Tag Archives: Christmas sewing



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

A very distinguished fellow


My uncle has received his vest. Fortunately for me, we didn’t make it down to the farm until a few days after Christmas, so I had a few days extra to finish off pesky little things like the back buckle and buttonholes. It fits well enough (OK, it may be on the snug side, but then I feel like the next size up would’ve been too big…), and he’s more than happy with it. The only thing that’s a bit odd is the length—it’s very short. And my uncle isn’t unusually tall—I’m pretty sure that it’s meant to go over antique-style trousers, you know, the up-to-the-armpits variety.


I basted hair-canvas to the vest fronts, and then added in (as per the pattern) two layers of batting, with the edges feathered.


A closeup of the hand-basting and padding in the vest front. I haven’t done this kind of handwork since Gertie’s Lady Grey Sewalong. It was fun, though.


I even padstitched the undercollar.


And then there were the welt pockets. I made samples. I marked. I basted. I tailor-tacked. And still, my first welt wound up uneven and just UGH. I could’ve cried. I couldn’t imagine making two more, when those two had to be… ulp… matching.

So I didn’t. My uncle’s vest has only a single, sad and uneven, welt pocket. I’m not going to mention it if he doesn’t.


I added a patch of outer fabric inside the pocket, which was not in the instructions. The instructions, incidentally, were good but not verbose. They told you what to do, but not how to do it. And I added a few thing here and there, because I could. Like padstitching. And this little patch.


I used shiny silver vintage buttons from my stash. Making the buttonholes was also a beast, although at least my thread matched very well, so their nasty quality isn’t obvious. I was so hoping for neat, beautiful keyholes, too…


The buckle was also from one or another thrift-store baggies. I do wish, in hindsight, that I’d interfaced the straps here. And that I had two-piece eyelets—these are one piece and I’m worried about how they’ll hold up. Although I suppose it’s not a super-high-stress area. (And, yes, the back’s made out of fashion fabric, not lining. This is because I didn’t have enough of the silver Kasha lining fabric left, and my local Fabricland didn’t have any in the silver colour. Yes, I could’ve used another kind of lining. But I hate every other kind of lining out there…)

Understitching would’ve helped this back bit. Although I suppose if the outer back were in lining fabric as well, it wouldn’t’ve been an issue.

All in all, though, I think he’s a very distinguished fellow.

He still wants a kilt, though…


Filed under Sewing


This year, for the first time, Osiris and I put our names in with the older generation for my mom’s family’s Christmas draw*. Yep, apparently we are officially All Grown Up. My favourite uncle said (before the draw even happened) that he’d very much like me to make him a kilt, in the event that I should draw his name.**

So naturally, when I did draw his name a few moments later, I figured I knew exactly what to make him. I even picked up a kilt “pattern”*** at the thrift store just before Hallowe’en.

Then I checked the fabric requirements and, um, there’s no way I’m getting five yards of any halfway decent wool tartan for under the spending limit. So I decided I’d make him a vest instead. Possibly a tartan vest. It just so happens that at the same time as I’d picked up the kilt pattern, I’d also gotten a rather intriguing “Fashion Historian” pattern, Simplicity 5037, for an old-fashioned vest and braces. A vest seemed about the right amount of work/cost of materials for a family gift, and I’m pretty sure Uncle will love it anyway. He’s gone out of his way to praise my sewing every time I’ve talked to him in the last couple of years.


Well, today I pulled out the pattern, picked a size, and started tracing. I had been secretly a) wondering why the heck a vest and braces constituted an entire pattern, and b) worried that this would be another lame costume pattern. B) was quickly allayed, though—this appeared to be a sophisticated pattern after all, with neat little details like a dart under the front lapel and more welt pockets than you can shake a pocketwatch at.

Vest front, Piece 1. Perfect. Vest Back, piece… 12?

Really? Twelve pieces in the vest alone? I guess that answers why it has its own pattern, practically…

So I went and did what I hadn’t actually done yet, looked up the pattern information.


I mean, it’s a handsome vest with some neat details, but really, twelve pieces? OK, there is a separate, bias-cut under-collar piece. That’s a good feature. And I suppose those welt pockets have a few extra pattern pieces too. Now what are those oval things?


Oh, my, lord.

Eighteen pattern pieces. Including three separate “padding” pieces. There’s actual tailoring on this vest. I’m still kind of in shock. (Also, apparently I need to buy batting.)

And I’m strangely excited. A tailored vest.

But I may have to re-adjust my Christmas sewing timeline. >_<

*Where we all put our names in a hat and draw out the person we'll get a present for. Just in case that's not a widespread phenomenon.
** This is not the Scottish side of the family (although if you want to get all genealogical, I'm like a quarter Scottish). But Robbie Burns Day has become a big thing in their rural municipality in the last few years and, well, in a small town you take your amusements where you find them, I guess.
***I'm not sure which I loathe more, "costume" patterns or paper patterns for things that consist entirely of rectangles. I'm pretty sure this particular "Scottish attire" pattern hit both categories, however.


Filed under Sewing