Sunday, September 4, 2016

Little knits

I've found since having children, that while sewing time is much more limited, it's still fairly easy to fit in knitting projects. I've gotten pretty good at knitting around sleeping babies on my lap, I used to sit and knit during playgroups, and frankly, most nights I'm just too tired to go work at the sewing machine, but I can absolutely muster the energy to sit on the couch and watch TV while I knit. Consequently I have gotten much more knitting projects finished in the last year or two than has been normal for me in the past. I've finished at least five sweaters of varying sizes, two pairs of socks, two hats, a few diaper soakers, and started three other adult sized sweaters since the last knitting projects I shared. I don't have good pictures of all of them, but two of my favorites (ok mostly because my kid is cute) are this little letterman style cardigan and cabled hat for my oldest.

The pattern I used was Denise or Denephew? with only a slight mod for length, as I wanted this to fit him for a couple of years. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in the tiger's eye color way, and this stuff is SUPER soft. The contrast is actually some Rowan Renew left from my husband's pullover. The S is embroidered in duplicate stitch. 

The hat is made from the Cascade 220 I had left from the rollneck pullover I made myself last year (and still have yet to photograph). This hat has since been chewed on loved by a friend's dog, and I need to make some new pompoms for it, but I still have just enough of the yarn left to at least make a new one for the top, if not the ties also. The pattern is I Heart Cables, which is available for free on Ravelry as well. It's a really quick knit, and the pattern is really stretchy, so the three sizes will easily accommodate infant through adult sized heads. This is the toddler size (and my boys have huge noggins) and it still fits him perfectly this year, too. 

I also made my husband a version of this hat (the child size from the pattern) in a light grey Cascade 220 super wash, which he nearly lost the day I finished it. He loves his also, though, and I think I'm going to make my youngest one this year so all three boys can have matching hats. I still need to dig through my stash and see if I have anything soft enough for a baby head in the right weight. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A cozy interlude: Christmas dressing gown

As you will begin to notice, there is no particular order in which I'll be posting my backlog of projects. They're all old, some are really old, some are completely seasonally inappropriate for the current weather, but there you go. Case in point:

The project I have to share today is one from WAY back in December. It's one of the few things I actually got finished in the latter half of 2015, as dealing with a 2 year old, newborn, moving, finding tenants for our old (now rental) property, and keeping managing to keep myself fed, etc took up a ridiculous amount of time. Go figure. I did finally set myself with a couple of goals towards the end of the year, however. My husband has had this wretched, threadbare, stolen from a theater department, too small, satin smoking jacket for eons, and he loved it. For three years I'd been telling him I'd make him a new one. This past year I did. That is, however, for another post. The point is, when I got to work on his new smoking jacket, I started to feel a little bit left out. Of course, I needed to make myself a warm dressing gown as well. I couldn't have him looking all fashionable in a new lounge jacket and not even own a robe myself, let along a fabulous one. So, I dug through my patterns and found one that was pretty close to perfect. 

I really didn't make any changes to it, other than lengthening it from tea to floor length, and I also changed the construction a tad, as mine is fully lined, where the pattern only calls for facings. 

The pattern is Simplicity 4056, for which I do not have the actual envelope, just the pieces; and I can't seem to find a picture of the pattern on the internet for the life of me, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It's a street length brunch coat pattern with two views. The first has a scalloped neckline, and the second (the one I used) has faced lapels and large pockets.

I used a checked rayon suiting for the outer, and it's lined in a buttery soft Kaffe Fassett cotton flannel that feels like heaven. It's also super warm, which is nice, because our living room is the furthest room from the furnace, and as the fireplace is not in working order it gets pretty chilly in there when I'm hanging out after the boys have gone to bed. The most difficult thing about it was cutting it out, as there is really not anywhere in my house that's very conducive to cutting such large pieces. I wound up doing it in the hallway. Assembly was pretty quick and easy. It's heavy, but it feels SO amazing and snuggly on, and it makes me feel really glamorous at the same time. You just can't beat comfy glamour. 

