Monday, December 12, 2016

Itch to Stitch Arenal Top in Sweater Knit

Why yes, it is another Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch.  I can't help myself.  I love this pattern, and this version is the ultimate in cosy, snuggly, but not-too-warm perfection.

The fabric is a poly/rayon sweater knit from Emma One Sock that I ordered around Black Friday.  I actually ordered quite a bit of fabrics that day.  A little birdy told me to expect a serger machine and coverstitch machine for my birthday and Christmas, so I obviously needed some nice new knits to use my new machines.  Problem is, I couldn't wait!  I had to sew this top like right that second.  I am trying to be more patient with the others.

Obviously, I used the swing hem and 3/4 sleeves for this version.  I also added cuffs to the sleeves.

Happy sewing!  I promise my next project will be something other than Arenal!

The Itch to Stitch links in this post are affiliate.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Itch to Stitch Arenal Top with lace shoulders

This is my third and final (for now) Arenal top by Itch to Stitch.  You can see my other two Arenal tops here.  It has taken me a long time to post these photos because there is some seriously weird lighting go on, and I planned to take better photos.  It hasn't happened in the past month, though, so I am just going with these.  Seriously, though, how is it both overcast and too sunny?

I used the 3/4 sleeves and standard hem on this version.  The knit fabric is from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota and is very lightweight and drapey.  I have quite a bit more, and I'm not sure what to make with it.  Suggestions?  I am thinking of checking if I have enough for the dress pattern that I used to make my red tunic.

For this version, I used a little lavender lace I have had in my stash for eons.  I wanted to use the scalloped hem edge, but I didn't want to worry about bra strap show-through, so I just layered it on top of the standard tee.  For the knit fabric, I overlapped the front pattern piece and the front yoke pattern piece (the shoulder contrast) to make one whole front up to the shoulder.  Then, I used the yoke piece to cut my lace.  I just layered the lace on top of the knit fabric and constructed this as a regular tee.  Super simple, and it is a fun extra detail.

 I was a pattern tester for Kennis, and the links to Itch to Stitch pages in this post are affiliate.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Featherweight Cardigan by Knitbot in Ewe2Yarn + No-Pattern Elastic Waist Skirt

Well, I did it again.  I have gotten super behind with my posting.  Good news is there will probably be a flurry of posts for the next two weeks or so.

This is a 2-fer because the skirt is as simple as it gets.

The cardigan is the very popular "Featherweight Cardigan" by Hannah Fettig, also known as Knitbot.  I do mean popular.  Right now, there are 8,490 projects in Ravelry, but that will go up as soon as I post mine!  The beauty of this pattern is its simplicity.  If you look through the projects on Ravelry, you can get so much inspiration to customize it for yourself.  I wanted the basic version, though, since my yarn is fun.  It is hand-dyed by Ewe2Yarn.  The colorway is called Herb Garden.  

The finished sweater actually reminds me of camo, which is fun.

 The only downside to this sweater, for me, is the raglan sleeves.  I must have shlumpy shoulders or something, because raglans always seem to slide down my shoulders.  Super annoying.  I am going to add raglan-sleeve cardigans to my no-no-knit list along with single-ply yarns. (Single-ply rant here.)


The skirt is simple, but it sat half-finished in my sewing room for months.  It is just a rectangle seamed together to form a tube, and then fold-over elastic is stretched and stitched on the top for a waistband.  The reason it sat for months is that I made it too big at first.  I added too much ease at the hips and it was not very flattering.  The idea of unpicking the elastic, making the skirt smaller, and then re-doing the elastic was just too much.  Finally, I decided to just cut off the elastic and put on new.  Much easier.

Here is a look at the waistband.

I used a narrow-hem foot on my sewing machine for the hem.  The finish looks nice, but it was a super slow process getting the edge to go into the foot evenly.  I definitely need more practice with it.  The fabric is a poly charmeuse from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota.  I love a nice border print, even if it is polyester!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Teen Titans Go Starfire Costume

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hardly ever dress up for Halloween, and I have only made one other costume for myself, ever (Tinkerbell, which took about 20 minutes of cutting and sewing a knit tube).  Somehow, I got it in my head that I must be Starfire from Teen Titans Go this year.  Unless you have a kid between the ages of 6 and 12, you probably have no clue who that is, but we watch a fair amount of Teen Titans Go here, and I like her sunny, quirky personality (and also her pink hair).

