Monthly Archives: December 2013

The fruits of procrastination


I can’t finish Tyo’s Pikachu onesie quite yet. I ran out of yellow thread and, more problematically, I forgot to get yellow zippers and that grippy material for the bottoms of the feet. I could’ve gone out and gotten some, but that would’ve required leaving the house. I don’t have much time off this year and most of what I did have off was spent running from one family engagement to the next. Which is as it should be, but still. Busy. So I’m treating my scant leisure time with fierce protectiveness.


It’s also been fucking cold. Long, steady, solidly cold, with lots of wind. I needed a tiny bit of black fleece for Pikachu, but it being black fleece (and on sale!) I got two metres. So today, whilst stymied on the Pikachu front, I made a fleece shirt.


I used my knit sloper, which I haven’t done in about a million years. It felt good.

I used the same technique to up-size my sloper for (not-so-stretchy) fleece as I did with my Grandma’s sweater, with much the same results: the size is good but the shoulders are just about too wide. The sloper has pretty narrow shoulders, though, which is why I went for it. Nice thing about using my knit sloper—it’s cut out of Bristol board, so I just grabbed a sliver of soap from the bathroom (since all my chalk is AWOL. Seriously, everything is AWOL. I mean, I’m not the most organized person, but this is ridiculous.) and traced around it. So much neater than pinning everything!


When I got to trying-on, I had to scoop out a bit under the arm, but otherwise the fit was pretty good. I thought the body was a bit short so I finished it with a wide band; the sleeves I just hemmed under with a three-step zig-zag.


The high point of my construction was binding the neckline. I used black cotton-Lycra, the stuff I use for underwear and leggings. I just cut my strip wide, zig-zagged it in place on the right side, folded over so the edge was bound, and top stitched the whole works, then trimmed off whatever I didn’t need from the back.


It’s not really the right fabric for a top—a little stuff and awkward, not enough drape. Nor is it a wonder of professional-looking finishing. But it’s warm and serviceable and warm and practical and warm and generally just WARM.

Yeah, I fear this blog suffers stylistically in the winter. My brain shuts down and all thoughts of fashion are replaced by cries of “Is it WAAAAARRRMM?!?”

At least it goes well with my fleece pants…



Filed under Sewing

Sewing and thought (or the lack thereof)


As I procrastinate on Pikachu, I’ve finished up a pair of undies that has sat, in a sad, forgotten wad behind the sewing machine, for several months now. I had decided I wanted to finish them in stretch lace. I like this finish on quite a few of my RTW pairs; although it isn’t the sturdiest, it’s comfy, pretty, and mimizes panty-lines. But first I couldn’t find the lace I had purchased, then found it but used it on another project, and eventually got more but hadn’t ever pulled it all together. I think these are a modified pair of McCall’s 4471, with the arch-over-the-front-leg reduced. I think. They’re largely identical to my 70s-pattern pairs, at this point, aside from the finish.

As for thought? Well, depending on the finish you choose for something like underwear, you may or may not need a hem allowance on the edge (on McCall’s I think this is 5/8″ as usual, but don’t quote me on that because I didn’t actually check.) On some of my other patterns, it’s 1/4″ or 3/8″. If you stitch an elastic to the edge and turn it under, you’ll need a hem allowance. If you cover the edge with a fold-over elastic, you don’t need any hem allowance at all. And if you add a wide band, like, oh, stretch lace… you may just want to reduce your pattern pieces a bit. In this case, I remembered to lower the rise (especially in the front), but didn’t think to do anything about the legs or, more particularly, the width through the crotch.

When worn they’re a bit more like boy-shorts than panties, in fact.

Which is fine, but definitely something I will try to think about when I next make a pair. And if I write it down here, maybe my chances of remembering to think will be just a little bit better.

Oh, and can I just say, until I was sewing my own, I don’t think I ever in my LIFE thought about how wide the crotch in my underwear was?

Also, grippy fabric (for soles) and zippers for the Pikachu Onesie have now been purchased, and if Tyo has her way I’ll be finishing it tomorrow. OK, if Tyo had her way, it would’ve been finished a week ago, but, well, have I mentioned before that she’s quite persistent when she wants something? It will be done soon, anyway.


Filed under Sewing



I failed at Christmas sewing this year, pretty badly. Aside from my grandma’s sweater, I made Osiris fleece pants, and that was all I had time for. But I did manage to order the Jalie onesie pattern, and find the right fleece. So work has begun on Tyo’s Pikachu Onesie.


