Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reversible Apron

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We did at our house. Christmas tends to be a busy time for preachers due to extra services, but there are some other areas of responsibility that lighten up at the same time, so both  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day actually felt pretty relaxing here. Later today we are leaving to visit family for a week and we're really looking forward to that.

I'm rather behind with blogging. Things have been busy and while I've still managed to squeeze in the sewing time that I need, the blogging time didn't make the cut. I do find writing about my projects helpful for myself, so I'm going to try to get caught up relatively soon.

I've been thinking about aprons lately. I really like aprons. It's not unusual for me to wear one most of the day if I'm home. It seemed like it was time for me to have another one. I looked at a lot of patterns, but didn't find one that I really liked.

My personal apron preferences:

  • a full (with bib) apron
  • some interest, but not a lot of ruffles or fussiness
  • nothing that looks like a costume
  • more feminine than this
  • more interesting than this
  • simpler to construct than this

So, I decided to make my own pattern. It would be reversible, have a feminine neckline, a curved hem, and long ties. Here's the first version:

Reversible Apron
This is my daughter's debut as a photographer. I was laughing at her taking the picture. Her running commentary about what part of me the "little box" on the screen was on was quite amusing. The fact that she was giggling and wiggling kept it moving around.

I used stretch woven fabrics for both sides of the apron - not because I thought that stretchiness would be a good quality to have in an apron, but because this was a muslin of sorts and I wasn't all that attached to these two fabrics.

Reversible Apron
While the thought of having an additional available photographer is appealing, photos taken at an upward angle are not particularly flattering. Have to remember that...

Apron

This is actually an accidental picture, but it shows the fabric well. I prefer this polka dot side. The other side is made from a black/white pinstripe shirting that reads as grey. Overall, it was very blah, so I added the tea pot appliqué at the lower edge.

Apron

Reversible Apron

After making and wearing this apron, I made some changes to the pattern...

  • I don't like how short the apron is in the back, so for the next version I lengthened it a bit, keeping the center front the same. It changed the curve a little, but from the front it still looks the same.
  • The ties are really long. Too long. Ideally, they would be long enough to give me the option to tie them in front. These pretty much require being tied in front.
  • I like the neckline, but felt like the neck strap looked too narrow, so I made it a bit wider.

I've already made it a second time - as a gift, so I can't write about it yet. But, soon...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mini Mittens

Several months ago I made a mini sweater. Now that sweater is on our Christmas tree and I really like it there. I decided to look for some other miniature knitted things to put on the tree as well. My search led me to these Mini Mittens.

Mini and Mini-er Mittens

The grey pair were the first ones I made. I like how they turned out, but grey isn't a great color for a Christmas ornament - not very festive and hard to see on the tree. I also wanted them to be even smaller, so I made another pair from multi-colored sock yarn on size 1 needles. These were just what I was hoping for (they're about an inch long).

Mini-er Mittens

But, they aren't on our tree because I tied them to a Christmas card envelope and gave them away. Now I have to make another set. But, this is fun, fast knitting. I might make a couple more sets.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Can-Can Skirt

When I first saw this skirt about a year ago, I thought that my daughter would loooove it if it was pink. I was right.

Can-Can Christmas Skirt

The “pattern” is really just a set of instructions, but they are pretty good. The size of the different tiers is determined using a set of ratios, so there are an infinite number of sizes that can be made, including for women.

Can-Can Christmas Skirt

Attaching the ruffles is done with a lack of precision. The instructions say, “Don’t pin; just sew.” I’m a little embarrassed to say how nervous that made me. I like precision. One side seam is sewn before the ruffles go on and the second is done after. The ruffles don’t match up all that well on the second side seam, which I thought “ruined” the skirt, but when this skirt is on my daughter I can hardly find the side seam, much less notice unmatched ruffles. So, I think the instructions are good and maybe I should be a little less hung up on precision.

Can-Can Christmas Skirt

Non-fraying chiffon is the fabric recommended for the ruffles, but I used polyester organza. I didn’t have time to order this certain fabric, so I had to use what I could find. This coral-pink color was the only organza that came in three similar shades at my local Fabricland. I was hoping for a darker, blue-pink but I didn’t really get to make that choice.

