From September 2015

Grey floral Granville

I needed a new, neutral shirt to wear with my Owligan, so I made another Sewaholic Granville, because I know it will be trouble-free, and I’ve already done the pattern adjustments. The only problem is that my upper arms have, um, grown a bit since the last one I made, so I had to add some ease to the sleeves. Yes, I can still wear the previous one I made, but the sleeves are a tad snug, and that’s just not comfortable.

DSC_4375I used the Curvy Sewing Collective post on sleeve adjustments to add ease to the upper arm. Turns out my upper arm measurement is only 1/4″ less than the actual sleeve measurement, so I definitely need to do the adjustment. I added just shy of 1 1/4″ to my sleeve width.

This adjustment is surprisingly quick, and I finished within five minutes. Just make sure to add your seam allowance when you draw the horizontal line, and draw it from that point, rather than right at the corners where the sleeve meets the cap. You will also have to redraw your grainline, because this adjustment shifts it outward more at the top end than it does at the bottom, and you want your sleeves to be on grain.

I traced the new sleeve onto a piece of pattern tissue, since I don’t enjoy manipulating multiple layers of printer paper when I’m pinning my pattern. Normally when you do pattern adjustments like these, you would put a bit of paper in the gap you created, tape it in, and carry on with cutting your fabric. I find patterns adjusted this way difficult to store, and difficult to pin, so I traced it onto tissue.

DSC_4377The fabric I chose is a quilting cotton. I know, “garments shouldn’t be made from quilting cotton”, but it was pretty, neutral, and the price was right. It also reminds me of a colouring book for grown ups. I couldn’t find anything I liked in the shirting fabrics, because all they really had were stripes and plaids, and I didn’t feel like messing with matching. THIS is why I didn’t want go go with plaid – I’m sure the finished product will be worth all of the extra work, but I don’t want to do that much matching. This is supposed to be quick to sew, remember?

At any rate, I’ve successfully sewn garments out of quilting cotton dozens of times. Would I have preferred a lovely Liberty of London fabric? Absolutely, but there was nothing interesting at Dressew, so quilting fabric it is. In fact, if you’re interested, Tilly & the Buttons has a great post about sewing garments out of quilting cotton, and I recommend that anyone considering it give the post a read. She does warn against sewing garments with sleeves in quilting cotton, because it is frequently stiffer than fabrics intended for garments, but I say, you be the judge. Some quilting cottons have more drape than others. My fabric is quite soft, so while it is certainly thicker than garment fabric, it has similar drape to a lightweight flannel, and flannel shirts are really popular for autumn!

DSC_4399I cut out my shirt on Tuesday, and finished it on Friday. I am pretty pleased with my new shirt, and I think that while the quilt fabric is a bit thicker than shirting fabrics, it works pretty well. I wore it out to dinner with my husband over the weekend, and found it very comfortable to wear. Remember the caution against sewing garments with sleeves in quilting cotton? No problem, they’re quite comfortable, and don’t feel stiff.

Here is a list of shirtmaking posts on the Sewaholic blog that are handy when sewing this shirt.

Owligan

A while back, while attempting to use up stash, I came across Kate Davies’ Owligan pattern. I was looking to use up some Knit Picks Swish bulky, and this pattern was suggested by Ravelry. Sadly, the yarn wasn’t quite bulky enough, nor did I have sufficient yardage, but the pattern was perfect in every way. Fast knit, since the gauge is so chunky. No fussy fitting. Perfect for fall weather. Owls. How could I just queue it?

Since I didn’t have any suitable yarn, I ran out right away to buy some. So much for stashbusting! I went to Urban Yarns, a shop I’d never visited before, so it was a fun adventure. I was so pleased with myself too, because I only bought yarn for my cardigan.

The yarn I chose was Cascade Eco+, in the Turtle colourway. It’s a beautiful, neutral heathered green, perfect for Autumn. The cardigan calls for a bulky 12 ply yarn, which is what Eco+ is, but the lady at Urban Yarns looked up the suggested yarns and told me I’d be best off holding the Eco+ doubled. I swatched on size 13 needles and got perfect gauge the first time. This isn’t the softest yarn, but it does soften quite a lot after blocking.

