Posted in sewing

How Do You Measure A Year?

Once upon a time I measured my sewing year in garments made. I haven’t done that the last three years because I not only slowed down my sewing, I wasn’t always motivated or able to get photos of what I sewed. But, I’ve been doing a lot of fun domestic travel that isn’t always documented here.  The lovely thing about traveling and meeting sewing friends is they become real life friends that you talk, text and chat with about all the things. So, I thought it might be fun to measure my year in sewing internet friends as told by Instagram  😀

In April, we hosted Melissa of Fehr Trade and her husband James. She bought Linus THE GREATEST tee shirt ever. Seriously. How cute is he? It’s my favorite shirt for him.

Melissa muled from the UK macaroons to me from Dibs, brought amazing chocolates, beer, cider and even store brand chocolate I asked for (because I remembered eating them visiting family in London as a kid).

While sad to see her go, we were able to pull together a little sewing meet up while she was in town.

I’m often asked about Trena, The Slapdash Sewist who hasn’t updated her blog in over a year. Well, she’s doing great. She hasn’t blogged for a while because she wants a new computer to make things easier and she got married in September 2015. She’s updating her computer at some point where she’ll be able to blog again. And, I’ve been prodding her to at least get on Instagram. If you can imagine, 2017 is our Ten Year Friendversary. Can you believe it? We met through Pattern Review and really are best friends. Crazy. We’ve been trying to decide what to do to celebrate out Friendversary. And, I think we’ve settled on a weekend in Minneapolis this summer for SR Harris fabric shopping. Oh, and she didn’t make her dress below. We found it on the first dress outing. It’s sold at BHLDN as a bridesmaid’s dress. She did make her hat though and she was stunning. My dress is one I had made in China years ago.

 

For my 40th birthday in April, we went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a week. Conveniently, a friend owns a second home there so it was an easy trip.  While getting off and on Route 66 in Albuquerque, I got to meet and have have fun drinks with with Nancy  from Sew West. I’ve known her for what feels like forever through PatternReview and blogging.

 

This year I’ve made two very dear dear  friends through sewing and this blog. First is Jeannie who authored the 365 Dresses blog. I get a little vaklempt when I type this: Jeannie is amazing. She doles our knitting, career and getting along with your remarried parent advice and doesn’t get tired of talking about any of it. I think I text or email her a minimum of six times a week. Even when she was in Paris! I just treated her like an old school Pen Pal — held captive by my demands for a response. We went to New York in early December and Maryland Sheep and Wool over the summer. And, because she’s here in Baltimore it’s so easy for us to make plans together.  Jeannie has truly been a bright spot in this year. And, it feels kind of miraculous to know her. I mean, what are the odds I’d meet an experienced machine knitter less than five miles from me that I *like*? She’s a true friend and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have her in my life.

 

At MDSW, I also got to meet knitting phenom Dana from Yards of Happiness. She’s also owner of the cutest pair of chihuahuas ever and knits for them regularly. You may remember her from her old blog, The Art of Accessories — which gave me life. As noted here many a time, I can’t accessorize to save my life. I miss that blog, Dana.

 

Later in May, Dibs came in from Londontown! She did not have macaroons with her, lol. Dibs was warm and HILARIOUS. She promised to visit every time she’s in Maryland. Lucky for me, she has family here.

 

In June, I got to meet Jasika from Try Curious. I’d been following her on Instagram and reading her blog for about a year and I was obsessed with her personality. Like, would talk about her to Jordan as though I knew her.  When she had a trip to New York planned, I took the bus up to hang out with she and Marcy for the day. It was one of the best dates I’ve had this year. I’m happy to tell you that she’s *exactly*  who she presents herself to be. She’s got a sharp wit, a beautiful spirit, nuanced reasoning and a true sense of herself. The US presidential election was really really rough on me. Who am I kidding. It’s *still* rough. But, a tiny bright spot was getting a note from Jasika the day after checking in on us.  Without having talked about the election, she knew I’d feel like the world I knew was closing in on me.  She may have also mailed cookies at Christmas that we managed to eat in less than 12 hours. We have no shame in the Rosensamuelfeld house. Seriously though, ALL THE HEART EMOJIS for Jasika.

