Several months ago, I piled my yarn stash in a giant heap in the middle of the room, binged on Netflix and started matching yarn to projects concentrating on sweaters.
I bagged 13 sweater projects and sorted the rest of the yarn by weight before tucking it away into my cubbies.
Thanks to the wonders of Ravelry filters, I was able to find patterns for a lot of the yarn I've had hiding in the depths of my stash. It's been a lot easier to start projects now that I can grab a bag and cast-on. There's no dumping or digging and far less casting projects to the side now that there's a plan.
Not so surprisingly, I was really excited to start knitting after all that planning. One of the first projects on my radar was Maude from the Autumn 2015 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly.
Maude is a worsted weight sweater designed to be worn with negative ease. I knit size 1, which has a finished bust measurement of 34". The pattern intends three quarter sleeves and a 'mock turtle' neckline. I chose to knit full length sleeves and a crew neck instead.
This is not the style sweater I typically wear or am drawn to. My philosophy with yarn weight and sweaters is usually a direct correlation. little yarn= little sweater, big yarn=big sweater, because I tend to think fitted sweaters knit in yarn gagued above DK add the appearance of additional bulk to the body of the wearer. But, I only had eight balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino on hand, and I loved the texture of those rope-y cables, so I decided to try something new.
Ultimately, I do think this style sweater would be more flattering in a sport weight yarn, but I don't mind it terribly and think I'll wear it occasionally (if I can block those sleeves a bit wider through the upper arm...). Also, it was fun to knit. The cables are easy to memorize but keep things entertaining.
I have a few 2015 projects that are going to get carried in to 2016. I tried to get caught-up, but I was better at producing than I was at blogging this year. C'est la vie. I hope to see you all in 2016! I wish you a happy , healthy and productive new year! CHEERS!
This is the third (final) M6886 dress I made Hallie for her birthday.
There really isn't any more to say about this pattern. I've sewn seven of them now, and each one is as great as the one that came before it.
I think a lot of fabrics work well with this pattern, but sweater knits and Rayon knits, like this one are my favorites of the fabrics I used on this particular dress.
And, I particularly love the way a pattern as simple as this dress shows off a good print.
Happy, happy Birthday Hallie!
When I took Hallie shopping to buy fabric for her birthday dress(es), I found myself in that common gift buying predicament of wanting to keep one of the fabrics I'd chosen for her. So, I did the only reasonable thing there was to do; I bought extra yardage. LOL.
I warned Hallie that we would have matching dresses, which made us both laugh a little, because as far back as I can remember, my sister (and sometimes brother) and I have been wearing matching, makes stitched together for us by our mom and grandma, who were both incredibly skilled, as you can see.
Getting dressed to take these pictures was a very 'full-circle' moment for me. Despite being around sewing my whole life, I didn't take a serious interest in garment making until I was an adult. I know I didn't fully appreciate the amount of time and effort that went into the making of all those matching clothes; in fact, I'm sure I resented having to wear them at times.
Of course, I have a completely different perspective on things now. It's funny how that happens.
Look at us! Just like the good old days; except Hallie's a bit taller than she used to be ;-D.
My dress is a Rachel Wrap dress. Hallie's dress is McCall's 6886_ and we bought this marvelous Damask sweater knit at Joann Fabrics. The fabric is double layered and has a nice amount of strech and recovery. Joann is really upping their game in the knits fabric department. I've been finding some really fabulous options every time I stop in!
Alternative titles for this post: Umm, excuse me. My eyes are up here, Can't take my eyes off of you, Ill be watching you.... I'll just cut to the chase. There was no way to get around some awkward pattern placement with this print.
I did what I could. I managed to get the overlapping faces to line up nearly perfectly across the wrap, WIN! But, I ended up with a giant face on my bum, LOSE. I certainly think it would have been worse had I ended up with lips on my... well, you don't have to be Dr. Seuss to know where I was headed with that train of thought.
Truthfully, I've never had much of an issue with people staring at my chest. My build is definitely all about that bass, no treble (which comes with its own variety of objectification), so I think I'm safe(r).
This is another rendition of the Maria Denmark Rachel Wrap Dress sewn using a rayon jersey fabric purchased in Brussels at Les Tissus Du Chien Vert. It's every bit as stretchy as the fabric I used on my first Rachel Wrap Dress.
I didn't make any changes from my first attempt. This pattern makes a great dress. It's incredibly easy to wear, and I feel instantly put together and ready for anything while I'm wearing it. I already made a third version, and I expect that, somewhere down the road, I'll make more.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY SISTER!
