Monday, 15 September 2014

Knitted Bunny

Well, today I became an auntie! So exciting! (Both my sister and the baby girl are well  :) )
Obviously I had to prepare for the occasion by making something cute for the baby. I used this pattern. I took these photos a while back but decided to save the post for the day. :)

I've made a few cute little stuffed animals before, mainly in the Japanese amigurumi style which have been crochet.  Amigurumi actually translates as knitted or crochet thing, so this is still technically an amigurumi!
This is the first knitted toy I've made.  The pattern has you knit everything flat and then seam it up, which is different to the crochet ones I've made.

I didn't change much in the pattern, other than sizing up my needle slightly. Oh, and I also seamed up the belly invisibly, unlike the pattern. This goes for the head and ears too- why would you want a visible seam in those places?

Pattern instructions- visible seam. Not sure why.

Mmmm, invisible!
At first I also seamed the feet invisibly, but it actually looked quite silly (they looked quite pointy and shrunken). Because the selvage was on the inside, it shrank the size of the feet. And since they are already small, a little bit of shrinkage on each side really makes a difference. So I pulled it out and whip-stitched the feet closed (in other words, following the pattern this time!). This way there is no selvage, and the feet were bigger, plumper, and cuter!

I made this lil' bunny using leftover wool from my Washington Square Cardigan, and its scarf is made from remnants from my Peabody sweater.
I made the pom pom too (acrylic I'd used for previous toys) and used the pom-pom method outlined here.

Pom poms are devastatingly cute.
The original pattern has safety eyes, but I opted to hand-sew on circles of felt instead. This is because someone once cautioned me about using safety eyes for baby toys- they can slip out of the fabric and be a choking hazard. No way am I going to risk being the Aunt whose present the baby choked on!!

I embroidered some shine with white thread to make it look less soulless.
It was hard to give this away as it's so cute... I hope it's treasured and drooled on a bunch! :)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Whoop! I OWOP'd!

OWOP is where you document yourself wearing garments made from one sewing pattern for the whole week (One Week, One Pattern!). (More details here!) This was my first time doing anything like this and gave me a glimpse into what it would be like doing something like Me-Made-May where you have to do it for a whole month. Hmm, I hate taking photos of myself so I think it would drive me crazy. Maybe one day I'll do it though.
For now, one week was more than enough!

Considering I've made the Renfrew from Sewaholic a billion times and even have a compilation page of mods done on the pattern, of COURSE I chose that pattern! I really should have a "Renfrew" tag on my blog.

I got the pics on my cellphone....SO REAL-LIFE. lol!

Day 1: Wearing unblogged skirt and merino Renfrew.
Day 1 bonus: Shots of me hanging out with crafty friends Joy and Teresa (who is wearing a Hello Kitty dress she made, hence the pointing! So amazing!!)


Day 2: At University in my corduroy Beignet and striped Renfrew (the 2nd Renfrew I ever made!)

Day 3: Hanging out in Typography class with my new letter pals. I'm wearing my Marion cardigan and another unblogged garment, whoops!
So yeah, about this unblogged Renfrew dress! I got too lazy to blog it and consider this its bloggening. Hop over to this other Renfrew dress I made and it's pretty similar. Both are the same bodice, but this one has a pleated skirt! Knit dresses are so comfy <3

Day 4: Hamming it up in drawing the body class in my floral skirt and red boatneck Renfrew. Fun fact: Wearing a beret doubles your arty-ness. 
Hilariously, I didn't realise until later that I'd preeeeeetty much composed an identical outfit two days in a row. Red + black + floral. Haha, WHOOPS! I have been wearing my black tights a loooot because they're thick merino and nothing keeps me as warm when I want to wear skirts! I wish for more cozy tights like this but I've only found them sold in black :(

Day 5: My other Renfrew dress! Worn with my Blackberry cardigan at uni again.
Fun fact, these tights are size Extra Tall. Even though I fit into a size average by the chart on the package, these are STILL not long enough! The crotch hung around halfway down my thighs all day and was supremely irritating, what the HECK, Columbine?? I just want cool colourful tights :(
Awesomely though, one of the fashion teachers complimented my cardigan and said it was "very contemporary". A compliment from a fashion teacher is surely the highest honour! Haha!

Day 6: Selfie! Hanging around home in my cozy cowl-neck Renfrew with jeans. This thing is soo soft, I love it.

