Completed: The Martine Sweater

13 Nov

It’s been a minute since I posted a knitting project, but that doesn’t mean I ever stopped knitting!

Martine Sweater - front

I took some time off from knitting sweaters (other than my yearly OAL makes!) and have spent a couple of months furiously knitting socks. I love handknit socks – I love making them, I love traveling with them (so portable!), I love wearing them, and I love buying yarn for them (way more economical than buying sweater yarn – even if you end up splurging haha). But then I started to get a little sock’d out, so I turned my focus back to sweaters.

Part of the reason why I stopped knitting sweaters as much is because I couldn’t really find patterns that stood out to me. There are TONS of patterns on Ravelry, but the selection dwindles down quite a bit when you factor in personal style and taste. I simply don’t wear very complicated looking clothes these days – which is what seems to be most available on the market (along with variegated, hand-painted, and bright yarns. Pretty, but again – not my style!). While I used to love cardigans, I really don’t wear them so much anymore (blame it on my lack of working in an office these days!). And I live in an area with a reasonably mild climate, so bulky sweaters are a bit unnecessary. TBH, even worsted weight sweaters are more than I need.

What I really like are plain, uncomplicated sweaters knit with fingering weight yarn in a very small color palette consisting of mostly greys and blacks. Ha! I know that sounds boring as hell, but I’d rather make something boring that’s going to get a ton of wear, than something crazy looking that doesn’t go with anything I own. I know a lot of us have fallen in the camp of “I love this pattern, I need to make one in every color!” whether it’s with sewing or knitting (or whatever craft’s ass you’re stuck up at the moment), but I’m realizing now that it’s ok to have one thing in one color and call it a day. And that color can be grey and that’s fine too.

Martine Sweater - front

Let me tell you – I’m SO HAPPY I reached this conclusion and stuck with it! This grey sweater hits all my needs – it’s cozy, it’s cotton (see: mild climate), it’s a great color for my wardrobe, and I actually really really enjoyed knitting it!

Martine Sweater - front

The pattern I used for this sweater is the Martine by Julie Hoover. Let’s just get this out of the way first and foremost – yes, its the same color as both the pattern photographs *and* Jen Beeman’s version. Specifically, I 100% ripped off Jen’s sweater after seeing it first and I’m not ashamed to admit it haha.

Things that I like about this sweater:
1. It’s knit in a cotton yarn, which is ideal for Tennessee weather – it’s great in the fall, early winter, and I reckon it’ll be ace in the spring as well. I love knitting and wearing wool, but sometimes it’s not always practical.
2. The design is simple and understated, but has a beautiful texture that I knew would be fun to knit.
3. That raglan shaping! Jen waxed poetic about how much she loved the raglan shaping and I was INTRIGUED. I wanted in on some of that action, too!
4. The sweater is knit in pieces and then seamed. In the past, I only ever knit seamless sweaters – and I’ve definitely announced this publicly numerous times. But as I’ve gotten more into knitting, I’ve heeded the advice of more seasoned knitters that a seamed sweater is truly the way to go, in terms of longevity and the sweater keeping it’s shape. This is especially important with a cotton sweater, since it’s already destined to stretch out of shape and really needs all the help it can get. Further, I figured knitting in pieces would make this a much more portable project – it’s annoying to schlep around an entire sweater on your needles, but just the front? Sure, why not! Finally, I wanted to learn how to properly seam (I’ve seamed before, but it was.. uhhh, well, the pieces were held together, and that’s about it haha), and this would be a great project to start with.

Knitting this pattern definitely stretched my comfort level, and I picked up some new skills as well! The pattern is loooong, but well-written – I didn’t have any problem following any of the steps or learning any of the techniques. I did make it a point to follow every single instruction in this pattern as written, in order to get the best results (this is not something I have generally done in the past, but I have changed my ways and have chosen to trust the pattern writer now!), which definitely paid off. This sweater is one of my best makes yet!

I made the size 35 3/4, and as you can see the sweater is quite loose on me (my bust is 32″) but not overwhelming.

