Wednesday, 27 June 2012

New Look 6808- Finally Finished!!

It's done... it's over.  I finally got a finished garment out of this pattern!  This top has been months in the making.  Months!  It marks my first foray into fitting the top half of my body, and it sure has been challenging.
I never thought it would be so, what a journey. lol.  Lots. Of.  Fitting.
I posted my finished Taffy a while ago, but I actually started that long after I started New Look 6808.  lol.   Let's say it's been an on-again, off-again relationship, full of mental blocks, confusion, and a great deal of searching for help on the internet.
And I did find it!  I'm grateful for the folks at Pattern Review, Alexandra from In-house Patterns, and all the commenters on my blog.  The internet is wonderful!
Okay, enough waffling- pics:

Thanks to the wind for making my hair look fancy here!

It was good I didn't have to worry about ruining the fabric, could you get more basic than plain white?  I know the top is a bit boring, I'm looking forward to doing more interesting things with the pattern next time :)  I also think the fabric was maybe a little too crisp and sturdy.  It really helped bring out every wrinkle...grr!  Now that I'm learning to fit, every wrinkle means so much!

I actually found myself adjusting the fit while sewing this top,  even though I'd already made 3 muslins!  I won't go into that here, maybe I'll make another fitting post soon.  I found the sleeves really horrible to ease in.  I think my fabric was too thick, but also there was just too much ease in the sleeve cap- behold the horror:

Not supposed to be gathered...
I ended up doing some dodgy sewing voodoo to reduce that ease, so the sleeves don't fit into the armhole as drafted.  I eventually got the darn sleeves in without gathers, but the whole armhole/sleeve area definitely needs fixing.  From what I hear, that's a very common complaint about the big pattern companies.

Sans scarf.

The fit is still very far from perfect, but I actually deem this wearable..I think.  It's weird, I never usually wear knit tops so a woven is a different feeling!  I'd like to tweak the fit further before making another version.  I still don't know if I have a sway back, but I ended up making two large back darts to try to get a nice shape in the back. 

Awkward pic, sorry!

It may not be the best garment ever made but when I look at how far it's come, I think I deserve a bit of a celebration! 

Left: very first muslin.

By the way,  I used the same lapped zipper technique as I did for this skirt.  It's really good, and I know someone wanted to know how, so here are the instructions, hope this is sufficient :)

I can't believe I finished this garment!  Onwards and upwards eh?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Miette again! Plus bonus knitting fail

I'm nearly finished..Eep!  I never imagined this day would come...

We have button bands and a neckband!

I had a hell of a time picking up stitches.  It took me forever!  But I got there in the end.  Yow, my wrist hurt after all those tight twisted stitches...
Now I have to take out all my lifelines, weave in all the ends, block, and sew on buttons.  After I took this photo I attempted to fix the armpits. was a nightmare, and I don't know what magic Gail used in her video to make it look possible, lol.  I think next time I will fix up the armpits right after I get past them, instead of ignoring them and trying on the cardigan a million times, making the holes much worse.  That's probably what did me in...  So yeah, the armpits may have a few dodgy knots in them and are suspiciously rock hard.  lol!

By the way, button opinions, anyone?  I saw some heart shaped buttons and was tempted, but now I'm thinking that's too cutesy (it's my weakness).  lol!  I'm thinking either white/cream, or light pink buttons.

I find it very hard to believe this may be wearable when I'm done.  I'm sort of waiting for it to blow up in my face.  Gotta stay positive!

Okay, onto a knitting fail!
I got excited about starting a new project.  Francis Revisited!  It's free, and a lot easier than Miette.  It'll be a breeze right?
Not if you're me!
I knitted a gauge swatch.  I learned how to swatch for knitting in the round, and it made me feel fancy (lol).  Your swatch has to be all knit stitches, since in the round you're always knitting on the right side- no purls!  I did it like this.

My gauge came out a lot smaller (3.85 sts per inch, while the pattern's was 3.25).  I did loads of calculations.  I thought I could use my smaller gauge to size down to a smaller bust size.  So I followed the directions for the small.

But judging by how it's looking, the armholes are going to be mega tight, since it doesn't seem to come down far enough.

The next row I'm supposed to put the sleeve stitches on scrap yarn.
One thing I'm thinking is that I should have adjusted my cast on.  The pattern says to cast on 80 stitches.  I realised that 80 sts at my gauge is almost 4 inches smaller around than theirs!
So that's going to sit higher on my body, and affect the shaping.... As well as probably changing the look of the cowl.

