Tag Archives: knit

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a Wire Tee

So I’ve been promising (well, promising Steph) pictures of this version for ages. I’m not feeling very photogenic lately (never even mind the camera issues)… and my tripod is missing in action, and I’ve been sick, and… well, motivation hasn’t outweighed laziness, is I guess the basic way to put it.

This is, if you don’t instantly recognize it, a dead knockoff of Steph’s original version of her Blank Canvas Tee pattern, including using her very own Bird on a Wire fabric. Which, I feel I should disclose, she sent me as a gift for agreeing to help test the pattern (and advising on electronic drafting, although I turned out to be absolutely useless for that in the end :P). Since I drew her up a little technical drawing for the shirt, I almost feel like I earned it, although maybe I won’t admit how little time that sketch took…

Anyway, thank you, Steph, for both fabric and pattern! 🙂

This is the same pattern I made up before, except I scooped out the neck a couple of inches more—Steph and I share a love of scoop-necks. The length, you’ll recall, is extended, too… I don’t have a long body, but I wear my pants low, so I need my shirts long to cover them. I gather Steph has since tweaked the pattern to make the shoulders a little smaller, something I may follow suit in. The first version I made fit perfectly in the shoulders, but this version, in a knit with a bit more give, is a little large, and I have broad shoulders to begin with.

It’s a good thing I don’t have any navy blue knits in stash, though, or I’d be in the midst of whipping up yet another version, based on Steph’s first official pattern hack—a cute sweetheart-neckline, empire-waist, sailor-buttoned version.

This is my first time sewing with a Spoonflower knit (this is their organic cotton, if memory serves). It’s a nice weight and feels lovely. It does give quite a bit in stitching—I should’ve stabilized the shoulder seams—and the black print has grayed quite a bit even after only a couple of trips through the wash. That being said, you get your own freakin’ custom print. So, er, it’s probably still worth it. But maybe avoid throwing it in the dryer. Be a better person than I am.

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The Procrastination Tee

Steph

I’m supposed to be sewing my husband’s christmas coat this weekend. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re procrastinating…

This is not, obviously, the Bird on a Wire fabric. Seeing as Spoonflower knits are like $27/m, I figured a wearable muslin was in order. This stripey stuff (formerly seen in the Where’s Waldo shirt) was like $3/m. That works.

Pattern: lengthened

I made only one change to Steph’s pattern (which I have to admit, after the Zoe coat fitting and the hack ‘n slash I’ve been doing on the Lekala pattern for my husband, was a BIG relief): I added a crapload of length to the bottom. Steph drafted for 3″ below the waist… 3″ below my waist is still an inch or two above my pants. Those of you who don’t wear your pants indecently low won’t have this issue. 😉 I also smoothed the curve of the back piece in the hip region—I have no idea if it’s better this way, I just liked the look.

So, fit? The shoulders fit. Perfectly. Like a dream. OMG. For the record, I did not once supply Steph with my shoulder measurement.

Back view

In fact, the fit of the whole thing is pretty fabulous. As promised, it’s snug through the bust with a teensy bit of ease in the midriff, just enough to not feel like a stuffed sausage, without feeling odd about the difference between the bust-ease and the waist-ease. Now, just for the record, I made the 35|| size, that’s 35″ bust, rectangular shape. Steph recommends it for those with 8″ or less difference between bust and waist.

Cool Cat

Also for the record, I myself have a 33″ bust and  a 5″ difference with my waist on a good day. /sigh. This is not a very stretchy fabric, but if you’re an actual 35″-bust you probably want to make sure you use a fabric with at least a modest amount of give. There’s a fairly significant amount of negative ease at the bust, which is actually the narrowest point on the pattern. Bonus for me, it meant I didn’t need to adjust the waist shaping for my short waist!

I think the only thing I’ll change next time is lowering the neck-scoop a little more. Like an inch or two. It’s a bit high for my taste, and maybe a bit higher than in the version Steph drafted for herself. My neck-binding is standing up a bit, but I think that has everything to do with the fabric not stretching enough to make a nice, flat binding.