 

Found two things I was looking for in the #garmentdistrict: @jasikaistrycurious and Ankara swim fabric

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We wrapped up the 2016 Internet Sewing Friends Tour with a trip to Kansas City. Jordan’s college roommate lives there and we went to visit he and his fiancé. Jordan is no longer surprised when I tell him I ‘know’ someone in random parts of the country. In KC, I got to   meet with Mel and Ody who I knew from Pattern Review back when I joined in 2002. They were so kind! They took me all over town! Zoolee’s Fabrics was closed when I was there. But, I ended up ordering some really great lingerie sewing notions from her online.  I was really interested in seeing how Fabric Recycles worked too.  I didnt’ get a lot of photos. But, I think if you sew it’s worth checking out. Not for the fabric. But, for the vintage and modern notions. I bought a pressing mit, Japanese made walking foot, a Jean-a-jig, and vintage Fur tags. And, it was all for a song.

 

 

If you’re wondering where is next… I’m not sure! We’ve noodled going to Boston for a long weekend this year. But, we’re really saving for a big trip to the west coast in January 2018 for Jordan’s milestone birthday. We don’t know if we’re starting in Seattle / Portland or further  south. But, the plan is to take two weeks to drive the coast and definitely hit Los Angeles and San Francisco where Jordan’s brother lives. If anyone has done this, I’m totally open to suggestions.

We *are* going to Chicago in March to see Hamilton and I’m planning on checking out  the Mainbocher exhibit at the history museum.

There’s also a big family reunion on my mother’s side of the family in Carriacou, Grenada. I think I might go this summer for a few weeks. I hear there’s internet on the island now so I may not be bored totally out of my mind!

** I obviously need to make more tops. Am I wearing that green Burda top in 75% of the photos?  And, the jeans are unblogged Jalies. The coat is Butterick 6224 and the red sweater is a 2012 Burda.

Posted in sewing

Sewy Isabelle Bra or Random Complaints About My Chronic Disorganization

I’m not the neatest person (massive understatement. i am a huge slob). A few years ago I couldn’t place my hands on my Rebecca bra pattern from German pattern maker Sewy. I decided to re-order the pattern and of course, my original turned up a few months later.

Last month, after spending a small fortune on RTW bras, I decided it was time to make my own again after a three year hiatus. I started tracing my Rebecca bra in my new size (75G vs 70G) only to discover I’m missing half the pattern. Not just half the pattern, I’m missing BOTH page twos of my pattern. I’m so annoyed with myself. But, after stewing about it all night, I just couldn’t bring myself to order a third copy. That Europe to US shipping is no joke.

Solution: take a stab at my Isabell bra from Sewy instead. I’ve had the pattern for two years and a fabulous English translation thanks to reader Marianne. I made a plea for help and she offered to translate it.

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Anywho, back to the pattern. I can’t even show this on my dressform because my dressform back is wider than mine and not as malleable.

I guesstimated my size in Isabell. When I made the Rebecca bra, I was a 70G. But, had to pinch out some volume from the lace cup and reduce the length of the band. At the time, I was a RTW 32F. Right now, I measure between a 34G and 36H. I can wear both, but neither comfortably. I figured going up one band size and one cup size would get me close. And, it turns out it was spot on with no further alterations.

Notions: size 44 wire (34F), findings from BraMakers Supply, fabric is scraps from this wrap dress. Lace is from a warehouse sale locally and like a $1 a yard.

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These straps were purchased in Amsterdam from Kantje Board. They are plush and wider at the center and narrow at the bottom. I only bought two but wish I’d bought a dozen!

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I’m severely out of bra sewing practice. So, my finishing isn’t nearly as neat as I would like. But, I do quite like this bra and wear it frequently.

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I’ve started a second one in beige. But, need to dye some findings to match to finish it up. Dye purchased. Just shear laziness in play.

I really hope the rest of my Rebecca pattern turns up :-/  It’s sized for non stretch lace and most of my haul from Kantjeboord two years is ago is non stretch.

