Monday, November 24, 2014

Professoressa Cardigan Started

I haven't had much to blog about lately.  I've been knitting a ton and not doing much sewing.  My focus has been mostly gifts, too, and I don't want to share too much since curious little eyes might see.  I did sew some adorable little doll clothes this weekend.  Can't wait to show them off when they are finished up.  I don't think my 5 nieces (ages 0-3) read my blog...

This week, the kids are home from school but Hubs is still at work.  I'm so excited that we are going to my husband's parents' house for Thanksgiving, so I don't have to worry about preparing for that dinner this year.  :-)

I have been doing some selfish knitting lately, and that sparked the "need" for some selfish sewing in my near future.  I started the Professoressa Cardigan from the Textured Stitches book.**
My yarn is a 100% alpaca in a dark green color from my Local Yarn Shop.  It is perfect for the drapey style of this design.  I spent a lot of the past weekend working on this cardigan, and have averaged knitting a ball a day since Thursday.  This pace cannot be sustained, but with a few days away around Thanksgiving, I do hope to have this finished in about a week.  The warmth of the cardigan and the deep green color make me thing of Christmas, of course, and now I really want a plaid dress to wear with the sweater for Christmas!  I've been looking around for a good pattern, and I have a few inspirations.

This dress is by Micahel Kors.  I like the A-line skirt with the pleat and the simple shape of the bodice.  I want sleeves, though.

This one definitely has the Christmas vibe.  I don't think I'll go SO red and green.  I'm thinking more tan and green.  I LOVE how the circle skirt looks in the plaid, though.

This last one has the same circle skirt effect but also has some little sleeves.

So definitely a fitted bodice with fuller skirt - probably circle but maybe A-line.  I have some dress patterns with this shape bodice and sleeves.   I can easily franken-pattern a skirt onto that.  I just need to find the perfect fabric pretty soon!

** BTW, when looking for a picture of the cardigan, I found a site that has basically scanned the whole book in.  You can buy the book from them, but um, why would you?  How is that not totally illegal.  I'm sure the answer is that it is totally illegal.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rook Sweater

This is Brooklyn Tweed's Rook pattern by Kyoko Nakayoshi.  It's from the Wool People 6 collection.  The architectural cables and stockinette stitch body appealed to me.  I'll be honest, though.  I'm not 100% happy with my fit.  I have about a 35" bust, and the size options are 35.25" or 38.75".  I went with the larger size, and the fit is a little roomier than I would prefer.

The other issue is I'm not totally happy with the yarn.  I explained how I came to have this yarn on my latest podcast episode.  The short version is I ordered it for something else from my LYS and gave it up for lost when I didn't get a call.  After I bought different yarn for the original project, this came in, so I purchased enough for a sweater for me.  It's actually the exact same yarn that I used for this sweater, but I'm not as happy this time around.  I feel like the acrylic content (52%) is much more obvious on this version for some reason.

Here you can see that there is plenty of room in the arms and bust area.

The fit on the model is a bit more streamlined, and I'd love to make a 100% wool version in an earthy color like the example as well.  I could also see this in a wool/cotton blend with 3/4 sleeves for a less warm option.  The silver lining here is that the high temperature tomorrow is in the 50s (what??), so this will keep me nice and cozy!

Oh, I got the original inspiration for a cabled, bright pastel sweater here, and I'd still rather have her Zara sweater, which is never a good feeling. :-(  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lavender Wardrobe Craving

I make most of my clothes these days, between sewing and knitting.  It has just slowly evolved that way.  However, things I do not make and have no qualms about buying include:

       * Jeans
       * Undergarments
       * Layering Camis
       * Fine-gauge knitwear

Of course, sometimes I buy other things, too.  Don't get me wrong.  It's just I experience handmaker's guilt with those.

A few days ago, I was on the J Crew website buying a suit for my big man (First Communion coming up!), and I just couldn't help but surf around the ladies sale section.  Extra 40% off, don't ya know.  Merino ribbed sweater for $20?  Fine-gauge knitwear - check.  Yes, please.  I've been craving more lavender in my wardrobe, so that's the color I went with (vintage lilac to be precise).  It arrived crazy fast.  Apparently the extra holiday delivery helpers have arrived but not the extra holiday deliveries yet.

