Sunday, 29 September 2013

Completed: New Look 6799

Woo! A new sewing project! It feels like it's been a while, but I assure you this has not transformed into a knitting blog. :)
I only just noticed I'm pulling a weird face here! lol
The weather wasn't playing nice so the lighting's a bit rubbish, but with rain forecast for the next few days, I had to get my pics before the deadline!

I wanted to participate in Fall for Cotton, the fun sewalong that's been on this month, run by Rochelle and Tasha. Well, here in New Zealand it's more like Spring for Cotton, but either way, it's the perfect excuse to make a vintage-style dress in cotton. 
I used New Look 6799, a pattern I have made once before. It's not vintage, but I think it has a vintage vibe for sure (1950s I would think?). It was crying out for some contrast accents in the yoke and waistband already, but the fact was, I didn't have enough of the floral fabric for a whole dress! So therefore adding accents was the perfect plan- I added in the hem contrast not just because it looks sweet, but also because of my fabric limitations. Ooh it feels good using every last scrap. lol!

I really did fall for cotton in this project. I feel like my projects for the last wee while have been of trickier fabric, but this crisp, stable fabric was a dream to work with! It makes me want to hoard quilting cotton and sew cotton forever!!

I didn't change much fit-wise from my previous version, but I tried to even out the way the waistband tilted to the back. Garments love tilting on me.

Here, the wind is creating a petticoat for me.
I simply added a bit of length to the centre front, tapering to nothing at the centre back. It worked, but I could have added even more, I think!
I also added a bit of extra ease at the side seams. Why? Well, I figured that this dress is lined in cotton, but the first one I made was lined with slippery lining fabric, which glides over the body better. Now I don't know if this logic is sound, but there it is. Any thoughts, fellow seamstresses? 
I do feel I went a little overboard with the ease, so it's a little looser than it needs to be (d'oh!), but I don't think anyone will notice but me! The waistband is on the bias, which lets it hug into the waist quite nicely.

So I was feeling pretty good about my sewing as I was making this. And then, while trimming the waistband seams... I cut a tiny hole in the waistband!!! Cue panic mode!! I'm sure you all understand the pain this caused me. 

But then (after a mourning period), I came to my senses and said, "I can fix this! This is just a test from the sewing gods, and by gum, I'm going to show them what's what!" 
First I patched the back of it with interfacing and a few dodgy stitches around the outside to stop it coming apart. 
My idea was to create a new design detail.
So that my friends, is the story of why my dress now has belt loops! Phew, sanity and dress saved! Too bad I don't have a matching belt (yet!). 

Pointing out where the secret hole is.

There are some really lovely details in this pattern, the yoke neckline is lovely, and look! I made self covered buttons and rouleau loops. I couldn't put them in the last time I made this pattern because of the horribly fray-prone fabric, but this time I could and I adore that detail! The best thing is I can leave them fastened and get into the dress simply using the zipper. That's nice and easy :)
I put the zipper in by hand. It's another check mark in the vintage-inspired theme of the sewalong. :)

Hem detail. Hand stitched hem, and zig zagged seams.
I lined the bodice as per instruction, with a white cotton, lighter weight than the white used as the accents. 
One thing I changed- I didn't use the main fabric to face the yoke with. I did that (as per the pattern instruction) last time and thought it was a little bulky, so this time I used the lining fabric for the facing. I think it worked well!
Like last time, I also added interfacing to the waistband. But I didn't bother to line the skirt portion of the garment like in my previous version! This fabric had more body and wasn't ever-so-slightly sheer like that horrible polyester.

So there are two things this dress clearly needs: a sweet patent leather belt in either white or pink (I think I deserve to treat myself to one after fixing my waistband whoopsy). Anyone know where the perfect belt is hiding, btw? The other thing it needs is a petticoat to give it that delicious vintage floof factor.

And lookit! It goes nicely with my Miette cardigan, don't you think?

