Monday, April 19, 2021

Leftover Yarn Goodness

After making this sweater, I had a little more than 5 skeins of this lovely pink yarn left.

I usually purchase an extra skein, but this amount of overage was just silly.  My gauge wasn't that far off, so I suspect the pattern is overly cautious when it comes to yardage needed.  

Unfortunately, most sweater patterns in my library require at least 1,000 yards of yarn.  So what was to become of my pretty pink yarn . . . it seemed a shame to stuff it back in a drawer. 

And then I remembered how well my first Jailbird Blouse came out.  It's short-sleeved and cropped, so there was a good chance that I might have enough yarn for the project.

And clearly, there was!  As I was knitting along, there came a point where I was convinced that I would run out of yarn, but it turns out I have a tiny little bit left over after all is done.  This time around, I win yarn chicken!

For this version, I decided to fold the neckline as well as the armhole ribbing.  I wasn't sure how the armholes would look, but I like how they turned out, and I will probably use this technique again for short sleeved sweaters.


It's always fun to pull out the double pointed needles.  Setting them up for the first couple of rows is always awkward for me, but once I get going, I rather enjoy the technique.

And somewhere around this point of the sweater construction, I had a thought.

There is already one version of this pattern in a solid color in my drawer, so what should I do to make this one a little bit different.  Well, I decided that I should add a monogram to this sweater. 

The similarity to Laverne and Shirley does not escape me (which may be one of the reasons why I avoid adding monograms to my clothing), but I went ahead with the plan because I have been on a bit of an embroidery kick as of late.

In order to get the placement right, and know where I wanted my stitches placed as I was rotating the garment, I sketched the letter on a handy piece of paper and stitched it in place with a length of contrasting yarn.  That gets torn away after the basted outline is in place.

The technique worked quite well.

This was a very quick process, and it is rather subtle since there is no color contrast, but I really like the result.

Does this mean that I will start monogramming everything in my closet?  Probably not.

But I suspect I will be embellishing more sweaters at some point.

I definitely see floral designs in my future.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Sweater Weather

Every time I hear the phrase "sweater weather" I immediately think of this Saturday Night Live sketch.  It's fabulous, and it makes me laugh out loud!

And even though sweater weather is quickly coming to an end in this neck of the woods (or at least sweaters of the wool/warm variety)  I have a few knit projects that I want to share before it gets really warm!

This project came about because I stumbled across this KnitPicks yarn.  It's fuzzy, it's one of my favorite colors, and I just had to have a sweater made out of it!

It was more difficult to find a basic turtleneck design than expected, but I eventually found the "Vanilla Bean Turtleneck."  It has raglan sleeves, an oversized neckline, and a little bit of shaping through the torso; basically, your standard turtleneck sweater.  Which is what I was looking for!

Then I decided that the final remaining scraps of my black and white floral brocade needed to be made into a skirt to pair with my new sweater.  There wasn't very much of it left, but I was able to cut out Vogue 1247.  I have been meaning to try out that famous pattern for years, and it was finally time.

The silhouette is a departure for me (this is the length of the given pattern pieces, and it's short!).  Then again, if the skirt was any longer, I wouldn't have had enough fabric, so there you go.

And it's fun to change things up every once in a while.  

I have also rediscovered my collection of tights, which has been neglected for a few years.

I may not have leftovers of my black and white brocade, but I think I have enough leftover yarn (not sure why the sweater pattern called for so much) to make myself another cropped sweater from this lovely pink stuff.  

And I may have already cast on that project . . .


Sweater:  Made by me, "Vanilla Bean Turtleneck"
Skirt:  Made by me, Vogue 1247

Friday, March 19, 2021

Wearable Curtains

If you have been following this blog, you are probably familiar with my love of upholstery fabric for garment sewing.

It's beautiful, sturdy, and I love the oversized prints.

This particular skirt is made from some rather special upholstery fabric.  It was once curtains and a wing back chair owned by my maternal Grandmother; I believe her sister covered the chair, and I am not sure who made the matching curtains.  I am not entirely clear on what became of the chair, but I don't believe the fabric remnants I have were ripped from a chair because they are in pretty good shape!  So the yardage in my possession was probably leftovers and maybe some curtain pieces.

I knew that I would eventually make something with the fabric, and after stitching together my first Butterick 6556 dress (which, coincidentally, was also made from upholstery fabric), I thought that the pleated skirt pieces would make an excellent skirt.  And I am so glad I went ahead with the project!


The top is The Gable Top from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.  This version was a bit of a test as the pattern is meant for a much lighter weight knit fabric with more stretch than the pink ponte I chose. 

