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!