All inall? Good job, Steph! And thank you :).

(Oh, and sorry for the hat, I had an afternoon shower and no way was I doing my hair again…)

Should you for some reason require more random photos of me goofing around in a stripey T-shirt, they can be found here. I tried to embed the slideshow, but WordPress does not seem to want to play nice with Picasa.

ETA: The pattern is, of course, the Bird on a Wire Tee by Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World. I’ve linked it before but obviously I should include it in the main post here!

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Blue shirt

La Blue Shirt

Lekala 5672 strikes again.

No sooner had I destroyed half of this blue-striped fabric making a failed cowl-neck last spring, I knew it really had wanted to be this raglan top all along. I’ve lost track, at this point, of how many times I’ve made this pattern, nor is there really anything left to say—it’s my go-to for this style, though I still haven’t made it successfully with the kind of gathered bust in the original picture. Some of you may, more recently, recall that I made the exact same shirt in the red version of the fabric I bought at the same time, my Where’s Waldo shirt. Sometimes, you just meet the perfect marriage of fabric and pattern. This fabric wants to be close-fitted knit tees. Although I’m sorta hoping there’s enough of the red left to take a stab at Lisa’s Awesome Folded Mini-Skirt tutorial, sometime when I have enough brainpower to try anything creative (obviously that was not this weekend. In my defense, half of it was spent visiting my step-father-in-law in the hospital, as he just had a major back surgery).

Despite the absolute simplicity of this pattern, I still managed to stitch the sleeves in wrong-side out, and have to rip sleeve seams on one side due to accidentally stitching armscye to neck-portion of the sleeve not once, not twice, but three times. You can tell I like this fabric, because I generally don’t rip stretch stitches. I made this one, as with most of the knits I’ve been stitching lately, on my Janome rather than my serger. Although the serger’s much faster, I find the seams aren’t very strong, and tend to rip out and show the thread on the outside. Presumably this is a tension problem (although possibly a 3-thread-serger problem), but I think it’s one beyond my ability to fix, so for a garment like this that’s fairly fitted, it’s just better to suck it up and take the time to use the regular machine. The serger’s still great for seam-finishing, mind you.

I actually have a remarkable number of self-stitched long-sleeve knit tees at this point, but it seems like I can always use more. This sewing thing was worth it for the long sleeves alone.

There’s a wee bit of the blue-striped fabric left, if I’m good I’ll make something like this one for one of the girls. It’s a circular knit with a fairly wide width, which means I can get a long-sleeved shirt like this out of maybe half a metre of fabric. I love circle-cut knits—the cutting layouts are super-economical and it’s so much easier to get them folded on “grain”. Double win.

All of which is way more yakking than this shirt deserves. Warm. Comfy. TNT pattern. Done.

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Not an impressive day

Expectation, I suppose, is the problem.

I started today with great expectations. The hubs was working (poor him) so all I had to do was get the house recovered from its weekday-chaos state and then I could sew. The kids had friends over all day, which contributes somewhat to the chaos but a lot more to the “me being left alone”, so everything was great. I had cut and started sewing up the muslin for hubs’ frock/Matrix coat yesterday, so I finished that up pretty quickly.

And then, I was at a loss.

I tend to sew with a bit of a one-track mind—start project, finish project, next project. I don’t multitask well at the best of times. And usually this works fairly well. But my brain was oozing COAT, and I couldn’t do any more on the coat until hubs came home and deigned to try it on—which could take days.

Fingers twitching, I moved to another project occupying the sewing table, a shirred-bodice dress for Syo using up the last of the fabric from my niece’s Mini-Minnie dress. A little more mindless than I was looking for, but not as exhausting as pulling out, say, a blazer pattern and starting a muslin for me.

Enjoy this picture. This is as good as it gets.

Unfortunately, it was finished in fairly short order.

