Thursday, December 3, 2015

Professor Baa-ble Sweater

Remember when this used to be a knitting blog? It still is!

This has got to be the cutest thing I have made. I seriously want one in my size, I can totally pull that off... look at those elbow patches!

This is a mashup of two patterns, the Professor Sweater and the Baa-ble hat. My Brother-in-law requested a sweater for my nephew and once I got thinking about it I had to add sheep. Some ravelry searching lead me to these two patterns. I loved the cute shawl collar and fortuitously the Baa-ble chart fit with the numbers for the sweater.
To make this I made the smallest size and knit from the bottom up. The Baa-ble hat is worked over 120 stitches so I cast on that, plus 2 border stitches and 6 steek stitches. The sleeves I sort of winged, changing colors whenever I wanted. I found it best to make a cheat sheet of when to decrease rather than increase. I started by writing down the cast on number at the top of my page but changing it to cast-off, and then just writing decrease instead of increase for each row. This made is easy to work through the knitting without having to think at all. 
I chose Paton's classic wool DK superwash for this as it's a kid's sweater and I've seen him eat. Dude is messy! It's really soft and worked up well. 
The steek was machine stitched on Bernie and the collar worked as indicated in the pattern. By using the US 6 needles I think I got a size a little bigger than the smallest which is what I was going for. I want it to be big this year at 1 year of age, but still wearable next year. It will be sent off in the mail this weekend.
My ravelry project page is here.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cropped Hudson's and a Plantain

After having suck success with the Hudson pants I decided to make a fun peach and grey cropped version and added a matching plantain t-shirt. The shirt is a bit tight for my personal preference and a bit low cut, but for lounging around the house it works. I already worked on these things in a later project.

Not much to say about these makes. I shortened the pants by 1 inch and they have been in heavy rotation. I really want a black ponte version. The flare on the shirt works really well for my shape so there will be more plantains in my future. They grey knit is a bit heavier than t-shirt weight so it works well for these pants, I think it came from Joann. I have more peach for additional items, it's got great recovery and came from I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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Hudson Pants

I've made the Hudson Pants a few times now. The first time the I chose some bamboo rayon french terry that grows like mad the second you touch it. It's so soft and comfy but the pants were given to my sister as they fit her better. The second time I chose a more stable knit I found at Joann. It's very soft and as an added bonus, is a bit sparkly. I'm behind in my posting, these were photographed back in July hence the lush background.

I don't have too much to say about these pants, they are very comfortable and I think very stylish. I wear them all the time and I think a black ponte version is in the near future for running errands. I never wear them with a shirt tucked in as you see in these photos but I appreciate being able to see the whole garment in pictures. The pattern went together easily and quickly. I can never seem to get the pockets to not stick out on any of my pairs (a woven and grey and peach crops!). I think the trickiest part of these pants is sewing the two stitching lines through the elastic waistband. Go slow and eventually you get a good feel for it. It's a really nice way to finish the waistband. For reference I made an 8 in this knit based on my hip measurement and shortened them by an inch as I am 5'4"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Minoru Jacket with zip pockets and a fully lined collar

This is definitely one of my favorite makes. So much so that I'm writing it up right away, finished and photographed yesterday. This is the Sewaholic Minoru Jacket with added zippered pockets.

The details: I used water resistant Supplex in Dry Rose from Rockywoods Fabrics. This was great, you can pin it and rip out stitching which I did a lot. The lining is from Joann and it's a cotton sateen jacks print from Gertie's new collection. It's lovely fabric, not as slippery as would have been ideal, but it works and it was easy to sew with. The zippers are also from Joann and are water resistant. I used 7" zippers for the pockets. The thread is Mettler thread, I picket it up while I was at a sewing class for the new machine I got a couple of months ago (it's a Bernina 560 and I LOVE IT). The piping is store bought black Wright's piping.

I made a straight size 8, that matches up with my bust measurement and seems to fit me pretty well in Sewaholic patters, if a little big at times. For this jacket it is a tiny bit tighter across the back than I usually wear for outerwear but it's totally wearable. I'm not sure if the piping added some stiffness and bulk to the seams or if I just need to go up a size. Speaking of the piping. I now own a piping foot. Yeah, it was a challenge to do that with my zipper foot and I want to make the Carolyn pajamas with piping so I made that investment and got a used foot at my dealer while I was there for class.

