Archive | January, 2012

More Knitted Goodies

18 Jan

Look – I finished not one, but TWO knitting projects! Both of these have been slow works-in-progress, and over the weekend I was able to get everything blocked, then last night I finished weaving in ends & sewing seams & all that fun stuff. And now you get to share my joy with me! Yay!

Sorry that the pictures are so bad – I took these last night because I was so excited to show them off. It’s been grey & rainy all week. Ugh, winter is so bad for pictures.

First up – bunny slippers!
bunny slippers
This is the hopsalots pattern – it is very easy! You knit everything flat with decreases and increases and then seam everything up, felt the shit outta it, and sew on the ears/eyes/nose/tail. I learned a lot with this pattern – decreases, increases, seaming, felting, knitting with 2 strands of yarn. I also made my first pom-pom lol.

bunny slippers - in progress
Here is a progress photo – I had to pin the edges down because they really wanted to curl up.

bunny slippers
I added 2 rows of stitches before decreasing, since I knitted a 5/6 and I wear a 6.5. In the end, I pinched a little excess off the back because the slippers were too long – probably from those extra rows. Also, I don’t think I felted them as much as I needed to. Felting took about an hour – I got bored! I brought my Kindle in the kitchen and watched some TV shows, so it wasn’t tooooo bad, but man my poor fingers were pruney after the fact.

Anyway, I love my slippers! They are kind of dangerous on the bathroom floor but I’m sure I’ll manage 😉

Next pattern – my cowl!
my cowl!
This is the Casu Cowl (psst – it’s a FREE Ravelry download!). I knitted mine using an Alpaca blend in a delicious shade of wooly teal. It is my very first written pattern and that shit took foooorever (mostly because I kept stopping to make other fun things, like bunny slippers. Ahem.). Things I learned with this pattern: how to read a pattern, how to read a pattern chart, provisional cast on, yarn overs, knitting 2 together, grafting, and adding a new ball of yarn (I used almost 3 balls). Grafting was interesting – my seam isn’t totally invisible, but I think it’s pretty good for a first try 🙂

knitted cowl
I just love the lace pattern at the top.
The only thing that sucks about this cowl is that the teal is basically the same color as my new coat – which is too matchy-matchy for me. Ah, guess I’ll have to just knit another cowl. Bummer 🙂

I have a couple more knitting projects – one nearing completion (just a few more rows to knit and then a quick blocking) and I just started swatching my sweater last night. Actually, the lace pattern on this thing nearly killed me but Sarah the Knitting Magician saved the day/my life and corrected my error. Hopefully I’ll have some swatches to show off in a few days! I am REALLY excited about this project 😀

Are any of y’all on Ravelry? Friend me – I’m laurenc0re!


Using A Croquis

13 Jan

I’ll admit, I initially made a digital croquis of myself for no reason other than to see what I could come up with. I didn’t really plan on using it – that is, until I finished drawing the figure. I printed out a couple in different sizes, took them home, and started eyeballing my pattern stash.

And now I CAN’T STOP DRAWING. It is so much fun! I’m no artist, but I am pretty good at copying stuff. The patterns are so easy to draw from because they have little line-drawings, so you can just copy directly onto your figure, making any necessary design changes (such as making the vintage wasp-waists more like your own waist). If you really wanted to, I’m sure you could print the croquis out to the exact dimensions of the line drawings, and then just trace everything over – I don’t have that kind of patience, though.

After I printed my croquis to the correct size (mine are approximately 5.5″ tall), I simply laid a sheet of paper over the print-out and traced lightly with a pencil. I drew the clothing on the croquis and erased whatever needed to be erased, then traced over everything again with a fine-tip sharpie. And I think they look pretty good! Not perfect, but good enough for me!

Then I stuck them all over my fabric board:
fabric & pattern planning board
You can see I got a little crazy & drew several!

