Saturday, 31 October 2009

February Lady Sweater done!

As focussed as I have been on the wardrobe competition, I have also been working on some other side projects. One of those is to finally finish the February Lady Sweater from Flint Knits. I think this must be the most popular free pattern on the web and for good reason. It is super versatile as you knit from the top down and can adjust the length of the body and sleeves to suit as you go. I will admit it looks a little like a bed jacket here but I promise, with jeans it actually looks a lot cooler!

This project took me ages because, while knitting in one piece avoids all that tedious finishing (which I don't really mind to be honest), it does mean you are working on a huge heavy piece with loads of stitches. This is not really compatible with sharing your life with a burmese princess who is not happy about sharing your lap. And since Desmo is nice enough to let me live in her house and feed her and pay all the bills then I really should repay the kindness by leaving my lap as available as possible.

As is typical, the warm weather has finally arrived so this piece will now go into a drawer for several months but I have managed to take it out of the house a couple of times to linger in the freezer section of the supermarket!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Wardrobe Comp Review - McCalls M5929

So here is how you last saw this shirt. Thank you for all the feedback on whether or not I should go with a single or double ruffle. You are all right, the colour of the plain ruffle is good but there is too much showing and it's too stiff. If I was to do this over, I might experiment with binding the edge of the ruffle with the contrast colour. So the plain ruffle went...
And this is how it turned out...

Sorry there is no link to the pattern but their website seems to be on the fritz!

Pattern Description:
Fitted shirts A, B have darted front and back, front band, front ruffles and shaped hemline. Shirt A has stand-up collar, below elbow length sleeves with sleeve band; shirt B has collar and collar band, full length sleeves with placket opening and cuffs; shirts A,B have sleeves gathered at cap and lower edge.

I made view A, but with a single layer ruffle.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 12

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, very much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were fine, i only glanced at them but they didn't seem to go in a wacky order like some patterns.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that this shirt is fitted and long. To me it is a 'younger' style but without being too young. I also liked the sleeves as they are different to your normal puffed sleeve.

Fabric Used:
100% cotton from Spotlight. It's a bit nicer than their usual quality of cotton.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I altered for my narrow back by taking 2.5cm out of the centre back neck, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the shirt. If you do this, remember to also shorten your collar and collar band. I didn't make my usual sway back or full bust alterations and it came out fine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, this is a lovely pattern and reasonably versatile.

I love this shirt, and am glad I went with the single ruffle in the end.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wardrobe Comp - First four outfits

So here are the first four of forty(!) outfits that will be produced as part of the wardrobe competition. The garments are:

A bit same-y so far I'm afraid, but the best is yet to come. I have finished the ivory tunic and the ruffled blouse (and yes, I did go with the single colour ruffle) so I have another four outfits to photograph as soon as conditions permit. I have also constructed the shell and lining of the jacket and am about to start quilting and trims.
Not only that but I have also finished the February Lady Cardigan, which is being blocked as we speak. I love it, but it took me way too long to finish it! It was only the motivation of a new knitting project that got me to pull my finger out and just get it done!
It's just as well I'm doing okay as I have just received an invitation to a wedding in Pemberton in four weeks. I don't know the people at all (school friends of my fella) so I am putting some effort into coming up with an outfit that says 'Hi, I'm dating your school friend and I want you to think I'm great. Yeah, I am really stylish but I'm heaps of fun too'. I am thinking navy tulip skirt and floaty top with a cute, fitted cardigan for later. Tick tock!!!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Wardrobe Comp Review - Vogue V8451

Sorry, I am woefully behind in posting - I have several completed garments but I am still having daylight/weather/photographer availability issues. I hope all of these will be resolved soon. Anyway, here is a review of the cream t-shirt Vogue V8451 (now out of print) which I finished some weeks ago now!

Pattern Description:
Scoop neck t-shirt with puffed sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 12, my normal size and it's a nice close fit. Other reviews have said to go down a size or two but I am glad I didn't.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Yes the picture was very accurate.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Unlike most reviewers I did use the facing on the neck edge. This is nice strong fabric and I wanted the look of the deep topstitching with a twin needle. I interfaced the facing with a fusible knit interfacing. I am very happy with how it turned out.