I made this jacket a lot harder on myself than it needed to be by making a couple of changes to the pattern. The good thing about being late to the sewing party is you get to see a lot of other versions of a pattern. I knew going into this that the raw edges would be visible from inside the collar. I did not want that so I cut another collar lining piece and placed it right sides together on top of the collar lining piece attached to the outer shell, after inserting the zipper and basting the hood in place. Hopefully the picture below helps someone else who wants to do this. I did some googling but didn't come up with any pictures so I had to work it out on my own. If you do this, when you attach the lining to the outer shell all your raw edges will be concealed inside the jacket. I wish the pattern had just been written this way but it does add a little more bulk to that area. My fabrics were very light so it didn't matter much to me.

My hood has buttonholes so that I can insert a drawstring there to cinch the hood close once I source that. I pinned the hood into the collar and marked where I wanted the drawstring holes to be. I also cut a hood out of lining fabric and lined the hood. I sewed the hoods right sides together then stitched at 1" away from the edge to form a channel (oh and I understiched the lining). Then inserted it as instructed.

I also think a jacket needs pockets. I saw a version of a minoru with zip pockets and most of my favorite store bought coats have this feature. To do this I sewed up the outer shell and then tried it on. I marked where I wanted my pockets to go at this point and then I drew a 7" by 1/2" rectangle. I was totally flying by the seat of my pants with these pockets so I cut a rectangle of lining fabric for each pocket that was 8 x 12.5 ish. Yeah so I bought 2 yards of lining fabric and after cutting the hood that is all I had enough for. Thankfully it was big enough. So at this point I basically followed the instructions for inserting the zipper in the collar. You sew the pocket to the coat around the rectangle, cut it open, push the pocket to the wrong side, insert the zipper, and then fold the pocket right sides together and stitch around the pocket bag. I put the coat on and saw the pockets would peak out, so I eyeballed where I would need to chop them off but still be able to put my hands in. Then I sewed a diagonal line and pinked the edges of the pocket. They are really far from perfect but I love them.

Like I said I love this jacket and have wanted to make it for a while now. The sleeves for me are a great length, I feel the fitted waist is flattering, and the sewalong is a great resource. I used the machine version of attaching the lining to the sleeves and while it took me forever to wrap my head around that and it was super fiddly, I'm glad I found that tip. I think it will be a nice strong seam.

This was a bit of an intense make for me. After sewing up the body with the piping I was trimming seam allowances and cut right into my sleeve! Thank goodness I had enough fabric to cut another sleeve but I spent some serious time taking apart that body. Really it scared me to the point that I barely trimmed anything else. Then my zippers didn't want to attach nicely, I almost ran out of lining fabric, and I made it through with maybe a yard of thread left.

That may not be a big deal to some, but I got this thread like 40 miles away from my house so lesson learned. Just buy two spools. I did use black thread in my bobbin at times since my lining was black and the hidden seams are done with peach thread. It was intense at times but I am so happy with the results. I can see myself making this again at some point. I think it would be awesome as a real snow coat with a thin water resistant outer layer, some kind of insulation, and then a cozy lining.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Squeaky Snake

Something a little different today, a toy made for my nephew's first birthday. This is the squeaky snakes pattern by Abby Glassenberg. I made the coiled snake out of some giraffe print fleece I got at Joann and some scraps of felt. I wish I could say I loved making this but it was just a pain the whole way through. I apparently suck at adding seam allowances because I had problems with things lining up. When I went to tape the pattern pieces together the coiled part of the body wanted to overlap with the neck area. That's probably really hard to visualize but basically parts of the flat pattern pieces were overlapping. So I untaped and spread things out a bit and then I could cut.

I didn't use glue, instead the eyes were sewn and attached by hand. This thing is probably going straight into a mouth so I felt it a better choice to sew those parts by hand. Let me tell you, those things are never coming off! Trying to sew such small pieces on a flopping snake and turning the long coiled body right side out were the worst parts. The head and body sewing on the machine went fine.

Mr snake came out ok, I think he's a little wonky looking but my husband thinks it looks really good and keeps reminding me it's for a baby. He won't have the same standards as me. The snake is being packaged up and sent out this weekend to the birthday boy. I'm not sure if I want him to love it or hate it so I don't have to make more... I am just more of a garment sewer I guess. I complain but at least I tried toy making and got a cute present out of it. I even got to try out one of the fonts on my new machine by making a custom tag. I've moved back to clothes after this, I'm currently working on my first bra which is going pretty well so far. Fingers crossed I get that done this weekend with no catastrophes.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Southport Dress and Tank

My latest finished pieces are the Southport Dress from True Bias and a tank using leftover material from the dress.