I pinned fabric swatches to each one, and wrote the pattern number on the bottom.

croqui for coat :)
I even made one for my coat!
Silly croquis – couldn’t bother to put on pants or anything 😉

Speaking of my coat, progress is plodding along! I haven’t posted any updates because I’m at the boring tailoring stage – fun for me, boring for pictures. Here, have some pictures anyway.

bound button hole & covered button!
One of two bound button holes – and a fabric-covered button to boot! Covering that button was a PAIN IN MY ASS. I dread covering the other 3. But it looks good, no?

I started pad stitching the other day, and it has gone by really fast. Much faster than pad stitching my Lady Grey coat. I’m not sure if it’s because I actually know what I’m doing this time ’round, or if it’s the fabric I’m using. Probably both. PROTIP: if you plan on tailoring a coat, do yourself a favor and pick some wool coating that has a lot of texture. The stitches don’t show at all. I wish I’d figured this out on my last coat, it would have saved me hours of time.
See my new toy? I bought myself a Kindle Fire for Christmas 🙂 (right before I discovered the Featherweight, actually – hence why it’s being paid off via layaway and not livin’ the good life in my sewing room. Wah!) It’s great for my crafty time – I can keep it in my sewing room & listen to music/watch sewing videos while I work, and it holds all my PDFs for knitting patterns so I’m not carrying around a bunch of ratty pieces of paper.
And yes, I listen to 80s pop when I sew. Or the Rhythm is a Dancer station. I love shitty 90s dance club music, lol.

I finished pad stitching the lapels last night while watching The House of Yes (which is my favorite movie – it’s really messed up but but but Parker Posey! Dressed as Jackie-O!). Like I literally pulled the last stitch through as the credits started rolling. I told you pad stitching is going faster!

Then I put the lapels out for a little steam session:
steaming the lapels

finished padstitching!
And here they are as of this morning! Beautifully rolled!

Next up – actually putting the jacket together! Yay!

Look! A Mini-LT! (and a tutorial to make your own)

10 Jan

Look! I made a creepy line-drawing of myself!
mini LT!
Isn’t it just the cutest thing you ever did see? Ok, maybe not… it’s kind of creepy lol.

I was inspired to make one of these after reading chapter 2 of the Colette Sewing Handbook, A Thoughtful Plan. It is suggested that you make your own croquis to aid with planning out future sewing projects.

This is not normally something I would use – garments look sooo different on a bunch of stylized croquis than they do on normal ol’ bodies, plus, I’m pretty ~aware~ of how my body looks – so I didn’t see much of a point. But now little mini-me’s are popping up all over the internet, and I’m a sheep at heart so I took some pictures and drew out my own. Mine has a little outfit (bathing suit?) because I feel a little creeped out at the idea of a nakey me floating around the internet.

The book suggests printing your picture & tracing around the lines to create the croquis – which is fabulous, but I don’t have a printer at home and I was a little skeeved at the idea of printing out a picture of my undie-clad body on the office printer (or at Kinko’s! Oh God!). Hence, the all-digital LT.

And guess what? The process was pretty easy, so I made a bunch of screen shots so I could share the tutorial with you 🙂 And the best part is, you don’t have to have Photoshop 🙂 I used GIMPshop, which is a FREE software that is very similar to Photoshop (except free). Yay!

First, you are going to want to take a picture of yourself – in something very form-fitting (like leggings or a tank) or just undies. My actual picture was taken in a tank top and undies, hence why I picked a different picture for the tutorial 🙂 But you – you are going to want to wear something that shows your shape!

Some photo tips that I wish someone had pointed out to me:
– Stand in front of a plain (preferably light) backdrop. The less noise you need to edit out of the background, the better! This also makes it easier to see where you figure ends & where the wall (or whatever is behind you) begins.
– Make sure the camera is pointed straight at you, and not at an angle. My first croquis did not heed this warning, and as a result, she hashad very short legs (Had. I deleted her lol). Apparently I take my pictures at slightly MySpace-esque angle, which is great for outfit photos but not so great for croquis.
– Ensure that there is plenty of light & use a flash if necessary! It doesn’t matter if the picture is “blown out” or you are making a derp face – we are just dealing with the lines here, anyway.

