Style lessons with knit tops

I haven’t posted anything in a while, primarily because I was knitting, but also because I was, I thought, “just” making up a few knit tops, totally easy stuff. But actually, while I was doing that, I was also experimenting and, more importantly, drawing some conclusions about what I like and what I don’t.

I started with a top I made last spring, which I tried really hard to like, but couldn’t. You can see it here. I  removed the skirt, and recut the top part from my old tried and true See and Sew B5203 pattern. Then I reattached the skirt, but along a horizontal line, after having aligned the side seams to the seams of the bodice. There was also a little flare to the skirt that I eliminated by resewing the side seam at a straight angle. Here’s the result — a top that fits me and suits me, rather than drowning me in its oversize folds. What have I learned? Go down a complete size in Vogue tops and don’t take “oversize” as written in stone.IMG_1433

I bothered with this redo because I love the colour and weave of the fabric. I still like the top best because of that. I would like it better if it had some sort of variegated hemline, which is not possible.

So I decided to make a new version of the B5203, with a “high low” hem from one side to the other. Here it is.

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Isn’t that a lovely yellow jersey? Anyway I was contemplating why I love “high low” or “variegated” hemlines so much (doesn’t matter whether the difference in length is front to back, front to sides, or side-front to side-front). And I’ve come up with an answer. Please don’t laugh, as I tell you I should be two inches taller than I am. My legs are about two inches too short for my body. Both my sister and mother have correctly proportioned legs, and they’re both about two inches taller than me. So — a variegated hem gives the appearance of extra length, because of the diagonal line that’s created. It makes me look taller. And it blurs the waist line and the crotch placement, so it disguises the leg length.

I then decided to try the free Lago pattern from Itch to Stitch. Click on the link to get it yourself.

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I like it a lot. The sides of the front pattern piece are wavey — they curve out at the bust, in at the waist, and out again at the bust. You pin and then sew that piece to the back, which has straight sides. This means the fabric skims the body, rather than squeezing it. There’s a slight razor-back, so you have to figure out bra straps, or wear a tanklet under it. I plan to make several more of these. The trousers are Vogue 9193.

And finally, I made up two versions of the Hudson top from The Sewing Workshop. IG followers will have seen that I finally put out the cash to buy two Sewing Workshop patterns, for a total of five garments. I started with what I figured would be a wearable toile in an athletic double-layer fabric. After some experimentation, I decided to cut the size XS (rather than the Medium) because that’s plenty over-size enough. Here it is, with memade fisher pants and Jon Fluevog boots. I love the neck, which is a tube cut on the diagonal for a nice drape.

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And then I went for the bright merino wool version. For this one I narrowed the sleeves at the wrists, and made the back a bit longer than the front (there are side vents separating front from back).

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Those are Vogue Marcy Tilton trousers (I can’t find the pattern envelop, sorry). And orange patent leather booties. And this leads me to two other things I’ve learned about my style preferences. First, I like to wear one colour from clavicle to ankle, and second, I like saturated colours (that might mean dark colours, or bright ones). This top to bottom orange is pretty bright, isn’t it? I spared you the matching orange down-filled sweater/jacket. I will wear this combination. I love it.

That about concludes my report on what I’ve learned over the last few months. Has anybody else learned something new about themselves recently, through sewing clothes?

 

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Welting and Knitting 2

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Need I say more?

No, but I’d like to say a little about the bag, which I made from three different upholstery samples (you know those squares or rectangles that often come in a pad of several colours). I was totally constrained by the size of my samples. The bag is a good size though — it fits an 8 x 12 book or sheaf of paper. The single welt pocket will hold wallet and phone. It’s unlined because, well, it’s upholstery fabric. I copied the handle design from a leather or pleather bag I saw in a store last week. It is a long length of fabric folded wrong sides together and serged. At the shoulder point it is folded again and sewn. I think this will help the straps stay on the shoulder. I have an identical square of fabric in blue and plan on using it to make another.

