Monday, 27 February 2012

Learning to Knit

A little while ago I decided to learn to knit.  Like a lot of people I learnt a bit when I was young, but I forgot everything I knew!

I picked up Knitty Gritty as someone recommended it as a good beginner book.  Here are some of the projects I attempted from it.

Here is the most simple knitted project you can make:  A simple garter knit scarf!  You can tell (well, I can anyway) that I made this when I was still really sick, I look so pale and tired.  Hooray for not feeling terrible all the time anymore!  

It's so soft and squishy, merino cashmere wool!
Next, I made some baby booties and fingerless mittens- pretty simple stuff:

Some little knitted round shapes for brooches- I gave these to my Mother :)  I added the little felt leaves and button bits, they aren't in the book.

I tried two other projects that didn't work out- one was just average, and the other was a disaster!

First the "meh" project, some simple fingerless gloves- I thought they looked a bit "home-made" and overly simple.. I only made one.

And oh ho ho... the biggest disaster ever... my cabled knitted bag.  So guys, this is what happens when you get a bunch of scrap yarn in different weights, and try to make them work together while making mistakes such as trying to knit it all on the same size needles (resulting in a speed of one stitch an hour making stitches in a bulky yarn on a small needle- this results in a lovely brick-like hard knitting surface, and sore hands).  The theme of this project is "what was I thinking???" Haha, I can't believe I kept on going as long as I did.  Then my various colours of scrap yarns started running out.  I finally had to give up- I'm so glad the yarn ran out because if they didn't, I might have completed this abomination!

Are you ready?  Okay, now I've hyped it too much, you probably can't tell from the photos its true hideousness- but trust me, it is.  Hahaha!
It's supposed to have straps at the top and be sewn up the sides- but I didn't get that far.

Like my obnoxious colour combination?

Here you can see the true horror of its form!
Do you like the bit on the right where I started using the right size needles with the dark purple and lavender bulky yarn, resulting in a bulgy misshapen mess?  lol!

And one more picture, just so you can picture what the end result would have been:
Yep, that was going to be a strap! 
Yep, this bag was going to be incredibly obnoxious!  I was ready to embrace that but the ugliness just kept getting worse and worse, lol!
And that's what beginner projects are sometimes like!  It does feel good to laugh at it though!

Well, I'm looking forward to trying out some more knits in the future, hopefully more complex ones too!  I have my eye on some projects on Ravelry.  Oh, and you can see all my projects on Ravelry here if you are interested in the details.

So if anyone have any great knits to recommend, or have your own 'fugly bag' experience to show, let me know!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fitting Trials and Tribulations

So... it's time to show something that I've had brewing for some time now.
I've never done any in-depth fitting before, having stuck to skirts so far (and making one dress that didn't fit very well)... so I decided to take on the challenge of making myself a fitted top, darts and all.
I'm using New Look 6808:
doesn't it just look so innocent and simple?
Well, let me tell you, it sure hasn't been easy getting mine to look like a top- and I'm still not there yet!
Let me show you the horror of the first muslin I made- brace yourself!
Exquisite,  no?
So, bravely taking on the unknown, and with the help of the fine folks at the PatternReview Fitting Woes board , I began my journey...

The first step was taking out all that extra length!  I found out I have a short back-neck to waist, so 4cm came out above the waistline:
Aaah, looks more like a top already!
As you can see, there were still a lot of wrinkles everywhere.  The gurus on the board advised taking some out of the shoulder for a sloping shoulder adjustment.  Also, widening the hips (see those horizontal wrinkles across the front?  not enough width- see?  I'm trying to learn how to read those mystical wrinkles), and a small bust adjustment.  Phew, that's already plenty, but wait, there's more!

The back was really funky- not hanging low enough, so still needed more width over the butt, but also check out that swayback making dirty great pools of fabric back there!  Ick...  However, I wasn't confident with how to tackle it and went on to my second toile:
Don't I look thrilled?
Looks a bit better though, with the small bust adjustment added in.  I definitely got overwhelmed more than a few times during this whole process.  At this point it was doing my head in a bit, so I contacted Alexandra of In-house Patterns, who'd recently done an introduction to fitting, she was so kind and replied with her suggestions- not only that but she made me diagrams showing me how!  Isn't that lovely!  So now she has a dedicated fan of her emerging pattern line.  Check out her bow blouse top, so cute!... you should go buy it ;)

Now it's time for more corrections and possibly/probably a 3rd muslin/toile.  I will update with more on the epic quest for a fitting top!

Note: throughout this process, I've been trying to fit myself all alone except for the internet, no mannequin, having to pin myself in, relying on photos to see my backside... I do not recommend this!  I am scheming to make my own personalised dressform with this method.

It may be a tough journey, but I've already been learning... and I won't quit until it's right!  I will have my fitting top, mark my words!  I'm motivating myself with the thought of the various cute tops I can make with this basic pattern :)

Of course, if anyone has any advice, questions, or suggestions, I'm all ears!

