Friday, 28 June 2013

Indie Pattern Month

Remember a while back when I said I was in on Indie Pattern Month?  I mentioned making my long-forgotten Meringue skirt by Colette Patterns.  But what a clever girl am I!  I didn't make any promises!  And therefore I present to you:
No Meringue!!

However, the great thing about this month is that all you have to do is show some indie patterns some love, and that's what I'm going to do.
I decided to have a go at some amateur fashion sketches, showing off some Indie Pattern outfits I'd love be rocking :)
I simply drew them and photographed them.  Nothing fancy here.

Well, when I saw the finished results I didn't know if I could share them.   I'm slightly embarrassed of them.  lol.  But I know you folk aren't a judgemental lot so I'm going ahead.  Keep in mind I called them amateur for a reason....  and don't look too closely at the hands!  lol! :D 

Here we have Papercut Patterns' Watson Jacket, which I think would be some amazing winter wear, especially with a cosy long sleeved merino underneath.  I paired it with Colette's Pastille dress, which you could totally just use as a skirt pattern- I just really like the pleat detail at the hem (yes, those are pleats, not stripes!). 
This outfit is the least "me".  I tried to stretch myself a bit.  I don't know if I would wear a straight skirt like this, but I should give it a try sometime. :)

This amazing blouse, which I've promised to make myself someday, is the In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse.  I love it, it's so romantic with the bow and release tucks!  The skirt is the Hollyburn from Sewaholic patterns.  I'm a sucker for full skirts teamed with a fitting, sweet top- that's why I had to force myself to do at least one drawing that didn't have that combo.  

The top here is one I'm sure you'll recognise- the Renfrew!  This is the only top from this post that I've actually made (see it here)!  And the skirt is the Colette Patterns Beignet.  I love this style, and I so badly want to make one of my own.  The internet is filled with adorable versions of this skirt!

Many of these patterns are quite well-known amongst you sewing, blogging ladies.  Did you see any that were new to you?  

Drawing these was fun.  I've heard some people draw sketches of people in pretty clothes for a living... can you imagine??  What lucky people they must be...

Big P.S:  I'm sure you all know that Google Reader is closing.  So if you're not switched over yet, do it!  I am using Feedly which is working fine for me...  See Rachel's post on this if you need help getting switched... I promise it is super easy.  Stick with me and my blog folks! :D

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pyjama Party!

Happy Pyjama Party everyone!  I made it!
We had a huge storm here in Wellington on the day I was planning to finish sewing these- our power went out, so that means freezing cold and no sewing!  (As well as our fence collapsing which was/is a total pain.)
Thankfully I survived (lol), and am now ready to party :)

Now, there is no point trying to look dignified in floral PJs so I just went for ridiculous instead.  I wish I had a "jumping on bed" shot, but our bed isn't sturdy enough for that kind of malarkey.  Hah!

I thought this would be a good project for me to restart my sewing mojo. I do love the fabric- a warm cosy flannelette!  The print is a really cute floral with teeny birds on it. .  I didn't remember to get a detail shot for you...
Anyway, the great thing about PJs is it's kinda hard to screw up, and if I did, it would hardly matter- it's only PJs right? 
And I did screw up!

First, I cut the pattern upside down.  (How can I spin this positively...?  Okay, well now I can look down and the print is right way up from my point of view!  OR wait, maybe they're just magical birds that fly/roost upside-down.  Yeah, that's it.)

Then I tried to make the fit better (Yes, I even had to try to do some fitting on PJs!)  This kinda worked, but not perfectly.  Well, I think I learned something, and I'll probably make another pair and experiment some more!  PJs= sewing freedom!  I may elaborate on the fitting experiments later if I feel it's worthwhile...

Here I am wearing them with my bunny slippers... match made in heaven right?  To complete it perfectly, I'd have a Renfrew PJ top I suppose.

I totally wish I had the Sewaholic Tofino pattern though.  It has much nicer design and details (I'm sure a better fit too).  This pattern, McCalls 5989 is as basic as you can get.  It also is designed to fit at the waist.  I'm not into that, so I cut the top off.  Oh yeah, and I also made the nightie from this pattern ages ago.. I'd like to have another go at that too!

One weird thing about this pattern is that it specified to buy two metres of elastic.  What?  You think my waist is that big, McCalls?  That's more than enough for TWO sets of PJ pants, you weirdos.  Stop trying to waste my money. 

Anyway, a big thanks to Karen for hosting this event.  It's a lot of fun, and a great idea!  Here is my most ridiculous pose ever, just for you.

Party on, everyone!! 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Completed: Agatha Cardigan

OMG purple!! Yay purple, I love you. This rich and delicious hue somehow makes the cardigan that much cosier.

The Agatha Cardigan.
This was such a fast project (well, because I got super addicted to it mainly), but also, 10ply yarn + cropped length + negative ease = fast! Compared to my previous knitted garment, I flew along!

The only thing that didn't fly along was the sizing modding, that as always, I was compelled to do.
Firstly, this pattern is designed for a much bustier girl than me, and also, my bust size happened to be right smack in between two sizes!
Then of course, there's the fact that there's ribbing and lace patterns to deal with, so you can't just plonk decreases anywhere!
I remember feverishly tossing and turning in bed with a nasty virus, boiling my brain trying to figure it out. Sitting on the couch half dead trying to visualise the pattern. Grim, and I wouldn't advise it!  Hah!

I eventually did figure it out, and to summarise, I did a size small in the back, and a size XS in the front (this meant casting on less for the neckline). I also cast on the armpits as a size XS instead of S to decrease the bust circumference further. I did the sleeves in size S. That's the simplified story and it makes it sound so easy, but it did my head in, lol.

