Completed: Silk Chiffon Archer Button-Up

30 Aug

So I guess we are now officially in that time of the year again – when the shops are screaming FAAAAAALLL (Wool caps! Corduroy bottoms! Pumpkin spice everything!) but our temperatures are still firmly stuck in summertime. While I’m not ridiculous enough to pull on my Ugg boots when it’s still 100 degrees outside (LOL JK I don’t own Uggs hahaha) (but seriously, Ugg-watching in 100 degree weather at the ritzy mall is absolutely my favorite pasttime during these months. Bonus points if they are wearing a wool hat, too.), I still want to at least look the part of the changing seasons, which still complying with the temperatures outside. For me, that means colors and silhouettes that give a nod to fall – but sticking to lighter-weight fabrics so I’m not sweating my arse off.

So anyway , with all that being said – here’s another button-up shirt! HAHA

Silk Chiffon Archer

I used the Archer pattern to make a fall-inspired button-up, but with a twist – instead of the traditional plaid flannel (which I lurrve, but again – HOT!), I used a light and breezy wide silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the main, and woven silk crepe de chine for the collar, collar stand, button band, pockets, and bias facings. Mood Fabrics carries tons of colors of both of these fabrics, but I went with boring ol’ basic black. In the future, I might go completely insane and try this with a PLAID silk chiffon. Maybe.

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

If you are feeling some major déjà vu about right now, you are absolutely correct – I totally and completely 100% shamelessly ripped off Kendra’s silk Archer from the Grainline blog. I don’t ever think I’ll look as chic as she does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying!🙂 I followed Jen’s instructions for making the Archer sleeveless (basically shortening the shoulder drop and adding some contour to the back armhole, nothing crazy here) and shortened the length by about 2″. I sewed a size 0, which is what I normally make for this pattern.

Silk Chiffon Archer

While I have made my share of button-ups in tricky fabrics – silk georgette, silk crepe, crazy plaids, and a rayon challis that has yet-to-be-blogged – I did worry a little that this one was going to be a beast to sew. My last experience with chiffon did NOT go well (you didn’t miss anything – this was several years ago), but I think a big part of the problem was the quality of the material I was using (it was pretty cheap poly chiffon). Using a high-quality fabric makes a big difference in the ease of your sewing when it comes to tricky fabrics like this – you know they’re already on-grain (or it’s easy to straighten the grain if you need to) and the natural fiber content means you can actually press them (which, again, makes a world of difference during construction – especially for a pattern like this). With all that being said – I only used a yard of the chiffon to make this sleeveless version, which at $20.99 per yard isn’t really that expensive. I got a yard of the crepe de chine as well, but only used a fraction of that (I use silk bias on everythingggg so I have tons left over for other projects). Even having been made out of silk, it’s fairly economical! And you definitely cannot get a silk button up shirt for less than $50 in retail, at least not new. Plus, I machine-washed all my fabrics before cutting – so my silk is machine washable now😉

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

So anyway, about that sewing! I didn’t do any sort of prep before getting into cutting – in the past, I’ve used fabric stabilizer to stiffen the fabric so I’d have an easier time cutting and sewing (and yes, it does work – see the aforementioned silk georgette button-up post for my full review on that), but I didn’t bother with any of that this time. It certainly would have been easier if I had, but obviously it was doable without🙂 I did trade out my scissors and use a mat and rotary cutter to cut this, which was tremendously helpful.

Sewing was really easy and straightforward – I used a sharp 70/10 needle, polyester thread, and a lot of high heat from my iron. All seams are enclosed – the yoke and collar cover most of that, but the side seams are French-seamed, and the arm holes are finished with silk bias facing. The hem is just a simple rolled hem (I usually use bias facing there as as well, but I was afraid the crepe de chine would be too heavy for the silk chiffon). I used a super lightweight interfacing (which comes in black!) for all my interfaced areas – it gives some stability without making them weirdly stiff, which is important when you’re dealing with silk chiffon. The buttons are some vintage glass buttons that I’ve had in my stash for ages. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the pockets – the crepe de chine sags a bit on the chiffon, so they’re not perfectly smooth when I’m wearing it (or when it’s hanging on the wall, for that matter). And also – they are a bit lopsided! Whoops! I hesitate to unpick them because I am afraid it may damage the delicate chiffon, but thankfully no one notices it – even when I point it out. Of course, that may be all you see now🙂 Sorry🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I am wearing a black tank top under this, and I did not make the shorts (I WISH I did, though! Because then that would mean that I had found awesome fabric like that!). They are from Express, but the shape is quite similar to the Rite of Spring shorts. The fabric is a nice rayon challis. I pretty much never buy clothes these days, but these were given to me by my boss while she was cleaning out her closet in preparation for her cross-country move (she also gave me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Um, I WIN.). Speaking of which, I will be flying up to Rhode Island this week to orchestrate all the unpacking and whatever else you’re supposed to do when one moves cross-country (I’ll be staying here in Nashville and working remotely after that). I’ve never been to RI before so I’m excited to check it out! Wish me luck!

