Friday, 30 January 2009
Sunday, 25 January 2009
This is a fairly easy knit but be warned it involves many, many rows of boring stocking stitch. The yarn is 4-ply weight and the needles used are 3.25mm. As the body and yoke are knit in one piece there are a lot of stitches too. This is definitely a project to work on while watching TV or DVDs. The Sopranos seasons 4, 5 and 6 got me a long way through this cardigan!
Normally I am not much of a blocker, I usually figure normal washing and gravity will take care of any 'quirks' of tension. Since I am trying to be better at doing things the right way I decided to block this by soaking it in lukewarm soapy water and patting it to shape on a towel and leaving it to dry.
Thank goodness I decided to do this as look what happened to the water the second I got the cardigan wet:
And this was the rinse water!
The cardigan has amazing drape and feels beautiful am I am really pleased with it. The only thing I would do differently would be to add some knitting-in elastic to the neckband - the fantastic drape comes with stretch and the neckline has grown a lot already. I'm not sure how I will deal with this.
The lace edging is only 7 rows at the beginning of the body and sleeves and it's really simple, as I said before getting bored is the only risk in this project. It is, however definitely worth persevering.
What I like most about this cardigan is that it means I can get away with wearing an ordinary tank top to work!
Monday, 19 January 2009
This pattern is well drafted, goes together easily and fits really well. It doesn't have a lining which is just weird, so I added one, and I used an invisible zip. I felt there was a touch too much ease in the skirt piece so it's a little ripple-y at the yoke seam, but I think that's because I used a stretch woven, if I'd used wool it probably would have steamed out fine. You might was to check this for yourself if you choose to make one.
PS. Sew4fun, I WISH I was Hugh Jackman's dresser! No, I dressed a couple of the guys in the chorus (both really nice guys), but Hugh was lovely, always friendly and said hello, and never complained when starstruck crew members wanted their photo taken with him. *sigh*
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
When I first stumbled on fashion and sewing (and fashion sewing) blogs and sites like Pattern Review about 18 months ago (I can’t even remember how it happened now) it was as if a whole world opened up. Even though I have friends and family who are interested in fashion and sewing, I just love reading about people’s projects from all over the world. I really thought long and hard before starting my own blog as a) I wasn’t sure what I had to contribute to the sewing community and b) I wasn’t sure I had the dedication it would take. So here I am, a whole year later, having managed 57 posts which is a reasonable rate IMHO, I have had times where life got in the way or my mojo went on holiday and other times where I have been super-productive. But overall I have achieved my aims in starting my blog, namely to improve my standards and stop being lazy, and to stay motivated to sew more of my own clothes.
To celebrate I am not going to do an annual retrospective, but I am going to follow Lindsay T’s lead and give you my sewing back story…
One of my earliest and most favourite Christmas memories is the sounds I always heard on Christmas Eve after my sister and I had gone to bed. The wonderful, deep slicing sound of shears against the kitchen table (I still love that sound) and the whirring and rattling of the sewing machine. I didn’t know what exactly those sounds were but I knew they meant that on Christmas morning I would wake up and my sister and I would have a new dress each, made with love by our Mum. They were always identical except the colour and every year I loved and looked forward to my Christmas dress. I never felt that home made was ‘less than’ – I’ve always believed (even at that young age) that love and craftsmanship counted for more than the label on the inside.
When I was about 7 or 8 I started dance classes, which meant dancing costumes and my Mum patiently made those for me too.
Ah, my first machine! It was a Holly Hobby design and had a crank that fitted into the fly wheel so I could wind by hand at first, then it had a little foot peddle that I moved onto when I was confident enough. It didn’t do zig zag or anything but I loved it, not to mention I had the best dressed dolls in the neighbourhood!
At about 15 I started making my own clothes and let me tell you there were some shockers! I didn’t really use patterns then but just felt my way through it. I believe this has helped me later in life with pattern drafting and fitting as I developed a sense of how a flat piece of fabric can be made to cover a curved surface.
For some reason I didn't do much sewing at this stage in my life. I did a lot of cross stitch, embroidery and bobbin lacemaking. On a trip to the UK in 2001 I even did a short course at the Royal School of Needlework.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
OK. So I have finished the lower armhole and joined the yokes to the rest of the tunic. I have also sewn the shoulder seams in the yoke facings.
The first thing to do is to sew the neck seam, understitch it on the facing side and then clip and press (this is the order that works best for me - and it give the smoothest results).
This next part involves a little maths. If you use seam allowances other than 1.5cm (5/8") then you will need to work this out for yourself. My little brain took ages to figure it out for 1.5cm!
Trim 0.5cm off the armhole edge of your facings, this will ensure that the facing rolls nicely to the inside of the top.
Next, open the top out so it looks like the picture below. The shoulder seams are running horizontally. Forgive my photo, I don't have photo editing software so I had to do this in crappy old paint.
Get hold of the armhole ends of the shoulder seams, facing in your left hand and yoke in your right. Bring your left hand around behind the top and match the seam ends in your right hand then pin them together. Don't think about this too much - it will hurt your brain. The top will resemble a fortune cookie at this point.
Work your way out from the seam until the entire facing edge is pinned to the yoke edge. You will need to wiggle and adjust as you go but it can be done. If the entire armhole is faced, you'll need to do this in two goes.
Sew in a 1cm seam (not 1.5cm because of what you trimmed off earlier). Your seam will not match up to the finished edge of the lower armhole but when you turn everything through to the right side you will find the yoke and facing roll nicely to the inside and look really smooth and neat. You can understitch this seam too. It is tricky but worth the patience. This is the finished armhole from the inside.
The next stage is to sew down the facings to the yoke seams on the inside. You can turn under the edge and stitch in the ditch, which is what I planned to do, but in the end I decided to hand sew this part. It really didn't take long and gave a really nice finish.
Here is the finished top. I made a narrow rolled hem on the bottom. Despite my best efforts it's a bit wonky but I intend to only wear it tucked in.
Here it is tucked in, as I'll wear it to work, bear in mind that I am a little larger than my dummy.
I'm pretty pleased with the way this top turned out. The silk satin is beautiful and not too shiny for daytime. There are a couple of creases that I can't shift so I am going to have to take it to the drycleaner to press it for me but after that it should be fairly easy-care since I pre-washed the fabric.
Monday, 5 January 2009
Thursday, 1 January 2009
The fabric is a cotton with a border print from my stash, I didn't need to buy anything, so this dress was essentially free! Not having much time available, and the weather being so hot I couldn't be doing with fitting and complicated methods so all in all this dress fit the bill.
The last time I started to make this dress it was pre-happy pounds so I had cut the pattern in a 10. I've noticed that the threads dresses tend to have a lot of ease so I decided to go with it, just adding a little length to the front bodice as a cheats FBA, I didn't need to add anything to the width.
It went together easily, there was nothing particularly complicated and I did everything the quick and dirty method just so I could finish and get back to my air-conditioned living room. I did add pockets as suggested by a reviewer (I poached a pocket bag pattern piece from a random pattern and added them to the side front seams), and I cut the tie double width and sewed it into a tube rather than hemming the edges as suggested. In terms of the instructions, the only note I would make is that before you snip to the underarm dot you should sew a line of reinforcing stitches first so it all doesn't give way later - I am amazed the instructions don't tell you to do this, that is just slack.
The dress was, as intended, very comfy and a couple of people complimented it. We had a good night out and it only took us half an hour to get a cab home - which is a minor (no MAJOR) miracle in Perth with it's useless taxi system.
Happy New Year everyone.