Friday, November 24, 2017

Swan Lake dress

My niece turned four in September, and I made her a Swan Lake dress.  She is really into dance and ballet right now.  It's a flutter sleeve Geranium in size 4T (if I remember correctly), with some length and width adjustments to the skirt in order to take full advantage of the border print fabric. 

I used some digitally printed fabric from Hawthorne Threads, and to be honest I didn't love it.  It was pretty stiff, and the ink was very dense on the surface of the fabric.  I don't think I would use this fabric for quilting, and it would definitely not be appropriate for any application that needs to drape.  But the prints were adorable.  I hope it will hold up okay with frequent washing. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sheepie Shirt!

Last spring I found this adorable sheep-print quilting cotton at my local quilt shop and bought a yard with no plan.  I ended up ordering a yard of solid navy blue Robert Kaufman Cambridge Cotton Lawn to go with it and made a heavily modified version of McCall's 7285, which I made without modifications last spring/early summer.

This time, I shortened the sleeves significantly and made extensive changes to the back:
I split the back pattern piece horizontally about halfway down the armscye, and cut 2 of the yoke piece on the fold, so I could do a double-layer yoke construction with all of the yoke seam allowances enclosed.  I cut the main back piece on the fold, too, and but put the center back line about 2" away from the fold, adding several inches of space in the back.  I added some notches on the yoke and main back piece, so I could keep track of where I wanted the gathers to bunch in the center.  Then, because I no longer had a button in the back, I finished the neckline with a narrow bias facing.  I cut a 10' square and turned it into continuous bias tape using instructions from an old quilt book, and then applied the bias facing using this Craftsy tutorial.

In general, I'm much happier with this version than I am with the first.  The sleeves are more comfortable at the shorter length, and I can move more easily (although I still think the fit in the upper back could be better, as evidenced by the drag lines toward my armpits in the photo of the back of the shirt).  Most importantly, though, it doesn't have a button at the back neck!  The neckline is wide enough to go over my head comfortably, and I've found that the button on the first version catches in my braid in a terrible way, so I can't wear that shirt on days when I want to braid my hair. 

I've already started making a third version of this shirt, in a lovely floral Liberty lawn.  It's a long-sleeved version, with pintucks down the front.  The only fit change I'm attempting from this one to that one is to try to eliminate a little bit of gaping at the front neckline.  I'm excited to see how it fits when it's done!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Knitted Dishcloths

I made two more knitted dish cloths for our kitchen last summer.  The one on the left is a grandmother's favorite, and the one on the right is something I made up - it's a couple rows of garter stitch alternating with a row of p1, *yo, p2tog* across.  That one is our favorite of all our handknitted dishcloths so far, because it has the scrubby garter ridges AND lots of holes, so it dries quickly.

I'm planning to knit lots more of these - I recently ordered 17 balls of dishcloth cotton yarn from KnitPicks!  The plan is to make a bunch to keep and a bunch to give as stocking stuffers at Christmas.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Little Polo Shirts

My nephew and grandcousin (first cousin once removed) have birthdays two weeks apart, and they turned two at the beginning of the summer.  By luck, we were visiting my family in Europe for my grandcousin's birthday, and we were able to attend his birthday party.

I made two identical little polo shirts for little boy second birthday gifts.  They're size 2T Oliver + S Parachute Polos.  They went together pretty smoothly and I was happy with how they turned out, but I don't quite like this pattern as much as I like the Sketchbook Shirt.  Part of it was that I fought with my machine hemming the knits.  I ended up using a twin needle on the sleeve hems and a triple stretch stitch on the shirt hems, and wasn't 100% happy with either one.
I also think the inside of the side vent could be a little cleaner.
I did like how the inside of the collar and plackets looked, though.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A shirt for me!

In service of my goal to make some shirts for myself, I tried out a woven t-shirt pattern: McCall's M7285.  I made it out of a quilting cotton I got at the Hancock's going out of business sale last summer, and I'm thinking of it as a nice wearable muslin.  I was able to cut this and the Roller Skate dress I made for my cousin's daughter out of a 2-yard cut of fabric.
I measured the bust of an old sleeveless blouse with a similar fit and closure and then cut a straight size 10 using the A/B cup front pattern piece.  It's a little snug in the hips, even though I narrowed the seam allowances by 1/4" at the bottom of each side.  The back is also a little tight across the shoulders.
The bust darts are in the right place, but as you can see in the next picture, after I lift my arms I get a fold of fabric stuck above my bust.  I'm not sure whether that has to do with the non-drapiness of the quilting cotton, or because I made a size that is too small, or what.
It's not very visible in the pictures, but I'm also getting a little bit of gaping at the front neckline.

Even though it's not perfect, I'm planning to make at least two more of these, and I have some ideas for what I'm going to change:

  • lowering the front neckline by about an inch and eliminating the button closure at the back neck.  I don't need the button to get this one over my head, and when I wear my hair in a braid it gets knotted around the button, which is no fun.
  • adding a back yoke.  I'll make the seam between the yoke and the back piece about half-way down the armscyes, and put some gathers in the center of the back piece.   This should give me some extra room at the back shoulders, so I can move more easily.  I'm also hoping it will fix the fabric getting stuck above my bust problem.  I'll cut both the back and back yoke pieces on the fold.
  • shortening the sleeves by at least two inches.
I'm excited for the next version, but in the meantime I've been wearing this one a lot!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tiny Roller Skate Dress

I made this tiny Oliver + S Roller Skate dress for my cousin's baby.  It's the 6-12 month size, since I didn't make it until she was almost six months old.  It was pretty easy to sew, didn't take too much fabric, and turned out pretty cute.  I would definitely make it again, maybe with pockets if it was for an older child.  Next time, to save even more fabric and make it lighter for summer, I might try using bias binding for the elastic casing and to finish the sleeve/armhole edges.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Me-made-May: the last few days

What I wore:

  • Monday, May 29: Blue jeans (RTW), green long-sleeved henley (RTW), handknit socks, Geneva undies. In the evening I changed my shirt to my floral woven t-shirt and put on my maroon fleece (RTW)
  • Tuesday, May 30: Blue jeans (RTW), floral woven t-shirt, gradient shawl, maroon fleece (RTW), Geneva undies
  • Wednesday, May 31: Blue jeans (RTW), black long-sleeved t-shir (RTW)t, Lofoten sweater, Geneva undies
What I made:

I finished the blue lace shawl I've been working on for a year!

What I thought:

I felt good about me-made-may this year.  It wasn't too hare or too easy to do the challenge, and I have some Ideas for what I want to make to fill out my wardrobe.  I have hardly any me-made shirts, and if I had been teaching, I would have had a really hard time with it (our spring semester ends at the end of April).  I have plans to make more shirts/blouses, including work appropriate ones (I bought some lovely Liberty of London lawn for a blouse ...).  I also want to change the way I think about my projects, maybe shifting to an actions list in the style of David Allen's Getting Things Done system than a list of things I'd like to eventually do.  I think doing that would help me avoid some of the decision paralysis sewing procrastination that I tend towards, and help me enjoy my limited crafting time more (and help me move though projects more quickly - I'm at the point of finishing up a spinning project that I've had on the wheel for almost two years, which is just embarrassing).