Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Aiken Jumper (plus bonus pencil skirt)

Today I want to share with you another successful knitting project from an Andi Satterlund pattern. This pattern is the Aiken and went completely smoothly and was a very quick knit. In all honesty, it took less time to knit the jumper than it did for me to get around to writing this post after taking photos *looks ashamed*

A testament to the speed of the knit, is that I knit my guage swatch and cast on on Christmas Day, and I'm not sure exactly when I finished the jumper, but it was sometime early February. So speedy!!


I didn't make any alterations except for adding some extra rows of ribbing around the waist. Ideally I would have made it a smidge longer still, but this was how much yarn I had and I was too lazy to go buy some more.

I find that the jumpers I have with a high neckline like this don't get worn much, but this jumper has proved to be an exception to that, especially since I adore the lace detail.

The yarn I've used is a merino yarn so is lovely to wear and snuggly warm.


Also, the skirt I'm wearing in these photos hasn't been blogged before. It's another Jenny Skirt, and the reason it hadn't been blogged is that when I originally made it (which was who knows how long ago) it was too small. I could get it on but couldn't really move, and certainly couldn't sit down; I'd forgotten to account for this fabric having no stretch.

Anyway, I've managed to lose a little weight this year and now the skirt fits through the hips! Hurrah! However, the waist was too big, so I unpicked the zip and took it in at the centre back to make the waist fit better.

The skirt fabric is a silk suiting that I got from the fabric store. It was interesting to work with. It's very soft and decadent, but fray terribly and holds creases like nobody's business. I wouldn't sew with it again!

Anyway, an incredibly successful jumper and a salvaged skirt. And hopefully my next post won't come at quite such a big delay after my last one.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2 metre Challenge - Part 2 - Dress

The other day I showed you the shorts I made with this fabric, which really were the bonus project (although my 'done thing' really does seem to be making dresses and matching shorts at the moment!).

Today I am excited to show you my 'real' garment for this challenge. With some help from a print out from fashionary along with some moral (and creative) support from Mel I came up with the design for this dress.

I used my bodice block and pencil skirt patterns and 'mushed' them together at the waist. This was a little tricky as the darts were very different widths on the bodice and skirt fronts, but I managed it (although mushed is definitely the best word to use. Then I drew on my style lines, straightened the side seams of the skirt and made a quick muslin. With some more help from the fabulous Mel with the fitting of the muslin I quickly proceeded to cutting out the real thing.


I'm not completely convinced about the silhouette and fit of the dress. It feels a tiny bit... I'm not sure what... frumpy? when wearing it. And there are a few drag lines and wrinkles here and there that I'm not really sure how to get rid of (advice gratefully received).


However, for pretty much an attempt at self drafting I'm quite proud of myself! I do really like the neckline/armhole feature that I've added, and also the use of the bias on the upper back.

I couldn't work out how to successfully add pockets to the dress without risking ruining the silhouette, so I didn't try. Which I'm sure I'll curse when wearing it, but never mind.

Anyway, there's my dress for the 2m challenge. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2 Metre Challenge - Part 1 - Shorts

Back in September in the small amount of the pre-frocktails fabric shopping trip that I popped in on, myself, Kat, Amanda, Liz and Lizzy set ourselves a little challenge/project; we spotted some lovely gingham fabric in the Alannah Hill outlet store and each bought 2m of the fabric with the challenge of seeing what we each made from it.

Kat and Lizzy have already posted their gorgeous projects (click on their names to see, they're great!), but I don't believe the other two have yet (please correct me if I'm wrong ladies).


Anyway, it took me a little while to decide what to do with my gingham. I had a few ideas, but I decided to let them ruminate (aka procrastinated) for a while and eventually committed to a plan over my Christmas/New Year break. With some moral support from Mel I settled on a design... which I will share with you soon. The bonus of my chosen design is that it didn't need the full 2m, and I managed to get this pair of shorts out of the fabric too!

Particularly after seeing Kat's shorts I was really happy that I could get shorts too; it allowed me to get the shorts without straight copying her as I've come up with my own idea too.

The shorts are essentially identical to my Birthday Shorts, except that because the gingham doesn't have any stretch in it they are functionally a bit smaller. Because of this, despite the shorts being finished in early January, I am only able to share them now as I have solved the problem of the shorts being too small by becoming smaller myself. Now they fit perfectly!


