Saturday, January 27, 2024

Estate Sale Pattern Finds

For so many years I avoided most 1970s styles.  But since I have been searching for a "perfect" blouse for at least a decade, when I found this pattern at an estate sale, I decided that I needed to give it a try.

Now, to be fair, I don't think that a fairly stable woven cotton is exactly what this design calls for.  On the other hand, it's easy to work with, I thought that the floral design would look nice with the style lines, and I had enough stashed away to give the pattern a try.  Which was good enough for me!

Now is it my dream blouse?  Probably not . . . I'm beginning to think that one doesn't actually exist.

But a high neck silhouette has been growing on me over the last few years.  And I do like the yoke, even if it's difficult to see the style lines with this busy print.

The sleeve is pulled in with elastic for this design.  And while I absolutely prefer a buttoned cuff, it's nice to change things up a bit every once in a while.

I don't believe that my wrists are particularly small, but it was almost impossible to get that elastic small enough - perhaps something to do with the fabric choice being slightly thicker than called for?

I am thinking about making this up in a rayon challis . . . if I don't get distracted by something else in the meantime.

As for my cotton version, it's very comfortable to wear.  I had some misgivings about a center back zipper on a blouse, but it all worked out.  But I might not be as happy about that with a drapey rayon challis . . . something to think about.

I suspect that there is enough excess fabric that a zipper would get lost in the folds of fabric, but I would probably use a regular zip instead of an invisible one just to maintain as much of the drape in the rayon as possible.

And now I've decided that I need to dig around in the stash and find a suitable rayon.

And the project queue continues to grow . . .

Blouse:  Made by me, Vogue 9345
Skirt:  Made by me, Simplicity 8458
Earrings:  Etsy
Shoes:  Sam Edelman

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Smocked Knits

Tis the season for hand knits.

I have been spending a fair amount of time in the evenings sitting on the couch with Mr. Valentino, who seems to be most comfortable in that particular spot.  In the past, he would bolt from my lap as soon as the yarn touched him; these days, he refuses to be rousted for almost anything - which means that I have had plenty of time for knitting.

But I wanted something that would not require a massive amount of attention.  I found this Smock Top Sweater pattern on Ravelry.  I can't recall exactly what my search terms were, but I have been very into turtlenecks as of late, so I suspect that was what led me to this pattern.

I was also intrigued by the smocked pattern and how that might be accomplished.  But since the majority of the sweater was a simple 2X2 rib pattern, I figured I could space out and relax with an easy knitting project.

The only real change that I made was to keep that smocked detail going all the way to the shoulder.  As the pattern reads, that detail stops at the neck decreases, but I thought that the design would look better to continue the detail all the way through the top of the sweater front.

Because this sweater is made of a ribbed knit, the pieces were looking rather narrow as they were completed.  I made a gauge swatch before casting on, but to check how stretchy this yarn/ribbing combination actually was, I pinned it to my dress form.

Which made it look more appropriately sized.

The pattern calls for a gentle blocking prior to stitching all of the pieces together, but that seemed like way too much trouble to me!

I waited until everything was seamed together before giving the sweater a gentle soak in soapy water.

And the simple process of being dunked in water stretched the ribbing slightly.

The smocked bit, however, wanted to pull inward, so I placed a couple of pins to keep that part stretched to the width of my shoulders.

That worked great.  The shoulders now sit wide enough on my body and don't pull inward.

This was a fun project.  I know some people dread more than a few inches of ribbing at the hem and cuff, but I find it rather relaxing.  I wouldn't be against making another one of these in a different color if the right yard came along.  Honestly, the most annoying part of the process was waiting for the wool to dry on the blocking board.

And I do believe that this sweater will make an excellent addition to my collection of hand knits!

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Cozy Shades of Green

Why do I retain items from the late 1990s that I haven't worn in close to twenty years?  Because of this, right here.  Who knew I would need a green silk skirt decades later?  I surely didn't . . . but it suddenly seemed the perfect choice for my oversized and very fluffy sweater.

After discovering a fabulous yarn from Knit Picks that is fluffy and cozy and doesn't shed (how do they manage that?!) I had a hankering to make a bunch of comfortable sweaters out of the miraculous fiber, this time in the shade "Kale."

My bright pink turtleneck gets quite a bit of wear in the colder months, and a somewhat similar silhouette in a evergreen shade seemed like a wise choice.

