Saturday, May 10, 2014

bits and bobs.

I was planning to make a second iteration of Clyde this weekend with a button front instead of a back zip, but I discovered a really cute pattern that I decided would be easier than redesigning that 90's pattern myself - the Kelly skirt by Megan Neilsen Patterns.


This skirt looks adorable stitched up in so many different fabrics.  The variations on lladybird.com alone were enough to convince me that I needed this pattern. I love the front pleats and the pockets.  I do think, after all the photos and reviews I've seen, that I will omit the back pleats and just gather the back piece into the waistband instead.  Being a pear shape or swayback or [insert euphemism for having a big butt here], I really don't need two big pleats sitting right on my back side.

So why am I not posting pictures of my skirt now?  Well, because I haven't made it yet. I came down with a cold and fever and was totally worthless on the sewing front for the last couple days.

Today I rallied with the help of cold medicine and managed to go on a grand/mother's day outing with my mom and grandma. We took my grandmother to Nordstrom's Rack. I enjoyed looking at the colors and shapes of trendy clothes, but felt overwhelmingly unmoved to buy anything. It was "fast fashion" overload. It made me so happy to be sewing for myself again. I was looking at "sale" stuff and thinking - geez, I could buy 4 yards of Amy Butler voile for the price of that dress even marked down to clearance and I would make something so much prettier that would fit me perfectly.  I like how my brain is starting to work!

Speaking of Amy Butler, I am waiting on some beautiful prints from fabric.com that are supposed to arrive Monday for my Cambie pattern, which is also still en route from Canada.  Shopping for sewing projects by mail is an exercise in patience.  I've become quite spoiled by amazon prime. It takes a long time to get orders from fabric.com, but the free shipping for over $35 is totally worth it!   I have gotten a couple fun things in the mail recently to tide me over - first up: Ralph Lauren silk lining from Mood in a very cheerful spring green!


They even mailed it in a Mood bag!  This was my first purchase and will not be my last.  So much fun!

I also got 3 yards of navy blue cotton/lycra 4-way stretch in the mail from ebay for practicing my knit sewing skills. The seller koshtex has really good quality at great prices and ships super-fast.  I will order from them again in the future, for sure.

Today, I was also chuffed to find some really fun retro/vintage stretch fabrics (are the 1990's vintage yet?!)

My grandmother's apartment is right next to a really lovely thrift store that is run by a volunteer league of retired women.  It was my go-to place for collecting all things craft related back in the day, so I have been meaning to stop by now that I am sewing again.  Since it's all volunteers, they have limited hours - but my mom and I had just enough time to pop in for 5 minutes just before closing and that was all the time I needed for a big score!

For $20.80, I got 4 vintage zippers, a bunch of vintage buttons, and lots of fabric.  So much better than Nordstrom's Rack, let me tell you!


A rayon navy/white leafy print, navy/white cotton gingham, pale pink, grey, white, and navy rayon floral, black floral knit with minimum stretch, French terry knit with a wild retro pattern, and black rayon with a very cute little cream pattern.  The rayons are so soft and yummy, wide selvage and 2-3 yards each so I could make dresses or skirts from all of them.  I think a lot of this fabric is the from the 1990s.  I will definitely have fun with these when I am feeling better.  For now, the extent of my craftiness has been lying about and knitting.

I don't think I will ever become the compulsive knitter that I once was, but it has been really fun to think of making a few cardigans here and there.  Knitting is very soothing and well-suited to little pockets of time we all have here and there, while sewing is a bigger production - especially since I don't have a sewing room and I completely take over the living room when I am working on a project. Knitting also doesn't take as much energy or concentration once you are cast on and on a straight stretch, like I am for this sweater back.

I've had this bamboo silk yarn for a nearly decade.  It only escaped a huge yarn stash purge that I did this winter because it was in a separate plastic bag under my bed that I didn't find till recently.  I got it for free from a company that was promoting bamboo yarns on the knitty.com forums in 2005.  I was excited to get free yarn, but this was so not my color that I never made anything from it.  It's still not a color that thrills me, but I was jonesing for something to do while sick and it was available. Is there a wearable muslin term for sweaters? Who knows.  Whether or not there's a name for it, that's sort of what this sweater is.

This is the back of this pattern, which I discovered on Ravelry. While I like the lace pattern for the front, I am going to skip it on this sweater because I am 80 yards shy of the suggested amount of yarn and because I think it would get more use as a simple basic piece. I'm also making it a bit shorter (modelling it after the measurements of a really yummy vintage cardigan that I love to wear with dresses because it falls right to my natural waist) and hoping there is enough yarn saved to lengthen the sleeves into 3/4 sleeves that fall just below the elbow.

I haven't knit a human-sized sweater in years!  Most of my kniting projects have been quite wee in recent memory.


While we're at it - here's another glipse at my dollies - I adore sewing and kniting doll clothes because it's a chance to go wild with print or just knit for an evening and have a finished product. Here are the other girls - all dressed in clothes of my own design/construction. Lots of fun, but it's my turn for some clothes now!
I am super-excited to finish this sweater and try a new sewing/knitting hybrid finish on the button holes.  In all my days of intense knitting, I never made a ribbon finish.  I love this for effectiveness and aesthetic reasons and I have owned lots of vintage cardigans finished with grosgrain ribbon over the years, but I had a block about sewing button holes on knits that I made myself - like that it was cheating or something .  A lot of hardcore knitters in circles that I was part of promulgated this idea, but truthfully I have never been 100% happy with knitted button holes.

I was reading lladybird's blog and saw a really great post about a cardigan that she knitted & finished with seam tape and machine stitched button holes.  This was like a lightbulb going off for me - why on earth have I never tried that?!  I freakin' love grosgrain plackets on sweaters and equally freakin' hate baggy-saggy knitted buttonholes that pop apart all the time. I am looking forward to fusing sewing and knitting techniques to make a better garment, better suited to me.


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