Martine Sweater - back

Martine Sweater - back

Martine Sweater - side

Martine Sweater - side

The only part of the pattern that I did not follow was the suggested yarn – I stuck with a cotton, but used Quince & Co. Willet. This was mainly due to cost – the suggested yarn (Shibui knits) is expensive, while Quince is much more economical. Add in that I work at a shop that carries Quince & Co., which means I get a discount – and not only that, but I took advantage of our “employee layaway plan” (meaning I grabbed all the skeins I required and put them in my box in the back room, then just paid for each skein as I needed it haha). So yeah, I went with Quince! My coworker Hannah, who is as big a yarn snob as I am a fabric snob, assured me it was a suitable substitute for the Shibui. I haven’t seen the Shibui in person, but man, I LOVE this Willet!

I knit a few test swatches before casting on – surprisingly, I got gauge with the suggested needle size (this NEVER happens with me, I always have to go down at least 2 needle sizes because I tend to knit so loose), but my row gauge was way, way off. Going down a needle size only messed up my width gauge, and barely budged the row. Row gauge isn’t always super critical, but it is when dealing with raglans – and as someone who already has a pretty small armscye, I don’t want any extra room there! So I math’d that shit out, and took a few rows off the raglan shaping to compensate for a larger row gauge. I wasn’t sure if it would even totally worth until I was finished with the front piece – but it totally did, thank god! Unfortunately, I didn’t think to adjust the row gauge for the rest of my sweater, so it’s a bit longer than it should be. Which is fine, we are gonna call that “cozy.”

Martine Sweater - front

I named my sweater “Carrie” because I knit the majority of this while watching Sex and the City. I don’t remember why I started watching that show this year, but once I did – I was hooked. Ugh y’all it’s embarrassing how relevant every character and situation is to a single woman in her 30s haha. I recall trying to watch it as a 20 year old, and thinking I identified the most with Samantha (no, 20 year old Lauren, you don’t) but also really not getting it. I get it now. And also, I definitely identify the most with Miranda these days, who is arguably both the most annoying and boring of all those women. Oh well. Welcome to your 30s I guess haha.

Anyway, I blasted through the entire series while happily knitting away at this sweater. I knit the front and back separately, blocking each one after it was finished. For the sleeves, I cast those both on at the same time and knit them 2 at a time until I got to the raglan shaping, then transferred one sleeve to waste yarn so I could knit them separately (the raglan shaping differs on the front vs the back, so the sleeves are not identical – they are mirror images). I didn’t want to risk Second Sleeve Syndrome, and I’m glad I did this! After I finished the first sleeve, there was only raglan shaping remaining for the second sleeve – not the whole thing 🙂 Finally, blocked the sleeves, seamed the whole thing together, and knit the neckband.

Martine Sweater - neckband

The neckband on this sweater is funny – it’s knit in the round after the sweater is assembled, and you don’t actually bind it off. Instead, the band is folded to the inside and the live stitches are sewn down. I’ve never seen a neckband like this, but I admit that it looked polished as fuck and feels nice and sturdy. I like that!

Martine Sweater - texture

Here’s a close-up of the texture! It’s not a moss stitch (which is what everyone asks), it’s a double knotted stitch. You purl 2 stitches together, then knit the same two stitches together. It’s easy enough so that you can do other things (like talk, or watch Sex and the City) while knitting, but interesting enough so that I didn’t feel like passing out or anything.

Martine Sweater- seaming!

Here’s my seaming! My finger is pointing to the seamline – it’s barely visible from the outside! The pieces are worked with a 1 stitch selvedge, which made seaming sooo much easier. My coworker Amanda (yes, I knit a lot of this while sitting behind the counter at Craft South haha) taught me how to seam, and I was surprised at how much I loved doing it! I always thought I’d hate it since that’s something a lot of knitters complain about, but man, I like hand sewing too so it shouldn’t surprise me that I would love seaming as well. I actually had to seam this twice – when I got to the last raglan, I realized I had seamed them on the wrong sides somehow. Whoops! So I just consider the second round more practice, ha 🙂

Martine Sweater - front

The ONE downside to this sweater is the fact that is it cotton – so it stretches and grows when I wear it! Which means it is basically a very short dress by the end of the day. Kind of a bummer, but the good news is that it snaps right back into shape when I throw it in the washer and dryer. I don’t even block it out – the dryer shrinks it up perfectly. It’s super easy care, but not really ideal for traveling as I basically have to wash it every single time I wear it. These photos were taken after a couple months of wearing + washing, so you can see how the yarn has held up. Cotton is pretty sturdy!