I would have done less decreasing for the waist since I don't really need as much as the pattern calls for, but I wanted to keep the cool pattern that the decreases form on the sides! Check it out! The ribs merge to form Vs.

I'm not sniffing my armpit, I'm showing you the decreases!
The good thing about top down knitting is that you can try it on as you go. I simply knitted until it reached my natural waist and then did the ribbing, which shortened the pattern (I have a short waist).  Of course, that altered the length of the buttonband, but thankfully it was as easy as simply removing a buttonhole and its spacing. Phew!

I also made the sleeves a lot longer to accomodate my long arms. They're very snug sleeves. So snug I don't think I could layer anything much under them. I'm still not sure what the exact niche of this cardigan is. I definitely think it's best with skirts and dresses.

Oh grass, you are fascinating.
This project had its fair share of failings, including when I knitted one side of the front with a whole section omitted, resulting in a lopsided mess which needed frogging! (See my tweeted pic of the disaster here.)
I also struggled with the double pointed needles on the sleeves, leaving big old ladders in between where the DPNs crossed. Yuck! Cue dodgy sewing-up on the backside of the work....
I did end up combating them though, by continuously changing where the needles met like in this video. But I am still very clumsy and slow with DPNS. 

I also had some dodgy bits on the short row sleeve caps and where I picked up the stitches for the sleeves. I just need you to know guys. I need you to know my knitting is very flawed. lol! I want to acknowledge my imperfections, and not present my projects as easy and perfect, when that's not the reality. I think that's important, and I quite love when other bloggers do it. I'm sure there are some people who just get everything perfect all the time... I'm not one of them!

Oh yeah, and I messed up the lace pattern at the top of one of the arms- my decreases were going the wrong way! I totally freaked out because I didn't want to rip back. In a few days though, I had to admit I'd overreacted. It was barely noticeable (my husband did have to point this out quite a few times before I admitted it to myself). I did some dodgy stitching over the top at the end and all was well.

I love the lace pattern along the arm!

Knitting Nerd Details: In my Mary Jane top, I was really happy with the stretchy bind off I used, so used it again.  However, it does create a lettuce edge when not held taut. This isn't an issue with a top, which is always stretched to the body, but what of a cardigan where you might want to wear it open?  I had to admit I couldn't accept a rumpled hem in that case.

The k2tog stretchy bind off makes a rumpled edge when unstretched.
So I ripped it out and tried another bind off- the tubular 1X1 rib bind off. It is really attractive, and I'm so pleased I learned it, though it's definitely harder (it's sewn with a tapestry needle, and I found it slow going)! I'm definitely going to use it for any 1X1 rib in the future. 

This is a pattern I've stalked on Ravelry for ages, and I'm so happy it's done now! I love the ribbing and lace combo. Normally I wouldn't think to do a lacy design in a darker colour like this, but I think the ribbing adds depth and richness to the texture which makes a deep colour suitable. Do I sound like a crazy person? I think a LOT about colour. I tend to think lace is best in light colours, and strong details like ribbing and cables look better darker. I'm sure these rules are in no way absolute however! Do you think these are good guidelines or do I just need to free my mind?

The pretty pattern is on the back too :)
Anyway, I'm so glad I finally got this photographed! Thank you husband and thank you weather!

As for the styling, I paired it with my wool circle skirt. Sometimes you don't really know how a garment will work until the final outfit. I started thinking after seeing these pictures that my cardigan was maybe a little short. But then, if I were to lengthen it past my waist, I think it would bunch up. It IS meant to be cropped, after all. So I'd have to add increases for the hips. But really, I think it's the skirt that might be putting the proportion out of whack- maybe it's too long? My husband insists that skirts that sit on the waist are unstylish (but then, what do men know about fashion?). Gosh, I don't know.

Proportion wise, not quite sure.
What do you think of the proportions? I'll have to try it with a variety of outfits...
Nevertheless, a circle skirt means twirling pics!

Anyway, I'm really happy with this cardigan. (Ravelry notes are here by the way).  It's tempting to make another, but I have a massive list of knitting projects I want to do. No time for repeats!! :)

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sewalongs Are Fun. I'm In!

You guys already know I think the blogging community is the best.
So it's high time I got into some events..

I'm participating in Karen of Did You Make That?'s Pyjama Party.  Yay!  I figure with the sewing slump I've been in lately that something as easy as PJs should perk me up.  Right?  Oh no, I hope I didn't jinx it by saying the word "easy"...


The Pyjama Party is on the 23rd of June!  I'm a bit of a late starter, but that gives me almost 2 weeks by my count. 

And next, it's Indie Pattern Month.  Kat of Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Mel of The Curious Kiwi are both hosting this sewalong/general good time of indie pattern love!

You don't have to sew up an indie pattern, just check out Kat's blog post on it for the details!

I personally do want to sew up an indie pattern, but honestly, I'm not going to put a lot of pressure on myself.  If it happens, it happens!  lol!  The pattern in question is the Colette Meringue, which I started trying to fit ages ago and then... ahem, it got knocked aside by other things.  Funny how that happens.  My last post mentioning that I wanted to make it was... ahem, over a YEAR ago.  lol.

So that's two sewing projects in a month, more than I've been doing lately!  I think I'll write a post on my thoughts on the mysterious case of the missing sew-jo (that's sewing mojo).

I'm hoping these two goals will get my butt in gear.  That's what's so great about PJs though right?  If you screw them up, it really just doesn't matter.  Hooray!

Are you joining me in any of these events?  :)