Welting and knitting

I’ve decided I’d like to do a little learning for the rest of this summer. I have enough summer clothes, so it seems like a good idea to take a diversion. Welt pockets — they seem like a great thing, but I only had two sets of instructions in my stash, both Vogue. One of them was incomprehensible. So this week I watched a youtube video and read about a half dozen sets of instructions. I’m pretty clear now on how to make them, although I see not everybody does them the same. Some people sew only the two long parallel lines next to the cutting line, but others sew the two short lines also, making a complete box. I tried both, and think the box is preferable (that may be different if the fabric is really heavy). Some people secure the welts by stitching in the ditch, but others topstitch a box around the opening. I think that too would depend on the type and weight of fabric. My Vogue patterns made no mention of interfacing, but most people seem to use it. I suspect it’s helpful except where your fabric is stiff and crisp (when you may not need it). Anyway, I practised a few times. Here’s my final attempt, on wool, with interfacing.

20170710_155640

It took me a few stitches to get to the ditch. The right side has the sewn short edge, which I prefer to the left side. I will take this newly acquired skill and try it on a simple carry bag.

 

I’ve also joined Kate at Fabrickated and a few other people, knitting an Elizabeth Zimmerman seamless yoke sweater. This is full of learning opportunities, as I’ve only knit one and a half sweaters since I took up knitting again a few years ago, and both are unwearable.

I’m using an aran weight wool that I bought a couple of years ago. It’s meant for fishermen knit sweaters. I’ve got four stitches to the inch on 5.5 mm needles, which is exactly what the label on the hank calls for. It’s a bit heavy, but I hope it will generally hug my body and look good. I’ve got about 11 inches knit up so far and am enjoying it.

20170710_133627

I did have a couple of minor problems to solve already. I split a stitch somehow, tried to fix it, knit another round and discovered when I got back to the stitch that it was a mess. The only thing to do was drop the stitch (gasp!), let the threads of the yarn that had been split find each other, and use a crochet hook to bring the dropped stitch back up. It worked! I also discovered I was using a cable that was too long. So I had to figure out how to change to a shorter length in mid-stream (I use a set of needles with separate nylon cables that are screwed onto the needles.)

I got the Zimmerman book that Kate mentioned (“Knitting without Tears”) out of the public library and am reading that too. I like the approach. And because of that, I’ve decided to try to learn to knit “continental”. I’ve tried it for a few stitches and it works — it makes a lot of sense actually. So one day I’ll swatch continental style and see if I can get comfortable with it. It’s supposed to be faster.

And finally, here’s a pic of some ducks. They were swimming in a body of water we call “False Creek” which has become a lovely place to go for a walk (in the past it was surrounded by industry). I like the colours in the water. Have a great week!

20170707_161626

Earth and Sun

or maybe spotted bananas ….

I decided to make the ultra wide-legged trousers I wanted by simply using a drawstring pant pattern that I’ve used before and adding five inches to the sides, both front and back. The final waist measurement is 56 inches. I put in inseam pockets, and made a waist band rather than simply double-folding the fabric to make a casing. I took a 56 inch wide strip of fabric, folded it in half with wrong sides together and pinned it to the outside of the pants. I inserted 1 1/2 inch wide elastic and then inserted some mountaineering cord in front of the elastic for a drawstring. I’ve done that before and like it. The elastic starts the job, and I can pull the cord as tight as I want on any given day.

IMG_1397IMG_1402

It was a bit windy out there today. I bought the fabric especially for them, on sale at Fabricland. It’s a cotton/linen blend. I also made the top from an old TNT pattern and a small piece of wool that I picked up at a thrift shop. It might be a wool gauze. It’s very nice anyway.

IMG_1399IMG_1404IMG_1406

It turns out another small linen top I made last summer also works with these pants. Yea!

IMG_1400IMG_1401

That’s it. I’m glad to have some yellow in my wardrobe. I’ve gone some yellow jersey that might go with these pants. If so, I’ll whip up a simple t-shirt.

Why did I leave that plastic bag (filled with clothes pegs) hanging off the clothesline???

Plaid?? Yes, plaid.