Also, when checking around for reviews of Sewy Isabell, I stumbled on  Brina’s Sewing Room– a German language sewing blog – that talks about taking classes at Sewy and the store they have. Have a peek at her blog post and photos. I for sure thought Kantjeboord outside of Amsterdam must be the only store of this kind. But, based on their photos, it looks like Sewy near Colon offers the same stock.

Posted in Machine Knitting

Small Adventures in Machine Knitting

Jordan and I spent Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in our relationship. Let’s just say I had no idea family holidays were tied up in who you spend them with. Growing up a military family, we’ve never lived closer than four hours to extended family so we always did our own thing. We hosted a lot (people from church, soldiers who weren’t near family) and as an adult I’ve spent holidays with friends, family, alone, on vacation… kind of doing whatever I wanted to do. As a kid, we didn’t make a big deal about mother’s day and father’s day and birthdays were pretty low key. It’s not the same in Jordan’s family at all! Throw in Jewish holidays on top of traditional American holidays and Christian holidays on top of inlaws that live three hours away and I’ve learned you practically need a police hostage negotiator to get through the calendar.

Since we stayed with two of my aunts in Brooklyn, I decided to knit them scarves as a hostess / thank you gift. I’ve made these before. They are the hand knit designed  l’escargot bleu scarf from Escape Tricot out of Montreal. It takes just three colors and is one long triangle.

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Mine aren’t as wide as designed as I’m limited to my 200 machine needles. But, still lovely I think. I am always SO BAD at choosing colors in a vacuum. So, this time I plugged in the yarn colors I have from Loops & Threads in Ravelry and chose trios that I liked other people making.

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Denim Blue, Charcoal, Ivory

I’ve also used my machine this fall to knit socks. Yep! You can knit socks on a knitting machine! Learning to sock knit also took a fair bit of practice on my end to wrap my mind around circular knitting and short rowing. I used the instructions from a Singer knitting machine book on knitting socks in 3,4 or 5 ply (it’s a free download online). You can make them on a flat bed machine or one with a ribber. I knit mine using the ribber.

I knit socks that fit! And, Jordan is equally amazed and ready to go to dinner 😅.

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The first pair went to Jordan as I didn’t understand they needed a bit of negative ease. They fit him perfectly and he wears them weekly. But, I had to tell him NOT to wear them around the house. I mean, they are hand knit and precious! Treat them with love, lol.  Put on hiking socks from a big box store when your feet are cold, please.

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This green pair is ALL MINE.  I don’t know that I’m going to become a handmade sock nut. But, they are fun to make and a great way to get familiar with your machine’s ribber, circular (in the round) knitting, and short rows. I’m still working on the grafting and closing that short row hole at the heel.

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And, I think winding yarn manually with my winder is what really did in my wrist tendonitis last month with these projects. In addition to the skein winding, there’s a LOT of hand manipulation with these and pretty repetitive motion. I bring this up because I have found machine knitting to be better for my wrist than hand knitting. But, it’s not totally without some issues.  But, I tell you what. When a sock comes off your machine and you spent three years knitting a basic scarf by hand before, it feels pretty incredible!

Posted in sewing

Finally. A White Singer Featherweight.

Over the summer a neighbor posted on the community listserv that she was destashing fabric as she prepared for a move. Never one to turn down fabric, I went over for a wee looksie. Turns out she’d been a one-time reader of my blog (pre-graduate school) and collected vintage sewing machines.

And, then she showed me this:

I immediately began trying to figure out if I could talk her into selling it to me. She wasn’t particularly interested in selling. And I was a motivated buyer. I knew I was leaving my job soon and finally merging bank accounts with my husband. So, now was the time to spend money any way I wanted. Plus, it was literally in my backyard. I kind of felt like it was meant to be mine.

Now, despite being lucky enough to buy  a black singer Featherweight in 2009, I’ve *always* wanted a white one. But, they were too far away and too expensive.

Short version: it took about two months of gentle prodding, prying and begging emails before she put a price on it. And, I took it. Happily.

Meet my squad.