Silk Chiffon Archer

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said to death, so I’ll keep this post reasonably brief. Yay for silk chiffon button-ups! Once we get into full-on winter mode, I think this top will continue to be useful as I can wear it under my cozy sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.

**Note: The fabrics for this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater

26 Aug

I am SO happy to be finished with this sweater!

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Clocking in at nearly 6 months to knit, seam and finish – this sweater was definitely a labor of love to complete.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - side

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - back

Both the pattern and the yarn are from Wool and the Gang, which is pretty much the coolest yarn company I’ve ever heard of. WATG sells yarn, patterns, needles, and complete kits for their patterns (as well as RTW knit pieces, if you want to be completely lazy😉 no judgement over here from me!). The company reached out to me earlier this year – well, 6 months ago – and asked if I’d like to try one of their kits for a review. Being the cheeky piece of shit I am, I choose the Teen Spirit Sweater, in the classic red/grey colorway.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - kit

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - kit

The kit came beautifully packaged, and included 21 balls of their Wooly Bully alpaca yarn, the Teen Spirit Sweater pattern, at set of size 10.5 Rosewood needles, and a giant needle for weaving in all the ends.

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - back

The pattern is One Size, which I knew immediately off the bat was gonna be WAY too big for me – it has a 44″ chest measurement (compared to my measly 32″ – that’s a LOTTA ease!). So the first thing I did was knit a gauge swatch to figure how many stitches I knit per inch, and recalculate the pattern so it would work with my specific measurements. Since the pattern is basically 4 giant rectangles (the sleeves have very gradual increases but nothing crazy), this was not at all difficult to do. All I needed to change was the amount of stitches I cast on, and then just follow the pattern henceforth. I also shortened the body of the sweater, because I wanted mine to be slightly cropped to offset the boxiness.

All the pieces are knit separately – front, back, and two sleeves . The front and back are identical, and are literally just two big rectangles – there is no shaping for the neckline, arm holes or waist. As I mentioned, the sleeves have very gradual increases to make them slightly shaped, but they are still primarily just big ol’ rectangles. To make the tartan, you knit in stripes following the pattern, and then weave the vertical stripes in afterward using this technique from WATG. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is – it’s just time-consuming! I spent MANY nights sitting on the couch, binge-watching Mad Men, with a tiny blanket o’ sweater in my lap, weaving tartan stripes. In fact, this was the main project I worked on in the last week before my move – as it was the only thing I hadn’t packed!

After I wove in all the tartan stripes, I then blocked the pieces (which seriously took like 2 days to dry completely) before seaming. You seam the shoulders first, then attach the sleeves at the sleeve cap, then seam up the side and sleeve seam in one go (same as you’d do when sewing a knit tshirt). Finally, you knit the neckline ribbing (the sleeve and hem ribbing are knit while you are knitting the pieces). The resulting sweater is MASSIVELY heavy – I wish I owned a scale, because I’d love to know how much it actually weighs! Honestly, I love throwing it at people and watching how surprised they are when they feel it’s heft hahaha. It’s surprisingly not that itchy – it’s a little bit itchy, but I think another wash with some lanolin will clear that right now – but it is super duper warm. Way too warm to wear right now, obviously, but I’m sure I’ll really appreciate it come winter😉

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - flat

As complicated at this sweater looks and as long as I spent working on it – it honestly was not difficult to knit at all. Even with rewriting the pattern to work with my measurements, the overall construction was very simple and straightforward. It was definitely time-consuming, but not hard – seriously, this is a great pattern for a beginner. Lots of knitting and purling, simple color changes for the stripes, and then seaming everything together (my seaming definitely needs some work, btw. Woof.).

Part of what took me so long to finish was simple mistakes I made on my end. I wasn’t happy with my first batch of tartan stripes – which I decided after I’d finished weaving the tartan for the entire front. I ripped everything out, recalculated, and wove it all in again. I could have stood to do a neater job with my weaving – all the other examples I see are much more even and precise and mine looks a bit sloppy in comparison – but I’m pretty happy with it regardless because I AM SO NOT RIPPING THAT SHIT OUT AGAIN. I also had some trouble with the neckline ribbing – I picked up too few stitches the first time, and wasn’t able to get the sweater over my head! So I got PISSED, ripped out the ripping, and put that fucker in time out for a solid month. Ha! Eventually, I got some liquid courage (aka wine) and tried again – this time picking up stitches at a 1:1 ratio and making sure it pulled over my head before binding off. It worked! Go me!

