Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas preparations

It has become a Thanksgiving tradition for my daughters and I to work on our handmade Christmas cards the day(s) after Thanksgiving. We are NOT Black Friday shoppers! With the TV on and football games playing in the background, we get out all the paper crafting goodies
 and go to town :-)
Unfortunately this year Kristen was unable to make it home: as a Labor & Delivery nurse now she had to work over the holiday, but Libby and I were very productive:

I have also been very productive with my Christmas knitting....but of course, those pictures can't be posted until AFTER Christmas LOL!

Most Monday nights I can be found knitting with my dear knitting friends at Panera. And tho I can't show you my Christmas knitting, Karen shared with us what she has been working on for holiday gifts. See her amazing work below:

I just love a handmade Christmas!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Garment a month, November:Simplicity 2451

I have finished my November challenge, and challenge is the right word for this skirt, Simplicity 2451.
It is a great pattern, and one I know I will use again. It's just that this skirt had a mind
of it's own and didn't want to cooperate :-)
First off, I wasn't excited about finishing this stretch cotton sateen skirt in November....
and I won't wear it again until next summer.
In the cutting phase of the project, I miscut for the lining. Re cut.
The zipper application is pretty ugly, so no pics of that!
Not enough length for a decent hem.

What I do like, and will bring me back to this pattern again:
-the side pockets
-the small pleats below the yoke
-and on this particular skirt, I love the polka dot lining :-)

Tough to photograph this bright red on such an overcast day:

Quick, but blurry, photo before I started my work day this morning:

I'll be picking something fast and easy for my December Garment a Month Challenge,
lots going on with the holidays and all.....


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make a Garment a Month: November plans Simplicity 2451

 This project has been sitting on my sewing table since the summer: Simplicity 2451 View C. It was cut out of a red. stretch cotton sateen, and then got pushed aside for a couple of dresses :-). I don't like to have sewing projects backed up, so I thought I would just go ahead and finish it, and it will be ready for next Spring!

So far I have sewn in the pleats, the pockets, and attached the yoke.
Next up: zipper + lining.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Kitsap cardigan is finished!

Kitsap cardigan by Berroco knit with Berroco's yarn, Lodge in the color way Old Faithful.

The color transitions  in this yarn look especially beautiful in garter stitch, seen below on the
collar of this sweater:

Last summer I attended Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, and had a class with Deborah Newton on seaming and finishing knitted garments. Her book, Finishing School, a Master Class for Knitters, has everything a knitter would need to know about finishing, and has helped bump up my skills in that department! Thanks to my daughter Kristen for gifting me with this book for Mother's Day this year :-).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Knitting some fingerless mitts!

Cooler temperatures have arrived here in Michigan, and I needed a warm pair of fingerless mitts. I found this free pattern on Ravelry, and cast on, using the Kathmandu Aran yarn from the Queensland Collection and size 6 DPNs. This yarn is a plied worsted of 85% wool, 10% silk and 5% cashmere, and a bit 'rustic' in nature. So yummy, and exactly what I wanted.

The color is actually a tweedy lavender/cream, shown below with the last rose of summer:

The only modification that I made to the pattern was to add 3 more rounds to the thumb to make it a bit longer. 
I would recommend this pattern as it is easy to follow, knits up quickly and has that cool looking cable running up the top of the hand :-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Simplicity 2648...and an Amazing Fit!

Simplicity 2648 is an Amazing Fit pattern, which has different bodice pattern pieces for cup sizes A-B-C-D along with adjustments for "slim, average and curvy fit".

If you read my last post, you will already know that I am excited about these options that the pattern companies are providing the home sewist. I think with these options, along with a lot of trial and error over my last few years of sewing, that I've finally figured out how to obtain a much better fit with my garment sewing.

The fabric I used for this unlined sheath dress was a 
heathered gray ponte knit from FabricMart that I purchased online in June, 2011.
I have several of the Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns, but hadn't yet actually used one. When I picked this dress pattern to sew up, I decided to follow the directions as written. That meant cutting larger seam allowances, and basting(!) seams for fitting, then removing the basting, taking apart the dress and resewing. This process is in place of making a muslin or test garment first, and really worked well! 
It also means slower sewing with more attention to measuring, cutting, construction and detail, and I find I am enjoying myself and the finished project much more. 
Though I do remember those days in my 20s when I could sew a pattern straight out of the envelope....purchase the pattern and fabric one day, and wear it the next!
Some projects still allow for that kind of quick turn around, and that can be fun too. 
I'm never bored with my sewing, that is for sure ;-) 

On to the pics...a little too windy today in Michigan to take outside:

with the silk scarf I picked up in Paris:

The vintage buttons on the tab at the waist were a birthday gift from a good friend:

Cute pleated sleeve detail, with a self-hemmed, bias sleeve band:

No zipper necessary with this fabric:

A small walking pleat is always appreciated in a sheath dress:

Wow, this dress looks purple now, taken outside with IPhone on a cloudy day:

So silly...........

Finally, I thought you might be amused by how I audition fabric for my next project(s). And it maintains my dress forms' modesty :-)!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Make a Garment a Month: my garment for Oct. 2013: Very Easy Vogue 8764

Vogue 8764 is a Custom Fit pattern by Vogue, which includes bodice patterns for bust cup sizes A-B-C-D. I am SO glad that the pattern companies are making the effort to produce more patterns like makes this dressmaker's alterations so much easier! I did still need to make my usual changes tho: broad back, lengthen the bodice by 1 inch above the dart, sway back....along with a little extra room from the waist down. With this pattern, making the broad back adjustment made the the shoulder seam fall off a bit, which I corrected by placing a small dart at the back shoulder seam.  This is a great pattern to get that perfect fit, since there are bust darts, back darts, front and back seams along with the horizontal seam at the raised waist. Many sewing bloggers have made this a TNT (tried-n-true) that they return to often, and I can see why.

My fabric was an oh-so-soft lightweight double knit:


I elected not to line this one, as it was a test garment for this pattern. Using Carolyn's suggestion, I serged the neckline, turned and topstitched.

I'm calling this my Plain Jane just lacks a little oomph, and I'm at a loss on how to accessorize it. I ended up wearing it to work today with a different necklace which looks better, I think.

Love the small dart at the elbow:

Next up: this same pattern again using a very large houndstooth knit purchased at the Novi Sewing Expo a year or two ago:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pillowcases for Rhonda's 900 Pillowcases Project

Fellow blogger Rhonda has a project going on to donate 900 pillowcases to the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Washington State. You can click here to see her first post from back in March introducing her project.
Here it is October, and I finally got a chance to participate! I had the most fun pulling novelty fabrics to make some pillowcases to send to Rhonda. Reaching back into my stash I found some leftover Little League Baseball fabric from *too many* years ago when my sons were playing Little League.....for several years I made donation quilts for the LL to raffle off as a fundraiser.  Then there is the fishy batik from the Hawaiian shirts that I made for my husband and the boys to wear to the elementary school (!) luau. 
Not quite sure how the bowling fabric got into the stash....but it turned out to be Rhonda's favorite!

Pay a visit to Rhonda's blog to read more about the 900 Pillowcases Project, and see pics of my donated pillowcases hanging on the clothesline :-)