Day 7: Looking knackered after a day of work. My striped Renfrew again, worn with my pleated skirt.
This skirt is nice (and I got complimented, hooray!), but it attracts all the lint and dust in the world, and I really wished it had pockets all day. So maybe I'll remake it sometime. Dammit, it's so practical I'll probably never get around to it!

Wow, so that was my first OWOP! It wasn't too hard, but I hate getting photos, so it was a challenge. My love for Renfrew is well-documented, and it's really easy to wear every day. Hope you guys enjoyed a look into my life, you sick voyeurs, you!! (I'm joking!!).
Thanks for hosting Jane! And thanks Tasia for creating such an awesome, versatile pattern :D

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Completed: Another Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

This the the Hollyburn Skirt from Sewaholic which I've made once previously. It's a pretty simple pattern so I don't feel I have a lot to say! It's a really nice basic skirt to have!

I got the fabric from an op shop. It's a polyester I believe, and it drapes quite nicely. And the colour! I do love purple, and this is a lovely dull purple which is one of my 'nearly-neutral' shades.
I did a hand-picked zip, but resolved to save myself the time of a hand-finished hem this time. I used my blind hem foot, which I'm not too experienced with, but got a decent result, after a vigorous pressing!

I got a friend to level the hem for me. I find a level hem to be very important to me. That's one thing I can't compromise on!

The blind hem still took me a while though, as I turned under the top of the hem first and basted it down to hide the raw edge. I could have taken a little more care with it but it turned out fine. I need to find that perfect balance of slapdash and careful!
During the hemming, I found the machine did quite a good job of easing in the fullness of the hem (since that part sits on top of the feed dogs), which was a relief!

I'm wearing it with my Agatha cardigan, which is such a strong colour it doesn't go with everything. I'm glad I can wear it more now!

Knitted lace... and yay pockets.
Every time I put pockets in I'm like "WHY don't I put these in everything??". Answer: laziness :(

Oh yeah, and I tried it with this cardigan I made a while back which was covered in fail. I'd tried to polish this turd by tacking down the fronts into little lapel-thingies. But I still hate it!!
It sits badly, and the ribbing that sits just below the waist just feels really unflattering, like it bulks me out in the wrong places. I knew time would tell if I could learn to love this cardigan. But it's true hate! I'm now planning to frog the entire thing and start from scratch on something else!
I might keep the sleeves actually, and just make a new body- any suggestions guys? :)

The back sits horribly too and well, the whole thing is just ick.
But back to positivity. I made a skirt. I like the skirt. :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Completed: Copycat Beignet

I really like my corduroy Beignet; it's one of the best things I've made so far, I think. I really worked hard on the fit (two muslins/toiles I believe) and aimed to make plenty more! But it wasn't easy, and I made loads of mistakes on it. 

This Beignet was also fraught with difficulty! 
I was pretty convinced I'd hate it the whole time I was making it, but surprisingly, I think I can make it work!
This the basic picture below: I wanted to show you the most boring style so I could explain this skirt!

You may notice a few things from this picture!
1) I HAVE A REMOTE! AGGGHHH! How come I didn't do this earlier??? I used to make the camera take bursts of 10 on a timer, which made sorting the pictures afterwards a nightmare. So if you see me holding something, that's what it is. I love it.

2) The skirt is super hmm...what's the word? Basic! Boring? And styled in this basic way I think it is really average. But sometimes "boring" is a great base for fun combinations!

3) I'm really branching out on colour. I committed to trying to expand my colour palette a while back and this is a foray into warm tones. It's also light, and I tend to stick to darker tones on my bottom half. 

4) The belt is not tied up properly. I made the belt up but it's far too bulky. I didn't even bother finishing it because I knew I'd never wear it!

5) The thing about the fabric is that even though it's not heavy, it is quite bulky. I don't even know if it's meant to be for a skirt like this. I'm wondering if it is supposed to be a coating? I don't know enough about fabric yet! 
And for someone like me who is hippy, I was very concerned it would exaggerate it badly and I'd look giant on the bottom! This basic styling doesn't help that, so let's move onto something better.

Oh, but first, have a cheesy "I have a remote!! lol!" picture!

Okay, so isn't this SO MUCH better? Adding a proper belt (which defines the waist), and adding some interest on the top half, really balances out the figure, and adds some much-needed colour contrast, in my opinion. 

