Centaurée the Second

IMGP4897_PEF_shotwell_modifiedAs planed I have made a second Centaurée dress.  This time I did the high-low hem and a proper SBA where I followed the instructions in the sew-along.  I made a little error when adding the seam allowances back to the pattern pieces which resulted in me having to take the center front seam in a little but with this busy print you do not see it.    IMGP4893_PEF_shotwell_modified I love the fabric, it is a very soft cotton voile, white with mint green print. I used just under 2 meters. The bodice is interlined with the same fabric and I used ready bought bias tape.  I cut a size 36 and did 3 cm SBA.   I cut a bit of the length of the skirt and even after sewing it together I reduced the center back even more since it had a weird shape.  So I made the hem more even and the fishtail hem is not as dramatic.  IMGP4899_PEF_shotwell_modifiedRecently I bought two presser foots and was able to use them both in the construction of this dress. The first is a rolled hem foot that makes 2mm hems, very narrow indeed.  I like IMGP4902_PEF_shotwell_modifiedit a lot but have trouble sometimes when I sew over seams and the fabric becomes thicker, I may have to consider hemming before sewing the pieces together (in the flat). Other than that it is easy to use and I am considering also buying a 5mm rolled hem presser foot since I think I would use it a lot.  The second presser foot is harder to use, it is an adjustable bias binder and I used it to , surprisingly, attach the bias tape (not the center front which I basted by hand before sewing).  You need a technique to use it and I am getting better and better every time.  It is designed to bind straight edges so when you have curves there is no room for mistakes because you can not stop sewing, pull the garment out of the sewing machine and then start again later.But I am getting better at using it and I have come to like it. And it definitely makes binding edges much faster.IMGP4915_PEF_shotwell_modifiedAnd I am sorry about the photos being almost all the same…

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Waterlily

Behold! Another finished PomPom garment:IMGP4853_PEF_shotwell_modified

This is the cover pattern of this years spring issue, the beautiful and popular Waterlily top.  I decided to make mine in silk, hoping it would be wearable all through the summer. I have made a sleeveless wool top before and never wore it because the weather was never right.  Either my body was warm and my arms cold or my arms my warm and my body melting.  Also because of the wool it was hard to wear a cardi over it.  IMGP4852_PEF_shotwell_modified

So I decided to go for a more summer friendly yarn for this top.  It is Soft Silk from BC garn, very nice raw silk yarn with plenty of texture which gives the stockinette part of the top more character. I used 140 gr. for a size 1 top. IMGP4854_PEF_shotwell_modified

The pattern is very nice, easy to understand and well written.  I only have some silly complaints about the lace section.  Understandably I like lace patterns which I can remember after a few repeats but it took me the knitting of all the lace part to finally remember this one.  The lace is lovely though.  Also, I dislike decreasing while knitting lace because your accounting has to be accurate. It is tricky to find out when to yo and when to decrease because of the lace pattern and not because of the neckline shaping.  A chart of this would have been helpful but it would probably take to much space in the magazine. And again, since the lace part of the top is so short, there are only a few rows where this has to be taken into account.IMGP4859_PEF_shotwell_modified

The construction of the back neckline is quite clever and I like it, although mine came out a bit wide in the back. I think it is ok and quite suits the loos fit of the top.IMGP4856_PEF_shotwell_modified

The yarn is something I have never worked with before and the knitted garment behaves strangely. It is very lightweight and soft and stretches funnily.  Very different from wool.IMGP4860_PEF_shotwell_modified

I made a size 1 with no alterations.  But I did two things differently from the instructions.  Firstly I knitted the garter stitch border flat.  I hate garter stitching in the round because that way you have to purl every other round.  Using my way, of course you have to seam the border at the end but this is easy since because you have to weave in the end, you already have a piece of yarn to do the seaming with. The other thing I changed was that I grafted the shoulders and knitted the neckline before blocking. After blocking I wove in the ends and seamed the sleeves.IMGP4862_PEF_shotwell_modified

I am very happy with my finished top and I am excited to see how the silk yarn hold up during wash and wear.