Flailing, I pulled out fabrics and put them down. Dug through the scrap bin. Hunted for elastics, considering making undies. Eventually pulled out my knit-tee sloper and started to mess around. I’d like to make a cowl-dress like Oona’s. I even have some gorgous red jersey. Oona used Ichigogirl’s cowl-dress pattern, which I’ve made before as a shirt and found a bit too deep-necked for me. I wanted something with a wider, shallower drape. So I traced out my sloper and played around with slashing and spreading.

Cowl neck

I am thinking that slashing and spreading is a REALLY BAD method of getting a cowl that drapes the way you want. I would be better off draping the cowl part on the dummy and somehow merging that with my sloper. Or something. Because I keep coming up with some pretty “meh” cowls… and when I do knock it out of the ballpark, it’s pretty darn accidental.

It’s not awful, but it’s not quite what I was going for, either.

Raglan sleeve (with bust gather)

Determined to salvage something from this particular fabric, I pulled out the raglan-sleeve top. Boring, but dependable, and despite the insanely good weather (high of 29C today!!!!) I will be wanting long sleeves very much, very soon. In this fabric, there was plenty of stretch to experiment with bust-gathering.

Back view

I think it will be OK after I take a couple of inches off each side. This is the same pattern a the Where’s Waldo shirt, of course, but that fabric had very little stretch, while this stuff grows while you look at it.

And then the hubs got home and it was time to make pizza (why did I decide to use the oven on an actual hot day?)

Shoes make everything better?

At least I found some cute shoes at the thrift store yesterday (a small consolation considering the entire pattern section has been purged. There wasn’t any good fabric, either.)

I guess three pretty-much-finished objects is pretty good for one day (even if they’re all ridiculously simple pieces). I guess I was expecting to have something I was excited about, though.

Those darned expectations…

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The Where’s Waldo Shirt

Where's Waldo? Shirt

Since it appears I can’t escape my clothing’s cartoon references, I guess I’ll embrace it. I am thus proud to dub this the “Where’s Waldo” shirt.

This is one of those fabrics I eyed at Fabricland for quite a while. I thought I liked it, but wasn’t quite sure. Eventually it made its way to the clearance section, and I picked up two metres of each colour—blue and red stripes—for whatever ridiculously low price it was going for.

And I’m glad I did, although I’m also glad I didn’t pay more.

Where's Waldo in the back yard?

This is one of those terribly annoying knits that rolls like crazy. It also doesn’t have much stretch, so it’s fairly easy to cut and sew (aside from the dreaded rolling.

I used some of the blue to make an ill-fated attempt at a cowl-neck top last spring. The cowl was a disaster—this knit hasn’t got the drape—but I really liked the way the rest of the shirt fit, and the “feel”, if you will.  So it was only a matter of time before it became other long-sleeved knit tees.

Where's Waldo back

This shirt was also inspired by this Burdastyle pattern from ages back. There are some cute versions on Burdastyle, too. But why would I pay five bucks to download a pattern when I have Lekala 5672 for free?  Of course, it doesn’t have the seaming, I (again) skipped the gathering on the front, and the neckline, at least in this fabric, is not quite the signature Burda plunge. But it has stripes and the wide raglan neckline, right?

Fun in the Sun

The fit of knits varies massively depending on the knit itself. This same pattern can be dreadfully loose or scandalously tight depending on the fabric. This is a “tight fitting” fabric, so the armpits ride a little high. That’s all right—better than saggy, which is how my first take on this pattern turned out. I could probably narrow the arms a little bit towards the wrists, but we’ll see.

I decided to go easy on myself and use the self-rolling properties of the fabric as a design feature on the sleeves and hem. For the neckline, I stitched on some clear elastic and turned under twice, stitching with a stretch straight-stitch. I was tempted to let the neckline roll, too, but decided against it. Just barely. I did screw up and keep on turning under past where I should have, so there’s a portion that’s turned under three times and a bit of a kink at the end of it, but picking out the stretch stitch was doing more damage to the fabric than the thread so I am leaving it.

