Sunday, 12 July 2015

Agatha 2.0 for OAL 2015

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm participating in #OAL2015 (outfit-along 2015). Here is the cardigan I made to match my dress!

I made another Agatha cardigan (a lovely design by Andi Satterlund); you can see my first one here.

Because I started this project when I was busy at uni and I didn't feel I had time to plan it out, I made some dumb mistakes.

First of all, sit down because I'm going to shock you. I did NOT swatch for this project. Unprecedented for a religious swatcher such as myself! I just cast on, thinking "my gauge will probably be the same". Well it wasn't, and after knitting a little bit of the back, I compared it to my first Agatha and could see it was too big. No big deal; I just ripped it out and started with a size smaller needle! I guess I just live on the edge these days. Lol!

Here is a comparison of my first cast on (too big) compared to my second.

As I become a more experienced knitter I seem to get more and more reckless. Frogging barely fazes me anymore (though I take the opportunity for a hearty grumble). This wool is actually frogged from an old project (a jersey blogged here)!! Yes, I decided that I'd get more wear and enjoyment out of it as a cardigan. Not to mention, FREE WOOL! Hah!

If I had bothered to read my notes on my previous Agatha, that would have helped.
I ended up making the EXACT same mistake I'd made on the sleeves the first time. Hah! Proof my brain works in the same way it used to. I accidentally did some of the lace decreases going the wrong direction on the sleeves. AGAIN. lol!

Anyway, after knitting about a third of the sleeve, I started to recall the fact that I felt the sleeves were snug on my first one, and I'd chosen a size DOWN from that. Hmm, to start again or not? I hate these kind of decisions... I seem to have a history of bad sleeve choices! Seriously, on my current project, I've restarted the sleeve 3 times. Ugh. Anyway, after trying it on I decided it was okay, and it would probably loosen up a bit with blocking. This WAS partly my laziness talking.

Anyway, I knitted to about 3/4 and then had to admit it was too tight. I knew it would just annoy me.

Froggy old sleeve.

One mod I made to the pattern this time was to bring the inner neck point in. I find the wide neck on Agatha a bit weird for a cardigan so did a bit of fiddling with the pattern. Agatha is knit top-down starting with the shoulders. So I started with four MORE stitches for each shoulder, but increased four less for each side of the neckline. This meant I had the same amount of stitches as the pattern by the time the neckline was complete. I did have to start the lace a bit earlier but it turned out to be pretty minimal fuss. I just counted back the rows to make sure my lace was at the same place (row-wise) as the pattern's at the centre front neckline. That probably makes NO sense.

And then I go and show off my neckline by completely covering it with a collar.

Moving on, another mod was lengthening it past the waist and changing the waist shaping to reflect that. My shaping actually goes out again a little bit after the waist and is less drastic than the original pattern. The original pattern has bizarrely steep decreases in the body and sleeves, and I suspect this is to make the converging lines of the ribs look dramatic. I was happy to sacrifice that though.

Again, I then proceeded to neglect to get any photos of me wearing it that really show off the side decreases. Oops

The same extreme shaping is found in the sleeves. I decided to space these out more, and also do less decreases so it was less tight at the wrist.

Look how extreme the first sleeve is! Mine slopes gently. And again, I should have gotten a finished pic of it, but you get the idea lol....sorry!
Here's a picture I call "why you SHOULD block":

See how much more nice, flat, and open my finished dark purple Agatha is? My lilac one is pre-block here and it looks much less pretty. This picture also shows my waist decreases and increases located on the sides of the lilac garment.

I sewed ribbon to the button bands to stablise them and stop them from stretching and pulling.

I often find it hard to find matching ribbon, but I totally lucked out with this adorable polka dot ribbon from Made on Marion, a local craft store! I try to support local whenever possible instead of soulless big-box stores. Sorry, didn't mean to preach there.

Honestly, it's not as flattering totally buttoned up. It makes my boobs look kinda saggy or something, but this is probably more a function of my horrible bra situation than anything else. TMI? Yeah that's probably TMI, but us sewing bloggers are all frank when it comes to garments :P

I like it best partially done up. And I hope to make a bra that is nicer one day. Lol. I even have some of the supplies!

I think I'll definitely enjoy this cardigan more than in its previous life as a jersey. Thanks Andi and Lauren for hosting the event. If you didn't already know, Lauren is a sewing idol of mine and Andi is a knitting design hero! You guys both RULE! Thanks for being mega-inspiring!!