For a simple project I sure know how to complicate things!  And I don't want to have to buy a bigger needle to make my gauge bigger because I can't afford it right now, lol.  Needles don't grow on trees ya know!  (Well, the wooden ones do,  kinda).

So I'm thinking I should frog it and re-evaluate.  I found this Raveler who noted adding length in the top, by changing the increases from every 2nd to every 3rd row.  Hmmm... Alright knitting smarties, weigh in!  What would you do?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bunny Slippers!

Bunnies!!  I love bunnies so much.  They are right up there in my cute animals list.  So I made some for my feet!

I actually completed these quite a while ago, before I started my Miette.  I decided they were a good practice knit!
I learned to felt-  It is a magical process.  Hot soapy water and lots of friction!  Check out this before and after shot:

I felted by hand like the pattern said to and phew!  That's hard work!  I probably ended up felting each slipper for an hour!  (Not all at once though.  I did a few sessions because after my first, they hadn't shrunk down enough.)

These guys are warm and cosy but I'm not going to wear them scuffing all around the house- they are too cute and I don't want them all ruined and dirty (I wear my slippers hard, lol).  So these will be mainly feet up bunnies!  I know, what's the point of making slippers if you don't wear them a lot?  ummm.. because they're cute!  But maybe I should buy some leather soles to put on the bottom...

don't forget the bunny tails!
Want your own?  Check out Ravelry here :)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fitting the Taffy Blouse

I'd love to say my Taffy came out well fitting with no effort, but that's not the case.

I actually made two muslins/toiles (I never know what to call them!  Since muslin is a US term, I guess I should use toile- but I never hear anyone say toile, so it sounds weird! Muslin it is).  Please excuse the ugly fitting pics!

Well, Colette Patterns drafts for a C cup and I'm an A cup.  So naturally the first muslin came out rather baggy in front.  I probably should have adjusted the bust before even making the first muslin, but I'm quite unsure of myself, and cautious about making changes too soon.  Maybe next time though!

Very baggy bust
The other issue I spotted was that the wide neckline and shoulders were making the sleeves hang off my shoulders.

It seemed especially wide in the back.  See the diagonal wrinkles on the left here?   I tried pinning (on the right) and it seemed to make it better:

However, I had no clue what I was doing...

I decided to adjust the neckline and armholes.  I'm not sure tinkering with the armholes was the right thing to do, but I thought I'd give it a go.  I appreciate how the relaxed fit of the top made fitting less stressful!  Here are the adjusted pattern pieces.

You can see I've added to the neckline, and marked lines to shave off the armholes.

Maybe I should have done a narrow shoulder adjustment instead?  That way the armholes and therefore sleeves wouldn't be affected.  I dunno.  Secret time- I didn't adjust the sleeves since I was scared to (did I mention I have no idea what I'm doing? lol).  This meant I had to overlap the seam allowances when sewing it up, to get the curves to match without puckers.  Not a good way to go!

Anyway, on to the bust!  I couldn't figure out how to tell how much to take out.  I tried pinning various places, and scouring the internet.  I still don't know to be honest!  I found one site suggesting to take out an inch for each cup size.  So C cup to B cup= 2 inches out (1 inch each boob!).  So I tried doing a Small Bust Adjustment on my pattern piece of 1 inch.
I used this to make the small bust adjustment on the french dart.

Then I sewed up a second muslin!  No sleeves this time!  This somewhat crummy picture shows the improvements:

But it was still a bit big in the bust!  In the end I decided to take out a further 3/4 inches each side from the bust.
After my aggressive overlapping, the dart ended up so tiny that it freaked me out!  But I decided to go ahead with it anyway.
So all up, I took out 1 3/4 inches (4.5cm) out of each side- that's 3.5 inches (9cm) all up!

I made this comparison for you :)
The un-hemmed length of the muslin seemed just perfect, so I added 1.5cm length to compensate for the hem on the final garment.

I made one more alteration before the final thing too.  I decided to add width around the backside like I did for New Look 6808, because it seemed a bit tight; it was tending to ride up in the back.

And here are the final pattern pieces!

