Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Back on the wagon: WIP Wednesday

I can't remember if I've shared any photos of the latest stocking project, but I have been slowly plodding away at it since the end of last year.  I'm finding it a bit difficult at time taking what I have finished and where the gaps that need to be filled in are, so I'm currently doing some of the backstitch as I go. That way I know that if it's backstitched then I have checked that all the gaps are meant to be there!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

More sewing (and a bit of knitting)

I have been sewing some more over the last week, and actually come out with something wearable. I redrafted the top front piece of the Lekala top pattern, and ended up with this:

The fit is much better (and the fabric is also nicer). There is still room for improvement, in that the shape of the seam at between the top and bottom front pieces is a little off, and the pleats need to move towards the sides a little more, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.

I also experimented with another bra, from a heavy woven linen. The end result isn't really wearable, but it has highlighted issues I had with the fit (which were also present in the first one, but somewhat hidden by the nature of the knit fabrics). Overall I think I need the front to be wider, but with a smaller band size. My next plan is to use the same pattern for the cup, use the next sister size up (up a band size, down a cup size so the cup fits in) for the cradle, and then tweak the back band so that it fits as the next band size down would. I have no idea what fabrics I will use, I will see what I have on hand that seems appropriate and keep stealing hardware off old bras.

I have also been knitting away on my shawl for the Ravelry Worldwide Shawl Exchange, and am now about 2/3rds done. I have just finished the second chart, just the last section to go (around 40 long, long, rows). I have now reached the stage where I am oscillating between being excited to see how it will turn out, and being bored with the long rows - pretty normal for me when it comes to triangular shawls!

Thursday, 12 February 2015


The swift is done!

(The colours are much more accurate in this photo than in the last block)

I think this went together more smoothly than last time, although it is a little wonky on one edge. I'm happy to fudge that if/when required in piecing the birds together, whatever I end up doing with them. I didn't bother starching, and still had less trouble with the fabrics not being particularly firm, so I'm assuming that having some idea about that going in made a bit of a difference. I definitely got better at judging where to put the pieces of fabric to get them to cover their allocated area properly. And I only sewed one piece in wrong-side out!

I did end up with a couple of places where I misjudged and ended up with a little bit of selvedge showing, but I'm not too worried about it, and am willing to call it a learning experience. (Or, I didn't have the heart to undo more seams...)

I ran out of bobbin thread on the second to last seam, so I just grabbed a darker blue that I had handy, which seems to have worked out okay. I need to do some other sewing before I start on the next block, but I'm not sure what will be up next. At least I have an empty bobbin if I choose something I don't already have thread wound for.

One thing I'm not quite sure about with this paper piecing is when I should be removing the paper. I haven't taken any out, and I'm thinking it will probably be okay to leave in until the whatever-it-is is assembled. I think with the twill fabrics having the paper in for stability for as long as possible is probably a good plan. Does anyone out there have any advice for me on that?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Experimenting with knits

A few months ago I was introduced to Lekala patterns.  I like the concept of made-to-measure patterns, so thought I'd see what they were actually like to use.  For a trial run I looked through their free patterns and picked out a knit top (8004) to see how it would work for me.

I did ignore some of the assembly instructions, mainly regarding finishing the neckline.  I was a little unclear on what they actually meant in a couple of places too, but had enough sewing experience to make it up as I went along.  The fabric I used was some cheap stretch mystery fabric I got from Kutwells some number of years ago.  It wouldn't be my first choice now, but perfectly adequate for a pattern test!

I couldn't find my clear elastic this morning so I stabilised the neckline with bias binding.  I suspect there are many better options, but this was easy and I had it on hand. I still need to finish trimming the neck hem.

The pattern could fit a little better - there isn't really enough room vertically through the bust, so the underbust seam rides up, or if I tug it down the neckline is quite low.  The front pleats are also not placed right for me (but I accept that I may have done something weird there).  I have just read some reviews that indicate that this is a known issue, although I may have guessed wrong on some of the optional adjustment measurements. I don't feel particularly inclined to get a new version of the pattern to test that theory though, I will just think about altering what I have. I don't know if I will make it again, although I am thinking it may adapt nicely into a light summer dress. I also have a bunch of merino knit that I got ridiculously cheap from Fabric Vision last year...

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cat hat

The monkey has a cat hat that has gone astray at preschool a couple of times (but has been found each time so far), but after the last time he commented that I should make a cat hat for the changeling too.  Conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your viewpoint) I have recently lost the helicopter hat that he had been wearing.  It never quite fitted right, so I redrafted the pattern.  I only had enough of the cat fabric for 3 panels, so I alternated it with a light brown cotton, which I also used for the lining. 

The shape is still not quite right, and he is nearly ready to move up to the next size anyway, but this was a nice quick project to whip up and feel like I'd made something useful!
I still need to attach elastic, and a button on the top, but it is at least wearable in the back yard at the moment. I guess I will try to get it properly finished in time for him to wear it to playcentre on Thursday.