl collar.... made it raglan.... and V-neck... and, well, it's altogether a different sweater.
There's no pattern for this sweater. It was all very "by the seat of my pants". I used what I know about sweater knitting to improvise along the way; it worked out. Except, I hadn't used all the yarn I knit into the first attempt by the time I finished. There were still a dozen rows of rib remaining in addition to a partial skein. I was determined to disallow reentry to the stash. Those little balls add up over time and begin to take-up as much space as the stash itself. Truth be told, most of my leftovers don't make it out of the stash or into a new project.
I borrowed a play from Steph's book and decided to knit the stragglers immediately. Lucky Michael ended up with a new sweater and a new hat in the same motion. It's probably a fair deal considering the number of projects I've knit and sewn for myself since the last time I made him something. He's been wearing them both constantly; the ultimate demonstration of gratitude and surest way to secure future goods.
Well, "HELLO!", wool people! I am still knitting. Frequently, in fact. It's been difficult for me to strike a posting balance between sewing and knitting. Maybe someday. Until then, I plan to continue my rotational inundation of one craft over another. Barely two weeks ago, the weather instigated a much needed and long procrastinated knitting 'finishing' spree. It got gorgeous for about a week. I feared sweater weather had passed leaving me with a stack of unfinished and unworn sweaters. Silly, me. I know better. I've lived in Illinois most of my life; certainly, I've lived here long enough to know that winter doesn't truly end until June. Right on cue, the cold made a comeback.
The cold came suddenly and perfectly timed to coincided with Liz, Meg and my plans to get together and photograph our latest joint project. Mother nature has a very strange sense of humor. In fairness, she saved the SNOW for the day following our pictures. Yes. Snow. Again. Still. UGH. At least we have woolly sweaters, right?!
Speaking of sweaters, I'm not sure it's immediately apparent, but we're all wearing a sweater knit from the same pattern. We've done some collaborative patterns in the past that easily highlight the difference yarn variety and minor fit adjustments can make. This time around, however, we basically have three different sweaters.
First, doesn't Liz look like a mermaid perched here?! This picture literally makes me want to burst into songs off the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid... I digress. Liz has a very well defined style and she frequently gravitates towards a vintage, 1950s silhouette. She's also very petite (side note: you should see all the math she has to do in order to get sweaters to fit her. No joke). She wasn't sure she would ultimately wear the Beekman Tavern sweater as it is designed to fit: boxy, oversized, boat neck, so she set about making modifications to make her version a fitted waist length crew neck pullover. The resulting garment absolutely has a vintage flair to it. And, it fits her beautifully!
Meg intended to use this project as a stashbuster. She had an ample amount of yarn remaining from her Catherine Jacket, and it was her mission to use it ALL. She totally succeeded. In order to use the yardage she had, Meg converted her sweater into a tunic length sweater dress. Meg was able to get additional length by adding pattern repeats into her sweater. She didn't want her dress to be shapeless, so she added waist shaping along the sides. It was a very effective use of shaping and her sweater nips in at all the right places.
My version of the pattern is the truest to the original design. However, I cast-on on an airplane...in the dark... in an over tired state of mind. I majorly botched the stitch pattern over the center panel. By the time I realized what I'd done, I had already knit six inches into the body of my garment. DOH! Being the, sometimes, lazy knitter that I am, I decided I didn't dislike the erroneous pattern enough to RIP it back. I deemed it a design feature and forged forward. Only we will ever know that it's a mistake. :-D
I knit the rest of the body as instructed without any shaping. This is a new silhouette for me. The sweater is quite... roomy. But, it's also very comfortable and easy. I feel very 1990s Ralph Lauren, but I love the way it looks with a straight skirt, like I'm wearing it here, and I know it will pair nicely with jeans when fall rolls in.
The only other changes I made were adding an extra set of decreases into the neckline shaping (i needed this to keep it up on my shoulders), and eliminating the neckline split that the pattern is designed to include. All three of us opted out of that little split. It's completely a matter of preference, but I don't get it. It looks accidental, and I don't think it's very pretty.
Pattern: Beekman Tavern by Thea Coleman
Yarn: Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool- This yarn is workhorse! I used it to knit my Oblique more than four years ago. It's one of my most worn sweaters, and it's held up to the abuse of frequent wear! And, I get a sweater from two skeins. There's no beating that.
Following these photos, we rewarded our talented photographers Mike and Felix with brunch. We warmed ourselves with coffee and nourishment and discussed our upcoming group travel plans! Oh, I can't wait!
