Posted in sewing

Cashmerette Springfield Top

*ETA: Jenny of Cashmerette reached out to me about what I thought was a mismatched yoke in the pattern draft. Nope. The pattern is fine. The mistake was mine.  Despite having measured and traced the pattern several times in two different sizes, I managed to insert the center back upside down during five different versions of the pattern 😳 That made for the mismatched seam allowance that I noted in an earlier version of this post. I’m removing this post as it’s not an accurate review of the pattern or my alterations. The flipped pattern piece likely caused my fit problems in the back and this post should reflect sewn correctly garment.

My resulting top is the bomb diggity though, so I’m leaving a photo of it up until I get around to sewing this again.

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Posted in sewing

Jalie Jeans x Three: Jalie 2908

This post is really more of a brain dump so I can remember what I did when I make these again. My tee shirt is the Cashmerette Concord Tee Shirt.

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These creamscicle / seersucker denim photos were taken last weekend when we were in Kansas City for a wedding.

Back in September 2015 I promised you an update on my Jalie jeans. Well, I never wrote an update.

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I can tell you I wore three pairs of Jalie Jeans daily for the last 18 months and it was time to start replacing them. My jeans wear out at inner thigh regularly.

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I asked Jordan to take photos of my butt while we were walking around like tourists. A man in the store to the right was just staring at us totally befuddled.

So, I made three different pairs over the last few months to hopefully get me through the next two years: The above cropped creamscicicle denim pair, the below straight-ish, and the end flared pair.

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When I make jeans, I buy a ridiculous eight to ten yards of denim. I treat the first pair as a muslin and make the other two pairs up based on how the first pair fit after a few weeks of wear. I like my jeans to stay snug.

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Alterations:

Waistband: I used the waistband from the the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans as a starting point. After several rounds, I’ve contoured the waistband specifically at center back and at the side seams. I use a firm woven interfacing in the waistband to help reduce the stretch AND I use narrow twill tape in the waist band seam. The Jalie waistband is garbage. It’s straight and cut on the bias and just doesn’t work for anyone I personally know.

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Yoke: I do the same contouring of the yoke to snug up the back seam closer to my swayback.

Crotch adjustments:

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  • I made a bit of a large inner thigh adjustment by widening the back crotch.
  • I shorted the front crotch by 1/2 inch or I get this above fold at the center front. Actually, this is AFTER a 1/2 inch adjustment. I need to take out maybe another 1/4 inch (as I’ve done for the orange pair).
  • I made a knock knee adjustment

Time to transfer my pattern to stock paper because it’s a keeper!

For the rest of the jeans I just played with leg width. Rule of thumb for flares: make them as wide as your shoes. I wear a 8.5W / 9M/ 40EU.

My topstitching thread is Tex 80 available locally for me but also from Wawak.

Below are my flared pair. These were the first pair I sewed of this set and the crotch was CRAZY long as drafted. I actually took them apart — removing 1/2 inch from the length and they are still too long in the crotch.

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This top belonged to my mom

I finally resolved the length by removing another 1/4 inch in the first pair shown at the top. But, here you can see the extra fabric the length gives.

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I sew jeans with two machines. My Singer Featherweight does main construction and my Bernina 830 Record does topstitching. I love love love the top stitching and 1/4 inch foot for my Bernina. It makes such nice precise lines. I may even set up a third machine one day if I do two tone topstitching.

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Whew. I planned on taking many photos of my construction process but had a series of camera issues. But, there are a million great resources online now for fitting jeans.

 

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I am totally comfortable with the jeans making process. I’d like to make a pair of Morgan jeans this fall. And, a few more of these Jalie for the rotation. But, I am seriously considering a pants making class this year. I miss wearing pants and haven’t been successful in making a good fitting pair in many years.

Posted in Machine Knitting

Ravello Sweater

My goal in 2017 is to knit all year round. I was a bit knitted out after all the pink hats for the Women’s March on Washington and Jordan’s letterman sweater. When I returned to my machine in March I found myself making a lot of rookie mistakes. The best way to avoid skill slide I suspect is to knit all year.

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Organic Cotton Plus reached out to me in January about possibly partnering on a blog post. The fact is I don’t partner on posts, test patterns or sew for other people because I don’t like deadlines. So, I immediately wrote back to say thank you for asking but I have enough fabric and I hate sewing under deadline. Except my email bounced back to me. So, I went on their website to get a correct email address. While poking around I saw they had yarn. And, I thought, “Oh! Do you now?”

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Needless to say, my new email to them said I’d be delighted to partner if I could use one of the naturally dyed wools from their website,  if it was possible to get enough for a sweater and if I could wait until March before posting anything  (I was in the middle of Jordan’s letterman sweater, I desperately needed to sew jeans, I promised to sew a prayer shawl for a bar mitzvah and I was wrapping up an on-site consulting gig so I knew I just didn’t have a bunch of extra time). This timeline and the yarn worked for them, so GAME ON.

I selected the worsted weight wool in Natural, Deep Black and Indigo to knit the Ravello Sweater from Isabelle Kramer.  The yarn comes in hanks with a “Sustainable Stitches” label.

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Organic Cotton Plus uses waste material from plants to dye their yarns. The leftover waste from the dyeing process is biodegradable. Compost and irrigation water is used to grow dye, medicinal plants and food crops for the Indian families in India involved in the dye group. Now, as an all-electric car driving, home composting, and soon to be urban gardener (#GrowFoodNotGrass) this warmed my liberal snowflake heart.