I'm really pleased with my outfit, and I can't wait to see everyone else's lovely garment combos! :D

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The "Trees" dress for OAL 2015

Hi guys! I finally finished the dress I made for the outfit-along 2015! It goes really well with the cardigan part of the outfit, but I'll save that for my next blog post since I have lots to say ;)

So let's talk about how this is a cuteness overload. I got given this fabric by a lovely friend who also blogs and sews! I called it the Trees dress after her :) It's not the typical kind of print I go for (I affectionately call this a grandma print).

Well, I guess it's floral and in the colours I love, so most people would think this is actually totally a Jo print. But I have extremely specific floral criteria, believe it or not. Moi? Picky???
But I felt I could definitely make it work as it was on the Jo spectrum of florals. Haha.
I thought I'd just go for it and make it as over-the-top cute as possible, since that's what it seemed to be asking for.
I wasn't sure this would end up being a "me" garment, but I actually really like it!

I drafted the pattern myself from my bodice block (same old story as usual).

Because this isn't a pattern-drafting blog, I'm not going to go into the details of everything. Here's the summary!

Drafting details:
Scooping out the neckline slightly
Drafting the collar
Drafting the skirt
Converting darts into princess seams
Removing some width from the centre front, and replacing it with button plackets
Bias strips to finish the neckline and armholes

And after all that effort, I neglected to get a close up of the star of the show: the collar! Such a disgrace. Here is a cropped-in photo so you can see it a bit better.

I sort of guessed at the size and shape of the front of the collar when I drafted it. Then I cut it out of calico (muslin for you U.S readers) and basted it onto my garment-in-progress. I decided to trim a little bit off to reshape the front points, and finalised my collar from there.

Collar love! 

You know what is a pain with plackets? You have to be really careful when sewing them down, because they try to twist! Well, mine do. I think it's due to the feed dogs pulling the fabric on the bottom through at a faster rate. Sometimes I end up with a little bubble on the top layer that needs easing in. NOT a good look. It happened on the underneath placket on the bodice and it's so ugly. I let it slide because it won't be seen, but still... I need a solution here!

I underlined the bodice, because the cotton was lightweight and thin. I underline partly out of habit really. I supposed I could have just lined the whole thing, which would have meant I didn't need the bias facing on the edges! I AM a bit scared of lining, even though I've done it before, as it complicates the construction process. I'll have a go at lining next time.

That was partly an issue with this dress- the construction process! Since I self-drafted, I didn't have any instructions to follow, so I ended up doing some things in a silly order and then unpicking them when I realised I should have done X before Y (mainly involving the button placket!).

I added some rayon seam binding to the waistline seam allowance. Partly for the idea of a waist-stay (though I'm not sure seam binding is sturdy enough to provide support). Really, I just wanted an excuse for this pretty pop of pink, and to use the seam binding Sonya of Ginger Makes sent me, cos she's AMAZING. Kindest/coolest/most talented girl ever!!

I also opted to line the skirt. I used a cheap acetate, which does the trick, though I think we all know acetate is kinda nasty. The lining is caught into the centre front. I hemmed it before catching it into the placket.
Or rather, I eventually ended up doing this after after unpicking parts of the placket due to aforementioned construction snafus. So much redoing!

Levelling the hem on this was a pain, due to the order of construction I was making up as I went along. Meh. lol. Enough said about that! I've noted down what to do for next time.

After my previous skirt's blind hem wasn't stellar, I was giving my blind hem function a mistrustful side-eye, but went through with it anyway.... and it was beautiful this time! I put it down to highly cooperative fabric. It's so invisible (I'm sure the print helps too). I just overlocked the raw edges before blind hemming.

Check out my in-seam pockets!

Fun fact: I was going to design some patch pockets once I had made the garment so I could decide their shape and placement on the body. Then I went into autopilot and managed to cut and completely sew inseam pockets into the side seams! I only realised what I'd done JUST as I finished congratulating myself on my pockets! Lol! Well, maybe less is more. Hah!

Addicted to full skirts. It's A-line AND gathered, not just a rectangle.

I'm proud of my drafting, even though it isn't anything mind-blowing. And I'd like to make another one!
I'm thinking for the next time I want to use a flat piping (no cord) in the same places as the lace. Ooh<3 Exciting!

I know I like a garment when I start pulling goofy poses... lol :)
By the way, aren't I smart, making a summer dress right in the middle of winter? What can I say, the spirit took me... Looking forward to warmer weather guys!
Have you got any self-drafting in the pipeline? Do you find it worth your time? :)