You guys, I couldn't help myself. When Tanya of Mrs. Hughes announced the #crazydogladysewing SAL, I knew I wanted to join-in on the fun. And, the timing couldn't have been better. Roughly one week before the SAL was announced, I was fawning over the union jack pj's Lisette made for her pups (HOW CUTE are Paisley and Honey Bee?!), and Lisette was generous enough to lend me her pattern to make versions for my crew.
DOCTOR: Doctor is the baby of the group. She is a black lab. She and her mom, my sister, came to live with us when we moved out to the burbs. She holds a special place in all our hearts, because she was a puppy from our childhood dog, Diva's litter. Growing up, my parents raised and field trained labs. We spent a lot of weekends and summers at field and hunt trials. All of our dogs were AKC and UKC titled champs.... Doc, well, she is more a lady of leisure than the generations that came before her. She loves to go for rides in the car with her mama to get puppuccino, shopping for new toys, and eating sticks.
Danger: Danger is the middle child and the only boy. We adopted Danger from PAWS when he was 8 weeks old. His mom is a border collie and his dad is, at least partially, corgi, which is where he gets his short little legs and those ears. He almost always wears his ears this way, one up, one down. They aren't just for show, he can hear us coming more than a block away. Last year, Danger was diagnosed with a hereditary form of glaucoma. We were all pretty devastated at the time. Today his pressure remains under good control with medication. Even though he is almost completely blind, he's full of spunk and has adapted. He's got a feisty personality and he often thinks he's the boss. He loves to chew on antlers and go for walks, and he's my little sous chef in the kitchen.
DULCE: Dulce is the grande dame of the pack. We adopted her through a foster shelter when she was approximately a year old (we think). She was found as a stray and brought into the shelter for adoption. The first year she was with us, she gave us some pretty big scares and had to undergo treatment for both demodex mange and heart worm. Since then, she is the picture of perfect health. She lives up to her name and is definitely the sweetest and the most affectionate of the three. She LOVES to snuggle. She also loves the blow dryer- no joke. She comes into the bathroom for a blowout every time she hears it turn on. She likes to show-off and be center of attention. Often she will skip sitting and go straight into a begging posture. And, if that doesn't win you over, she'll show you how she can rollover (neither Danger or Doctor have that one figured out). She loves to demonstrate how fast and agile she is, and her favorite food is dehydrated turkey.
You didn't think I was going to leave myself out, did you?! This challenge was a great opportunity for me to sew a pair of pajamas. Since moving house, most of my previously designated PJs have turned into painting/yard work clothes. I'm overdue on an upgrade.
I used both the Renfrew and the Anima patterns to sew my jammies. The fabric I used for all of the pajamas is a double sided jersey print from Joann fabrics. This fabric comes in several color combinations. I seem to remember there being more available in-store. Here are the ones listed online. The Renfrew/Anima combo makes for a great lounge wear set. These are my first Anima pants. They came out alright for an initial attempt, but I need to shorten the length and tighten the waistband next time. Right now, my drawstring does all the work of holding my pants up. :-D My body measurements fell between the small and medium size for these pants. I opted to cut and sew the medium, because, comfort.
One of the most basic and essential items of clothing a girl keeps in her closet is the little black dress. The LBD, made famous by Coco Chanel, is the type of classic that transcends trends and remains steadfast. And, if you're like me and just love wearing black, it's the perfect excuse to dress in mono.
After reviewing my dresses board, I've come to realize that I have a variety of different shift dresses pinned as inspiration. I've decided that I will use this pattern again to sew several dresses. SO. It was important to make sure that I had a good fitting end product. I made two fit muslins, primarily to adjust the shoulder width, before I cut into my silk. I narrowed the shoulders by 3/4 inch on each side. Also, to get the above-the-knee length from my inspiration photo, I removed NINE inches from the skirt length. I'm short and used to reducing skirt length; however, I think this is a new record. The envelop illustrations make this dress look as if it's slightly below the knee, but I think it's longer.
The construction of this dress is very simple. Three pattern pieces. That's it. The sleeve has three small pleats below the elbow to create shape and wearing ease. Additionally, there are fish eye darts and shoulder darts on the backside, long angled bust darts on the front, and a folded kick pleat at the center back.
I used silk pongee to line the body of the dress. My dress fabric is too sheer otherwise, as can be seen above. I attached the lining at the neckline, right sides together and turned it under. Then, I was extra lazy, and decided to do a center-pull zipper so I could press my seam allowances under and stitch them in place with the zipper sandwiched between them. This is a VERY easy way to install a zip, and it looks tidy and clean on the inside (you can see what I mean, HERE, on Instagram). I left my sleeves unlined and used French seams to stitch them in place.
