Sunday, August 13, 2017

Peer pressure is real

Here is a skeptical  face with my newest self-made frock.  It's my third Laurel, by Colette Patterns, and despite the expression I'm sporting, I'm relatively pleased.  

The Laurel is a relatively basic sheath dress that is a great use for fun fabrics.  This one is a Cotton and Steel quilting cotton that I lined with a kind of fuschia/magenta in order to give it better drape and to make it nice and soft and slinky on the inside.  (Sarah Watts, Cat Lady, Purrfect Hiding Spot)

These are cut relatively short, so they fall a few inches above the knee for me, which is perfect for wearing with leggings (ie, my favorite outfit combination.)

As I mentioned in the instagram post about this dress, I totally forgot to add my custom pockets.  I used french seams to close all of the seams, so at least for now, I'm just going to leave it pocket less.  I'll be honest though, having pockets is like half of the point of making your own dresses, so I may find the time to undo and add them back in.

The Laurel uses bias tape to bind the sleeve and neckline, but as I'll discuss in a minute, I don't like that look, so I used the bias tape to instead creating a folded seam for the neckline.  There is probably a more official way to say this.  Though this worked perfectly on a Laurel top I'm gifting to my mom, you can kind of see in this picture that the neckline is basically perpendicular to my body.  This is not how necklines should lie.  Again, we'll see if I do anything about it.  Maybe it'll loosen up after a wash?

Just finished this, so no notes on wear yet, though.......

Below is my second Laurel.  I LOVE this dress and would wear it all of the days.  I installed the sleeves upside down, and I really don't like the bias tape as binding for the neckline and sleeves.  It's hard to sew and capture both sides, and my stitching loops sloppy and therefore more homemade. Also, anyone who can point to a ready made garment that uses bias tape like this wins a prize, because I don't think it happens.

Despite all of those criticisms, as I said, I looooove this dress.  It's black and white, so I feel like it's 100% work appropriate, but it's another Cotton and Steel by Alexia Marcelle Abegg, and while it's name is kinda of eh, I think I read a description of it as being 'all of the things you would find in a magical barn', so I call it my magical barn dress.  Yes, there are rabbits, of course.


Not picture are:

1) my very first Laurel, which might have been a second or third dress?  It was a wearable muslin I made with maybe 2 yards, but maybe less of a green corduroy I had purchased to make a skirt.  That's the other thing great about this pattern! It's only a few pieces (front, back, sleeves, bias binding), and it's light on fabric    I like it, and have worn it belted and not belted, but because the dress and styling are so plain, I do like the print version better - more visual interest.  

3) A Laurel top I made that my mom will receive when I remember to go to the post office.  I used HEB's old curtains, and it's light and airy and I quite like the shape.  I was trying to test out how to do a Full Bust Adjustment, and used bad instructions, so I decided to just make the top normally, but then forgot to readjust the sizing.  Ah well, nice to give my mom a handmade top.  But I would put the Laurel top on my sewing list for tops. Nice length and decent visual interest.

OH, and a note on these - I did an invisible zipper for the two pictured, without an invisible zipper foot, but using this tutorial, and found it very easy both times.  Highly recommended. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

me made May 2017 (29 May to 31 May)

As I found that I had pretty easily met my me made May goal (wearing two different me-mades each week in May), I decided to wear one me-made each day for the last 3 days of the month.

On 29 May, the weather cooperated and I was able to wear my Tamarack jacket.  On 30 May, it was a knit Linden (of course).  And on 31 May, I wore my Nani Iro brushed cotton Fen top for the first time in months.

Clearly, me made May has shown me that, right now, I would wear as many stretchy knit tops as I could sew.  But I'm entering June with an excitement to finish up some me-mades that only need a little bit of attention to become wearable.  My first Fen dress, for example, really just needs me to chop off the sleeves to become a totally wearable dress rather than sitting in a sewing basket.  I have a knit Scout tee that similarly requires only a little time to go from WIP to wearable.  And I have a simple raglan pullover that is just missing one elbow length sleeve.  I'm not sure why any of these have lingered as long as they have, except that I put them aside for something shiny and exciting.  Yet in a month where I expect to count crafting time in minutes rather than hours-- so starting a new project would be foolhardy-- the possibility of completing even one of these projects makes me super happy.  This year, that may be what me made May has left me with: a reminder that I'm happiest when I'm wearing something that I've made, imperfections and all, and a renewed energy to try to carve out time to add to my me-made wardrobe.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

me made May 2017 (22 May to 28 May)

Nothing much to report around here: I was sick for a good chunk of this week, so it was only about halfway through that I realized I needed to get my me-mades in.  So, of course, I then wore my knit Lindens to make sure that I was covered for my goal.  I did add two additional me-made garments in this week, and wore them together due to chilly May weather.

My rayon Helmi dress with my Tamarack jacket.  

I love that I am getting wear out of the Tamarack Jacket in May, so don't view this as a complaint about the chilly temps!  If only it inspired me to finish the handsewing on it!

Monday, May 29, 2017

work in progress, May 2017

I haven't really been knitting that much in the past 5.5 months, largely because I haven't figured out how to knit one-handed yet.  I've just started work on a Porphura sweater and am squeezing in a row here and there when I can.  

