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

 

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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

 

 

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

FO: The Parka

So, I’ve finally finished the parka I’ve been talking about for the last month.

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I made it from black cotton twill and the lining is red and white polka dot cotton. It features a two way zipper, zipper shield, hood, fish tail hem, welt pockets, paper back pockets with flaps as well as lots and lots of top stitching.  It’s definitely the most difficult and complicated garment I have ever made and I think I did a fairly good job.  At least I am very happy with the result and I know I will wear it a lot.IMGP4515_modified

I made some alterations. I shortened the body by 7 cm in total, 2 above the waist and 5 below and because of this I used a zipper that was 65 cm instead of 70 cm. I shortened the sleeves by 5 cm, which may have been a little bit to much, but it works OK.  I did not make a muslin because this is a loose fitting jacket and I found it unnecessary, but maybe I should have to get the sleeve length right. The pattern was not always very clear and the photographs in the magazine, the technical drawing and the written instructions did not always match which meant I had to improvise a little sometimes.  But I guess that when you sew a pattern that is graded as advanced you should be able to figure out what to do when the instructions are not clear.  And one thing that I found very bad.  IMGP4520_modifiedThe pockets are worked first. They are sewn on the front pieces before they are interlined with the lining, which means that the fabric stretches out. When I cut out the lining and started basting to the shell, the shell was bigger, which gave me some difficulty when lining up the zipper and hemming.  So my advice (and reminder if I make this again) is to stay stitch the front pieces before working the pockets.

IMGP4523_modifiedSure, it has some flaws.  The sleeves are not totally pucker free, the pockets are not perfectly identical on both sides and the top stitching is not completely straight but I love those little imperfections.  They are there because I made this jacket and I am very proud of it.  For years, I have been looking for a black autumn/spring jacket but never found the right one. Now I have one that I love and I will probably wear it until it falls apart. Mission accomplished!IMGP4521_modified

Progress on the Parka

Parka-1-b

I haven’t talked about the jacket I am sewing for a while now so I guess this is a good time.  I started making this parka from the latest Ottobre Woman magazine a few weeks ago.  I bought the shell fabric in my local fabric store but ordered the lining and notions online.  They took forever to arrive.  I guess that my order was somehow forgotten because as soon as I managed to contact them (this was not easy) 16 days after I made my order they sent it right away.  I was really unhappy with their service but at least I got my stuff in the end.

 

When I had only the shell fabric I did everything I could, that is I sewed the pockets and prepped some smaller pieces to get it out of the way.  The lining is namely treated as an interlining, meaning that a shell piece and a corresponding lining piece are treated as one when sewing. After sewing each seam you have to serge the edges and then top stitch, so there is a lot of work.Photo0361_modified

The lining is a beautiful red cotton with white polka dots. After I basted the lining pieces to the shell pieces the body of the fabric changed a lot and now it feels much more like outerwear.  I thought that a shell made of twill would be somehow cheap looking  and without body but it is not and  I am really happy with my fabric choices.

After I got my order it took my a few days to get back on track with sewing the parka, but last weekend I finally cut out the pieces for the lining and now I have sewed everything together.  What is still missing is binding the hood/jacket seam, inserting the zipper (which scares me a bit), finishing the front edges of the jacket and hood. This is done with a facing which first has to have it’s edges finished with bias-tape and the final step is hemming.  Wow, when I write it down like that it is not much at all.Photo0364_modified

Maybe I’ll have it ready before the weekend 🙂

I can’t wait!!!

Sweatshirt dress

IMGP4435_modifiedA couple of days ago we had one of those autumn days where it is sunny, bright and oh so beautiful but with crisp air and cold wind.  When I was walking to the library to study trying to keep warm since the sun had tricked me to think it was warmer outside I got the idea for this dress.  I wanted a dress that was warm, comfy and stylish.  I decided to use sweatshirt fabric since it is thick and made of cotton and also it is a stable knit fabric which I thought would make a comfy dress.

I decided to use black so I could wear it with colorful tights which conveniently are available in thick cotton and wool blends.

The pattern is a mixture.  The bodice is from an Ottobre Woman t-shirt pattern but I changed the neckline. I lowered it and added a neckline band.  The sleeves are from another Ottobre Woman pattern, since the ones for the bodice were short.

IMGP4436_modifiedThe skirt however is my own make.  I’m not gonna go as far as calling it my own design since it is only two rectangles sewn together at the sides and then pleated to fit the bodice.  I am really happy with the front of the skirt.  The back of the skirt is another story.  I guess I learned that you should not place a pleat like that in a thick fabric like this at center back. It really stretches out and if you look at it from the side it really stands out, making my behind look huge and simply strange.  Maybe it’s also because I accidentally cut the skirt to short so the weight isn’t pulling it down or something, but I think this is not the most flattering look:

IMGP4445_modifiedIt was relatively quick to make since I used my serger for almost every seam. I hemmed the sleeves and skirt using the zig-zag stitch since I haven’t been happy with the twin needle result.  The seams never turn out stretchy enough and the threads always break.  I also read this post on Sewaholic about seaming in knit clothing.  I really agree with her on what see says about the zig-zag stitch and I’m going to use it more from now on.

IMGP4439_modifiedApart from the skirt issues I am really happy with this dress and I know I will wear it a lot even though it has those flaws.  An those flaws only give me an excuse to make another one of those dresses which is never a bad thing, right?