Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Knitting Post

It's been awhile since I had a post about knitting.  That's because there hasn't been much knitting going on.

I did these dishcloths sometime in the spring:

new dishcloths

Good instant gratification knitting. I did most of them on a trip to visit family and they're all for me. The one that is second from the left was started and half finished during an 80 minute wait at the border crossing into the US.  It was just me and the three kids and it was the only thing that kept me from jumping off the bridge. Knitting is soothing.

Then I finished these:

handknit socks

I started them last September.  I finished one and had a couple of inches done on the second and completely lost interest. When I needed some mindless knitting for another road trip, I picked it up and am happy that they're finished. There is some serious ladder unattractiveness along the top of the foot, but still, I'm going to be happy with them. The yarn is hand-dyed and the colors are really amazing.  I will enjoy wearing these (in a few months).

And now I'm working on this:

Beginning of Rosamund's Cardigan

Rosamund's Cardigan from the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. I started it about three weeks ago and haven't spent a lot of time on it, but when I do, it moves pretty quickly and I'm enjoying the process.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jalie 2788 - Black twist top

On a recent trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, I picked up a white linen skirt with a black print and some beading near the bottom. I thought it was cute and a good fit, but I didn't have a top to wear with it. To remedy that, I pulled out some black mystery knit fabric from the stash and Jalie 2788.

Jalie 2788 - twist top

The fabric is very soft and drape-y, but also pretty thin, so sewing it wasn't always easy.  The neckline, in particular, doesn't look all that great.  I used clear elastic to stabilize it and I always have a difficult time getting that serged on neatly. I had the same problem with this version.

Jalie 2788 - twist top

This was a total rush job and looks like it on close inspection. I wanted to wear it out for dinner with the Preacher and finished it about an hour before I had to pick up the babysitter. So, I guess I was successful, but the top isn't as nice as I would really like it to be. It's been awhile since I had a serious beat-the-clock sewing session and it'll probably be awhile before I try it again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stenciled Shirts

For awhile now I've wanted to try freezer paper stencils with fabric paint. A few weeks ago I got myself to Michael's to pick up the paint. I did that before deciding on a stencil pattern or getting freezer paper, so when I saw a package of sticky stencils for fabric embellishing purposes I easily talked myself into buying the stencils rather than making them.

I made a new T-shirt for each of my older kids. There is a possibility that I'll make one for my younger daughter yet, but it would be to assuage my guilt rather than make her feel good - she doesn't really care (yet) that I don't make much for her.

For my son's shirt I used navy blue cotton jersey that has been in my stash for a loooong time and Kwik Sew 2918. My daughter's shirt is made with leftovers of this shirt of mine and Burda 9549, just like this shirt.

Stenciled T-shirts

I didn't get any decent close-ups because my son is constantly in motion. Most of the pictures I took are some variation of this:

Stenciled T-shirts

And it didn't take long before they started looking like this:

Stenciled T-shirts
Pleeease, mom, can we be done now?


With these two shirts, I am done with the summer sewing for my kids. Now we're back to doing laundry once a week.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Look 6884 - Green striped dress

I was pretty happy with the look of this dress on my daughter and wanted to use the pattern again.  New Look 6884 has several different views and I think the collar, sleeve and ruffle choices make them look pretty different from each other.  For this dress, I left off the collar and used the cap sleeves with elastic bands.

New Look 6884

My MIL picked up the fabric awhile ago and I'm really liking all the stripes in the dress.  There are a lot of places where the stripes could match up, but they don't at any one of the places.  Not from bodice to skirt (neither front nor back) or at the shoulders. I cut this out several weeks ago and I can't remember if I just didn't think to match them up or if I decided it would be okay to ignore it this time. The stripe repeat is rather large, so it would have taken some work to get it matching, but probably still would have been good to do.

New Look 6884

The sleeves are cut on the bias and have a partial elastic band at the bottom.  Bias binding finishes the lower edge and creates the elastic casing.  The armhole seam is finished with bias binding, too.  I didn't take any pictures of the inside, but it looks nice and clean.

New Look 6884

The pattern includes shorts to wear under the dress.  I usually make shorts for my daughter to wear under skirts and dresses, so I liked that a pattern was included.

I like seeing my girls in dresses for summer play and this one fits it's purpose well. The wrinkles are evidence of a good day of play.

New Look 6884

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oliver + S Popover Sundress

Every region has its own idioms. One of the interesting things about living in several different places is hearing and coming to understand these phrases and expressions that aren't perfectly clear to non-natives.  Where we live currently, people "pop over." As in, "Could the kids and I pop over for a play date?" or "Why don't you pop over for tea sometime next week?" I haven't yet gotten up the nerve to invite anyone to pop over for popovers, but maybe someday I will.

When I saw the Oliver + S Popover Sundress on BurdaStyle, I couldn't resist downloading and making it. It would be perfect for my daughter to pop over her head and be looking cute when someone does pop over for popovers!

It's a free download, available in sizes 2-8.  The front is exactly the same as the back, so there aren't all that many pieces of paper to tape together.  The instructions are good - something I was glad to see since I just ordered two Oliver + S envelope patterns.

Oliver + S Popover Sundress

The fabric is a lightweight cotton/poly blend and using it was the only difficult part of this project.  It didn't press well (look at that side seam below, ick!), which made making the bias straps more complicated than it needed to be. But, it was good to use the fabric - someone gave it to me years ago when they were clearing out their own stash.

Oliver + S Popover Sundress

The front and back are exactly the same, trim and everything.