While I did say this sweater is one of my best makes, it’s certainly not perfect – there are visible inconsistencies with the row gauge, and I need to fix one of the raglan seams because it appears to have stretched out a bit, oh, and there’s a tiny hole between the collar and body of the sweater where I forgot to pick up a stitch (but TBH I probably won’t fix that one because I use it to determine which side is the front lol), but you know what? I gave this one my best efforts, I ripped out all my mistakes, I learned SO MUCH new shit, and I had a blast knitting it. If that doesn’t count as one of the best, I don’t know what does.

That’s all for this one! Full Ravelry notes are here.

Advertisements

Completed: Black + Grey Flannel Archer

3 Nov

IT’S FLANNEL SEASON AGAIN, Y’ALL.

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

I don’t like the cold – like, at all – but I do love the clothes that are associated with this season. Layers, textured fabrics, WOOL, dark colors and jewel tones… gimmie all of it. Flannel button-ups are at the top of my list. I love that they can be worn solo and buttoned up, layered under a sweater, or layered over a tank or tshirt and left to swing free in the breeze. Snaps at the cuffs make it easy to roll the sleeves up, snaps at the button band make it possible to Hulk out at the end of the day (don’t pretend like you don’t do this with snap-up shirts, you liar).

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

I have a few handmade plaid flannel shirts, all of which I love to wear, so I put a short hold on adding to that stash. I finally allowed myself this year to make 2 more – both out of plaid cotton flannel from Mood Fabrics. This is the first of the two. I haven’t taken photos of the second one yet, but rest assured – it’s almost the exact same as this one, just a different colorway. Because if I am anything, I am consistent haha.

As I said, this is the Archer button up from Grainline Studio. I’ve made this shirt a lot, so there’s not a lot to elaborate on here, just a few small changes. I sewed view A with the angled cuffs, swapped out the included placket for a tower placket (I use the placket from the Negroni pattern, but this placket download from Threads is basically the same thing).

Sizing-wise, I cut a size 0 (which is the size I pretty much always sew with Grainline). One thing I did change with this pattern was to increase the seam allowances at the side and sleeve seams to 5/8″ – the included seam allowances are 1/2″, and I actually sew them at 5/8″ since I like to flat-fell those seams. I’ve noticed that my shirts are pulling ever-so-slightly at the bust now (told ya I’ve gained some weight. And also an entire cup size, ughhhhh), so I added in that extra 1/8″ and the fit is much better now!

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

I cut my fabric on the single layer to get the plaid all matched up (see here for my plaid-matching tips!), and cut the outer yoke and pockets on the bias. I originally had the pockets cut to match the plaid at the front, but they matched so well they basically disappeared, and I wasn’t crazy about that look. So I re-cut them and I think they look much better!

As I mentioned, all seams are flat-felled so there is a nice clean finish on the inside. I used a super lightweight interfacing so that everything would stay nice and soft – I didn’t want a stiff button placket in contrast to the otherwise floppy fabric. Everything is topstitched in black, and I used black snaps for closures.

My cotton flannel was found at the Mood Fabrics store in NYC, back in August. I had a hankering for a new flannel, and I wanted one that was soft and lightweight, like it had already been worn to death. I found this and another similar flannel in a different colorway, both of which work perfectly with the color palette that my closet has ended up morphing into. Since flannel tends to shrink up quite a bit, I washed and dried my fabric three times before cutting into it. I kept the sleeves slightly on the long side, again, in case they decide to shrink up (my first flannel shirt has quite short sleeves now!).

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

I think that’s all I can say about this make! I’ve already worn it loads and I look forward to some hardcore layering here in the next few months 😀

A couple other things of note:
1. Yes, I made my jeans! They are Gingers that I made with veeeeery stretchy twill fabric (like, they are almost jeggings haha I love them). Just some basic black pants that don’t necessarily warrant a whole post. However, here’s a shot of the butt (and my new belt) (and this shirt, too, apparently lol)
2. Yes, that’s a new hair color! After a REALLY long time (for me anyway haha) with the same color, I decided I was ready for a change! I love the new color so much!

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer

** Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Jalie 2567

4 Oct

I know what you are thinking.

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

“don’t you already have a robe you made?”

Yes. Also, don’t tell me how to live my life.

