Preppy Sun Dress

Fabric: Thrifted cotton plaid

Pattern: McCall’s 7120, View D

I finally decided it was time to work my way through the Sewing StartUp Library class on Craftsy that I had purchased on sale a while ago, and this McCall’s pattern is the one that comes with the class.  When you buy the class, you have to specify which size pattern to purchase, so I looked at the measurements and picked a size L based on the bust.  Then I began watching the class and apparently, the big 4 uses a high bust measurement.

IMG_4888

Is this some big sewing secret that everyone except me knows?  I find no mention of this anywhere – not the sewing blogs I read, or the podcasts I listen to, or even the few links I clicked about measuring yourself.  It was also mentioned that indie patterns tend to use full bust measurements.   I did eventually find this in a very confusing article about measuring yourself on the McCall’s website.  However, I had already ordered a size L when I really needed the medium, which was not in the packet I ordered.

I debated attempting to grade the pattern, but in the end, I decided that I was taking this class to learn more about sewing garments, and to focus on the techniques first, then I would worry about fit.  That being said, I found the class highly valuable, even though I know my way around the sewing machine quite well.  I was very happy with the dress I ended up with (I even managed to match my plaids pretty well – one side seam is perfect, but the other is off about 1/4″).

The dress is definitely too large though.  The style and the belt keep it from being a complete throw away, but it will probably turn into an around-the-house-only dress or a pool coverup.  But, for a first dress, not too shabby.  And while taking the photos for this post, I discovered that my favorite look is where I moved the belt to create an empire waist (being short waisted, this style is more flattering).

 

 

Margot Cardigan

This cardigan.  Its story begins in October when I was shopping at Target with the Kindergartener.  She fell in love with this sweater:

TargetSweater

I had a super proud-mama moment when she touched it and promptly told me it was made from cheap yarn, then she asked me if I could make her one.  Sure, no problem!

But then the problems.  I had no less than 7 different shades of gray yarn in my stash with enough quantity to make this sweater.  Not one of them was the right shade of gray.  According to my daughter, the right shade of gray was a super-expensive cashmere from the yarn store.  I disagreed.  We finally settled on Berroco Vintage in Smoke.  Yarn aside – Berroco Vintage is one of my favorite yarns for kid sweaters.  It’s machine washable, knits up well, has a great color selection, wears decently, and is inexpensive.  I have a sweater for myself out of it, and it’s starting to look a little rough after 3 years, but for a kid sweater that lasts us a season – no problem.

I think it’s important to note that we agreed on this yarn because when I knit a swatch for stitch pattern approval, my 5 year old found many things wrong with it.  First, it did not have a same sparkle as the Target sweater (which had a metallic thread running through it) and ribbing was yicky, she wanted it all in stockinette (no cuffs – she has a weird thing about cuffs).  By this time, I was totally ready to spend the $20 on this sweater from Target and forget making it, but of course, they no longer had it anywhere.

IMG_4926

I designed this pattern for a quick and easy-ish knit.  I did a raglan sleeve construction, knit flat in one piece with patch pockets knit separately and seamed on at the end.  I solved the sparkle problem by knitting every few rows with a specialty sequin yarn wrapped around the gray.  I added a small garter stitch border to the bottom of the sweater, the sleeve cuffs, and the pocket tops to prevent rolling.  I knit a shawl collar around the edge using a wide ribbing to prevent curling.

IMG_4928

I was very happy to be done working with this super demanding client on this sweater, but I will say that she wore the thing for 5 days straight – even over her pjs one night.

Here is a pdf Margot Cardigan, or you can get it free on Ravelry.

 

 

Wrap Skirt

Fabric: Waistband/Ties – thrifted fabric; Main Skirt – Dark Blue Denim-Like Cotton Chambray from Mood fabrics

Pattern: The Versatile Wrap Skirt by Make It Perfect purchased from IndieSew.com

wrapfabric

I wanted to reconnect with garment sewing using something simple, and I had a cotton fabric very similar to the Mood fabric I eventually used in my stash.   I bought this fabric with the intention of making a wrap skirt for my daughter, but she did not like it, so I did a little searching and found a wrap skirt pattern for me.

Problem #1: while I had enough fabric yardage-wise, the shape of it was off, so I couldn’t get the back cut on the grainline the same way as the sides.  I decided to go ahead anyway and use it as a muslin or a test run since I haven’t sewn anything for myself in years.

I really took my time finishing seams and pressing the garment after every step.  A lot of times I’m in a rush to get a project finished and move on, but this time I (1) really wanted to get the practice in to improve my garments and (2) the skirt was seasonably inappropriate, so I couldn’t wear it anyway.