I couldn’t quite resist the obvious combination with the Sailor Shorts for the photos, sorry. I’m sad to say that these shorts haven’t gotten much (any) wear this summer. Partly because these days I only wear shorts for beach-bumming and creek-walking, but mostly because of the fit. The rise is a little high for my taste, and only made higher by the fact that I’ve been a little, ah, chubby most of the summer. It’s only about 5-10 lbs, but my physiology puts it  right around my middle, exactly where you don’t want it from a health perspective, and exactly where the shorts waistband falls. Urk.* Anyway, I’ll probably hang onto the shorts through next summer and see if I’m any more into them, but I have a feeling they’re not going to become faves. Too bad, because it really is a cute design.

It was really nice to whip something up quickly. This top took less than an hour, and at least ten minutes of that was finding the pattern. I REALLY need to organize my patterns better. I love it when I can throw together a knit top faster than it would take to shop for it. Plus a store-bought one wouldn’t have long, scrunchy sleeves.

*Incidentally, I try not to complain much about my body on the blog. It’s a pretty good body even if the tummy isn’t what she was a few years ago.  But I’m not one of those people whose weight fluctuates a lot, and aside from childbearing I’ve been mostly around my preferred weight all my adult life. The excursions from this ALWAYS coincide with periods where my usual minimally-healthy lifestyle tips over into chips-and-lazing-around. This summer definitely qualifies. Now that the school routine is back on, I will hopefully slip back to where I should be. Provided I can break this chocolate-bar habit.

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Trial Tunic

Tunic and apple tree

Before I get into the tunic, I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful comments on yesterday’s anniversary post. I’m proud of my husband and our family, and of the way we’ve dealdt with the struggles we’ve gone through to get where we are now (not that we are done with struggling, by any means). My favourite quote about love (though I couldn’t name the source) is that “Love isn’t something you feel, it’s something you do.”

Anyway. Tunics.

I have a bit of an ambivalent relationship with tunics. You may not know this, except, perhaps, by their total absence from my sewing so far. Basically, I have what can charitably be called a “boyish” figure, and I have generally figured that the purpose of clothing should be to emphasize what little I have in the way of curves, rather than skim over them. Also, I’m still recovering from a long-time perception that the tighter, shorter, and skankier an outfit was, the better it looked. So I’ve always tended to give tunics a pass.

But, in their massive popularity over the last few years (possibly in abatement now, but the trends can kiss my ass), I did wind up trying on a few here and there and, to my surprise, discovered that I really liked at least some of them. Who knew?

Anyway, one of my favourites has been a specimen with a wide hip-band, scooped, gathered neckline, flutter sleeves, and a keyhole opening in the upper back. And ever since I worked out my knit sloper over the course of last fall, I’ve been wanting to attempt to immitate it. How hard, after all, could it be?

Closeup

This is not the ultimate version, by any means. Most egregiously, this version is about three inches too short, so that the hip band falls above my hips rather than at my widest point, especially after several minutes of wearing. I can blame this on nothing but myself, though, as I took the existing length of my knit sloper rather than actually measuring the original tunic. My keyhole opening in the back is quite a bit smaller than the original, too, for much the same reason, although this is less upsetting.

Neckline. Meh.

The hardest part of this entire project was binding the neckline. I have a really hard time producing nice bindings in thin, wriggly knits. I’ve sidestepped (or at least minimized) the issue in the past by using a lot of cowl-necked patterns or other alternative neck finishings for the thinner knits I’ve sewn up, but for this pattern I really needed to bind the gathered neckline. I achieved it, by dint of much fussing, cussing, and the flagrant application of both Steam-a-Seam and Wonder Tape, but it’s not especially pretty or professional-looking. Also keeping my gathering from squooshing under the machine foot was nearly impossible. It’s not perfectly even, but at this point I’m not going to complain. Sadly, I’m not sure I can do a lot better with the equipment at hand.