You'll have to pardon the mess, as these were taken in the midst of our Christmas mess, which gets pretty out of control when you've got small children. 

It buttons all the way down the front, has a tie tie belt, a BIG patch pockets. I'm pretty proud of how well I managed to get the plaid to match at my center front/back, too, since cutting it was such a massive pain.

I must admit, I'm really looking forward to being able to futz around the house in this all of the time again once it cools down. I'm not looking forward to inevitably getting stuck in the house because of the weather, but if you're going to be stuck, you should at least have a fab dressing gown to sit around in. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anne Adams 4811 Redux

I didn't set out to make myself an Easter dress, but that's just how this one ended up. I finished it about two days before Easter, so the first time I wore it was to Easter brunch with some my mom's extended family. This is the second version of Anne Adams 4811 that I've made. The first version I made is one of my absolute favorite dresses, so springy and colorful, not to mention super light and comfortable in our sweltering Ohio Valley summers. A second one (and maybe eventually a third) was definitely in order, and in my book it's really hard to go wrong with a floral print challis, so floral challis it is...again.

Now, about half way through construction, I started thinking about the neckline. I wasn't sure I wanted two absolutely identical dresses, and I was kind of liking how the v-neckline was looking at this point. I decided to leave off the collar on this version, just to make it a little bit different, and faced the neckline edge with self bias tape. The buttons that I used for this dress are also vintage buttons that came from the big stash I inherited. It's been fun digging through and finding matching sets of buttons, interesting buckles, and other odds and ends, although it's such a huge box it takes ages to find things, and I'm never quite sure I have all of one kind. I've been very slowly trying to sort things out into color families at least, to make my searches a little simpler. I'm no where near having them organized though. 

I made the same alterations to this that I made on the first version, shifting the bust gathers up about 1.5 inches, grading in at the waist, and taking in the bust seams ever so slightly. It fits a bit differently now, since my son has weaned, but if anything it's improved the fit in the bust, which was what I had planned for. These pictures were rushed after we got home from brunch, I was tired and the sun was in my eyes, and therefore not in the mood for my husband playing photog. You get the idea though. 

Both of these dresses are on regular rotation for me this summer, and it's been nice having something super comfortable to throw on that looks like I put in some effort. It goes a long way to making you feel a little bit more human when you're stuck in the house with small children all of the time. It goes perfectly with my ReMix Sydneys, too, which are some of my favorite shoes. Always a plus. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Well, hello again!

I can't believe it's been a year since I wrote a post! I've been sewing and knitting plenty, but just haven't had time, with two wild little boys, for more than the occasional quickie Facebook post of projects. I've been thinking about trying to post some of the backlog of projects from the past year, but just haven't quite had the push I needed. After suddenly being reminded my Debi of how absent I've been on here, I am working on getting some of these things posted. Now, you'll have to bear with the iPhone photos and the occasional toddler/baby photo bomb and mess, as taking nice pictures just takes too much time and effort these days, but maybe one of these days I'll be able to find the time again. Haha!

Now, without further ado, the first project I'd like to share with you is the completed McCall 3610 that I had cut out a little over a year ago, just before we moved into the new house.

I used a rayon challis that I got from Denver Fabrics, and the drape was perfect for this. The print obscures some of the bodice detailing, but that was alright for a first go around with this pattern (as I was bad and didn't muslin first). The dress came out nearly perfect, however. I graded up one size, and the fit is spot on. I didn't have much chance to wear it before the weather got too warm, as I was still nursing when I finished it and was never without a hungry baby, but I'm really looking forward to wearing this fall. I think it's definitely going to be a go-to dress for me. The sleeves feel SO good, too! I adore bishop sleeves anyway, but in this soft, drapey challis they just feel so light and decadent. I would really love to make this dress again, perhaps in a solid crepe, so that the detailing will really show up. I don't have many cooler weather dresses, so it would fill a wardrobe gap for me as well. 