Ok, so you’ve got your picture – tutorial time! These pictures are also located on my Flickr in their own set if you feel so inclined. Click through any picture to make it bigger if you need to!

I decided to use this clover picture as an example, saving y’all the pain of viewing an undies shot. You are all welcome. And again, I’m using GIMPshop. It’s free! And please note that I am by no means a professional when it comes to digital image manipulation – I just kind of hacked my way through until I came up with something suitable 🙂

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(I know, it should be “Croqui” not “Croquis,” my bad. I did not realize until it was TOO LATE!

I made myself wear the Pastille dress:
mini LT pastille
In the future, I will be drawing the actual clothes with a pencil & a piece of paper. It is hard to adjust the lines of the garment in GIMP to correspond with the lines of my body.

At any rate, I’m excited about my new little friend 🙂

Now – go print out a million little images of yourself & draw up a new wardrobe! Yay!

This Is Why I Can’t Buy Fabric Anymore

9 Jan

You guys.
Remember this?
ughhh my fabric stash
That is my fabric stash as of last week. And before anyone goes, “Oh! That’s not too bad!” may I point out that the fabric is double-stacked – i.e., there are piles of fabric behind the stuff you can see. Also, I have smaller piles lurking in my sewing room closet & attic. Eep!

So, I knew I was going to put myself on a fabric-buying ban. It seems silly to keep spending money (especially when you consider my expensive taste when it comes to fabric) when I have soo much perfectly usable fabric hanging out at my house as it is. I mentioned this at the beginning of the year (aka last week) and a few of y’all commented that you should also follow suit, but felt like you couldn’t stick to it. To be honest, I kind of felt the same way, but after pulling out my stash & really combing through it, I am actually pretty excited about this upcoming sewing year. I have so much good fabric! So many gems I had forgotten about!

Over the weekend, I pulled every single piece of fabric off my shelf, measured it (both yardage & width) and took a picture. I was going to upload everything to Pinterest – well, I started, anyway – but their site is all buggy and half the pictures don’t show up and idk, I just got pissy & moved everything to Flickr. Whatever! I also took the opportunity to pull any fabric that hadn’t been prewashed (I try to prewash everything as soon as I get it home but in some of these cases, this fabric has been hanging around for years… long before I because the Queen of Prewash) and get that taken care of as well.

I’m not going to bore you with dozens of pictures of my fabric stash, but if you are feeling lurky, I have allotted it it’s very own set on flickr. I am kind of embarrassed that there are nearly 50 photos, especially when you consider that this is ONLY my woven garment fabric with significant yardage. I have more stacks of muslins/interlinings, linings, remnants/scraps, and an entire cabinet full of stretch fabrics. Plus I never got around to that stuff in the attic lol. Baby steps, y’all!

I cut little swatches & hung them on my bulletin board as well:
fabric board!
The swatches to the left are the ones I want to try to sew up over the spring/summer. The swatches in the middle are fabrics I want to use before them (aka now). The giant stacks at the bottom are the rest of my swatches. Oh, and the little white papers stuck on everything show the yardage & width – so I can figure out if I have enough of something without actually unfolding it and getting measure on. Did that once, not doin’ it again!

Then I got really inspired and decided to document my entire pattern stash as well. And, well, guys… I have a lot more than I thought I did. And I’m kind of embarrassed. But we’re not judging each other, right? This is a safe space, yes?

Ok, well, here’s the flickr link to all 158 of them.
Don’t judge me!

For your troubles, here is my favorite weird pattern that I had forgotten I own:
McCall's 6988
lol wtf is even going on here?

So there you go! I do feel more organized about my various stashes – I’m already planning my spring wardrobe in my head 🙂 Hopefully this is inspire some of you to take control of your stash, too! And then share pictures, because *I* like to lurk 🙂 Heehee.