Back view

Other than that, and a bit of futzing with the back closure (between the neckline and the keyhole), I’d say it’s a reasonably successful first attempt, though. V. 2 should be much more satisfactory, or at least longer. The downside of taking your own photos with the timer is there’s no one to tell you your shirt is hiked up at the back. On the other hand there’s a pretty good chance this is the way it’d look most of the time when worn, anyway.

In Me-Made June news,

MMJ 2

today I am wearing the 50s shrug (pattern here), blog post here

Cowl-neck shirt

skinny jeans.

 

As you may have guessed, it still isn’t really warm, although at least we’re in no (immediate) danger of snow. Still, I shan’t complain—sun and mid to upper teens (C) is decent enough.

It does appear that someone’s been working some arcane rituals in the back yard, however. Maybe that will be more effective in bringing on the nice weather than all my hopeful sewing.

Someone's up to something...

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Confection

Lacy dress!

I do truly, truly love how quick knits can be to sew up (especially when I’m floundering for a blog post 😉 ). I made up the pattern for this after supper last night and had the entire thing cut out and stitched up before bedtime. Yay!

Last week when I asked about ideas for my lace, there were lots and lots of very good thoughts, including another one of my 70s maxi-dresses (which would’ve been divine) or a top-and-skirt combo (and some links to some really neat skirts, too…) but the t-shirt dress, a la Carolyn, seemed to win out overall, and, most importantly, to me.

So I made one.

Pattern adjustments

Patty made an interesting point on her awesome skirt post that self-made patterns can be frustrating to read about since you can’t go out, pick up the pattern, and make it yourself. I get what she’s saying—but not enough to give up making up my own patterns, which is SO MUCH FUN (regardless whether I know what I’m doing or not.) So as a compromise, I figure I’ll mention a bit more about what exact changes to my basic pattern I made. (This is also good because then I’ll remember them for next time when I lose the pattern pieces)

As with the great cowl adventure, this all began with my trusty “knit top sloper”, the pattern formerly known as Lydia. The changes this time were minimal—I made a square neckline (just by squaring off the corner of my usual scoop-neck) and lengthened the bottom; I just followed the angle of the hip of the sloper on down and out, which created a slightly A-line skirt. For length, I picked 20″ below the waist (I have a waist line marked on the sloper for just such purposes, although I was too lazy to include it in the diagram, sorry) as a nice, above-the-knee-but-not-dangerously-short length. (I feel like I should add that I have nothing against micro-minis per se, it’s just that sad experience has taught me that if a skirt is short enough that I spend a considerable amount of time worrying about who I’m flashing while I’m wearing it, I will end up just not wearing it. Sad but true. My micro-mini skorts, on the other hand, get worn to death)

Lacy Dress---Side

For the sleeve, I eyeballed a “nice, just above-elbow” length, which turned out to be about 18cm below the armpit. I added quarter-inch seam allowances, and proceeded to (ulp!) cut my fabric.

I think it’s worth mentioning a couple of things about the fabric. You all met the lace, a gorgeous bargain-bin find, last week, of course. What I didn’t mention is that one of the reasons I hadn’t done anything with it yet (other than the weather) was that I didn’t have the right underlay. So last week, aside from juggling children, schoolwork, and ER visits (no lasting harm done), one of my goals was to acquire said fabric. It had to be smooth, stretchy, not to heavy, and set of my lace. Syo and I wandered high and low through Fabricland draping my lace over every solid-coloured knit. We started in the bargain centre, but of course what I settled on in the end was a much pricier cotton-lycra blend, setting me back roughly $10/m. Not humongously expensive (especially compared to the bamboo knits or some of the other nice athletic solids), but considering this is going underneath a $2.50/m fabric… yeah. Well. Anyway, I bit the bullet, and I have to say I love the fabric—its feel, stretch, recovery—more than enough to pay that much again. After much hemming and hawing, I picked a bright white, too, rather than an ivory or cream colour—I like how it brightens the overlying lace.