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It’s a 3/4 sized  Kenmore 1040 (Kenny, acquired in 2007) , my main machine a Bernina 830 (acquired 2013). My new-to-me white Singer Featherweight and my black Singer Featherweight. I just realized that each of those machines has a sewing community connection! How cool is that?

The first project I decided to make with my new machine was a  random carrying tote and sewing pad. So, very crafty of me, eh? I’m not prone to craft projects. But, I was housesitting the weekend I bought it and thought would be a fun thing to do that didn’t require my full sewing room. The pattern is available from The Singer Featherweight Shop.

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My fabric is a fun Dutch postal fabric I bought while in Amsterdam on our honeymoon three years ago. I think I thought I was going to make shower curtains from it. Then realized I wasn’t going to make a shower curtain from anything.

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To be funny, I decided to line it with orange fabric. Because, Netherlands = House of Orange. Get it? I often amuse myself with totally nerdy stuff.

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There’s one piece I didn’t finish, the folding bed cover for storage. I may or may not get around to it. For now, I have the unfinished piece just sitting there, heh.

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I am officially the cat lady of sewing machines.

Posted in Machine Knitting

Brooklyn Tweed Roslyn Raglan Tunic Dress

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It seems I’m all knitting, all the time these days, eh? That’s because it’s cooled down here in the mid Atlantic and after years of sweater lust, I can finally have wonderful knitted clothes. Plus, I spent the last two years working in a jeans and sweatshirt environment and desperately need winter clothes.

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My friend Veronik Avery   (SHAMELESS NAME DROP) designed the Brooklyn Tweed Roslyn. Roslyn is a raglan style dress / tunic with a 2×2 rib turtleneck. I’ll be upfront here. I know I don’t look my best in turtlenecks, I have my mother’s short neck and rounder face and I’m busty. Logic and fashion dictate I should wear deep Vs and wraps — and they look great on me. But, I love my neck being nice and toasty and cannot resist their siren song.

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Veronik  designed a really lovely, classically styled tunic with beautiful proportions. I was worried I wasn’t lithe enough to pull it off. But, wanted to give it a try anyway. I used the schematics from the pattern to draft this in Garment Designer. The only change I made was taking in the lower thigh area after completing the top. I always err on the side of more side seam room for my lower thighs. Yet, tend to look better when I flatten the curve there a bit. And, after one day of wear, I took in the hip / thigh area another four inches after the yarn stretched (must get better at picking the right yarn for a project).

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My right sleeve is really stretched out because I accidentally put my head through it one day instead of the neck. My head is significantly bigger than my arm.

Sweater dresses remind me so much of 80s elementary school! I was all about the geometric sweater dress and stirup leggings. I remember getting that outfit for Christmas and couldn’t wait to show up on the first day back at school from break.

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While this can be work with leggings or tights, I think I’m sticking with leggings. I’m open to opinions though on if this is a good length for me or if I should go shorter or longer in my next iteration. I’m generally terrible deciding on proportions.

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I knit a sport gauge weight yarn in Cranberry from Bartlett Yarns on my standard bed machine. I thought I was going to have to hand knit my ribbing too. But, it turns out I just needed to use a massive amount of weights to prevent the ribbing from jamming on my machine. I like the yarn fine. It’s pretty affordable for 100% wool. It was a nice hand and an almost rustic look. I did find the yarn a little thin in some parts. But, it comes coned which is a huge benefit to me!

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I’ll likely make Roslyn again with a crew or a V neck (or reduce the height of the turtleneck from 9 inches to at least six). I’ve already edited my draft to take out a bit of ease and accommodate for the stretch of wool (it’s supposed to have 4 inches of ease).

I love this tunic! I wear it a legitimate two times a week. It’s prefect for winter. Feels festive and on trend at the same time.

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I’m currently on a crafting break. After raking about 20 bags of leaves, knitting a few pairs of socks, some scarves for my aunts and not wearing my hand brace AT ALL, my  wrist tendonitis has flared back up 😧. So, I’m nursing it for a few weeks (hand brace, heat, ibuprofen) to let it heal correctly. Might be time to get caught up on my reading!