Saturday, December 13, 2014

Leafy Green Pendrell

This was another project that I cut out for SewAway back in June, but unlike a lot of the other garments from that weekend, I didn't end up sewing this one then, and finally got around to sewing it together in the last few weeks.

This is my 4th Pendrell blouse, and the third in chiffon using just the outer ruffles as cap sleeves from view B (you can see the first three here). As with the previous versions, I french seamed the blouse throughout, and used a self bias binding around the neck and armholes as per the pattern. I love how polished this gives the finish, not a raw edge to be found!

The fabric is a poly chiffon, I think I got it from spotlight ages ago, and always intended to make a blouse from it, most likely a Pendrell.

This make was nice and simple, no alterations to the pattern since the last times I'd made it, I just focused on working through the construction steps and before I knew it, it was done!

This is already a staple in my work wardrobe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Screen Printing Workshop

This is another terribly overdue blog post to tell you about the screen printing class that I took at Handmakers Factory in July.

I didn't really know what to expect from the class, but I knew that if I didn't take some ideas with me I'd end up struggling to come up with something good to print in the class. So, in preparation I printed off some ideas the night before. As I didn't have any better ideas, I brought along some ingress related designs. I also brought along some fabric to print onto.

When we started the class we got a quick run through of the general technique and then learnt about how to make templates. Of course, I decided to start with the most complicated of the designs I brought with me. There was logic behind my madness; the design required two colours, so it made sense to start with it, as the first colour would need to dry before I could print the second colour.


The first step was cutting out the templates, the second step was printing the first colour. I was happy to discover that I could print 4-5 versions of the design before it started to bleed and need washing to start again.


Next I had to carefully line up the printed fabric with the screen to print the second colour. This step was pretty tricky, but I'm quite happy with how it came out.

(For those that are interested, this is an Australian themed play on the Resistance Logo that we designed for some keyrings. Resistance is one of the two teams in Ingress, and is the team that I play on)

After successfully printing my first design I got working on a (more simple) second ...


and third design...

I was very happy with how much I managed to get done in a day:

I have since sewn some of the fabric up, into bags...


And a merino t-shirt for the boy...

And I also printed onto the back of a t-shirt that I'd previously made for myself but rarely wore...

Overall, I had an amazing day at the class, I would recommend it to anybody that is considering trying screen printing. I want to print more stuff now! I have a stack of merino that we bought to make shirts for the boy, and am hoping to print some designs onto those too, once we have some designs.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Finished Knit: Lysa Sweater

Today I am excited to share with you a finished knit!

This is one of the projects I bought yarn from in October, and was what I decided to take with on my holiday to Canada. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but taking up knitting has transformed my travelling experience. Before knitting a long flight or train journey would be seen as something to be endured. Try and numb my mind by watching movies and try not to think about how much longer there was to go. It was all about the destination and how long it was until I got there.

Now, I am a fairly excitable person (as anyone that has been on a trip with me can attest) and the beginning of trips, even weekends away, are often accompanied with me singing "We're going on hoooolidaaay". Even with all of that, the long journeys were still something to be endured.

But not any more, not now I have knitting to keep me company. Instead of a long period of time to be endured and to count down until it ends, these periods of time are now opportunities for me to make massive headway into knitting projects. These days my essential travelling equipment is my current knitting project and a new audiobook. And that's what I did across the Pacific and over North America on my recent trip. If I wasn't snoozing (let's not fool ourselves by calling it sleeping), I was knitting and listening to one of my "stories".

That's how I got this jumper finished in unprecedented (for me) speed, especially since it's an 8 ply rather than 10 ply yarn. I had finished almost all of the yoke on the way there, splitting for the armholes shortly after, and almost finishing the body by the time I got home. So in the last 3 weeks I just needed to knit up the sleeves (which I again did at both at once on one set of long circular needles; seriously, this method is transformative for both motivation and symmetrical garments)

(me looking like a dork trying my in-progress knit on in the plane)

The knit wasn't completely uneventful; it took me 4 tries to cast on. I just could not get the hang of the backwards loop cast on, so ended up going with a long tail cast on like I've used before. I also had a little trouble with the short rows; if anybody has any recommendations for learning resources for short rows, please throw them at me!

