Tag Archives: knit

Shorts for the shortie

Almost-undies

One of the things I traced off last week was Jalie 3022, a cute yoga-pants pattern.

In the shorts length.

In sizes for my kids.

This allows me to use up yet more teeny knit scraps, test out the pattern, and, in all probability, contribute to my children’s chronic habit of dressing extremely inappropriately for the weather.

So, over the last week, I managed, in approximately five-second intervals, to get a pair of the shorts together for Syo. I traced of the size J pattern, in shorts length, making no adjustments on this initial pair. This is the equivalent of the size 6, for my nearly-nine-year-old, but it matched her measurements and the fit is pretty much spot on.

I should, however, have remembered that Jalie drafts for the flat-of-butt. Syo’s derriere is not quite as J-Lo-esque as her older sister’s, but it’s still decently protruberant. The rise in the front is good, even a little high, but the rise in the back is a bit meager. And, while the shorts version is pretty short, I don’t actually think the bottom of her butt is supposed to be hanging out. And there’s a wee bit of wedgie action going on.

None of which prevented her from bouncing up and down upon seeing them, squealing “Mommy made me booty shorts!”. She has also slept in them every night since, and worn them to school under her (very) skinny jeans because she forgot to take them off, so they must be fairly comfortable. It’s also why they look a bit stretched out and beat up in the photo…

As to the pattern itself…

The main feature that makes this pattern a little different is the additional vertical seam down the back. This allows for a bit more shaping in the butt region, not to mention lets me use even smaller scraps of fabric to make up the shorts. It does increase the construction time a wee bit.

I took some major liberties with the waistband, partly due to fabric limitations and partly due to not having a nice contrast-fabric to make the oramental panel on the outside. I just cut the single, inside piece, and folded it over around some wide elastic. This worked, but it didn’t produce a particularly nice waistband—partly because the waistband elastic I had on hand was a bit heavy for the purposes, and partly because my fabric is not overly stretchy, so rather than easing neatly to the waistband it’s pretty harshly gathered. it looks fine on, though. I have since actually read the instructions, and they make much more sense and give a much nicer finish, calling for a narrow, 1 cm elastic to be attached inside the top of the waistband. So don’t judge the pattern by the crap-tacle I made of the waistband.

I used a faux-athletic-looking stitch for hemming the legs. I will note this is the first time I’ve successfully hemmed this particular, rolly fabric without adding elastic or a band. I stitched the hem from the wrong side so I could flatten out the rolling manually as I went, and it worked really well, but obviously wouldn’t’ve been possible if I’d wanted to use a twin needle topstitch, for example.

All in all these are a quick, not terribly nicely-finished test piece. But Syo seems completely happy with them. I’m not sure how many booty shorts my kids need (they actually cover less of her butt than some of her underwear), but it’s a great way of using up spare fabric, especially little teeny bits. And yes, she wears them with the matching bralette from the photo.

I have a pair ready for Tyo, too, but I’ll do a separate post on them once I get her to try them on…

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My Image Again

Young Image

A couple of weeks back, My Image magazine (the new European pattern magazine) sent me an email offer I couldn’t refuse—get the two summer issues FREE paying only shipping. Sold!

I picked up a couple of issues last spring. Now, I have to confess, I have a bit of an issue with pattern magazines. On the one hand, I LOVE them. I trace most of my patterns anyway, so that’s not an issue, and there’s something so exciting about having all those looks to flip through. However, (as with a lot of my pattern purchases, actually) I haven’t made up a whole lot from what I’ve already bought. I bought one issue of Burda, once, and made one pattern from it, which was basically a fail. From the previous two My Image magazines I bought last spring, I made one dress from the Young Image, for my niece (and modified it highly). My most-used pattern magazine is actually an old kids’ issue of Patrones that the Selfish Seamstress (reluctantly) gave me, back when I was blessed to bathe in the reflected light of her glory. I’ve made two patterns from it, and there are a couple more that are on the KIDS WANT list.

No, instead I tend to make variation after variation of TNTs.

One of the awesome things about My Image is that you can actually look at the entire magazine (except the patterns) on their website. The only issue I have there is that they tend to make things up in fabulous and crazy prints, which look great but can make it a touch hard to see what’s actually going on. Although the shots are more clothing-focused than a lot of Burda photos. You can also order the patterns in custom sizes, although the price of a single custom size is more than the entire magazine. Still, I’m tempted to give it a try, since one of the things that puts me off making up new patterns is the annoyance of fitting myself.

Anyway, the magazines arrived in really pretty good time shipping from Europe (about two weeks, which is faster than anything I ordered before Christmas arrived from the States). And, in an attempt to get myself out of my current stall, I resolved to make something. However, the dress I most would like to make from the women’s issue requires a stable knit of the sort I don’t have in stash (a doubleknit would be perfect). And I’m REALLY trying to work from stash right now. To the extent that I’m actually *doing* anything, of course, as opposed to just thinking about it.

A very simple pattern.

More importantly, being too lazy to worry about fitting myself, I selected arguably the most brain-dead easy pattern in the Young Image, Y1201, a racer-back tank tunic/dress with flounces on the bottom, cute ornamental tie-on things at the shoulders, and an odd little collar snugging in the racerback.

A very, very bad photo of the line drawing. Sorry, my scanner is being a pain today.

My children being not so much the flouncy types, I left these off. Being lazy, I left off the tie-thingies, too. I did motivate myself to make the little cuff. Go me!

