Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Jo Sharp fitted cardigan

So, I knitted a thing. This took for ever, but hey, I finished it and I love it!

I first saw this cardigan on Carolyn's blog and whenever I saw it it kept saying to me, make me, make me, you can do it, nothing really fancy to do, it's mainly stocking stitch. The more I thought about it, and having got two berets and a baby blanket under my belt in recent months, I took the plunge.
I think it was just over a year ago when I bought the wool from Mrs C's shop, splashed out on some KnitPro needles and went for it!

To be honest it was pretty simple to make up, I'm just a slow knitter and sewing still takes priority! I didn't knit a swatch. The baby blanket was actually really good for me to really test how my tension is and I'm proud modest enough to say that it's pretty good and KnitPro needles are great for maintaining your tension.

I tended to knit it in fits and starts. I'd get loads done and then I'd want to sew something which then took priority. I did have a couple of moments when I realised I'd somehow managed to decrease too many stitches and had to unpick loads of it to get back to where I could count the stitches again. (I've not had enough knitting practice to be able to count and pick up stuff easily.) I constantly forget how to increase stitches and I found the Twist Collective really helpful for this. I tried to make one right and left for the back, but I have to say one of them I got holes, so I didn't use that method for the front.

This pattern is knitted flat and bottom up and then the seams sewn up. I didn't mind the sewing up, but then I don't mind hand sewing anyway! I found picking up the stitches around the neck frustrating, more due to inexperience than anything else. As for the lace trim, I thought I'd never finish it! It's knitted sideways, so that the rows are actually perpendicular to the rows on the main cardigan. It wasn't difficult, but it was hard if a stitch was missed or I'd made a mistake. I got there though and I attached it to the cardigan and happily sewed these lovely buttons on to reach the finish line!

The details
Yarn:  Turquoise Rare Essentials yarn Double knitting/8ply from Made Marion, August 2014 I think! It's 80% alpaca and 20% merino and really love to knit with. I used 11.5 50g balls for size 39.5".
Notions:  Thread and buttons, also from Made Marion
Pattern:  Jo Sharp fitted cardigan, view
Changes made:  None, I'm not clever enough for that!
First worn:  Probably at home one day, but here for photos in Rotoura at the North Island Sewing Meet by an appropriate tree!

Another one/recommendations:  I certainly recommend the pattern. Even if you're a beginner knitter, it's really easy to knit up and the fit is great. I love the length of the cardigan and the 3/4 sleeves. This has had a fair bit of wear already. I love it. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A leafy Salme flounce

OK, so I'm two months late in blogging about this dress and even though Mel gave you a taster, I still didn't get the post written. Sorry, not sorry. Life is life and sometimes it just takes you by surprise.

And so, for Indie Pattern Month, The Monthly Stitch did a pattern swap/round robin. Another member of The Monthly Stitch Collective was given my details and they would buy me a pattern from an Indie Pattern company I'd never used before, I in turn would buy patterns for someone else. I received both a PDF and packaged pattern. This is the PDF pattern. It's the flounced dress from Salme, something I'd never ever thought of buying. It's obvious that others see more in patterns than I do!

I made up the muslin of the bodice quite quickly, but it needed some alterations and by the time I'd fixed it, and made those alterations, it was way past New To Me week of IPM. I did actually finish the dress in time for the catch up week at the end of July, but getting around to writing the blog post - yeah well. I've made far to many excuses and I really don't need to.

The fabric I bought from the Fabric Warehouse here in Wellington some time ago. It was bought with the intention of making a Pauline Alice Alameda dress, but when I received this pattern, this fabric was just perfect. The Alameda will need to wait and can be made in something else. :-) 

So the muslin, the bust darts were too high (this is usual) and the hips were too tight. So I moved the darts down, about an inch and a quarter. Seriously they were really high up. For the hips I think I initially added about two and a half inches, but took this in once I'd made up the bodice and tried it on.

This is where I deviated from the instructions. The skirt is a circle skirt and the instructions say to attach the front skirt to the front bodice and the same to the back. Then to sew up the side seams. I made up the bodice, took in the side seams around the hip, then cut the skirt pieces after. So I stitched the side seams on the skirt and attached the skirt to the bodice that way.

The skirt hem is actually finished on the machine. I love deep hand-stitched hems, but on a short circle skirt they just don't work. It was easier to add a short hem and machine sew it. All other seams have been finished on my overlocker.

So this is my first Salme pattern and although I had a couple of fitting issues (to be expected) I really enjoyed the make. The pattern and instructions were clear and easy to follow. There were pictures to keep me happy. Admittedly it's not really a difficult make, but even so, I felt it was clear and easy to follow.

The details
Fabric:  Linen with orange leaves from Fabric Warehouse, I think bought at the end of January 2015. I used a fine white cotton for the facings.
Notions:  Thread and an invisible zip.


