Tag Archives: patterns

s-l-o-w knitting & sewing in summer heat!

knitting
Have become fascinated with this autumn yarn as it slowly evolves into different colours.

sewing
The shorts-that-aren’t (short, that is) are cut out and might even have a seam or two sewn by the time you read this. Took a gamble with the top of the pocket bags and made them from  blue cotton, left from last year’s shorts. Necessity was the mother of this, as there wasn’t quite enough of the red fabric. Using perennial fav B5432, with length added to use up the fabric.

Somewhere between photo program and WordPress I’ve photos of another cotton fabric cut out for a new toaster cover. (So mundane, but oh so looking forward to!)  Whilst making up the bed just now realised the remainder of that fabric might make a nice little table cover… Never know when inspiration may strike!

nigella’s on our telly
We’re seeing Nigella Lawson’s latest series, At My Table, over here on our PBS stations. In last  week’s episode (No. 4) she admitted – and showed herself using – her “sewing shears” to cut chives. Well! You should have seen the scissors – maybe 6 inches – and definitely not for fabric.  A small needlepoint’s tangle of threads would be more like it.

Clearly, the lady needs a good session with Sewing Bee peeps. I can see it now, can’t you? Nigella Brings Biscuits to Bee!

latest British library crime classics
Just finished reading Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon, which was very pleasant indeed. As Martin Edwards wrote in the Introduction, “For all the chill of the Christmas-time snow… there are repeated clues to Farjeon’s amiable personality in the good humour that shines through from start to finish.”

“Welcome back to the loving family,” she exclaimed. “I haven’t quite (Farjeon’s emphasis) given up my idea of a happy Christmas, David, but Peace and Goodwill have got to get a move on!”

Christmas or no, wouldn’t more Peace and Goodwill be lovely right about now?

Am awaiting Hay’s last and some say best book, not quite in the mail it seems… Don’cha hate it when you see a notice saying “we’ve shipped your books,” and when you click to see the anticipated delivery date the books are still at the bookseller’s?!

Thanks to Sandra at Wild Daffodil for recommending this week’s 15-Minute Drama, “Ground Control.” Several surprises at the end, what?!  (This is only available for a month, so listen now if you’re interested.)

other media
Friday’s Woman’s Hour (just before the Drama) included Aussie author Kathy Lette saying things like “women are each other’s human Wonder Bras—uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better.”  Must say I hadn’t made that connection . . . . .

Friday night was also the “current” (as in what’s finally made it across the Atlantic) episode of The Great British Bake Off.

After Mary & Paul, there was a new program, The Food Flirts. Ever heard of The Brass Sisters? I hadn’t.

“Meet the Brass Sisters a.k.a. THE FOOD FLIRTS! Two passionate food explorers of a certain age on a mission to tackle their culinary bucket list…one bite at a time!”

“… We believe that a cookie is like a secret kiss between the giver and the recipient, and that chocolate is a necessary indulgence.”

With a good chocoholic attitude, what’s not to like?

 

yesterday’s squidgy package, or thought processes for summer clothes

Oh happy day!

A squidgy fabric package arrived yesterday from out West and made my week.

In the spirit of ‘when copping a plea, go for the gold,’ I’m blaming it on Mrs. Maile (a.k.a., Tanya Hughes).

Being much taken with the fabric she’d used in her post (previous link), I’d meandered across her conveniently provided link to her fabric source – The Confident Stitch.

As one does, I wondered what else they had, and wandered around a bit, eventually looking at all their barkcloth (or bark cloth). I was surprised to be more drawn to a different fabric, which made me pause, wondering why.

click to go to The Confident Stitch

Being thorough, I’d also noticed their stock of independent pattern makers, including the Closet Case’s Charlie Caftan that Tanya used for her barkcloth dress. Then I remembered seeing it several times last year on Karen Ball’s Did You Make That?

Fast forward a bit:  Having finally acknowledged the sad state of my summer frocks ~ 3 made at least 3 years ago ~ and also having resolved to remedy the situation, I’d contemplated enlarging my pattern stash. On that note, I spent some time reviewing both ladies’ posts on the Charlie Caftan (Karen made several).

Everything looked okay from my perspective, so I ordered the paper pattern, plus a couple of swatches, including that other barkcloth.

Oh yes, somehow a piece of cotton lawn got into that first squidgy package.  Which will be discussed at a later date because I decided it was a bit too sheer for a Charlie and I’d ordered the wrong yardage anyway.

