Tag Archives: knit

Completed: Professor Meow Sweater

31 Oct

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to knit an official cat lady sweater, but, here we are.

Professor Meow sweater

The sweater in question was actually knit much earlier this year – I finished it way back in April – but barely had time to wear it, let alone photograph it, before the weather warmed up too much. I’ve really enjoyed rotating it back into my regular wardrobe now that the temperatures have cooled down a bit, so here it is! Never too late for a blog post!

Professor Meow sweater

Also, if my surroundings look different – well, they are! I’m currently on the other side of the US, a little more than halfway through my 10 day stint in Berkeley, CA while I teach some workshops at Hello Stitch! This adorable AirBNB is probably the cutest place I’ve ever “lived” (other than my own house, OBVIOUSLY) and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take some photos while I’m here!

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

So what is this magical garment of Peak Cat Lady, you ask? The pattern is Professor Meow from KnitPicks. I found this pattern entirely by chance – I wasn’t necessarily looking to make a cat sweater (although, clearly, I think I should have been), but once I saw it I knew that was going to be my next project. I stuck with the suggested yarn, Knit Picks Wonderfluff, which really is pretty wonderful and fluffy. I don’t typically knit with acrylic blends, but this one has some additional alpaca and merino which makes it super soft with a nice fuzzy halo. Since it’s a bulky yarn, it knits up really quickly. A quick swatch had me go down a needle size to a #10 , which is typical for me.

The sweater is knit flat in 2 pieces, with the cat design achieved by some basic intarsia. This actually isn’t my first intarsia project – I have another sweater that I finished right before this one that that I’ve yet to actually photograph/share (in my defense… it’s even warmer than this one, so the weather hasn’t really cooperated YET haha) – but it was good for practice! After the front and back are knit, the pieces are seamed, then the little sleeve ribbing is knit in the round, as well as the neckline. I did change how the neckline was knit, as I didn’t like the way it was written in the pattern (a basic ribbing with a bind off at the end). Since knitting my last couple of sweaters, I’ve really come to love and appreciate a nice knit neckband that is folded over with the live stitches secured down, like with my Martine Sweater. So that’s what I did with this one, and I think it looks much nicer. I *generally* try to follow knitting instructions as they are written, but sometimes a girl’s gotta go her own way!

Professor Meow sweater<

Professor Meow sweater

After blocking the sweater (which, even if you normally skip blocking I do HIGHLY recommend blocking this yarn, as it really softens and relaxes with a good block!), I used yarn to stitch the whiskers on as directed by the pattern. I left off the kitty pupils because I like the way the cat looks without them.

Hmmm what else? I knit a size 37, so that the sweater would have a little bit of relaxed ease but not be quite as loose as it is on the pattern images. I went boring with the yarn colorway and just got grey on grey, which OF COURSE goes with everything in my closet so I’m pretty pleased with that. Full Ravelry notes are here!Professor Meow sweater

I always love the sweaters that I knit, but this one may be my favorite! It’s pretty silly and quirky, but not so much that I feel ridiculous wearing it in public. Despite being short sleeved, it is quite warm, and the yarn is super soft and fuzzy. It’s definitely pretty attention-getting, and in all honesty I typically prefer to wear this bad boy on first dates. What is it they say – if you can’t handle me in my cat sweater… ? I don’t know.

As a side note – my jeans in this photo deserve a shout out! These are, of course, jeans made by me. But wait, there’s more! These are my ORIGINAL Ginger jeans, the first pair I ever made! I can’t believe they still fit (I’ve gained weight since I made them, but I guess the fabric has stretched along with me, ha!); they’ve been going strong since 2014! If you look closely at the butt, you can see where I have patched them a few times – the fabric is getting thin, and there was one unfortunate incident where I actually tore a hole in the butt immediately at the end of a jeans workshop (hm good thing I had access to a sewing machine to patch it, yet?), but amazingly they are still holding up! Yeah for handmade jeans!

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Completed: Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt

2 Mar

Ok, so, apologies in advance for posting a really boring sweatshirt today, but, I feel like this post is warranted for two reasons – really awesome fabric, and a previously overlooked version of a pattern.

