Monday, 29 April 2013

Fitting AKA Why I Have No Completed Garment.

So, this is the project that's sucking away my sewing mojo (aka sewjo) at the moment.  New Look 6808, my old nemesis.

Yes, I first starting trying to fit this over a year ago.  I did make a finished garment out of it, but it definitely wasn't fitted to perfection.  lol.  However, it was leagues better than my first toile:

I must never forget this picture.  lol.
There's something you should know about me, and that is that I'm determined to a fault.  This pattern has made the mistake of challenging me, and now I can't rest until I've conquered it.

Of course that's easier said than done, given that my knowledge of fitting is little.  Quite honestly, I've tortured myself with it, and I know that's not good.
I went to a dark despondent place while working on it, but dare I say, it is looking a bit better now.  I think the light may be shining through, after having serious trouble figuring out what to do.
So here's some stuff I did on it.

On the front, I feel I've improved the bust fit a little.  I grabbed a dart of excess fabric from the armhole pointing to the bust, and rotated it into the bust dart.  You can see the excess in this picture (on the right).
So this is my current toile:
I reckon the front ain't bad.  Shorten the bust darts slightly and I'm happy.
I added a centre back seam in an effort to accomodate my curves better.  This is the biggest thing that was driving me crazy- a clumsy, wrinkled back.  I really struggled with this all throughout! 

So many wrinkles.  So many.

At this point, I didn't know what to do.  I let out the centre back seam at the waist a bit which helped, since there were wrinkles pointing to it.

Then I ignored the lower back for a bit and slashed the shoulders to accommodate my shoulder blades, which will also add a shoulder dart like I showed in this post.  It was gratifying to see that tension relax:

I hope you can see the difference in the before and after in the strain on the shoulder blades.  Although I admit the lighting is different.  Oops.

So, progress had been made.  But.... THAT.  BACK!  The fit on the back has tortured me since the start.

First of all, my apparently giant butt seems like it can never have enough fabric.  The garment constantly rides up on my butt!  Yet my back curves in a lot.  Without sufficient darts, I look "back-pregnant" as Andrea would say.  But I just didn't know how to get it to sit nicely. My frustration reached critical levels.

I then thought maybe I'd gone overboard with the shaping so tried reducing the darts slightly, but honestly, I couldn't tell if it made it any better.

Anyway, a few days later, as I'd had time to stew, I got the idea to slit the seams, and I think they have revealed the answer.  So here is the before and after:

Better right?  Please tell me you agree.  By the way, seeing pictures, I'm amazed at the size of my caboose.
 Anway, getting that back transformation was as simple as doing this:

Update for clarity- I don't plan to have a split on the final garment- I will add the size of the split to the centre back in my pattern work :)

So that's the progress.  Oh and I didn't even mention the sleeve malarkey.  I'm over it.

What do you think?  I know it's not perfect, but I've looked at it so long that I can't see it objectively any more.  It's a bit better right?  Would you say... ready for a real garment? 

I wonder how many hours I've spent wandering the house in my toile, poking at its wrinkles in the mirror and hoping for some magical answer to shine down on me.  For now it's just good enough to know that if I bash at it for long enough, something will improve.

But seriously, guys, do you have any advice?  I know I'm being my perfectionist self (umm whoops, didn't I have a goal about that?), but I just gotta beat this thing.
What would you do? :)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Small Victories

Okay, I admit it, I've been in a sewing slump lately.  I'm still looking for that confidence- the motivation to sew is low if I don't feel that I can rely on a good end result.
Hopefully I'll have a post for you soon featuring that bugbear of mine- fitting.  I bet you're excited to see a boring old toile, right?? :P

On the positive side though, I finally figured out how to do buttonholes on my old (oh, I mean vintage, sounds much fancier) Bernina.
It wasn't easy, figuring out the cryptic instructions from the old manual.  It was oddly filled with typos and kept changing what it called certain parts of the machine!

See the evolution of my buttonholes:

I finally got 'em figured out (I think), and tried out reinforcing my Miette buttonband with ribbon like I've seen fancy people do.

Honestly though, I don't think it made that much difference, lol.  Such a lot of work for not much result.  Well, it's all about the learning I suppose!

Before I added the ribbon, I also took apart the top of the neckline ribbing (eep, I know!), because I felt it was too low in the back neckline (see here).  I added a few rows to make it higher.  I wish I'd thought to make the top buttonhole higher though since it gapes a little at the top now.  Whoops!