#   #   #

Meanwhile time passed and because hot weather is arriving down here I was looking forlornly at my summer tops and sighing. Actually, doing a great deal of sighing, and wondering how to remedy. I had that lovely cotton lawn, which just needed matching thread… and a pattern…

Just to relax last Sunday (really!) I went browsing on The Confident Stitch site. Up popped a pattern sale: 25% off through 28 April (Saturday).

Divine Intervention!

Which is how the cotton lawn’s matching thread and Grainline’s Hadley arrived in yesterday’s squidgy package, along with that barkcloth, which very possibly will become a Charlie.

Do tell if I’m the only one making such convoluted decisions.

culottes and maybe a Grainline Farrow dress… and 2 sweet labels sneaked in!

P.S./ Almost forgot. A couple more swatches also arrived yesterday, which look like great next additions to the summer wardrobe. Final decisions in a bit…  you know how that goes.😉

phew!

Aside from the grand news about the Sewing Bee, it’s been fairly quiet round here, aside from furious crocheting during the news.

(We’re forgetting that little 3-day kitchen drain issue that “allowed” maintenance to buy a new tool. Some people are always glad to need a new tool.)

We had a recent spell of 80’s which didn’t exactly energize me. (Not the February spell, a March-April one.) Too uncomfortable to walk over and shop library shelves, I started re-reading from my meagre supply: the first Hodge book, Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence, M.C. Beaton’s excellent The Skeleton in the Closet, and Miss Read’s Village Diary.

Have also read Tanya Maile’s excellent 2-part tutorial on pattern grading. The first part is for grading up multi-sized patterns. The second is for mostly vintage one-size-only patterns.

anyone remember these?!

I’ve a certain 70’s Very Easy Vogue pattern crawling slowly up the To Do list, now I know Tanya’s second tutorial is the one to use. All-in-all, it doesn’t look too bad a thing to do, I write glibly, never having enlarged a pattern before.

(Further hints, suggestions, cautions, or dark European chocolate gratefully accepted.)

It would have taken a crystal ball to predict what’s happened with that bamboo tee shirt. Would you believe after half a season’s wear it’s pilling inside and out? (Edited to add: The pattern is called bamboo, but there doesn’t appear to be any in the fibre, unless it’s in the 30% rayon that’s been made from bamboo. See Comments for details.)

Seems any friction at all — draping a sweater on top or leaning against a sink — is enough to bring up piles of fluff.

I tried brushing them. Big mistake. That moved even more of the black piles onto the white and vice versa. Unless any of you  Lovely Readers has a magical solution, this is binned bamboo, along with remaining scraps.

Meanwhile somewhere I’ve got a black gauze duster started last summer. It just needs a sleeve,  front facings and a quick hem. . .

decided to play some more with this sleeve & added a cuff, but will remove as me thinks it’s a mite tooo long . . . . .

Hope everyone’s Last April Week is a lovely one.

Happy Sewing ! ! !

curing the monday blahs

click pic to go to photo on The Rain Shed site. the web site has the true colour – this is a bit dark.

It has been a nasty, gray, rainy Monday so I’ve holed up with my newest find: BBC’s A Stitch in Time and the presenter Amber Butchart.

U.K. Lovelies can view on their iplayer, but ‘usins’ everywhere else must resort to an alternate (youtube).

Having watched the second episode last night (they’re about 28 minutes each) I decided to start at the beginning and not get distracted…

But alas, lunch did it. Plus a growing list of Things To Do that will include a spot of long distance natter and tea with one of my Yorkshire friends. (The Atlantic is a bit of a drawback, but Edison and the internet make it easy.)

So what’s been laying on my sewing/cutting tables seems like forever, whilst my sewing mojo is MIA?

Up top it’s a crazy print from The Rain Shed bought last January & designated for exercise togs. Don’t laugh! My idea is more yogic so the trews will be very loose, and I’m using the renfrew pattern for the top. Again. (I’ll get it right eventually.)

Just to liven things up I got this tissue rayon knit cut last week, using the free Hemlock pattern

from Grainline.

wonderful soft tissue jersey with very subtle colours of navy & dark green

Granted, I’ve had this pattern ‘aging’ and I understand they withdrew then reissued it. This is probably the original. Heigh ho, we’ll give it a go.

Meanwhile, am enjoying these from last week’s mini-Galentine’s Day celebration and hope they brighten your Monday as well!.

