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.

IMGP4807_PEF_shotwell_modifiedIMGP4804_PEF_shotwell_modified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMGP4783_PEF_shotwell_modified

Cutting

Without a doubt my least favorite part of sewing is cutting the fabric.  I really dread this part of the process which results in many of my ideas are never executed, even though I have a pattern, the right fabric and all.  Before you start cutting you need a lot of dust free space which means clearing the kitchen table or mopping the floor and then you have to fold the fabric correctly which is hard when you have 2-3 meters of fabric. Then you have to measure everything and even mark seam allowances. When cutting you need to take care and be precise because it really affects the look and quality of the finished garment.

Therefore my newest approach to this problem is to cut a lot at once, to simply get the cutting over with and then I have plenty of fun sewing to do  So the last two evenings I have been preparing a few projects, and now I have a fun pile of ready to sew pieces.  I spent the last of my evening threading my overlocker, testing the stitches on some scrap fabric and now it is also ready to start sewing 🙂IMGP4815_PEF_shotwell_modified

Why seams should be finished properly

IMGP4556_modifiedHello!

So last fall I made this flanell shirt for myself.  I really liked it, although it has its imperfections. Due to the excitement to start wearing it, I decided to take a short cut and only finish the seams with pinking shears. I had read all over the internet that this method is sometimes enough and was happy to try it on my shirt to not have to get my overlocker, thread it and test before I could finish my seams properly. What a time saver, right?

 

 

I wore the shirt a lot until inevitably I had to wash it.  So as I do with all my hand made clothes, I poped it in the washing machine and washed it on the DELICATE program, just in case.  When I took it out if saw to my horror that when working with soft flanells it is certainly not enough to finish the seams with pinking shears only.  It was tragic to look at and I was so upset that I hung the shirt in my closet and have not touched it since.  However, all winter I was thinking: “My flanell shirt would look very nice with this outfit” or “If only I had a cozy shirt to wear with these jeans” and then remembering what had happened.

IMGP4795_PEF_shotwell_modified

The inside after washing. Oh the horror!

IMGP4799_modified

The seam on the outside is coming apart!

So today I decided to fix it, FINALLY!!  And it only took ten minutes!  Now I can wear my shirt again without being afraid it will fall to pieces. Lesson learned!

Beautiful overlocked seam

Beautiful overlocked seam

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.

IMGP4776_PEF_shotwell_modified

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