Friday, January 30, 2009

Silly, yet Fun

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I fell in love with the Mosey Legwarmer pattern from Knitty the first time I saw it, but I thought it was kind of a silly thing for me to think of wearing. I finally broke down and knitted a pair, telling myself I could always sell them to a deserving teenager at the next Mu Phi Fundraiser. Of course, I find myself liking them a lot, not least because they're so very warm and cozy. You can see them above, with the front at the top and the back below.

And now the moment of truth. Here they are on me. Are they awful, fine, daring, ridiculous, ...? The fact that I'm asking myself this (and you of course) leads me to believe these should stay under wraps. Let me know what you all think, truly. I have a friend here whose daughter would probably take these in a heartbeat, so no worries.

I should say that I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease for these, and it was perfect. It's also the first time I've made pompons, although I'm very familiar with the process. When my mother used to pick us up from school when I was in First Grade, she was making tons of pompons to be used as grapes on an afghan her mother was making her. She would wait in the car, wrapping yarn or brushing it until it was very fuzzy. It was a beautiful afghan. Each bunch had 3 colors of grapes from deep purple to lavender I think, although it seems like some might have been a pale green. I'll have to look at it again. It had panels with long twisting vines and bunches of grapes here and there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Four Years Blogging

Carolyn got a bunch of us thinking about when we started blogging, and I was surprised to find that my first post was just over 4 years ago. I really didn't think it had been that long, and I'm kind of surprised I lasted. It's fun to think about all the friends I've made and the wonderful blogs I get to read from all over the world. I have to say that my perspective has definitely broadened, thanks to all of you.

So, what was happening then?

Well, Sewing World was still going, and I was participating in the Sharing, Inspirations & Photographs threads there. It would be a couple years before Kathryn and I talked DragonLady into creating Stitcher's Guild at Artisan's Square so we could stay in touch with all of our sewing friends if (when) SW went west. That's been the biggest change for me as far as cyber-sewing.

I have since gotten a new sewing machine, steam generator iron, Embellisher, steam press, and a LOT of fabric and yarn and all the notions that go with that.

What was in that first post?

My First Post was on January 8, 2005. It's a list of the SWAP coordinates I was planning for an expanded SWAP. I finished Stage I on time, and have since completed almost all of the other listed items, although not necessarily with the same patterns I originally planned. It was fun to go back and see how it all turned out. I still wear quite a few of those things, but some have been retired.

Not all of the garments were a complete success, generally the knits. I still do a little bit of guessing about whether a particular knit will be suitable for a particular pattern although I think I'm getting better at it. Knit sewing is just not what appeals to me the most, although I generally like knits for their comfort factor. I guess I should work a little harder at getting experience in choosing and sewing knits.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Back Pattern Piece

Thank you all for the great comments on the knit top, and on the photos. My sister is the genius behind the camera when I'm lucky enough to have her here, and this just worked out really well.

LisaB asked that I post a picture of the Back pattern piece I used for my Circle Dot Knit Top to show the shaping, so here it is.

I'm almost embarrassed by the alteration 'method' I used on this. I just marked the waistline, took a 1/2" tuck (total of 1" removed) and stuck a pin in it. I lay it out with the upper part of the CB line on the straight grain, and I just smoosh the piece flat where it wants to have a little bit of a third dimension to it. For a knit top, it's not critical, and this works very well.

NancyW asked about the armscye and whether I raised it. I didn't, and it seems to be fine. I did do an FBA on the front, which changes the height of the armscye on the front pattern piece when you pivot, but when it all goes together, it ends up pretty much in the same place I think since the back isn't changed.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Kreativ Blogger

How Exciting! I got the Kreativ Blogger Award from Pam Erny at Off The Cuff ~Style~, Birgitte of Bubblegum 4 Breakfast and Michelle of Eyelets in the Seams. Thank you ladies! I am so very honored.

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

Now I have to nominate 7 bloggers, and a lot of them have already been nominated, so I'll attempt to nominate some who haven't already been chosen.

Bunny at La Sewista

Karen at kbenco's projects

Lisa at Sew On and Sew On

Mary Pat at Merry Patter

Isabelle at Kitty Couture

MaryBeth at The Stitchery

Karen at A Corgi House

To finish, I want to post a photo of a really unusual knitted coat. It's part of Alexander McQueen's Pre-Fall collection. I think it's really interesting, and I like the leather cuffs, collar and belt, although I wonder just how wearable they might be. Talk about large-scale knitting; here it is.

I think the diagonal asymmetry of the piece is what appeals to me, besides the colors of course.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Circle Dot Knit Top

I got some nice ITY knit fabric at JoAnn's the other day, but there was only a little bit over a yard of it. I was sure I could make a knit top with shortened sleeves, and this is what came of it.

Photo Link

The original pattern is the top from Fashion Sewing Group #1960. I've made it before and add a CB seam to allow for a swayback alteration. This time I wanted a different neckline, and I turned to a book called 19 Shirts From 1 Pattern. It was a prize I won at the fair several years ago, and it's not a new book, but it has lots of ideas for changing a plain Tee pattern with different necklines, sleeves, etc.