So yeah, I was pretty much afraid this would be unwearable the whole time I was making it!
Fabric choice is one of the trickiest things I think. Pairing the correct fabric to the pattern is still a challenge to me and can really make or break the garment. 
I got this wool second hand, and decided I wanted a Beignet. This was heavily inspired by Andrea, one of my sewing idols, who did something similar! I also copied her by removing the buttons and going for a zip closure instead.

However, I thought the fabric had too much drape; I liked the stiffness of my corduroy skirt, as it makes the A-line silhouette.

SO, I decided to underline it with thin cotton. I often read about underlining with silk organza but I was too cheap to go that route. I think it would have been better though! It would add the stiffness with no bulk.

So I painstakingly cut all the panels twice, in wool AND cotton, and hand-basted them together. And of course there's a lining too! 
This was just one of those projects that dragged on, and the whole time, I was half-convinced it'd be unwearable. So, not a good combo.

Matching cotton underlining basted down the centre.
I was paranoid that working with the bulky fabric would make it too small. I was also concerned the cotton would restrict the give in the garment.  Eep! I did sew sliiiightly smaller seam allowances to allow for it. It does fit. Phew! 

(Oops, check out my singlet tag! lol)
Here I styled it up with my Blackberry Cardigan. The raised waistline on the skirt looks a little lumpy underneath but I don't mind.

So, the POCKET. ugh. I should have paid more attention to Andrea's awesome version. She smartly added a centre back seam and put the zip in there. But I took it upon myself to figure out how to put a pocket on the side seam with a zip. 
It didn't go well.
First I spent ages looking online for help on how to do it.
Then, I spent ages using tutorials to put the dang thing in.
I then decided it was hideous and after a period of mourning for my time and effort, decided to take it out and only have one pocket. 
Ugh, ugh, ugh.
I bet there's a better way to put it in than what I did, but I am in no mood to revisit this technique. Maybe one day, if I'm making something like a gathered skirt, with pockets made of self fabric. That would camouflage a lot better.

Hand-picked zip with pocket. It WORKED, but not well.

When wearing especially, it gaped and you see it vomiting the lining out of the pocket slightly. Unacceptable!
The gist of the construction process- doing some fancy stuff in order to use the pocket as the seam allowance.
Even now, just thinking of it hurts. Construction stuff flips my brain out lol.

Beignet I still love you and I am committing to trying again until I can make you without a hardship!

Only having one pocket halves my ability to look nonchalant but I can live with it.
Hand-picked zip on display.  And still congratulating myself on getting it to fit my curvacious rump!

Some pics of the guts:
I hand picked the zip (yeah, TWICE after that pocket fiasco ruined my first attempt!). I used a lapped application, though I never know how to deal with the facings/linings with lapped zips. They don't line up right anymore because of the lap so I just fudge it....Hmm.

I pinked the main seams and hand stitched the hem on the body. The lining was all overlocked and pressed to one side, except for the zip seam (centre of pic). I overlocked and pressed open both the body and the lining.

(Somewhat dodgily) hand sewn lining to zip.

Overall, with all the challenges, I'm quite surprised to like the result. Learning, always learning. Have you guys ever underlined? What do you think of the fabric choice? I'd better queue up another Beignet....

Here, have a pic of me looking crazy. Yay remotes!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Simple Skirt Refashion


This skirt was made from an old dress I had. It was snug when I got it years ago,  but too small now! This was a fairly simple project so there's not too much to say- I lopped off the bodice and pieced it together to make a waistband. I of course had to remove the zip too. I then redistributed the gathers on the skirt so they'd fit the waistband, reinserted the zip, and finished the top of the skirt with the new waistband! 

Here is the original garment- saucy number right? Haha.

I feel I must apologise for the somewhat dreary photos. Winter gloom + No photography skills + Tripod and timer. Heh.

I tried a few ways of styling this. 
I didn't quite feel right with my 1940s Cardigan. I think the boatneck of my Renfrew top doesn't look too good with a deep "V" layered over top. 

My thought is that a scoop neckline is best to pair with this Cardigan. (Like I did in the first post on it.)
Yeah, this looks so much better to my eye. Less agressive shape and colour.