Friday, 17 February 2012

McCalls 5989 Nightie

Yay, I finished McCalls 5989!
This one has been in the works forever.  I've had the test bodice lying around for months!
It was a nice change to do sleepwear because I figure you don't have to worry if you mess it up a little since no-one will really see.. but it did turn out pretty well after all :)

Sorry, I ain't modeling sleepwear on the internet! :)

According to the packet I was size 6 bust and size 12 waist and hips.  But now I’m wise to how much extra ease they stick in, I tested a size 4 bodice.  And it was too big(!)... I took 4.7cm (1.9 inches) out of the width of the back.  (I also did a whole lot of maths figuring out if I take x out of the elastic in the back, how much I should proportionately take out of the bodice back.. wow, I’m boring myself talking about it!  Turns out it was a bit pointless since the difference was about .5cm).  When sewing it together I realised I forgot to alter the back pattern piece to match!  Whoops... I just gathered in the extra width.  You can’t tell because the drawstring gives it a gathered look anyway :)
I also tapered out the size 4 out to a size 8 at waist and 10 at the hip.

 The instructions were a bit bad in one place - telling me to finish the armhole with a narrow hem.  Well I found out narrow hems and armholes don’t mix:
Eewww! I turned to the fine folks at pattern review and they helped me out!  Thanks!  I ended up using bias tape to finish the edges which was a new skill I learnt :)
New non- hideous armhole
Ooh!  Bias tape-y!

I liked how it turned out pretty cute.  It did seem like quite an effort just to make sleepwear though!  I’m sure I’ll get faster however.  I definitely came across a few beginner hurdles here. 

Okay, I've gone on about it long enough- have a shot of the bodice.  I really like the lace!

And... just one more okay?  Promise this is the last :)  I just loved the cute print so have a close-up:

Now there's just one test in store for it- to see if it can handle my crazy sleeping!

My first amigurumi

I have seen amigurumis around the internet and always thought they were cute, so when I saw this kit I had to give it a go!  Having everything put together for you makes it so much less daunting.
It did take me quite a long time to pick up how to do it though, having never crocheted before!
Lots of watching, practicing and rewatching of internet videos later:
 I changed the nose since I thought the kit's one looked more like a dog :)  I also added little toesies :)

And here are some more shots:
what beady eyes you have..
fluffy lil tail!
a shot of the posterior
This was fun to make (okay maybe a bit frustrating at the learning parts- but that's part of the fun), and I'm looking forward to making another.  I already have the kit for a cute bear!  :)

There are also loads of free patterns on the net and I'm looking forward to trying some out :)
Also- I found you can buy these kit patterns I have in PDF form on etsy- here is the link to the bunny!

And here's a farewell shot from little bunny:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Just some owlios

Here are some little owls I made- it's nice to have a break from sewing garments once in a while, cos you can't go so far wrong with stuff like this!
And okay, okay, I know owls are so trendy right now, but I like them anyway! :)
It was fun to experiment with putting the colours together, and I even practiced a bit of embroidery (I made the wings in split stitch, and obviously there is running stitch on the bellies)

They are very happy to hang out on my bookshelf :)

And here are some detail shots- always fun!

New Look 6594- I adore this floral print

Ahhh, prints, how I love them.  However, the beautiful cheery floral print belies the blood, sweat and tears that went into making this skirt! Here's a link to New Look 6594, and its tragically styled envelope front.

Silly me, making another too-big garment. So many foolish beginner mistakes were made!  I realised it was too big halfway through construction but forged ahead with my head in the sand...Meaning I had to spend hours taking it in, and since I couldn't sacrifice my perfectly matched side seam....

Where is it?  *smug face*

I had to taper the yoke adjustment down to nothing at the bottom of the yoke seam, i.e it is still a bit big at that point and gets a little wavy.  Boo!  But it's probably one of those things no-one will notice :)

So... yeah, never listen to the "recommended size" on the envelope... you will only be hurt.  Measurements and muslins are your friend!

I took about 5.8cm (2.3 inches) out by the end, and next time I make it I think I'll even take more out.

Well here's another pic to cheer you up from my fitting woes.  I love, love, LOVE that print! 

New Look 6872 Waist Skirt

Well, I guess I better write my first proper blog post!
Here I am in New Look 6872.

It's quite a simple skirt- just a straight waistband with a gathered bottom.  Didn't stop me from being challenged! Haha.  One note- I ended up taking 5.2cm out of the waistband they recommended for my size.  I have learnt from my small amount of experience that you can't trust pattern companies and their crazy wearing ease.  Imagine where it would have sat without taking that much out.. certainly not on the waist!

I have to say though, I'm not sure the style is incredibly flattering on me.  It looks nice with a cardigan over top but I'm not so sure about the height of the waistband on me.  Sorry no pics with the cardy off, but maybe if I think of making it again I shall ponder this some more....

p.s Taking photos in the high winds of Wellington is no picnic!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Obligatory Introduction Post

Hey there, internet!

I thought I'd start this blog after discovering so many cool sewing sites and what a great community there is out there.  I was super ill for 10 years and before I recovered I dreamed of being able to finally make the creative ideas in my head.  Finding sewing blogs only fuelled that, and now that I am well, I'm excited to finally be able to give it a try!

I'm mainly interested in garment sewing, but like to dabble in other things too.  I know just enough about sewing to know just how much I don't know, and it's sometimes daunting.  But I am determined to keep on trying, and make it well!

Welcome, and please feel free to stay a while!  I'd love to get to know you :)