I lowered the front neckline about 4" and did a binding. I then added a collar. I think it turned out pretty cute, and I really like the fabric. It's completely different than anything else I have, and I think it will be fun to wear when it warms up a little.

You can see another front view, and a 3/4 back view showing the nice back fit below.

Thanks to my sister for taking the photos for me!

Edited to add a link to the book mentioned. It's a 1982 copyright, and somewhat dated, but there are still a few copies around apparently.

Mohair Lace Turtleneck Warmer

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I used some Louet Mohair I had left from a sweater and made this little neckwarmer. It's lace knitting up until you begin the turtleneck. You can see the pattern a little more clearly in the photo below.

I'm doing another one in alpaca, and I may save it for the Mu Phi Fundraiser next October. I decided to get a start on some things for it instead of waiting until the fall, when I want to do other things.

Thank you all for the very kind comments on my "cold" photo. Pretty nice to be compared to Celine Dion too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Fun, It Says So on the Label

Here's my latest completed knitting project. What is it? It's a little collar with Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn. Sunday I wore a little lace turtleneck mohair collar/dickey that I'd made for my grandmother some years ago, and since gotten back. It was so nice and warm, and I remembered this little pattern which is much more suited to my cold-addled brain at this point than mohair lace knitting.

It was fun to knit, and very fast, and it's nice and comfy around your neck. It also takes only 1 ball of yarn.
Here's the non-glamor shot. (I do have a cold, and it shows.)

I made one quite a few years ago, but gave it away. The instructions are quite simple, and you could probably do it without them. The only twist is the twist!

Size 10 needles.
CO 28
Garter stitch until you have enough left to bind off and sew your seam.
Before sewing your seam, make a twist in the strip. Stitch the seam.

If you could figure out how many stitches around, you could do it like a moebius and you wouldn't have to seam it. This way is instant gratification knitting though, no swatches, no gauge. Sometimes that's just what's wanted.

I also finished my knitted skirt and have it drying on the blocking screen. We shall see how it is after it's stitched up. I am a little unsure that it's going to fit the way I want it to, but it's hard to tell until it's all done.

The new Vogue Knitting came today and I haven't even cracked the cover before posting here. See how good I am? I can delay gratification. Not too long, though. I'm off to browse through it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's The Economy...

Things must actually be getting really bad economically. I just saw a news story about the January Couture shows that are coming up. Nieman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are not attending, and Saks say they have not made up their mind yet. This really shocked me. As self-proclaimed fashion leaders in the retail world, it would seem that their attendance would be automatic. True, they're not going to actually sell these clothes, and I suppose they feel they can get just as much out of a trend report, but they rely on the public's perception of their unmatched fashion contacts and expertise. This may call that reputation into question.

Chanel laid off 200 workers very recently too, and in mid-December Bill Blass Couture laid off all 60 employees without warning (or severance) and is in bankruptcy. Granted, Blass has had no real leader since Bill Blass died, and that's likely the problem, but it's a sad ending for them.

I am hoping that couture in general does not get hit so hard by the global financial downturn that they'll have to curtail the collections. I've seen reports recently that households with a net worth over $30 million are planning to spend as much or more this year as last. Surely this is the only group that is wearing couture anyway, so maybe they'll do their civic duty and keep it up. I hope so anyway. It would be really sad to lose all that beauty and creativity, and almost impossible to start up the mechanics of creating it all again once it's been shut down.

Where am I getting all this news? I decided that for a little Christmas gift for me, I wanted a subscription to the online Womens Wear Daily, and I am loving it.

The fashion news is great, and I like their reviews very much. The business news is interesting as well.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Old Year/New Year

I like the year-end round up lists some people are doing, so I decided to look at my sewing journal and see what I've actually finished in 2008, and what I haven't, and then think about what I want to work at and toward in 2009.

I actually finished all the sewn things I began. The knitting is another story.

22 Garments sewn this year:

Marfy Corduroy Coat
3 Marfy Tank Tops. 2 Cotton 1 Silk
Simplicity Plaid Knit Top
Brown Shell with Fringe
Large Scale Floral Top
Large Scale Floral Skirt
Plaid Knit Gloves
Marfy Green Tweed/Taupe Jacket
3 Burda WOF Blouses. Gray, Wisteria, Stripe.
2 Burda WOF Knit Tops. Abstract, Clay Rib.
Green Dyed Lace Skirt
3 Gray Slips.
Burda Brown/Pink Pinstripe Pants
Burda Green Cotton Pants
Marfy Cashmere Coat

22 Knitted items finished this year. 3 Unfinished.

Almost all of my finished knitting this year were very small projects.

10 Dishcloths
2 Tribbles
BSJ Cabled Hat
5 Potato Chip Scarves
3 String Bags
Gedifra Vest

Jaeger Tilly Pullover which has been waiting for seaming since early summer.
Berroco Simona Brown Skirt. This is getting close to done, and I'm actively working on it.

I'm obviously not as serious a knitter as a sewer, or at least that's how it is right now. Mood and circumstance plays into it a lot I think.