Here she is, for comparison.  I made this to show as little midriff as possible while still being true to Starfire's original costume.  :-)  Haha I sound ridiculous.  

I bought the fabrics at JoAnn.  They are from the Yaya Han line.  They are both polyester pleather-type fabrics.  The purple is quite stretchy while the white is thicker and does not stretch.  The piping I used to mimic the drawn outlines is a dark silvery pleather piping from Mood.  I totally am the one who made it "sold out."  :-)

As for the patterns, they are a mix of Franken-patterning and making it up as I went along.  The skirt was the easiest.  Simplicity 2564 has no darts and a nice yoke, so I was able to color-block it and add a big circle for the buckle.

I used McCalls 7387 for my boot covers (my pattern envelope says MP281, which is odd), adding the white section at the top.  These came together quickly and stay put over shoes.  The only opening is for the heel of the shoe.  They are quite tight and are a bit of a pain to get on, but they fit well once they are on.

The top is the strapless bodice section of Vogue 8766 with the white section just kind of added on.  I used the shoulders of the other bodice views of the same pattern to get me started on the white section.

My arm thingys are basically just tubes with curved edges and stiffened by glueing plastic canvas inside.  The black lines and the big black circle on the bodice are fabric puff paint.

I am so proud of how this came together.  I kind of can't believe how much time I spent on this considering how often I will wear it (maybe 1 or 2 times more ever) but it was a fun challenge, and those Yaya Han fabrics are fun!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch using Pennie Fabrics

Here is something fun!  I tested the new Arenal pattern by Itch to Stitch, and it is a fantastic pattern.

Here is the line drawing to give you a better idea of the style lines.  The contrasting yoke pieces lend themselves to a lot of really cute details, but the best part of the pattern for me is the handkerchief hem option and the V-neckline instructions that really do ensure a great result.

 This version uses two companion fabrics that I purchased at Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota.  They are both mid-weight rayon knits with sheer stripes.  The sleeve and yoke fabrics have narrower stripes than the body fabric, making the combo a little more fun and interesting than using only one fabric.  (My local sewing friend Myra bought some of this fabric, too, and I can't wait to see what she makes with it.)  I was lucky to find a close-colored cami at Target to layer underneath these sheer stripes.

I am so happy with how this top turned out.  It's always nice when you receive compliments on your sewing not just because someone knows you sewed it, but because they just like your top.  :-)

If I make this handkerchief hem version again, I will lengthen it an inch or two to ensure crotch coverage over leggings.  It is ok with thicker jeggings here, and the cami offers more coverage, but a longer tunic version would be nice, too.

This second version is actually the first that I sewed.  After this one, I determined I needed a wide-shoulder adjustment for future iterations.  This fabric is also from Pennie Fabrics.  It is a beefy cotton sweatshirt-type fabric.  The contrast is a terry fleece that I bought a few yards of from Mood Fabrics for a little lounge-wear ensemble that has yet to be created.

At first, I used the handkerchief hem on this top, but the thicker fabric wouldn't drape down nicely, so I changed it to the standard hem.  This is a great cozy sweatshirt.

I am very happy with this pattern.  I have another that I have already made, but I will share it in a separate post since I made a couple of small changes to the design. .

* The Itch to Stitch links are affiliate links.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

McCall's 7319 Knit Dress

I can't decide how I feel about this.  I mean, I know I don't LOVE it.  I can't quite decide if I even like it.  One thing it has going for it is that it is SO comfortable.

The pattern is McCall's 7319.  My fabric is a very lightweight oatmeal-colored knit from JoAnn Fabrics.  I made a double skirt because of the sheer fabric, and that worked out well.  I left the hem and bottom edges of the wraps raw instead of hemming.  This knit fabric doesn't fray or curl at all, and it is so lightweight that the less I do with it, the better.

