Twist and Shout.
Spring sweater might sound like an oxymoron to people in some parts of the world; here a spring day typically contains weather elements from each of the four seasons. Truly, the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait fifteen minutes" gets thrown around ad nauseam from March until June while mother nature sorts herself out. It's crucial for a person to have all forms of apparel readily available at all times.
This particular sweater is Jean from issue 14 of Pom Pom Quarterly, knit using Lil Weasel house brand yarn that I purchased during our trip to Paris last fall. (worn here with my latest pair of Birkin Flares). The jewel toned yarns in PPQ14 are what initially caught my eye when they were released. I bought this yarn specifically with Jean in mind, and I knew I wanted a bright color. It's warm enough to really classify as jewel toned...The shade is softer and fairly aquamarine hued. Perfect for spring.
I knit size 1 of this pattern and find that it fits great but is just slightly bigger than I'd prefer at the bottom band. This, I'm sure can be attributed to the garter stitch, which, isn't the best stitch for the job, IMO. It does tie the cuffs and the cowl together nicely. If I were to do this again, I'd likely keep the garter and just knit fewer rows for a snugger fit.
Fat Bottomed Girls.
More jeans. I did warn you about my denim buying spree. I'm completely determined for each of those fabrics to land in my closet in the form of finished garments, pronto. It's not stash if it never lands there, right? I try not to over-plan my sewing projects, but I do typically have a loose list of things I'd like to accomplish. Right now, that list includes a variety of separates to mix & match. Jeans are at the top of the priority list, because they're a four season garment for me.
This particular pair of jeans, however, are better suited to spring and summer than they are fall and winter. These are sewn using a Japanese Denim from Mood. As I said before, all the denims I bought are very different. If I had to make a comparison, I'd say this denim most closely compares to the 9oz cone denim I used to sew my first pair of Ginger Jeans, because this denim has a similar/high amount of stretch. This Japanese denim is, however, even lighter weight than the 9oz Cone Denim.
I used the Birkin Flares pattern for this pair of jeans. Following my first experience, I knew I wanted to make a couple minor changes to my second pair. I left this pair two inches longer than my first pair and took all the length from the line above the knee. I also tapered the leg between the thigh and the knee to really exaggerate the flare. Finally, since this denim has such a high amount of stretch, I cut them smaller than I had previously. This pair combines the rise of the size 26, the waist of the size 27 and the hip of the size 28.
I do wish this denim was a bit heavier. I think it would help prevent the outlines of the pocket bags from appearing so prominently on the outside of the jeans and make it easier to tuck a shirt into them. But, overall, I'm satisfied with how they turned out.
On the subject of shirts, this one is the Pauline Alice Carme Blouse. I made this blouse once before, alongside Nathalie. At the time I made it, I wasn't sure how I felt about this pattern. Since then, I've worn that blouse plenty! Currently, 70's style, peasant blouses are flashing all over my radar, so I decided I could use a couple more shirts from this pattern in my life. This pattern has some great details incorporated into it. The pin-tucked front yoke and the sleeve tabs make this pattern both interesting to sew and to look at. The colors in this fabric are best represented above. (The sun was playing peek-a-boo on us and it made it very difficult to capture both the shirt and the jeans accurately at the same time.)
My shirt fabric is estate sale stash fabric. In all likeliness, this cotton fabric is from the 70's, and I thought it was entertaining that the color scheme contained three of Pantone's trending colors for Spring 2016 (Peach Echo, Buttercup & Green Flash). It was a perfect storm. It's like this fabric was telling me what it wanted to be.
The Jean Genie
Following my first flirtation with jeans sewing, I went on a denim buying bender. I had a general understanding what I was looking for based on the recommendations of other jeans sewing bloggers, but I was completely surprised by the packages that landed on my doorstep!
The first two denims I bought are Cone Denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I bought yardage of both the 9oz S-gene and the 10.5 S-gene knowing that they were different weights but not thinking too deeply into it. WELL, these are two totally different fabrics! The 9oz is VERY stretchy while the 10.5 oz is nearly rigid. I was surprised, actually, how little stretch the 10.5 oz has. They are both beautiful. And, they are both considerably lighter than the denim I used when I sewed my Birkin Flares. I was a little confused by the contrast between them, then my next fabric delivery landed on my doorstep.
My second shipment of denim came from Mood. I ordered two Japanese Denims: Palace Blue (sold out)& Proenza Schouler Black. I also bought a generic White Denim. You guys. They are all totally different. None of the five denims I bought feels or behaves entirely similar to another. On a whole, my confusion deepened. But, I officially understood why both Lauren and Heather included instructions to BASTE fit before sewing any final stitching. Fabric always plays a role in the final fit of a garment, but when it comes to fitting jeans, fabric and fit are completely entangled!
