Sunday, January 28, 2018

Knit slouchy beret

Somehow, knitting got bumped up on my projects list this winter.  I'm not sure what got me started, but over the past month and a half, I've made a hat for two of my sisters-in-law (both unphotographed!), a baby hat for my husband's colleague, a hat for my brother (ungifted at this point, so no spoiler photos yet!), and two hats for myself.  I had to finish those projects before "letting" myself buy yarn to make a sweater (this sweater, from the book Home & Away). 
This hat was made from the pattern "Strawberry Slouch Hat" in Classic Elite Fresco (wool, alapaca, and angora, color Parchment).  I love the simple eyelets throughout and slouchy beret look.  I reduced the length of the ribbed brim, but otherwise stuck to the pattern.  I didn't count the number of hours, but the project didn't take too long despite using sport yarn and small needles!
I made a little i-cord loop at the top, just for fun (it wasn't included in the pattern).
I know I had promised two hats in my last post, but the second hat was just too darn big.  So, I unraveled the whole thing, had to wait a few days for wool wash to arrive in the mail, and today finally washed and hung the skein to remove the "ramen noodle effect" of having been knit and blocked as a hat.  I will absolutely reknit this one, but in the meantime, here's its undoing:
Isn't that yarn luscious?  It's Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere in colorway Milky Spite.  Can't wait to reknit it!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bowline sweater 2.0

This is another repeat, but it's been over a year and a half since I made the first version.  I'm always on the lookout for a different pattern--something that is interesting and unusual, but still wearable.  The first time I made the Bowline sweater from Papercut Patterns, I wasn't sure I had constructed it properly, so I wanted to give it another go.  To tell the truth, I'm still not sure I've sewn the pleat over the shoulder correctly again! 
The fabric is a nice medium weight cotton/ lycra  (on sale right now, and no, I'm not an affiliate!) from Girl Charlee.  I originally bought it to make a bodysuit, and it would be a good weight for that too, and I may have enough leftover for a short-sleeved version.  
I sized down to an XXS from my first version and the fit is a bit better.  I still feel like I look a bit pregnant (I'm NOT!) from the side because of the excess fabric from the pleating, but it's not too terrible.  Actually, this top would make an awesome maternity shirt in the early months!
The top is comfortable and comes together pretty quickly (after studying the instructions for a while!), but I'm not sure I love it.  The pleating doesn't lay in a way that is pleasing to me, but if it's on my body and I'm not looking in a mirror, I guess I don't care so much.  Has anyone else had better luck?
I've been on a knitting kick lately (easier to do while vegging on the couch in the winter!), so you can spot one of my creations in the photos here.  I have to block a second hat, but then I'll give the details of both.  :)

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Party skirt in silk gazar with drapey wool top

Back in Paris, I had the opportunity to visit a special Balenciaga exhibit at musée Bourdelle.  The theme was black: the garments were primarily black, usually displayed in black boxes, and some were even behind black curtains that you had to lift to view the dresses.  The pieces were stunning, naturally, but what was particularly intriguing to me was that many of them were made of silk gazar (a fabric invented by Balenciaga).  Despite taking two Fabric analysis course and have decades of sewing and touching fabric experience, I had never even heard of silk gazar.  The instructor in Paris described the fabric as being "silent".  Whether that was a translational issue or truly the fabric made no noise when the wearer moved, I didn't know at the time, but I felt compelled to find out.
A quick search at Mood revealed some options and I chose this deep navy blue silk gazar.  The fabric reminds me entirely of fine linen with it's crispness and hand, though it doesn't wrinkle quite as badly.  It was slightly translucent, but the structure and body of the fabric was lovely.  Apparently, it softens considerably when washed, but I wanted to keep the stiffness for my garment.
Originally, I had planned this outfit for Christmas, but when that didn't happen, I hoped to sew it for my husband and my anniversary on the 28th of December, which also didn't pan out.  I ended up sewing the skirt the day before New Year's Eve (and the top on NYE) for that night out and then for my brother's wedding a few days later.
I went with this simple box-pleated middy-length skirt from Just Patterns.  I sewed a size 36, but I should have cut a size 34 (or maybe smaller).  I ended up omitting the pockets when I had to resew the side seams (poor decision, especially when I had to carry tissues at the wedding!).  Since the fabric was a bit see-through and lightweight for the winter,  I made a simple straight lining (with some tucks at the waistband)  with what I had around that matched, which was a 4-ply silk I've had for a while.  Kind of a decadent lining, but it worked perfectly well.   The pattern was well-drafted and for only $3 for the digital copy, it's a complete steal.

For the blouse, I've recently become a bit obsessed with the color emerald (you know, 5 years after it was the "Pantone color of the year" :) and found the lovely stretch wool jersey.  The fabric was ideal for a drapey top, so I used the draped bodice of the Bronx dress pattern by SBCC, extending the length to hip-level.  I should have made the top a bit more form-fitting, but it works well enough.
I'm pretty much ecstatic about this outfit.  It feels fun and fancy (especially the length of the skirt with some kitten-heel booties), but not too frilly, and the colors are so festive.  One issue though, I can't do a whole lot of eating while wearing the skirt--that waistband is *quite* fitted.  