Side note: there are some aspects of this Cardigan I'm not entirely in love with.  I think the sleeves would have been better with more negative ease; they're a little bulky. "More negative ease!" seems to be my catchphrase when it comes to knits! 
Also, I think I need to be less lazy and get better about stabilising my button bands with ribbon. I might add that to my "to-fix" pile...
Under the cardigan, the top bunches up from movement and gives me rolls. The proliferation of bodysuits I've seen on blogs lately has me thinking I might need to jump on the Nettie bandwagon...
Imagine a clean line with no bunching!

Bunchy stomach! Not my fav look.

I think it looks better without the cardigan though I'm still slightly weirded out by the proportions of waist skirts on me.

Then I brought out this old hooded knit I have. 
Omg I always hassled the combo of red and black but now I'm wearing it more and more, oh no! 
This knit is kinda old and pilled and sad (needs a good shave, it does), but I love the style and really want to make my own knock off of it.  Someday.

This skirt was fairly straightforward.....but there was that one bit where I realised I'd stitched in the black facing the wrong way around though- I'd accidentally sewed it so the black interfacing was acting as the facing, and the facing was on the inside of the waistband.
Laziness meant I just left it on the outside, as it doesn't LOOK bad.. But I do wonder if this laziness will bite me on the backside later- is interfacing sturdy enough to stand up to the job as a facing? I hope it doesn't do anything nasty like disintegrate?!
There's one way to find out I suppose. Wear it and see. 
Had anyone ever done anything similar to that?

Waistband, with overlap and hook and eye at centre back.

The original skirt has a lining with lace attached! A cute detail I can take no credit for!

This was a pretty simple project, but I thought I'd blog it anyway. Not all sewing projects have to be fancy and impressive! This skirt does almost feel like cheating though, no hemming! Yeah!

I promise I have some legit sewing coming up though... Heh!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

More Knickers! Indie Undies

Yep, but this time, the undies are for someone else!
These are the Comox Trunks from Thread Theory, the indie pattern company that does great menswear patterns!
Trying out a new undies pattern.... you could say I've added to my... PANTSfolio?? (No apologies for that terrible pun. You loved it.)

Oh, and see the orange on the inner leg? I was too lazy to thread up a black bobbin for my twin needle hem. Confessions!
I couldn't resist this fabric.
Space Invaders!! They're one of my husband's favourites as it was one of the first games he played, and he's hugely into games. Plus he loves those wily aliens...
I had to sneakily make myself a pair too though. Matchy! This is just the same Ohhh Lulu undies pattern I've used recently.

I bought the fabric from local knit fabric source, Levana. It was some limited time thing; they don't usually stock prints. Honestly, I don't think it's the best quality fabric around, so we'll see how it lasts.

I did make one mistake (that I didn't bother to fix, naughty). I only realised once I'd finished that I put the opening in the wrong side. Oops!
The other thing I could improve was sewing on the elastic. It's a bit wonky, but you know. Black on black. And the fact that they're UNDERwear. Heh.

These took a LOT more time than my girl-undies took. They are more complicated, with more pieces. Plus I puzzled over the instructions a few times, though I got there in the end.
And then afterwards, I realised there was a sew-along on their blog. That would have helped I suppose! Now I don't know if I'm alone in this, but sometimes I feel sew-alongs bog me down with excessive details when I just want to get on with it! So I'm not sure if I'm a fan of them or not, really. In this instance though, it probably would have helped.

Undies insides.
My mister is very trepidatious about me making him things as he doesn't want to look "home-made-y". Fair enough. I think as I've sewn more he's a little less scared these days, haha! These did pass the test (and he's very blunt at all times so I know he's telling the truth!). He did however said they could have been tighter in the waist.
Because his hips are on a smaller size on Thread Theory's chart than his waist, I made them in the waist size (better to size up for safety right?). But these sit more on the hip than the waist, so it really does make more sense to pick the size off the hip chart.
If I make them again I'll size down.
Would I make them again? Well, they are bit of work. And I'm not sure how unselfish I'll be feeling! If I could get a lot faster it would be a decent saving on undies (men's undies are expensive!!), but I don't sew just to save money, I sew for satisfaction!
It did give a pretty good result, which is quite satisfying. The fun fabric definitely helps too!

Of course your big question is... did I get him to model them?? Sorry to disappoint, but he wasn't too keen.  But if you feel you're missing out, Thread Theory's models have you covered. Haha!