Me Made May

I just signed up for Me-Made-May 2014 as you can see on the side bar.  My pledge is the following:

  • ‘I, María (mariawishes.wordpress.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear a handmade garment at least 5 days a week for the duration of May 2014′

I really wanted to write every day but figured that since I have not participated before, it would be better to stay in the shallow end of the pool. I am also confident that I have enough garments to stand behind this pledge, or otherwise I will find out what kind of garments I am missing.

Anyhow I will also try to take photos of every me-made garment day and post them here. We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

Fieldwork Cardigan

IMGP4772_PEF_shotwell_modified  Here is another make from PomPom magazine.  This is the Fieldwork Cardigan from last years summer issue (issue 5).  It’s funny how long it can take to start a project. In this case I already had the yarn when I got the magazine last May but I only got myself to start this March.  I took the project with me on vacation and had plenty of time to knit so it went quickly. I finished the four panels in about two weeks, but was not able to block the pieces and stitch them together until I got home.  Then I also knit the garter stitch borders and finished.  I used Merino Singles from Lioness Arts in the colorway “Seeing other People” which is a deep shade of red, very pretty.  I actually won the yarn in a PomPom KAL last spring.  I got two 100 gram skeins and used almost all of it for the cardi.  I think it was a very nice paring. The yarn is excellent to knit with and feels high quality.

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The construction of this cardigan is unusual and I know there has been some confusion about it.  First of all it is knit from the side in four panels: right back, left back, right front and left front.  The two back panels are grafted together and then the front pieces are sewn to the back pieces which means there are two sleeve seams, one on upper arm and one on the underarm as well as side seams.  This is a lot of seams on my opinion ( I am a lover of seamless knits) and makes the construction complicated. Before seaming the panels together you have to block them “to measurements” as it says in the pattern.  I found this confusing, since the measurements given in the pattern are that of the finished garment which has borders that add to its length and width.  I would have found it better to have a figure or table with measurements of only the panels. IMGP4767_PEF_shotwell_modified

The Wave Lace pattern is relatively easy, a repetition of 4 rows over seven stitches so once you get the hang of it the knitting is a breeze.  Also because the four panels are very similar, it feels like you are knitting the same thing four times and by the time I started the fourth panel I had gotten a little bored. However, I followed the pattern to the dot, with one exception.  I decided to graft the pack pieces together before blocking since it felt unsafe to do it with lots of open stitches, even though they were on a thread.IMGP4722_PEF_modified

The PomPom magazine makes sure to write all their pattern is the same style. It is clear and precise, they explain every special method at the beginning of the pattern and they always indicate if you are working from the right side (RS) or the wrong side (WS). I find this very helpful and missing in many patterns.  You also know what to expect if you make many of PomPoms garments . However in the Fieldwork cardigan pattern there are many mistakes regarding the precision and things that were overseen.  Some of the mistakes have been corrected in the errata, but not all of them and not clearly enough.  This is especially obvious towards the end of the pattern where all descriptions get very short.  In the sewn cast of it is not indicated from which side it is and the stitches in the button holes do not add up.  At least to my best knowledge it should say:

Buttonhole Row(RS): Sl 1,k to last 7 sts, work One Row Buttonhole over 5 sts, p1. IMGP4721_PEF_modifiedIn spite of this, the cardigan is a beautiful garment and I am very happy with my make.  It is pretty and perfect to complement flowy (summer)dresses.  I have talked about my love of PomPom magazine before and they continue to amaze me with their beautiful designs and I am very exited to get the next copy in only a few weeks :)

 

 

A couple of Beignets

Hello!

IMGP4759_PEF_shotwell_modified I know I am very late since this pattern was released some years ago and so many sewers have made this skirt already and posted them online. I have been admiring this pattern and the skirts I’ve seen for a while and a few months ago I finally decided to get one for myself. Now I’ve made two versions of the pattern and I am totally in love with the style of this skirt, the high waist, the button down front and the loose A-line fit I find very flattering and the construction is juIMGP4748_PEF_shotwell_modifiedst so clever.  Because it is fully lined there are no visible raw edges on the inside and it looks very pretty and finished.  A skirt like this is not a very big garment so it is easy and not very time consuming to give much attention to the details which give a nice and polished finish, for example hand sewn hem.