Oh!  In case you've read all this way to find out if silk gazar is silent....well, it's definitely quieter than you'd expect for a fabric this crisp, but I'm not sure I'd call it silent.  It's still pretty rad, though, and I'd happily work with it again!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Two totally casual tops (Burda 6590)

As always, it was literally impossible to make only one of these tops.  When a garment takes 1 hour, tops, to make and is this comfortable, I need many of them in my life.  This time around, I was filling a void in my casual wardrobe where I needed a long-sleeved, comfy top under which I could wear some kind of base layer.  (Even in Northern California, I am constantly cold!) 

The pattern is Burda 6590 and it couldn't be easier.  Front, back, neckband and waistband.  No separate sleeve piece!  For alterations, I reduced the length of the sleeve part of the bodice and added a wide wristband.    

The first here is this textured poly-cotton sweater knit (unfortunately no longer available here).  Despite being a sweater knit, it's a bit on the airy side, so an undershirt or cami is good underneath.  It's comfortable and pretty, I think, and I love the scallops.  

The second is a cotton sweater knit fabric from Style Maker Fabrics (though also sold out!).  It's a really good weight--not too heavy, but nicely substantial.  Again, I added wristbands to make the cuffs and shortened the overall length of the sleeves, but otherwise sewed the pattern as designed.

I think I might have enough versions of this style, but it's such a great pattern that I know that if I see some fab fabric I'll definitely whip up another.    

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Work Uniform, Version 2

Catch-up time!  In the past months in which I've been absent from these parts, I have been sewing (at least a little...) but no time to take photos!  Today, I spent a hour or so documenting most of what I've made since mid-October, starting with a second version of my Fall work uniform.  I got so much use out of these two skirts (grey and tan) and two sweaters (plum and black/white floral), mixing and matching and wearing with other pieces (like a pair of slim black pants made in my Canada College Pants making course).  Unfortunately, my lab is so cold that the 3/4 sleeve tops weren't super practical, so until it warms up I might have to have a different plan (one that involves long underwear, I'm afraid). 

Anyhow, the skirt details are the same as before--self-drafted high-waisted skirt, in a lovely camel-colored wool (of uncertain origin), lined in Bemberg, with a necessary kick-pleat.  I've taken the width in at the hem for a better shape, but it makes walking up stairs "interesting".  Obviously, I need to lengthen the kick-pleat a tad...

The top is the Seamwork Astoria that I've made a bunch of times already.  The fit is great and I like the sleek style, so I can't imagine I won't make a million more.  The fabric is what makes this top more interesting, though.  It's a black knit mesh (so kind of sheer, actually, at least in the black areas) with sort of flocked and fuzzy cream flowers.  It's soft, the print is fun, and it's still available (here at Style Maker Fabrics)!  Here's a closer view:
I'm not sure I need a third version of this outfit at the moment, but you never know.  I'll be teaching a lot more days over the next 3 months, so it's possible I'll need a fresh skirt and top combo!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Work uniform, Fall 2017

So a couple of years ago, I loved the pencil skirt with fine-gauge sweater (with scarf and boots) for work.  This year, I can feel a new uniform developing: the pencil skirt with high-waisted "sweater" (with cute flats and statement necklace or brooch). 

I had to make some fit adjustments to the original pattern, but this skirt is the same pattern I drafted in my patternmaking class several years ago.  It's such a great design and fabulous wardrobe staple.  See, high-waisted = covers my belly button!
A few weeks ago, I went to the "Artistry in Fashion" event at Cañada College (where I'm currently taking a pants drafting and fitting course).  Britex had a small booth there with some discounted remnants, so I scooped up this luxurious Italian wool fabric.  There was only 2/3 of a yard, but with my lack of height, I knew I could eek out a skirt.  And I did, with some inches to spare!

The inside has a self-facing and is fully lined (Bemberg rayon, in the most lovely pale blush color) and there's a back vent (which is completely necessary for walking!).

I used the tried and true Astoria top from Seamworks (with personal fit modifications) for the top pattern.  It's so versatile and comfortable.  Here's the top with a swishy skirt and it works just as well.
For the top, I had a gorgeous plum stretch wool-rayon double knit from Mood.  It's pretty thick with not much stretch, but it's perfect for this type of "sweater" top.  The high-waisted, wide band really works with this skirt, I think.  And there's enough coverage for me to raise my arms (within reason) and not show too much skin.
Since the fabric has very little stretch, the neckline stands up a bit, but I think it gives a bit of a vintage vibe to the garment.

I've already got fabric for three more skirts lined up and a couple more tops.  I'm clearly very excited about my new uniform!