I do really like that the crossover detail continues on the back of the dress.  I find it really annoying, in both sewing and ready-to wear, when a detail on the front just stops at the side seams with nary a hint on the straight back.  My knit has only a little stretch, and it does make it challenging to get on and off.  Once it is on, though, it is super comfortable.  

I did a lot of tacking down at the neckline to keep everything just so, and now that I have worn it a few times, I think I need to tack at the waist as well.  The crossovers have a tendency to ride up and show the waist seam underneath.

So yeah, I don't know about this one.  I have been wearing it, but it's not one of my favorites.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Newsom Cardigan by Bristol Ivy in Berroco Corsica

If there's one thing I've learned from these particular photos, it's don't photograph a blue sweater against a blue wall.  Duh!  Anyway, I can't stomach a re-shoot at this moment, and I have such a backlog of projects to photograph that I am accepting these as "good enough."  I hope you will, too.  :-)

This is the Newsom Cardigan by Bristol Ivy.  This is such a cool design.  You start at the center back hem and increase to form the V-shape on the back that extends around the underarms and forms the front raglan sleeve shaping.  This was a pretty quick knit, too.

The yarn is Berroco Corsica, which is 90% cotton/10% cashmere.  Lovely to knit with and to wear.

This did require some pretty aggressive blocking at the back hem where the V comes to a point, but I was able to get it nice and flat.  Unfortunately, you can see the lines formed by my drying rack.  Oh well.

This is a great layering cardigan for fall, when the weather is still pretty warm here.  The raglan sleeves stay put on my shoulders, too, which isn't always the case with this shape.  I could see more of these in my future.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Manzanilla Sweater by Joji Locatelli

I tried something a little different this time.  I took these photos on my phone instead of with my regular camera, and I uploaded them to Blogger from there.  The funny thing is they look pretty good on my phone, but the colors are totally different on my computer monitor.  They look more washed out and over exposed on my computer than they do on the phone.  Let me know what you think.

Anyway, this is my Manzanilla Sweater.  The pattern is by Joji Locatelli, from her e-book The Authentic Collection.  

The yarn is Malabrigo Silky Merino in the colorway Jupiter, and that is the perfect colorway name for this.  It totally looks like all the colors from a photo of Jupiter, emphasis on that big red spot.  I chose this yarn because that is what is recommended in the pattern, but I didn't realize when I ordered it online that it is a singly-ply yarn.  A little explanation if you aren't familiar with yarn construction:

When yarn is spun in a mill from wool (and silk, in this case), it is pulled out and spun into a strand.  Often, multiple strands are then twisted together to make the final yarn.  The final yarn can be described by the number of strands.  A yarn with 4 strands twisted together is a 4-ply yarn.  Sometimes, though, and in this case, just one, thicker strand is used, and it is called a single-ply yarn,

Ok, anyway, I have decided that single-ply yarns are not really my thing.  The small amount of twist and fuzzier texture means they pill easier in the finished garment and just take on a general fuzzy appearance, and, even worse for me, they pick up animal hair like velcro!  My Seacoast sweater, coincidentally also by Joji Locatelli, and knit in a worsted-weight single-spun yarn, is the worst for this!  I always look like I rolled around on the dog.  So anyway, much as I love this finished sweater, I know I will not love all the time spent with a de-piller, and I will carefully stay away from the single-spun yarns in the future.

Yarn discussion aside, this design is fantastic!  I love the cabled detail on the shoulders and sleeves.  I sized down one size from the recommendation based on my bust for two reasons.  I like a more body-conscious fit than is shown in the pattern, and I thought the yarn was super-wash, which has a tendency to grow (It is not superwash, in fact; are you noticing a pattern?  I really didn't do my homework on this yarn!).  In the end, the body and armhole fit was perfect, but the cuffs of the sleeves were quite snug.  While blocking, I really stretched out the cuffs, and I push them up right above my elbows, and they are fine now.  The only change I made from the pattern was to eliminate the split hem.  I used a regular ribbed bottom.

