Saturday, 5 September 2015

Completed Knit: Berwick

Hi! It's been quite a while since I posted; life has been really busy with school work.
Here's a jersey I made. This took me, oh, about a year? I stopped knitting it mid-project because I decided I wasn't a fan of the style after all. It's just so clingy around my bum and I knew it was going to turn out too short for my comfort.

Later, I decided to complete it as I'd already knitted so much of it, and I knew I'd at least find it comfy around the home.

The pattern is Berwick, found here on Ravelry. The original pattern is a bit different; it's shorter and has a kangaroo pocket.

I find that a really awkward length, hence my decision to lengthen it. But I didn't lengthen it enough! And I also forgot how much I disliked garments that were clingy on my butt and thighs and stomach. Ugh, I'm never wearing this out (even though I have publicly blogged it, which doesn't make much logical sense). I hate clothing that makes me feel like I have to suck my gut in and worry about it riding up to show my butt!

So uncomfortable 

It's too bad, because I really love the squishy collar! It is knitted in a brioche rib, which takes forever, but I must admit, is a very nice effect.

I also like the buttons....

...which are a total fake out!! As you can see, it's done up with snaps. This is the way the pattern instructs and I am not a fan. What's the point?? It would have been easy enough to write buttonholes into the pattern, and then I wouldn't have to sew on two sets of snaps, thus saving me time and annoyance.

There's ribbon sewn on the back of each snap section to stabilise the area. Another gripe with this pattern - it asks you to buy 45cm of ribbon (which I did), and then asks you to cut two 25cm lengths. Which adds up to a total of 50cm. That's a problem. As you can see, my ribbon is a bit skimpy, which doesn't really matter, but still. Basic maths.
ALSO! Did you notice the different shade of blue along the top of the collar?? Turns out, my laaaast little bit of wool was dyed differently and did not match. This annoyed me a bit, but as I am not too invested in the garment, I'm actually fine with it. Like I said, I won't be out and about in this.

You may have noticed , one side of the hem is saggy. I put this down to lazy and careless blocking, as I had really become pretty blasé about the garment by that point! It must have gotten stretched out! Either that or my knitting went horribly wrong without me noticing.

I don't have heaps to say about this garment, but I'm glad to blog again after not posting for a while. Hopefully next time I will be more excited about what I have to show you guys. Heh! Anyway, I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog yet, so this is a little bit of news for those of you who stuck around till the end. lol! I've switched to studying fashion design, and I'm really enjoying it! I don't think I'll be sharing my school work on my blog, but I'm thinking of sharing some snaps of my school life on my instagram. Would you guys be interested? :)

Anyway, I'm still reading everyone's blogs, even if mine is a little quiet right now! Would you guys blog something you feel uncomfortable in? I guessed I've learned one more lesson about what is and isn't right for me!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Agatha 2.0 for OAL 2015

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm participating in #OAL2015 (outfit-along 2015). Here is the cardigan I made to match my dress!

I made another Agatha cardigan (a lovely design by Andi Satterlund); you can see my first one here.

Because I started this project when I was busy at uni and I didn't feel I had time to plan it out, I made some dumb mistakes.

First of all, sit down because I'm going to shock you. I did NOT swatch for this project. Unprecedented for a religious swatcher such as myself! I just cast on, thinking "my gauge will probably be the same". Well it wasn't, and after knitting a little bit of the back, I compared it to my first Agatha and could see it was too big. No big deal; I just ripped it out and started with a size smaller needle! I guess I just live on the edge these days. Lol!

Here is a comparison of my first cast on (too big) compared to my second.

As I become a more experienced knitter I seem to get more and more reckless. Frogging barely fazes me anymore (though I take the opportunity for a hearty grumble). This wool is actually frogged from an old project (a jersey blogged here)!! Yes, I decided that I'd get more wear and enjoyment out of it as a cardigan. Not to mention, FREE WOOL! Hah!

If I had bothered to read my notes on my previous Agatha, that would have helped.
I ended up making the EXACT same mistake I'd made on the sleeves the first time. Hah! Proof my brain works in the same way it used to. I accidentally did some of the lace decreases going the wrong direction on the sleeves. AGAIN. lol!