I also interfaced the sleeve bands but I attached them differently to the instructions. Instead of attaching one long edge then turning in and hand sewing the other long edge, I folded the band and attached both edges at the same time then topstitched with a twin needle so that one line of stitching fell on the sleeve and the other on the band. It gives a nice look and is a lot less effort. I gathered the top and bottom edges of the sleeves on my overlocker which was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I figured machine stitches would bury into the fabric too much to pull up nicely. All I did was set the overlocker on 4-thread (which is what I sewed the seams with anyway), lengthened the stitch all the way and set the differential feed to 2.0. You have to 'crowd' the fabric a bit behind the foot but I barely needed to adjust it to fit once it was done, although it is very simply to pull the gathers up or let them out if needed.

Just a note, either I am in complete denial about having fat arms or patterns these days are designed to be circulation-inhibiting tight. These armbands are comfortable but I certainly would not want them any tighter! You might want to measure your arm and compare it to the pattern just in case.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the shaping - it's not boxy, the puffed sleeves dress it up without looking too 'young' and the scoop neckline is flattering.

Fabric Used:
Cream ponti de roma. I don't have a lot of experience with knits and I worried this might not have very good recovery (it was really cheap!), it turned out to be great and now I am glad I bought several colours.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a 'sort of' sway back adjustment, which of course isn't entirely successful in a garment with no centre back seam. I also narrowed the upper back, 2.5cm at the back neck tapering to nothing at the waist.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, absolutely.

The fabric was a joy to work with and the pattern is lovely. This is a lot nicer than just a t-shirt.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Help, Advice Needed!

Okay, so I am working on the ruffled blouse for the wardrobe competition and made a bit of a boo boo. I forgot to flip the pattern piece for the bias ruffle and ended up with two ruffles for the same side. I didn't have enough fabric to cut another one but, as it wasn't expensive and I had the day off, I toddled off down to Spotlight to get some more. While I was there I spied a lightweight cotton in a complementary colour, and I suddenly thought 'why not make the double ruffle version and use the contrast behind the floral'. Now I am not so sure...

Here the ruffle is only pinned on but you can see the single (floral) ruffle on the left of the picture and the two-colour version on the right. What do you think? The single floral ruffle blends in, but that is not a bad thing and I am concerned the two-colour version is a bit clownish. Or am I just playing it safe?

Here you can see the double ruffle on both sides and the front band is stitched on. It would be super easy to remove the aqua ruffle as it isn't yet anchored to anything (excuse the clutter in the photo - I usually clear everything away before taking pictures!).

I am throwing it out there to my ever-stylish readers. Should I go for it, or get rid of it? Please let me know, I am certain you will point the way to good sense.
Many thanks to McVal who awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award. In response I am asked to tell you seven things you don't know about me and nominate seven creative bloggers. Now you must know that I read many more than seven blogs and there are so many talented and creative people out there, so I try to nominate blogs that I haven't tagged before. My choices this time are:
The Surly Seamstress
The Incurable Homebody
Quilt, Sew, Sew Sue
Sew Tawdry
The Princess Seam
Two On Two Off
The Mahogany Stylist

Okay, so onto the seven things you don't know about me:
  1. I am particular about colours (some may say a little crazy). Either everything has to match or nothing can match. For instance, if I pin a garment on the washing line the two pegs have to be the same colour. I have now bought all black pegs so I can relax a bit.
  2. Inconsiderate people make me really sad. It breaks my heart to see the way people treat each other sometimes.
  3. I can't get enough celebrity gossip. I know it is not a constructive use of my time but I love feeling like I have some insight into their world.
  4. I always wanted to be talented at music. I am not.
  5. I have a terrible singing voice, really awful, I couldn't carry a tune to save my life but I love to sing.
  6. I could read and write when I was 3 1/2. Not as well as I do now obviously, but well enought to start school early. When we moved to Australia I wasn't allowed to go into the grade I was ready for but was made to go with the kids that were my own age - I think that's where my general laziness stems from.
  7. I have met Hugh Jackman. If you've been reading for a while you'll already know this, but I can't resist bragging!