Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sabrina Sweater from We Are Knitters

I got this Sabrina Sweater kit back in early 2017, and it took me over a year to finish it. It shouldn't have -- I was excited to wear it, and it's not too difficult to knit. But summer came, and I'm not as interested in knitting when it's warm out. I put it aside for a little while, got distracted with other projects, and didn't pick it back up for a long time. But I'm so glad to be able to wear it now! 

The kit comes with a bare-bones instruction pamphlet and their pima cotton yarn. You can choose to buy needles from them or just use your own. I used my own since I like to knit on circulars, even for knitting flat. 

The sweater is knit flat, in four pieces. You sew them together after they're knit. The stitches used are just knits and purls, and making lots of baubles. 

I changed the pattern a bit by making the bauble rows get farther apart as I got to the top of the sweater. I also lengthened the sleeves and body (I'm 5'10"). I made the back a little longer than the front and made a split hem. 

The cotton yarn is really nice quality and was easy to work with. 

I think my sweater turned out really cute! It's a simple shape but the baubles make it fun and interesting. 

We Are Knitters shows the neckline as an off-the-shoulder boatneck, but when you sew the front and back together, you can just sew farther in to make a smaller neck opening. Mine is wide, but not off-the-shoulder.

The kit is currently on sale if you want to make one, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Beaded Felt Wreath

Hi guys! Have you seen Purl Soho's Winter Wreath Kit? I think it's sooo cute! I wanted to get one last year, but I was too busy making other things. Then I wanted it again this fall, but I didn't want to spend $96. I'm so easily distracted by new ideas, maybe I wouldn't get around to making it if I had to wait to receive it in the mail. But I kept thinking about it and wanting to make one! But $96 - what if my focus shifted to some shiny, new project by the time it arrived? This debate happened every time I saw the tab for Purl Soho's website on my phone. 

My finished wreath

Finally this inner debate was resolved when I went to Hobby Lobby and saw some good, sturdy, 2mm-thick craft felt. I knew right then that I would make my own wreath, inspired by the beautiful Purl Soho kit. I bought several sheets of red felt and picked up a foam wreath for the base. 

Since my husband was out of town, I was busy with my kids all the time and I had to wait a couple days to get started, but luckily my focus never wavered. I kept thinking of how I would attach the flowers, and the different flower shapes that I wanted to make, and whether or not to cover the foam first. 

I decided to wrap the foam with strips of felt, using hot glue to attach it. It does not look that pretty, but only little bits peek through the flowers, so it worked out fine. I didn't want to see bright white foam beneath the flowers. 

Next I started making the flowers. At first I cut out separate petals, but I realized that it would get pretty bulky in the middle if I had to stitch or glue them all together. It is better to cut out the whole flower in one piece, and layer more shapes on top. 

My original petals idea - don't do it this way!

I have plenty of beads already, so I didn't need to buy any more. I got out my red, white, black, and silver beads and tried different designs on each flower. No two are the same, but the color palette is limited, so they all go together. I was able to easily sew through two or three layers of felt at a time. (It might have been a pain to get through all those separate petals sewn together, if I had gone that route.) 

I really like the effect of layering different shapes on top of the flower cut-outs!

For some, I cut circles and then cut out thin notches all around the edges to make them look like daisy petals. Layering these circles made really cute flowers.

I also used embroidery floss to embellish some of the flowers. It was hard to stop - I could have added so much more decoration to each flower! But I love how it looks with only one color of felt and the mostly-plain petals with sparkly centers. 

Then I attached the flowers to the wreath. I sorted them by shape, so I could distribute the different types fairly evenly. I hot glued the larger ones on first and then filled in with the smaller flowers. If you use a soft wreath form, you could sew the flowers on instead of gluing them. 

After I was done attaching all my flowers, I had to make seven or eight more to fill the wreath all the way (after I had done a good job of cleaning up all my supplies! Lesson: leave all your craft supplies out in case you need them again. YES, ALL OF THEM. Oh wait, you want a sane, clean house? I can't help you). It's a little hard to predict how many will be needed. I had tried to lay them out and guess, but I ended up putting them closer together than I originally thought I would. Luckily, I think it's fun to make felt flowers, so I didn't mind.

On the back, I added a ring to hang it. I hot glued a strip of felt over a metal split ring (from a key ring). You could glue or sew on a loop of fabric or yarn, if you don't have a split ring.

Voila! My beaded felt wreath is finished! I love it and would maybe make a white one, too, if I didn't have a bunch of sewing and knitting plans queued up already! Ooh, and a black one with black and metallic beads... 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Geodesic Sweatshirt

Hi guys! Here is my cropped Geodesic sweatshirt. The pattern is from Blueprints for Sewing. It has two views: a longer one, with pockets, and this cropped version. 