 

 

I made the first skirt in black wool/polyester blend with black and white polka dot silk lining (very luxurious). IMGP4733_PEF_modified  I made size 2 and shortened it by about 10 cm since I am not the tallest person.   It has fabric covered buttons of which I needed 10. I omitted the belt, belt loops and the pockets because I read somewhere that they tend to gape and also, unlike everyone, I do not really like pockets in my skirts and dresses.IMGP4735_PEF_modified  I like this version because it is a nice skirt, perfect for special occasions and it feels very classy. The fabric is very soft and maybe a little to soft.  I guess a fabric with more body works better.  Which is the case of the next skirt.IMGP4738_PEF_modified

The second skirt is made from a fine cord in a pretty burgundy color.  Because of the thickness of the fabric I used quilters cotton from the stash for the facings and the lining is a bright blue typical polyester lining fabric.  IMGP4737_PEF_modifiedNot the most usual combination of colors but I think it’s fun.  No one ever sees the inside anyway so it is OK to have it unexpected. Since the first version was a little to wide in the waist I still cut a size 2 but made each seam a little bit deeper (1-2mm). Therefore it is a little bit tighter and I also shortened it by 10 cm. I have worn this skirt a lot and it’s been through the washing machine a few times.  It keeps it shape pretty well but it does wrinkle. And the only problem with this version is the ironing.  Because it is cord I don’t want to iron it from the outside but ironing it from the inside is a little tricky because of the lining.  Also, all those buttons get in the way.  It is a perfect everyday skirt in my opinion.IMGP4743_PEF_shotwell_modified

In all I really like this pattern. It is well made and the instructions are very good and thorough. I just have a few tips.

  • Make sure that the fabric is not to soft and drapy, a stiffer fabric gives the skirt more body and structure.
  • You should decide the final length before cutting the fabric since shortening it after wards can be tricky because of the construction.
  • When I joined the lining to the facings (the long curved seam) in stead of following the instructions, I stay stitched along the seam line on the lining and the facings, then I clipped the curves and pinned the two pieces together matching notches. This way the seam lines are flexible and you can make them match exactly in length before sewing and there is no need to baste. I did this because I felt that trimming down the seam allowance of one edge before stitching together was more risky and if I made a mistake it would be harder to unpick, Using my way you do not have to measure anything and you can pin the two edges together accurately.
  • If I make this again I will try to omit the buttons and have the center front piece whole.  I think that then it will look a lot like Deer and Doe’s new pattern, Anemone

That’s it, two pretty skirts and hopefully more on the way.IMGP4765_PEF_shotwell_modified

 

 

Pause

So, I have been very quite here for a while now.  I was pretty busy. Writing a master thesis while raising two boys and running a home  can get a bit tricky, specially if you want to spend your whole time knitting and sewing.  I guess this blog suffered the most from neglect.  Now that the thesis is off my hands I can bring it back to life.

I have made a lot these last few months.  I made Christmas outfits for my boys, fancy trousers and shirts from the winter issue of Ottobre.  I finally decided to buy the Colette patterns I’ve been eying for a while and have made two Beignet skirts and am finishing a Hawthorn dress.  I made a Deer and Doe Plantain top, just a bit to late to enter the competition. I have also been knitting and crocheting and have two new cardis which I am very happy with.  Hopefully I can show all these here in the next weeks.

I also went to the fabric mecca: Mood fabrics in New York, and OH MY GOD, I have never seen so much fabric in my life.  It was very hard to decide what to buy and I was overwhelmed with decisions.  But I stuck to the budget I had set for myself and brought home some very nice fabrics.

However, what I am the proudest of is how much I have worn my handmade items.  I wore the parka all winter thanks to the mild winter weather.  With a thick sweater underneath I could wear it on the colder days as well.  An I still wear it a lot. The sweatshirt dress is in constant rotation, the blue skirt as well.  The tops I sewed and the sweaters I knit are also a big part of my wardrobe.  It is hard to make items that you can wear on a daily basis and it took me a long time to get there.  Making a pretty summer dress or  party dresses is more appealing but often these garments just end up in my closet and never get worn because I don’t have an occasion to wear them.  As much as I like making fancy dresses I am thrilled with my new approach and I hope that one day most of my garments will be me-made and I am confident that I can do it.

Hopefully I will write again soon :)

Cozy Flannel Shirt

I have wanted to make this shirt since I saw it in the Ottobre magazine last autumn.

