Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vogue 9124

Right on the heels of my last less-than-perfect dress, I have this Vogue 9124 that I have had in my closet (and been wearing) for about 6 months!  The thing is, I can't decide how I feel about it.  This is the elusive dress that seems to look better in pictures than in real life.

Let me back up.  Here is the pattern envelope photo.

Hahaha yeah, not my personal style, but it was the top drawing below, View A, that pulled me in.  I mean, look at those cute little puffed sleeves, the subtle flounce at the hem, and the tailored placket.  What's not to love?  The fabric is a linen/rayon blend with a little texture, from JoAnn Fabrics.

Here it is unadorned with a belt, and I think you can pick out my problem with the dress right away, right in the middle.  The placket has so many layers, plus some light interfacing, and it does not drape with the rest of the dress.  It stands away from the body in an unattractive, beer-gut kind of way.  Now, I think that this might be in part that it is a half inch or so too long-waisted for me, like these two recent projects, but I am happy with the blouse-iness overall, just not what the placket does.

It looks a little better in this photo, but you can still see the center front sticking out.  The other thing I am not crazy about is that there is so much gathering on the skirt that the elastic is not enough to hold it in.  Maybe a wider elastic would have been better.  I wouldn't wear this without a belt, and the easy, cool (no belt) aspect is what drew me to this pattern in the first place.

 With those complaints out of the way, I have to admit that I do wear this dress fairly frequently... with a belt.  Usually, I wear the belt I have on in the first photo because it covers the elastic waist area well, but it is too thick and warm for the hot weather coming up, so I decided to play around with a couple other belts in my closet.  Here is the first photo again, for reference:

Here it is with a skinny navy belt.  Maybe you can see that it just doesn't cover the elastic waist area very well.

And this is the only side view that I got.  You can see the upper body issue, but with a belt on, I think it is ok.

This is the last belt I tried on.  It's one of my favorites, but I don't think it works with this dress.  I would be fiddling with it constantly, trying to make sure it covered the waistline.

So, two half-duds in a row.  Hopefully the next one will knock it out of the park. I am about to start testing another pattern for Itch to Stitch, and her patterns seem to fit me with very minimal changes, so crossed fingers here.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Butterick 6021

I don't know about this, guys.  I am not loving it - fabric or pattern.  :-(

This is Butterick 6021.  How cute is that pattern envelope?  I was really drawn to the light blue version.  Flowy and flouncy and just so cute for summer.  The reality on me, though, doesn't quite translate, I'm afraid.
For starters, the narrowest part of my waist is pretty high.  Post-baby-making gut, I guess.  The elasticized waist just naturally creeps up to the around the bottom of my rib cage, and I think it makes the proportions look different on me.  I can pull it down, of course, but it just climbs back up.  The second fit issue is the straps.  They are a hair too wide-set for me, which is surprising since I have pretty broad shoulders for my size.  Also, the armholes are a bit tight and uncomfortable.  Of course, all of this could be easily fixed with a second version, but I'm not sure this dress is for me.

I do still like the hem on the skirt section, and the side view is cute.  Actually, maybe this just wants to be a fun skirt.  I could hack off the bodice easily enough and have a fun elasticized spring skirt.

 The skirt is very full...
 And it was very clever of Butterick to add a "lining" to the skirt, which is just a little pencil skirt to keep you covered during those inevitable windy moments.

With the wide set shoulders, I'm surprised they covered my bra straps in the back long enough to take a pic!  The fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics.  I really like the floral print and overlooked the 100% polyester content.  Oh, Jennifer, will you never learn?  I feel not unlike I am wearing a plastic bag.  :-(  No breathe-ability, which is kind of essential for a spring/summer dress in Florida.

I tried some accessorizing options.  Here it is with my Lesley Pullover.  These two pieces are a great match, but it was a bit bulky to wear.  This is making me really consider turning this into a skirt, though.

Here it is with a belt.  Not bad, but this particular belt is way too small for me.  Time to donate.  I am also accessorizing with a lovely skein of yarn I am planning to make into a little shrug.  