 

Jersey 1/3 Dress

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Often when I see clothes that I really like in stores, worn by other people, on TV or the internet I think of making them for myself and how I could change them to make them better.  When I was in the States recently I bought a very cute, pale pink jersey dress. It is super easy to wear and so girly, I love it.  However it is a bit special, the fabric is nice and should be hand washed and the color is not one I can wear all the time. So I figured I could make a new dress better suited for everyday wear.

I used a bodice IMGP4839_PEF_shotwell_modifiedpattern from Ottobre magazine which I also used for my sweatshirt dress. I compared it to the dress I was trying to copy and made changes according to my wishes. Then based on the waist measurement and my desired length I drafted a skirt which is actually one third of a circle, hence the name.  I think it has just the right flair. I used campan stripes jersey from my stash.  The fabric is super soft cotton with 3% elastane and it feels really good and of high quality. I highly recommend it.  I then sewed the whole thingIMGP4845_PEF_shotwell_modified on my serger except the hem and edges where I used the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine and I also used clear elastic for the armholes and neckline. It feels great to wear.

The day after I finished my dress, the Closet Case Files released their Nettie pattern and I think there is some resemblance. I surely got ideas to improve my pattern, I love the super low back neckline which I will definitely try.  I already have a pattern for sleeves and lengthening the bodice to make a one piece should not be that difficult. You see, I constantly get new ideas! IMGP4843_PEF_shotwell_modified

 

Centaurée Dress aka The Spiderman Dress

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A couple of weeks ago when Deer and Doe released there new pattern the Centaurée Dress I immediately grabbed  a copy for myself. I have been wanting to try out their patterns for a while but never got to it so this time I ordered the new dress pattern as well as the Airelle Blouse.  The patterns arrived a few days later and I was in awe of their beauty when I opened mu package.  The packaging is so pretty and I love the fact that the patterns are printed on proper paper and not thin, tear-easy tissue paper.

 

Impatient as I am I went straight to making a muslin (which is recommended because of the fit of the dress).  Based on my waist measurement I decided on a size 36. I knew I had to do a SBA  and because they usually result in narrower waists I figured it was the IMGP4828_PEF_shotwell_modifiedway to go. I took some time to figure out how to do the SBA. I know there is a sewalong starting this week where this will be tackled but I was to excited to start the dress to wait.  After some thought I figured that the upper seams on the bodice where piece 1 meets piece 2 are actually a form of princess seams which makes bust adjustments rather easy.  So what I did to get a 2cm reduction on each side was to reduce this seam by 1 cm on each piece.  And to compensate I also had to make piece 3 narrower by the corresponding amount. Not so tricky really. I drew these changes onto my pattern pieces.

 

I used Tilly’s method when tracing the pattern onto the fabric and I must say it is excellent, specially when working with patterns on real paper.  It also preserves all the sizes and there is no boring paper tracing to do.

IMGP4831_PEF_shotwell_modifiedI really love the contrast piping in the example garment and decided to go with the same idea, which I regretted on many stages of the construction of this dress.  The piping makes the seams very bulky and the need to perfectly match the seams is highly increased.

I had been eying this fabric for a while because I really love this color. I had kind of decided to make a BHL Flora dress but the Centaurée came along and changed my plan. It is a soft cotton voile and the color is so intense I love it.  It is perfect for a airy summer dress. I used almost 2 meters for the whole dress, including lining the bodice. The piping is kind of gold yellow colored satin, ready bought.  The cord inside may be a bit to thick, a finer piping would have been better but I made it work.  Like I said the construction of the bodice was time consuming and nerve wracking because of the piping.  I had to step away from it many times and look at it from a distance to decide if I liked it or not.  At one point when I had sewn the center seam but the lines did not line up exactly right I actuallyIMGP4830_PEF_shotwell_modified thought about leaving it that way ( I should have taken a picture, sorry). After sleeping on it I knew I would not be happy so I unpicked and made the seam 0.5 cm deeper which did the trick. I compensated by making the side seams 0.5 cm narrower which of course resulted in 1cm wider garment which is alright. The fit is rather good and the stiff piping makes the bust stand out a bit (like boning or a built-in-bra).

The bodice is fully lined and I sandwiched the waist seam between the two layers of bodice which means that the only exposed seams are the side seams, so the inside looks pretty neat.  The binding and the straps could look a bit more professional though, I am not perfectly happy with the finishing, for this I blame the piping again since it got bulky in sensitive places. But I can look away.