Honestly, this might be my new favorite fabric at Mood (up there in the ranks with their Bamboo Jersey and Organic Cotton twill). AND they have plenty of colors still in stock (although as of this posting, currently sold out of this particular green – sorry!)! It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

In all seriousness, though, I wanted to really focus on the fabric for this post. I promise it’s a really good one and worth the praise! I found this Moss Bamboo and Cotton Stretch Fleece on the Mood Fabric’s website a few months ago, via swatch (I always take advantage of my free swatches and usually end up throwing random stuff in my cart before I place my order! I have discovered some REALLY cool fabrics that way that I might have otherwise overlooked). I’m not even kidding when I say it’s one of my new favorite fabrics – they have loads of colorways and it’s nice and wide (60″) so you need less yardage.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

The fabric is comprised of 66% bamboo, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. That little bit of spandex is essential for giving the fabric a great stretch with a fabulous recovery. Plus, I really love bamboo fabrics – they are soft, easy to wash and wear, and they are antimicrobial so they have fantastic stink-reducing properties!

This fabric is considered a sweatshirt fleece, meaning it is has one side that is nice and smooth and the opposite side is soft and brushed. Unlike your typical sweatshirt fleece, it’s a slightly lighter weight with a softer drape. It is also a 4 way stretch, which, WEIRDLY (don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you) has more stretch along the grain rather than the crossgrain (if I recall, 40% at the cross grain and something like 80% along the grain). It’s soft (did I mention that it’s soft? Because it is FUCKING SOFT), it snaps back into shape, and it comes in a nice array of colors – what isn’t there to love?

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

This sweatshirt is actually the second garment I made using this fleece – my first garment was a pair of black Virginia leggings. I don’t have any photos of those – let’s be real, they are black leggings and basically impossible to photograph – but I wear them ALL THE TIME (here is a photo on my Instagram – I’d already been wearing them for 3 days at that point haha). Think of your favorite fleece leggings or tights – and then just imagine them in bamboo instead of poly (so no stink and no pilling). Because of the spandex, the fabric doesn’t bag out – meaning no baggy knees or butts. Also, in retrospect – they look pretty much the same as the pants I am wearing (the Cecilia Pant from Elizabeth Suzann – aka my MAGIC PANTS seriously you guys these pants are magical), so maybe I should have just worn the leggings for this photo!

So anyway, about this project! After my success with the leggings, I bought 2 more yards of this hunter green colorway without a real idea of what I wanted to make with it. I knew I wanted a sweatshirt, but a plain sweatshirt seemed like such a cop-out. So I went with the Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt.

I will be completely honest – I did NOT like this particular view of the Fraser when I first saw it (or, to be even more honest – any subsequent versions that I’ve seen since). I dunno, the super contrast yoke just looks unflatteringly Western to me (and I typically love me some Western wear) – very costume-y, very Wonder Woman. I had no intentions of ever sewing up that version (I do like the other versions – you can see the one I made with a collar here), but weirdly, I thought of it when I was trying to decide what to do with this fleece. I thought it might look good with the contrast just being the wrong fuzzy side of the fabric, so the color still matched but there would be some subtle texture differences (again, just like my version with the collar).Β  I’m actually pretty pleased with the end result – it’s still a nice sweatshirt but with a little more interest… and it doesn’t look costume-y. And I have worn it every day this week, no lie, so obviously it’s a massive success in my book haha.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics
Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

I made a size 0 and slimmed down the hips (Sewaholic Patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, and I’ve found I don’t need the extra room down there). I also cut this on the lengthwise grain, instead of the crossgrain – remember when I said the fabric had more stretch on the lengthwise grain? I think it would work either way, but I wanted a reeeeeally stretchy, comfy sweatshirt! Shortened the sleeves about 1″… they are still slightly long, but in my experience it’s better to keep them long and allow for a little more shrinkage, then re-hem if necessary. I have waaaay too much bracelet-length sleeves as a result of not being aware of this for the first half of my sewing career haha.

I did have to pay careful attention to the stitching at the center front V, as well as matching the sleeve contrast seam to the bodice contrast seam – for those, I based first on my sewing machine (much easier to take the stitches out if you mess it up) before using my serger. I used the single needle chainstitch on my coverstitch machine to topstitch the contrast, to give it a little more dimension. Other than that, a very quick and easy sew! I did notice the the fleece flattens when you press it, but it’s easy to fluff back up with your fingers.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, that’s all for this one! A simple project, but also a big gushy heart-eyes love song about some amazing fabric! Now, quick, y’all need to buy it before I snap up the rest of this stuff! πŸ™‚

** Note: The fabric used for this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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.

Completed: Lemon Print Watson Bra

11 Apr

Gah, I love fruit-themed novelty prints, especially when they are in a fruit that I actually like to eat (as I’ve mentioned before: pineapples, yes, cherries, not really. ha). Lemons have always been one of those things that I always gravitate toward – both in my palate (if it includes lemon – whether it’s a dish or a drink – I will definitely order it) and on my fabric. I haven’t had much luck finding lemon fabric in the past, but 2017 must be trying to make up for starting out so shitty because now I have TWO lemon yardages in my stash!