 I cut a straight size 4 based on my bust measurement despite my hips being a size larger and my cup size nowhere near a C. I didn't bother grading or doing any adjustments to the dress since there seemed to be plenty of ease. I did shorten the dress by three inches (I'm 5'4") and I think I could have gone about an inch shorter there, I do step on the dress once in a while so I may raise the hem. I think the fit is fine but I might try sewing with a 5/8" seam allowance next time just to bring it in a hair.

The fabric is a linen/rayon blend I got at Joann. It wrinkles a bit but really it's not that bad. It's light and airy, perfect for the hot weather. You can't see it well in pictures but the weave of the fabric has slight polka dots (or boxes if you are Joann) to it which is right in line with my polka dot obsession. I so wish I had made this earlier in the season. I wore the dress twice so far and the tank a few times as well. Both are very, very comfortable. Funny thing about the fabric, I had been looking for a specific navy ikat at Joann but the store I was at didn't have it in stock. I spent so long in that store looking for something else I thought my husband was just going to leave me there. He's such an awesome trooper, he went back to the linen aisle and picked this up for me after I changed my mind and decided I wanted it while at the cutting table with my other fabric purchase of the day. He knew right where it was and did it with no complaints. Scored major points that day. But I supposed things even out when he brings me to the home-brew supply store. Anyway, back to the sewing.

My only complaint with the dress was that the neckline is a bit too low for me, so for the tank I raised the neckline by 1 inch. It made a big difference and I just feel more comfortable with a higher neckline. I thought this might happen and I was kicking myself for not making this adjustment with the dress. I used this tutorial on the true bias site adding about 10 inches in length and an extra 1/4" width to the size 4 bodice at the hipline. I added side slits as a design element, not because the top was too snug after basting it together, no, not at all for that reason... I actually really like the slits and I'll probably use them again in future versions.  I may try for more waist shaping but I'm not sure, the flowyness is pretty comfortable.

I made my own bias tape from the same material and boy was attaching that an exercise in frustration. It nearly disintegrated in my hands. At least the result is nice. I made a whole bunch at once and used an empty thread spool to store it on. I forget where I saw this tip but it worked so well I snapped a pic to share. I used the thread holder for a second spool to hold the bias tape while I attached it. This was so helpful, I don't know why I never thought of it before.

I'm pretty happy with these makes and I see more of them in my future. Unfortunately winter is coming so I am going to have to switch gears and make more cold weather appropriate items now. I have a few projects cut out so hopefully I can get some good sewing time in soon. I also really need to finish my post on the hudson pants. I've made 4 pairs and need to get photos.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ginger Jeans!

What is it about jeans that makes you want to scream out loud "I made jeans!!!" Maybe it's just me. This is the Ginger jeans pattern from Closet Case Files that I made towards the beginning of the summer (May 31st we took the pictures, yikes). The fabric is a stretch denim I purchased in person at my local Joann Fabrics that I had originally intended for a skirt. It has small white flowers printed on it. They also had some with little white hearts. It was a tough call but the flowers won out. I have a pair of polka dot denim skinny jeans from Gap that I adore and I really wanted to try this pattern so I switched things up and am so glad I did.

I made the high waist skinny version in a size 8 since I have a 37-38 inch hip area. I followed the sewalong which was so helpful. The pictures and tips were a great way to enter the jean making world, and supplemented the written instructions very well. I followed Heather's advice and basted everything together. I'm really glad I did, I had to take out about a 1.25" wedge from the back yoke tapering down to 0 where the pant legs meet. I didn't take the wedge out of the waistband, I was able to sew it on and cut off the excess. This may not be the right way to do things but it worked for me for this pair which is really a wearable muslin. Next time I will make adjustments to the pattern pieces. I shortened the legs by 3 or so inches and next time I will do that before cutting as well. The fit is really good, maybe ever so slightly tight in the calves but they are not uncomfortable. I did not interface the waistband.

I used white topstitching thread but normal thread in the bobbin. My rivets, buttons and thread also came from Joann. Hammering those rivets in was really fun. My husband at one point saw the hammer in my sewing room and was pretty curious as to what I was doing. I love it when I can mix tools and crafts.

Oh this makes me feel weird but here it is, a back view.