How Do You Notch?

5 Jan

I took the first step last night and cut out my coat pattern pieces – all 21 of them! Coating, lining & interfacing – I basically cut the coat out three times. The coating & interfacing were fine the way they are, but cutting the Bemberg rayon took a little bit of finesse – I used Sunni’s brilliant tutorial for cutting slippery fabrics and used silk pins for the first time. My tip if you want to try this – pin the slippery fabric to the muslin first (especially if you have the slippery fabric doubled) and when you pin your pattern pieces down, give the pins some extra breathing room and put them at least 1/2″ from the edge of the tissue. It may pull you out of the seam allowance (hence why I used such fine pins), but it does make it easier to wedge those scissors in there! And no jagged edges! Yay!

I noticed this while I was cutting out my pieces:
wait, people really do this?
I actually see this a LOT when using vintage patterns (and wearing vintage handmade stuff) – people who go the extra mile and give those notches a proper space to call their own. I remember my mom doing this on the clothes she made for me, and I always thought it was such a fiddly extra step. Cutting out fabric is obnoxious enough without having to maneuver around the table to cut some tiny extra pieces with the tips of your shears.

Here’s how I handle the situation:
snipping off notches
I cut the triangles off entirely & notch directly into the seam allowance. It’s quick, painless, and efficient.

And it gives me a good excuse to use my tailor snips, a Christmas present from Landon:
tailor snips!
(Seriously, he is the best! I AM NOT WORTHY)

Now seems like an appropriate time to introduce you to my Gingher Family:
my gingher family :3
8″ knife-blade shears, pinking shears, applique scissors, and the new tailor snips.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand – how do you handle your notches? Do you cut out the entire triangle, or just snip a little snip? Or do you do something else? Is there any benefit to leaving such a giant piece flapping around the notch? Should I stop cutting (hahahahaaaa see what I did there?) corners?

In other blog-land news, I was nominated for the Versitale Blogger Award by miss Joanne and given this cute button to share!

Now I’m supposed to tell you seven things you don’t know about me. Let’s see…
– My last name is Taylor! Every so often, I’ll have a friend make the connection and get really excited about their epiphany.
– I got the bird tattoo before I got the name. I am not really sure what to tell you about the second L. I wanted it to be like Lloyd, the silent L that makes for confusing pronunciation.
– I love obsolete electronics & I collect bits & pieces when I can. My favorites are computers/game systems and cell phones.
– I was homeschooled from third grade until graduation. This REALLY confuses people when I tell them, because apparently I don’t “act homeschooled.” Well all right, then!
– In addition to Nashville (my hometown & forever Lover), I have also lived in New Orleans & Pittsburgh. I left New Orleans because a bitch named Katrina kicked me out 😦 I left Pittsburgh because it was a terrible idea. The cold & I do not get along.
Johnny Paycheck serenaded me on Lower Broadway in front of a bunch of tourists shortly before he died. I told him to bugger off & he thought it was the most hysterical thing ever. I didn’t find out who he was until years later – I thought he was some rando tourist just being an ass.
– I have pretty bad TMJ, so my jaw pops every time I open it all the way. My dentist finds this hilarious.

Now I am supposed to nominate some people for being my new favorites of awesome, so I pick Molly and Oona. I would nominate more but it looks like Joanne already jumped on the others I was going to pick. Boo!

Okay, back to cutting! I have a shirt muslin that requires my complete & undivided attention.

Of Muslins & (Fabric) Musings

3 Jan

Welcome to 2012, everyone! Did you make any resolutions for the new year? I only made one, forreal-legit resolution, and I actually made it just now (as opposed to pre-2012): I have decided to enter the world of adulthood & start using proper capitalization on this blog. No real reason in particular except that it makes it easier to read. So there you go – my Christmas gift to y’all!