Well, now only one… but I’ll sew that one up soon, too. I promise.

Lemon Watson Bra

Anyway, here’s the first one – a beautiful lemon-print cotton knit! It’s another piece of fabric that I picked up while I was in Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio back in February. I found it creeping behind another pile of knits, and there was barely any yardage left on the bolt (maybe 1 yard, tops). This was one of those few instances where I threw the fabric in my pile without thinking twice about what I’d actually make with it. The lemon print is very similar to this Kate Spade lemon purse (that I also own, because, duh. Lemons), except that the fabric includes splashes of turquoise, whereas the purse only has bits of green. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on the Kate Spade print, but I acknowledge now that I stand corrected.

Anyway, I spent some time (aka about 10 minutes of thinking and 2 minutes of googling) deciding what to make with my fabric, and I decided on…. a cardigan! πŸ™‚ This knit is a thicker cotton interlock knit – it’s not really the weight that I like my tshirts to be, and the print is too summery to make into a sweatshirt. I thought the cardigan would be a lovely way to wear this print throughout the summer, especially since those things are mandatory here as people really love abusing the a/c. I cut my cardigan pieces, fused my interfacing, and got ready to assemble everything.

Lemon Watson Bra

If you’re sitting here thinking, “Bitch, that’s not a cardigan,” YES I KNOW. I ended up having a grand epiphany somewhere around the time that I was pressing under the seam allowances of the pockets. I was feeling sad that I didn’t have more than scraps of the lemon print left over (generally, I am pleased when I buy exactly enough fabric, but this particular case was a time for mourning and self-reflection), and suddenly wondered if I could squeeze a pair of panties out of the leftovers. I pulled the pieces out of my scrap bin – and, nope, the scraps were too small. But you know what? Bras don’t use big pieces of fabric…

Lemon Watson Bra

Obviously, I stopped everything I was doing and immediately started making a bra instead.

Lemon Watson Bra

I used the Watson Bra & Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit, as it’s designed to be made with stretch knits. Due to my fabric restraints, I could only squeeze out the short-framed version – which I like better, anyway, as I think the longline would be too much. I made my regular size, which is a 30D.

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

For the notions, I raided the hell out of my stash. For some reason, I have all these coordinating yellow notions – powermesh, strapping, picot elastic – even though I look terrible in yellow. The hook and eye and rings and sliders were harvested from an old bra, and I made the turquoise bow with a scrap of ribbon. I used cream-colored thread to topstitch because I didn’t want it to compete with all the lemons.

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

The entire bra is lined with lightweight yellow powermesh. Lining is not totally necessary with this pattern (I have made unlined versions before), but I wasn’t sure what the recovery was like on this knit, since it’s 100% cotton. So I added the powermesh as another layer of support. As you can see, I serged the inside seams with turquoise serger thread – it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m not really crazy at the effect. Rather than being a cute tie-in with the outside turquoise, it kind of just looks like I didn’t have matching thread. Oh well, whatever, inside of the bra.

My last short frame Watson bra isn’t exactly the most supportive thing I own – it’s fine for it’s purposes (TBH, I don’t need a lot of support and have lately just not been wearing a bra at all LOL FREEEEEEDOM), but I didn’t want the same thing to happen with this bra. The main problem with the coral bra is that the bridge is too stretchy – so it doesn’t hold the cups in place. For this bra, I used sheer cup lining (from my stash, but Tailor Made Shop sells it!) on the bridge – and then covered it with the powermesh – to keep that area completely stable. Powermesh isn’t stable enough on it’s own – not even with two layers of stretch going in opposite directions (which was the case with the coral bra), but the sheer cup lining definitely worked an this bra is much more supportive!

FYI, I sewed the entire bra on my sewing machine – other than the serged parts, which was just to finish the edges (so they look nice, they’re not exactly going to unravel). I used a straight stitch for construction, and a zigzag for attaching the elastic. I have done this with all my other knit bras, and even my swimsuits, and haven’t had any issues with the stitches breaking. Definitely use a ballpoint needle, though!

Watson Panties

And, if you were curious… I did find a way to squeeze out some matching underwear hahaha!