This was my first foray into colourwork and I'm happy with how it went. Obviously the design is incredibly simple; simply alternating the two colours, but it gives a lovely effect. I was careful to make sure that my tension wasn't too tight in these sections, as I found it easy to pull the yarn too tight rather than accounting for the extra yarn needed to bridge the stitch of the other colour. However, it was plenty of fun to do and a good first design; now I'm excited to keep a look out for other colourwork designs that catch my eye!

To recap, the pattern is the Lysa Pullover by Hilary Smith Callis, and the yarn is Morris and Sons Empire in 8ply, with the main colour in seascape twist, and the contrasting colour in biscuit. The seascape twist really is gorgeous; from a distance it looks grey but when you look closely it's a mix of pale blue and beige.

I made a few variations to the pattern as I was knitting this up, starting with adding a few extra rows in here and there. When doing my gauge swatch I found that my stitch count was right, but my row count was off; the pattern states 26 rows in 4" and I had 28 rows in 4 inches, so basically through the yoke portion I added about one extra row for every 13 in the pattern.

Then when I got to the body section of the pattern I pretty much made it all up; I checked my measurements against the chart and decided that I wanted to go down a size in the waist, so calculated how many extra stitches I would need to decrease by and over what length (ie my distance from armpit to waist), then calculated how often do the decreases. I also did the equivalent for the hip increases, based on my measurements. After trying on the almost finished body of the jumper I also decided to add a few extra rows to the ribbing around the hips, as I preferred the proportions of slightly more ribbing.

The sleeves were the other place I departed from the pattern. I knew I wanted to knit long sleeves on my sweater, but the pattern came with three quarter length sleeves. So, I measured the length of the sleeves on my Myrna cardigan, as I like the length of those, then I subtracted off how much ribbing I wanted and how much length the colourwork design would add. I also worked out the circumference I would want once it reached my wrists. from there I calculated how often to decrease as I knit the rounds of the sleeves.

In hindsight I knit the sleeves a tiny bit too snug. But really, the whole thing is fairly tight so it's not like I have a lose drapey jumper with tight sleeves. This is a jumper for wearing over not very much, it's not a jumper for wearing heaps of layers underneath it. However, it is nice and slim so could easily be worn with layers over the top of it; swings and roundabouts.

I don't mind, I have plenty of reason to need to wear a merino sweater with only a singlet underneath, for example sweater inside the office, singlet outside at lunchtime, sorted!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eva Dress... or the day I accidentally made a maxi dress.

Back in May Oanh posted on her instagram about an Eva dress that she had made, but didn't really like because it was too short for her. She very generously let me try on the dress and even more generously gifted it to me when I (surprisingly) fit into it (Thanks Oanh!). Ever since then I have called it the dress that Oanh made me. It's also a little short on me too, but that's nothing a pair of opaque tights doesn't fix, and so this dress got a fair bit of wear over the winter. It also works well with a long sleeved black shirt under it too.

Due to enjoying the dress so much I decided to make another version, adding a little bit of length, using some (I think Viscose) jersey that I got in the swap in London last year.

So, after trying on Oanh's dress I decided to add 1" of length to the bodice and about 2-3" of length to the skirt, which in theory would add the right amount of length for the dress to hit at knee length.

However, I forgot one vital thing with respect to knits; different knits do not behave the same as each other! In particular, the knit I was using is a 4-way stretch, whereas the knit that Oanh had used was a 2-way stretch...

I stitched up the dress, carefully following the (confusing at times) instructions and then tried it on and was incredibly disappointed to discover that the dress was practically at my ankles! Not good!

The dress was relegated to the naughty corner for a while until I felt I had the motivation to take it apart and fix it (as I still wanted this dress). Before taking it apart I tried it on again and worked out that I wanted to remove 2-2.5" of length from the bodice, so that's where I started. The dress was fairly large all over so I just cut off the overlocked seam allowances, not worrying that the dress would therefore be about 1cm smaller on all seams.

