Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Knitting Bug

It's almost Christmas. Are you ready?

Well, the Knitting Bug has surely gotten hold of me since my Beginner's classes (at Three Bags Full) started in November. I've been able to knit three hats, finished an old scarf in the WIP bag (thankfully no moths visited!) and knitted a new, long vertically striped scarf for gifts. I've also come to love circular knitting and Addi-turbo needles!

The first two hats literally flew off my needles and onto the recipients' heads. Here's the third one that will get wrapped tonight.
We learned on the Boyfriend Watch Cap from Churchmouse Yarns.  The yarn used is from Studio Donegal. It's just a gorgeous yarn for this hat. 

After the third hat came off my needles, I stood up and flapped my hands around and said to my husband "OMG, I need some fresh yarn! I need another project!"  Yes, the bug has bitten and hard!  Since I didn't want to rush off to the yarn store during a last-weekend-before-Christmas rush, I picked up the ball of yarn that we were learning on, Cascade 220, and decided just to knit. You know what I mean? I just needed to keep my hands busy. It's my version of the worry beads, I think!

I'm using the seed stitch and I will need another ball of yarn at least. It may be a scarf, it may be a cowl, who knows? Although I love my circular needles I am keeping them 'free' for another hat soon. I found I had a beautiful set of these Brittany needles which worked quite well. I had a bunch of needles from over 10 years ago, the last time I attempted to get into knitting. Most are cheap bamboo ones which I don't like anymore but I have a couple of sets of Brittanys which was a lovely surprise.

Note my improvised yarn bowl. (It's a Raku pottery bowl)
Evidence of my brain being infected by the knitting bug can be found in me actually reading knitting books.  Stitch n' Bitch was a resource I had bought years ago but never gotten into. Now it seems to make perfect sense. Recently I picked up Knitting Rules and laughed and learned!  I even dream knitting projects! I hope to, next year, knit this, or this. I love Maddermade designs.

I hope to take classes to learn to knit socks. If you are a knitter, I would love to hear any advice you may have for a beginner like me.

Besides knitting, this year coming up to Christmas has seem busier. I haven't had any time (nor space) to sew but I hope to get back to it in the quiet after Christmas.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A beautiful surprise in the mail

I've been very busy, and yet I also feel very disorganized and not getting much done during this holiday season. I just finished the beginner's knitting class so that may help me focus on the Christmas baking that needs to get done. In the meantime, amidst my grey cells getting rearranged into knitting patterns (so to speak), the postman came knocking at my door one morning with one big, huge flat package.

I said to him "I don't remember ordering anything that would come in such a package." He replied "whatever it is, I'm sure it will be good!", with a twinkle in his eyes. Good answer!

So when I looked at the return address, I literally squeaked. It was from Japan, and specifically from Frances of Miss Matatabi, my favourite shop of course!

It's the Naomi Ito 2016 Calendar!
 I love the one-of-a-kind decorated envelope too! The card is by Lotta Jansdotter and I love her work too!
Calm Joy. Perfect. 
I always like to peek at what my birthday month page looks like. 
Definitely dreamy and calm.

Love it! Thank you so much, Frances! It was a very thoughtful gift and a delight to my heart! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grainline Goodness

As you know I love Grainline Studio designs. I have sewn up many of the designs using woven fabric and only this month have ventured into knits. I am so glad I finally got there as I love these. In no particular order of preference, I present to you, two Linden sweatshirts, a Hemlock tee and another Lark tee. (...and a patridge and a pear tree!...getting into the Holiday mood.)

This is my first attempt at the long sleeve Linden. I loved it right away. The fabric I used is a lovely light sweatshirt like fabric from Birch Organics. After wearing it for a day or so, I knew I needed to change up one thing. It's cold and the neckline leaves me a bit more exposed than I'd like so a tee shirt under would be required, or a big scarf.
So, for my second one, I added 2 cm around the neckline of all the pieces and that narrowed the neckline enough for me. I was happy with that.

The fabrics I used...well, to me, the star was this charcoal and grey jaguar polka dot from Echino. I bought a bit of it locally just for the front piece as it was pricey.  (You can see this at Fancy Tiger Crafts.) The solid charcoal is a knit with very fine ribbing that I purchased last Fall at a close-out sale locally. I really lucked out on this fabric as it's just super comfy and soft. The combination of the two works perfectly together.  I've been wearing this one a lot!
Next up is the wonderful Hemlock tee. I've made woven versions of this and now making this in a soft knit is a treat. The knit itself is a remnant I picked up with stripes on one side and tiny polka dots on the other. Perfect!
The last one is the Lark tee. You can see I used the remaining bit of my striped knit for the sleeves. The solid black is a Robert Kaufman laguna jersey.  I have to say I am not crazy about that jersey as it is stiffer and feels a bit at odds with the super soft knit of the sleeve fabric!
I think that's it for my sewing with knits for awhile. You're probably getting sick of seeing these. It's been a great confidence booster to tackle something I was avoiding!