Check out my Ravelry page for the full low-down on this project – my stitch counts, measurements for the tartan weaving, etc. Didn’t want to clog up this post with all that, but it’s on the ‘Rav! BTW, I should mention – you can also buy this pattern individually, if you don’t need the yarn and needles. Teen Spirit sweaters for everyone!😀

Smells Like Teen Spirit Sweater - front

When I started this sweater, I naively thought that I would have it finished before the weather started warming up – ha! Not even! On the flip side, it’s definitely ready and waiting for the next season! I’m actually pretty glad that I had an entire summer to fuss with this, because it made me not be in a hurry to finish it – I knew I’d have to wait months before that was even an option. Instead, I took my time and ripped out when needed, and I think the end result was worth it. Man, I cannot WAIT to wear this bad boy! I think it’ll look especially ace with my Elizabeth Suzann Cecilia Pants. Which, btw – if you are looking for the magic pants that look amazing on EVERYONE, that’s those. You’re welcome.

**Note: The kit for my Teen Spirit Sweater (which included the yarn, pattern and needles) was VERY generously given to me by Wool and the Gang, in exchange for a blog review. Thank you, WATG!

Completed: Augusta Hoodie // Anima Pants

22 Aug

I know it’s still like 8000 degrees here in the South, but I’m already thinking ahead to the next season! This year, I want to be ready when the cold starts creeping in – even though you & I both know that won’t realistically happen here until, like, December (if not later!).

With that being said, I started this project WAY THE FUCK back in May – you know, when summer was the creeper. Took me this long to finish it, but whatever!

Prepare yourselves. This is a two-part project, so there are a bunch of pictures.

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

First part – the one I started in May (or was it April? omg.) is this sweet-ass track jacket hoodie combo! The pattern is the Augusta Hoodie from Named. I don’t tend to sew a lot of patterns from this company – I find most of the styles a bit outside of my personal style preferences (like the Inari dress that everyone is going apeshit over and I JUST CAN’T GET BEHIND THAT SORRY), but occasionally I’ll come across something that makes *me* go apeshit (see: my beloved Jamie Jeans LOVE U). As was the case with this jacket! The pattern was given to me as a gift by my lovely friend Carla; it has taken me over a year to decide what to make it up with, but I think it was worth the wait!

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

The Augusta Hoodie is a combo track jacket/hoodie with welt pockets, front snaps, and seaming that is perfect for some crazy colorblocking (even though I totally went the boring route). I made a size 32, and adjusted the sleeve length as I found them a bit long (a normal alteration for me).

Pattern construction wasn’t too terribly difficult – Named has gotten much better with their pattern instructions (they used to be quite sparse) and I had no problems with any of the steps, including the welt pocket. The jacket is unlined, but there is a facing so you get a nice clean edge at the front. The hood is lined, which I left off because my fabric was so thick. I also added a drawstring to the hood, cos I liked the way it looked. Ideally, I would have done this before finishing the hood – and used my machine to sew grommets around where the drawstring goes. Instead, I decided to do it after the hoodie was completely finished, and thus just popped a couple holes in the hood with my scissors and hoped for the best, ha.

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

The fabric is a super thick, super heavy cotton French Terry from Organic Cotton Plus. I went with the Cranberry color, although they have tons of other color options for French Terry. This fabric is amazingly thick and soft and will be wonderful to wear when the temperatures start dropping. The piped sleeve seams are done with strips of rib knit fabric, just flat – there is no piping in there (only cos I didn’t have any on hand and I didn’t feel like waiting for any to ship). The ribbing at the bottom and cuffs is actually two different kinds of fabric – I originally planned to use the aforementioned rib fabric from OCP, to keep everything consistent, but it was way way WAY too lightweight to work with this thick fabric. I ended up painstakingly ripping off the bottom band (which was serged on) and replacing it with a sturdy rib knit from Mood Fabrics, which holds up much better with the thick French terry. Of course, I fucked up my measurements and didn’t buy enough, so the cuffs is an entirely different rib knit that is a lighter weight (but heavier than the rib fabric from OCP). I don’t remember where that rib came from as it was in my stash, but I’m sure it was also from Mood. If you look closely, you can see that they are two slightly different shades of white, but I am choosing to ignore that. Also, rib is a weird word when you type it over and over. RIB.