So here’s my most recent completed project, the over-sized V9162, a Kathryn Brenne design. I first saw this shirt on a blog post by Ruth at Core Couture. (sorry I can’t link to the exact post) It looked pretty terrific to me. I actually bought the fabric at a real fabric store, off the roll, because it struck me that a large check fabric would really suit the design. It’s taken me almost a year to get to this. When I was finally ready to, I worried I wouldn’t have enough fabric, as it calls for 3 yards. I’d purchased 2 metres, which I figure is enough for anything. As it turns out, it was. After I’d laid out the pattern pieces on the fabric, I let this sit for about 10 days so my thoughts could percolate. I’m glad I did. I’ve never pattern-matched  before (I usually use solid colours, or sometimes subtle stripes). Over the 10 days I pinned and repinned and repinned again as new realizations struck.

 

20170515_155104

Look at that white stripe up the middle? A concealed button placket took up most of the vertical white and blue stripe, which I thought was a shame, but I managed the white stripe.

20170515_155137

 

Notice anything about the pocket? The decorative sewn-on flap has the blue and grey stripes reversed. I noticed that before I sewed it, but thought it would be a fun way to show the pocket, while otherwise maintaining pattern matching. I had no idea how to match the sleeve to the body, so I didn’t try. Now I see that I could have laid the pattern piece sideways to the body piece and tried to line up the horizontal stripes. That’s for next time.

20170515_155153

Got the side seams matched up. But there wasn’t any way to match the back to the front pieces at the shoulders. I would have had to make a seam up the centre back, and I didn’t want to do that.

20170515_155628

I have to say that navy blue is not my colour. I’ve never, ever received a compliment when I’ve worn anything navy. So when I draped this shirt over my body after I had the fronts connected to the back at the shoulders, I saw a lot of navy right by my face and it didn’t look good. So I decided to make sure I got a lot of the lighter blue, grey and white at the fronts of the collar. I’m really happy with that.

20170515_155700

Weird closed-eye shot??? It’s a good shot of the shirt, so it stays.

20170515_155716

I cut out the medium, but was prepared to reduce the side seams to a small if necessary. As it turns out, it was. When I had the sleeves basted on, and pinned the sides from wrist to hip, this looked more like a cape with sleeves than a shirt. I decided to cut back the sides and arm scyes to the size small, and it’s made a large difference.

Now I’m thinking of making a second one from a very stiff white cotton fabric I just picked up at the thrift shop. But don’t hold your breath waiting for pix of that! It’ll have to wait in line. First, more trousers coming up.

Back to denim

Okay, so I’ve been greatly frustrated with the lack of interesting trouser patterns available (mind you I don’t know all the indie pattern companies so I may have missed some, but I doubt it). AND I’ve been feeling nostalgia for denim. I haven’t worn any for about four years, and my last pair of denim jeans have gotten too tight. Plus I stopped liking them several years back!

So I picked up a couple of pieces of denim at the last OSF (a fabric recycler) sale, and I decided to have another look at a Marcy Tilton pant pattern that I made a few years ago. I posted the unhappy results here, and my alterations here. You can see the results weren’t great. I’m going to avoid calling this the worst drafted pant pattern in history, because maybe someone made these and is happy with them. I’m really curious about this. If anyone reading this made the V8499, do tell! What I liked about the pattern was that it was “different” and had a cool pocket feature and knee darts.

So this time I decided to straighten these pants out (the pattern produces a sort of round pant — narrow in the waist, wide at the hip and narrow at the ankles) I wanted to make them more vertical. First I altered the waist.

20170415_195541

I eliminated the dart, drastically reshaped the hip-waist curve, and also eliminated a curve in the seam between the front and front-side pieces (there’s a seam up the centre of the legs).

After making a toile out of bedsheets, I also widened the legs, straightening out both the inseam and the outside seams from the knee down.

I was being really meticulous with these, and it was kind of a pleasure. I wasn’t sure what the result would be. Before cutting into the denim I decided to go all the way and add a front fly. The pattern calls for a half-elastic waist, which is another problem. The front has a facing, and the back a casing for the elastic. That means all the bunching up occurs at the back. I decided to have a casing all around to distribute the elastic around the entire waist. And just because you’ve got an elastic waist doesn’t mean you can’t have an opening. I like front flies. And I like to wear a belt.

20170415_192947

Those are the knee darts, seen from above. I chose to topstitch in grey, which doesn’t stand out much, but I didn’t like the usual alternatives — blue jean gold, red, navy, black, white or blue.