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I wash and wet block all the pieces of my garments before I seam them up. Sometimes it’s because the yarn comes oiled (glides through the machine easier). But, mostly I find a nice block makes seaming a million times easier as the yarn has relaxed and it’s in the right shape. The yarn has beautiful stitch definition. And, when made up on my Brother 270 (a bulky gauge machine) it really looks like a hand knit!  Also, the natural dye process is ever so slightly uneven in the way that hand-dyed yarns are. So, it didn’t look commercially made which I also really like.

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So, I was hopeful that when I did my first wet block I’d be able to get rid of some of the dye transfer I’d noticed in the garment. The Deep Black  in particular gives off a light dust when wound in to cakes and run through the machine. I also noticed there was color transfer to my hands from working with yarn. I reached out to Organic Cotton Plus about the amount of dust and dye transfer. They let me know that I received a first run of the product and have enacted better quality control to eliminate this problem.

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The second issue I had with the yarn were my blacks are two different dye lots. Now, I only noticed this after the first wash. Organic Cotton Plus does say that their vegetable dyed yarn may not be as colorfast as traditional chemical dyes and can fade ‘over time’. So, I think I have two dye batches vs the quality of the color.  But, like the dye transfer/ crocking  I see, no one else seems to notice.

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After washing, I could see that the smudgy coloring I’d noticed was still there. And, overall the natural cream was a bit dingier and I could see that the blue also bled a bit. Now, this could all be chalked up to using such extremely different colors in one garment, something I will probably be hesitant to try again. But, I would definitely NOT recommend it with a black or a non-chemical dye that has a higher chance of running.

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Would you like to talk about the elephant in the room otherwise known as my neckline? So, I wanted to try an i-cord trim for the neckline. I found two helpful videos from

Susan Guagliumi

and Diana Sullivan

and got to work. Unfortunately, the i-cord bindoff didn’t work perfectly for me. And, you know what? That’s ok. It’s my first time trying it. It’s not perfect. Heck, it’s not even acceptable. But, I did it. And, I’ll do it better next time. This is a casual sweater that I won’t be wearing to business meetings and I’m okay with how it looks.

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Now, the conclusion to this long tale. I attempted to use some dye color remover. The dinginess of the yarn really bothered me. And, as Jeanne pointed out it made it look like there were mistake where there weren’t. So, I used some dye remover, with hot water in the hand wash cycle of my machine and the entire sweater shrank to a size unwearable by me. While I’m a little sad to not have it in my wardrobe, I have a friend who I think will love it. And, the excess *did* come out. But, lesson learned. Even if the directions say start with hot water, maybe start with cold and wash it by hand. And, I did love this sweater on me so I’ll be reattempting it soon.

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

Beyonce Magic For New Years: Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan in Silk Jersey

Last year we went to dinner for New Year’s Eve at the Prime Rib. It’s a jacket required steak place where Jordan proposed. We had 9 pm dinner reservations and I was dozing at the table by 11. We left early and I was asleep on the sofa before the ball dropped. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This year we got together with friends to go to a restaurant on top of a museum with a view of the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. I needed something to wear and was about to buy a dress. Then, remembered I have a ROOM FULL OF FABRIC and sewed instead. I binged on The Crown and decided to go all out vintage with a mink hat and cashmere opera coat (and lashes. I’m now ‘Team Lashes’ for going out). Barbara pointed out on IG I needed pearls and she’s right! I don’t know why I didn’t think to put some on.

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This  silk jersey version of the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan is a bit of a dream project for me. But, sadly a semi fail. I first got this idea from Erica B’s blog like ten years ago. She showcased the Michael Kors dress the pattern is modeled after. And, in 2015 I found the right color jersey at Mood in New York.

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I made a few design changes to the original pattern (I’ve made it about eight times over the years). For the neckline, I did modify it a bit to be a U shape similar to the Michael Kor’s inspo dress. But, it’s too wide and D shape still (I keep altering it a little bit each time)  :-/ I also did an exposed neckline facing based on these directions from Gigi’s old blog, but it’s not done neatly and kind of wonky. Instead of the button cuffs as drafted, I made a simple in-the-round cuff to model the inspiration dress.

I also wish the facing was maybe 1.5 inches vs 1 inch wide. It was a really easy technique that I’d done before on a silk jersey blouse. I think I gave that top to Liz because I no longer have it :-/ I was a little too busty for it.

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I also meant to make a slip to wear with the dress. But, did some hand finishing on knitting and destroyed my wrist (a recurring theme) and couldn’t cut out a slip when it was time.

The seams are left raw inside and I used my blind hemmer to make the hem. And, i should mention… when I was deciding on the neckline dip, I held the patten up to me to make sure it was as low as possible without showing cleavage. So, yay me!

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You’ll see that it’s also tied at the back. I should have doubled the length of the waist ties so it  could wrap around and come to the front with some ‘hang’. I made note of this before and I might actually resew the straps.

So, overall it’s a totally fine dress. It’s a little bit of an expensive venture for me not to be 100% in love with it. But, I do like it a lot. And, can see myself trying again (I’ve already altered the neckline). And, I still had something fun to wear for New Year’s Eve!


 

My Bernina 830 was in the shop for a few weeks. I took it in because I could hear the belts slipping and it wouldn’t sew very sporadically. They tuned it up and replaced the foot pedal. I’ve always sewed on it on full speed. It never occurred to me it should sew slower if I didn’t push the pedal as hard. I’ve never really believed in machine servicing, only if it’s say ‘broken’. Otherwise, I figure you can oil and maintain yourself. But, I have to admit it’s sewing much better.