I am planning to do some reorganizing of my sewing space before I dive into my next projects. I am hoping to start the Tamarack Jacket soon and go slow with it as Christmas frenzy is picking up. Also I started a beginner's knitting class to refresh my then beginner's skills from 10 years ago. And what do beginners knit? Why, scarves and hats! My son has already put in an order!

Are you feeling the Christmas pressure? 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Learning to sew with Knit fabric

Up until now, I've only ever made one knit garment. That was a year ago, and the end result was not so wearable. It was due entirely to myself, my impatience to figure out where things went wrong sewing with knits, and finally, the fact that I had all those lovely patterns using woven fabrics waiting for me.

So now, a year later, with more sewing experience under my belt as well as spending the time to research and understand what I need to do to sew successfully with knits, I was chomping at the bit. I had stashed up a few pieces of knit fabric that I got on sale through the year so I decided to dive in and had 4 projects cut out. Here are the results:

The first one is the Lark Tee by Grainline Studio.  This is the boatneck version. This was definitely a good first knit garment to attempt - no neck binding! You just turn it over and stitch it down. It fits well and I wore it for two days straight after making it. (I'm wearing it now as I type this!)

The second is another Lark tee but with a scoop neck.  The neckband binding came into play here and it turned out OK! It looks good on the outside. I'm still trying to figure out how to neaten it up more on the inside. 
The third one is the Linden sweatshirt (View B) from Grainline Studio as well. 
All three tops fit really well. I can always trust Jen to get it right!  The only thing I changed for the Lark tees was to shorten the length of the body by about 4 inches.  I just like my tee shirts on the shorter side.

The last one is the Weekend Doris Dress by Jeanette of the Lazy Seamstress.  It is a very mod-ish style and really cute and comfy.

The width at the elbows is tight so I will probably end up making it into a short sleeve, without the cuff. I'll make it wider next time as well as lengthening the dress by a few inches. Right now it's more a tunic. I really like it though.

Overall, I am really pleased how things turned out this time and am somewhat in love with how comfy knits are! The knit fabrics I am using are all Art Gallery knits and they are quite yummy.

Here are the things I learned that helped me this time around sewing with knits:
  • I used an overlocker/serger to do all the seaming except for anything in the round (e.g. neckline). I found I needed to adjust the differential feed in order to get a seam that would lie flat instead of wavy. (I didn't do this last time.)
  • I used the sewing machine to do the neckband. I don't know how to sew "in the round" on the serger. Also, the sewing machine gives me more control in smaller areas. I played with different specialty stitches but at the end of the day, a narrow zig zag seemed to do the job just fine.
  • I used all-purpose thread this time for my sewing machine when sewing with knits.
  • [edited to add] Almost forgot - most important is the walking foot attachment for my sewing machine!
I have a few more knit garments I want to sew, a long sleeve Linden sweatshirt being one of them! It's getting chilly here!

If you have any additional tips for sewing with knits, I would love to hear about them. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gallery Tunic, Fen dress, and a book that makes me happy

Hello! It's a very wet, soggy Saturday here and a good time to do a blog post. I have two finishes to show, both a first time endeavour.

First up is the Gallery Tunic by Liesl + Co. 

The cotton I used is from Merchant & Mills. I see from the photos that I should've used a stiffer interfacing on the collar as it's a nice collar but on mine it just flops about, unevenly at that!  The pattern is really nice. I did the tunic version and added 2 inches in length just so it will cover my butt. Next time I think I will make the dress version. Liesl's instructions are excellent.

Next up is the Fen pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts
The cotton I used for the Fen dress is a very light cotton. It'll be very enjoyable in the summer but right now, even with a scarf around my neck the dress just feels too light.  You may see the next one in a brushed cotton or flannel. It's a very nice pattern with a few variations so a good value!
A couple of books I ordered arrived this week.  Stylish Party Dresses has been reviewed by many sewists so I need not talk about it here. I was so happy with both of them but in particular the one on the right - Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, which was just released this week.
Lotta's style is very simple but happy with a touch of whimsy. There are patterns included to build a wardrobe. 
I really like this two piece outfit. 
This orange-red linen dress has my name written all over it. It's not for our season right now but I am sure I will be making it for next summer. 
I just love this book, including the footwear! The book is organized by season and full of stories. There are patterns for clothing but also for bags.  Bottom line, the book is just my style and it makes me happy browsing through it. I haven't made anything out of it yet so I can't comment on how the patterns will work out.