Can-Can Christmas Skirt

I cut the strips on the bias to get around the fraying issue. When I took the picture above, my daughter had worn the skirt three times and the edges are starting to get rough. I still think it looks okay, but this isn’t going to be an heirloom sort of garment.

Headband

I also made her a headband to match the skirt using this tutorial for the flower. I'm not as excited about how the flower turned out as I'd like to be. I think it needs a few more layers for fullness. As much as I'd like to think I'll go back and re-do it, I likely won't. Too many other things to start...

Christmas Piano Recital

Things have been busy here, so this ended up being a last minute rush job. I really don’t enjoy that type of sewing. I got in done in time for her to wear it to her first piano recital last Saturday. She loved wearing the skirt and did a fantastic job playing her pieces.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Stars Have Aligned...

...on my couch!

Star Pillows

These were all requested by S and most of the fabric is from her stash. Two of the dark grey ones are for her to give as a gift and the others are for her shop.

Individual pics:

This is a decorator fabric. Half of the points are cut from the "right" side and half from the "wrong" side:

Star Pillow

Also a decorator fabric, the points are cut from two different sections of the same fabric:

Star Pillow

The purple fabric is from S. I combined it with this strange greenish-gold dupioni silk that I had. It looks much more gold in the pictures than it does in real life. This is kind of a strange combination, but it's good to try something different once in awhile.

Star Pillow

The textured fabric was my compliment to S's crimson fabric.

Star Pillow


The raised rows are strands of recycled silk spun together. The colors are fascinating to look at, but it isn't an easy fabric to work with. 

Star Pillow

I'll drop these off tomorrow and that will make her shop very well stocked with stars!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ottobre 01-2010-14 - Denim Coat

I'm so pleased with how this little coat turned out, I hardly know what to say about it. It is a gift for my newest niece and I had so much fun making it! 

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

The pattern is in the Spring 2010 issue of Ottobre magazine. This is the third Ottobre pattern for me - the other two (here and here) were much simpler than this one. I was so impressed with this coat pattern that I cancelled my subscription to Threads and started subscribing to Ottobre. I've been subscribing to Threads continuously for 10 years now and haven't been impressed with the last couple of years at all. There are a couple of reasons for that. I'm not completely dissatisfied with Threads, but it seems like a good time for a change. Threads and Ottobre are entirely different sorts of magazines, but the funding for them comes from the same place so I had to choose one or the other.

Okay, back to the coat...

It is fully lined with a printed plaid (aka difficult-to-match plaid).

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

The buttons came home with me from NYC. I didn't have a project in mind when I purchased them - I just really liked them. I had the exact number called for in exactly the correct sizes for this coat - 4 larger for the jacket front and 2 smaller for the sleeve tabs - and considering the pace at which I'm sewing for myself these days, it seemed like it would be good to share them with someone else.

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

The sleeve tabs are a nice detail. All of the top-stitching is done with taupe thread using the triple-straight stitch.

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

The niece that I sent this to was just born in October, so it's going to be awhile before she can wear it. Right now it fits my two-year-old daughter pretty well.

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat
It seems that the ponytails were feeling extra perky and the nose extra runny for this picture!

Thankfully, the season when she could wear this is pretty much over. I'd be tempted to keep it otherwise.

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

Generally, I make baby gift clothes pretty big (other projects here and here) for a few reasons:
  • pattern sizes can be quite a bit different than RTW (ready-to-wear) and it is hard to guess what size a baby will be in a certain season
  • babies outgrow clothes much faster than toddlers/pre-schoolers and if I'm going to go through the effort of making something it would be nice for it to last a bit longer
  • new parents usually get LOTS of little baby clothes and I when I was in that spot I really appreciated being able to pull out something new a couple of years down the road
Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

This isn't a heavy coat and my niece lives in Michigan, so the number of months it can be worn might be relatively few, but I think it will be enjoyed nonetheless.

Ottobre 1/2010 Denim Coat

I'm not sure why I feel compelled to point this out (maybe because it is the only thing I'm not happy with), but the top-stitching on the collar is too far away from the edge. I should have ripped it out, but I didn't. Mea culpa. Okay, enough of that. Back to being happy with it...

Yay for satisfying sewing!