Mwah-mwah!

faffing about with a farrow #1

So far this is about all that’s gotten done, buuut . . .

grainline’s farrow (click to go to their pattern listing)

I found where I’d noted my changes on my last renfrew, so will be ready to crack on with this once I’ve compared the two patterns and made my changes.

Jen, at Let the Sewing Begin, and I are sewing our versions “together.” That’s in quotes because she’s about 4 states north.

Last time we talked I was reading from Jen’s (the Farrow’s designer) initial post in her sew-along, which didn’t make too much sense to us at first.

from my personal copy

Then Jen (not the Grainline one) mentioned a little thing called ease and we promptly decided we’d better check that out. Left is the measurement chart for the Farrow.

Jen had also just gone to a local-to-her sewing guru and had all her measurements taken; we wanted to incorporate those as well. More on measurements in general in another post.

For those of you who haven’t seen this pattern, it has a lot of ease. I dutifully took the pattern out of the envelope yesterday and realised a couple of things whilst mulling everything over:

from my copy of the directions, with personal notations
  1. There’ a Length at Center Front measurement but not one for Center Back. The back is longer. (Will try measuring the pattern pieces for this.)
  2. There’s no natural waist line marked on the pattern, so I can’t tell if this is going to be really long on my short torso. I don’t want pockets at my knees, or some other more inconvenient place.
  3. The ease isn’t given for the hips.

So a day was spent looking at IG and blog photos trying to see where hems (front & back) and those pockets were on everyone.

Unfortunately that didn’t help as no one I looked at mentioned lengthening or shortening either hem or torso, and I had no idea how tall they were. (They all looked lovely though.)

Dear & Most Wonderful Sewing Community of Bloggers ~  Any suggestions along these lines?

(Sorry ~ LOL!)

😄    😉    😄

changing times

colour from 2015

The Time Change came over this side the pond last weekend, ushering in a week of rain, fog, and general gloom. Nights didn’t draw in, they slammed shut.

However, this weekend promises to be sunny, if distinctly cooler, which will hopefully encourage more Autumn colour. Now if they can just manage to keep 80’s outta the forecast. . .

After goofing off for a week, I’ve been trying Karen Ball’s suggestions (Did You Make That?), with further encouragement from Jen’s post (Let the Sewing Begin).

All of which means my two started & abandoned tops (UnFinished Objects, a.k.a. UFOs) from last winter might get finished.

click to go to pattern

The Renfrew is short sleeved, so might not get worn much. On the other hand, if this winter is anything like last winter, it will.

Am curious how the McCall’s 6992 in dark green will turn out. I used light weight knit, but Suggested Fabrics list sweatshirt fleece and double knit.

What was I thinking???

Toile. That’s what it was.

Just don’t tell the fabric police. 😉

click to go to pattern

octobre ennui

why have i left these in plain view all summer???

After four whole days of lower humidity 70’s (mid-20’s C), cool nights when I can actually sleep, and just as I’m beginning to think about sewing again… slap-bang and its back into heat & humidity again.

M-E-E-E-E-E-H-H-H ! ! !

Am not at all keen on sewing (or anything else) when it’s miserable, and this summer’s been no exception.

Except I also moved at the end of June, and that added another dimension.

However, I did manage to keep the beedies blog reading and salivating over fabric & patterns. Guess some part of my brain kept thinking, Cooler weather! Cooler weather!

None of which explains why I left those two fabric swatches (above) out on my desk. For weeks they just lay around. Occasionally I’d fondle them and wonder what on earth I’d ever pair with them.

The blues I liked immediately. The other sorta left me wishing for a lot more of the yellow-orange and a lot less of that background, occasionally castigating myself thinking no one else ever does this.

Then I woke up last week, looked at them, pulled out 3 fabrics maturing in stash, knew exactly what to do with everything, ordered the two batik cottons that day, just getting the last of the blue, and really hoping they’d arrive soon.

Maybe there was some angst-ridden subconscious struggle going on, as I’d decided months & months ago to sew only with stashed fabric. Or maybe it took a cool night’s solid sleep for me to see what had been staring at me. Whatever.

Meanwhile, Happy October to all you Lovelies!

monday snaps

A few photos of what’s been doin’ round here lately.

Caution!  If you’re hungry, have a snack before continuing. 😉

click any photo to read full captions

during last week’s heat wave . . .

