Category Archives: Crafting for others

Yes and no

Yes, I finished Jack’s sweater.  But no, I did not finish my dress.  Social engagements got into the way.  And there’s good and bad news.  First the bad news:  Jack has a really bad cold and is absolutely miserable today, so we cancelled the photo session.  The good news is that means I can finish my dress for next weekend’s photo appointment.  Yeah!

Jack’s sweater fits just ok.  Even though I added 1.5 inches to the length, it’s still a little short.  And it’s a little wide in the shoulders.  But I am so over knitting this sweater that it will have to do.  I will show you a picture of him in it later.  The poor little guy is not up to any glamour shots today.

I am planning to fix the bust problem by releasing the fisheye dart and lowering it.  If that works, then I will just finish the hem, vent and hand sew the lining to the zipper tape.  If not, then I will undo the side seams and lower the bust dart, but I think the fisheye dart alteration will do the trick.

Thank you for all your suggestions.  I did try all my different bras with the dress, even my pushy-uppiest bra and nothing did the trick.  Not sure why the fit on this dress is so different from my other dresses.  Oh well…

I hope you all get a chance to sew or knit today.

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WTH!!!

People, can you see what’s wrong with the above picture (other than the crappy iPhone quality)?

Two nights ago, I tried on my tweed jumper (aka B5147) and was faced with double trouble.  Let’s just say the girls are not happy.  Now do you see what’s wrong?  There is major boob smooshing going on and not the good kind.

How did this happen?  This is my TNT folks.  Not some random pattern I picked up at a bar.  B5147 and I are going steady.  I thought there might even be a ring in the near future.  I feel betrayed!  Suddenly, B5147 doesn’t return my calls and now this!  Ok, my metaphor is losing steam here.  Seriously though…  My bust dart is about 1 inch too high (looks like I have low hanging fruit, hah!) and the fisheye dart looks too high too. 

What do I do in this situation???  Is it a simple matter of sacrificing the side seam allowances and then the dress will fall to the right level with some room for the girls?  Or do I have to actually release and lower the darts?  FYI, the dress fits everywhere else.  Just the bust is the problem.  Please let me know your suggestions.

I guess all the bad food choices and little exercise are catching up to my meager metabolism, not to mention the too little sleep I’ve been getting of late.  *sigh*  Gravity and aging are not my friends.

In disgust, I turned to knitting Jack’s sweater last night and was hit with another disaster.  My gauge swatch had lied to me and my knitting was 3.5 inches too narrow.  (Is there no loyalty with yarns and fabrics any longer?  They’re just like men!)  I had to frog the entire back and start over.   However, now I am confident I am on the right track with Jack’s sweater, although I am not entirely confident I will get either project done by Sunday when our photo shoot is scheduled.  😦  

Hope your yarn and fabrics are treating you nicer than I have been treated this week.

Feeling exposed

Saturday night I was happily sewing along on my latest rendition of B5147 in plummy tweed.  I had just finished all my darts (all six of them on the shell) around 10:30pm.  I thought for a moment about starting the darts on the lining when I realized that I didn’t have matching thread for the lining.  Quelle horreur!  Not only that, but I didn’t have a matching zipper! 

That’s the problem with having a notion stash my friends.  You just assume you have all the supplies for every project under the sun.  Well, guess what?  Sometimes you don’t.  So that was my deciding factor to pack it up for the night. 

On Sunday, Jack and I headed over to Purl in Soho to peruse the yarn selection for his annual sweater vest.  I know I said that I probably wasn’t going to make his sweater this year, but I booked the appointment for our yearly pictures and I just can’t stand the thought of not having Jack in one of my sweaters.  Call it narcissism if you must!  After last year’s debacle, I made sure to get a color fast yarn that’s easily washable.  I chose Cascade Superwash 128 in a yummy forest green and an equally yummy ivory.  I still haven’t decided how to use the ivory yet, but will kind of “feel” it as I go I think.  