I changed the placement of the straps a bit since I like it better this way.IMGP4833_PEF_shotwell_modifiedIMGP4837_PEF_shotwell_modified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I put the dress on my three year old son told me that it is a pretty dress but it is a Spider Man dress, apparently the “star” reminds him of a spider web. He has a wonderful imagination.  Maybe I should get a spider pin to put on the bodice.

Anzen Cardi

So, I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages, even got the photos ready a few weeks ago but something was holding me back(read laziness) . So here goes…IMGP4810_PEF_shotwell_modifiedThis is my finished Anzen Cardigan from PomPom Quarterly issue 7. I bought the yarn just before Christmas with the idea to have a fun project to work on over the holidays and I had planed a trip to Paris over the new years which gave me many long car driving hours ideal to fill with mindless crochet.IMGP4811_PEF_shotwell_modifiedI used some standard sport weight wool I got at a local yarn shop and I am quite happy with the quality.  Also I am not afraid at all to pop the cardigan in the washing machine which I have done many times already since I finished it in January and have been wearing it non-stop. I made a size 1 and guess my gauge was a bit of because it turned out a bit tight but I love it anyway.IMGP4812_PEF_shotwell_modifiedThe pattern is very easy and the instructions quite good which means that this is a perfect project for a beginner in crochet who wants to make something wearable.

It has been my go-to cardigan since I finished it and I feel it goes with everything, at least I wear it with everything  🙂

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

 

Hawthorn Dress

Hello, I have a finished dress to show today.  This is my new Hawthorn dress from Colette patterns. The pattern is beautiful and has clear instructions with some additional help in the sewalong, which I highly recommend.IMGP4790_PEF_shotwell_modified IMGP4788_PEF_shotwell_modifiedThe fabric is a cotton/viscose shirting fabric which looks a lot like chambray. I got it at Mood when I was in NYC last month and I used about two meters of full width fabric (60”).  It’s a beautiful fabric, presses and irons well and it’s light and flowy, great for a spring/summer dress.

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I cut a size 2, based on my waist measurement but made some alterations to the pattern. First of all I did a SBA, since I am rather small in that area.  In the sewalong there are some instructions to do this but I found that they were not complete.  They are very clear if you want to do a FBA but I was a bit unsure how to overlap the pattern pieces to get the correct amount of reduction.  Anyhow, since I will probably need to make more SBAs in the future I am planing on studying them thoroughly and maybe even post my findings here. FBAs seem to be much more common than SBAs so obviously they get more attention on the web.  When I did the SBA the front bodice piece was shortened by 2cm so I also made that adjustment to the back piece. Then I also tightened the dress by 1cm on each side seam so overall the bodice fits me well enough. Its a bit baggy under my chest, maybe I need to make the darts a bit deeper, and I would also like to narrow the shoulders a bit.  My final adjustment was to cut 8cm of the length of the skirt(pretty standard for me).IMGP4806_PEF_shotwell_modifiedIMGP4805_PEF_shotwell_modified

The dress is not hard to sew, of course you have to pay some attention to detail when constructing the collar and making the buttonholes.  The hem is sewn by hand as instructed and I am quite happy with it.  It took a long time though because the skirt is a half circle and therefore the hem is soooo long. I have one complaint about this pattern though. When attaching the collar and and facings there is only 1/4 inch seam allowance which I find a bit small and it means that there is really no room for mistake. And if you are sewing with a fabric that frays and you have to unpick you might end up having real difficulty when sewing the pieces back together.  Also when the seam allowance is so narrow I feel you are in more danger of the presser foot falling of the fabric specially when you have to pivot to make sharp corners like on this dress. You have to be very precise when basting and sewing the collar and facings. Maybe this is just me but I will have this in mind next time I make a Hawthorn. Because I am planing more dresses since I only need a few more tweaks to make this pattern fit me perfectly.  I would love a winter version with the long sleeves in cotton flanell or some pretty wool.IMGP4801_PEF_shotwell_modifiedBut overall I love this dress, it is so playful and easy to wear. And it goes very nicely with my new Fieldwork Cardigan.

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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 🙂