The only changes I made to the shorts are adding slash pockets in the front and making the back patch pockets a little bit deeper so that my phone fits in better.

Stay tuned for my 'real' garment for this project soon; I just have some hand sewing left to go to finish!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jungle January - Zebra Inspired Maxi

You guys, I have broken my maxi-dress virginity! And I think I might be converted...

Anyway, to make this maxi I used my knit t-shirt block to draft one. I took the block, changed the armholes to have a slight racer back, changed the neckline slightly, and then extended the sideseams to get a dress that was the width of the fabric. I added a bit extra ease from the waist down so that I would have a nice amount of ease through the hips, and just kept that line going.

The fabric is a funky stripe that I picked up in the Clegs boxing day sale a bit over a year ago. The way the stripe has been knitted has given it this uneven look, which I really like. I finished the neck and armholes off with some leftover black jersey, and easy done! A new dress!

Hurrah! On hot summer days at home, expect me to be wearing either this or my Portrait Dress!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bouncing Birthday Shorts!

It seems to be a fairly common occurrence for sewists to make themselves a 'birthday dress', which I think is a really nice idea. Except, for what I had planned for my birthday this year a birthday dress just wasn't going to cut it.

You see, I had a Bouncy Castle at my birthday party. I've wanted to get bouncy castle since mid-2012, so have had a fairly long held plan to have one at my birthday this year, since I was reaching a year ending in zero so figured that was a good enough excuse.

So instead of a birthday dress I'd like to introduce you to my birthday shorts!

You probably recognise the fabric, as it's the same that I used for my Roisin Dress. I was careful with my cutting layout and cut the dress and shorts out at the same time and easily fit both onto the 2.5m I had of the fabric.

The pattern is the Ruby Pattern from Burdastyle, with some alterations. I left off the button placket pieces and just stitched up one side seam and put an invisible zip in the other. I included the fitting changes that I did in my last version of the shorts, and then some additional ones (that interestingly I had already identified in the post about my last ones); I made them narrower in the leg tapering them in slightly, also made them smaller by taking in the side seams, and took a little more out at the centre back. I also made these the finished length of the other ones, but without the cuff. I added the back pockets, but didn't bother with the pocket flap.

I've worn these shorts so much since I finished them, not just on my birthday, and they're a massive success! I've actually already almost made another pair in another fabric and have at least one more pair planned. 

Hooray for shorts!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Seeing Spots - Finished Quilt

This quilt has been quite a long time in the making. I did the quilt top back in November 2011, and started quilting it then, doing bits and pieces of the hand quilting over the following summer, but then it got put aside and not picked up for a long time.

However, I recently finished the quilting on it, and then eventually got around to getting some fabric for the binding and doing that, and now it's finally finished! Hooray!

Not much to say that hasn't already been said, but I do adore the hand quilting on this one. The matching threads on the front make a gorgeous pattern on the back!

Oh, and incase I come back to check this in the future, I chose bamboo batting for it, which is really lovely and soft, and was fine for hand quilting with,

This one has pride of place on my couch, for snuggling under when I need a little extra warmth.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Roisin Dress

I have two weeks off work over Christmas and New Years, and I plan on spending as much of that time as possible sewing. This dress is the first (successful) outcome of that plan; I cut it out and stitched most of it together on Monday, and hemmed it and finished some hand stitching yesterday, in time to wear for Christmas.

The fabric is very special; it is a piece of stretch sateen that I went halvies on with Roisin (AKA Dolly Clackett) when in London earlier in the year. You see, we spied this fabric but the shop was bizarrely only selling it in 5m pieces, and 5m is an awful lot of fabric, even when it is as lovely as this. HOWEVER, 2.5m is a pretty perfect amount of fabric, and so Roisin and I shared the piece.

She already made an absolutely gorgeous gorgeous dress out of her fabric aaaaaages ago. Seriously, click on that link and check out her dress; stunning! I'm glad I didn't remind myself of what hers looked like before I made mine as I would have been intimidated as to how sophisticated and gorgeous her dress is and not wanted to make my own as it pales in comparison!