On first  impressions, I traced off the 116. The chest measurement is the same as Syo’s (or at least, the one I recorded for Syo last summer—she’s probably grown a bit but she also likes her clothes more fitted than tunicky). The “dress length” isn’t very long (it’s supposed to have a flounce at the bottom) while the shirt length ended right at the waist. I thought about cutting mid way between the two lengths, but ended up just going with the longer length, which worked out in the end. My Image pattern sheets are a dream to trace—there’s only 16 patterns, four to each sheet, and each pattern is in its own colour. Easy. The hardest part was remembering to add seam allowance to the sides, shoulders, and hem, but not to the neckline and armscye where I would be binding the edge.

Wait—that’s not Syo!

For fabric, I dug through the stash (which despite being rather too big never has exactly what you’re looking for) and picked a cream rib-knit, originally purchased because it was on clearance and a good colour and cotton and I must’ve forgotten how much I don’t like rib-knits for general wear.

The instructions have you cut the binding for the neck and arm-holes on the bias, which I think is fairly silly for a knit, so I just cut mine on the cross-grain. However, this design has enough ease you could probably do it in a woven, in which case the bias binding would make sense.

I have to say, although I am overall quite charmed with the My Image product, the English-language translation remains pretty, um, amusing. What was actually worse than the odd word choices is that the language isn’t entirely consistent. The bindings are referred to in various places as “yokes” and “edging”. One or the other would be figure-out-able, but the inconsistency makes it tricky. Or as tricky as an insanely simple project like this can be. I can’t tell you anything more about the instructions because I abandoned them at that point.

My terrible binding. And my goofy daughter, who will probably never forgive me for posting this shot.

I used my dumbed-down version of Sherry’s excellent binding technique, which is to say that I do it like her except I make my bands extra-wide to start with, don’t overlock the edge, and just trim down the extra close to the stitching on the inside. You have to stretch rib-knit binding an awful lot to get it to end up smooth. I figured that out eventually.

Back “cuff”

They give you dimensions, rather than pattern-pieces, for the rectangular pieces like the little back cuff,   which I approve of thoroughly. That being said, I’m not entirely sure how the cuff was supposed to be put together. I settled for seaming the long edges, turning inside out, and then stitching the ends together and turning that to the inside of the loop before threading it into place and finishing the side-seams. My first attempt seemed a little too wide, so I narrowed it some mmore, and I’m now pretty happy with it although I think it could be a little shorter, too. I didn’t add any seam allowances to this piece, but then I did use 1cm seams, so if seam allowances were included, they may have been 1.5 cm. I dunno.

Full back

Anyway, once I was finished stitching it all up, I realized that the use of a rib-knit and the omission of all the frilly bits had moved it firmly into “wifebeater”*, or rather boybeater, territory. And the loose, tunic style of the original was not at all appropriate for a boybeater. I could tell from looking, however, that the size and length would be just about perfect for Tyo’s tastes.

Woo!

I was a little concerned that the armscye would be too high, but Tyo assures me it’s perfectly comfortable. And she hasn’t taken it off since I gave it to her, so it seems to be a hit.

As for the puppy hat, I have no idea.

*It occurs to me that this is probably one of those regional word usage things. A wifebeater is a close-fitting, usually rib-knit men’s undershirt, evoking the stereotypical image of the white-trash male sitting his trailer drinking a beer while watching the game and yelling at his wife. By extension, when a girl wears one, it is called a boybeater. Manbeater might be more appropriate, arguably.

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Where’s Waldo (Jr)

Tyo Looks Cute (in my tights and shoes...)

As I procrastinated my way through last weekend (as is my wont), I asked Tyo if she’d like a shirt from the remaining bits of my red and grey striped fabric. As I already have two shirts out of it, I thought a third might be overkill. Tyo was amenable, so I cut out another version of her fitted knit top.

I actually sewed this version with a straight stitch, then finished the edges on the serger. I may come to regret that, but it’s an awfully stable knit.

V-neck

I did an unusually good job of measuring the neckline for the neck-band (on my usual scooped necks I just sort of cut an approximate neckband and stretch as I go, but you have to put V-necks on in the round, as far as I can tell, so a little precision goes a long way. I also did one small but obvious thing, I made a tiny snip in the point of the V (before I started attaching the neckband) so that the seam-allowance can fold back. And, miraculously, I ended up with my first-ever, completely-non-puckered V-neck finish! Who knew? (Yes, I know, everyone who ever bothered to read up on inserting V-neck bands knew. We’ve gone over the stubborn-have-to-make-mistakes-for-myself part, haven’t we?)

Back View

Frankly, I was ridiculously proud of myself when I finished this top.

And then Tyo tried it on.

Well, remember I mentioned this knit has very little stretch? I mean, it makes it quite nice to sew up (evil rolling tendencies aside), and I like a firm knit. But this pattern which fit Tyo perfectly in the loose, giving jersey of the white version… is really, really snug. Even the shoulders are too narrow, although the part that’s bugging her is the sleeves. So we’ve been wrangling all week over whether she can cut the sleeves short, or whether she should just hand it down to Syo. I’m leaning towards the latter, preferring not to have my new creation hacked into, especially when there would’ve been a lot more usable fabric left if I’d decided to cut short sleeves from the beginning. Probably enough enough for a shirt for Tyo. Grroar. Of course, now that the pictures are taken, she’s still wearing it and not complaining… we’ll see.

Not sure how much sewing I’ll get up to over the weekend, but here’s hoping.

Front view

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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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