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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

rough seas, they carry me

After succesfully making one dress with buttons, I was excited to try to make another for my Easter dress.  I had some Cotton and Steel canvas that I'd wanted to use for a yoked shift dress, however I changed tack upon conferring with Jenny and Elizabeth and decided to make another Helmi.  Since I couldn't find a shift dress pattern that was exactly what I wanted and I didn't really have time to do a muslin, sticking with the Helmi made a lot of sense.

I cut this one a size smaller than my first because I wanted slightly narrower shoulders and the pattern has so much ease that grading wasn't necessary.  I found it to be incredibly difficult to pattern match with this fabric though I tried.  I struggled to even figure out where the repeat was so ultimately settled for good enough.  This worked out okay on the placket but not as well on the side or waist seams.

I again did a mixture of bias binding and Hong Kong seam finishes, using bias strips from quilting cotton that had fishes on it to coordinate with the waves on the canvas.  I used my new clapper to try to flatten the seams to make sewing with the canvas less cumbersome.

I modified the hem to be a high-low hem.  There's probably a better way to do this, but I just lengthened the side seams to the bottom of the shirttail hem and then borrowed the shaping from the Fen pattern pieces, if that makes sense.  I changed up the construction so that I sewed the hem after sewing the side seams since I wasn't doing the shirttail hem.

Again, I added in-seam pockets.  This time, I used a tutorial from Megan Nielsen that includes suggestions of when to finish the various seams, which my sleep-deprived brain found super useful.  In the tutorial, Megan Nielsen shares her trick for making sure the pockets line up.  While reading it, I thought, "Why wouldn't you just know that they lined up because you'd measured properly?"

And then I sewed one pocket piece at 3.75" below the waist and its matching piece at 4.25" below the waist.

I don't know how I managed to do that, except, well, sleep deprivation.  But I very much felt like my hubris had been my downfall, and that I need to cross stitch a sampler with the motto, "Measure twice; bias bind all your seam finishes once."  I had bound all those seams by the time I realized my error and since no one would know about it except me, I didn't bother fixing it.  And now you all know about it.

I found buttons that I thematically loved for this fabric since they looked like driftwood.  However, they were too large for the concealed placket so I scrapped them for other buttons that were reminiscent of driftwood but not as great.  Because these buttons were still a little large, I left off the top collar button and buttonhole.  I knew that I would never use that button and it got very close to the first button on the placket which looked odd to me.

Despite the pocket debacle, I'm pleased with this dress, love the fabric and am thrilled that I got to make my Easter dress this year.


Pattern: Helmi Tunic Dress by Named Patterns
Fabric: Cotton and Steel Waves Canvas, purchased at Hawthorne Threads; Cotton and Steel Sardinha Neutral Quilting Cotton for bias strips, also purchased at Hawthorne Threads (now sold out)
Thread: Gutermann 248 (blue); random grays and creams when matching bias tape
Buttons: purchased at Piedmont Fabrics
Needles: Universal 80/12 for attaching bias strips to main fabric; Jeans 100/16 for construction seams
Modifications: Added in-seam pockets (using tutorial from Megan Nielsen); replaced shirttail hem with slight high-low hem using Fen dress pattern as guide; bias bound/ Hong Kong finished seams throughout (using this tutorial from JuJu Vail for the Hong Kong finishes); used bias strip facing for skirt hem (using this tutorial from Colette); left off collar button and buttonhole.
Things I'll change next time: Press seam allowance for inner collar stand at a scant 3/8" to make it easier to catch when stitching in the ditch; smaller buttons; maybe a slightly longer skirt if high-low hem used again; place pockets at the same location.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

you can't choose who plays the fool

This was my first make of 2017, which was inspired by a need for a looser dress with a front opening.  I hadn't quite seen a pattern that was exactly what I wanted so I was debating between making a Green Bee Pearl Shift (view B with buttons) or extending the placket and adding buttons to either a Wiksten Tova dress or a Liesl and Co Gallery dress.

However, I then saw a flannel Helmi dress by Randomly Happy and my plans changed.  I'd seen the Helmi pattern on the Named Patterns site, but had disregarded it.  I think this was a case of not being able to picture the pattern in a different fabric choice than the sample.  The flannel Helmi, though, was right up my alley.  As the pattern had all the features that I needed, I switched course and plunged in.

I'd been watching a lot of the Great British Sewing Bee so was really excited to try my darndest at pattern matching, to beautifully place the pattern on my lovely Nani Iro brushed cotton, and to use quality seam finishes.  Unfortunately, I was also very sleep deprived and working with a deadline.  So here's how those goals turned out:

1/ Pattern matching: I did a great job at matching most of the back waist seam.

The other seams: not so much.  I recut the left front bodice in an attempt to get a better pattern match once I realized that I'd matched the front bodice pieces along the wrong line.  It was indeed better the second time around but is now just off enough to be really noticeable.  The long repeat on this fabric meant that I ended up using about 5 yards in my failed efforts to pattern match.

2/ Pattern placement: I repeatedly decided that I wanted to avoid having the largest floral cluster down the middle of the dress and... ended up cutting the front pieces with the largest floral cluster smack in the middle of the dress.  I can only blame this on sleep deprivation.

3/ Quality seam finishes: I bias bound or Hong Kong finished all the seams which added dramatically to the time needed to make this dress.

It also meant that, when I realized that I had positioned added in-seam pockets way too low, the amount of unpicking required was insurmountable and I left them as-is.  Who cares that I effectively have to stretch to get my hand in my pocket?  Had I unpicked all that bias binding, I certainly would not have made deadline.

As it was I barely made deadline, and only did so because I wore it without having finished the top button (on the band collar) or some hand-sewing.

Nonetheless, I'm delighted with this dress.  Maybe it was partially because it felt so good to carve out time to do something creative, but I also learned how to do a type of collar and overcame my nerves about button holes.  (I had no time to be nervous about them and it turned out that they weren't that hard.)

PatternHelmi Tunic Dress by Named Patterns
Fabric: Nani Iro Brushed Cotton Little Letter from Red Beauty Textiles (now sold out)
Thread: Gutermann
Buttons: purchased at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics
Needles: Universal 80/12
Modifications: Added in-seam pockets (using tutorial from By Hand London); bias bound/ Hong Kong finished seams throughout (using this tutorial from JuJu Vail for the Hong Kong finishes).
Things I'll change next time: Higher pockets!  And maybe a longer skirt.  Use wider bias tape for shoulder seam allowances.  Wash off button hole placement marks before using fray check.

we made May 2017 (1 May to 7 May)

Last year, I was able to wear at least one me-made garment every day in the month of May.  This year, my me-made wardrobe has not caught up to current wardrobe constraints.  So I'm trying to wear two different me-mades each week.  I originally thought that I would just wear me-mades on two days during the week, but realized that I would probably just achieve that by wearing the above Linden top over and over and over again.  So I'm limiting repetition a little bit.  Last week, I wore that top (twice) and a yet-unblogged Helmi dress.  [Update: now blogged here.]  Most importantly, I got a picture with Jenny and Wamps who were also wearing tops they had made.  Hopefully, they will blog about them soon.