I love my polka dot Gable that was made from a rayon spandex.  This top, unfortunately, does not get nearly as much wear since it is not as comfortable.  The ponte just doesn't have the same kind of stretch, and the mistake is entirely mine.  But that's just part of my learning process with knit fabrics; I still have so much to learn with stretchy textiles.  

I do adore the pink color, which is why I purchased the yardage.  But I just couldn't see wearing such a light colored knit fabric on the lower half of my body, so it had to be a top.  That's my own hangup, but I just don't think it looks good.  ("People of Walmart" flesh colored leggings come to mind, and I never plan to be the person wearing light colored leggings as a pigment challenged individual. Those photos give me nightmares.  If you have beautifully pigmented skin, go ahead and rock those pale pink or taupe colored leggings, but why on earth does anyone want to wear leggings that are almost the same shade as their skin?!!?)  And why do I think that a shirt that is a pretty good match to my skin tone is acceptable?  I can't quantify it, but in my world, it works.  Moving on . . .

The really nice part about this print is that the color palette goes with so many of my tops and sweaters, which is probably the reason it gets so much wear.  And now I'm off to go find even more cool toned pink and maroon fabrics to make more blouses to match.


Top:  Made by me, "The Gable Top" by Jennifer Lauren Handmade
Skirt:  Made by me, Butterick 6556
Shoes:  American Duchess "Marilyn Pumps"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Whatever Happened to that Wingback Chair?

As I was going through old photos, I came across this skirt.  For some reason, the project never made it to the blog, so I am going to remedy that.

This is upholstery fabric that my Grandmother used for some home decor projects.  My Mom brought me the remaining pieces which had been stored over the years in Pennsylvania.  She knows how much I love an oversized floral!

It was folded up and forgotten in my sewing room for a couple of years until I made Butterick 6556 and I realized what a wonderful skirt the pattern would make with the simple addition of a waistband.  The remaining pieces of upholstery fabric happened to be almost exactly the size needed for each pleated pattern piece.  It was meant to be!

I pick-stitched the zipper by hand, and added a single bound buttonhole at center back.

The fabric is rather weighty, so I used a dark green scrap of silk organza (that I hand dyed for this epic project!) to make the facing window.  [Which is the main reason I never manage to get rid of my fabric scraps . . . they may come in handy somewhere down the line.]

I think I would have had trouble using a machine to make a buttonhole with this fabric, by even so, the extra time it takes to make a bound buttonhole is so worth it!!

I also added two ribbon hangers at each side seam.  In this case, I attached each one at two separate points because of the weight of the fabric; this works better than folding the ribbon in half and attaching at a single point when the garment is substantial.

And I gave my skirt a nice wide hem because it makes a garment hang so nicely.

This skirt comes out to play quite often.  It's comfy, and I just can't resist that print!

Do I look like a sofa in granny's living room?  Maybe so.  But I love this skirt! 


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Charming Red Skirt in which to Twirl

I originally meant for this project to be my Christmas 2020 outfit, paired with a novelty print blouse in one of the Christmas prints I have stashed away.  But then I didn't even begin working on the skirt until January 2021, and this blouse is from Christmas 2019 because I ran out of time for another.  Get it together, Laura!  

And then someone reminded me that cardinal prints don't have to be consigned to a single month of the year.  I mean, yes, the bright red birdies stand out nicely on a snowy background.  But even so, the snow never (or very, very rarely) arrives here in the Bay Area, and it certainly is still snowing in January, February, and March in a whole lot of locales.  So I am calling this seasonally appropriate!

But with or without a seasonal print on my blouse, this skirt is going to be a mainstay in my wardrobe, and I will probably make another at some point, or as soon as I decide on a fabric.

As I mentioned in my blog post about the construction, this version is significantly longer than the pattern suggests.  And provided my fabric is wide enough, I think I want all of my full skirts to be this length!

And yes, it twirls quite nicely.

It's a circle skirt - what's not to love?! (other than the fact that they require a lot of fabric).

I don't believe I have ever made a gored circle skirt, and it's high time that I did.

And, provided that your fabric can be cut with a multi-directional layout (which this melton wool can), it does save a little on the yardage requirements.

As I previously mentioned, I was a bit disappointed that I did not have enough fabric for the oversized pockets.  But I think that turned out for the best.

That's not to say that I won't make use of the oversized pocket pieces in a future project, but this is my definition of a classic red wool skirt, and you can never have too many of those!

Which reminds me . . . I should wear this again before the weather gets too warm for a heavy wool skirt.


Blouse:  Made by me, Vogue 8772/McCall 8358
Skirt:  Made by me, Charm Patterns "Stanwyck Skirt"
Earrings:  Handmade by Cousin Carole