I can say with confidence that I will have to sew different pattern sizes for each of those five different denims. The jeans in this post are sewn using the Ginger Jeans Pattern and 9oz Indigo Cone Denim. This was my first time sewing this pattern, and it was a really excellent experience. The pattern is well written, the instructions are clear, and Heather includes a series of tips and pointers on sewing jeans at the forward of the instructions that I found very handy and helpful. At this point in my sewing experience, I've only worked with five pants patterns, but of those five patterns, Heather's method for installing a fly is my ABSOLUTE favorite.
I very highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking to sew jeans. That said, I don't think this is the perfect pattern for MY BODY. My body is: petite. When I was deciding which size(s) to cut, I chose the lowest possible rise of the high waisted version. My hope was to achieve a mid-rise jean. And, I think that I achieved that, but I still could use a smidgen reduction in the rise. My body is: bottom-heavy. I have all my curve below the waist. And, that curve is quite dramatic. I also have thick thighs. SO, even with grading between sizes, I ended up with my most common RTW fit issue, gap waist. My finished Ginger jeans look and fit as well as most RTW jeans, but my goal with sewing is to have jeans that fit better than RTW.
The thing I like least about this pattern (really it's the only thing I can think of that I disliked) is that the waistband is cut to the same size as the actual waist measurement of the jeans. Since I sewed the Birkin Flares first, I was spoiled by Lauren's method of cutting the waistband on the stretch grain of the fabric with negative ease. Stretch easing the jeans to the waistband creates a REALLY nice fit between the hip and the waist, because it pulls everything inward.
I do want to have more pairs of skinnies in my closet. I think my next attempt will be a mash-up of the two patterns mentioned. (Binger Jeans?). And, I am head over heels for the 9oz Cone Denim I used on this pair. The color is BEAUTIFUL and it's lovely to wear. More of this fabric is on my shopping list... as soon as I finish sewing through my first denim splurge. :-D
All Together Now.
At the onset of the year, I (un)officially deemed 2016 my "year of the trousers". I've been wanting to sew pants for a long time. I've collected a large pile of pants patterns in anticipation. I've stashed a wide range of bottom weight fabrics. Everything was ready and waiting for me.
I procrastinated pants sewing as long as I possibly could. I finally reached a breaking point. I completely backed myself into a corner. You see, for the same amount of time that I've been collecting pants patterns and fabrics, I also completely stopped buying RTW pants. I get a lot of mileage from my clothing, typically, but my dress pants were loved to death. I had a choice to make. Cave-in and buy pants or stop being such a wimp and sew some stinking pants, already!
TA DAH! My first pair of Manhattan trousers! Like most projects that I procrastinate on, these were far less daunting than I'd imagined them to be! Actually, this pattern goes together VERY quickly and VERY easily. The instructions are simply written and clear. The pants look exactly as expected by the line drawing. The pattern fit was on point with the way the provided measurements suggested these would fit. Also, this pattern is designed with petite body types in mind, so I didn't need to do any tweaking to the rise, which was a nice little pattern prepping treat!
As I mentioned, my pants situation is fairly desperate at the moment, so I've decided to start my mission with some solid basic items. These were sewn using a medium weight wool suiting fabric. The fit is fairly decent right out of the envelope. This fabric is very stable and doesn't have any stretch component to it. So, on future versions with similar types of fabric, I think I will give myself a little more room in the upper thigh. I don't notice any tightness in them until I sit, then the thigh is a little snug. I'm eager to make more of these pants. As soon as I can get a few pairs of neutral, (boring)basic pairs in my closet, I'd like to have a pair or two of bright color or patterned pairs.
Also, photographed in this post is my Lightweight Pullover. This pattern, by Hannah Fettig, has been in my favorites/queue for ages. Over the winter when I sorted through my stash and matched yarn to patterns, I made sure to include it in the mix. The yarn I used is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I love this yarn. I purchased this particular yarn from an estate sale, but I would specifically seek out and buy it again for future projects. It has a really gorgeous feel and drape, and the microfiber component of the blend provides a nice element of stability/structure to the final garment. I feel like I used to be really resistant to any yarn blend that included the tiniest amount of synthetic fiber, but I'm coming around.
There isn't anything complicated about this pattern. It was a really wonderful social knitting project. I do recommend having a side-project on hand to offset the boredom of knitting a mile of stockinette. Whining aside, it knits fast, and I do think the resulting garment is worth it. This sweater is really easy to wear. It dresses-up just as easily as it dresses down. Just as its name suggests, this is a nice light sweater. It's been great for unpredictable bursts of chilly spring weather.... we're having a lot of those. I already have plans in place to knit this again in a different yarn variety.