Anyway, after knitting about a third of the sleeve, I started to recall the fact that I felt the sleeves were snug on my first one, and I'd chosen a size DOWN from that. Hmm, to start again or not? I hate these kind of decisions... I seem to have a history of bad sleeve choices! Seriously, on my current project, I've restarted the sleeve 3 times. Ugh. Anyway, after trying it on I decided it was okay, and it would probably loosen up a bit with blocking. This WAS partly my laziness talking.

Anyway, I knitted to about 3/4 and then had to admit it was too tight. I knew it would just annoy me.

Froggy old sleeve.

One mod I made to the pattern this time was to bring the inner neck point in. I find the wide neck on Agatha a bit weird for a cardigan so did a bit of fiddling with the pattern. Agatha is knit top-down starting with the shoulders. So I started with four MORE stitches for each shoulder, but increased four less for each side of the neckline. This meant I had the same amount of stitches as the pattern by the time the neckline was complete. I did have to start the lace a bit earlier but it turned out to be pretty minimal fuss. I just counted back the rows to make sure my lace was at the same place (row-wise) as the pattern's at the centre front neckline. That probably makes NO sense.

And then I go and show off my neckline by completely covering it with a collar.

Moving on, another mod was lengthening it past the waist and changing the waist shaping to reflect that. My shaping actually goes out again a little bit after the waist and is less drastic than the original pattern. The original pattern has bizarrely steep decreases in the body and sleeves, and I suspect this is to make the converging lines of the ribs look dramatic. I was happy to sacrifice that though.

Again, I then proceeded to neglect to get any photos of me wearing it that really show off the side decreases. Oops

The same extreme shaping is found in the sleeves. I decided to space these out more, and also do less decreases so it was less tight at the wrist.

Look how extreme the first sleeve is! Mine slopes gently. And again, I should have gotten a finished pic of it, but you get the idea lol....sorry!
Here's a picture I call "why you SHOULD block":

See how much more nice, flat, and open my finished dark purple Agatha is? My lilac one is pre-block here and it looks much less pretty. This picture also shows my waist decreases and increases located on the sides of the lilac garment.

I sewed ribbon to the button bands to stablise them and stop them from stretching and pulling.

I often find it hard to find matching ribbon, but I totally lucked out with this adorable polka dot ribbon from Made on Marion, a local craft store! I try to support local whenever possible instead of soulless big-box stores. Sorry, didn't mean to preach there.

Honestly, it's not as flattering totally buttoned up. It makes my boobs look kinda saggy or something, but this is probably more a function of my horrible bra situation than anything else. TMI? Yeah that's probably TMI, but us sewing bloggers are all frank when it comes to garments :P

I like it best partially done up. And I hope to make a bra that is nicer one day. Lol. I even have some of the supplies!

I think I'll definitely enjoy this cardigan more than in its previous life as a jersey. Thanks Andi and Lauren for hosting the event. If you didn't already know, Lauren is a sewing idol of mine and Andi is a knitting design hero! You guys both RULE! Thanks for being mega-inspiring!!

I'm really pleased with my outfit, and I can't wait to see everyone else's lovely garment combos! :D

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The "Trees" dress for OAL 2015

Hi guys! I finally finished the dress I made for the outfit-along 2015! It goes really well with the cardigan part of the outfit, but I'll save that for my next blog post since I have lots to say ;)

So let's talk about how this is a cuteness overload. I got given this fabric by a lovely friend who also blogs and sews! I called it the Trees dress after her :) It's not the typical kind of print I go for (I affectionately call this a grandma print).

Well, I guess it's floral and in the colours I love, so most people would think this is actually totally a Jo print. But I have extremely specific floral criteria, believe it or not. Moi? Picky???
But I felt I could definitely make it work as it was on the Jo spectrum of florals. Haha.
I thought I'd just go for it and make it as over-the-top cute as possible, since that's what it seemed to be asking for.
I wasn't sure this would end up being a "me" garment, but I actually really like it!