Imagine my shock to read this yesterday morning.  Turns out my lavender desire is just the subliminal messaging of Derek Lam and the fashion world.  Oh well.  Here is my Lilac/Toffee/White fashion from yesterday.

(Of course, right after the photos, those shoes were replaced with flats.  I hada sick kid/photographer at home.  Don't judge me.)

Now I have to get to the lavender sweater knit fabric that's dying to become an open cardigan.  Of course, I'll need to find a lavender cami to wear under it.  No guilt there.

** Whenever I mention a brand or company, I feel the need to say that I am not affiliated or getting paid or anything.  So yeah, J Crew has no idea who I am, but if they want to throw some money my way, I would not say "no."  ;-)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Itch to Stitch Marbella Dress Pattern winner!

So sorry for not getting this out.

Without further delay, the winner of the Marbella Dress Pattern is (via

commenter #2 who is...

Catherine who said...

This is a great, versatile dress pattern - always a great addition to a pattern collection. I think a nice soft cotton lawn would work well.

It looks like Catherine is maybe about to get started blogging.  Let's hope, so that we can all see her pretty dress!

Catherine, please send me an email so I can get you your new dress pattern.  Congratulations!

Friday, October 31, 2014

New Look 6808 Lace Tee

I made a lace tee shirt.  I'm so trendy!  Who knew?  
(Yes, Anthropologie is the epitome of "trendy" in my book.  I'd consider myself more of a Boden girl, stylistically, though.  UK people, do you really walk reindeer around on leashes, though?  jk... kind of)
 This is how I wore it to church.  Looking a little frumpy in this pic, though.  Oh well.  Let me take the sweater off so you can see the top...
 Voila!  The fabric is from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota (I've been typing that a lot lately).  It's a pretty pale pink color and has 3 dimensional flowers tacked on top all over for a really lush look.  "Tacked on" isn't really the right phrase, though.  I tried to remove them from the seam allowances and they are really sewn on well.
 The pattern is New Look 6808.  I thought I'd used this pattern to make this top (which I'm totally wearing today for Halloween with an orange cardi) but I have a different pattern on that post.  Oh well.  Same shape anyway.  Like that other top, on this one I left out the vertical darts and side zip and only used the bust darts from the side seam.  I can pull this over my head without a zip.

I used the same techniques as this dress to finish the neckline with the lace border.
 I wore it with a pink cami underneath.  What do you think?  Any other ideas how to style this top?  How would you wear it?

In other styling news, I've figured out a way I really like to wear this top - jeans, cardi, and a long necklace.  I really like it like this.  Win.

Also, there is only one more day to enter the giveaway for the Marbella dress pattern.  :-)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Podcast 8: Gifts Galore


Intro - I forgot to beg you to be my friend!  :-)
      SSHandmadeJenny on Twitter
      SSHandmade_Jenny on Instagram
      JennyAnne on Ravelry
      JennyAnne on Artisan's Square

My Life - We snorkeled at Egmont Key in the Gulf of Mexico

State of the Podcast - I blogged about the Marbella dress pattern here

Sewing - McCalls 7026                                                           
               Hi-Lo Top

                New Look 6808                                                         
                Simplicity 1696
                 Here are all my recent Pennie Fabrics purchases.
                 I mentioned Myra.
                 Again, I mentioned the Marbella dress.  Comment on the blog post by November 1st for a chance to win a copy of the pattern!

Knitting - Rustling Leaves

                Hubs' Socks
                Whitewood Beret
                                                           (the dress is a few years old)
               Mom's Beacon Hill                                                         
               My Rook by Brooklyn Tweed                                                            
               Baby Sweater                                                            

Gifts - Elephant (to-be) outfit                                                          
           I ramble on about what I'm making/getting for various nieces and nephews
           Jammies for my immediate family
           Made's bean bag chair pattern - Rollie Pollie
           Knock Off Wood - I'm thinking of making this tent
           Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

Living Handmade
            I need storage for my sewing space.  Should I go the easy route with Ikea or make something like this or this or this

Friday, October 24, 2014

Marbella Dress Pattern Review and Giveaway

I want to introduce you to a brand new sewing pattern company, Itch to Stitch.  The owner, Kennis, asked me if I would like to review her first pattern, the Marbella dress, and I jumped at the chance.  Stay with me until the end for a chance to win your own copy.