Sewing with this fabric wasn’t necessarily difficult, but it did require some finesse because it is SO THICK. Cutting was kind of awful – my scissors are still pretty dull (yup, haven’t gotten them sharpened yet. How long have I been meaning to do this? 2 years?), and they didn’t have the easiest time chopping through all that thickness. It actually hurt my hand to cut through double layers, but also I am a huge baby. I sewed the majority of this on my serger – French Terry sheds like crazy, and serging helps keep that at minimum – and there were a few sections of massively thick layers where I had to coax the handwheel to get things to keep moving. My snaps are set using an industrial snap-setter – again, I have access to this from my old job (in sewing production) – I have NO idea how you’d set snaps in this otherwise! I guess the pattern calls for a lighter fabric, which would certainly be easier to work with. Overall, I wouldn’t say it was hard – it just required being slower and more patient. Which is infinitely easier when you are sewing something way the fuck out of season and know you won’t be able to wear it for months regardless🙂

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Augusta Hoodie

Organic French Terry Tracksuit

Organic French Terry Tracksuit

This track jacket reminds me of the stuff we used to wear back in the early 2000s, which I was still super active in the Nashville Hardcore scene. We were ALL ABOUT track jackets and hoodies, which looked real good with our tight jeans and Saucony Jazz shoes😉 I definitely had a baby blue track jacket for years, which I loved everything about except that the fit was just a little boxier than what I wanted. So, here I am reverting back to my 16 year old self. Maybe should buy some Sauconys and relive the memories of the mosh pit or some shit.

Organic French Terry Anima Pants

Organic French Terry Anima Pants

Organic French Terry Anima Pants

Anywayyyy, after I finished the jacket, I realized I had enough French terry left over to make a pair of pants. Sweet! Like I said, this fabric is really thick and cushy, and I figured it would make a nice and warm pair of pants for lounging around the house.

I used the Anima Pants pattern from Papercut Patterns, sewn in a size XXS with about 2″ of length taken off. This was a very easy and straightforward pattern – basically just a knit pant with pockets, cuffs at the hem, and an elastic waistband with a drawstring. I did have minor troubles getting the elastic waistband sewn in – I think mostly due to fabric choice, as again, SO THICK OMG – but it’s fine, just a bit wonky looking. Whatever! For the white ribbing, I used a white cotton interlock knit, also from Organic Cotton Plus, which I so happened to have in my stash (the knits I used on the hoodie didn’t have enough yardage for these pants). It is leftover from these tshirts, btw. I can’t believe that shit was still hanging around my stash, but I ain’t gonna argue with that!

I am quite happy with how the pants fit, as well as how comfy and cozy they are. I am not especially happy to see that I have basically made an unintentional pair of Santa pants, but, it is what it is. I wasn’t planning on wearing these out of the house anyway (sorry, the whole ~athleisure~ trend is another thing I just cannot get behind), so I’m not terribly concerned about it. At least I have the perfect outfit to wear this Christmas.

(Btw, in case you were wondering – I also made my top. It’s a Papercut Patterns SJ Tee, sewn in a lightweight jersey fabric and cropped.

Organic French Terry Anima Pants

Organic French Terry Anima Pants

I should add, another thing I had no intention of doing was actually wearing these two pieces together.

Organic French Terry Tracksuit

Because I definitely look more like a late 90s Puff Daddy in this ensemble HAHA

Organic French Terry Tracksuit

I will let y’all know when my rap album drops, ok? Holler.

**Note: The French terry was given to me by Organic Cotton Plus, in exchange for a review. All rap opportunities are 100% my own.

Completed: Travel Backpack

11 Aug

Look! I made a backpack!!

Travel Backpack

Ok, let me back(lolz) up a little first here!

When I travel around (whether it’s personal or sewing workshop related!), I like to check my luggage and bring a carry-on bag that is big enough for all my entertaining shit (knitting, Kindle, etc), but not so big that I’m forced to keep it in the overhead bin. I’ve dabbled around with different sorts of shoulder bags – totes, giant purses, I dunno, all sorts of stuff – which worked fine, but I didn’t like that they weren’t super useful once I got off the plane (like, who wants to walk around NYC with a giant tote bag?). I have a tendency to overpack more than I need to, and I’m really trying to pare down on the amount of stuff I lug around when I go out of town. I wanted a bag that would work for both my flight *and* getting around whatever city I was hanging around. Big enough to hold some essentials – a notebook, my water bottle, phone charger, stuff like that – but not so big that I would be tempted to put everything I own in it and weigh myself down for the day.