I drafted the pattern myself from my bodice block (same old story as usual).

Because this isn't a pattern-drafting blog, I'm not going to go into the details of everything. Here's the summary!

Drafting details:
Scooping out the neckline slightly
Drafting the collar
Drafting the skirt
Converting darts into princess seams
Removing some width from the centre front, and replacing it with button plackets
Bias strips to finish the neckline and armholes

And after all that effort, I neglected to get a close up of the star of the show: the collar! Such a disgrace. Here is a cropped-in photo so you can see it a bit better.

I sort of guessed at the size and shape of the front of the collar when I drafted it. Then I cut it out of calico (muslin for you U.S readers) and basted it onto my garment-in-progress. I decided to trim a little bit off to reshape the front points, and finalised my collar from there.

Collar love! 

You know what is a pain with plackets? You have to be really careful when sewing them down, because they try to twist! Well, mine do. I think it's due to the feed dogs pulling the fabric on the bottom through at a faster rate. Sometimes I end up with a little bubble on the top layer that needs easing in. NOT a good look. It happened on the underneath placket on the bodice and it's so ugly. I let it slide because it won't be seen, but still... I need a solution here!

I underlined the bodice, because the cotton was lightweight and thin. I underline partly out of habit really. I supposed I could have just lined the whole thing, which would have meant I didn't need the bias facing on the edges! I AM a bit scared of lining, even though I've done it before, as it complicates the construction process. I'll have a go at lining next time.

That was partly an issue with this dress- the construction process! Since I self-drafted, I didn't have any instructions to follow, so I ended up doing some things in a silly order and then unpicking them when I realised I should have done X before Y (mainly involving the button placket!).

I added some rayon seam binding to the waistline seam allowance. Partly for the idea of a waist-stay (though I'm not sure seam binding is sturdy enough to provide support). Really, I just wanted an excuse for this pretty pop of pink, and to use the seam binding Sonya of Ginger Makes sent me, cos she's AMAZING. Kindest/coolest/most talented girl ever!!

I also opted to line the skirt. I used a cheap acetate, which does the trick, though I think we all know acetate is kinda nasty. The lining is caught into the centre front. I hemmed it before catching it into the placket.
Or rather, I eventually ended up doing this after after unpicking parts of the placket due to aforementioned construction snafus. So much redoing!

Levelling the hem on this was a pain, due to the order of construction I was making up as I went along. Meh. lol. Enough said about that! I've noted down what to do for next time.

After my previous skirt's blind hem wasn't stellar, I was giving my blind hem function a mistrustful side-eye, but went through with it anyway.... and it was beautiful this time! I put it down to highly cooperative fabric. It's so invisible (I'm sure the print helps too). I just overlocked the raw edges before blind hemming.

Check out my in-seam pockets!

Fun fact: I was going to design some patch pockets once I had made the garment so I could decide their shape and placement on the body. Then I went into autopilot and managed to cut and completely sew inseam pockets into the side seams! I only realised what I'd done JUST as I finished congratulating myself on my pockets! Lol! Well, maybe less is more. Hah!

Addicted to full skirts. It's A-line AND gathered, not just a rectangle.

I'm proud of my drafting, even though it isn't anything mind-blowing. And I'd like to make another one!
I'm thinking for the next time I want to use a flat piping (no cord) in the same places as the lace. Ooh<3 Exciting!

I know I like a garment when I start pulling goofy poses... lol :)
By the way, aren't I smart, making a summer dress right in the middle of winter? What can I say, the spirit took me... Looking forward to warmer weather guys!
Have you got any self-drafting in the pipeline? Do you find it worth your time? :)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Vintage Pledge!

Hello! I feel like I'm so rusty at blogging lately I don't even know how to write them anymore ;)
Luckily, pictures say plenty.
In this case, "I made a skirt and top!". There, that wasn't so hard :)

You might have seen me on Instagram wishing to be as awesome as the vintage ladies on the pattern envelope....