Watson Panties<

My scraps were way too tiny to cut even the front piece out (even before I cut out the bra pieces), so I chopped up my pattern and added some ~style lines~ to incorporate a little bit of the print in an otherwise plain pair. FYI, this is the matching panty pattern that comes with the Watson set. The yellow fabric is actually merino wool – yeah, I know, merino seems like it might be weird for underwear, but I totally googled that shit and Smartwool definitely sells merino underwear soooo if it’s good enough for Smartwool, I reckon it’s also good enough for me + my butt!

The crotch lining is organic cotton from my stash, and the elastics are also from my stash. I experimented with using turquoise elastic on this pair – it’s pretty cute!

Then I went crazy and made a bunch of other pairs of panties:

Watson Panties

Used a bamboo jerseyΒ for this one.

Watson Panties

Cotton interlock, leftover from this dress.

Watson Panties

More merino (I will be honest – I went on a huge merino kick at this point and now I have a full set of long underwear for next winter haha). I believe this merino is originally from The Fabric Store – it’s the lighter weight.

Watson Panties

Rayon knit – a leftover from this top (that stretch lace at the top is also from Finch!)

I seriously do not care to make underwear, but it’s kind of a necessary evil – anything I buy in shops just doesn’t fit right, gives me perma-wedgie pretty much all day and it’s very uncomfortable. After assessing my underwear drawer, I realized that I need the elastic around the legs to keep my underwear in place – that’s the only kind that doesn’t ride up on me. It’s been increasingly difficult to find RTW undies that have this, which means I gotta make them. I made several pairs because I wanted to see how the fabrics wear over the course of the day, and if they bag and stretch out. So far, the cotton interlock, rayon knit, and merino wool are the best – but they are all pretty dang comfortable.

Watson Set

And now I have 2 pairs of undies that match my new bra πŸ˜€

Lemon Watson Bra

That’s all for now! Next (aka when I take the photos), I’ll show you the cardigan I also made with this fabric!

Completed: The Ebony Tee

4 Apr

Whoa, hello April! It seems like it was only last week that we were celebrating the New Year – and hiding from the cold – and now here we are firmly in the middle of spring. Blooming trees, longer days, and allergies (well, not for this native heh heh heh) everywhere!Β I thought I’d squeeze out one more sorta-cold-weather-mostly-transitional piece, but after this – I’m sewing for the HEAT, y’all!

Cropped Ebony Tee

The is the Ebony Tee from Closet Case Patterns. I will admit that I was not super crazy about this one when it was first released – just not really my style, and the pictures weren’t doing it for me. It wasn’t under I saw Heather’s structured version and Erin’s drapey green version (yes, I realize these two are complete opposites) that I thought, this could be for me.

I got both the pattern and fabric while I was in Leesburg, VA for my workshop at Finch Sewing Studio. The pattern came directly from Heather herself – Isabelle and I met with her and Renee one evening after class, for pizza and (lots of) drinks. The fabric is from Finch – it’s a beautiful double knit, navy with grey pinstripes on one side, and grey on the other. I chose it specifically to make this pattern – I thought the body of the fabric would look great with the style of the top.

Cropped Ebony Tee

This pattern is a funΒ variation on the standard tshirt. It fits nice a slim through the upper bust and shoulders, and then shoots straight out into an exaggerated trapeze below the bust. The hem is longer in the back than in the front. I think you need to be careful with fabric choice and length as not to overpower yourself (especially if you are short, like I am!), but the end result is worth it when it does work out.

I made view B, with the scoop neckline, set-in sleeves, and cropped length. I made a size 2, which is my normal size with this company (and it is true to size; I’m about 1/2″ bigger than the suggested body measurements for that size). I did add about 2″to the bottom of the shirt, as it seemed like it would be REALLY cropped based on the pattern pieces. I figured I could always cut it off if it was too long, but the added length is pretty much perfect. I might actually consider adding a tiny bit more for my next shirt, but this length is great for super high-waisted pants. I chose to make elbow-length sleeves, because I didn’t want there to be too much stripe action going on, after learning that less with my Coco dress. With the length of the sleeves and weight of the fabric, this is a good mid-season top. Perfect for the weird weather that happens here in the Spring πŸ™‚

Everything sewed together really easily – I used a serger for the main seams, and my regular sewing machine zigzag with a ballpoint needle for the hems. There are no bands on the sleeve hems, btw – that’s just the wrong side of the fabric (they are rolled up). The only thing I don’t like is that I didn’t pull the neck banding tight enough while I was attaching it, and the neckline is not exactly no-gape. It lies flat when I’m standing, but if I lean over… you can see straight to my bellybutton. I can just wear a tank (or super cute bra!) under this and call it a day, but I will shorten the neckband for future shirts. Neckline binding is so finicky aboutΒ that – what may be the correct length for one fabric might not stretch enough for something else. In this case, I think my fabric was just a bit too stretchy. Lesson learned!

