Posted in sewing

Red Wool Trench Skirt: Burdastyle 8-2009-107

If you know my preferred clothing style even a little bit, you know that throwing some trench / military details is the way to my heart.

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So, when this sweet trench skirt came out in 2009 I immediately knew I was going to make it someday. I cut this out back in late summer 2015 from a  beautiful gifted red wool left over from my Parisenne dress. It has a teeny bit of stretch and a nice flowy hand.

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I am admittedly out of Burdastyle practice because the directions left me confounded. Oh how I hate when people complain about Burda directions. Yet here I was not making hide nor tail of the instructions in front of me. Luckily, YouSewGirl had photo details of her pockets and Handmade By Carolyn provided an interior shot of her skirt so I was able to muddle though.

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It feels like I haven’t sewn a woven in AGES. It felt really good to work with a nice fabric and get those incredible sharp seams from a good pressing.

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Sizing: I sewed a 42 grading out to a 46 at the lower thigh.

Pattern Changes:

I extended the front facing and waistline facing by 2.5 inches based on reviews.

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I made my pockets way, way too big. I read a complaint on PR that the pockets were too small. So, I drew a new pocket based on my hand size. Well, that same pocket is now sewn into the front of the skirt due to the top stitching and extended facing. So, I have NO pocket.

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Sewing randomness:

I utilized my blind hemmer rather than a visible hem with top stitching

I did use top stitching thread when topstitching called for — setting up my Singer Featherweight for main sewing and my Bernina 830 for topstitching because my edge stitching foot is the bomb. But, I’ll be the first to admit that this tone on tone red top stitching isn’t really popping.

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I paired this skirt with a turtleneck I sewed up in 2013. Thank goodness for knits, eh?  Buttonholes sewn with my Singer buttonholer. I have got to stop hoarding these. I made a step towards letting go by giving one to a friend last year. Baby steps. Buttons were sewn on using my buttonhole foot from Bernina. Built in shank, baby!

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The pattern calls for sewing a belt and belt loops. I ended up leaving them off which takes away some of the trenchiness of said trench skirt. When I make this again in a nice khaki I’ll definitely add it back in.

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Thanks to Liz for taking photos (she’s wearing an old RTW silk dress of mine I gave her). This mural is “Welcome to Baltimore” and shows different neighborhoods and attractions in the City. We illegally parked and whipped these out in 10 mins.

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And since we were so rushed we totally forgot to take photos of the back 😂.

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Posted in sewing

Lingerie / Athletic Manufacturer Warehouse Sale This Weekend

ETA: as of Feb 9 the sale is postponed. New date TBA. But, probably on a a Friday based on the cancellation email.

 

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Remember the local manufacturer warehouse sale where I’ve bought laces, elastics, athletic and outdoor fabrics for $1 to $2 a yard? Well, it’s baaaacccck. Slated for Saturday, February 11 starting at 8 am. I will be there when the doors open with a coffee in hand. I’m helping a friend sew a tallit (prayer shawl) for her son’s bar mitzvah that day.

I finished this Isabell bra from Sewy last night from Fashion Unlimited laces. It looks phenomenal on.  I have no recollection where the main fabric is from. I took 1/2 inch out from the band and it fits perfectly! I have a second one coming up in a stiffer powernet. So, I’m adding back in that 1/2 inch and hoping the cups will cover :-D.

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From the 2013 sale I made up the red jacket in 2013 above. I first found them back in 2011 in a quest for someone else to make nice buttonholes on my clothes.


 

The Maryland Historical Society (headquartered in Baltimore, natch) has several textile related lectures this year. I hope to make it to a few. And, their annual gala ($$$) will feature the fashion collection of the Historical Society. We might go to the afterparty for younger (less affluent) people.   Two years ago they exhibited jewelry from Wallis Simpson.

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So, that’s some local fiberly things I know about.

Oh, Jeannie and I have talked about starting a machine knitting group. If you might be interested let me know. We think there has to be more than two of us locally.

 

ETA: as of Feb 9 the sale is postponed. New date TBA. But, probably on a a Friday based on the cancellation email

Posted in Machine Knitting

Vintage Varsity Letterman Sweater

I love the Tweed Rides and Seersucker Socials that take place in Washington DC. Participants dress in vintage inspired clothing and ride bicycles around Washington. It’s the ultimate hipster American thing and despite not having gone for a few years, I kind of love everything about it. When I first met Jordan I asked if he’d ever go with me and he gave a flat ‘no’. But, when I showed him a now discontinued Abercrombie University of Michigan varsity style sweater, he said if he had that, he’d go.