This is Hallie, and it's her birthday! This year, Hallie's birthday request was for me to sew for her, which, if you know her, is a huge compliment. She has raised more than a few eyebrows at some of the garments I've sewn. Her style is typically more trendy and and fashionable than my own. However, the M6886 dresses I sewed recently instantly received her stamp of approval.
I don't often sew or knit for other people, but since she schmoozed me with flattery, and it is her birthday, and because this dress is SO EASY, I agreed.
We went fabric shopping together at our local Joann Fabric. I have been very impressed lately with the quality and quantity of knit fabrics Joann has been carrying. We had a hard time narrowing down a favorite fabric, so we went home with THREE. Full disclosure, I couldn't resist getting a piece for myself while we were there. Oops.
Hallie is roughly four inches taller than I am, and has broader shoulders than I do, but I cut her dresses from the same size as I cut mine and included the same sway back adjustment that I used for myself. I left the shoulders as drafted and also made sure to leave the hemline longer than I would for my dresses.
As an extreme collector of vintage patterns, I have dozens, probably hundreds of patterns that I've dreamt about sewing. But, you know how it goes, too many patterns, too little time. Too many ideas to execute at once. Distractions. Distractions. Distractions. And, time, she doesn't stand still for any of us.
I bought Advance 5371 years ago. I had planned to sew it immediately. But, I failed. Since I made up my mind to replace the raggy lounge clothes currently residing in my closet, I decided it was about time I sewed a new housecoat to wear with them. I have a housecoat that I wear constantly. It's giant, and plushy, and warm, and the opposite of attractive. It's also about ten years old and has seen better days.
I absolutely love the glamor of vintage sleepwear designs. Those ladies really knew how to pull-off the whole, "I woke up like this" look. But, in order for my new housecoat to replace my old housecoat, it had to be more than pretty. The requirements were simple: machine wash/dryable, light, comfortable, and warm. When I say warm, I mean, warm enough to let the dogs out or go grab the mail from the curb in a snow storm, warm.
I decided to sew with two fabrics instead of one in order to achieve the balance I was looking for: a buffalo check flannel and an ivory cotton jersey. In addition to using the jersey as a contrast fabric, I completely underlined the entire body of my robe with it.
The jersey I used is from an estate sale. It's a very nice quality cotton or cotton blend jersey and it feels amazing against the skin. Since I used it as underlining, I treated it exactly the way I would treat any woven fabric.
This robe is amazing. I'm completely in love with it. It checks all the boxes on my list. Most importantly, it's crazy cozy and warm. And, if I do say so, it's infinitely more beautiful than the shapeless plushy robe I've been wearing. I should revisit my hem and take an additional inch from the length. Currently, the skirt skims the floor while I'm standing perfectly upright. I have terrible posture, so I'm almost never fully upright. But, that's an easy fix. I'll probably wear this while I'm sewing most days, so I have no excuse not to redo the hem in a timely manner. ANYWAY....
I adore the details incorporated into vintage patterns. Those designers didn't miss a beat when they drew-up a pattern. The shawl collar, three-quarter length sleeves, giant pocket and full, four-gore skirt assure that this housecoat is as pretty as it is practical, and the shaping through the bodice guarantee you won't look like a shapeless sack of flour while you're wearing it.
This robe will likely become the garment I wear more than any other garment I've sewn. I regret that it took me as long as it did to sew this, but I will waste no time making up for lost time. It's already in heavy rotation.
Sewing with this pattern was a nice way to refresh my skills with unprinted patterns. Do you know, I actually prefer unprinted patterns to printed ones? They're incredibly easy to use once you understand how to use the symbols. There's nothing fussy or confusing about them. I started sewing with vintage patterns, so these are my happy place. And, of course, sewing this robe means that I have another project to contribute to #vintagepledge!
With the onset of cold weather and shorter days, it's hibernation season here in Illinois, especially on weekends. If I don't have anywhere to be, chances are I'm lounging around at home in my pajamas.
With one exception, my lounge wear consists of raggy old t-shirts and yoga pants. I've always had too many necessary items on my sewing list to tackle comfortable, cute pajamas and lounge clothes. I've focused my sewing energy on clothes that get worn outside the house and continue to wear hideously embarrassing cozy clothes while I'm home. The more productive I become with sewing, the more apparent the gaps in my me-made wardrobe become, and it seems plain silly not to fill them.
Joann fabric released this Tardis fabric over the summer, and the instant I saw it, I knew I wanted to sew Tardis Carolyn Pajamas. I'm not the sort of person who wears novelty print fabrics on the regular, but I can definitely get down with novelty print Pjs.