I mentioned here that I've been wanting a classic white sundress for years, and for some reason, this pattern immediately made me think of that.  I purchased this white cotton eyelet from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota specifically for this dress. 
I also used a bunch of plain lightweight cotton to both underline and line the dress.

This is a PDF pattern, a very well developed one.  Kennis created the pattern pieces using different layers in Adobe for different sizes, so you only print the size or sizes you need.  This is explained very clearly in the instructions.  I printed sizes 4 and 6, and I cut at the size 4 for the bust and waist and blended to a 6 in the hips.  I measured myself and picked these sizes based on the size chart with the pattern.  The fit turned out great, and I made zero adjustments.

I needed to print 25 printer pages of pattern pieces.  I opted to read the instructions from my computer and didn't print those pages.  I timed myself cutting and taping the pattern pieces together and it took 30 minutes, as long as my drive to and from JoAnn's.  :-)  Not bad at all.

 This dress was a pretty involved project, partly because of the changes I made just for my personal preference.  The most obvious change is to the skirt.  The tulip skirt, as designed, is really cute, but I've made one or two before and I fear the pleats over my tummy.  Anyway, I used the pattern piece for the skirt front and just changed the side seam to an A-line shape.  I used the box pleats as drafted.  I used the same pattern piece for the front and back and it fit beautifully.  I love the pleats.
 The bodice has interesting seaming.  The neckline is a very flattering wide boat neck, and there is a curved yoke piece with princess seams underneath.  Yea for no darts to mark and sew!!  ;-)
 Gah, why is it all wrinkly in the back?  I think it's just the effect of my belt accessorization.  I didn't notice it any time before.
 The other change I made to the pattern was to move the zip from the center back to the side and cut the back pieces on the fold to continue the pretty eyelet across.  I didn't think ahead about how that side zip would affect my pockets, though.  I refused to omit the pockets, and after a little fiddling around, I am very pleased with what I came up with.  The invisible zip tapers into the pocket opening and ends inside the pocket.  Strange, perhaps, but it works.
 Here, I was trying to get a shot of where I hand stitched the skirt lining to the pocket top.  I can't think of any good way to explain this.  It just worked out after some fiddling and quite a bit of hand stitching.
 I should say that although moving my zipper to the side seam meant I did quite a bit of hand stitching, the pattern instructions are fantastic for avoiding hand stitching!  Kennis even explains how to attach the lining to the zipper using the machine.  Love that technique.  The only hand stitching in the pattern instructions is the hem.
 My lovely hem.  All of the layers make it feel like a luxurious petticoat.  I really took my time finishing the inside nicely with this dress, and I'm really happy with it.

Some more thoughts on the pattern:


*The website and pattern are VERY professional.  I would never guess this is Kennis' first pattern and this is a new company.
*Nice use of fusible interfacing and strips at the zipper opening and pocket edges.
*Detailed instructions and diagrams, including stay stitching, clipping, and explaining why you do things.


*The pattern pages have large numbers in the middle.  All of the other PDF patterns I've purchased have numbers and letters at each edge to help you join them correctly.  I didn't really have any trouble assembling the pieces, but it could possibly be confusing for a beginner.
*Everywhere I'm used to reading "right sides together", she uses the phrase "with the correct sides facing" which I found slightly confusing at first.
*I think the step 61 diagram shows lining fabric where it should be the wrong side fabric color
*Step 81 shows a picture of stitching in the ditch but no instruction - could be confusing for a beginner.

Overall, I am very happy with this pattern.  I recommend it and do plan to use it again.  I especially love the bodice design and think it is a very flattering shape.  I could see it altered to be a woven top or tunic, too.

Ok, did you make it?  Now the fun part - I have a copy of the Marbella pattern to give away!  Just leave a comment on this post with what type of fabric you would love to use for the Marbella dress.  I will use a random number generator to pick a winner in one week, on Saturday, November 1st.

