Saturday, 31 July 2010

M5929 - Take two

Apologies for cross posting here and at pattern review, I can be bothered writing the same thing in two different ways today!

This review is for McCall's 5929.

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; dresses A, B have sleeves gathered at cap and lower edge.

I made view B with the full collar and long sleeves but left off the ruffle.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 12 to the bottom of the armholes then graded to a 14 at the waist and hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I made this shirt last year for the PR wardrobe compettion without any problems. The review is here or you can see it here as well.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It might not seem like it but this is a very versatile pattern. This is the second time I've made it and it looks quite different. I have two more versions in the works as well. I am not usually one to use TNT patterns!

Fabric Used:
Stretch poly-cotton shirting. It was a bit of a bear to get the front bands on nicely since I cut them so the stretch ran lengthwise, but other than that it behaved quite nicely.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I altered for my short and narrow upper back and I probably should have made the cuffs a bit snugger (but didn't). I didn't need an fba so if you are petite in the bust (I am a C-D cup) you might want to look at the sizing in the front. On the other hand I don't like a lot of ease anyway so maybe it will be fine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I will sew it again at least twice and yes I would definitely recommend it to others.

It's boring basic shirt for work but everyone needs boring basics too.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Friday Night Sew In Results - July

I didn't get as much done as I would have liked on Friday night but any extra sewing time is a bonus right?

I got the body of this blouse together last weekend but have been caught up sewing for my fella's next production for most of the week - a curtain 9 metres across by 6 metres long.  I am sure you can guess just how much fun that has been!  So anyway, I was determined to finish the blouse on Friday night.

I sewed the hem and buttonholes in the body then constructed the sleeves.  At this point my sewing machine cracked the sh*ts and refused to work anymore so I has to content myself with spending the rest of the evening sewing on the buttons.  So that's the end of my Friday night - sleeves pinned in and no buttonholes on the cuffs - so near but so far!

****Note, I did manage to limp my machine along enough to finish the blouse on Saturday morning - I'll post a review as soon as I get some photos.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Baby Starghan

This is my only my third ever baby blanket - the first I posted here but I forgot to photograph the second before I gave it to my step-brother.  I don't know why I never made baby blankets before, the relatively thick yarn makes them quick to work and once the pattern is established they make perfect mindless TV watching projects  but they are still small enough not to get too boring.  This was my World Cup watching project.

The pattern is the baby starghan by yarndeevah, which I accessed via ravelry.  I used three balls of Patons Big Baby 8ply, which was on special at Spotlight.  Ordinarily I wouldn't use synthetic yarns (it's mainly acrylic) but it's nice and soft and will be very hard wearing.

There is not much to say other than I worked 2 round of each colour until I ran out of yarn then used the leftover cream to work a round of dc (sc in US terms) and then a round of crab stitch (reverse sc) to finish it off.  This was a very easy pattern and very effective.  The recipient absolutely loved it (she is having a little boy).  If I ever get the chance I'll make one for myself.

On another topic, we finally got our bookcases replaced this week, three and a half months after the flood so we're now pretty much back to where we were before.  I am so happy!  We spent most of last weekend putting things away which meant I could clear all the boxes out of the sewing room - I can't wait to get in there and sew in comfort again!  And just in time for the Friday Night Sew-In next week.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Short rows explained

A couple of you have asked how I worked the short rows on the back of the dressage jacket.  It was my first time trying this so I pretty much fudged it, but I'll do my best to describe the process.  I admit the maths did give me a slight headache at the time but it wasn't really that hard, I just really over-think things!

The idea is that I have a sort of sway back, but above my waist not below it.  I usually tuck out between 1 and 2 inches on the centre back seam of my sewing projects so I wanted to get the same effect on the back of the cardigan.

First I figured out how many rows less I wanted in the middle of the back (it's sort of the opposite of normal short rows, where you are adding more eg. at the bust).  In this case it was only 6 rows (about an inch), when you do your calculation you will want this to be an even number, let's call it a (can you tell I work with statistics?). 

Each short row you work is actually a pair of rows (there and back) so you need to divide a by 2 to work out how many pairs of short rows to work, in my example this works out to be 3, we'll call it b.

Now, take the number of stitches in half the back (for example, full back=80 stitches therefore half back=40 stitches), continuing the theme we'll call it c.

Divide c by b+1 (example 40/(3+1)=10 stitches).  This is how long each of your short rows will be, from now on referred to as d.  The turns will be evenly spaced either side with a wider straight section in the middle.

Now, knit to the waistline and work the following (my example in brackets):
Short row pair 1: work d (10)stitches, turn and work back (or wrap and turn if that's your thing - it is mine).
Short row pair 2: work d*2 (20) stitches, turn and work back.
Short row pair 2: work d*3 (30) stitches, turn and work back.
Repeat until you have completed the required number of short row pairs (b).
Now work across the whole row and repeat the exact same short row process on the other side of the piece.

Here is my craptastic PowerPoint representation of how it looks so you can visualise the process.

Then finish the back as instructed.   Make sure when you measure the length of the back that you measure at the side seam rather than the centre back - otherwise your back will come out longer than your front!