Isn't it kind of funny that the thing that pushed me to learn another sewing skill was knitting?

In more knitting news, I am working away on my Agatha cardigan, but I'm far too coy to show you an in-progress shot.  I wanted to be all like "Oh, by the way, SURPRISE, I finished this whole cardigan without you even knowing!".  But I can't resist tiny bit of show and tell.
Here's the swatch- I love that lace pattern!

Hope you all doing better with your sew-jo than me- any inspiration welcome of course, haha!

Oh!  P.S.  My husband just informed me that double spacing after full stops is wrong??  The internet seems to back this up.  Disturbing indeed...It seems I was taught wrong.  Any punctuation nerds out there- weigh in, lol :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Finished Knit: The Mary Jane Top

I've actually been finished on this one for a while now, but hadn't gotten any decent photos!  Thanks to my sweet husband and some kind weather, I finally got some!  Hooray!

My last progress post was in January, remember that post?

The pattern is Mary Jane, and my notes are here on Ravelry.  (As usual, there are loads.)

I started this over Christmas time.  I think the knitting took me about 2 months, which really isn't bad for me!  I consider myself a slow knitter.  And boy, those puff sleeves are a lot of fabric to knit!
 The pattern is a basic pattern, with a cute stitch pattern laid out in stripes, alternating with stocking stitch.  It actually had no waist shaping at all, but I added loads!  I had to fudge the stitch pattern on the sides where the decreases/increases were, but it looks fine to my eye.

There's a slight distortion in the stitch pattern, but it's worth it for the sweet, sweet waist shaping.  Also, no I'm not pregnant, just posing oddly, haha!

Despite it being a basic pattern, I still learned quite a lot.

I'm still learning about ease with knits.  I tried to maintain a consistent 1" of negative ease- the pattern was designed for 0-3" of positive ease, so I thought I was being a bit of a rebel for going with less than that.  But honestly, it doesn't feel clingy and so I'm sure I could have gone with more negative ease.  I don't know if that only applies to this type of yarn though.  This was a merino/cotton blend yarn, and I understand that both of these are supposed to "grow".  I hope this garment doesn't end up baggy and out of shape!  I will update if it does!

Speaking of growing, I added a few rows of length to the armholes, and I ended up overdoing it.  I will have to remember for next time (it's so obvious now):  Once you've knitted the garment longer, that will pull the armholes down with the weight of the body.  Oh well, I'm not too bothered.

Ooh, I did one fancy thing- I added short rows!  I decided the neckline wasn't high enough in the back, but fine in the front so I added more rows to the back of the ribbing:

See how the ribbing is longer in the back?
That wasn't the only neckline mod I made- I added double decreases in the corners of the neckline to emphasise the square shape.  I can't take credit for it though, I got the idea off someone on Ravelry :)

Basically, I've found myself to be an incorrigible pattern tweaker.  I can't just leave it the way it is!  I also reduced the length of the top a lot.  I feel this is the perfect length for wearing on top of pretty skirts, sitting just on my hip bone.  Speaking of skirts, I'm wearing one I made, and it goes with everything it seems!

Wind playing havoc with me as usual... keep that hair in place!

I also found a new stretchy bind off which is my new fav!  It's the K2tog bind off, and it's very easy, while producing (what I feel is) a less conspicuous edge than the other stretchy bind offs I've tried.  I used it on the sleeve cuffs and hem.

Oh, and in case you think I knitted this perfectly, just be aware that I'm still ending up doing janky fixes.  Ya know, like how my stitch marker left slight laddering down the front, or how I messed up a short row and made a hole, lol.  Know what I do?  Shh, don't tell anyone, but I stitch it up on the wrong side with a tapestry needle and yarn.  Heh heh.  Hopefully as I improve I won't have to resort to that anymore.. :P

Also, in case you also thought I was glamourous, just be aware that after these photos were taken, I went inside and changed into more casual clothing.  That's right, I only put this on for photos, lol!  What a fraud :D

All in all, I'm very happy with this knit!  I think it's less practical than a cardigan though, which I think will be my knitting focus for the next while.  I want one in every shade of the rainbow, hee!

I feel the square neckline is perfect to show off a delicate piece of jewellery, which I don't get the chance to wear often, so that's nice!  And I hope I wear it out more, not just for photos.  (I'm still getting used to the idea that I can wear my knits, haha.)

I always say this, but... I'm so loving knitting right now :)