Well, grab your craft beer and vanity monocle, Jordan. Because we’re going on a hipster bike ride.
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I decided to knit this sweater for Jordan’s birthday. The cardigan is drafted to his measurements using Garment Designer (which drafts for both sewing and knitting). I have found GD to have more ease than I prefer so I used the minimum ease option and tapered sleeves in the design.  I think the fit through the torso is okay. And, I’m very happy with the length of the bodice. Where I failed, is that I’ve never made a sloper for Jordan from the program like I did for myself. I just assumed since mine fit so well off the bat his would be the same.

I can’t say that’s true. I found the sleeves on this to be about two inches too wide and three inches too long.** ETA: It looks like I added length to the ‘long’ sleeve. When I can pin him down, I’ll remeasure his bicep.

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The back neck also gaped pretty badly. So much so I that I machine sewed in two darts. This is a guess as I’ve never done this before: But, I think the neckbands are usually done in ribbing which has a lot of stretch and would pull the neckline in to the body. The plain stockinette bands should probably have been shortrowed  around the back to add curvature. And / or I should have wet blocked some shaping in to them prior to applying them to the cardigan.  If I were to make a stockinette neckband the same way, I would short row around the neck to snug up the fit. But, if you have other ideas, I’m all ears!

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Speaking of the neckband, I didn’t knit in buttonholes. I didn’t know what buttons I was going to use and wasn’t sure about placement since I was just knitting a doublewide band to length. So, I decided to machine sew the buttonholes after I bought buttons locally.

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I think the shoulders hit about the the right place too. Maybe move them in 1/4 inch. The back waist is a little large, but nothing some short rows (darts) couldn’t fix in the future. I also made a machine knit hem. Which I’ve actually never done before! But, when I looked up vintage style sweaters online, I saw they used hems rather than ribbing for the bottom.

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Now, the yarn… oy. The yarn. I first bought the Cascade 220 Superwash. I read reviews for it online after purchasing and the reviews weren’t great. I thought I can make this work! I couldn’t. The yarn haloed (got fuzzy) and had a weird feel. I had to frog the first piece of sweater I knit and the yarn got super ratty and wouldn’t easily unravel. I decided life was too short and I could make hats from the leftover blue. So, I ditched that yarn  for a lambswool from Colourmart and kept the daffodil color from Cascade fro the Michigan Maize.

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I ordered the Michigan M  and the ’13 (the year he graduated law school) from Sunshine Chenille on Etsy.  The M is perfect, I love the quality of the patches. But, unfortunately, the colors kind of clash. The M is more of a gold and the yellow I used is a pale butter color. But, I’ve decided to live with it and the other flaws.

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This was also the first time I knit pockets. It felt like magic! And, like sewing welt pockets. I knit these in 1×1 rib. I don’t LOVE them. But, I like that I was able to make them.

Overall Jordan likes his sweater! And, he’s asked for more cardigans. Because, he’s really an old man inside a 29 year old frame 😀

I think this is the fifth garment I’ve machine knit? I tried several new-to-me techniques (pockets, hems, cardigan, sewing buttonholes on a sweater knit). I also learned a bit more about fit and how to best use my design software. So, it’s a win for me despite some issues.  And, hopefully I’ll continue to improve!

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We took photos at the City Dock in Annapolis today where we met his parents for brunch. This naval officer coat was his Hanukkah gift in 2015. It’s heavy wool, resists rain and American made (and is apparently missing a button). I love it on him.

Posted in Life, Machine Knitting

Craftivism and a Tendonitis Update

It’s not often (read: under duress  and rare circumstances) I make things for other people. I am more than happy to give away clothes I’ve sewn that don’t work for me. But, straight making things from scratch for others — pretty much only happens for Linus and Jordan (and in that order).

That should help you understand my absolute commitment to and love for my friends when I tell you I (with Jeannie’s help) knit 28 Pussy Hats for them to wear to the Women’s March on Washington last weekend.

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I never questioned whether or not I was going to attend the DC March. It was a natural reflection and intersection of my beliefs and politics. When I first read about the Pussy Hat project and saw it was easily adaptable to the knitting machine, I was hit with one thought, “I will knit these for my friends“.

So, I just posted a quick note on Facebook offering to knit hats at cost thinking I’d get a couple of replies. I was gobsmacked by the response. I heard from middle school friends I knew in Germany, high school friends living in Denmark,Spain and San Diego, college friends from LA and Spain, coworkers, most of my amazing and irreplaceable bookclub, Jordan’s bosses, Jordan’s former bosses and more.

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Now, God bless Jeannie. A few weeks after I offered to knit these hats my tendonitis started flaring up.  And, just when Jordan reminded me that I’d essentially entered into a contract with a lot of people (LOL)  Jeannie sent me a note and told me — not asked. But, told me, “I’m knitting hats for you”.  The sense of relief!

