Thursday, February 25, 2021

Pink Sapphire

A couple of months back I got bit with the knitting bug.

I always have a few projects laying around waiting for attention, but I had the urge to work on something easy and relaxing, and I recently purchased this lovely yarn.  It's from Knitpicks and is called "Daydream."  It is made out of a nylon mesh into which is blown alpaca fibers.  It is unclear how the fiber will hold up over time, but it is really soft and a lot of fun to knit.  There are a few sections of yarn that I came across that are not quite as full of the pink fibers as others, but once they are knitted, it's not very noticeable.

I found the pattern (The Vanilla Bean Turtleneck) while searching for a simple turtleneck design that would put the focus on the yarn.

It is knit from the top down, which is somewhat new to me.  This is the first time, however, that the entire body, including the neckline, is worked in one piece.  Which means the sweater starts to keep your lap warm as it starts to get larger!

The sleeves are knit after the body is worked (some are live stitches and a few get picked up).  I used my double pointed needles for that portion, and circular needles for the remainder of the sweater.

I do agree with others that it is nice to be able to try the garment on as it is in process!

The directions were unlike any I have come across as far as increases and decreases and row numbers, but they worked just fine with a few extra stitch markers to keep things clear.

My swatch shrunk up more than any other yarn I have ever used and I was nervous that the shrinkage factor might not transfer from swatch to sweater with all the added weight when wet.  I will mention that this yarn is incredibly lightweight provided it is not logged with water.  

But I plowed ahead because it had to be done.

Thankfully, the sweater shrunk down almost exactly as expected.  Interestingly enough, it did not really shrink in length.

This silhouette is a bit different than I normally go for and very easy fitting, but I am very happy with this.

I forgot how much I like turtlenecks, and I am going to have to remedy that.

But for now, I am pleased to have added this lady to the collection.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Short Stuff

And now for something completely different.  It's contemporary (well, sort of), and it's short.  These descriptors are not usually ones I use in reference to my wardrobe.

But actually, the second of those things is the reason I was able to get a fourth item out of this brocade fabric.  I have a pencil skirt, a full skirt, and a cropped jacket, and now this skirt.

Here is another example of me using a much longer zipper than is necessary.  But it's easy to shorten, and it means I always have the length if it's needed.  And it was the only black invisible zipper on hand, so that's what I used.  Don't use your good sewing shears for this purpose, use those craft scissors instead to cut through the plastic coils.

If you go this route, I highly recommend covering the cut end since cut zipper coils can be sharp.  It also looks a whole lot nicer than a ragged cut end.

This brocade fabric likes to fray, so binding the seams was a no brainer.

This is the length of the skirt per the pattern, if you can believe it.  It's SHORT!  Actually, it would be even shorter if I took up the recommended 2" hem.  I would have lengthened the pieces, however, I didn't have the fabric.  In order to get as much coverage as possible, I drafted a facing and used a 3/8" seamline.  Taking turn of cloth into account, that gave me an extra 1.5" in length.

I decided to forego the lining since I did not believe that this fabric would cling to a pair of tights.  Also, a bemgerg rayon would drape completely differently than the skirt, and I decided it wasn't worth it in the end.

And, of course, I added a ribbon hanger at each side seam along the waistband.

I am planning on pairing this with an oversized sweater that I recently knit.

It was a very quick project using what I had on hand, which always feels good.  And I finally made the incredibly popular Vogue 1247!  It's a great skirt, although it's really, really short (by my standards, at least).  I could see adding another version to my wardrobe, although next time I hope that I have a little bit more fabric to pull that hemline down another inch or so!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Classic Red

Ah yes, the Stanwyck Skirt from Charm Patterns.  You are probably familiar with this design.  There are a few options, including a straight skirt version; but this time around I went with the gored circle skirt.

And I added a whole lot of extra length.  I think in the end, it was close to six inches in total from where my size should have been cut.

This meant that I did not have enough wool to cut out the oversized pockets that come with this pattern.  This was a disappointment for a day or so, even though I was not sure I was going to like the massively oversized pocket in this drapey wool.  But once I knew that my yardage wouldn't let me have my pockets, I suddenly wanted them.  That is, until I realized that this classic silhouette will get a lot more wear as it is, and I got over the loss of the pockets.

The zipper was hand-stitched in place.  I absolutely prefer this method to using a machine since it gives so much more control, and the stitches disappear into a fabric like this.  Since discovering years ago, I purchase 24" zippers to have on hand.  This sometimes requires me to shorten them for things like skirts, but that is easy enough, and a small piece of fabric covering the cut end keeps everything nice and tidy.

I also decided to take the extra time to add a few boning channels to the waistband.

I am always sorry when I don't, especially with a wider waistband like this one which tends to collapse while being worn if it doesn't have a little extra stability built in.

And since I couldn't find a matching red cotton in my stash, I had to dig around to find a print that would work with the red wool.  It does add a bit of character, although I don't usually go for such a contrast.

And then we get to the part of the program where the hem drops obnoxiously on the bias.  I was not expecting this much drop in such a heavy weight fabric, but there you go.

The wool does have a lovely drape, so that was probably one of the reasons.  I was thinking that a melton wool, which has a felted texture, would behave like a felt, but I guess not!  Or would felt stretch?  It doesn't have a grainline, though, right?!  If it's just matted fibers, it doesn't have a grain?

But anyway, I had to cut over an inch off of the bias portions of this skirt.

One of the unnecessary things that I did was to bind the raw edges of my fabric.  If you pick at the raw edges of this wool, it will fray slightly, but not very much.  But I decided that the look of the rayon binding was a much more finished choice, so I went with it.

And the final thing to do was add some loops for storing this garment on a hanger.

I found a package of vintage cotton binding in the stash, and decided that it would work quite nicely.  I stitch the folded open edge closed, and applied it to the waist seam before stitching the waistband lining closed.

In certain lights, the waistband boning is somewhat visible.  I could go back and underline that waistband with some cotton flannel, but I don't think many people would notice, and I don't know that the issue will bother me enough to go back and open up the waistband and add some.

I am quite pleased with the way this turned out.  I have a few longer length wool skirts that get a lot of wear in winter weather, and this one is bound to get in on the rotation.

It's a very classic silhouette that dresses up or down very easily.

And now I think I need more melton wool in my life.  This stuff is very pleasant to work with, and I love the heavier weight of the wool.  But most of all, I love my new skirt!