Jumping into the future:  Since I am an instant gratification person, I had to cast on Sunday night to see how the yarn looked.  I’m using Ann Budd’s book for the sweater vest pattern with a few modifications.  Me likey…

in progress: back of sweater

 

Back to the past:  Unfortunately, Purl didn’t have a large selection of thread and zippers for my new dress, so Jack and I had to walk over to P&S Fabrics to get those items.  P&S is my go to neighborhood fabric/notions store.  While their fabrics aren’t necessarily the best, you can find some bargains there occasionally and they have a decent selection of notions, buttons and yarn.  I started to panic, however, when they didn’t have an invisible zipper to match my plummy tweed.  What’s a girl to do without an invisible zipper in this modern age???  (Read: I have no idea how to insert any other kind of zipper.)  Near the zipper section, P&S has a few grubby bins filled with one-off zippers, some of them regular zippers that you could use as an exposed zipper.  Since I was already envisioning this dress as more of a jumper than an elegant sheath dress, an exposed zipper might be just the ticket!  There were two that I liked in two different lengths, 18 in and 20 in.  The pattern calls for a 20 in zipper, but an emergency call to Carolyn confirmed that an 18 in zipper would do just as well; I’m not an amazon being only 5 foot 4 inches tall.  And as it so happens, the 18 inch zipper (the one at the top of the picture with the deeper purple tape) is the one I like best with my fabric. 

Of course I have no idea how to insert an exposed zipper.  And of course, I went searching on the internet for a tutorial on how to insert one.  The tutorial I like best so far of all that I found was on the Husqvarna site (click on the exposed zipper tutorial).  That’s the one I will use tonight.

I sewed the darts in the lining last night and started to attach the lining to the dress at the neck.  I had a huge moment of inspiration at that point and am adding more detail to this simple sheath dress pattern to make it my own.  But that’s a post for another day…

I know.  I’m such a tease.  😉  

Happy sewing everyone!

Whirlwind knitting

I finished Jack’s hat last night.  While I love the spiral rib, the top of the hat is a little less than graceful.  Part of the lack of grace is due to shortening the height of the hat by 2-3 inches to make it a child size (upon recommendation of the Purl Bee).  But I also think the decrease rows look like a sudden change.  Not sure how I would rectify that situation though if I were to make it again.  Suggestions from any of the knitters out there (I’m looking at you Robin!)?  😉  

Here’s a close up of the hat.

And here’s the hat with the scarf… 

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but the yarn is a truly remarkable color IRL.  It’s mostly teal blue with speckles of sea green.  This color just glistens with life.  I used Cascade Superwash 128 chunky yarn and really liked knitting with it.  I love the warm spongy fabric it creates.  The yarn calls for sz 10 needles with a 3.5 st/in gauge.  For the hat I used sz 9 needles to get a tighter weave, but for the scarf I used 10’s. 

I guess now I have to make him matching mittens, but I just don’t feel like it right now.  I am itching to get back to my fall coat.  But alas, I have a date tonight, so the coat will have to wait until Friday night.

Happy sewing and knitting everyone. 

P.S.  I promise pictures of Jack in his new accessories soon, but I want to finish his mittens first!

Sewing interruptus

It dawned on me this week that I am a month behind getting Jack’s knitting done for the year.  Every September, I knit his scarf, hat and annual sweater.  Well, it’s October my friends and the cold weather is nigh.  So I put aside my fall coat in deference to Jack’s needs.  I already knew what scarf pattern I wanted to use; I’ve used it twice before.  Liesl from Disdressed and of Oliver and S fame wrote this pattern a couple of years ago and I thought it was sheer genius.  I changed it up a little this year to look a little more boyish, although I still adore her pattern as is.  It doesn’t take that long to knit at all, maybe just 2-3 hours, so it’s perfect for my busy schedule and perfect for Jack’s little neck!