Pattern:  Salme Flounced Hem dress # 156
Changes made:  The bust darts were shifted own by about an inch an a half and the hips graded out by about half inch each side altogether.
First worn:  For afternoon tea with a view at One80 (a hotel restaurant) with Mel, Kat and Jenna ( as a possibly unimpressed young Fox!) Photos here after across the road at the boat sheds.

Another one/recommendations:  I certainly recommend the pattern. The dress is a great make and really easy to wear. I don't know if I'll make another - too many other fab patterns to make up. But I am certainly happy with the dress. I feels really girlie, but it's great for wearing out to dinner, there's room to eat! :-) 


As usual when a friend takes your photos there are always some which wouldn't normally make it to a bog post :-)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Bouquet of Belcarras

I've made a few Belcarras recently, but hey why not when they are easy to make and the fit is great? So here's another! There's not much to say, so I'm going to let the photos do the talking. A picture paints a thousand words so they say...

This is my bouquet of Belcarras made in June...

I think this must have been the worst of the lot to make, but knowing the pattern made it a whole lot easier, but yes, I was swearing sometimes!

This fine polyester something came from Fabric-a-Brac sometime ago, I think, although it might have been a WSBN swap. I'm sure I bought it because I loved the pattern, I can't imagine I'd have bought it for the fabric! :-) Cutting out was a pain, I tried both using scissors and my rotary cutter. I'm still on the fence as to which was the best.

Lots of pins, use lots of pins with fabric as fine as this. Don't leave anything to chance. It was really odd sewing with see-through fabric too!

All the seams on this one are finished using French seams. Yes it means you can see the seams on the raglan sleeves, but with this fabric it was better.

The cuffs took a while, I inadvertently cut one the wrong length then wondered why it was too big! I finished the underside of the cuff using my overlocker.

The bias binding around the neck had to be pieced adding to the difficulty of adding to the blouse, but I'm pretty happy with the result.

The details
Fabric: Fine polyester something from Fabric-a-Brac, I think, unless it was from a WSBN swap, which is equally likely! It was in my stash! :-)
Notions: Thread.
Pattern: Sewaholic Belcarra, view A, size 12. 
Changes made: None
First worn: The middle of June for the LIANZA Children's Book Awards. Worn here for photos in Carrara Park, Newtown with a Sewaholic Gabriola made a year ago.

Another one/recommendations: Need I go on? How many times have I said how great the pattern is? Yeah OK, broken record time. I'll just shut up ;-)


I've now made three Belcarras for Indie Pattern Month, that'll be One Pattern, Three Takes then!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Ninacarralindy the 2nd

This is the second version of the outfit I put together a couple of weeks ago, the Ninacarralindy, aka the StyleArc Nina cardigan, Sewaholic Belcarra and Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal skirt.

This is now my third Nina cardigan, the first made in May. And if that doesn't say anything about how good the pattern is, I don't know what does! I honestly don't know what to say that's different! I cut it out one afternoon and made it up the next!

This version drapes really well. This third one I made from some black merino, and the drape is so much better than the other two versions. It's also so easy to wear. I've lost count of how many times I've worn it since making it!

The details
Fabric: Black merino, from Levana, May 2015.
Notions: Thread and some tape to stabilise the shoulder seams and back of the neck.
Pattern: Style Arc Nina Cardigan, size 12
Changes made: None
First worn: Middle of June at some point for work. These photos taken at Truby King Gardens in Wellington
Another one/Recommendations: I've made three in the space of around six weeks, surely that says something? Not enough of a hint? OK, this pattern is fab. Quick and easy to make up and so easy to wear. I'm sure this is not my last, although I might have a break for a bit and make something different up!

The Belcarra top, another great pattern. This is my third one of these and I think actually my favourite. Number four has been made and no doubt another will find it's way into my wardrobe.

I thought I would ring the changes slightly with this version. I made up view B, which has the tucks on the shoulders. I'm really pleased how these turned out. I don't have one of those fancy edging feet for my machine, so I actually put drafting tape on my machine and line the fabric up against that. It works a treat and is so much cheaper than a machine foot!

The fabric is a really soft fine cotton which I got from Spotlight. It's one of those rare treats that you find if you look carefully! I like it! It's also the perfect fabric for this top.

The details
Fabric: Pale blue cotton lawn from Spotlight, Kaiwharawhara, Wellington, April 2015.
Notions: Thread.
Pattern: Sewaholic Belcarra, view B, size 12.
Changes made: None
First worn: About the middle of June.
Another one/recommendations: Yep, this is recommended. The pattern is easy to make up and the fit is great. I really like this version, but it's been too chilly to wear it recently :-( Never mind, the shortest day has now gone and we can look forward to the summer! I know we've still got some grotty weather months to come... Back to the matter in hand - yes, this pattern is great, quick to make and easy to wear dressed up or dressed own.

Finally, it's time for Lindy Petal skirt number 2. I made the first one of these at the end of May, I knew another one was needed and I went on the hunt for some fabric. The WSBN went out for high tea with a bit of fabric shopping included and I found this great black with a kind of texture to one side. I'm not sure it shows up in the photos though.