And honestly, on rainy Winter days when I can hardly be bothered to get dressed, a turtleneck paired with a long skirt and boots is my go-to outfit.  So why not give myself a few my options?

I am not clear on why I am suddenly all about a turtleneck . . . even my most recent sweater includes one, and I just cast on another.  What is happening?!

But I have always enjoyed a dramatic collar, so I am just going to go with it.

This particular design calls for a plain stockinette stitch for the entire body of the sweater, but I decided to swap in a moss stitch just for fun.

Which is something that I should remember next time I want to add a bit more texture to a plain knit.

Something I else I should remember is to dig around in the depths of the closet to see what other late Nineties garments are hiding out back there.

Because while I am slightly aggravated that people are calling these items "vintage," I am not unwilling to give them another try!

Sweater:  "Magnolia" by Kim Hargreaves from Vintage Knits
Skirt:  Express
Earrings:  Nicky Butler
Shoes:  Chinese Laundry

Sunday, January 7, 2024

2023, A Year in Review

McCalls 4769 / Vogue 1965
McCalls 8401 / Ostara Top

It's that time of year . . . time to look back at all of the projects I posted to this blog in 2023.  Some of the items made early in the year feel like they were made at least two or three years ago, not less than 12 months ago!  I have lost all sense of time over the last few years.  And to be fair, a couple of these items were technically finished prior to 2023, just never posted here (and if it's not posted to the blog, does it really exist?!).  Last year has both felt like an eternity and feels like it was gone in the blink of an eye; either way, I am ready to move on!

Quiet Reflection / Sodapop Sweater

I was slightly more productive than I thought; and my attempt to add more separates to the wardrobe was a success, so that's nice.

Vogue 1735 / McCalls 8108, Stanwyck Skirt
Collar Confection, Stanwyck Skirt / Picnic Blouse, Simplicity 8458

I still feel like my clothes are a huge mismatch of all sort of styles with no real theme - which makes for some fun when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, but there are days when I do wish that I had a more cohesive sense of style.

Vogue 1908 / Simplicity 9449
McCalls 8358 / McCalls 8280

But I do love being able to make my own wardrobe.  If I don't have my hands in a sewing or knitting project for a few days, something feels off.  So there are no plans to stop making whatever tickles my fancy in the moment any time soon.

Simplicity 8736, Vogue 9249 / Picnic Top
Lily Dress / Simplicity 3034

Thank you for following along with my shenanigans for another year!

Thursday, January 4, 2024

A Very Mod Christmas

The Christmas holiday has now passed, but I did manage to finish my dress before 2023 ended, even if I didn't manage to take photos until New Year's Day.

But I would say that red velveteen bows are appropriately festive for New Years as well as Christmas . . .

I am rather pleased that with as many issues as I had through the construction process, this dress actually turned out quite well.

And perhaps the mistakes were meant to be, since the end result is better than the original design I sketched out in my head, if I am completely honest.

To top it all off, I was able to use velveteen remnants that would not have been useful for much else - which feels great.  I just love when it turns out that there is a reason for keeping all of those bits and bobs!

My original thought was to use the printed fabric for the whole dress with no contrast, and wear a pair of swanky red tights.  But then I made a major cutting error, the red velveteen presented itself as a solution, and finding a pair of red tights that were a good enough match to that particular red seemed difficult, if not impossible, on short notice.  So I went with nude fishnets.

But I may have to search for appropriate red or green tights for next year.

And yes, the dress is short sleeved.  But as long as I don't plan on spending a large amount of time outdoors, short sleeves can work in December here in Northern California.

Making this dress also reminded me of my velveteen jacket, so I could also add that to the ensemble if necessary.

Having made holiday themed garments for quite a few years means that I have a couple of weeks worth of Christmas dresses and blouses to wear as the holiday approaches.  Now that it is January, I have suddenly forgot how to dress myself without having a theme to fall back on.

I do have a few smaller cuts of fabric stashed away, and since these more fitted dresses don't take up yards and yards of fabric, I feel like I should make a few more 1960s themed garments while I am feeling so inclined.

And I do have a hankering to wear some fun colored tights, so I think it's time to pull out those fabrics and find suitable patterns.  Or I can work on my latest knitting pattern and have some tea while sitting on the couch.  This will probably depend on the weekend weather and how gloomy it is.  But at least the days are beginning to lengthen . . . because I am OVER getting home in the dark!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 1965
Earrings:  Gift
Headband:  Made by me
Shoes:  Miss L Fire "Dame"