It feels pretty amazing to be filling some of the notable gaps in my closet! Sewing pants is going to give me a lot more options when it comes to separates and me-made outfit building!
Grazing in the Grass.
After my last assessment of Mike's meager collection of handknit socks, I convinced myself to cast-on another pair for him immediately. Man socks are just. so. big. They push at my limit between the normally meditative state of pleasure induced by sock knitting and frustration.
Sometimes, while I'm working on them, I question whether I'm making any progress at all. When I finally get to the heel construction everything is good again. I start to feel renewed satisfaction in my decision to be selfless and knit socks for someone who loves them. The pleasure of casting off is short lived by the realization that I have to make a mate for that initial sock.
I give myself a pep-talk. The cycle begins again; this time, it's the last lap. Fueled by thoughts of the finish line, I keep knitting. I stop to complain. I consider starting something new. I start again. Then, it's over.
And, it's worth it. And, he reaches for them first when he looks in he sock drawer. He puts them on and smiles. And, I smile. And it makes me want to knit for him again and again.
Pattern: Variation on Plowshare
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn, Heathers Shades of Green
A week without posting seems like a long break after maintaining a 2 a week pace for the past months. Unfortunately, it might get a little irregular around here for another month or so due to a particularly busy burst at work. Longer days in the office make for a lot less daylight to photograph, write and participate on social media. But, work is what makes play possible, at least in my case. I'm still around, just not as available as usual.
I do still have a couple projects to clear from the queue before springing ahead (HA!) into the new season. So, I wanted to quickly update this little space to say, "HELLO!" and share a little project I made for Mike.
This cardigan was sewn using M6803 (sadly, discontinued) in a sweater knit fabric we bought at Joann and using leftover jersey scraps from the stash. Like most patterns designed for knit fabrics, this comes together quickly. The pattern is nicely done and easy to follow. However, if I make this cardigan for mike again, I will make some adjustments to the sleeves and the front pieces, mostly by reducing the width of them for proportion. Surprisingly, we did not lengthen either the sleeves or the body of this cardigan! It was long enough for Mike as drafted.
I hope to check back with you soon. If I'm particularly diligent, I'll find time to schedule some posts. In the meantime I hope you're enjoying the season change, wherever you live and having fun making projects in preparation for a change in the weather!
It appears that Mother Nature has heard all the complaining I've been doing about cold weather. And, her response is generous. We're having our first full-on week of spring temperatures here! (HOORAY!!) It's amazing. It does mean I need to get my act together and finish posting winter projects to clear the decks for spring clothing, which I'm happy to report I started working on over the weekend.
The knitters among you might recognize this pattern as Riptide by Norah Gaughan from the Brooklyn Tweed Winter 16 collection. BT typically impresses with their fresh spin on classic knitwear designs, but the latest collection, really hit the mark. I want to knit it all! As instantly as I fell in love with this pattern, I wasn't sure I'd find time to knit this sweater before the end of the season until Liz knit it and reported on how quickly it came together AND, importantly, how much less yardage she used than what the pattern suggested.
The pattern estimates 1300yards of Bulky yarn for the smallest size. I didn't have 1300 yards of bulky stashed. I did, however, have 1100 yards of Elsebeth Lavold Chunky AL. Based on Liz's assessment of this sweater, that amount would be plenty. She was right! In fact, I only used about 950 yards to knit this. And, as you can see, I could have squeaked in under 900 if I had knit those sleeves a little shorter. From start to finish, this sweater took 6 days of periodic knitting (about 15hours total to knit). That's pretty quick, as far as sweaters are concerned. And, I love the result.
The Jasper sweater is officially a winter wardrobe staple for this girl. This version is almost identical to the first Jasper I posted in this space, just a different shade of grey.
I love this pattern sewn in boiled wool. The collar has more structure in wool than it does in the sweatshirt fleece fabric I used on a third rendition of this pattern. Three seems to be my number these days. HA. But, I have a feeling I'll revisit this pattern again in the future.
When I do use this pattern next, I may try to bring the shoulders in a smidgen. I don't necessarily want the same should fit in a sweatshirt that I would want in a tailored garment, but I think that they could come in a touch.
I don't have a lot to add regarding the pattern. It's got excellent features and design details. It's clearly written and has nice supporting tutorials on the Paprika Patterns website.
As fun as it's been whipping through winter wardrobe additions, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to shift gears soon and concentrate on short sleeves and sundresses. :-D Oh, and JEANS. More. JEANS. Which patterns are on your radar for spring?
Cold as Ice.