IMGP4585_modifiedLately there have been lots of shirts popping up on the sewing blogs, many Tylers from Named and also Archers from Grainline Studio and that made me look even more often at the pattern I had at hand.  The other day when I was at my fabric store I saw this checked flannel in soft creamy colors with a beautiful burgundy. I touched it and fell in love.  It was so super soft and dreamy, exactly like I imagined for the perfect autumn/winter shirt.IMGP4595_modified  I didn’t buy the fabric in this trip but kept thinking about it so a few days later I went back to the store.  I didn’t find the bolt at first and got a bit anxious that my dreamy fabric was all gone but in the end I found it and bought the whole thing.  There was only a meter and half left which was just enough for the shirt.  When I came home I washed the fabric (as I always do) and hung it in the bathroom to dry.  When my husband came home and saw it in the bathroom, he asked if I was gonna make some dishcloths for the kitchen…IMGP4593_modifiedAnyhow, I made the shirt and I happy with it.  It is just like I wanted it to be.  I did my best to match up all the plaids and it looks right I think.  The collar and collar stand are definitely not perfect. Somehow the under collar became the upper collar (oops) and the collar stand does not match perfectly in the front.  I shortened the sleeves by 3cm but I think that 5 cm would be better. I also shortened the bodice by 5 cm, which I think is a fine length.IMGP4597_modifiedAlso I made a mistake with the cuffs, they are both the same (i.e  not mirror images of each other) meaning that on one side the buttons and buttonholes should change place. I blame this on me being in to much of a hurry to check twice.  I guess you don’t notice unless you are really looking and thinking about shirt construction.  I noticed this too late to have the patient to fix it.   I could also blame the instructions in the magazine a little, they are very brief, not as brief as Burda but still very brief.  IMGP4599_modifiedI think the shirt looks really good with skinny jeans trousers and I also like it with my freshly made  mini skirt.IMGP4556_modifiedAnd I guess I’ll have to make another one of these shirts soon to remind myself of the mistakes I made and to improve my shirt making skills. They can only get better :)

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Cobalt Blue Skirt

I made this skirt recently, just got round to take pictures today.IMGP4563_modifiedIt’s a classic mini skirt with fly front and back yoke.  I got the pattern from Ottobre Magazine 4/12 and yes it is a kids pattern.  I made a size 158 and surprisingly it fit just right. I could maybe have reduced the waist a little, but I think it is Ok.  It was my first ever fly front, and although it is a little crooked I am happy. I had the metal flower button in my stash and think it fits quite well. In the back there is a little kick pleat which I find quite cute.  It also has front and pack pockets, so a lot of detail, which is nice.IMGP4566_modifiedI bought the fabric a while ago. It is cobalt blue cotton twill, great for this project since it has some body and similar features as denim.  I also love the color, although I find it a bit hard to style. I guess I just have to experiment a little.

IMGP4567_modifiedOverall I am happy with it and I hope to wear it a lot.  I guess it has the potential of much wear, since I can wear it with tights in autumn and spring and then by itself in summer.  I guess it is not a heavy winter skirt, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

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Fabrics

I know it has been a bit quite here for the last week or so.  I got caught up preparing a presentation for a seminar at uni.  Since then I’ve been sewing a lot but haven’t had the opportunity to take any photos yet.  It gets dark really early now after we reset the clock two weeks ago.  So I should have used the weekend to take some photos of my projects but I really wasn’t in the mood. Also, I spent most of my free time sewing a shirt which only needs buttons and buttonholes now.

Last weekend there was a fabric market downtown.  It comes here every 2-3 months and it is HUGE!  The first time I saw it I thought I was in heaven.  It has all kinds of fabrics in every color, pattern, fiber, thickness and the notions, WOW! Everything you could dream of, it’s there.  The market is always packed with people (ok mostly women) with huge shopping bags (home made) or pulling shopping trolleys behind them which they fill with all the lovely fabrics.  It can be tricky to get around there and you have to be pretty determined, there is not much room to deliberate and the staff are so busy cutting fabrics for everyone it may take a while to get what you want.

This time I wasn’t feeling motivated enough and I wasn’t in the mood to push around.  I only got two things, navy and white polka dot cotton jersey and black and white polka dot silk.  I am excited about the silk since I’ve never really made anything with silk before.  Although I may just become a lining for a skirt or a nighty I am looking forward to working with it.

These past few weeks I have often been to my local fabric shop and looked at their discount rack.  They always keep this rack outside with leftover fabric (0.5-2 meters) which they sell with 50% off.  I have gotten good deals there.  Last time I went I found the perfect wool blend to make a skirt I’ve had on my mind for a few weeks.  I talked about it in a previous post and since then I have not gotten it of my mind. So I guess this skirt is next on my sewing list. And I may just give it a silk lining, how luxurious would that be?1181895