These are not a quick project for me but I had a lot of fun making them and I have plans to make more. I'm not really one for high waists so I will make the stovepipe lower rise version next. I already have the denim purchased, I just need to tear myself away from summery projects to begin them. It's hard, there is so much I want to sew before the warm weather vanishes. I can't say enough good things about this pattern and the instructions. I doubt I'll ever buy a pair of jeans again. I have the Carolyn pajamas on my must sew list as well and I can not wait to get around to those. Penciled in for winter sewing :)

I finished up a couple of other projects this weekend which I hope to get posted soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


I pretty much dropped everything to participate in the sewing party and make up a set of Fifi pajamas.

This was my first Tilly and the Buttons pattern and I enjoyed it, it was also my first time with french seams so I appreciated the instructions provided. I don't have too much to say about this set. They went together pretty easily and I think they are really cute. I made a size 3 and the top fits perfectly. The shorts well... They fit fine but personal preference, I should have made a 4 and next time I will lengthen them. I just prefer my shorts a bit longer. I used Cotton and Steel Mochi Hot Cross Buns in taupe from I think the fabric is super cute but it's just too stiff for pjs. I'm hoping it softens in the wash. My husband thinks this pattern is really nice, he even thought the top was nice enough to be a non pj top. I want to make a silky version in navy. I'll be on the hunt for some more appropriate fabric choices thats for sure. At some point I also want to try working these in a knit for more comfort, and hacking them into a nightgown. I have a couple of knit nightgowns that I wear a lot in the summer. I also really want to make Carolyn pjs and I think I will try to make this top as part of the set. Overall I enjoyed making these more than I thought, it was nice to take my time and focus on details. I see many more Fifi sets in my future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sleeveless Granville Shirtdress

Let's just ignore the fact that it's been over five years since my last post. Two cross country moves definitely shook things up a bit. I've missed having a record of my makes and I find reading other blogs so helpful that I'm dusting off the old blog again. I'm still knitting but I've been getting much more into sewing over the past few years so let's jump right in to my most favorite, somewhat recent make.

This is Sewaholic's Granville shirt hacked into a sleeveless shirt dress. I once had a sleeveless denim shirt-dress years ago that I loved and had been wanting to make something similar. I had made two versions of this pattern when it came out (I'll show you those at some point) so I knew the fit was ok, I liked the details and instructions, and I had the pattern pieces cut out already. I followed Tasia's post on removing the sleeves and I added, I want to say 14 inches to the bottom of each piece. Basically I put one of the shirts on and measured down to where I wanted the hem to sit. I also removed the curve from the hem. On my first shirt I had some issues with the whole shirt lifting up a bit when I raised my arms so for the second I raised the lower part of the armhole 1/2" to see if that helped which I think it did. I kept that mod for this dress but after a run through the wash the armholes seem a bit snug. I'm not sure if I didn't notice that when I first finished the dress or if it happened after that first wash. I did prewash the fabric but perhaps it shrunk a bit the second time through. Long story short, I don't think you'd need to raise the armhole if making this sleeveless.

There really is quite a bit of extra fabric at the back and I should start trying to fix that. It doesn't bother me that much but next time I'll tinker more, I think I could also remove more from the shoulder fro sleeveless versions. I'm still new at this and fitting is something I'm just barely beginning to understand.

The fabric is Kaufman chambray that I got from I had seen it on some other blogs and thought it looked lovely, it did not disappoint. It's so wonderful to work with and it feels great on. I've already purchased some more in maroon that I want to make into a maxi Southport dress. I think it will work.

I used some pearly snaps I got from Joann that I love, I think they go really well with this fabric and is what used to be on my old inspiration dress. The armholes are finished with bias binding that I made using the same material as the dress. It was my first time using my bias tape maker and it was so easy. I had made some biding for small quilts in the past and this little tool really made a difference. I flat felled the back seams (so taking them in would be a bit of a pain) and I added pockets to the dress. I used the pockets from Colette's Moneta (I really have so much to show you) and pinned them on before sewing to determine placement.

Overall I really love the dress. Yes the fit is off in the back but I can always belt it. I've worn it a bunch and it was really fun to make. I plan on more Granville's and I have an Oakridge about half done right now. For that I tried grading between sizes which I probably should have done for Granville. We'll see how that works out. I always struggle with deciding which size to make and what adjustments are needed. I want the upper back to fit without having the garment ride up when I move my arms. I've had this problem a couple of times and I'm not sure how to correct for it.

Well, that's all for now. I'll try to get to the backlog of makes as soon as I can get some pictures. My goal is less than five years until the next post. For now I'll leave you with the newest member of the family, if you can consider almost 5 years new... This is Penny's friend Mason, a lab mix who loves to interrupt yoga and is scared of so many things but is by far the sweetest dog I have ever met. Not that I'm biased or anything :)