I made the skirt using the pattern as given (I decided not to put a contrasting band on the bottom), tried it on, and …. not so much.  I was pleasantly surprised that the grainline issue was really not as big of a problem as I thought.  You had to really get close to notice.  If it had fit, I would have kept it.  BUT…  or maybe I should say butt …. the back of the skirt was a lot shorter than the front.  And I have committed myself to really making clothes that fit because that’s a huge part of making my own wardrobe.

Luckily with a wrap skirt, there’s really only one reason that it wouldn’t fit, and that’s because it needed a full butt adjustment.  After countless YouTube videos, I felt pretty confident, and dived right in.  I modified the pattern for my butt and also added another inch to the hem and some more length to the ties while I was at it.

I wish I taken some pics of the first version before I cut it up for scraps, so I could have shown the difference – lesson learned for next time.  After I finished it, it looked pretty darn good, but I was too afraid to try it on!  It sat on my desk for at least 1 day before I worked up the courage.

Looking in the mirror was an incredible high.  Yes – there are some minor things that make this skirt not perfect.  But, for the most part, my butt adjustment worked (I am seriously so proud of myself).

wrap1

I made the bottom a little but more bell-shaped than I intended when I extended the hem and accidentally created these points where the sides attach to the back (which I fixed by ripping out the hem, pressing them out, and re-hemming).  Also – there is a slight gathering at my lower back when I tie the skirt at my natural waist.  I suspect this is caused by the placement of my full butt adjustment on the pattern.

My helper:

IMG_4822

Knitted Hat Holiday Ornaments

Since moving to the South, I have noticed that holiday decorating is taken very seriously down here.  So seriously that most everyone I know has more than one Christmas tree.  Well, last Christmas my family’s ornaments finally outgrew our one tree and we succumbed to a second tree.

I actually sent my husband out to get a small tree (I was thinking 2-3 feet), and he came back with a full size one, which we put in our sun room/kid craft room.  Once it was decorated, it looked very empty, so my daughters spent the whole season making ornaments for the tree, and then I received a few homemade ornaments that I added, and suddenly a new family tradition was born.

My daughters spent some time going through our ornaments and deciding what to make this year, and I decided to add my own too.  I had come across this free pattern from Kelbourne Woolens a while ago.  I decided on just making the hats using some left over Shibui Staccato.

Tiny Hats2

I had lots of fun with the colors and patterns, and each hat took under an hour to knit, so it was a quick project.  I still have plenty of left over yarn, so I may be making more of these to attach to gifts this year.

Tiny Hats1

Hand Knit Holiday Gifts

 

Every year for the holidays, I like to give my daughters’ teachers something hand knit as a thank you. I try and choose a new project each year so that I don’t get bored of knitting the same thing multiple times.  I’ve done fingerless gloves, wraps, and this year’s gift – scarves.

I usually buy my yarn for these projects in March on clearance at either my LYS or online and I try to choose a pattern that is relatively mindless.  Then, through the summer and fall, I bring these projects on car trips and to sports practices and doctor appointments (urgent care visits are great for knitting).

For this year’s scarf project, I started off using Purl Soho’s Diagonal Twist Scarf pattern.  It was easy once I got the hang of it.  After knitting the first scarf in this, I decided to find a new pattern for the last two.  I thought the yarn I selected was a little to stiff for this pattern and I wasn’t thrilled that the front and back were different (I’m a little OCD about this when you can easily see both sides).

Diagonal Twist Scarf

For the last two, I chose Purl Soho’s Double Seed Stitch Scarf pattern.  I LOVE seed stitch even though I find it a little painful to knit.  These scarves knit up beautifully and I was happy both with the weight and drape of the yarn using this pattern.

Seed Stitch Scarf

And since I’m on the subject of holiday gifts, I also wanted to share these fingerless gloves.  This pattern, called Vancouver Fog, from Jen Balfour is my favorite fingerless glove pattern I’ve found so far.  I love the fit and design.  Plus, the cables make them look very challenging to make (although they are easy).  When I have some leftover yarn, I will try and knit a pair up so that I have them on hand for last minute gifts.

Vancouver Fog

 

Kid Mitts – Free Pattern

 

After watching me knit about eight pairs of fingerless gloves for gifts, both my girls decided they had to have their very own pair – in pink of course.  I created this pattern for them – in toddler and youth sizes – with a simple braided cable design and a shorter wrist and thumb length.  The toddler size has a shorter ribbed top so more of the cable is visible.

Free Pattern for Kid Size Fingerless Gloves

This project was a great stash buster.  I made a pair of each size from 1 and a half balls of yarn.  I chose a superwash wool because, well, …kids.  Enough said on that.

Free Pattern for Kid Size Fingerless Gloves

They knit up very quickly – about an hour a pair.  And everyone had a blast striking poses and showing off their new winter accessory (even though it was VERY warm).

Free Pattern for Kid Size Fingerless Gloves

Here is a free download of this pattern or you can find it at my Ravelry store.

Kid Mitts