The pattern is another belladone, this time not reflective and as such has slightly less binding on it than the reflective version; just around the back cut-out, the neckline and arm holes. The binding however is really lovely, it's a pre-made satin binding that looks just lovely with the sateen. I did the binding nice and narrow too, so that it mirrors the width of the outlines of the flowers in the print.

I made no other alterations from my previous version, but have identified an alteration I will make to the skirt next time I use the pattern, as I get some minor drag lines over my bum as it is, but I think I know how to fix that so watch this space.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Reflective Belladone, aka the Tron dress

I have so many amazing things to say about this newest make that I don't know where to start...

The pattern is the fabulous Belladone by Deer and Doe. I have been eyeing off this pattern for a while, and now I've dipped my toe in the Belladone waters I anticipate there being lots more of this pattern in my future (sorry, not sorry!)

To sidetrack fitting issues I did what I normally do with new patterns for dresses with fitted bodices; I used my bodice block to make adjustments to the fit so it fits me. I used the darts and overall proportions from my block, and used the arm holes and neckline of the Belladone pattern.

Well that was the intent but somehow I messed up the front neckline and have ended up with more of a boat-neck neckline. Nevermind. The back is exactly as drafted and is FABULOUS.

I then used the waistband piece that matched up with the waist measurement of the resulting bodice piece, and used the skirt as drafted. Heads up though, this skirt length is the length as drafted, and since I bound the hem with bias tape it didn't loose any length from hemming, and it's a good length on me, but please note that I am 5'4" (which puts me firmly in the 'average' camp, despite some people calling me short).

The only other alteration I did was make the pockets bigger, as small pockets suck almost as much as no pockets, and I figured I could always make them smaller if I find they're too big.

And now, moving on from the pattern to the elephant in the room that is the FANTABULOUS binding on this dress. Incase you hadn't realised from the pictures; IT'S REFLECTIVE!!!!!!! (see the difference with and without the flash above and below)

Yup, this dress does border on novelty, but is going to be the most fantastic summer cycling dress in the world; I challenge any idiot Melbourne drivers to not see me!!

(PS: Expect my face in the below right picture to be what I will look like most of the time when wearing this dress, just a heads up)


I discovered a little while ago that I could buy reflective bias binding, and I have been scheming up this dress ever since. I even managed to recruit others into the scheme! (photographic evidence of the fact that I have friends so awesome they are also making their own reflective dresses to follow in another post)

I added bias trim everywhere I could think to, including the waistband, pocket edges and hem. All in the sake of being visible you see... honest... The skirt is fuller than I anticipated, and the bias trim on the hem has given the skirt a kind of Jetsons like feel to it...

So in conclusion: Novelty? Probably. Amazeballs? Definitely!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finished Knit - Parcel Jumper

Look you guys! I have something finished to share! I bet you thought I hadn't done anything in aaaaages! Well a few interstate flights and some lazy evenings on the couch mean that I've FINALLY finished knitting my Parcel jumper.

I started this one in February (as mentioned in this earlier post about the jumper back in June), but it got put on hold while I was away on holiday in July as I worked on my green Miette then instead, and when I got back I decided to finish that off first.

As I mentioned in the June post about this jumper, the yarn is Merino Gold, which is truly gorgeous both to work with and to wear, so delightfully soft! I'm also massively in love with the teal colour that I chose to use.

The pattern is "Parcel" by Carol Feller, and I picked it because I fell completely in love with the asymmetrical cables. Also my geeky side loves that the cables look like DNA, teeheehee.

Another interesting feature of this pattern is the ribbing; rather than a straight ribbing it's a 'mistake' rib, which took me a little while to get the hang of, but once I 'got' it I discovered that I really liked the look of it.

I made some minor alterations to the pattern to give it more of a nipped in waist, and make sure I had the right size in the bust and hips. These changes were done in the increases/decreases up the sides.

I also spent quite a while working out the length and where to put the decreases/increases to make the jumper just the right length. I didn't want it to be a cropped jumper but also didn't want it to be so long it looked weird worn with things with a waist seam. I compared the lengths of a few of the jumpers I already own to work out what my optimal length would be, and I think I've managed to get it pretty much spot on.

The pattern was fantastic though, the cable chart easy to follow, and the finished jumper is amazing. Sadly I think this pattern is a little too distinctive to make again. But I fully intend on wearing this version to death!
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