Lacy Dress---Front

So, I had both my fabrics. I cut the bodice front and back out of both, but the sleeves only out of the lace.

Now, stretch is always the wildcard when it comes to knits. Depending on the fabric, my knit sloper can produce garments that are either tent-like or alarmingly form-fitting. I wanted the lace dress to be form-skimming rather than sausage-skin-like, so I had checked its stretch, in a very rough and ready way, by marking a length of the fabric equivalent to the bodice front across the bust and then stretching this on me to see how snug it was. If it was too tight I was planning to add a bit of extra ease to the bodice, but it seemed all right—yay!

I did not perform said test with the underlay, choosing to hope that it would be, at least, no more droopy, and hopefully just a bit more snug.

For once, the sewing gods were not vengeful, and that seems to have been the case. In another interesting observation of knit/stretch, I meant to trim the underlay shorter (since you wouldn’t want it hanging out from beneath the scalloped edge) but totally forgot. Once assembled, however, the lace naturally stretched to an inch or more below the underlay bottom edge—perfect!

Lacy Dress---Back

Construction wise, I pondered a bit. I knew I wanted it attached at neckline, shoulders, and arms, but I figured I wanted the side-seams of the dress to move separately. This took a bit of mental gymnastics, and some fudging, as I basically followed my usual construction order (one shoulder, bind neckline, other shoulder, set sleeves flat, sew underarm and side-seams in one pass, except it was two passes this time.), but mostly has worked out.

Now, in fairness, all is not perfect. There are any number of oddly-pulled areas, around the hem, side-seams, and shoulders; my neckline didn’t come out perfectly symmetrical (boo!), the lace tends to droop in one spot, which I can relate directly to the ends of the fabric piece being more stretched out than the middle when I was cutting. For the most part I’m not going to sweat them until I wash the whole thing at least once. I was at a loss as to how to properly bind a square neckline in a knit (google mostly pulled up stuff featuring woven bias binding, not at all what I was looking for), and the V-neck methods I was hitting on all seemed to have a much wider band than I wanted. I did toy with trying to use the scalloped edge on the neckline, but the scallop seemed a little big and floppy. So in the end I just bound it with a strip of the lace and a bit of clear elastic. As I’ve been doing with my more floppy knits lately, it seemed easier to just turn the entire band to the inside and topstitch… In the end this worked all right, although the corners aren’t crisply square any more. Meh. I was hoping to skip out on hemming the lining fabric, but it’s one of those knits that rolls like crazy so I will probably have to :P.

On the whole, I’m not bothered, though, because I have a great lace T-shirt dress!

And, even better, I still have over a metre of my lace fabric left… what to do, people, what to do?

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A further invocation of spring

Mermaid skirt

Since the first one worked so well. Well, it did—the temperatures I’m complaining about right now are a full 20° C warmer than the ones I was complaining about at the beginning of the month. It’s still snowing, however.

This fabric was snatched up in the frenzy of stash-building earlier this month when I discovered Fabricland had actually put some decent knits in their clearance section. Mainly I like the colour, but it also has an interesting sueded surface and a moderate stretch. It seemed a little heavy and so was passed over during the Great Cowl Experiment (which Sigrid’s versions are making me ache to revisit, by the way…), but I thought it would be great for a springy little skirt.

My first thought was a half-circle like Hip Dropped Stitches’ gorgeous one, but I was concerned that the nap running in different directions might end up looking odd (I can’t tell if there is a direction, but if I pretend there isn’t, you know I’ll find out there is when I photograph the skirt.)

My next thought was a mermaid skirt. I’ve been wanting a little, flared, gored skirt since… well, aside from always liking them, Loutracey posted this one lots back in Self-Stitched September, and then Big in Japan copied this one, and then most recently Yoshimi unveiled this gorgeous (red!) version. Yum, yum YUM.

Evolution of a pattern: right, original piece; centre, doubled; left, tripled width.