Lastly, I discovered today that Republique du Chiffon's A/W 2015 patterns are out! They are lovely too. They are working on translating them to English, I understand. I have my eye on the wrap dress, and the coat.

Go and have a look. You know you want to! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Roberts Collection - Dungarees Dress by Marilla Walker

Ahhh, this dress! You know how sometimes you see a design and you fall in love with it right away and others you tilt you head, roll the ideas a bit in that thoughtful manner and wonder "would that work for me?" Well, the latter applied to this dress.

The very talented Marilla Walker produced the Roberts Collection recently and it is a doozy of a collection.
I chose View C2 with the longer length. It was stitched with an Essex linen (linen & cotton mix) from my stash.  I did add 2" to the center front of the skirt as I wanted some gathers. Otherwise, I did not change anything to the sizing (I did size 5). 

I also did not do any of the poppers as fasteners. I did sew the sides all the way up, and just stitched down the straps with buttons. It was easy just to pop it over my head. I really love how the design is cut on the front bib and around the sides.  Note the whimsical lining!

This skirt is long. I'm 5'11" (180 cm)  and this goes well past my knees. Sorry for the next fuzzy photo. It was the only one where I could really show you the length.  
What's the verdict? Well, I love it!  Well done, Marilla!  I had it in my head that I wanted to sew one with more gathers up front (done) and in 100% linen (next time).  This was a good wearable muslin.  (p.s. My husband did give me that funny look "is it an apron...?")

 Have I tempted you to sew one for yourself?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

West Water Tunic

A couple of posts back I had mentioned falling in love with the West Water Tunic. It was just one of those patterns that the minute I saw it I knew I had to sew it.

To start off with, I really liked the fabric on the cover of the design and I wanted to make one similar. For my wearable muslin, I actually managed to refashion a pair of pants and use the leftover fabric from that project to make this.  It was a good thing too as I found out it's a little snug and I will need to size up next time.

Here it is looking adorable on the hanger. There's no seam down the back. I didn't have enough material so had to piece the back together. I love that collar!
Here it is paired with a favourite tee shirt (Gap). I've been trying to find this type of  tiny stripes in knit and also in linen but no luck so far. 
The next photo is just to show you that I've just sewn one snap on the top.  In the pattern design photo I had imagined that there was a hidden button placket. There isn't. It's just done with snaps although I think it would be not to difficult to modify it with a hidden button placket. 
For now, I'll just try wearing it like this and see how I feel. 
The current size I'm using is an L for a 39" bust. The next size up is for a 42 1/2" bust. I'm 40" so I'd thought leaning to the smaller size might work. It "fits" but it's a bit more snug than I'd like so I will try  the larger size next time and  I'm thinking I'd also try a View B but with sleeves. We'll see if that works!

I just finished my Roberts Dungarees Dress last night and will have to get some photos taken. That post should be up very soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Arum dress by Deer & Doe

Happy Wednesday, Happy mid-week! I am typing with a band-aid around my left index finger which I have, unfortunately cut twice this month. Ouch. Thankfully it'd not too deep but it's awkward.

Luckily I had already finished my Arum dress, by Deer & Doe. I had first seen it sewn up at The Drapery and was intrigued by the shaping on the back. So, here is my version.


The pattern did not come with pockets but I decided to add some in-seam ones using a very light cotton lawn. I love the fit. It is closer to the body without it being tight and there is no zip required.

The fabric is an older Nani Iro and you can still find some here.

That's enough typing for today! Have a good rest of the week.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pearl Dress by Green Bee Patterns

Happy Friday! The sun is shining. My big Fall gardening jobs have all been tackled before the forecast for rain this weekend - yay! Rain = sewing time!

Awhile ago, I saw the Pearl dress pattern on Rae's blog. The first one was the Gingham Pearl dress, seen here.  I knew right away I wanted to make one for myself! The second one was a Corduroy Pearl dress, seen here. The latest is the Henley version, seen here in Bespoke double gauze. Love them all.

Here's my first make of the Pearl dress, in a tencel chambray (I think) that I bought locally.


As you can see, I used the cotton from the dress in my last post to make pockets for this dress. The tencel is a bit heavier than I'd like for pockets so this worked out nicely. I wore this to a family dinner last weekend and it was a hit.

I actually did not make any buttonholes as I can pull this over my head, so the buttons are simply decorative for this. (I avoid buttonholes as my machine is very unpredictable!) I do like the Henley version and I can see making a top out of this. I am sure there's another Pearl dress in the future.