I bought a small backpack while I was in Peru when I realized that my normal backpack wasn’t gonna hold all the shit I was trying to carry home, which ended up being really awesome for my purposes, except when it fell apart at the seams while I was last in NYC. Boo! I was on board with the backpack idea at that point, so I decided to change what I didn’t like about the Peruvian pack (too soft/no support, drawstring, not enough pockets, straps weren’t adjustable, etc) and turn it into my dream travel pack.

I used the Toddler Backpack pattern, except enlarged it for a school-age child (there are instructions on how to do this in the pattern). I first discovered this backpack thanks to Kelli and her awesome versions made for actual toddlers (this one is particular makes me want to cry because it is SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL), and I realized the size was exactly what I needed. I wanted to keep the essence of a small backpack – like the tiny packs we carried around in the 90s and felt real cool about – but I wanted it to have some features like my big traveler backpack had, like extra pockets and a place to carry my water bottle. I also wanted it to be structured, because I am not about those sad and droppy cloth backpacks!

Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack

I feel real good about the finished size! It’s just big enough to hold an 8.5″ x 11″ folder (which I will not be carrying around in this thing, but, that gives you an idea of it’s size). I included a few pockets that weren’t part of the pattern, to make organizing more useful – there is a big pocket in the front, a pocket on either side, a small velcro’d pocket on the inside, a large padded laptop pocket on the inside, and also a secret pocket in the back! The backpack is fully lined, the outside fabric is interfaced, there is self-made piping around the outside, the straps are adjustable and padded, and the bottom is also padded and quilted. There is a double pull metal zipper at the top, and little zipper tabs on either end (to help with zipping and unzipping – they are just folded and interfaced rectangles). It was a lot of work, but it’s pretty much exactly what I want!

Travel Backpack

This pocket is for my water bottle – the bottom is gathered, and there is elastic along the top. It fits my water bottle pretty securely. The pattern doesn’t include instructions for a water bottle pocket, but it was easy to figure out. I used this post as a guide on how to cut the pieces and assemble them.

Travel Backpack

The opposite side has a sort of bastardized bellows pocket that closes with a little piece of velcro. I used this tutorial as a general guide to draft the pocket. I did consider adding a flap to completely cover the top, but figuring out how to insert it without crossing over the side seamlines was starting to make my head hurt, so I just went with a velcro closure instead. I don’t think I’ll use this pocket to carry anything necessarily worth stealing – but it will be handy for my reusable bag, or tissues, or something like that.

Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack

The front pocket closes with a zipper (pulled from my stash) and is lined.

Travel Backpack

I spent a little more (aka- bought one instead of taking one from my stash) on the main zipper and bought a metal one intended for purses, with two pulls. When you’re trying to quickly get into your pack, it’s nice to not have to find which side the zipper pull is on. Also, I like that I can clip the two pulls together with a keyring, to discourage someone from trying to take a peek inside. I bought the zipper on Etsy from ZipIt Zippers, who I’ve always had good experiences with!

Travel Backpack

The straps are plain cotton webbing, with gold D rings so that they are adjustable. The upper portion of the straps are lightly padded with cotton batting so they are a bit more comfortable. Just a word of warning – if you are making this bag for an adult, check the sewn strap length! The first pair I made was laughingly WAY too short and looked completely ridiculous on me. These were lengthened by about 5″, which works much better.

Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack

Here’s something I’m proud of – a hidden zippered pocket in the back! It’s sized to fit my passport/wallet, and no one can access the pocket while I’m wearing the backpack. I always hated that someone could theoretically open my backpack and take my stuff, and now at least the shit worth stealing is a little more safe🙂

Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack

I added two more pockets to the lining – a small pocket for holding things like chapstick, Advil, tickets, etc; and a larger pocket that is sized to hold my tablet (a Microsoft Surface, one of the older ones). Both the tablet pocket and the back side of the backpack are padded with cotton batting (the pocket is also lightly quilted), to protect my tablet and also for comfort against my back. I finished all the pocket edges with leftover bias from my piping, which I think looks really nice! I also included a keyring, so I can quickly find my keys when I need them.

I am not going to lie – sewing this backpack was a fucking BEAST. There aren’t a of of pieces, and it’s not even necessarily hard – but there is a lot of bulk once everything starts getting sewn together, especially if you include piping. That being said, the steps are reasonably simple. The instructions are easy to follow, the pieces fit together well, and there’s a lot of room for customization to make ~your perfect backpack~. Despite this being sized for an 8 year old, it’s exactly the right size for my needs.