Overall, I am really happy with this sweater.  The fit through the body is perfect, and it will be a great sweater for fall.  I am considering making this again.  I would definitely use a different yarn - one that is plied and solid in color, to really show off those cables!  Maybe I will do the larger size, too, and just bring it in at the waist a bit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

McCalls 7391 Lace-Up Shift Dress

Hi there.  Remember when I said I wanted to make McCalls 7391 after I finished my lace-up tee?  Well, I did it.  The fabric is a navy linen/rayon fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  The laces are a braided rope-like trim, also purchased from JoAnn, but I can't find it online.  I also stitched the trim right on top of my hem stitching, and I love the extra pop.  The eyelets are the exact same ones I used for my tee linked above.

Ok enough talking.  Here it is:

 I found the fit to be ok for me.  Of course I did not make a muslin.  :-)  I ended up adjusting the side seams a bit - taking them in at the bust and letting them out at the hips.  Taking it in at the bust made my armholes a bit smaller, and they are perfect now.  If I hadn't needed the adjustment, I may have found the armholes a bit low.

This design has a subtle shirttail hem.  Very nice.

This has a loose fit, but I don't think it is unflattering.  It skims the curves and is very comfortable on a hot day.

I machine-stitched the trim at the hem with a simple straight stitch down the middle.  I am so glad I didn't hand-stitch it on.  It looks just fine and was much faster!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lilli Pilli in Primrose Yarn Co Hand Dyed Yarns

I found Primrose Yarn Co a while ago when I was searching for a hand-dyed yarn alternative to Voolenvine, since it's pretty much impossible to get any of that yarn anymore.  I am so glad I discovered Primrose.  This stuff is gorgeous!  My three colors here are Vixen (pink), Angry Ocean (multi), and Titan (navy).  It's like they were made for each other!

The pattern is a wrap called Lilli Pilli, and it is very popular.  There are over 1100 versions of it on Ravelry.  The shape is a long parallelogram, which it turns out is really easy to wear.  The sections of garter stitch stripes and lace are really beautiful together.

This thing is huge, but it is lightweight, so it has been a great layer for those days when I know I'll be in excessive air conditioning.

The lace pattern is very pretty.  I like the bold diamond pattern.

 I tried to get a good pic of the whole thing.  This is the best I could do. :-)

This is definitely my favorite knitted wrap-y thing to date.  It is sooooo pretty and I don't feel like the crazy knitting lady like I do with some shawls.  I am wearing it with my Vogue 1440 blouse and purchased RTW pants.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

McCalls 7429 Twist Dress shortened to a Tunic

This project gave me a bit of stress, but it all turned out well!  This is McCalls 7429, from the recent Early Fall collection.  I almost got this post up before the newer McCalls Fall collection was released, so I was almost on trend.  Oh well.

My fabric for this is a rayon/cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics that is now sold out.  That is very sad because this fabric is a dream, and at $7.99 a yard, the price was right.  I have decided that rayon/cotton blends are my favorite jerseys.  Just enough heft, just enough sheen, and just enough comfort.  The first picture in this post accurately reflects the color - a bright, rich red.

I made a few changes in the end.  I lengthened the short sleeves a bit to hit right at the crease of my elbows, and I shortened the whole dress to tunic length.  Truth be told, that was my plan at the outset, but I was concerned the proportions would not look right, so I made the dress full length first.  It turned out to be uncomfortably short as drafted (I am 5'6", so taller than average, but not too much).  It was several inches above my knee before hemming.  That's when I decided the tunic was happening, and I am really happy with the result.  I think the proportions are fine, and I could use a comfortable tunic top in my wardrobe more than a red dress.

I like the twist detail on this dress.  Twist tops were everywhere 5-10 years ago, and then they were less in fashion.  I kind of hope they are making a comeback.  I think they are really flattering and elevate a basic tee shirt.  This knot being at the waist is a bit different from the usual center bust placement.  As with many twist top patterns, the instructions had me scratching my head a couple of times.  I think there is just no way around it.  Interesting patterns will be a bit more challenging.  I just followed slowly step by step, and everything turned out fine.

There is a center back seam on this pattern, which makes for a great fit, and would make a swayback adjustment simple to do.  Mine fit fine, though.  Oops, you can see the back pockets on my ponte pants through my top.  I will generally wear this over leggings or jeggings, but I was going for a slightly dressier look today for my anniversary dinner.  :-)  Here is my whole look - leopard print pumps and all.