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Since the shirt is so voluminous, I think it looks best with really slim, high-waisted pants. These pants are the Cecilia Pants from Elizabeth Suzann, btw. I think I’ve worn/mentioned these on my blog before, but they are like MAGIC PANTS. They seem to be universally flattering no matter who wears them. The stretch denim is super comfortable, and has a great recovery. The super high waist (up past my navel) looks awesome with a crop top, and the slim legs balance out really voluminous tops. I love these pants!

Also, I am not sure why I took so many pictures of myself for such a simple project. Oh wait, yes I do. My hair looked fucking fabulous that day haha. Can’t say the same about the quality of these photos, but, I’m trying! Really!

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

I think I’d like to make a version of this for summer, in a lighter fabric (maybe a bamboo knit) with the raglan short sleeves. Would be nice and cool when it gets super hot here!

Cropped Ebony Tee

I can’t think of anything else to say about this pattern. Short and sweet! (Well, about as short and sweet as you’ll get from my blabbermouth haha)

In other news, tell me your favorite interesting t-shirt patterns! I’m about up to my eyeballs in v-neck Renfrews; I think it’s time for something that’s a little more visual than a basic tshirt πŸ™‚

Completed: Static Sweater

11 Jan

This was my last finished knitted project of 2016, and my first *blogged* knitted project for 2017!

Static Sweater

I finished it just in time, too – Tennessee has finally decided that it is indeed winter, and dropped the temperatures to match!

Static Sweater

I haven’t knit as many sweaters this year (or, in 2016) as I did in the past – when I started knitting, I was on a huuuuuge cardigan kick. I knit SO MANY FUCKING CARDIGANS. I still love cardigans, but I rarely wear those OG knits from my first couple of years as a knitter. Most of them were great for my lifestyle at the time – I worked in an office and I needed to cover up my shoulders to make my dresses more appropriate for work. Now that I’m not stuck in a dress code, I rarely wear cardigans in the summer, unless I’m anticipating some crazy A/C abuse (Tennesseans looove their A/C). I have found that I prefer to knit and wear full-on sweaters – when I knit in the round, there’s no purling (woohoo), so it’s faster, and I find them more versatile and easier to wear than cardigans. Again, I don’t live in a climate that really needs a million sweaters – so I focus my knitting attention primarily on socks these days haha. But it’s fun to knit a sweater every once in a while!

Static Sweater

Static Sweater

Static Sweater

I have been loving these marled yarns that seemingly EVERYONE is knitting right now, and I wanted a nice cozy turtleneck to add to my (tiny) sweater collection. Something with minimal shaping – but not overly loose – and long enough to cover my butt (I feel like the older I get, the more my butt gets cold. What gives with that? Do I have a sensitive butt now?). Finding the yarn was really really easy. Finding the pattern was another challenge in itself.

First, the yarn. I was given an opportunity to review some yarn from We Are Knitters, which I totally agreed to do because 1. Yarn is really expensive; and 2. We sell some of these kits at Craft South, so I thought it would be nice to actually see what they were about. Of course, I’m super cheeky so I asked for an entire kit to make my sweater – specifically, I had my eye on the Kide Sweater. I love that loose, slouchy shape, the not-too-tight turtleneck, and I thought it would look great in that Petite Wool spotted black colorway.

Similar to Wool and the Gang kits, the We Are Knitters kit includes everything you need to make and finish the project – in this case, I got the pattern, 6 balls of the Petite Wool (which is basically a bulky yarn), a set of US 11 straight wooden needles, a WAK tag to sew inside my sweater, and a plastic needle to weave in the ends. It came in a recyclable paper bag. The pricing structure is similar to Wool and the Gang, maybe a little bit cheaper. I think the stuff that comes with WATG is a little bit nicer, though – for example, the WATG needle (for weaving in the ends) is metal, and the WAK needle is plastic. The WATG knitting needles are rosewood, and they are suuuper nice. I was not very impressed with the WAK knitting needles – they are also wood (beechwood), but they just feel a bit cheap. Very lightweight and the tips are not smooth. They were the wrong size for my gauge, so I did not use them for this project. I also preferred the WATG yarn over the WAK yarn, but they aren’t exactly the same thing so I don’t know if that’s really a fair comparison.