I bought all my fabrics locally here at Craft South. The outer is my favorite – it’s a great woven cotton from Diamond Textiles that I loved working with cos it’s so pretty! (it’s not on our website, but I can personally vouch that we have like 30 yards in the store, so if you want some – just call the shop! I think it was around $18-$20 yard). The red contrast is Kasse shot cotton, and the lining is just plain ol’ Freespirit quilting cotton. I interfaced all the outer pieces (except for the gathered water bottle pocket) with medium weight fusible interfacing – Pellon 809 to be specific. I did not interface the bottom pieces, which in retrospect I kind of wish I had (the padding/quilting doesn’t make it quite as stable as I’d like, but oh well!). Also from Craft South came the cotton batting, cotton webbing and D-rings. Even though I get a pretty generous discount at Craft South, this backpack still cost me around $50 for all the materials – so it definitely wasn’t cheap (I could buy one for less than that). However, it’s sewn exactly to suit my needs AND the outer fabric is just so beautiful! So there’s that. Also, I am much more likely to take my damn time and do the best job I am capable of when I drop that kind of cash on a project – ha! I think it definitely shows with this backpack. It turned out even nicer than I was expecting!

Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack

Anyway, my little backpack is ready for it’s first adventure! I’ve got a few travel dates coming up soon, starting in September, so I can’t wait to start using it. And OH, speaking of traveling – after much planning, saving, and brain-racking… I just booked a big solo trip! I’ll be visiting in Egypt in January 2017!! HOLY SHIT, right!? I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Egypt and see (touch) a pyramid – which I am finally gonna do! I am also gonna take a Nile River cruise from Aswan to Luxor😉 (which I am MASSIVELY excited about!) Can’t wait to nerd out super hard at the Egyptian Museum, too! Until then, though, I’ve got a vacation wardrobe to flesh out and sew – because let’s face it, none of my clothes are very modest and I definitely need to stick out as little as possible!🙂

Completed: 2 More Scout Tees

8 Aug

Apologies in advance for the big Grainline kick I’ve been on lately. Nothing intentional, no ulterior motives – I am just really loving the patterns these days! Brace yourselves for more where this came from (oh ho ho ho wait till you see my backlog of finished projects), but first – some Scout Tees!

I made 2 Scout Tees, both of which I will be sharing in this post because I think splitting it into separate posts is a bit of an overload – especially since I’ve already made and posted about this pattern twice (see: handwoven cotton and birds). What can I say – I love this pattern and it’s been a hardworking staple in my summer wardrobe this year.

Gauze Scout Tee

First Scout is this one that I made out of a cool (both literally and figuratively) cotton gauze. The best part about this particular project is that the fabric didn’t start out as a yardage – it was actually a scarf! See?:

Gauze Scout Tee

I don’t know the true origins of the scarf; it was given to me by the one guy in my knitting group (btw, every knitting group should have a Token Dude. It really makes you feel like you made it as a knitting group coordinator haha). He was in the process of helping his mother downsize and move, and thus ended up with a big stack of fabrics that needed to be rehomed – most of which ended up in the trunk of my car. This scarf was part of that loot bag. I originally wanted to keep it as a scarf and just wear it like that, cos I looove those gorgeous gauzy scarves and yes I wear them in the summer don’t you dare judge me, but the fact is I never ever come across fabric in this weight/print and I felt like I needed to take advantage of that surprise yardage. Once I realized that I could squeeze a little woven top out of it, my game plan immediately changed.

Since Scout is intended for wovens, it was a good pattern for this project. It’s also fairly small (at least in the size that I cut, which was a 0), doesn’t have a bunch of pieces, and is narrow enough to fit on this scarf. The scarf was also fairly wide – not quite as wide as true fabric yardage, but wide enough to accommodate the pattern pieces on the fold. I had enough length so that I was able to place the print where I wanted it, as well as match it across the seams. I decided the pattern would look best with the paisley design across the hem (which I made sure to account for the hem allowance while cutting), and the white/blue scattered paisleys at the top and on the sleeves. Having a large cutting surface is ideal for this, as I was able to lay everything out and make sure I had enough fabric to match everything before I started cutting.

Gauze Scout Tee

Gauze Scout Tee

Cotton gauze is super lightweight, as well as borderline sheer, so I used French seams throughout for a neat and delicate finish. The hem is 2″ deep, to slightly crop the tee as well as give the bottom some extra weight. The sleeve hems are a simple rolled 1/4″ hem. And I used silk crepe as the neckline bias facing, instead of self-fabric (I don’t even want to think about trying to do a bias facing with this gauze – that shit would have been a nightmare!).