Oliver + S Popover Sundress

The top is a sleeveless version of Kwik Sew 2918. Pebble piping finishes the arm and neck holes just like these shirts, but I could not find the original instructions on the Kwik Sew website anymore. I also made shorts to be worn under the dress of the same fabric as the top from Burda 9615.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Burda 02/2010 #104 - Zebra-print skirt

I was so happy with the clothes I made in yesterday's post that I immediately used the same two patterns again.

Butterick 3344 top / Burda 02/2010 skirt

This skirt is the only piece of animal print clothing I've had as far as I can remember. Generally, they just aren't something I'm drawn to - my look isn't particularly dramatic.  However, this zebra print really appealed to me when I saw it in the home dec department. The inexpensive price increased the appeal. I like that it is brown and ivory instead of black and white.

This skirt isn't going to get a lot of wearing time. I do really like it, but the fabric isn't going to stand up to a lot of wearing and washing.  I've worn it twice and already there is some seam slippage along the center back. I guess usually home dec fabrics should be used for home decorating and not wearing.

Butterick 3344 top / Burda 02/2010 skirt

The top is Butterick 3344 again. I made this version (View B, no sleeves) before (pre-blog) and found that the armholes and the gathers were up too high on me, so I added 1/2" of length across the front between the bust and shoulder. I just turned and stitched down the neckline and armholes, rather than using the facings suggested in the instructions.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Burda 02/2010 #104 - Blue skirt

I'm not all that sure what I think about the changes to the Burda websites. I don't subscribe to the magazine so those changes don't affect me, but I have been frustrated when looking for envelope patterns that I use.  However, the last time I was fruitlessly searching for a link to a pattern, I found my ideal summer skirt pattern. So many others have sewn this, that you likely aren't seeing it for the first time.

Butterick 3344 top / Burda 02/2010 skirt

What makes it ideal for me? It sits just below the waist, has pockets, lacks front darts, and is just slightly A-line. Added to that is the fact that I could have it immediately by download and it was very easy to sew.


I made it up in a light blue cotton twill with large white flowers. I had hoped to match the print across the center back seam, but didn't have enough fabric. To avoid any particularly strange pattern placement, I did cut the backs out single layer.

Butterick 3344 top / Burda 02/2010 skirt

The top is Butterick 3344, a great pattern that is out of print. This time I made view E.


The pattern is for knits and the instructions have you cut it on the bias. I've never cut a knit on the bias, but I thought this was as good a time as any to try it. When I first put the top on, it does feel like it wants to twist around, but after straightening it out, it does stay where it should. If I had more time and fewer other things that I wanted to sew, I'd like to try making it up on the straight grain and see what the difference is. It seems like the cowl would still drape, but I could be wrong. The only change I made to the top was to finish the armholes with bias binding rather than a facing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Butterick 5212 - Flowered dress

Ah, I'm back.  After some sewing for me and then a two-week vacation, I'm happy to be back to blogging. I have a bit of a backlog of projects to show you and I think I'll go in the order that I made them.

A few months ago, I saw this dress in the Boden catalog.


I really liked the style and the combination of the large and small print and set out to make my own version. I initially purchased New Look 6867 and figured I would alter the midriff band to be straighter and narrower and make it go around the back, but then I saw Butterick 5212.  It already had those issues taken care of, so I bought it.

On a trip to Fabricland I found coordinating prints that I liked and I was so eager to get this dress put together that I didn't trace the pattern or make any sort of muslin - both things I do very regularly. After checking the finished garment measurements, I cut a 12 with no changes.  Since I have a hard time being totally reckless (with fabric anyway) I did baste the lining together first to check the fit. I was so pleased when it fit well and didn't make any changes when sewing it, either.

Butterick 5212

I think the final result is dressier than my inspiration above and actually looks more like the Sophia dress from JCrew.


The back, in particular, is more like the JCrew version than the Boden one. It's hard to see in my photo, but the back overlaps just like the front. I like how it looks, but it is quite a bit more flesh than I usually have on display.

Butterick 5212

The fabric is a cotton/poly blend with some texture.  I like the print and its hand, but I'm not sure if the wrinkled thing is working for me. The Preacher had to ask if it was supposed to be that way and when I told him it was, he insisted that he liked it. That's really the only thing about the dress that I'm not sure about, so I'm not going to over-think it.

fabric close-up

The zipper in this dress is under the arm in the side seam. I did a great job putting in an invisible zipper, but after about the third time trying it on, the zipper broke.  I used to be a big fan of invisible zippers, but since buying them at Fabricland, I've had a lot of problems with them.  I don't think I am doing anything different, but the Fabricland zippers don't seem particularly low-quality either. Anyway, I think I'm falling out of love with invisible zippers.  After I took out the broken zipper, I tried my first hand-picked zipper.

hand-picked zipper

It was remarkably easy and feels very sturdy. I tend to be more skeptical about the strength of hand stitches than I ought to be. Threads magazine has good instructions, available here.

The entire dress is lined with cotton batiste.  The pattern only calls for lining the bodice, but since my fabric was a little sheer, I did the skirt too. Having both layers be lightweight keeps the dress feeling summery. I usually avoid bias-cut skirts and dresses because they don't do my hips/saddlebags any favors, but the batiste lining helps this skirt skim rather than cling and I'm happy with the result.

lining (cotton batiste)

This was the first thing I sewed for myself since February. It felt really good. Don't I look pleased with myself?

Butterick 5212