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

Honestly, I like that plaid flannel robe in theory – but not so much in practice. One, the arm holes are low on me – which makes the whole thing a bit binding to move around in when it’s tied shut. And because of how the ties are attached the fronts, it’s not the sort of robe that you can leave hanging open (which is honestly how I prefer to wear my robes). As pretty as it is, it’s not terribly practical for my daily wear – as evidenced by how much I kept going back to the fleece robe (my Mamaw gave me a new one for Christmas that same year, so at least it was a fresh fleece amirite). Making a robe seems like a terribly boring thing – in terms of sourcing a pattern and supplies, then sewing it together… yawn. I suppose you could make it more interesting by using really nice materials or embellishing the pieces, but we’ve already established that pretty isn’t always practical for me.

So I made another one, and it’s boring, and it’s perfect. Yay!

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

The pattern is Jalie 2567, which is your classic oversized, cushy bathrobe. No lie – I compared the pattern pieces to my existing fleece robe and they are almost exactly the same, even down to the pocket size. If you are looking for a no-frills, classic style that wouldn’t be out of place on a rack in Macy’s during December, this is the pattern for you. If you want something fancier, tbh I have no idea why you are still reading this blog post get out now.

The robe features a giant shawl collar, set-in sleeves (that are super wide so you can wear layers underneath), gigantic pockets, and a tie that is totally separate (but is held in place with 2 belt loops). Exactly what I was looking for. The thing about Jalie patterns is that they are super cheap (this one is like $10) and they come in 27 fucking sizes. Forreal, you could make every single person on your Christmas list their own personal robe. I can’t, because I cut straight into that paper like the barbarian I am #noragrets

The downside to Jalie patterns is that the instructions are a bit sparse. However, we are talking about a simple bathrobe here. It’s pretty easy to figure out with the text instructions (and the smattering of illustrations that they include for certain steps), this certainly is not a difficult pattern.

After much much MUCH deliberation, I cut a size R, which is actually a little bigger than my measurements. The next size down dropped me into Kid’s sizes, which I was having a hard time getting my head around. In retrospect – I think the Q would have been a slightly better fit, but I’m happy with the oversize of the R. I live in an old house and we are expecting a crappier-than-usual winter this year, so I’ll likely be wearing a few layers underneath this thing anyway. As you can see in these pictures, the sleeves ended up a little long – so I cuffed them back for now; I am thinking I will probably want that extra length when it gets cold. If not, it’s easy to rip out the stitching and re-hem!

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

As I mentioned, I wanted a pretty basic bathrobe pattern – but I did opt to fancy it up a little with my fabric choice. I was originally considering another fleece (this grey cotton fleece to be exact. Like your favorite sweatshirt except even better!), but Kate at The Confident Stitch suggested I try one of their Soy French Terrys instead. I chose the wine French Terry, but there is also grey, black, and aubergine, FYI!

I don’t know what differentiates soy French terry from other fibers (other than, well, the literal fiber content haha), but this stuff is pretty awesome! It’s just as warm as your standard fleece, but a lot more luxurious. And heavy! Weight might be an issue if you are planning to lug this thing around on trips or whatever, but mine will be staying at home with me. It washed up super soft and the color has stayed nice and rich. The downside to having a wine red robe means I look like I’m trying to channel my inner Hugh Hefner, but, you know, maybe we can just agree that the man had good taste in robes.

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

This fabric was pretty thick, which made it a bear to cut – and the pattern pieces are large, which again added to the strain. Once that was all done, though, sewing it together was pretty fast and efficient. I serged all my seams (you don’t need to do this for this pattern, but I liked that it sewed and finished my seams in one go) and then topstitched as directed. The fabric took to pressing very well and show topstitching beautifully, which makes the finished piece look pretty good! I didn’t do any fancy seam finishing or stabilizing or whatever – just a basic cut and sew job. This is the type of project that is really simple, but a little elevated due to fabric choice.

Wine French Terry Jalie 2567

I actually finished this a couple of months ago, and while it hasn’t gotten a ton of wear just yet – I did get to take it for a spin during our random post-Labor-Day-cold-snap. It’s so warm and snuggly, and much more comfortable than my last robe – I feel cozy, but not restrained. Even Amelia likes snuggling up to it 😉

Big thanks to The Confident Stitch for sponsoring this post, for which I might have never found my true love lies within that of a bathrobe. Guys, if you haven’t checked out the Confident Stitch, give them a holler – they have merino wool. Wouldn’t that make an AMAZING robe?! Damn, now I kind of wish I’d thought of that first haha.