The WAK Petite Wool yarn is really pretty, but it’s not the easiest to knit with as it is spun very loosely. It’s almost like a thin roving – it’s twisted just enough to get the two colors together, but because it’s not twisted very tightly, it’s prone to pulling apart or getting split with your needle when you knit into it. It’s quite lofty, which makes it a HUGE PAIN IN THE BUTT to unknit, since it really just wants to cling to itself forever. That being said – it feels good in the hands, knits up gorgeously, and is incredibly warm to wear. I have worn this sweater several times – including a 20 degree day in NYC this past weekend – and the cold couldn’t penetrate that barrier. It’s not super itchy to begin with, but I washed it in a Wrapture (which is a no-rinse wool wash with lanolin) and it got even softer. Love love love wearing this yarn.

My real beef with this kit was the pattern itself. The images on the website are really nice, which is what initially drew me in. However… it’s a pretty terrible pattern. It’s definitely very beginner-based, but I don’t think you’d end up with a nice sweater if you followed these instructions. The sweater is essentially knit in two giant pieces that get connected at the side seams. This includes the sleeves. So you start out really small, gradually increase until the piece is torso-sized, and then gradually decrease to the wrist of the second sleeve… then you sew the two pieces together all the way up the side and sleeve seams. I am not crazy about batwing sleeves on a bulky sweater (which is basically what this will end up being), and I feel like something knit out of yarn this heavy needs more structure to keep it from getting weighed down. I also don’t like the way this yarn looks sideways – which is how the stitches will end up, based on the pattern shape. Had I known this, I would have only asked for yarn, not a full kit – but unfortunately you don’t get to see the pattern schematics until it’s in your hands. So I scrapped the pattern and picked a different one, because at the end of the day – I’m the one knitting and wearing this sweater, and I want it to be something I actually truly love.

Static Sweater

Sooo, looking for another pattern ended up taking me WAY too long. It is apparently quite difficult to find a semi-fitted, turtleneck sweater knit out of a bulky yarn that does not have cables or lacework. I started with Caribou Trails, bc it had everything I wanted and I figured I could omit the side cable without any problems – but after downloading, I realized the instructions don’t include any neckline shaping. You basically knit the tube for the turtleneck and just go straight down. My WATG Teen Spirit Sweater is shaped like this, and it’s not the worst, but I don’t want to knit any other sweaters like that. Actual neckline shaping means the front dips a little lower than the back, and it doesn’t push against your collarbone. Caribou Trails got scrapped (bummer that I had to pay for it to learn this, but I’m not going to argue with a knitwear designer over $5, I mean, come on haha) and I resumed my search until I found Eased, which was WAY more up my alley! Good fit, good length, and the turtleneck almost looks like a hoodie without a hood. And it had that neckline shaping I wanted, so, sold πŸ™‚ The pattern I used is the version for bulky yarn, but I may go back and knit the version in the lighter weight yarn as well.

Static Sweater

Static Sweater

The pattern was super easy to follow, so not a lot to report there. I knit and washed a couple of gauge swatches until I settled on size 10 needles, which gave me a lovely feeling knit fabric. After washing, I figured that the back (purl) side looked much nicer than the front (knit) side, so I just knit the sweater as instructed and then turned it inside out after I finished it haha. I love the effect – the sweater looks like old-school TV static πŸ˜‰ As a side note, this Misfits song was stuck in my head pretty much the entire time I was knitting it haha

I knit the size 33 and the only fitting adjustment I made was to add another round of decreases to the sleeve so they’d be more fitted at the wrist. Something went haywire with my row gauge, btw – I calculated it in my gauge swatch, and measured carefully to ensure that the sleeves would be long enough (after measuring some of my other sweaters and deciding that 19″ was a good sleeve length for a sweater like this), but they still ended up too short. I didn’t realize it until after I wore it for a day and moved around a bit. That was pretty easy to fix – I just undid my cast-off, put the stitches back on the needles, and knit another 16 rounds (4″ with my gauge) in rib knit. I need to re-block the sweater as you can see a slight difference between the original rib knit ending and the new rib knit beginning, but I did this right before I left for NYC and I wanted to take the sweater with me. These photos are the original shorter length sleeves, fyi.

The collar is my favorite part, but man, those instructions are weird! You knit in the round, add yarn-over button holes (so far, so normal)… then instead of binding off, you whipstitch all the live stitches to the inside of the collar. I am guessing that the bind-off would make the collar lay weird, or maybe not be as stretchy, so I followed the instructions with a blind trust, but I was definitely a little concerned about just sewing down live stitches. It did turn out nice, though! The only thing I don’t like is how thick the top of the collar is, so I am going to focus on flattening that more when I re-block the sweater. I may also try a steam iron, we’ll see. One last thing – instead of doing a crochet chain drawstring, I just used black twill tape. I think it looks nicer, that is all.