The knitting is the body of the EZ yoke sweater. I removed the needles and replaced them with screw-on caps. I’m now using the needles to knit the first sleeve, using the “magic loop” method. That’s a really bizarre way of using circular needles, but it works! (there’s good info online about this method)

Valley Girl

I saw this Cali Faye Valley top online at least a year ago and loved it. I had a top like it back in the 1970’s, except in rougher fabrics. I had a small piece of swiss dot cotton, and bought a bit of rayon to complement it. It’s got pirate sleeves!

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There are many things I like about this — the front and back yokes, the single button, the wide sleeves, and the cuffs that open at the inner sleeve seam. I never wear long sleeves with the cuffs buttoned up, so having them open at the inner seam is more logical than the usual. I sewed buttons on the cuffs, but didn’t bother making buttonholes.

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I can’t help but think, though, that this looks a lot like it should be a nighty. Is it too, um, virginal for me?? I have some heavy black silk. I wonder how this would look made up in that? Sophisticated, or more like sexier lingerie?

This was a bit finicky to make. The pattern calls for only the front yoke to be lined, but I chose to line the entire yoke because the swiss dot cotton was so thin. The instructions call for sewing the yoke and the yoke lining and then sewing them together at the neckline. Then you’re supposed to sew just the front yoke to the gathered body, then flip the yoke to sew the yoke lining along the same line. It actually did work. I tried to do the same for the back, but couldn’t sew the full back yoke lining to the body that way. Anyway, it’s tricky enough to sew a yoke to a gathered piece without having to do it twice on the same sewing line. I think if I make this again (and again choose to line the whole yoke), I’ll pin both yoke and yoke lining to the body and sew it once (as you do for a standard button up shirt). Then sew the shoulders together at the end.

I think I’m going to enjoy wearing this. It’s really light and airy.

And now, I do believe I have enough summer clothes, and might take a bit of a break to do a bit of knitting.

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.

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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.

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

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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???

Shift in Earth

Isn’t this just the plainest shift you’ve ever seen?

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I made it with fabric left over from a pair of fisherpants, to wear with the pants. The pattern is neue mode S22859. I have no idea how I came into possession of it.

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So that’s the pants and shift together. It’s a very earthy look, isn’t it? I wonder if the colour is not good so close to my face (better for bottoms than for tops?)

It is my intention to dress it up, like this:

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I’ve been seeing long dresses paired with pants, but I’m not sure how I feel about this combo. Does anyone see cultural appropriation? I’m wondering if the shift should be either bigger/looser or tighter? I made no alterations to the pattern other than to lower the bust darts about half an inch, and shorten the sleeves because I ran out of fabric. I made the necklace out of glass beads.

Unexpected culottes and MMM17

So I have to tell you my first ever me made May crashed and burned on the rocks of illness. The first couple of weeks were interesting. My goal was to not wear exactly the same clothes two days in a row (all me-made). I found that  exposed me to more ways of combining clothes while still allowing me to feel the comfort of wearing the same few clothes over the course of a week.

Once I got a bronchial infection plus laryngitis, I began slathering medicated ointment on my chest and throat night and day. That ointment stained clothing, so I just wore a couple of ratty old RTW t-shirts night and day for the duration. End of me made May.

While sick, I did manage to make a pair of trousers that turned into culottes purely as a result of an accident. I had cut the front pattern piece down the centre and spread them 2 inches apart on the fabric, intending to use those two inches for an inverted box pleat. But when I started cutting out the enlarged pattern piece, I inadvertently treated it as two pieces and separated them at the ankles for about 4 inches before I caught myself.

So, culottes it was. I used a pattern from my stash, New Look 6132. I used some quilting fabric. I don’t like to make clothes from quilting fabric, but I had bought a piece because I liked the print and didn’t realize it was quilting fabric. Anyway, I thought this would be a useable toile.

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Wow, the depth of field of my phone camera is not great is it? In focus at the level of the camera, out of focus above. Strange.

The fit on these was surprisingly good. The only adjustment I had to make was to lower the front waist by an inch, and that’s pretty standard for me. In case you’re wondering, the print is paint-splash effect.  I’ve blogged about the shirt and the tunic in previous posts.

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I quite like them, although I am kind of self-conscious about my skinny lower shins. But they’ll do for summer casual wear, eh?20170606_175459

Okay that was an attempt to include a fully-focused picture. Which failed, obvs. Will try to do better next time ….

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.