I started this sweater in July, because doesn’t everyone love having a lap full of chunky wool in the heat of summer? No? I must have been crazy then. It took a month to finish, which is longer than I thought it would take, but in the meantime, I knit a couple of other things and finished my rainbow shawl, as well as doing some traveling, so I didn’t work on this constantly. I probably could have finished it in two weeks if I’d focused on it. My sister in law was rather disgusted with me, because I visited her and while visiting, I cast on a sleeve, which I had nearly finished by the time I said good bye to her. If you’re looking for a fast, easy, fun, satisfying knit, this cardigan definitely fits the bill.

DSC_4356The pattern suggests button eyes for the owls, but I prefer them without. I liked the rustic look of the sweater, so I chose wood buttons from Dressew. The sweater construction is interesting, and not difficult. It’s knit from the bottom up – you knit up to the underarm, set the body aside, knit the sleeves (flat or in the round, I chose flat), attach them to the body, then you knit the yoke. The cables are simple enough, just left and right crosses, so there are no difficult stitches to learn. I knit the yoke in an evening.

DSC_4371-001I made two minor modifications to the pattern. I didn’t want a long cardigan, so I shortened it. This meant that I had to figure out the button band myself, because the number of stitches the pattern said to pick up would have been far too many. The other modification I made was to add short row bust shaping. Because of the large gauge, it ended up being only two short rows on each side, but the sweater doesn’t ride up in front, so I call that a success.

This photo doesn’t accurately show the colour of the sweater, but the closeup of the yoke does. I probably could have made the sleeves an inch shorter, but I’m not fussed about that (the sweater is meant to be worn with the cuffs folded up). I’m very pleased with my new sweater, and it’s getting a lot of use so far. I’d love to knit another, but with a different cable motif next time. My Ravelry project page is here.

 

Pillowcases for Highlight Quilt

Well, my Highlight quilt is now in the capable hands of my sister in law. I picked out a lovely leaf pantograph, and she expects to have it finished in about two weeks, since she’s got some other quilts to finish before she gets to mine. Then I have to bind it (I’m not sure if I’m going to use plain black, or a print. I have some extra from my blocks).

DSC_4363In the meantime, I spent a couple of hours today making pillowcases to match the quilt.

I made a point of buying enough of the grey floral to make pillowcases. I thought that I had enough of the yellow floral to do the band at the opening, so I could put a plain black accent on them, but sadly, I only had enough for one pillowcase, so the yellow became the accent, and I used the polka dotted fabric for the opening.

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. The fabric is nice and smooth, so they should be nice to sleep on. I’ll be writing up a tutorial for making these, as well as a fitted sheet, since I bought fabric to make my son a really cool fitted sheet and pillowcase. Stay tuned!

Sneak peek at Highlight quilt

DSC_4362I love starting a new project, even if it is a project that I purchased supplies for a while back and didn’t get around to starting. This is  sneak peek at my High Light quilt.

The fabrics are from Dressew, and include some Michael Miller pieces, which are more costly than most quilt fabrics I’ve purchased, but they’re very good quality and very pleasant to work with.

I posted a schematic of what I had planned here, and I’m done piecing now. I started cutting fabrics on Thursday evening, and spent Friday and Saturday afternoon sewing. That’s one of the reason I love quilts with large blocks – they go together very quickly. The other reason is that they look more modern than a lot of quilts with small blocks, and you can have fun with larger prints.

This is a large quilt – we have a queen sized bed, but I hate that the sheets hang down below the duvet, so I decided to make a king sized quilt. It was easy to modify the pattern – all I did was make it wider by one row of blocks (which are 20″ across, give or take). I could, theoretically, quilt it on my machine, but that doesn’t sound like much fun. Fortunately for me, my sister in law has a long arm quilting machine, so I’m bringing the quilt and batting with me to visit her, and we’ll talk about quilting it. I don’t have backing fabric yet, so maybe she has a cheaper source for it than either Dressew or Fabricland. I don’t want to pay $50 for backing fabric if I can help it.