* Disclosure:  I was given this pattern for free to review.  If you purchase the pattern using one of the links on my blog, I receive a small percentage of the sale.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Simplicity 1696 and Faux Welt Pocket Tutorial

Hi, everyone!  This is my second creation from Simplicity 1696, also known as my new favorite pants pattern ever.  We just took these photos after I've worn the pants all day, and we rode bike to my kids' school and walked around for a couple of hours for a Fall Festival.  So... they've been through a lot today and still look great (if a little baggier than they did this morning, and you can see there's something in my pocket).

 I rolled them up today, but they hit right at my ankle bone unhemmed.
 The fabric is from my recent shopping trip to Pennie Fabrics.  I think it's just a cotton bottomweight.  It feels and behaves a lot like denim.

 I knit the sweater years ago.  I have no idea what the pattern is.  I remember knitting it from a magazine pattern.  Not very helpful  :-)

Here is how I made my faux welt pockets, different from in the

This is a pretty quick and dirty tutorial.  It's not the best if you have never made a welt pocket before.  If you've made one or two and are curious how I make basically a welt pocket with no pocket bag, here it is:

Start with a rectangle of fabric about four inches tall and two inches wider than the welt opening.  Place it with the top edge just barely under the top stitching.  Stitch two parallel lines as shown on the pattern.  This pattern only has one line, so I added the second one half inch above.

Here you can see the stitching on the wrong side.

Use your seam ripper to start the slit between the stitching lines.

Use small scissors to finish the job, cutting one long slit and then diagonal slits right to the edge of the stitching lines.

 like so:

Now, shove the welt piece through the slit to the wrong side.

Adjust the welt to fit nicely in the window.
 Fold the welt piece down in the back so that the  fold just reaches the top of the window.  Press in place.

This is where you would add the pocket back for a real welt pocket, but I just fold the excess back up, covering the gap between the top of the welt and the top window seam allowance.

Topstitch everything nicely in place, making sure to get those tiny triangles tucked away to form right angles at the sides.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Haul from Penny Fabrics!

Well, Saturday's trip to Penny Fabrics in Sarasota was a success!

I bought 6 gorgeous pieces of fabric and left many more beauties behind.  The one that's sticking in my mind is a plaid lightweight wool.  I have a strong desire for some plaid pants this year...

Anywho, first up is this turquoise rayon knit.  It's nice and beefy and a bright blue color.  I bought 1.5 yards, so I'm not sure if it will be a 3/4 sleeve tee or a simple knit dress.  I'm thinking about playing with my embroidery machine on this one.  I need to hop over to the Anthropologie site for some inspiration for a little boho stitching.

This is a tropical wool I bought to make some dress pants.  It is so pretty, a light gray with lots of depth.
 Look at these first two together!

It's hard to tell from the pic, but this is a pale lavender cotton knit that is a bit sheer.  I think this called to me because it reminds me of a sheer long-sleeved tee I had about 15 years ago.  I loved that top...  Anyway, though I am tempted to recreate the original, I'm leaning toward a short-sleeved open cardigan with this since I have a pale green version I wear all the time!.
 This is a white eyelet.  I have wanted to make a white eyelet dress for years and I've finally found the perfect fabric.  I'll need to get some white cotton for underlining and lining.  This will be quite a project with all the layers, but I have the perfect pattern.  More on that soon...

This is an olive green cotton bottom-weight.  It feels a lot like denim to me.  I've already cut this out to be a skinnier version of my Simplicity 1696 pants.  (By the way, I wore the navy ones to the fabric store, and they were a big hit!)
 This is a poly charmeuse.  Yes, silk would have been lovely,but this border print was worth the poly.  I bought just one panel, planning to make a simple elastic-waist skirt.  However...
 Look at it with my soon-to-be pants!  Maybe it needs to be a flowy tank.  Of course, I'm a little scared to go there after my recent attempt at something similar.  What do you think?

I didn't let myself cut into this fabric until I finished what was laying around my sewing room, so I have two new projects to photograph today.  I'd better get out there before the rain comes!