I lengthened the skirt by about an inch this time, but I still like the length and it's certainly not indecent!

The details
Fabric: Black double knit with a texture on one side from the Fabric Warehouse, May 2015. Sorry, the fabric won't photograph well for a close up!
Notions: Thread and knitted elastic for the waistband. 
Changes made: Lengthened by about an inch.
First worn: I couldn't resist wearing as soon as it was made. I think I finished it the day before these photos at Truby King gardens here in Wellington.
Another one/Recommendations: Do I really need to say how fab the pattern is? It's a fantastic pattern, so easy to put together, clear instructions. The finished skirt is so easy to wear and has had so much wear already.

This means I've also managed to make up something for the last week of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month, except I've done three patterns two takes :-)

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Blue Spicy Jade

Well I said I was after some easy comfy knit skirts and I found a new one to try!

This is the new Paprika Patterns Jade skirt. The pattern was suggested by Kat after she saw how the Lindy Skirts fitted me. It didn't take long for that eftpos card to open up the webpage and type in the numbers! (A take on a phrase shamelessly borrowed from Juliet!)

I've not made anything from Paprika Patterns, so this is completely new to me. I really couldn't wait to make this up. Those pleats on the front were just calling me and saying make me, make me! How could I resist such a call from a pattern ;-)

My printed pattern pieces didn't completely line up, but it didn't make any difference to the making up of the skirt. The front pattern piece is cut as a single piece and then pleated. Just check out this pattern piece!

The pleats are actually really easy to make up. The fabric I chose was a sturdy double knit and the pleats were easy to make up. I watched the free video on the website and just went for it. Each pleat is the same depth, I think it was 1.5", so out came the tape measure and I checked the pleats that way. As long as you remember to pleat from the bottom, you shouldn't have any problems at all. The pattern suggests using different coloured pins to identify each pleat. If you have pins with coloured heads, I recommend this.

The pleats are held in place by a zig-zag stitch along the length of the pleat on the underside attaching it to the lining at the same time. So you end up with a criss-cross of zig-zag lines on the back of the lining.

From here I diverted from the instructions. I didn't want to line the whole skirt, so just lined the front. I attached the back piece down the side seams, just about to the hem, then hemmed the back by hand then finished sewing the rest of the side seam. It made the side seam finish nicer.

At this point, as the pattern suggests, I tried the skirt on. Mm, I'm not sure what had happened. It was too tight around the bum and the waist enormous! So I let out the hips as much as I possibly could and also took in the waist by about an inch. This meant that the waistband was drafted incorrectly. It's quite curved and the curve is meant to be on the side seam and having taken in the side seam... The problem here is that if you follow the instructions, you would have already applied the interfacing to the end of the waistband for the zip. I had to cut off my interfaced section as the waistband was now too long.

I decided to go for the exposed zip option. One side of this took three goes. I had the correct length zip, but when I attached it to the skirt there was a big gap at the top, I'd cut the correct length in the back piece, so I had to attach a hook and eye at the top of the waistband. The zip is also attached differently to other exposed zips I've sewn. It's actually attached with right sides together like a seam and folded over. When I've sewn these before they've just been attached on the top. I personally think it would look better just attached on the outside.

I have worn this skirt a couple of times, but it's not working currently, it just keeps falling down! I have to keep hitching it up. The pattern does have an option to add elastic in the waistband. I recommend this completely. I attached my waistband down by hand, instead of stitching in the ditch. I think I will unpick my hand sewing and attach knit elastic to the waistband to see if I can get the skirt to stay up better. It is meant to sit just below the waist, but this just doesn't sit properly at all! And as soon as I walk a little way, it starts falling down.

I could probably talk for a while about issues I've had, but these are the main issues I've faced. This could just be me and the shape of my body!

The details
Fabric: Blue-grey double knit from Oamaru Silk Centre, June 2015. You do need the 1.5m of 150 wide, I've only got small pieces left.
Notions: Thread, a small amount of interfacing, a hook and eye and a trouser zip for the exposed zip.
Pattern: Paprika Patterns Jade skirt, view B. I cut a straight size 6. Although the finished waistband is way more than the 30" stated on the pattern for this size.
Changes made: I only lined the front, so hemmed the back, then attached it to the front. The side seams were pressed to the back.
First worn: This last week some point!
Another one/recommendations: Mm, I still really like the pattern, but I have reservations. I'm actually tempted by making another one, but will likely cut almost a size 5 for the waist an grade out to a 7 for the hips (I have 42" hips and 32" waist). I will also most likely leave off the exposed zipper. I suggest leaving cutting the waistband until you have made up the skirt and sewn the side seams. That way you're more likely to have the correct size waistband. I also recommend elastic in the waistband to help it keep shape and size. The whole thing was sewn on my normal machine, no overlocking in sight!

Oh and excuse any strange faces in these photos, it was raining and cold! However, I have managed to make this up in time for the New to Me week on The Monthly Stitch!

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