I even managed to sneak a little burst of color into my LBD, lest you fear I'm regressing from my efforts to incorporate more color into my closet. Having a cobalt blue lining is a little like wearing frilly knickers. Nobody knows it's there (well, now the internet knows), but it makes you feel a little bit fancy. Speaking of blue... Denise from The Blue Gardenia is hosting a wonderfully generous giveaway on her blog. If you're looking to get in on #vintagepledge or just wanting to add to your pattern collection, pay her a visit and enter for a chance to win! I was lucky enough to win some of her patterns for participating in Vintage Pledge last year, and I can attest to how lovely they are!
There's plenty of vintage stitching happening during #vintagepledge this year! What sorts of projects are you working on? I'm finding the lure of spring difficult to resist. The rational part of my brain keeps reminding me that I've worn sweaters through May the past two years... Today, it's nice enough to have bare legs... It's a tug-of-war. It's also a kick in the pants, hopefully the one I need, to start finishing the pile of sweaters I have lingering. It would be awfully sad if I wasn't able to wear them before summer arrives, wouldn't it?
Hello snow bunnies. It's still winter here in Midwestern North America, despite the passing of meteorological spring, but we're getting closer to sunshine and warm temperatures every day! In the meantime, I continue to sew with warmth as a primary motivator. And, I'm continuing my attmepts to incorporate more color into my closet.
During a Chicago sewing blogger meetup, I found this incredible red wool crepe fabric. It's the perfect shade of red. Instantly, when I saw it, I knew it wanted to be a circle skirt. There wasn't a lot left on the bolt; approximately one and a half yards. I knew it would be a tight squeeze, but I'm short, and the fabric is beautiful, so I bought it anyway.
This was my first ever full circle skirt! I was a little nervous about cutting a garment without a pattern. I used the standard circle skirt equation (waist measure/ 3.14/ 2= radius) to measure out my waist. I made two mistakes here. First, I added a half inch of wearing ease to my waist measurement. 2. I rounded my calculation up to the nearest eighth of an inch. Ultimately, doing these things left me with a skirt waist that was more than 2 inches too wide.
I wasn't willing to quit on this fabric, so I decided to evenly distribute 4 little pleats into the waistline. It worked well enough. Next time, I know better. And, there will be a next time. I've often heard how easy circle skirts are to sew, but I didn't realize exactly HOW easy. This is officially the quickest garment I've ever sewn. Truthfully. And, the swirl! HOLY SMOKES! I have to be very cautious in this skirt. It's much shorter than I'm used to wearing, and it flares on the edge of inappropriate. I'll definitely be aiming for more of a midi length in my next attempt.
My blouse is sewn with flannel I bought at Joann. I make regular trips to my local Joann for thread, buttons, zippers, etc... It's difficult to walk past all that fabric without taking a peek at the inventory. I'm usually on best behavior, but they had a nice variety of cotton flannels on display this winter, and I don't have any in my stash! Exceptions were made. Of course, my favorite flannel was everyone else's too. There wasn't much more than a yard left.
I had originally hoped to turn this flannel into an Archer, but I didn't have enough yardage. Fortunately, I have a surplus of vintage blouse patterns (Hooray, #vintagepledge). With a little bit of squeezing and tinkering, I was able to get Vogue 5090 on the fabric, without sacrificing plaid matching, to boot!
I did have to eliminate the front facings. In their place, I used interfaced strips of fabric to form button bands similar to those on the Archer. It was a good compromise. I chose to increase my blouse length by two and a half inches. This way, I have the option to wear the blouse with pants too. Finally, I decided I knew better than the pattern, and I interfaced my collar/ties. I won't do this again. The stiffness works in the collar, but it's too much for the ties. The only other change I will make to this blouse in future renditions, is tightening the cuff. I like the volume in the sleeve, but the cuff needs to be a little more fitted in order to look like the envelope drawing.
I love the easy, loose fitting shape of this blouse. It's straight cut and it's much easier to wear for the purposes of daily use than other, more fitted vintage blouse patterns I've sewn from. I expect to sew several more tops from this pattern, maybe I'll even go crazy and make a monogrammed one! :-D
Have you sewn a circle skirt? Are your projects still centered in your current season or have you moved on? Inquiring minds want to know!
If you're hungry for more #vintagepledge projects, be sure to check out the contributor board!
If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I'm starting to experiment with color(s) in my closet. It is my firm position that black is the most colorful color of them all, it's all of the colors mixed together. Like a rainbow. Sort of. I don't dislike color. In fact, I'm highly drawn to bright, bold vibrant colors, especially jewel tones. However, I'm puzzled and confused as to how I should wear them. My tendency is to default to neutrals.