The finished top is definitely a bit see-through if you look very closely, but the busy print helps camouflage things. I also make sure to wear a light or flesh-colored bra underneath (I’m wearing my yellow lace Marlborough in these photos) so there’s not too much of a contrast. The only downside is that the fabric – despite being pre-washed by me, as well as whatever washing it may or may not have gotten in it’s previous life – tends to transfer blue dye on anything it constantly rubs against. Learned this one the hard way after getting home from the flea market last month and discovering that my bra straps were blue, as well as the back side (the part that goes against my body) of my mostly white purse. LAME. Thankfully, most of it washed off with some dish soap and a bit of patient scrubbing. As a side note, if anyone has a good recommendation on how to get a white canvas purse cleaned – yeah, I think I’m gonna need that. I have put that poor Kate Spade through hell and back at this point haha.

All right, second Scout Tee!

Birdy Scout Tee

Recognize this fabric?! I made a fantastic bird dress out of most of it (which is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made to date, and I still wear it whenever I need to impress someone), but I had about 1 yard left over that I’ve been hoarding ever since, just waiting for the right project. Silk Scout Tee it is, then! And you can go ahead and laugh that I now have 2 bird print Scout Tees. It’s ok, I just really like birds😛

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

As with the gauze Scout, this pattern is really great for letting the fabric take center stage. And same as with the gauze version, it doesn’t require a lot of fabric, so I was able to eek it out of my tiny yardage remains. Notice how completely different the shape is, though, since this georgette has a lot more drape an less body than the gauze. I think both look awesome, but this one is definitely a bit more flattering since it’s not so boxy.

Not much to say about this one that wasn’t already said about the gauze one (and hence why I’m slapping both into one post). It was sewn pretty much the exact same way – French seams, 2″ hem, etc etc. I did use self-fabric as the bias facing for this one, which I’m not entirely happy with how it lays and probably should have used silk or cotton voile instead, but whatever. I just don’t think the georgette behaves as well as a silk crepe would have. Too late now, though, cos I ain’t about to rip it out! It’s fine. IT’S FINE.

I don’t know why I got dressform and flat shots of this one and not the other, but here you go:

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

I’m trying really hard not to get all weird and hoardy with my favorite fabrics, because they don’t do me a lot of good just sitting on the shelf. I want to make them into things that I love so I can wear them and love them every day! It can be a little stressful when it’s fabric you know you can’t get more of in case you done goof it up (this bird stuff sold out REALLY fast!), but I’m working on trusting myself and my best judgement. Again – it’s not doing me any good sitting on the shelf! Gotta take that shit out and actually give it the use and love that it deserves!

Gauze Scout Tee

I think I’m done with Scouts for now, but that doesn’t mean I’m over the woven tshirt! Right after I finished cutting these two, Megan Nielsen released her Sudley pattern, and the blouse is giving me all kinds of heart eyes. I’d love to make a version with the back keyhole!

As a side note – hi, welcome to my living room. I think I like these pictures better than the ones in my sewing room (the only good lighting in my sewing room has some wretched boring background action), although the changing light is a bit of a challenge. I dunno. Taking photos indoors in general is a bit of a challenge, to be honest, but it sure beats standing outside with a tripod while all my neighbors snoop on me through their windows haha (which is what I imagine is happening, and more than likely actually not the case at all).

OAL2016: My Finished Outfit!

29 Jul

What up, everyone! It’s practically the end of the July – two days left to go! – which means one thing ’round these parts… The Outfit-Along is nearly over!

OAL_Banner

I’ve had a lot of fun with the pieces this year – both making and wearing them! – and I’m excited to finally show you guys my finished sweater + skirt!

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

Here is the complete outfit!

The sweater is Zinone by Andi Satterlund, and the skirt is a Hollyburn from Sewaholic Patterns.

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Zinone was made using the suggested yarn, Quince + Co Sparrow (the color is Moon), which is a fingering weight linen yarn. This was my first time working with linen and OMG TRUE LOVE Y’ALL. Very easy to work with and felt so good on my hands! My gauge swatch put me at size 2 needles, and I knitted the size XS (which is my usual size for Andi’s patterns and corresponds with my bust measurement). I chose to knit the version with the partial lace back, and slightly cropped. I was originally going to do the full lace version, but I guess I’m way out of lace-knittin’ practice because I had a helluva time working this one out. Fortunately, the directions for the partial and full lace back at the same for a bit at the beginning of the pattern, which gave me plenty of time to change my mind😛 I also completely frogged the entire thing and started over after finishing the lace section, because I realized way too late that I had read the pattern wrong (which is why I was having issues in the first place). I was trying to be clever and separate my repeats with stitch markers – you can’t do that with this pattern, as some of the stitches borrow from previous repeats. Whoops. Once I realized I’d done goofed, let me tell you… it was hard to rip everything out and start over. But I’m glad I did, because my second attempt at the lace looks pretty bomb-ass, if I do say so myself😉

I made some slight sizing and length modifications to the sweater as well – I knitted the correct number of rows for the cropped version, but somehow it ended up really short (I am thinking I read the pattern wrong). I just continued knitting until I got to the length that I wanted, and did a couple more rounds of decreases as well. Speaking of length, this sweater is only about an inch shorter than the schematics – it’s 16.5″ long from the shoulder, which hits me right about at the belly button. The cropped version on Andi appears to be a lot shorter than mine, even though it says it’s an inch longer.