This was my first time using a Closet Case pattern. The experience was good. The PDF went together easily; however, this pattern is LONG. I'm fairly certain it took me longer to put the pattern together than it did to cut and sew these pajamas. I kept reminding myself that I was assembling pieces for two garments, a top and a bottom. Still, there were places that space could have been saved. The sizing, logo and disclaimer printed on each of the components takes more than a full page of space on each pattern. The button guide could have been incorporated into the shirt front pieces, and some of the spacing was a little spread out. The few pages these things could have saved really wouldn't make much of a difference in the end.
The pattern went together beautifully. It's obvious that Heather paid attention to detail when she was designing this pattern. The shirt cuffs and hem bands are great features. The pants pockets go beyond decoration and are deep enough to be functional. The pants have a flattering cut and the notched collar is completely classic; yet the cut of the neckline is contemporary and flattering. These are the sorts of details that elevate me-made garments, and I appreciated that she did all the thinking for me in advance.
For the most part, I did not follow the instructions. I did read through them. They appear to be complete and easy to understand. I thought the suggestion to sew vertical lines of stitching through the waistband at the position of the side seams was brilliant. It's so simple, yet so effective for keeping that elastic from rolling. The method described for attaching piping seems unnecessarily time consuming;I prefer to sew my piping all at once, sandwiched between he seam allowances, but it seemed to be explained clearly enough that a person attaching piping for the first time would be able to follow them successfully, which I think was the intention. Also, it's worth mentioning that I bought five yards of this fabric, per the pattern recommendations, and I very barely had enough yardage to cut the short sleeved version. I would definitely order additional fabric in the future.
The only modifications I made to my pajamas were to shorten the pants by 3 1/2 inches and sew my shirt facings in place so they will stay put during laundering. I love my finished product, but the next time I make these, I'll go down a size or two. And, yes, I will definitely sew these pajamas again. I think a couple more winter pairs of Carolyn pjs are in order, and I'd love to follow Kelly's lead and sew both pants and shorts for future versions to have pjs that transition easily from one season to the next.
Basic. Black. Two of my favorite things!
This is another version of the McCalls M6886 knit dress, the third of four I made to wear this fall. Although, it's clear from these photos, that we are well on our way to winter at this point.
We've had snow twice already. It is December, so that should come as no surprise. The dogs are excited about the season change. They lose their minds the instant their paws hit powder. Danger is more timid in the snow this year than he has been in years past. Since losing his vision to glaucoma, he relies on his other senses to navigate, and the snow covers up all the smells he's used to using to maneuver around the yard. We think he retains the ability to distinguish between light and dark, so I'm sure the reflection throws him off too. But, it doesn't stop him.
This version of M6886 was sewn using a black cotton jersey fabric bought at an estate sale. The pattern envelop lists cotton knit as a suggest fabric, but I don't think this particular fabric works as nicely as the other versions I've sewn. It doesn't have the same rebound that the synthetic knits I sewed this dress with have, and it starts to bag and stretch in the course of wear. I definitely think a higher content of stretch fiber would have helped.
Regardless, it's every bit as comfortable as the other versions. And, I can never have too many black dresses!
Once I'd completed my McCall's M6886 dresses and fully experienced the delight of secret pajamas, I knew I needed another knit dress pattern in rotation for my fall wardrobe.
This knit dress revelation coincided with Jenny's launch of the Appleton Dress, which is completely lovely in every version I've seen so far. Wrap dresses are universally flattering, I think. Unfortunately, Jenny's line is outside my size range. I turned instead to Maria Denmark's Rachel Wrap dress; the two are very similarly designed.
This was my first time working with a Maria Denmark pattern. My finished dress looks exactly as I expected it to look based on the sample photos and line drawings. This pattern produces a lovely dress. The neckline strikes a nice balance between flattering and conservative. I don't feel like I"m at risk for any costume malfunctions. The skirt wrap goes from hip to hip and provides good coverage. Also, the dress went together easily and quickly. I did not, however, like that there were no seam allowances, or rather, that some pieces had seam allowances and other didn't. It was more than a little confusing to keep track of. It would have been nice to have consistency throughout the pattern.
Honestly, I'm too lazy/spoiled to add seam allowances. I chose, instead, to cut a size larger than the pattern suggested for my measurements. I thought it was also odd that there is no pattern piece for the ties. I understand that eliminating this piece was likely a space saving move, but it seemed like a shortcut. Finally, it's worth mentioning that the pattern layout and fabric requirements anticipate that the fabric does not have a directional repeat. So, be prepared to buy extra yardage if you won't be able to flip your pattern pieces.
My fabric is rayon jersey from Les Tissus du Chien Vert in Brussels. This shop had a wonderful selection of jersey prints! This particular knit has a lot of stretch and good rebound. It works wonderfully with the neckline and keeps it pulled in nice and flat against my body.
All things considered, this is exactly the dress I want it to be. I will definitely use this pattern again (and again).