Finally, another skein of yarn.  I have enough of this for a full blown cardi, but I am thinking of some type of sleeveless top to wear with this once it becomes a skirt, because I'm pretty sure that is happening.
What do you think?  Should I go with the skirt option, or does this have redeeming qualities I am missing?  :-)  I am going to wear this with a cardi today to do the music at a casual wedding, so I'll see how it feels to wear for longer than a little photoshoot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Itch to Stitch Idyllwild Top in Wool Blend Jersey

I kind of feel like blogging about this is cheating, but whatever.  This blog documents my handmade things, and I made this basic tee shirt.  :-)  This is the Idyllwild Top by Itch to Stitch.  The fabric is this wool blend knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I have made this top once before with a very different fabric and the higher neckline.  I like how different these tops are in style!
 I pre-washed my fabric, but it still shrunk up in the length a bit after washing the finished top.  I kind of wish I had done the shirttail hem I am so fond of lately, but oh well, this is a great basic that I have been wearing often.

I really like the wool blend jersey.  It's a bit see-through, so a tank is a must, but it is not scratchy at all.  It just looks like a great casual, drapey tee.  The bag shown in the first photo above is my recent Market Bag and the pants are Simplicity 1696.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Vogue 8379 in Liberty of London Jersey

I have no idea why I look so grumpy in these photos.  I love this dress!  I kind of can't believe I haven't blogged about it yet.  I finished it to wear for Easter, so it's been in my closet for a bit, and I have worn it a few times already.  The pattern is the perennial favorite Vogue 8379, and the fabric is Liberty of London rayon jersey in the Heidi Maria print, eggplant color.

I have made two other versions of this pattern (although the first, dotted one, has been retired).  I love it!  The fit is great, and the style is flattering.

The only change I made was to make the ends of the ties angled instead of straight across.The sleeves look more elbow-length than 3/4 and I can't remember if that was a lack-of-fabric issue or what.

The fabric is heavenly.  Very silky but stable enough for easy cutting and sewing.

I would love to make another Liberty jersey dress in this fun summery fabric, but it will be a bit before the fabric budget can handle another go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Market Bag from Handmade Style by Anna Graham (Noodlehead)

I got the book Handmade Style for Christmas.  I am finally getting around to making something from it!  This is the Market Bag.

I think the lifestyle sell is that you take this to your local farmer's market to gather up fresh produce, but there will be no dirty organic carrots in my pretty white bag, thank you very much.

The quilting lines kind of took forever, but don't they look pretty?  The leather handles are a really nice touch.  I got mine from Tandy and in the process found out there is a brick and mortar store less than a half hour from my home, so that's good to know for the future!

I was stressed about sewing on the handles, but it wasn't bad at all.  I tried with thick upholstery thread, but there were skipped stitches.  Regular thread and a leather needle worked best.

I got the woodland fabrics at a little quilting shop near my mom's house.  I had seen these fabrics before and really loved the colors and cute little animals.  They would make an awesome quilt for an outdoorsy kid.  I have enough left for another small project, maybe a smaller bag.  The tonal white fabric has been in my stash forever, and I am so happy to use it up.

There is one little interior pocket.

It's perfect for essentials for a day of shopping, or...

 for holding your stitch markers if you use the bag to hold the world's largest sweater project.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Knitting progress

Sewing is so fast compared to knitting.  I have a couple of sewn things that I just need to take photos of, but with knitting, by the time I finish something, I am so excited that I photograph it pretty quickly.  Last night, I had the great idea to show some progress on my current knitting projects.  The only downside is that the photo quality is what you might expect for late night WIP pics.  :-)

 Apparently I am super into knit-alongs right now, because the first two projects are just that.