Another goal for 2012 started running through my mind last night while I was working on my coat muslin:
ughhh my fabric stash
Dear Lauren,
You are not allowed to buy anymore fabric this year until you cull that stash under control.

EXCEPTIONS (ah, but isn’t there always an exception?): January & July, my amazing local fabric store has a 40%-50% off sale on all fabrics. I generally use this opportunity to stock up for the upcoming season, and to pick up fabrics that I know I will use but are normally a bit cost-prohibitive (such as silk organza, and extra yardages of rayon lining to, er, hoard). So I’ll allow myself to buy stock-up fabric during these sales, and also a piece or two for funsies. Another exception is anything that involves my mega-cheap fabric scores – flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, donations, etc. I mean, they’re practically paying me to take this stuff! I’d be a fool to not grab it and go, amirite?

Speak of the fabric sale, I already hit that shit up yesterday (first day!) and picked up a rather modest pile (considering my usual history of how much I tend to spend…):
the only fabric I bought in 2012 :)
The top two don’t count; they are shirting fabrics for Landon’s Negroni. More on that when I make a muslin!
That black under the plaid flannel is dark-wash denim with a slight stretch (for another pair of wide-legged trousers), the stripey is jersey knit with navy & white stripes, the white is boring old cotton batiste (for lining summer dresses), the shiny blue is silk shantung (actually from Mood fabrics), the green is Bemberg rayon lining for my coat (yes! I went with green!), and the big blob at the bottom is my coating fabric from Mood.

Speaking of my coat – have some muslin pictures!

coat muslin
This is actually my second muslin – the first muslin was almost workable, but needed a little bit of tweaking. This is what I ended up with:
– Remove 1/4″ from top & bottom sleeve side seams
– Reduce sleeve head ease (appx 7/8″ at peak)
– Taper lapel 1/2″
– Shift button position
– Shorten back belt 3/4″ on each end
– Remove 5/8″ from center back seam
– Remove 3/4″ from side back seam
– Raise underarm seam 1″
– Reduce shoulder width 5/8″
I think I’m pretty happy with the fit! Tell me what you think, fitting princesses & princes.

coat muslin
The underarm seam was the most confusing adjustment I made. Clearly there was something wrong with the first muslin, as I couldn’t move my arms at all without the entire coat joining the parade. I checked several fitting books, but none of them mentioned the actual armhole unless they were referring to a sleeveless top. I finally determined that the armhole was too low (which makes sense, as the pattern is a slight bit too large for me), and raising it 1″ pretty much eliminated the problem.

coat muslin
the lapels were also a little too wide around the neckline which resulted in some gaping. I pinched out the excess and re-smoothed the lines. There is still a small amount of gape but I want to be able to wad a scarf in there so I’m ok with it.

coat muslin
The back in cinched in via the belt, which is a design feature i loooove. Check out my mismatched sleeve caps – I put one in before I realized it needed to be reduced.

coat muslin
Side looks okay.

coat muslin
What do we think about the overall length? I folded back the sleeves the suggested 2″, but I think they are a smidge too long (like, no more than 1/2″). I like the coat length, although I realize now that I hemmed it 2″ and the pattern calls for 3″. So – current length or 1″ shorter? Eh?

Transferring the fitting adjustments was a PAIN IN THE REAR. This coat has separate pieces for everything – coat, lining, and interfacing! So every adjustment was transferred three times. And I will just (wo)man up and say right now that I did it all to the pattern tissue – no tracing. Whoever owned the pattern before me wrote all over it and made their own fitting adjustments, so I didn’t see much of a point in preservation. I will include my fitting notes should someone obtain this pattern after me, and they can re-add the stuff I cut off. Or something. Don’t be mad!

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the overall fit of the coat! I think everything looks good & I’m ready to cut straight into the coating fabric. I have my (green!)lining & I picked up some giant covered buttons. Oh, and 3 yards of 72″ horsehair interfacing. Hopefully I won’t need to buy interfacing again until 2013 😉