20170415_195153 (2)

It’s really easy to add a front fly. All you need to do is make a buttonhole tab, which then slides into the casing, along with the elastic. Sew a little seam, and it’s done. On the left side, I simply stitched on top of the fly top stitching. On the other side, the line of stitching is hidden under the tab. Wish I had done this on previous pairs of elastic waisters.

So here’s the final result.

IMG_1377IMG_1378IMG_1380IMG_1382

Erm, I love them, I think. With a long tunic top. They’re so shockingly different that I wonder what other people think. This ultra-baggy is what I see a lot of on pinterest. Seems to be a European style …

Floral waterfall, or something new

I’ve been looking a fair bit at pinterest lately. Once you indicate an interest in something by saving it, their program sends you more similar stuff. The result is I’m seeing tons and tons of clothes that I like. That’s a first in my long, long, long life 🙂 I’d been looking at a waterfall top/dress pattern from Chalk and Notch (I just had to go look up their name because I was going to write ‘notch and crotch’ and that just didn’t seem right :). I was finally convinced to buy and download the pdf after I saw three or four similar dresses on pinterest.

Those dresses were mostly in woven fabrics. I thought the Chalk and Notch pattern was for both wovens and knits, but mostly people have been making it out of knit fabrics. I wanted to make a maxi dress out of a ‘robust’ woven fabric, something that would make a statement. It’s a bit out of my comfort zone, but still within my “boho” or “art teacher chic” or (my favourite) “bedouin chic” style preference.

Anyway, I thought I’d better start with a muslin, using the shorter top pattern to check the size and the outcome with a woven fabric. After I downloaded the pattern, I saw that they state it’s specifically for knits, so whoops. Anyway, I dug out some floral home decor fabric that I had originally bought to make a window covering.20170322_142003

Sorry for the sideways view. WordPress is not perfect when it comes to presenting photos right side up.

20170322_141541

Try to ignore the undershirt peaking out at the neckline. It was too cold and, frankly, I was too lazy to go upstairs, remove new top and undershirt, and dress again.

20170322_14143620170322_141423

There were a couple of problems due to the woven fabric. First, the sleeves. The pattern did say that if anyone made the garment out of woven fabric, the sleeves might be too tight. It provided bicep measurements for each size. So I took this seriously. I measured my biceps. They were the width for the size I was using (size 12). The finished garment width, which Chalk and Notch also provides, indicated about an inch of ease. I thought that might be okay, but just in case, cut the fabric with an extra quarter inch of seam allowance  down to about elbow level. I didn’t worry about the forearm. That was my mistake. I could barely get my hand and arm through the bottom portion of the sleeve. I was able to pick apart the stitching and resew with about half the given seam allowance (the pattern allows only 3/8 inch). So ….. they’re okay, but I would definitely be better off with slightly wider sleeves for full elbow bends.

I also found that the top pulled across the tops of my shoulders, making it a little uncomfortable. Fortunately I remembered that another raglan sleeve top pattern I have that is meant for wovens, but that I’ve only ever made with knits, has shoulder darts that extend from the neck to curl around the edge of the shoulder bone. (It’s a bit of a curved dart). I decided to try that. I opened up the raglan sleeves to the size 14 marking (I had cut extra seam allowances) and made shoulder darts. The result is that the top is now happy to sit where it’s supposed to.

I also added about half an inch to the bodice bottom, and another half inch to the bottom of the ruffle just because. I made bias binding for the neckline and also for the bottoms of the sleeves because there wasn’t enough wide at the wrists to fold the fabric over.

At the end I was so excited about this that I immediately pulled out the two pieces of wool fabric that I intended to use for the calf-length dress, only to discover that my imagination had gotten away with me again. There wasn’t near enough to make the dress. Not even close.

So I started work on something else instead and have been ruminating grumpily over what I might be able to use instead. Today I pulled out these two fabrics, both of which seem too “precious” to cut into and actually use, you know? Some fabrics are like that.

The bright blue is a lovely textured wool. The other is much more beautiful than the pic shows. I tried north and south light to capture the true colour, but neither worked. This is a lovely pale blue/lavender hammered silk. I think I’m going to use it. I realized I have about four yards of it, which means I could make the dress and have almost two yards left, enough to make a top or bottom later that might get more wear.