Let me tell you this. Walking down to the DC March and seeing scores of pink hats was an overwhelming feeling. I’m a very practical person and have previously thought the idea of craftivism a bit of an eye roll. But, it was visually impactful to see a united sea of pink. This Esquire article does a great job of discussing the historical intersection between fashion and politics.

During the day, as friends started posting photos on social media during and after the March I got all the feels. I was so happy to see the people in my life who support the same causes as I do and irrevocably touched to see them wearing hats made for them.

I wore mine out the night after the March to dinner. The owner of the restaurant shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you’.  A group at the bar nodded, smiled and told me they liked my hat as Jordan and I walked through the restaurant. It was a very long and emotional day and these small acts nearly had me in tears. It also helped me understand the impact of uniformity in a time of disruption.

I wore it in the weeks leading up to the march and I noticed as we got closer women started to smile at me, now after the march strangers are talking to me. Its a powerful thing to see people on the street and know you’re connected.

I read an article that noted that the there are three symbols of the march that are important because they took time, thought and planning, signs, the hats and clear bags. Nearly every woman (and many men)had all three of these things and it brought all 500,000 people together regardless of their skin color, background or religious choice.

— Renee’s friend Liz


Now, for my tendonitis. Thank you so much for your responses and suggestions on my last post about this. I saw a hand specialist at the hospital last Tuesday. It’s still tendonitis. I’d been afraid I might have carpal tunnel too. The doctor administered a cortisone shot to my wrist and my hand hurt like hell for two days (totally normal). Now, the wrist and thumb pain I was experiencing  has gone away.  I can type  with capital letters again! I can use scissors again!  It’s a week later and despite these improvements, my grip is super weak still. I can’t really hold a needle, cut with a knife, hold on to something for an extended period of time or type on my cell phone without problems. But, I feel like I’m on the mend overall. I’m giving it another week to see if my grip improves. I do miss lifting weights :-/ I mean, not really. I hate exercise but like the results.  Heh.


Whew. This post is so long! To wrap up, I’m currently knitting Jordan’s birthday present. It’s a varsity style letterman’s sweater. I have a whole Pinterest board with inspiration if you’re interested. Hopefully that’s what my next post is about 😀

Posted in sewing

Letting Go: Burdastyle Magazine

I received postcard notification a few weeks ago that my Burdastyle subscription was up for renewal. And, I shrugged. Like, straight raised my shoulders up to my ears and shrugged.  Which told me it was time to let my Burdastyle subscription lapse. Grab a small cuppa and I’ll tell you why.

When I first started buying  BWOF (as I still like to refer to it)  ten years ago I was drawn in by the plethora and diversity of patterns delivered every month to my door.  I had a ready archive any time I wanted to sew. The patterns fit my then C cup well (ok, I was probably bigger than a C cup but the rest of me was skinny and I could cram myself into a 38 with no problem). They were easy to modify if need be and not that hard to trace. The patterns were unique and interesting and looks I did not see reflected in the pattern cabinets at my local Joanns.

Back then, you got 30 patterns in the ‘straight’ sizes alone in addition to kids and plus. Now, you get maybe 15 patterns in straight sizes with the addition of plus and kids. There were multiple items in each issue I wanted to sew IMMEDIATELY. Now, I see one or two things that I think I’ll get to at some point.

I once loved nothing more than coming home to a new BWOF, pouring a glass of wine and thumbing through the latest issue. But, I don’t do that anymore. BWOF disappoints me more often than not. I DESPISE the condensed pattern pages but understand why they needed to do so. I understand simplifying the patterns because people want quicker and easier. But, I don’t like that one pattern is repeated two or three times. I don’t like the shapeless look that is better suited for straighter figures or smaller busts which look terrible on me, Captain of Team Busty Hourglass.

The truth is, I also don’t sew as much I used to. And, not because I knit more now. But, because I sewed waaay more when I was single. I also spent two years working in a very casual work environment where jeans and tees were the norm. Now in the last six months I don’t go into an office every day (more like two to three times a week) so I just don’t need as many clothes as I used to.

Finally, I *have * that archive of patterns. I have ten years of BWOF,  25 years of Big Four and a few years of some indie designers I haven’t even gotten to yet. So, the last thing I need are more patterns that don’t make me happy  when there are ten year old items I still think about sewing.

I’d be happy to give BWOF my $90 each year to support the industry. But, I barely look through it anymore and it feels wasteful at this point.  And, if I ever really want to sew something they have, I can download it from Burdastyle or beg someone to borrow a copy.

I’ll still buy their vintage editions because they are the bomb diggity.

So, I’m letting go and trying a trial separation. Have any of you decided to break up with Burdastyle?