Now I need to come up with a coherent plan for this year. Right now I need everyday clothes, so that's what I will try to concentrate on.

I was at JoAnn's this morning for their sale, and I ended up leaving my cut fabric, etc. in the cart because I just didn't have the time to wait to check out. I'd already been in line for 20 minutes after waiting for the cutting table, etc. I went back this afternoon when the place was practically empty and it was very quick. I got a couple of very nice knits, one for a dress and one for a top. Also a dark green wool/poly blend for pants, and some peach crushed poly charmeuse for a nightgown. I also got a lot of thread at 50% off, a couple of patterns, and some yarn. So I have no excuse not to whip up a few things, except my sister's coming on Tuesday for a nice long visit and that cuts into my sewing time, but in a very nice way.

Adding a Pocket to a Purchased Shirt

Pearle found 3 shirts he liked that match some pants he bought, and so we got them, even though (horror of horrors!) they had NO pockets. I was really pretty amazed that they even make men's shirts without pockets, and apparently he hadn't noticed it until he was going to wear one, and there was no place to put stuff. Now that I've finished the coat, and again, thank you all for your very nice comments, I thought adding pockets would be a quick project to get me on track again. I think I was right.

Since I didn't make these shirts, I didn't have any extra fabric. He was willing to have me cut off some from the tail to make patch pockets, but I kind of hated to do that, and kept putting it off. Finally, he suggested that there might be a way to do an inside pocket, and I immediately got started. I was lucky enough to have scrap fabric that was a match to the background of the shirts. For two I used a light tan linen, and the other a white broadcloth. The shirts are one stripe, one seersucker stripe, and one floral.

What I did was very fast. It's basically a welt pocket with no welts. With pinking shear, cut a strip of interfacing longer and wider than the box, and stitch one pocket bag piece to each long edge, with the fusible side away from them. I used a triple zigzag so it would be very flat, and stitched twice on each piece, once at the top of the bag, and once at the bottom of the interfacing.

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Place the piece in position on the right side of your shirt, fusible side up. Stitch the box, as per a welt pocket. Clip open and turn to wrong side. Fuse.

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Edgestitch around the box, then topstitch a little further away for stability.

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Press the top bag piece down where it's free from the fusible. Pin it to the lower edge of the lower bag piece. Stitch. This seam will fall a little way up into the pocket bag. Stitch your side seams up as far as the fusible. If you want your seam at the bottom, you must either figure and measure carefully when you cut, or make the top bag longer and trim to match the bottom bag before you stitch. There used to be some method that had you do this anyway, but I don't remember the logic behind it. I just did it this way because it worked out this way.

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From the right side, stitch again over the line of topstitching above and at the sides of the box. This will close your side seams enough for normal use. Finish with a little handstitching if needed.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Coat On Me

Thank you all for the very, very kind comments on my coat! Since I always want to see everyone's garments on them, I feel like a cheater just showing things on my dressform. I was anxious to get some photos of me wearing it and I was lucky enough to get my father to take some photos of me in the coat this afternoon when I was over there. They turned out pretty well I think.

Of course we all see every flaw in our own work, and I can see them here, but I've decided to quit obsessing once something's done, and just enjoy the finished product. I love this coat, and as many of you guessed, it's really luxurious feeling. I'm sure it's probably the most glamorous coat I'm likely to have or make, and I'm going to take advantage!

You can see all the coat photos here.

As a special bonus, my parents noted that there were some photos on the card in their camera from the last few times they'd taken pictures. There were about 12; some from last winter and some from the summer before that. As you can tell, they're not exactly shutterbugs. So, they sent the whole camera home with me until I get a replacement for mine. How nice!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's Eve and a great New Year. We always watch the Rose Parade on television. A tradition, and lots of fun. It always seems to get the new year off to a pleasant beginning.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Cashmere Coat is Finished

Link to All Photos in this Post

I got the buttonholes finished today, and now I'm completely done. I'm very pleased with this project. I don't have any photos of me wearing it because I dropped the camera on a cement floor while I was taking these photos, and that was the end of that!

I don't think you can see the shaping very well on the form, but it has a very nice, subtly slimming line, and has a lovely shaping to the side seam area, even though it doesn't have side seams as such. Marfy drafting shows its excellence once again, at least in my opinion.

The lining is silk charmeuse, and I used the same corded-look whipstitch with DMC floss to attach the lining to the body of the coat as I used on the pocket linings. I also attached the monogram circle to the right front lining in the same way.

Here's a close-up of one of the buttonholes. I used the same DMC floss to make them as I used on the lining, etc.

The stitches are fairly large, and even at this scale they tend to disappear into the pile of the cashmere. I love the way the bead on the edge of the lips makes a perfect line, and I think the variegated floss adds just a little spark to it.

Here are the buttons buttoned through the buttonholes.

I want to thank Marji of the Great Coat Sew-Along for spurring so many of us to start and finish a coat project. I know I would not have attempted such a complicated project with so many new techniques without her encouragement and knowledge. I think she's planning to open the GCSA blog up to viewing after the first of the year, and I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in making a coat or jacket.