This is the Snoqualmie cardigan by Michelle Wang for Brooklyn Tweed.  The yarn is un-dyed Ecological Wool by Cascade in the beige shade.  I would have loved to knit this in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, but it was hard enough to justify this (half as expensive) yarn for a warm cardigan in Florida.  The up-side is that this sweater is turning out to be beautiful.  I know this will become my throw-it-on cozy sweater when it is finished.  I am almost finished with the back, and I think the rest will fly off the needles since this is knit in pieces.  The knit-along is being run by Closet Case Files, and I have a personal goal to try her Ginger Jeans pattern (the low-rise version, of course) to wear with this sweater.  I have never sewn jeans before, so we shall see...

My second WIP was a total impulse knit.  It is a mystery knit along, meaning that I don't know what the finished product will look like.  I just know it is a worsted-weight shawl, and the pattern is released a little bit at a time for four weeks.  A gamble?  Yes.  But, I really like Tanya's Instagram and podcast and her other designs, and it's only 400 yards of worsted weight yarn that I just happened to have laying around.  Why not?  Here it is after the first of four clues.

I am also working on the Intersect Cardigan, also released by Brooklyn Tweed and designed by Norah Gaughan.  This is the yarn rescued from my recent failed sweater.  What you are looking at is the upper back.  The thing sticking up at the top is the center back collar and I just started knitting down one side of that.  This is a really fun project.  You never know what is coming next.  I have set this aside for a bit, though, because two fingering weight sweaters on the needles at once was a big discouraging.

The other fingering weight sweater of which I speak is the Lace Cardigan from The Art of Seamless Knitting book.  It seemed like I was working on the lace body section forever, but I finished that a couple of days ago and then completed the bottom ribbing and the button bands.  I about lost my mind when it took 4(!!!) attempts to get the buttonholes evenly spaced.  My math brain was not functioning properly.  The pic I took of the cardigan last night turned out all blurry, but here is a screenshot from Instagram.

Finally, this isn't new or a WIP, but I wore it yesterday and took a photo for Knitbot's #wewearknitbot party.  The pattern is Rocky Coast from Coastal Knits.  Here it is on Ravelry.  I knit it back in 2012.  It has quite a few pills and I have some issues with it sliding off my shoulders, but I do still wear it.  :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ruffled Hobo Bag (minus the ruffles) from the Sew Serendipity Bags Book

Well, these are not great pictures, but I wanted to get this out there.  This bag was a labor of love and "making it work."  The pattern is the Ruffled Hobo Bag on the cover of the Sew Serendipity Bags book.  Since my motto lately seems to be sew "Sew Everything!!" I decided to try a bag a few months ago.  Well, actually, this journey started like 6 months ago, but whatever.

I wanted to sew with scraps from my stash, and I wanted it to be something I could carry around every day, so not pink flowery cotton prints for this version.  I settled on a navy wool with  navy leather for the handles, using up some luxury scraps I couldn't bear to part with, so that was good.  I got the silver buckle and zipper pull at JoAnn's for some pizzazz, but I have no idea why I got a plastic zipper.  I should have gotten one with pretty silver teeth.  Anyway...
 Everything came together very nicely, until I got to the straps.  The pattern just wasn't designed for leather and wool. It was designed for quilting cottons.  Duh, Jennifer.  Instead of the sew-right-sides-together-and-turn method of strap-making, I just glued them wrong-sides-together and top-stitched.  No problem there.  However, no matter how I tried, I could not get my machine to sew the handles to the bag!  I have a nice machine and a leather needle, but two layers of leather plus about eight layers of wool plus heavy interfacing were a no-go, understandably so.
So this bag sat around almost-finished for months in my sewing room until I decided to get out the glue and just finish the dang thing any way possible.  I was able to sew the straps on a bit, with many skipped stitches and a very uneven seam, but at least it was pretty secure.  Then, I wrapped a scrap of leather around the handle/bag join and glued that sucker down.  Ideal?  No.  BUT, I did have a cute handmade bag that I carried around for months... until the glue finally gave out and one of the straps detached and I let it go, but not before liberating that cute zipper pull for a future bag.  

The inside is really cute, too.  It is pink polka dots and has nice pockets, but for some reason I didn't take any pictures of it.  I learned a ton  making this bag, and I do think it turned out cute.  It won't be my last.