Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Flint wide-legged trousers

I've finished teaching until the Fall (!!), but a few months ago, I was in need of some work-appropriate items.  Enter the Flint trouser by Megan Nielsen.  This style is a bit of a departure for my normal slim-legged pant wardrobe, but it's kind of refreshing (and certainly comfortable).  
The pattern itself is simple, as far as pants go.  There isn't a zipper, so to open the waistband, there's a clever opening system (buttons at the side, which transition into the pocket). 
Since I was kind of loving the sailor-inspired buttons on the side, I matched them on the other side, complete with non-functional "buttonholes".

The legs are definitely wide, and the width starts at the butt.  I need to somehow reduce the crotch length a bit for the next go around, since there's a little *extra* fabric in there.

And for the record, the back seam is sewn correctly--I must just have shifted them around a bit, so it looks funny in the photos!
 The fabric (stretch double weave cotton in Charcoal) is from Hart's and is really quite perfect for this particular style.  It has some weight, but is still a bit drapey.  I definitely enjoyed sewing with it and it's very lovely to wear.
Overall, I like the pattern a LOT.  There are some minor fit issues, but the style is fun and different and a good addition to my wardrobe.  I'm looking forward to trying the shorts version, perhaps with the waist bow, for the summer!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Goldfinch and snap pea handknit sweaters

Somehow, back in December, I got hooked on knitting.  Until then, knitting had been my "craft of last resort", reserved for when I wasn't near my sewing machine and just desperate to create something.  So in December, I started on a hat for my sister-in-law on a flight home from Alaska and from that moment on, I haven't been without an on-going knitting project.  Since then, I've made 7 hats and these two sweaters (with a third about 1/2 done).
I made this first one after discovering Quince & Co yarn company.  Quince & Co is a Maine-based company that sells US grown and spun yarns, and their aesthetic is just right for my style.  After perusing their patterns, I found the Lesley sweater, a perfectly simple pullover by Hannah Fettig, and bought the recommended yarn.  The sweater is knit from the top down in the round, with no seams to sew (wahoo!).  I increased the length of the hem ribbing, but otherwise, I followed the pattern exactly for size 32.
The yarn (Osprey) is an Aran-weight wool, which is super quick to knit (1 week from start to finish on this one).  I chose the "Goldfinch" color because in the depths of winter I was dying for some spring.  The yarn is soft and squishy, and not at all itchy!  So lovely.
The back neckline is shaped with short rows to make sure it goes up a little higher on the neck than the front.  I hadn't knit short rows before, but it was no big thing.
I'm seriously in love with my Goldfinch sweater and have sewn two skirts to coordinate with it!  It has taken actual effort to not purchase all the colors and knit up a ton of these.
For my second sweater, and with only 2 weeks until the day, I suddenly *needed* a green sweater for St. Patrick's Day.  So, I purchased the worsted-weight Lark yarn (in snap pea) to knit up the Petra sweater by Pam Allen.  
Again, this sweater is knit from the top down on circular needles, so no seams at all!  (Seamless circular construction is almost a requirement for a new project now.)  This one took me 1 week and 1 day to finish.  Again I added length to the sleeve and hem ribbing as my only alteration.
The boatneck goes a little higher in the front and lower in the back than I would like, but I've worn it with a button down underneath and that works well.  
These are kind of "faux" cables, made without a cable needle.  So pretty! 
Since these two sweaters almost felt like knitting cheating (it doesn't feel right to knit a sweater in a week!), I tackled a much more involved project for my third sweater.  I'm using a wool-silk fingering weight yarn and lace pattern for the Florence cardigan.  My goal is to be done by Mother's Day, and it will be tight!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sweater knit skater dresses

It's been a while, yeah?  Between a busy teaching quarter, broken sewing machine, and a newfound obsession with knitting, I haven't been sewing as much as usual.  Which isn't to say I haven't been sewing (there will be several upcoming posts of my past garments), it's just slowed down a bit.  It's actually a little ironic, since I made a loose "resolution" to not purchase any clothing that I could sew (which is *almost* everything) for the year. 
Anyhow, for my winter work attire, I thought some sweater dresses would be useful.  I absolutely fell in L<3VE with these jacquard sweater knits from Hamburger Liebe (navy & pumpkin and wine & pink fabric, purchased at L'oiseau Fabrics) and a skater dress felt like a good way to showcase them.  Both fabric are the same type of knit and both are thick and lovely, with good drape but not too heavy.  They wash beautifully, too! 
I made the navy & pumpkin one first.  It works well with tights and boots, and I have a cropped cardigan that I wear when it's chilly (which is always in my teaching lab). 

Here's a closer view of the fabric.  Isn't that pattern the best?  And the colors?  Faves.
Both dresses were sewn using the same pattern, a personalized version of the Bronx dress from SBCC.  I've used this pattern a ton and just love the simple, yet flattering shape of the fit and flare.  It's pretty ideal for work and non-work.  
The second version feels a little "flashier" with the bold herringbone geometric, but I love it just the same.  

I did my best to match up the vertical lines at the waist seam, but the same is curved on the skirt, so it's a bit sketchy toward the side seams.
Since the hems aren't really stretched much when wearing, I went ahead and sewed a straight stitch, which worked just fine.  I definitely didn't feel like busting out my coverstitch machine for these quick projects.  
While the fabric has some stretch, it's not quite enough to use like a rib knit, so I topstitched the neck band, to ensure it would lay flat.  

Alas, no pockets on either dress.  They are definitely missed, but it would just be way too bulky/ lumpy.  Trade-offs!