Just so’s you don’t think the urge to sew/serge has gone. . . 😱

Besides reading the Cleeves & Durrell books I also did a bit of sewing prep.

By judiciously utilizing early morning minutes before the blast furnace cut in, I managed to cut out another duster (ancient pattern copied & origin no longer remembered) plus another of my favourite summer sleep shirts (NewLook 6871, gifted by Ali).

I also managed to totally forget not to cut down the centre back.  Which will now be seamed. Ah, well . . .

I’d hacked the back a bit on the previous duster by cutting down the centre back of the pattern piece and pulling the 2 pieces apart to create a bit of a flare in the back. I really liked it, so did it again for the gauze. In the photos above that back piece is in the lower right of the photo.

The fabric is a black cotton gauze from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, and still available. I must report it shrinks like crazy, but I think I might have washed it in hot water and machine dried it. 😳  Face of shame as I know better. Just figured if its gonna shrink, then get it over with.

Vogue has a redesigned web site.  By the way, I don’t get a thing from anyone for blogging about them ~ receiving freebies is against my policy. They’re nice people who know & love fabrics and I shopped at the Evanston & Roosevelt Road stores when I lived in South Loop.

So on to the serging (overlocking) bits… Should say I have a 3-thread BabyLock BL3-407 almost an ancient as me. This week I decided to tackle serging all the edges of both cottons before sewing. Which meant the dreaded serger rethread operation because I knew all-white thread would not do for that all-black duster. Deep sigh.

Plenty of chocolate to hand, a fan, cooler outdoor temps on Monday so I began.

rethreading

Being lazy, and hating to change thread colours, I decided to try something I’d just read over on Grainline Studio’s blog. Incidentally, they’ve also redesigned their web site.

They use neutral colours when serging (as do I) and just change the top looper thread colour. Yeah! I gave that a try on the dark gray (“ey”? never remember which is correct) and decided it was ok, but wouldn’t do for the solid black gauze.

Then I rethreaded the needle.
Which took about an hour.
Or so. . .

Am promising myself I’ll serge the duster pattern pieces today.  And if that doesn’t happen, then definitely tomorrow. . . Maybe.   Done yesterday!  😇

ps/
If you haven’t been to the post office lately, you might want to drop by and get a set of the Oscar de la Renta stamps for (U.S.) First Class mail.

 

 

 

lessons learnt

Vogue 8750
click to go to pattern

Okay. Let’s look at this one last time, shall we?

Remember this, this, and more recently the petersham post here?

After several years of working (mostly not working) on this, I still think it’s a good pattern.

Just not in the fabric I chose. And there’s a huge learning curve in that “NOT.”

As I got into the pattern, which has some weird pieces that prove interesting for fit, I discovered that precise seam widths were vital. (ugh!) A fraction off in some places and it’s seam ripper time.

see any top stitching?
thought not.

But even more important was the concept of those side pieces. Definitely bias effect going on, which should affect what fabric gets used, and its pattern.

Blithely ignorant, I lost a lot of the skirt’s character, as all the interesting top stitched detail  became invisible on this patterned fabric.

Although I thought the weight of the cotton would be good (it’s okay), it turned out the ravelling has been horrendous. Something I didn’t discover until I’d washed it a few times, which I did over the past 2 years.

see all the straggling ends? don’t believe that using pinking shears on a cotton will handle any ravelling… just sayin’

But lest we get discouraged, there have been positives: Learning about petersham ribbon from Hila’s post and actually using it for a waistband has been a huge plus. (Suspect it will influence most future skirts.)

The other huge plus has been realising, then acknowledging my mistake in using fabric I do not like. (An early on-line purchase so I didn’t touch it beforehand.)

HUGE lesson learnt: Don’t even think about using up fabrics you don’t want to touch… even for a toile.

Below are assorted photos from the recent finishing. However, if you’re looking for sassy photos of me wearing this . . . 😱   Shock! Horror!

Do you ever see sassy piccies of me??  Lol!   Will admit to laundering it again, giving it a good press, and trying it on. It fits loosely, as I made a straight 16 I think, and am not about to alter it.

The petersham waist works really well for me (hate waistbands) as it sits at the waist (or would if I fitted it properly) and doesn’t annoy. Because of the weird side pieces there’s a good fit at the hip, particularly when seated.

Would I make it again? “Never say never.”  Maybe. . . . but with better fabric.

😊  Have a grand weekend, Lovelies!