Ummm, does anyone find these fitting posts interesting besides me?  I put a lot of effort into them because I am trying to learn fitting.  I love to see other people's processes too...It's not about just about the finished object, it's about the journey to get to there!

PSST- Hey, any Wellington sewing enthusiasts out there?   Me and Emily at Calico Stretch have been plotting some kind of Wellington meet-up.  You don't have to be a blogger, just let us know if you're interested!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Miette Knitalong Update

Well, it's been very slow progress on the Miette due to more newbie mistakes (I mean learning opportunities!).  Lots of ripping back and redoing!
Let me tell you the tale...

It's been a while, where were we?
Last time, I had knit to the bottom of the body and finished the ribbing.  Then of course, I discovered it was too tight at the waist.
After decreasing the stitches at the top for my small bust, I had continued on and knit the waist decreasing too.  Of course I didn't stop to think that while my bust is small, my rest of me is basically normal size (how many times do I have to learn this lesson?  lol!).
Yup, I should have decreased less!
So I was thinking I might have to rip back to the decrease rows 30 or so rows back.

Here I pinned in some knit fabric to try simulating the button band.  So snug in the waist!

Aha!  But Gail gave me some better ideas!
Here are some options:
  • Just leave it, block the hell out of it and hope it'll stretch enough (cotton does stretch quite a lot).
  • Instead of changing from 5mm needles to 4.5mm for the ribbing, stay with 5mm!  But you'll have to do the same for your sleeve cuffs, neckband and button band!
  • Change the rib from a twisted rib to a normal rib- it's more stretchy and open.  Again you'll have to do the same for the sleeve cuffs, neckband and button band.
  • Rip back to the plain knit row before the rib begins (much much less to rip back!), and sneakily add a few stitches.  Make sure you increase by a multiple of four for the rib pattern to work!

Okay, so here's what I did.  I didn't want to change the twisted rib since I had already finished the cuffs of the sleeves.  I ripped back to just before the ribbing (this was super scary and I procrastinated a lot!  lol).  I put in a lifeline before I ripped back as described here.  Phew!  My knitting didn't blow up!
I added four stitches like a sneak!  Then decided to try knitting the ribbing on the larger needles.  I got a few rows in and discovered it looked quite different to my sleeve ribbing.  Much more loose and mushy, no way did it match!  So I ripped that back too!  (What did I expect?)
I then knitted the ribbing on the smaller needles.

I also came up with 2 more ideas to ease the tightness.  I have a slight case of newbie pride for coming up with these ideas:
  •  On my first ribbing, I noticed the bind off was not stretchy.  This definitely contributed to the tightness.  I've only ever learned one bind off you see?  So this time I'm going to learn a new, stretchy one!  Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind Off.  Wish me luck! :)
  • I also reduced the number of ribbing rows so that the cardigan is shorter i.e the bottom hits on a smaller part of me.  That way it will be less tight!  Okay, a few rows probably won't make a huge difference, but it's the concept!

Phew, I also learned I can gab on about knitting for quite a while!
I hope that other newbies can read this and learn from my mistakes.  It's good to know how many options there are if you screw up, eh?  I know I've been learning a lot.  It feels good!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Finished- The Taffy Blouse!

Well, I finished it!  Yay!  I wanted to finish this by the end of Sew Colette, and I did....but then the weather was too awful to get photographs in time.

So here I am in my humble back yard, wearing a chiffon top at the start of winter.  I think it might be time to start planning my projects seasonally...

 I'm rather pleased with myself for managing to sew a chiffon top as a beginner!   This also marks my first top, as well as a bunch of other firsts (french seams, successful sba, working with bias, and bias binding)!

I made two muslins, and the fit isn't perfect, but it works well enough for me!  I'm going to do another post on my fitting changes :)

Guys, guys!  Check out the lack of bagginess in the bust!!
I also used a funny trick for stabilising the chiffon.  It seemed to work quite well!  Here is the tutorial I made on it.

However, cutting was still a nightmare- it was so slippery, slide-y and crazy.  I would have done a lot better with a better cutting area I think (mine wasn't wide enough to accomodate the pattern pieces, so I had to shift fabric in the middle of cutting- NOT recommended!).  In the end, I was rather surprised and pleased to find that this came out looking like a top!

The tie in the back means the fit is forgiving :)
The very full sleeves are a new look for me, but I quite like it!  Of course the famous Wellington wind had a bit of fun with them...

Heh heh :)