December 26, 2013 · 9:34 pm



Simplicity 2603

Three pattern pieces. That’s about right, I gotta say, for gift sewing. Well, any sewing, these days. I’m all about the quick reward.

This is a present for my grandma, who I actually SAW  this Christmas.  Well, this pre-Christmas. The idea came to me about two days before she arrived last week, just enough time to impulsively buy expensive fabric and (fortunately) dig out the pattern, which I haven’t used since I made my red cardi-wrap.

Stand by for rather more photos than something so simple and last-minute really deserves, especially when they’re all blurry nighttime iPhone photos. Quantity over quality?



I made the version with the shorter drapes this time. It’s still pretty drapey. Also, doesn’t it go well with my fleece pants?


Front view. Dirty mirror. Ugh.

OK, sorry for the dirty mirror, but the shots Tyo took didn’t show the front very well.


Back view

I used the same small size I had already traced for myself, but I made a couple of adjustments to make it a bit more roomy, adding a bit at the back fold and along the sides and under the arms. In hindsight, I should’ve just added on the sides and under the arms, the extra width at the back just makes the shoulders too wide. In hindsight, that should’ve been obvious, but, y’know. I like to learn things the hard way. There’s a bit of excess ease in the sleeve cap, which I tried to ease in when I should’ve just trimmed it off. I don’t remember noticing that the last time, maybe because I was using a squishier sweater-knit.  So the seam where the sleeve is set in is a bit stretched and bumpy. I am hoping it will settle in after a wash or two, but probably it won’t. Honestly, my Grandma has a full-blown dowager’s hump and extremely forward shoulders at this point, so really the shoulder-fit has plenty of other problems.


Swishy. With fleece pants.

The fabric is a heavy Ponti de Roma, the sort of thing I normally don’t buy unless it’s, oh, 70% off, but for Grandma I splurged, and I’m glad I did, as it’s wonderfully snugly yet smooth. I have this sinking feeling it will pill like crazy later on, but for now it’s lovely.


Side view, with drape

Did I mention most of the good shots were blurry?



There’s still a fair bit of wing.


Shoulder seams.

Sewing ponti is about as easy as knit sewing gets. I did feed in some clear elastic into the seam along the shoulders and back of the neck, for added stability. Probably not necessary, but it won’t hurt, right?


The best knit-sewing cam on my White machine.

I sewed it on my White, since it has a few knit-specific stitches that Grandma’s Rocketeer doesn’t.


Twin needled hem on the sleeves

I didn’t finish the edge around the front and bottom of the sweater, but I did hem the ends of the sleeves. I used a twin needle for the first time in a long time, and tried out something I think I maybe got from Kadiddlehopper, which was the idea of using fleecy nylon thread in the bobbin for doing twin-needling. Apparently it is stretchier and reduces tunneling? Although I should probably have wound it by hand. Anyway, ponte is not a good place to test it, since it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ever managed to hem with a twin-needle that didn’t tunnel like crazy.


inside of twin-needled hem.

But, the resulting hem is nice and stretchy, and I did a pretty good job of lining my stitching up with the edge of the folded-under part, if I do say so myself.

I was worried the sleeves (which I made to my length) would be a bit too long, but although Grandma isn’t as tall as she used to be, I don’t think arms shrink the same way, and the monkey-arms thing is a bit of a family condition. The sleeves are a little long on her, but really about where they fall on me.

Of course, any time I tried to get a picture of her wearing it, her hand was in front of the camera, so I don’t have any good pictures of it in action.

I have one last bit of Christmas sewing to finish, PJ pants for Osiris (they just need elastic and hems, but of course I can’t really work on them at our house 😛 and it’s hard to sneak over to his sister’s without him), and the kids are getting fleece fabrics and promises.* We’ve just about finished decorating the tree and wrapping presents. I may actually survive Christmas this year after all. Although I still didn’t send out cards…

*They got laptops earlier in the fall, “for school,” with the understanding that those counted for Christmas presents. So really, they’d better be cool with whatever they get.


Filed under Sewing

Last minute Xmas sewing


Never really a good idea. Nonetheless, I decided yesterday I should make a warm and snugly sweater for my grandma. It needs to be done by this weekend.

What last minute crazy Christmas stuff are you trying to cram in?


December 18, 2013 · 6:16 pm