Completed: The Kalle Shirtdress

18 Sep

I’ve still got a few more summer projects that I haven’t shared yet, so bear with me here! Although, to be fair – we should be well within the throes of summer heat for at least the next month here (yes, it did warm up again!).

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made this dress a couple of months ago, so what you are seeing a dress that has been worn, washed, and loved quite a bit before taking photos! As a result, it’s probably not as crisp and perfect as it would have looked fresh off the sewing machine – but on the flip, it’s definitely something that I’ve had time to move around in and really get to know fit-wise in ways that might not have been so apparent immediately after finishing it. Plus, you can really see how this fabric looks after several trips through the laundry. For ages, I was firmly in the camp of photos before I wore anything I made, but I’ve really softened up on that lately. This makes more of a delay in posting (since nothing is stopping me from putting that shit on RIGHT AWAY), but I think it can also create more of an honest post, in the sense of seeing how something feels after it’s been worn around a bit.

Also, about these photos – sorry about the dark door background? I did take my tripod outside, but I had one neighbor chopping tree limbs in one yard creepin on me, and another literally sitting on her front porch just straight-up staring at me and it made me way too anxious hahaha. I may need to get something to hang over that door when I take photos (this is the door that leads to the back half of my house – where the bedrooms are – from my living room), but at least the light is pretty!

Chambray Kalle Dress

ANYWAY, back to the dress!!!

This is the Kalle Shirtdress, from Closet Case Patterns. I made view C in a size 2, with no alterations. This one is straight out of the envelope! I was so excited when this pattern came out and my finished dress did not disappoint – I wear it as much as I think I can feasibly get away with! The good thing about dressing kind of bland (simple shapes, solid colors, etc) means that people are less likely to realize you’re repeating an outfit. Or maybe they do and they are too polite to say anything, I dunno and I also kind of don’t care.

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made my dress up in a beautiful, lightweight linen from Mood Fabrics (which apparently is sold out now, sorry!). This fabric is great – it’s light and airy, and almost translucent. It is perfect for those hot summer days when you don’t want anything touching your body. The deep indigo color means that it will also transition nicely into fall – it still looks a bit autumnal, but I won’t be sweating to death in it. Plus, it layers really nicely for those chilly mornings and evenings – it looks great with a cardigan and boots.

I washed my linen three times before cutting it, as I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to shrink at all post-sewing. I believe this also helps keep the linen from wrinkling so much – Carolyn, was it you who told me this? – and I think that may be accurate since this fabric doesn’t really wrinkle much at all now! I’ve worn this dress on all my travels since finishing and it looks great going from suitcase to hanger. I have found that I do need to lightly press the sleeve bands after washing, because they get slightly bunched (probably because the bands aren’t interfaced), but the rest of the dress is fine without any ironing. In these photos, that’s exactly what I did not do. Un-ironed linen dress, y’all!

I finished the insides of my dress with French seams, and topstitched with navy thread. For interfacing, I used this super lightweight fusible interfacing, and then only sparingly – on the button band, upper collar, and outer collar stand – to keep the fabric supported but still soft. The hem is finished with a bias facing, which is an easy way to work with that exaggerated curve. The navy shirt buttons are from Textile Fabrics – and in the true spirit of Textile Fabrics, they are fancy and imported from Italy and cost over $1 each. Ugh. Who knew it was so hard to find navy shirt buttons? Anyway, they look good!

Chambray Kalle Dress

One thing you should know about this dress – it’s not a short dress, but the upper curve of the hem is quite high. And the arm holes are quite low, which means that the dress moves upwards if you need to raise your arms. See how high the dress goes when I reach the sky? Ok, granted – I rarely need to raise my arms *that* high, but it is something to keep in mind! For comparison’s sake, I wear my shorts very very short and only the bottom rose of my leg tattoo sticks out of the hem. If the dress hiked up any higher, you would literally see my underwear. FYI!

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

See how sheer the fabric is? It’s not noticeable when I’m wearing the dress, and also, I wear nude undergarments (nothing patterned).

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I think that’s about all I have to say about this dress! I really love this pattern and I am excited to try the other versions in different fabrics. I also realize that this is like, my fourth chambray/denim shirtdress – but you know what? I don’t care. At least I’ve figured out what I like, I guess 😛

Chambray Kalle Dress

** Note: The linen fabric used for this dress was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!