Anyway, this was a very easy and satisfying knit. I did nearly run out of yarn at the end – I bought enough for the cropped version, and ended up frogging about 3 rows of my gauge swatch. Actually, I had an extra skein but I was trying really hard not to use it so I could be cheap and return it to the store😉

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

I LOVE how this linen feels in the summer heat – finally, an excuse to wear my handknits even in July!😀 And it’s pretty awesome that it’s machine washable. I haven’t done the recommend 3 washing cycles yet, though – I did one Soak wash (this is how I wash all my knits… and my lingerie for that matter. Soak is AMAZING, cannot recommend enough) and then one wash in the washing machine. My new place has me doing laundry at the ‘mat, so running 3 loads back to back to back isn’t exactly doable for me! (well, it is. But I’m not about to pay for that haha) So far, though, it has softened up considerably after even 2 washes. Can’t wait to see how it softens even more with additional wear and washing😀

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Sorry, loads of photos!

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

Now for the Hollyburn!

I already wrote a couple posts about the modifications to make this particular skirt (see: Choosing Your Fabric, Flat Piping, and Installing an Exposed Zipper), so I’ll just brief over the key details here.

The navy rayon crepe is from StyleMaker Fabrics (who is one of our sponsors for this year’s OAL!). I added flat piping at the waistband (sewn with silk crepe – from my stash) and an exposed metal zipper to the back. I also shortened the length considerably, omitted the pockets, and used stretch interfacing on the waistband.

I sewed the entire skirt on my Spiegel 60609, and it did pretty well overall! While I don’t want to say I was concerned to see how it would handle that shifty fabric (I have sewn straight-up silk and a bra on the 60609, and it hasn’t given me any problems thus far with my fabric choices), I was still pleasantly surprised at the entire experience. I didn’t use any special stitches, and only feet that came with the machine. The zipper foot in particular was great for both applying the piping and the invisible zipper, as well as making sure the topstitching was nice and straight and close to the edge. I did find that I needed to increase the stitch length just a smidge for this fabric, as it wanted to bunch a little bit otherwise, but overall I’m pretty happy with it! I am glad that moving the needle over is an option with this machine (you just increase the zigzag width while on a straight stitch), however, I’d love to see some new feet released to use with this machine. Maybe a 1/4″ foot or an edgestitching foot?😉 HINT HINT.

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

For me, the most fun part about this challenge is ending up with TWO pieces that I can mix with other garments in my wardrobe. I love this top + skirt together… but honestly, I like them even more with different things from my closet! They are definitely wearable with a bunch of what I already have (which is part of the reason why I got a little boring with the colors😉 I wanted the versatility!); here are a couple of examples:

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater

Zinone top + Ginger jean shorts
I don’t know about y’all, but I am LOVING the cropped trend! Slightly cropped with a slightly high-waisted bottom is my new favorite thing right now (not your cup of tea? This is the beauty of knitting your own – you get to decide the length!). I love the way this top looks tucked into a skirt, but the combination with my high-waisted Ginger shorts really makes my heart sing the most.

OAL2016: Hollyburn Skirt

Hollyburn skirt + sleeveless coral B5526 button up
I did not realize when I made this shirt that it was going to be one of my top 10 handmade garments of all time, but it is. It goes with everything. The sleeveless option + lightweight cotton fabric make it a great option for summer, and it layers beautifully under sweaters in the winter. The color is perfection and looks especially great with navy (my go-to summer dark neutral). It’s as easy to wear as a knit tshirt, but looks a helluva lot more refined and classy.

OAL2016: Zinone Sweater + Hollyburn Skirt

Anyway, I guess that’s it for this post! Those of you still scrambling to finish your outfits – you have 2 days before the deadline! Make sure you upload your finished outfit to the Official OAL2016 Finished Outfit Thread on Ravelry before 7/31/16 Midnight PDT if you wanna win one of those sweet prizes! Andi and I will be drawing 3 winners at random, who will win fabric, sewing pattern, and knitting pattern vouchers! Even if you’re not participating, do take a look at that thread! There are some amazing outfits to drool over🙂

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