Static Sweater

I do NOT know why the left sleeve looks so much shorter, ignore that! I promise they are the same length HAHA

Static Sweater

Static Sweater

Overall, I do love the yarn and the finished sweater. Not especially impressed with the pattern itself, although I think it’s probably fine for a super beginner who just wants to finish a sweater and not necessarily fuss over fine details. I think it is the same for the supplies that were included in the kit – they aren’t terrible, but they’re not the best quality I’ve used. A beginner who’s working on their first project wouldn’t know the difference, and wouldn’t have a problem with using them. But the yarn itself is fabulous to wear and I definitely recommend that, whether or not you decide to get the kit as well (you can buy yarn in bulk lots of 5 or 10, and it’s a little more discounted than buying the balls individually).

Speaking of balls of yarn, I only used about 4.5 to knit this sweater… so I still have another ball and a half to knit something else with. Probably a hat! If you have a good/plain beanie pattern suggestion (bulky weight yarn, approx 250~ yards), holler!

Static Sweater

On an unrelated note – I just got back from a full-on tourist weekend in NYC and, omg you guys, so amazing. I stayed in the Kimberly Hotel, which is way different from my normal housing – it’s not the cheapest hotel (rates start around $150/night), but it is really well-priced for the area it is in. It’s very central, and an easy 10-15 minute walk to lots of cool things -including the Garment District (YEP!), Central Park, the Natural History Museum – not to mention there are tons of great restaurants just in the surrounding blocks. In addition, there’s a sweet rooftop lounge with really good food and drinks, the rooms are quite nice (I think I might have had a spiritual moment every morning in that WATERFALL SHOWER) and the people who work there are incredibly good at what they do and incredibly intent on not letting you open your own door or hail your own cab πŸ˜‰ Not an experience I’ve ever personally had before, but now I see why people opt for those fancy hotels!

Since this was a fun / non-work trip for me, I did a lot more touristy-type stuff – although I did nip in the Garment District to grab a couple things (really, I got out of there with the smallest bag ever haha). If you haven’t checked out the Tenement Museum, PUT THAT ON YOUR LIST. It’s not really sewing related (I guess the workers were in the garment industry, but that’s about it), but it’s an AMAZING museum. One of my top 10 for sure. Another thing I really enjoyed doing was walking to Bergdorf Goodman and creeping on all the designer clothes. I only had an hour before I had to catch my flight home, but OH MY GOD I could have stayed there all day. I have never ever understood the appeal of designer clothes – but that stuff is so impeccably made, and it’s fascinating to look at. Some of the pieces made me want to cry over how beautiful they were, as cheesy as that sounds haha. And while I have always found designer stuff to be really over-the-top and kind of goofy looking, seeing it in person really makes you appreciate the artistic side of it. I never thought I would say that I love Gucci, but, their 2017 Resort collection is killer. And the Valentino 2017 Resort collection literally brought a tear to my eye when I was oogling over it. I NEED TO FIND THAT TROPICAL SILK ASAP.

Static Sweater

In other news, I’m heading out again this Saturday for my trip to Egypt! I won’t be posting on this blog during that time, so expect some silence. If you want to keep up with me via social media, I will be posting on Instagram (assuming I can get some internet signal over there haha), so you can follow that if you feel so inclined! Otherwise, I’ll see y’all later! β™₯

*Note* The yarn was provided to me by We Are Knitters, in exchange for a post review. Although they also supplied a pattern and needles, I used ones that I purchased on my own. All opinions in this review are 100% mine!

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Completed: A Striped Coco Dress

13 Oct

Coco is one of those patterns that I loved when I first saw it (and immediately made up), promised I would make dozens more, experienced feelings of jealousy whenever I saw other people wearing it… and yet left that damn pattern hanging for 2 1/2 years. Too long!

Coco Dress

I have been slowly going through my stash, uploading fabrics to my Cora app– which takes forever, since I have to pull each piece out, photograph it, measure it, and then fill in all the details. Individually, it’s not really a time suck – but I have a lot of fabric! It’s kind of fun, though – I feel like I’m rediscovering all this great fabric I forgot I had! (very similar to how I treat doing laundry – oooh, look at all these fun clothes I forgot about in the past few days! Yay!) I’m making an effort to sew more from my stash – at least, the pieces that are suitable for the current season, and the colors/prints that work best with my current wardrobe. It’s certainly not doing me any good just hanging out on my shelf!