The self fabric belt is backed in black cotton and finished with hand stitched eyelets and a vintage shell buckle. The buttons I used at the neckline and cuffs are also vintage, and came from a HUGE stash of vintage buttons and things that I was given by a friend of ours. He also gifted me with his aunt's 1947 Singer 66-16, which I've just gotten back from my mechanic and am starting to play around with some. 

I also finally have something that I can wear my Irish lace jabot with! I love it, and am pretty proud of it (as it was my first, and as of this point only attempt at crocheted lace), but I just don't have anything with an appropriate neckline for it. It really looks fabulous with this, though, and I think completes the look perfectly; especially with a little black hat. Maybe I'll finally make the lace cuffs that match the jabot, too. I hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge V. 2.0

It's almost unbelievable, but I FINALLY finished another project! We're finally moved into the new house, and while I still have some organizing and things to do, I've gotten things settled enough that I actually have some space to sew again. I'd satisfied myself initially with a few quick, immediate gratification projects (in this case some bento bags for knitting projects and keeping the kids stuff better organized in the diaper bag), but I have actually finished a garment, too! This blouse is the same pattern that I used for the Vintage Playsuit Sew-Along , New York 1292. It wasn't in my original Pattern Pledge lineup, but when it came down to it, I needed a simple project that was going to be good for the summer, sew up quickly, and be nursing friendly. This was it. I already had the fabric in my queue. I pulled it out of my mom's stash when I grabbed the linen I used for my circle skirt, as they went so well together.

So without further ado, here are some hastily taken photos, in between trying to organize/clean/unpack and picking up the boys from my parents' house, hence the wrinkled linen and the shiny face. But hey! Actual pictures of me!

It's a super easy pattern, and even with two small kids, dishes and laundry to deal with I managed to get the whole thing finished in about three evenings (less than a day's work essentially). There are only three pattern pieces, front (with attached facings), back and collar. I did have to piece the undercollar, since I didn't have enough to cut them both on the fold, but if anything it just gives the back of the collar a little more structure. The armholes and back neck are finished with bias tape. I used a contrasting fabric for the back neck finishing, since I still have some of the green left from my Robson Trench. The little bit of color helps break up the floral some, and gives it a little more polish in my opinion. 

I wanted some fairly neutral buttons, but since the background is such a weird shade of peach it was nearly impossible to find something that really matched, so I went with some plain, pale pink ones. I did add a fourth button, since these are a little smaller than the ones I used on the first blouse, and the three the pattern calls for just wasn't going to cut it this time. That's the only change I made though. 

I've got another blouse about half finished, and my next two Vintage Pattern Pledge projects cut, but haven't marked them yet. I've almost got my sewing room all set up; just a few more things missing, and then I'll get pictures taken to share with you all. It's SO nice finally having a dedicated workspace now. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Moving right along

Lots of stuff going on around here (por fin)! The new house is officially ours, and we're busy, busy, busy getting things painted, moved and organized. The first room on the painting docket is my new.....SEWING ROOM! The downstairs bedroom is going to belong to me for a while, until the boys are much older, and it's probably going to be the only way I manage to preserve my sanity for the next several years. It's been super fun planning out decor, furniture arrangement, and so forth, and I'm so excited to have space for all of my machines, my fabric stash, ironing board, and everything all in one room. No more sewing on the dining room table for me! I've yet to find a desk for in there, to double as a sewing table and a storage space for home-office related stuff, but I'll make do in the meantime. 

We've been busy painting this week so we can get things moved in, and my sewing room was up first on the list (partly because a lot of the big stuff we need to move will be going in there, and also because it's clearly the most important room in the house). The color looks a little pinkish in photos, but it's actually a really lovely, pale lilac. 