I'm using Madelinetosh Euro Sock in the colors Joshua Tree and Pink Clay/Optic.  Initially, my plan was to do approximately 4" alternating stripes of both colors, with all the ribbing in Joshua Tree.  I'm now second guessing that decision and wondering if I want narrower stripes of Pink Clay/Optic.  (But that might mean I don't have enough Joshua Tree to finish the cardigan.)  [Update: After consultation with Elizabeth, I'm going to stick to the original plan for now.]

Although the pattern is written for sport weight yarn, I got gauge with the light fingering weight Euro Sock on US5s.  I'm really loving the fabric made by the Euro Sock-- which sadly may be discontinued as I can't find it on the Madelinetosh website anywhere.  At this gauge, it feels more like a cashmere blend than a pure merino, and is super satisfying to knit.  I have found that Madelinetosh yarns often have a very strong and not super pleasant smell about them.  I've not found this to be true when purchasing them in person, but have experienced it when ordering online either directly from Madelinetosh or from Webs.  In the past, I've tried washing out the skein or keeping them sequestered without much success.  For these skeins, I just let them air out for a couple of months before knitting with them (took them out of their plastic bag and put them on top of a bookshelf) and the smell is no longer noticeable.

This is the first raglan I've knit for myself since finishing my Dessine Moi Un Mouton (yet unblogged).  I'm enjoying how easy and mindless this raglan shaping is in contrast to the Mouton, however, I can already see that the Mouton may have ruined 1:1 raglan increases for me.  The Mouton uses a much more complicated raglan shaping, which is a pain while you're knitting it, but produces a really lovely raglan curve that hugs your shoulder in a way that the 1:1 shaping cannot.

This sweater is one of three knit items that are part of my MakeNine2017 list.  I haven't made much progress on this list: the only thing that I've made from it so far is the Helmi Dress.  Hopefully, I'll keep chugging away at this here and there so that I can check it off the list.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

me made May 2017 (15 May to 21 May)

Again my knit Lindens were the stars with all three being worn this week.  Clearly, I need to make more knit Lindens!  I got a picture of the one that I use as a pajama top; you can see dramatically how uneven my raglan seam was on this, my first Linden.  You can also see that I didn't bother fixing a tuck on the neckline.  (That zig zag stitch is a pain to unpick!)

Branching out from my Lindens, I did also wear my double gauze Fen top this week.  Which made me want a double gauze Fen dress.  (Not to mention my daydreams of a rayon Fen dress after seeing this one.). Realistically, I won't be sewing for at least the next month, and then I've got a number of more urgent projects than any more Fens so these daydreams won't be realized anytime soon.  I guess it's a good thing I have so many Fens already.

Monday, May 15, 2017

me made May 2017 (8 May to 14 May)

I exceeded my me-made goal this week and wore me-mades on 4 days plus a me-made pajama top on a few days.  One day, I wore the same Linden shirt that I wore last week.  Here are pictures of the additional me-mades from this week (pajamas not pictured):

A Grainline Linden

A Grainline Scout

A Named Patterns Helmi

Clearly, right now, the Linden is getting a ton of wear, and stretchy knits work well for me.  I should maybe reassess my sewing goals for 2017 as they involve no knit patterns, and having a few more me-made knit options would be nice!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

the world is as the world is

My third (and so far final) Helmi was a speed make when I realized I had nothing that I could wear to a memorial service.  I used some rayon ikat from Piedmont Fabrics where I also found buttons for it.

I used French seams throughout except at the waist seam which I bias bound.  The seam allowance on Helmi is only 3/8" so that made a French seam that would catch the button placket at the waist to require more precision that I wanted to attempt.  I did a pretty poor job on the French seams in general, partially because the smaller seam allowance didn't give a lot of wiggle room for grading and because this fabric frayed ridiculously.  On a couple of the seams, I caught so many loose threads in the exterior seam that I had to resew it with a slightly larger seam allowance.  However, after doing so much bias binding, French seams feel super quick and easy!

On this Helmi, I decided not to worry about pattern placement/matching and not to add in-seam pockets.  I regretted both decisions.  I keep feeling for pockets when I wear this and I think the location of the pattern on the collar is super odd.

I don't think I've mentioned on my other Helmi posts that I have done the construction out of order each time.  Basically, I have fully constructed the sleeves and skirt and then gone back to construct the bodice.  On the first one, I did this because I wanted some easy warm-up sewing before tackling the new-to-me button placket and collar.  (I hadn't sewn for about 2 months when I started that one.). I really enjoyed that construction order because the dress is almost entirely finished once you get through the tricky bits of the collar, with only the set-in sleeves and waist hem to finish.

This was the Helmi where I used a type of fabric that was recommended for the pattern, unlike my first two.  Despite really loving this fabric, I don't love the final product.  For me, I think this pattern actually benefits from a fabric that has more structure and less drape even though that's not what the pattern designers intended.  I also got lazy about stay stitching on this one, which turned out to be a poor choice with this fabric since the collar stretched out to be noticeably larger than the neck.


PatternHelmi Tunic Dress by Named Patterns
Fabric: Rayon ikat from Piedmont Fabrics; leftover scraps of Leah Duncan Art Gallery voile for bias strips.
Thread: Gutermann Mara 100
Buttons: purchased at Piedmont Fabrics
Needles: Microtex 70/10
Modifications: French seams except at waist where bias bound; Folded skirt hem over twice; construction order
Things I'll change next time: Pattern placement on collar; add pockets; staystitch