Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Vintage Pledge!

Hello! I feel like I'm so rusty at blogging lately I don't even know how to write them anymore ;)
Luckily, pictures say plenty.
In this case, "I made a skirt and top!". There, that wasn't so hard :)

You might have seen me on Instagram wishing to be as awesome as the vintage ladies on the pattern envelope....

Now, obviously it's impossible to be THAT cool, but I gave it my best effort! And I get to be part of Marie and Kestrel's Vintage Pledge so that's a consolation prize :)
Here's a link to the pattern on the Vintage Pattern wiki, for anyone interested.

No prizes for guessing the tee pattern I'm wearing. Yeah, I've made the Sewaholic Renfrew top a billion times now, if I can even call it that anymore. I've modified it in so many ways it's its own thing now!
Funny thing about this version- I tried to improve the fit with an experiment, and succeeded in making it worse. Lol! It's fine tucked in though... I'll try again next time! I'll update on the fit if I make any discoveries! :)

If I was smart I'd have remembered to slip a ribbon or tape under the neckline when I was sewing it down, but I forgot and stitched a scrap of tape on as an afterthought to mark the back of the garment.

The neckline is a boatneck I drew onto the pattern. I stitched some clear elastic into it to keep it from stretching out over time, as per this tip on Pattern Review. I neglected to get a photo, but I promise it's as simple as it sounds! I didn't do this on a boatneck knit dress I made a while back and it's starting to feel a bit sloppy in the neckline, so I think it's worth putting that tape in. Plus, it's easy!

The hems are just turned up and stitched with a twin needle. I wish I had a coverstitcher for a professional looking inside to my garment, but this works fine! The neckline is also finished in the same way.

This is me looking crazy, but I'm trying to show my stripe matching on the sleeves!

By the way, I feel like my floppy hat is perfect for the retro skirt style. I'm so obsessed with floppy hats, I have 6.... Need more!

Hat smugness!

Also, this shot looks like someone lazily photoshopped a stock image of a hat onto where my head should be and it makes me laugh:

I got this fabric from the op shop and it's this suede-y synthetic dealy. I thought it was great having the slippery wrong side, so it doesn't need lining. BUT, wow, it really hated being gathered. My stitches just kept slipping right out! Hah, talk about embarrassing - isn't gathering supposed to be an easy beginner technique?? Well I got there with persistence, but it wasn't easy!!

The trauma of the gathering is melting away though, because I'm happy with the final product.

You can see some puckers around the hem. I find that synthetics are a bit merciless when it comes to puckers. I guess it wasn't a big fan of my machine blind hem. I didn't think it was that obvious but this picture is showing harsh reality. Lol :P I like to think this is just a bad photo... but yes, that hem is not ideal.

Obligatory back shot: Highly uneventful.

In terms of sizing, I fit into the larger of the two sizes in the envelope. BUT, I decided to add a little bit more ease for comfort. I slashed and spread the waistband a little bit and sewed the side seams at 1cm instead of 1.5cm (which is more than I added to the waistband). But I just increased the amount I gathered the skirt in to fit the waistband. Problem solved!

Busted! You can see I sewed the waistband underlap a bit longer than the skirt. Oops. Lazy

Guts! Look at the shiny gather-hating wrong side!
I added fusible stay tape to the body along the pocket slash line to prevent it stretching out on the bias (better safe than sorry right?) You could just use interfacing. Really, the tape is just a long precut strip of interfacing, nothing revolutionary.

OH! And if you didn't already know about this method of attaching a waistband, you should! I love it because it eliminates that pesky stitching in the ditch. In a nutshell, you sew the waistband to the wrong side of the skirt, flip it over, and topstitch it down on the right side. (Instead of sewing the waistband to the right side of the skirt, flipping it over, and trying to catch it in by stitching in the ditch from the right side.) Clear as mud??

And well, that's pretty much all I have to say about this skirt, other than I am bad at buttonholes ;) Haha!

NOW, I try to give a balanced view on this blog, and this skirt was a success. But I also produced a fail, so I'm documenting it for truthiness.
I made this velvet skirt a while back, and decided it needed making over (mainly shortening).
Long story short, I decided I hated it and would never wear it, but not before making a total dog's breakfast of the hem. This is what happens when you stop caring:

Haha! Oh velvet skirt, you are dead to me.