Our bedroom is next, and I'm about half finished with the first coat, but OH LORD is it difficult to paint when you're also wrangling an infant. Having to stop every 15 minutes to change diapers or nurse makes it unbelievably inefficient and it's taking like twice as long as it should. He is pretty cute, though.

Taking a break for a sling nap and some lunch, since he was getting really cranky about sitting in his little bouncy seat.
Our room is going to be a bright, minty aqua color, and the boys' room is going to be a bright blue (so that dark grey will be gone). This is taking a frustratingly long time with little R.H. in tow, but I'm really hoping that with a little extra assistance from the mister on Sunday (maybe) I'll be able to get all the painting in the new house finished by the end of the weekend. We'll see.

While we were still waiting around to be able to close and get started moving I found some more time to work on getting projects cut out, so once we're settled in I can get right back to sewing. Three of them are part of my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, and the fourth is another Hawthorn blouse/stash busting project. New York 1292 and Anne Adams 4811 are a couple of warm weather patterns I hope to get finished before the end of the summer if I can. 

McCall 3610 is a long-sleeved, late 1930s pattern I chose to help flesh out my cooler weather dress options. It's not nursing friendly, so probably won't get much wear this winter, but I think it will become a staple next year. The skirt should even be pretty cycling-friendly. I'm making the bishop-sleeved version, but without the detachable, contrast collar. 

Since I finished my first two Hawthorns I've been wanting to make more. I had this blue and yellow floral cotton in my scrap bin, left from a dress I made a few years ago and ended up giving away. There was just enough left to cut out a sleeveless version of the blouse. I've also got some upholstery weight yellow gingham in my scrap bin that I'm going to use to make a coordinating belt, and I'm thinking about trimming the blouse with blue piping (the collar at least). 

I really can't wait until we're settled in and I can sew again (even if it's just a little bit every now and then).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer florals: Finally fulfilling my fabric needs

It's been a rough several days around with the jealous toddler, and not having my normal stress relief outlet available (i.e. ALL of my sewing stuff) has been extra difficult. While knitting helps, there's really not anything like cutting into new fabric and listening to the whir of my sewing machine. I finally decided that enough was enough, so I shoved all the hefty boxes of books aside and dug out a piece of floral cotton from the bottom of another pile of boxes. While this wasn't originally in my plan for Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, I decided it was going to be a quicker and more user friendly pattern than the dress patterns I had on my docket at the get go. It's great for the sweltering Ohio Valley summer, and it's also nursing friendly, on top of being a super quick and easy project.

The fabric is a piece that came from the stash at my mom's, and I pulled it out to go with the linen I used for my grey-green circle skirt (which I will hopefully be able to fit into in the next few weeks). The piece was tiny, so I knew that it was destined to be a sleeveless blouse of some sort, and I really liked New York 1292 after I finished my first version. It was actually barely enough for this pattern even. I had to piece the under collar and there wasn't room for the sleeve facings, so I'm going to finish the armholes with bias strips instead.

I can't really get my machines back out, so I doubt any actual sewing will be accomplished anytime soon, but I think I'll try and get one of my dresses cut out (or maybe two, but I'm not going to hold my breath) in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be making myself another version of Anne Adams 4811, since it's such a ridiculously comfortable dress. This is the first version I made:

I've got another rayon challis print I'm going to use for it. I bought a bunch of challis on sale a while ago, because I just can't resist it, and while I originally bought a pink floral to make another of these, I decided that print was better suited to another pattern I've been wanting to make, so I'll be using this instead:

It will definitely require a slip, but I think it's going to be really pretty sewn up. I figure if I can get a couple of projects at least cut out, once we're finally moved and settled I'll have all the annoying cutting done and can dive straight back into sewing (between diaper changes and trips to the grocery).
Despite having to work around the child dumping my pins everywhere, and the baby crying because his brother wouldn't leave him alone, it felt really nice to have my scissors in my hand again, even if it was only for 5 minutes.

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