There have been a lot of new pattern releases lately. I bought Marilla's Roberts Collection and I want to make the dungarees dress. I saw that Jen has released the Tamarack jacket. Wow, I really like this though the quilting part scares me a bit. Today, I bought the West Water Tunic pattern. The minute I saw it I knew I had to have it - that neckline! These are but three of many, many lovely new patterns of late!

Is there a new pattern release calling your name? 

Happy weekend. May you get to sneak in some sewing time!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Back from a sewing hiatus

Well, hello! It's been awhile. I took an unexpected break from sewing since my last post. That's because I have been gardening my heart out in September due to the beautiful Indian summer weather and the departure of the dreaded mosquitoes.

While Vancouver has seen a record breaking long, hot, dry summer, there have been lots of mosquitoes in my garden.  Normally I am a beacon for hungry, blood-thirsty insects so this was a very unpleasant gardening season.  Recently I found this article as to why certain areas had a lot of these annoying bugs.

Thankfully in September they "disappeared" and I was so happy to get outside and garden, unmolested. I decided to do some renovating as parts of the garden were overgrown and a lot of plants needed dividing. As the soil was pretty dry it was easier than usual and I loved doing some physical labour. While the gardening muse sat on one shoulder, the Kondo muse sat on the other. If we can apply to the Kondo method to our closets and inside our houses, why not our gardens? It was a revelation as I realized I had plants that I really did not much like so I dug them out and off to the compost they went! It felt great and now my garden looks a lot happier.

While I did miss my sewing machine for many, many weeks, I did manage to get out a few projects! The rains returned Oct 7 and off I went back to my little-machine-that-can!

First off is Dress No 3 by Sonya Philip of 100 Acts of Sewing. The fabric is a yarn dyed cotton from Miss Matatabi.


I love this dress. It's so comfy. The neckline is perfect. It would definitely wear well in the summer due to the light cotton. I would just need to throw on a sweater in the fall; tights + boots - done!

It's #slowfashionoctober, hosted by Karen of  Fringe Association. I've enjoyed reading a few articles/thoughts on this. One of my favourite makers is Karyn of Make Something, and owner of The Workroom in Toronto. She wrote that her preferred method is to serge the seam edges first, then assemble the garment on her sewing machine. So to support the "slow fashion" aspect I decided to give this method a try and to also slow down my sewing a bit (eg read sewing instructions more!).  It turns out that I really like this method and it's help me in getting a better fit on my garments.

I will be back soon with more finished garments. It's time to catch up on my sewing!

What's on your sewing table?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

End of Summer finishes

Yes, it does feel like summer is over. It's rainy and much cooler so I am glad to wrap up a couple of new-to-me designs I had cut out for summer.

First up is the Staple Dress by April Rhodes.
I had lowered and widened the neckline a bit but I kept it even simpler than it is by leaving any shirring or elastic waist thing happening.

I found a moss coloured cardigan which will go well with this in the cooler weather. 
The fabric is a delicious Japanese seersucker lawn from Miss Matatabi. I got this on one of her Wednesday sales recently. It has the most interesting texture and feels like I'm wearing air!  Overall, I am pretty happy with it.

Next up is the Brumby skirt from Meghan Nielsen. I forgot to take a photo but I have a RTW black cotton skirt from years ago that looks almost exactly the same and I'm very happy to have this pattern in my repertoire now.

The fabric is a denim chambray. For my first try at this design, I decided to go BIG as Meghan had suggested that you may want to wear this skirt lower than your natural waistline. Next time I will go a bit smaller. I love it though. Those pockets are great! 

The top is a Hemlock tee which I posted about here. Incidentally that black Brumby-like skirt is in that post though you can hardly see it.

That's it. Bye bye to summer sewing. Next up will be longer sleeve things, like this Pearl dress!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vogue 8985 tunic

Happy Sunday to you. I thought I would squeeze in a post before the end of August. I can finally post this tunic  that I finished two weeks ago.  This is a tunic/dress from Vogue 8985 (out of print).
From the photo above you can see that it's intended to have an elastic waistband. However, when I tried on the garment initially to check for sizing, I decided to leave out the elastic for now. 


I kinda like this sack-dress look on me.  I would wear this with a tank top or tee shirt underneath though for everyday (I was just lazy for this photo session).  I actually haven't worn it but it will be great for Fall. The fabric is a yarn-dyed cotton from Miss Matatabi.

Our long, hot and dry summer seems to have come to an end. It started raining on Friday and a super-dooper storm came in yesterday, rattling windows, knocking down trees, taking power out in parts of the city. Thank goodness we were OK. But the air has suddenly cooled and it has definitely made me switch gears and think about sewing plans for Fall! I am really looking forward to seeing new releases coming out from Named on Tuesday - 10 patterns! 

What about you? Have you started planning your fall sewing? Any ideas you want to share?
Thanks for stopping by!