I know this is the worst/weirdest photo ever. That's why I had to put it in!
Listen guys, I'm really proud of this dress, not just because omg pink and flowers are amazing, but because I fixed a stupid mistake without too much drama... I think I'm making progress on the self-criticism which I posted about a wee while back. I was really blown away by the amazing response from you guys on that.  

Thanks to Rochelle and Tasha for hosting the sewalong. What a great, simple idea to get people inspired! Now bring on summer so I can wear this more!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Completed Knitting Project: Corazon

Lookit, another knitted project! I realise sewing projects have been a little thin on the ground here lately but I promise I've got some in the pipeline, heh heh!
My amazing friend Yuko took these pictures for me- are you enjoying not being in my backyard for once?

I made a special effort to get this pattern knitted up fast as it was part of a deal between Lauren of Lladybird and me- I'm sure many of you know I derive inordinate glee from making the same project as anyone else. The two of us joke that we are knitting twins because we have super similar taste in knitting patterns and have made a bunch of the same projects!
When she mentioned she wanted to knit something in kelly green I screamed "me too!!" and thus the plan was born. We would both knit something green and blog our projects on the same day for fun!
So go rush over and see hers, it's amazing of course! I stole a pic just for you, stunning right?
Mine is definitely more of an emerald than a kelly green, but doesn't matter, it's GREEN okay?

The pattern is Corazon by Julia Trice, and it's such a beautiful lace pattern. I used (expensive, eep!) merino yarn from Biggan Design. It's my most expensive knit yet, but I had to have that perfect shade (see what happens when you supply shade cards, yarn companies??)

The pattern wasn't really straightforward, I had a lot of hiccups with it, but the designer was really helpful, so full marks for that. (And now I really want to knit another of her designs). I actually discovered a mistake in the pattern so she's going to be revising it! Once I got past the tricky bits, it wasn't too bad. But there were definite hair-pulling moments before that. All my notes are on Ravelry.

Now, sometimes the wind is kind and just makes your hair look lively...
But there were a lot of shots that looked like this! Ack!

Lauren gave me the genius idea of making it cropped, which is awesome because a) It looks great with high-waisted skirts, and dresses.  b) It takes less time to knit (lol!)  and c) I didn't have to buy as much of that expensive yarn! 
The thing about cropping it at the waist though was that I couldn't build in any waist-shaping without disrupting the lace pattern. So I just knitted it straight and hoped the ribbing would pull in enough.
It does pull in, but it's not as figure hugging as I prefer.  I did four decreases in the first row of ribbing to add a little shaping (but let's be honest, that's not going to make a huge difference). I probably could have done more, but I didn't want too much sudden decreasing to make a funny shape? Knitting experts, what are your thoughts here?

I'm pretty happy with the negative ease in the rest of the garment though. I sized down from the recommended 1" of negative ease at the bust to about 2.5" negative ease. I love me that negative ease!

Here, I tried it with a belted waist but I don't really like the look. I think it makes me look LARGER at the waist if anything!

So yeah, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I'm wearing it with a RTW dress here (made of polyester, ick!). I hope to have more and more me-made skirts and dresses to pair with it in the future. :) Green's not a usual colour for me but I really like it. I'll have to make sure to get some colour coordination happening in my closet!

Also, I'm silly because I forgot to take a detail shot of the decreases under the arm. I freestyled it because it wasn't explained in the pattern. I'll put a shot up on Ravelry when I can. By the way, just in case you don't know, Ravelry is the best thing ever.