While reconstructing it I also took the opportunity to fix up my botched job of the back neckline. Rather than the confusing binding method that the pattern suggested I used clear elastic in much the same method that is recommended for the Maria Denmark day2night top.

I stitched the dress back together and tried it on again... it was better but still needed a heap removed from the length of the skirt, where I hacked off 4-5" of length. Now I was starting to get somewhere!

One last alteration that I made was to take in the fullness in the back bodice; I did this by adding a seam up the centre back that took out the fullness where the pleat was in the bodice back, but keeping the pleat in the skirt. Thankfully with the solid fabric the seam isn't too obvious.

I'm not completely sold on the pleat in the back. I think there are too many components going on in this dress with the cowl, the drape and also the back pleat. I think it would be nicer with just a standard a-line skirt in the back.

I do particularly like the draping on the front, it add something different from anything else I've seen around. Although my alterations have further emphasised the strange extra pull-lines coming from the edges of the neckline, is that something I should worry about for any future versions?


In these pictures I'm trying out the no-hemming philosophy with knit dresses... and I have to say I'm not completely sold. I've worn it once like this and the lack of hem feels makes the dress feel unfinished and like it's missing something. I will try it once more, but at the moment I'm erring towards hemming it.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how this dress turned out in the end, and have thoughts of making at least one more in a gorgeous floral viscose knit that Kathleen ridiculously generously donated at social sewing last month and I was lucky enough to grab.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Striped Blue Plantain

This top is a serious queue jumper; the fabric is one of the pieces I bought in Vancouver. This is a light weight jersey, which I decided to make into a Plantain shirt. I'd been contemplating this pattern for a while, but it's a bit of a departure from what I normally wear so have been a bit hesitant. However, when I saw this fabric in the shop it just screamed Plantain to me so I gave in and finally gave it a go, and I'm very glad I did.

Based on my measurements I cut a size 40 for the shoulders, bust and waist, grading out to a 42 in the hips.

After trying it on I decided that there was a little too much fullness in the hips, so took the top in on the side seams by about the same amount as it would have been if I'd made a straight size 40.

The thing I'm most proud of with this garment is the absolutely perfect job I did on matching the stripes. LIKE. A. BOSS.


I stitched up the top with my overlocker, and finished the neckline with a strip that I carefully cut out of the blue section of the fabric, The line of stitching around the neckline and the hem I just stitched with a normal straight stitch; I didn't bother doing anything fancy and it seemed to have worked out fine as the fabric doesn't need to stretch with this pattern.

There's not much more to say about this one, a nice simple palette cleansing make to help me get my sew-jo back. I'll just leave you with another pic of my amazing stripe matching.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Liberty Portrait Blouse

When I was in London last year I attended an overwhelming meet-up on Goldhawk Road, which included a fabric swap. Unfortunately, I didn't have any fabric to donate to the swap, but the other attendees forgave me given that I was on holiday, and encouraged me to participate in the swap anyway.

I came away with a few pieces of fabric from the swap, one of which was this liberty fabric. I know right, who donates liberty fabric to a swap??? I don't actually know, but whoever that kind soul is, THANK YOU!

This post is horriffically delayed, I actually sewed this blouse, and even photographed it, at Sewaway in June, just hadn't blogged it yet. Nevermind, better late than never, right?

I decided to make another portrait blouse from the fabric. My previous versions get worn a lot, so another one seemed a good idea, and I didn't want to have to worry about breaking up this print with lots of seam lines.

Interestingly, I am assuming due to the difference in drape between this fabric and the fabrics used for the previous versions (this one was less drapey), this version comes across as larger than those previous versions. I think borderline too big. Not that that's stopped me from wearing it, but it's an interesting observation for future note.

As expected for Liberty, the fabric was a dream to sew up. I didn't do anything fancy with the construction, finishing the arm and neck holes with some purchased cream bias binding.


And in true BimbleAndPimble style (pictured above and who I was making faces at in the photo above that), I'll end this post with some silly photos because I don't have anything more to say.

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