What flummoxed me for the longest time was a pattern. Obviously a straight gored skirt would be easy to draft (bum-fitting aside), but I wanted something with a graceful curve hugging the hips and then flaring out below. This would take a bit more thought. And of course, going out and buying a pattern would be too easy. Lekala had a couple of versions I considered, but the one had too many panels (a 10-gore skirt, in fact) and looked too long (which is SO weird, because if you look at their artist’s rendering, the skirt comes to below the knee. The pattern piece is only 22″ long, people, and the waistband’s not that wide either. I mean, I know I have long legs, but not that long.), and the other one, while lovely, seemed to have a bit too much flare. I wanted the skirt to bell out, but not be a circle dropped to my hips.  (I can’t believe I just admitted that a skirt can be too full. That’s like saying pants can be… too long. Or that the Blondissima got your hair too blonde).

Skirt closeup, showing waistband

Anyway, when this fabric came along and the idea crystallized, I went back to the Lekala patterns, thinking I could probably make one work. I knew the length I wanted (just above knee), and that I wanted a six-gore skirt with wider CF and CB panels and narrower panels at the sides.

So I revisited the Lekala patterns, and eventually printed off Lekala 5826, mainly because it required less paper. Man was that a tiny pattern piece! Comparatively, anyway.

So, I had the pattern piece for a 10-gore skirt that was designed to fit me (or rather, someone with hips my size but a “normal” waist) at the natural waist. What I wanted was a 6 gore skirt that sat lower on my hips, with wider front and back panels. It was time to get creative.

Some quick measuring informed me that if the pattern piece as is were used to make a 12-gore, rather than a 10-gore, skirt, it would have pretty much exactly the “waist” measurement I was looking for. The length and flare still seemed good—it would be a very short skirt if worn at the true waist. Furthermore, a 12-gore arrangement is much easier to convert to the uneven panels I wanted—I could make the CF and CB panels the width of 3 original gores, and the side panels the width of 2 original gores. Perfect! I checked the amount of stretch on my fabric, to make sure I didn’t need to subtract ease, and got tracing. I used the highly scientific method of tracing the pattern piece, then sliding it over so the waist and hip notches lined up and tracing the other side. Aside from running off my paper and having to piece in a bit at the hem, it worked really well, although I can’t swear there isn’t a bit of flattening along the hem curve on the 3-times-wide panel.

So, I had my pattern. Time to lay it out.

Back view

Blerg. Now I remember the second reason I had hesitated making one of these things—man are they wasteful of fabric! Especially since I couldn’t reverse any of the pieces due to nap-related fears. This little, itty bitty, not-even-knee-length skirt used up my full two metres of fabric, with barely enough left over for the wide, fold-over waistband I wanted. Of course there are plenty of (rather large) scraps… but seriously! I could probably have gotten two shirts out of that thing! As it is, maybe the scraps will be large enough to play with glovemaking… faux-suede sky-blue gloves would be lovely, don’t you think?

Anyway.

It was pretty quick to sew up, although I did inevitably serge the two wide panels together almost right off the bat. I don’t pick out serged seams, so I just cut that seam off. As it turned out (due to that magic of stretch fabric, even when it didn’t seem overly stretchy when tested) the skirt needed a fair bit of taking in anyway so it wasn’t a problem. I took a couple of cm off each seam, and then took the two side seams in another inch or so.

Skirt---spread out

The waistband is a wide rectangle folded over and applied exactly as the neckband in this tutorial.; I determined the length by wrapping the piece around my hips until it seemed like it was a good tightness. This wound up being a smidge smaller than the skirt opening after I’d taken it in, which seems about right. I didn’t have enough clear elastic to include it in the waist seam… we’ll see if I regret that in the future. Since the skirt’s absolutely the same front or back, whereas I am not, it has the potential to ride up in the back, but if I fold the waistband properly I can prevent that. If the problem persists I can always trim it at the front later; I didn’t do a hem, just trimmed the bottom edge smooth by running through my serger without thread.