Liesl’s pattern has you cast on just 2 stitches to start and then you M2 stitches every other row which gradually forms a leaf shape to either end.  That’s just one part of the genius of this scarf.  The “tips” of the leaves are how you pull the scarf end through the slit (the other genius part) you create in the scarf by splitting the stitches onto two double point needles.  I wrote about this scarf last year. 

Anyhoo, this time I knew I wanted it to look more boyish, so I cast on the same amount of stitches as the width of the scarf for a more square look.  I also made the middle part shorter as last year’s scarf was a little too loose.   While the square ends are not as easy to get through the slit as the leaf ends of the original pattern, they are still quite workable.

I tested the guesstimate sizing on Jack this morning and it was perfect!  No picture of him wearing it yet though.

I already cast on for the hat last night.  I trawled Ravelry yesterday looking for inspiration.  I wanted a hat that would be simple to knit and quick, but it also needed some design feature to give it a little more interest than just stockinette stitch.  The perfect pattern was the His & Her Knit Hats from the Purl Bee.  Jack’s head circumference is about 20 inches, so I am making the women’s size hat for him.

His & Her Knit Hats (image from Purl Bee)

So that’s what I have been up to the last couple of nights.  As for Jack’s annual sweater, I’m not sure I am going to keep that tradition going.  Last year’s sweater was great.  Until I washed it.  Remember that disaster?  I don’t think I’ve recovered yet. 

I hope to get back to my coat this weekend.  Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Birthday Dress Pattern Review

Since Haley had her birthday this weekend, received her presents, and opened them.  I can  now show you pictures of the finished dress.  However, I forgot to take interior construction pictures before I wrapped and sent it off, so my apologies for the dearth of those photos.

By all accounts, Haley loves her dress and she looks so pretty in pink.

Construction notes:  I used no pattern for this dress.  With the help of my teacher Thea and some measurements of a RTW dress that Haley already owned, we drafted a pattern for this dress.  The bodice of the RTW wear dress was 18 inches in circumference and the straps were 2 inches in from the sides.  Since elastic thread for shirring cuts the width down by 1/2 I started with 2 pieces of the floral fabric (front and back) 19 inches wide each (1 inch added for SA’s).  I pressed the top of the bodice under twice and used the elastic on top of the hem to secure and start the shirring at the same time.  I shirred for about 7-8 times around until it looked right in length from top to bottom.  I seamed and gathered the solid pink band using my gathering foot, remember my new boyfriend?  In retrospect, I realized that I had forgotten to tighten my stitch tension, so the gathers are not as gathered, but I still like it.  It’s subtle.  Then I added the lace at the bottom.  I bought the lace in Philly when I was there for PR Weekend.  Doesn’t it just take this simple dress to a whole new level?  It’s definitely “one more louder.”  I must give full credit to Thea for turning the straps for me.  I have been very frustrated with my turner, but she seemed to have no problem whatsoever with it.  Hmmm…  I attached the straps and this dress was done!  Very simple.  I constructed the entire dress (minus attaching the straps) in one evening.  I can see a sweatshop in my near future making little girl dresses.  😉  

And here’s little Haley in her dress.  Isn’t she super duper cute?

In other sewing news, I finished my Burda dress and love it.  Lots to tell about that little adventure, but I must save it for another post.  Not sure if it’s work wearable though.  It might be a little too sexy momma for the office.  I’ll have to ask my sister’s opinion.

Happy sewing everyone!

Sneak Peek – Birthday Dress

Well, I am at it again.  Drafting, that is.  Well, I wish it was me alone, but I definitely needed Thea along for the ride this time.  Together, we drafted a simple little girl dress.  I knew what I wanted and could see it in my mind’s eye: a shirred empire waist bodice, spaghetti straps that tied, a contrast band at the bottom with a lace hem. 

Here’s a sneak peek of my niece Haley’s birthday dress…

More on the construction and full pictorial disclosure after the gift is given this weekend.

Happy sewing everyone!