Now, obviously it's impossible to be THAT cool, but I gave it my best effort! And I get to be part of Marie and Kestrel's Vintage Pledge so that's a consolation prize :)
Here's a link to the pattern on the Vintage Pattern wiki, for anyone interested.

No prizes for guessing the tee pattern I'm wearing. Yeah, I've made the Sewaholic Renfrew top a billion times now, if I can even call it that anymore. I've modified it in so many ways it's its own thing now!
Funny thing about this version- I tried to improve the fit with an experiment, and succeeded in making it worse. Lol! It's fine tucked in though... I'll try again next time! I'll update on the fit if I make any discoveries! :)

If I was smart I'd have remembered to slip a ribbon or tape under the neckline when I was sewing it down, but I forgot and stitched a scrap of tape on as an afterthought to mark the back of the garment.

The neckline is a boatneck I drew onto the pattern. I stitched some clear elastic into it to keep it from stretching out over time, as per this tip on Pattern Review. I neglected to get a photo, but I promise it's as simple as it sounds! I didn't do this on a boatneck knit dress I made a while back and it's starting to feel a bit sloppy in the neckline, so I think it's worth putting that tape in. Plus, it's easy!

The hems are just turned up and stitched with a twin needle. I wish I had a coverstitcher for a professional looking inside to my garment, but this works fine! The neckline is also finished in the same way.

This is me looking crazy, but I'm trying to show my stripe matching on the sleeves!

By the way, I feel like my floppy hat is perfect for the retro skirt style. I'm so obsessed with floppy hats, I have 6.... Need more!

Hat smugness!

Also, this shot looks like someone lazily photoshopped a stock image of a hat onto where my head should be and it makes me laugh:

I got this fabric from the op shop and it's this suede-y synthetic dealy. I thought it was great having the slippery wrong side, so it doesn't need lining. BUT, wow, it really hated being gathered. My stitches just kept slipping right out! Hah, talk about embarrassing - isn't gathering supposed to be an easy beginner technique?? Well I got there with persistence, but it wasn't easy!!

The trauma of the gathering is melting away though, because I'm happy with the final product.

You can see some puckers around the hem. I find that synthetics are a bit merciless when it comes to puckers. I guess it wasn't a big fan of my machine blind hem. I didn't think it was that obvious but this picture is showing harsh reality. Lol :P I like to think this is just a bad photo... but yes, that hem is not ideal.

Obligatory back shot: Highly uneventful.

In terms of sizing, I fit into the larger of the two sizes in the envelope. BUT, I decided to add a little bit more ease for comfort. I slashed and spread the waistband a little bit and sewed the side seams at 1cm instead of 1.5cm (which is more than I added to the waistband). But I just increased the amount I gathered the skirt in to fit the waistband. Problem solved!

Busted! You can see I sewed the waistband underlap a bit longer than the skirt. Oops. Lazy

Guts! Look at the shiny gather-hating wrong side!
I added fusible stay tape to the body along the pocket slash line to prevent it stretching out on the bias (better safe than sorry right?) You could just use interfacing. Really, the tape is just a long precut strip of interfacing, nothing revolutionary.

OH! And if you didn't already know about this method of attaching a waistband, you should! I love it because it eliminates that pesky stitching in the ditch. In a nutshell, you sew the waistband to the wrong side of the skirt, flip it over, and topstitch it down on the right side. (Instead of sewing the waistband to the right side of the skirt, flipping it over, and trying to catch it in by stitching in the ditch from the right side.) Clear as mud??

And well, that's pretty much all I have to say about this skirt, other than I am bad at buttonholes ;) Haha!

NOW, I try to give a balanced view on this blog, and this skirt was a success. But I also produced a fail, so I'm documenting it for truthiness.
I made this velvet skirt a while back, and decided it needed making over (mainly shortening).
Long story short, I decided I hated it and would never wear it, but not before making a total dog's breakfast of the hem. This is what happens when you stop caring:

Haha! Oh velvet skirt, you are dead to me.

Let's focus on the non horrible skirt though :P

So do you guys document your failures, or do you prefer to pretend they never happened? I like to see people's mistakes. How about you? :)