This navy/white striped ponte is one of those pieces that I unearthed. I bought a MASSIVE yardage of this shit when I was in Mood Fabrics… uhh, probably also in 2014. It’s a heavy, thick ponte with a very dense hand – and it was a pain in the butt to drag it all home, though of course I persisted because I am all about taking one for the (my)team. I made a couple tshirts out of the stuff, and quickly learned that I don’t like wearing tshirts out of such a heavy knit. It feels strange, like wearing a jacket you can’t take off. And while it’s a great weight for stuff like hoodies, blazers, jackets, skater dresses… I dunno, guys. I just wasn’t feeling it. So the remaining yardage has been hanging on my shelf until I managed to almost forget about it.

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

So here we come right back around to Coco! I was desperately in need of a easy, mindless project that lent itself well to leaving unfinished for long periods of time in my sewing room – this was during the week that my dad was in the hospital, and while I spent most of that time sitting next to him (or camping out in the ICU waiting room, waiting my turn), I needed a day to be “normal.” I didn’t feel like sewing at all, but I knew it would calm and relax me – again, the key being something easy and mindless. So I took the pattern and fabric, both of which I’d been kind of avoiding, and channeled my energy into this project.

It’s not anything special, obviously. It’s a simple A-line knit dress with a funnel neck collar. I can – and have – made much more impressive pieces. But the simplicity was exactly what I needed – so I could turn my mind off, and just focus on making. That fact that I have a pretty great dress out of it is just a bonus πŸ˜‰

Coco Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern and it’s fairly simple to begin with, I don’t really have much to say about the construction. I sewed the size 1 so I’d get a close fit (my measurements hover right between 1 and 2 in Tilly’s patterns), but ended up taking out another 1/2″ or so from the side seams because it still wasn’t quite fitted enough to my liking. I originally sewed the long sleeves, thinking I’ve had a cozy little ponte winter dress – but y’all, I dunno, something about all those STRIPES with those SLEEVES was just really… awful.Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but it was really overwhelming on my frame. Pulling them up to 3/4″ solved that problem, as did removing a couple of inches from the hem (I know it’s REAL short in these photos; I had a fat 1.5″ hem that I ended up letting out before I wore it out for the first time and resewing again at about 1/2″. So it’s a tiny bit longer – as in, when I raise my arms you don’t see buttcheck anymore true story ok).

I added the sleeve tabs as an afterthought – I liked the way the sleeves looked when they weren’t totally smooth. To make the tabs, they are just rectangles that I sewed with the right sides facing and then turned right sides out, sewed to the inside of the sleeve and then tacked down the other end with a button from my stash. Actually, if I recall correctly – the measurements were determined by me cutting the small pocket (included in the pattern), deciding I didn’t want to add it, and then cutting it in half to use as my tabs haha.

I sewed all the seams on my serger, except the hem and sleeve hems – which I just used a zigzag stitch for. Easy! (except when I ended up ripping out that hem later to let out some length, ugh haha) And while the dress looks like it’s black and white, I promise it is actually navy. It’s just a really really dark navy.

Coco Dress

See?! Navy! πŸ™‚

My fabric isn’t quite as beefy as what they use for the project photos – or what I used for my first Coco, even. As a result, the funnel neck is definitely a lot more floppy and slouchy. I like it, though!

Coco Dress

Sleeve tab and button. This button was seriously the closest thing I had to matchy in my stash.

Coco Dress

That’s all! I am heading out in a few hours to catch a plane to NYC – Camp Workroom Social is this weekend! πŸ˜€ I cannot WAIT to hang with all the campers and help my (well, Amy‘s πŸ™‚ ) class make some beautiful bras!

And speaking of classes – I spent the last weekend at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, where we had a lovely 4 days of sewing, eating delicious food – and drinking whiskey, because of course we did. I had an AMAZING time with amazing company – great conversation, great food, and of course, great sewing! I love doing these sorts of retreats because it’s really fun to see what everyone is working on – for this class, we had jeans, a bra, a coat, an Archer, fitting help, and a shirt dress! The only downside is that when I get home, I REALLY miss everyone because we’ve been so close for the past few days! Which basically just means I am gonna have to go back πŸ™‚ Exeter is so beautiful and Pintuck & Purl is the cutest little store with a beautiful selection. I definitely came home with some fabric and yarn, although my tiny suitcase meant that I had to restrain myself a bit πŸ™‚

See y’all next week!