I’m going to make some coordinating pillowcases as well. Not shams, because frankly, I’m too lazy to take them off the pillows every night. I’ll use the grey floral with the yellow (which I have lots of) as edging.

The next time you see my quilt top, it’ll be on the bed!

 

Placemats

I started these placemats MONTHS ago. I am not kidding. I made one set (which has been used daily since I made them), started the second, then got busy with other things and put them away until today. The catalyst for getting them finished is twofold. One, the weather turned about a week ago, and it feels like Autumn already, even though we’re only a week into September, and the fabrics scream “AUTUMN!!!” Two, I did some rearranging and a little bit of culling of my fabric and craft supplies, and came across the placemats. Rather than stuff them back into the cabinet never to be seen again, I decided to leave them out on my sewing table so that they’d finally be completed.

DSC_4357My husband took the dog hiking today, and the kids were entertaining themselves, so I really had no excuse not to get them finished.

I didn’t use a pattern or existing tutorial for these, so if anyone is interested, I can write up a tutorial. They’re pretty simple, and I really should have written it up and taken pictures as I went along, so that I can make more later. I’d like to make some special placemats for Yule as well, and will probably do so this Winter.

DSC_4360The fabrics for these placemats are leftovers from my daughter’s rainbow quilt, so making them was incredibly economical since the fabric would likely sit in my stash, unused for who knows how long if I hadn’t made these placemats! I like that they’re reversible, in case I want to see the yellow side instead of the orange… or if something gets spilled on them. Just flip them over and throw them in the laundry the next time you’re doing washing.

One thing that I am really pleased about is that because I used cotton quilt batting in the middle and quilted all three layers together, they wash up really nicely. I can’t stand washing storebought placemats and then having to iron them – so long as I take them out of the dryer while they’re still warm, they flatten nicely without having to press them. The first set I made has held up really well, with weekly laundering and daily use for the last eight months or so.

 

My final Vogue 2903

My lovely sister in law has a fancy party to go to, and couldn’t find anything she liked in stores, so she asked me to make her a dress. She decided on Vogue 2903, which is the same pattern that I used for both of the dresses for Louise. The first dress I made for Louise is here, and the second is here.

We went shopping at Dressew and bought some lovely dark royal blue taffeta with flocked flowers, and also fabric for a second dress, because we were able to do this one so inexpensively and she wanted something a little less dressy for those occasions where she needs a dress, but not a gown.

Vog

Here’s the completed dress. She decided that she wanted the 3/4 length sleeves, which initially was a relief, because modifying this dress to be sleeveless was challenging because the inner yoke is meant to have the sleeves sewn to it at the shoulders. Making this dress sleeveless was challenging, because it required some trimming of the yoke, so I thought that making it with sleeves would make it easier.

Turns out, I was incorrect. The construction of the yoke and sleeves is challenging, even for an experienced seamstress. Basically, what you do is sew the sleeves on at the shoulders of the yoke, then put the yoke inside the dress, and sew the underarm. Sounds easy, but it’s actually fairly challenging, because the yoke doesn’t fit inside the bodice quite right, so there’s quite a bit of fussing to get everything right.

The other challenge with this dress is that the instructions don’t call for any understitching, so the facings pop out and look terrible. Even with understitching, I ended up having to very carefully baste the layers together on the front so that the facing didn’t roll out to the front. Oddly, this was not necessary for the back facing.

The last thing that was different about this dress is that she wanted a sash. I used this tutorial, by Gertie. It only took about an hour to do the sash, and she’ll be able to wear it with other outfits as well.

She seems pretty happy with her dress. I wish I’d thought to take some photos, because my itty bitty dress form doesn’t do the dress justice. I think the dress form is a RTW size 4, which is awfully small, compared to the people I typically sew for.