Lacy sleeve!
I had to put this photo in cos Yuko's such a great photographer :)
So, in conclusion, YAY KNITTING TWINS! I think Lauren is so inspiring, and I always covet her knits :) This pattern is called Corazon which means heart. I'm not normally one to make cutesy names for my projects but I had to call this "My heart is green...with envy". I can't resist a silly pun :P
OMG I just realised the lace looks like hearts too. Hence the name! How did I only just figure this out now??? What a dummy!! Hahaha.
I think I'll end the post on that amazing revelation! :D

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Big List of Renfrew Mods

I've been wanting to put this list together for a while. Everyone loves the Renfrew top from Sewaholic right? It's a great basic and easy to sew to boot!
All around the blogosphere, people have been making their own modifications. They are really inspiring and a great encouragement to have a go at pattern mods. I've tried two mods out so far and I have a few more to try out before I'm satisfied!
So here's the list. Look, we even have a fancy button! Let's spread the Renfrew love!

I've added pictures of some, but not all. I didn't want the post tooo massive. That said, if you have any more awesome mods, link me up and I'll add see if I can them in! Oh, and I have checked for permission with these people of course.

Playing with colour blocking:

This one has a woven back added in!:

Boat necks:
Each of these use a different method to finish the neckline!

Renfrew Bolero: My Renfrew Bolero

Renfrew cardigans:

Renfrew dresses:

Renfrew and Moneta indie pattern mash-up by me:

(this is also a sleeveless mod)

Fun design details:
Renfrew with Banksia collar:

With bow (a knock-off for people who don't want to buy Jalie 2921 like I did!):

Boobie gathers :

Sleeve Mods:
mini-pleat in sleeve:

gathered sleeve:

ruched sleeve:

long puff sleeve:

short puff sleeve:

sleeve with puffed cuff:

Maternity Renfrew:

Well, I hope you've been as inspired as I have by this trip through Renfrew town. Let me know what you think.. are YOU planning any Renfrew mods? What do you think about modding patterns in general?

Monday, 2 September 2013

Completed: The Blair Cardigan

Yay, another cardigan!

Me in my default pose again! lol 
This is Blair, a pretty basic top-down raglan cardigan. I've been dreaming of making a navy cardigan, because I love navy as a basic. So I didn't want it too fancy- the design details are pretty understated. It's kind of a casual cardigan. I'm wearing it with a Renfrew. I really need more striped tops, you can't have too many!

There are eyelets down the sides, sleeves, and around the button band. It's a bit interesting I guess. But the shawl collar is awesome, I love a good shawl collar! 

Showing off the sleeve detail.
I decided to be true to the cardigan's design and go for 1 inch of ease on the body, but this has just confirmed to me I'm all about the negative ease!! Negative ease for life people. I just love the form fitting look. Not that I hate this cardigan though! I am finding it's got a great casual vibe, but I feel like it just doesn't have the snug look that would make it great over dresses and skirts. So here I am in my jeans again! However, this does actually mean I'll end up wearing it more, heh!

I totally complain about this every time, but I really got to get some better jeans, haha. Shopping for them is a nightmare though, so I never do it!!

I find that with positive ease, it always pools at my back.

Fabric pooling. Adds to the casualness.
I've worn it with only a few of the buttons done up, but it also looks nice all done up.

The yarn I used is pure wool, but it was pretty cheap. Some of the balls were kind of unevenly spun, but it doesn't really show. It looks fine, but I'm interested to see if it holds up well over time. I bought it from, which is a NZ based yarn mill, so that's one reason why it's cheap- price doesn't always denote quality! I still have a lot to learn about yarn.

The sleeves turned out long, and sleeves always seem to lengthen when I block them too! I just cuffed them, but I actually really like pulling them down when I want warm hands. So no complaints here!

(Goofy cracking up pic)
I used my new favourite bind-off again for the 1X1 rib. It takes forever to sew with the tapestry needle, but it just looks so good! Oh yeah, and I think I found a mistake, as the lace that starts down the "side seams" after the armpit are divided doesn't line up right, so I did my own thing there. More of my knitterly notes are here on Ravelry.

So yeah, I'm pretty happy with it, and call me mad, but I totally have plans for another navy cardigan in my future. One I can wear with dresses and skirts! You can't have too much navy guys!! Okay, actually, I may have to go on a navy ban soon. But not yet :)