The centre back of the cardigan will scoop upwards when it's laid flat but looks straight across when it's on the body. 

Of course this is easy on a simple pattern like stocking stitch or rib, but I I have a lace project in the queue and I am not sure if I'll be able to figure that one out!

I hope this helps, I really am not a knitwear designer so if I can do it anyone can! Good luck.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Dressage Jacket - finished

Last Sunday I went to see Eclipse with my friend and regular movie-buddy Kate. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not a Twi-hard by any stretch and I don't particularly relate to any of the characters, but if you made me choose I would have to go for Edward (I can't resist a man with sideboards - lucky for me my fella wears them!). I have always loved vampire stories starting in my teens with the original novel Dracula, moving on through the Anne Rice vampire chronicles and I am currently reading the Vampire Academy Novels - so vampire movies are always on my 'to see' list. Plus I love the clothes they put Alice in,! Isn't this coat/smock from New Moon cute?

Image from here.

But the point of this post is not a movie review but a cardigan review. Yes, that's right the Dressage Jacket is finished and has had it's first public wearing.

The yarn:
Sublime aran by Sirdar. The colour is 'wicker'. This yarn feels beautiful to knit with, very smooth and soft, and no splitting. However, there is something you should know. When I blocked the pieces (soaked them in tepid water with wool mix, gently lifted them out and rolled in a towel then patted to shape) they GREW. A lot. The technical diagram for the cardigan shows a finished length of 49cm, I admit I didn't measure before blocking so it may have started out a bit longer than this but after blocking it is now 69cm! it also grew in width but it's hard to measure with the rib. Let's just say before blocking I was thinking it might be a bit tight and now I certainly don't have that concern. If I were to do this over I would knit a reasonable sized swatch, measure it, block it and then measure again. You might find you can go down a size.

I also ran out of wool which was frustrating. Fortunately the yarn shop I bought it from still had some of the same dyelot in stock so it all turned out well, but it is really expensive yarn so I did feel a bit ripped off! For the record I have never run out of wool before, I usually have a good amount left over so if you are a tight knitter you may want to consider having an extra ball as backup.

The pattern:
Dressage from the Third Sublime Aran pattern book. I knitted the smallest size and find it a little big. For reference, my high bust measures 87cm and my full bust measures 91cm. I chose the 84cm size because I prefer my tops to be fitted fairly close. Winters are mild here and I usually only wear a long sleeved t-shirt underneath at most, so I don't need to allow room for bulky under layers. The size is comfortable it is just a little less closely fitted than I would like, but it's just as well because with the extra length I need extra room to go around my hips! The sleeves are quite long, they come down over the back of my hands and aren't snug enough to push up, but I can live with that.  Look at the fit on the model and compare to how it fits me.  You can bet she doesn't have a 91cm bust and it looks tiny on her!

Image from here.

On the back I made an alteration for my short upper back by working short rows just above the waist. I've never done this before and it worked pretty well, at least I don't have a huge fold of jumper in my lower back as I usually do!

I closed it with a shawl stick (which I also bought at the yarn shop), but I think it also looks nice hanging open. Since it's bigger than planned the fronts wrap right across to the opposite side seam so I might sew on ribbons to tie it closed. Long term I think this will cause less damage to the cardigan. I will also stitch some ribbon across the inside of the shoulders and back neck to stabilise them and possibly snug them up a bit.

I am very pleased with this, I used high quality yarn (a real splurge) but it was worth it. The design is modern and smart but also comfy casual at the same time. I did read somewhere that this yarn pilled with only light wearing but fortunately I have not noticed that yet, and I will be very p***ed off if my $180 cardigan doesn't wear well. Some care will be needed when washing it, lest it stretch even more. All in all though I can see myself wearing this a lot in winters to come.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Pattern Review - M5927 the frankendress

Here is the third and final installment of 'what I finished on the Friday Night Sew-In.  I am calling this the frankendress because it is the bodice of one pattern (M5927) attached to the skirt of another (Vogue 8494, which I used to make my Christmas dress last year).

The fabric is the same stretch suiting as I used for the black a-line skirt and grey pencil skirt.

I didn't need to make an fba as the pattern has different front patterns for different cup sizes.  I love it how pattern companies are doing that these days, it makes one less alteration I have to make!

Here's the back.  I made my normal short and narrow back alterations.  I'm not sure what's going on with those wrinkles in the lower back.  It could be the way I'm standing as I've never noticed them before.  Or, I've just thought it could also be the weight of the skirt as the fabric has a two-way stretch.  I stabilised the waist of the skirt with twill tape but maybe I need to add a stay?

Anyway the fit is pretty good if I may say.
Here is a close up of the bodice.  Now I am pretty sure that wrinkle is a posture thing.  It was really cold and I think I am hunching my shoulders a bit.
I'm not sure if you can see the detail of the pretty design on the mother-of-pearl buttons.  I originally bought them for a jacket but then I ended up using the jacket fabric for a skirt and these poor beauties have been homeless ever since.  It's nice to finally use them.

You'll be able to get to the full review from my widget if you are interested in the gory details.