It actually turned out quite a bit longer than I had thought it would—it’s hovering just below knee length where I was expecting it to be above. I guess that has to do with adding the waistband and where it sits on my hips, and the fact that there’s no need to take up a hem… anyway, I like it very much, although I’m going to have to figure out what it works with other than just tank-tops. It’s lean enough on the bottom that any puff on top—like the puffed sleeves on my JJs or a cowl neck on a shirt—makes me feel top-heavy, so we’ll see. I may have to make a shorter version in the future, though, out of a less drapy fabric to see more of the “mermaid” shape.

I do like the blue with my red shoes!

(But for now, since it is still snowing, I’m going to put my sweater back on!)

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A cute model…

…Makes up for many shortfalls.

Some people can just wear anything...

Should I feel guilt about convincing Syo that this totally crappy fabric was a good choice for the sweater-dress she wanted, based on the same pattern as this shirt? It’s (finally) almost all gone. Aside from my distaste for the fabric (and sewing it—it grows under the needle) the dress was really simple. The only tricky part was sewing an elastic into the neckline to keep it from becoming absolutely jumbo-esque. I had to pick out my first try because I hadn’t pulled the elastic taut enough. Argh. As with my sweater in this fabric, I ducked the aggravation of hemming by doing a half-ass lettuce hem, which is just a standard serged edge with the fabric pulled taut as it feeds through. Don’t look too closely at the strap placement or the straightness of the side-seams, but the sprout is happy, which is the main thing, right?

What I've been working on

My efforts towards drafting the Springy Coat pattern have led me astray. Or rather, I figured I should try a full jacket using my fitted pattern, so I’m in the process of working on this. I’d been hoping to have it finished today but that doesn’t seem likely at this point. I’m excited, though… 😉

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Cowl Finale

Cowlneck the fourth

Well, for the moment. Like Steph, I think I’m done with this project. I’ve made four knit cowly tops this week, all but one of which are wearable. (And I have hopes of salvaging the fourth, possibly by stitching down the folds or something…)

This one was supposed to be the ultimate. And, to be honest, I think it looks kick-ass in the pictures. That is pretty much what I was going for.

The devil, as always, is in the details.

The biggest one, I think, is the most inevitable—the large cowl which permits those lovely underbust folds doesn’t, in fact, stay in place particularly well; any time I raise my arms or lean over, it comes untucked, creating a front that just looks, well, poofy. I have a feeling the original top would’ve had the same problem unless (as I half-suspect) the “underbust” folds in the photo are created by tugging down on the cowl, rather than falling naturally that way—in which case in the shirt as worn they wouldn’t even be there at all…

Completely my fault, on the other hand, are the hole I

A bit of a closer look

accidentally snipped in the front neckline while trimming the binding, the cowl facing that doesn’t fall nicely to the inside (I sewed it down a hair or two wrong on the inside), and the fact that the sleeves are sewed on with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Fortunately the last is virtually undetectable—anyone looking that close is going to be much more struck by my wonky stitching. /sigh. I was trying to take my time with this last version, but I think my subconscious was against me.

For those of you who’ve been thoroughly confused with what I’ve been doing (and who’ve stuck with me despite it 😉 ) I made up a quick little diagram of the steps I took. The tricky part, again, is the details—how long and wide of a drape, how much to curl back the front pattern piece.

Pattern alteration---click image to see full size

And I think that’s enough of messing with cowls for, well, at least a couple of weeks…

After all, Sherry’s tailoring sewalong begins in just a few weeks, and I need to have a pattern of some kind ready for that. I think I’m going to try to create my own based on the Built By Wendy jacket book (which Ali just did a great overview of). I’m thinking princess-seamed bodice, empire waist with A-line below, thigh-length, maybe an inverted box pleat or two in the skirt portion… still haven’t decided on a collar or single- or double-breasted… anyway, I’m sure I’ll have a post on that in a day or two, anyway. But I will still have to muslin etc., and decide if I can make the sleeves two piece etc.

So much to sew, so little time… 😉

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