Let's focus on the non horrible skirt though :P

So do you guys document your failures, or do you prefer to pretend they never happened? I like to see people's mistakes. How about you? :)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Completed: The "See You There" Hoodie

Hi! I knitted another cardigan :) The pattern is See You There by Joji Locatelli and ooh! It's my first hoodie! :D
I'm wearing it with the dress I just blogged. Sorry for the lack of variety, haha :D

And YAY, I finally conquered my cursed yarn! This was the THIRD project I'd attempted with this yarn. I had to frog the first two projects I started with it. They were both for 8ply, which this yarn apparently is, but it's a very heavy 8ply. I eventually had to conclude it was best for a 10ply project! Since I love my negative ease, I was able to use the slightly smaller gauge I obtained to size down my garment.

I've done the "smaller gauge" trick quite a few times now; I simply find how much smaller my gauge is than the pattern's gauge (e.g my gauge was 85% as big as the pattern gauge), and then I see which size of the pattern would fit my needs if it was 85% as big. Does that make sense?
In this example, I found that the pattern size with a 35.5" bust, at 85% as big, would be 30.2", which would fit my 33" bust with about 3" of negative ease.

It's kind of a lazy way to do it but so far it has worked for me. Of course, from there I also end up adding custom waist shaping and hip shaping, but this way works to give me a good fit in the shoulders and bust.

The shoulders on this pattern are cool! It's a construction method I've never used before, called the contiguous method. It involves lots and lots of markers, and increasing at those specific points.
It's done top down, and through the increases, forms shoulders (no seams required) and also creates the top of the sleeves! They mimic the look of set-in sleeves, but require no seaming or picking up of stitches. So it's very clever indeed.
It makes the start of the pattern quite a doozy to follow, but once it's all established it's pretty plain sailing!

You can see the fake armhole seam here. It sits a little wider than a traditional armhole does, which doesn't bother me. Maybe it's the size I chose, but I think it sits similarly on the model too. Also lol at my lumpy arm due to the dress sleeve underneath it!

Original pattern styling

One of the BEST things I learned while making this was how to cable without a cable needle. I'd read about it ages ago, but never got around to teaching myself until now. OMG, worth it! It suits me very well, as I mainly knit on the bus; minimising fuss, and droppable objects, is very useful. Here's the link to the tutorial! It's a little fiddly at first, but not too bad once you get the hang of it! :)

Oh and did I mention hood?? Fun!

As usual, I changed the length of the pattern to my own needs. I've been trying to find the elusive perfect length for cardigans. I like them cropped to below the waist, which looks good with skirts and dresses.
Since customising the length messes up button band instructions, I ended up going to my trusty formula of 2 stitches for every 3 along vertical edges. Another way to make sure this will work is to divide the stitches per inch by the rows per inch- that gives you the exact ratio (which in my experience so far is usually about .66 to .75)

Speaking of getting the perfect length, SLEEVES! Argh, they always trip me up. This is probably at least the 4th time I've made my sleeves too long. Because blocking often lengthens my knits, it is quite unpredictable what length they will decide to become. Clearly I need to get more scientific here. They were fine before blocking, but when I tried them on afterwards, yep, too long!   However, as they were knit from the top down, I knew I would be able to rip the cuffs back a little. I was totally ready to do it and then decided it was actually fine. After all, I figure the hood is a bit casual so I can get away with slightly long sleeves, as that suits a casual look just fine. Or so I'm telling myself :)

I decided to reinforce the button band like a good girl (sometimes I've been too lazy, oops), using ribbon. I hand-stitched it on after I sewed machine button-holes in it. Nothing new here for me, but anyone curious should check out Lladybird's tutorial :) Being a little lazy though, I only reinforced the top of the button band, haha. I mean, it's the only part that shows right?? Disgraceful.

Here's a picture of it fully buttoned.

The cream colour I'm not absolutely sure about, but I'm glad to have used it. I don't have many light-coloured wintery garments to match this, but hopefully I will in the future? We shall see. It seems that most stores insist on stocking dreary dark garments for winter (as if it's not already depressing enough). Aren't we lucky that we have more control over what we wear?

And if I'm going to end on a smug note like that, here's a picture of me looking smug.

Do you guys like to wear dark clothes in the winter? Or should we all revolt and wear brights? :)