MORE WINTER CLOTHES. I don't know about you, but I'm full-on daydreaming about summer sewing. I'm tired of the darkness and the cold weather. Last week we were teased with temps in the high 50s, then we had a random snow and wind storm yesterday. Not cool, Mother Nature; not cool. I'm doing my best to keep cozy and cute wearing all the winter wardrobe projects I added to my closet this season. Today, I present Dropje Vest, round two, which happens to be my favorite of the three versions I made.
I love sewing patterns more than once. Not only does it make the purchase of the pattern more worthwhile, it allows me to explore different possibilities with the garment I'm making. My first version of this pattern is decidedly outwear. It's quilted, interlined with batting and quite heavy. It will hold its own, especially during crisp fall weather.
My second version is also warm; it's wool lined with flannel, but it's considerably lighter weight and more flexible than the first Dropje I made. It works both as a light jacket or layer and a wear all-day piece.
In addition to the versatility that this version of Dropje offers, I really love my fabric choices on this vest. Both the wool fabrics are stash from estate sale purchases. The green is a tweed with shades of green, teal, and brown flecks. I have yardage of this remaining that I'd love to turn into some sort of blazer. The side panels are a vintage camel hair blend. I had less than a yard of it, and I am excited that I was able to use it. The flannel was leftover from an Archer I sewed during the fall. #SCRAPBUSTINGFTW All of these fabrics were purchased at separate times, but I couldn't have planned this combination any better. Being a fabric hoarder... I mean... having a stash to shop really paid off in this instance. LOL.
Similar to my first version of the Dropje, I chose to fully line my vest and used inseam pockets in place of the patch pockets provided.
Have you started to shift gears and work on spring projects? In addition to buying this pattern directly, it's available on Indie Sew who just happened to release their spring lineup at the begining of the week. Bring on the sunshine.
This project is my greatest sewing accomplishment to date! I sewed jeans! I still can't quite believe it. BLUE JEANS, you guys. I'm not sure why, but it feels like a big deal. This project made me feel like I'd leveled up in the same way sewing a dozen (+) Archers made me feel. Like, I'm not just some newb sitting at home tinkering with a sewing machine.
I have been sewing for about five years now. My closet is predominantly filled with garments I've made. There is barely a day that I don't wear something I've sewn or knitted. But those things combined don't equal the level of achievement I felt upon finishing these jeans. And, it's silly, because they weren't actually difficult to make. Apparently, jeans were just a mental hurdle I needed to jump over.
I finally built the courage to tackle this project after sitting on the sidelines watching other sewing bloggers try their hand at jeans making, (Heather, I'm looking at you!)
These jeans are sewn from the Birkin Flares pattern by Lauren of Baste and Gather. They are a classic, five pocket, mid-rise, flared jean. I have nothing to compare this pattern to, in terms of past sewing projects, but I can tell you, there is A LOT I like about this pattern.
First off, this pattern caught my attention during its testing phases. Pairs of these jeans were popping up all over my Instagram feed. I could hardly believe the number of people involved in the testing of these jeans. At the release of the pattern, a lot of tester photos were shared on Lauren's blog in two separate posts 1 & 2. A wide variety of heights and body types are represented in that tester group, which made it easier for me to imagine these jeans on my own body. And, to make things even better, a lot of those testers were directly available to comment on the pattern and the changes they made to their versions in the Baste and Gather facebook group. The group offered near instant feedback from people who had experience with the pattern. Pretty great.
As far as the pattern is concerned, it is a layered pdf document, so you have the option to print a single size, if you choose. The instructions are clearly written and easy to follow.
With regard to size, I decided to blend the rise of the size 26, the waist of the size 28, and the hip of the size 29. I also knew I needed to shorten the leg length, so I started by taking two inches from each of the lengthen/shorten lines. Then, I took an additional two inches from the hemline. (Six inches total). I wish I would have left one inch on the total length. The good news is that I'm wearing a four inch heel in these photos, so I can easily wear these jeans with a flatter shoe.
The next time I make this pattern, I'm going to try removing the majority of the leg length from the lengthen/shorten line above the knee. I have some bagging at the back of my knee, and I think making that adjustment will help.
My fabric for these jeans is an estate sale denim. It's got a nice amount of stretch to it, but I have no way to know exactly what the ratio of stretch is. I have my eyes peeled for stretch denim constantly now. I have a feeling I'm going to have to get a hold of some Cone Mills denim for future pairs. I can see another pair or two of Birkin Flares in my closet. Also, I'm waiting on the edge of my seat for the release of the add-on to this pattern, the Kendall Skinnies. I might try some other jeans patterns, but I'm pretty pleased with these and think they could be my go-to with a little bit of adjusting.