I know this about myself. Yet, it doesn't stop me from bringing home bright colored fabrics, especially when I find them at estate sales. I bought this piece of orchid hued fabric at a sale last summer. There was a lot of it ~10yards. And, it was $2 for the whole piece. Based on a preliminary see/touch exam, I knew that it was a natural fiber. It's hard to know exactly what you're buying when you shop estate sales. Often, you're shopping in a poorly lit basement and digging through baskets. A few of you have interest in estate sale shopping, so I thought I'd share some of the things I look for while I'm on the hunt. With this particular fabric, I could see small slubs in the weave and a slight halo. both of these indicated to me that it might be natural fiber. Also, when I rubbed/agitated the fabric, I could feel lanolin coming from the material, a very familiar tactile sensation for most knitters, and I knew there was wool in it. At home, I did a burn test and confirmed that it is completely natural in content. I'm not able to determine with 100% accuracy what the content of this fabric is, but my educated guess is that it a silk/wool blend. There is a luster to this fabric. That shine, along with the slubs and the burn test indicated that there is silk in this fabric. However, I didn't get a lace-like or beaded ash. My ash is more irregular, which in combination with the other pieces of information I gathered, tell me there is wool. Additionally, this fabric is light weight, somewhat translucent when held to the light, and very drapey- characteristics I would expect from a blended fabric containing each of these fibers.
Typing fabric isn't always an exact science. Some fabrics are easier to identify than others. Without encouraging you to become a pyromaniac, I advise you to start burn testing fabrics you already know the content of, doing so will give you a great basis for comparison (be warned, burn testing store bought fabrics will sometimes infuriate you, because you will learn, overtime, you're not always getting the product you think you're buying). If you decide to do this. Please be safe. :-D It's also helpful to closely examine visual characteristics of fabrics so you have a reference point when you're out in the wild.
Being that I rescued this gorgeous fabric from the depths of one basement, it seemed cruel to fate it to a lifetime sentence on the stash shelves in my own basement. I started exploring ways I might possibly wear this color. I was surprised to realize that I have been (subconsciously?) pinning colorful garments and outfit inspiration to my Pinterest boards for a while now. In particular, this outfit worn by Ulyana Sergeenko served as my primary inspiration and launching point. After a bit more digging, I found a pin from Folake Huntoon in my same color scheme and felt ready to take the plunge.
I used vintage Simplicity 9172 View2, a two pattern piece, half circle skirt (YAY #VINTAGEPLEDGE). The width of my fabric, "45, required that I cut this skirt in two separate pieces. This worked just fine. Instead of having a single center back seam and zip, I have side seams and a side zip. Initially, I installed an invisible zipper at the side, but I swapped it out for a lapped zip. I don't trust invisible zips in bottoms. My only modification was to reduce 2 1/2 inches from the length prior to cutting. In total, this skirt used approximately 6yards of fabric (due to my limited fabric width and necessary layout modification). She's a bit of a yardage hog, but she's swishy, and swirly, and gorgeous, and totally worth it. I hemmed an additional inch from the total length, and I'm wearing it in these photos with a 2inch heel (I'm '5"2).
For up top, I sewed a Grainline Studios Archer. The shape of this blouse is perfect for emulating Ulyana's outfit. The fabric is another estate sale find. I used this chambray previously to sew my Tova Dress; I might be able to squeeze one more garment out of it before all is said and done. Based on my first two renditions of this pattern (1 & 2) I decided to decrease the width of the shoulders by 1.25inches each and shorten the sleeve length by 2 inches. To reduce shoulder width, I slashed up the length of the grain line arrow then overlapped and angled the pieces. On the yoke side, I only slashed the yoke pieces.
The shoulder adjustment made for a much nicer fit through the front and back shoulders. I think I can still afford to shorten the sleeves by another half inch, but they fit much better too. I have a strong feeling that this recent version of Archer will get a LOT of heavy use. Chambray goes with everything, doesn't it? I still think I could use a dozen more Archer blouses in my closet. I've also purchased the two new Sewaholic blouse patterns on PDF, but I'm having issues with FedEx's printing center. I really don't want to have to tape together a PDF, so if you know of a print center that is able to print full-size patterns from a secured file here in the U.S., I'd love to know about them. Until I can find an alternative print shop, those blouse patterns are on the back burner.
Bada bing, bada boom. Now that I've gotten this color hurdle out of the way, I can see both these pieces with other garments from my closet. The most exciting part about sewing separates is having the ability to mix and match. My silk Archer is going to look great with this skirt. That chambray is going to be a smash with my black Hollyburn. Etc... I've jumped immediately from not knowing how to wear this color to picturing it as a neutral to wear with other things. Pretty cool. I'm not sure I'm a complete convert, but I'm expanding my horizons. Are you a color junkie? Do you have any tips for me? And, are you doing #vintagepledge this year? There are already some really fantastic projects up on this year's board!