I used a lightweight charcoal french terry. The dark color makes it a little difficult to see the design, but try this closer view:

The construction is cool and it's fun to make! It's made of multiple triangles joined together. Taylor's designs are all interesting and smart. Her instructions are great and the clothes turn out really well.  

Here, I'm wearing it over my crazy Willamette shirt, but it's also cute with high-waisted pants. Next winter I definitely want to make a longer version, possibly with a few different colored fabrics to show off the triangles.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Kalle Shirtdresses

Hi guys! Today I want to share my Kalle Shirtdress journey. In case you're not familiar with it, Kalle is a pattern from Closet Case Patterns. It has pattern pieces and instructions to make a cropped shirt, a tunic, or a dress. There is also an add-on you can buy separately to add long sleeves. I haven't used that variation yet. 

For my first version, I copied the designer, Heather Lou, and made a white linen dress. I graded out too far at the hips and I just felt kind of frumpy in this:

I loved it on Heather. I wanted to love it on me. I tried to love it! But I just didn't reach for it when getting dressed. It was too loose to be this short on the sides (a little breeze might blow it up indecently!) It was a little too sheer on its own as a dress, so it needed a slip or leggings or pants underneath. I kept seeing it in my closet and wishing I had a white linen shirt instead.


So I turned my dress into a shirt! I cut it shorter but kept the original shape with the longer hem in the back. Now this shirt is so appealing and easy to wear, I think it will see a lot of use this summer. 

 My second Kalle is made of cotton ikat fabric, and I love it! I didn't grade it out, so the fit suits my taste much better. I used the popover placket variation, instead of having buttons all the way down.

 I reduced the length of the back hem, but kept the curves of it all the way around. I added a couple inches to the overall length since I'm #sewingtall at 5'10". 

You can tell from some of these photos how sassy I felt wearing this one! This fabric is great because it's lightweight and breathable, but it's opaque and doesn't cling much, so I don't need a slip. When it's colder, I can wear leggings underneath without it sticking to them. In the summer, I just want to wear as few layers as possible, not adding slips, camisoles, etc... 

I added in-seam pockets, but I actually made them a little too low. Next time, I will try this one on to figure out where to put the pockets for maximum usage and comfort. #alwayslearning

I made my third Kalle as part of the #sewmystyle18 challenge. Kalle was the March pattern this year. For this version, I used a red chambray. I made the tunic version, with a popover placket. 

This one feels like such a great basic for me. I think I will wear it a ton! It's so easy and loose-fitting but not sloppy. It should keep me cool this spring and summer.  

I'm getting kind of fast at making these, so there may be a few more in my future. I definitely want to make one with long sleeves, but I probably won't get excited about long sleeves until fall. Spring is just getting going and I currently want to sew for summertime!

Have you made any Kalles? Do you usually try different variations of a pattern, or stick to one view? Do you use patterns multiple times or try them once and then move on to something else? Kalle is proving to be a TNT for me!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Charlie Caftan

Hi guys! Here is my Charlie Caftan, from Closet Case Patterns. This is such a cute pattern.

I made View A, with no gathers and Yes! Pockets!

I used a chambray that was a bit heavier than ideal, probably. I like that it's not light enough to be clingy in the back, but it's a little bit stiff for this dress. 

I wonder if it will soften up and break in, like denim does, after I wear and wash it a few times. 

My inset center panel is not perfect - it's a tricky technique the first time! But I don't think most people will ever notice that. 

I think it's really cute, and I would love to make a flowy one in Version B or C (with gathers and maybe with waist ties). Rayon challis might be really nice, or linen! Then I can spend this summer in the caftan club.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Quilted Linden Sweatshirt

Hi guys! This is another top that I made in 2017: a Linden Sweatshirt

I used a quilted double knit fabric made by Telio. 

I think you can see the texture a little bit in the above photo. Black fabric is always difficult to photograph! 

I raised the neckline a bit for this one, to make it more of a crew neck. The as-drafted neck opening is pretty big. I started by just extending the front, back, and sleeve pattern pieces by an inch, but that led to the shoulders standing up away from my body. There was too much fabric. I had to also make each piece narrower at the top, by 1/4 inch on each side of each piece. I just used a ruler to help me draw the new lines and change the angle of the pieces. It wasn't that precise, since I was kind of figuring it out as I went, and it is a loose-fitting, knit garment that doesn't have to be perfectly fitted. 

I also lengthened the sweatshirt by about 1.5 inches and the sleeves by 1 inch (I'm 5'10"). 

I'd say this is another successful addition to my Linden collection. I'm glad I tried this variation - it's nice to build confidence in making alterations instead of feeling like I always have to follow a pattern 100%.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Monstera Lou Box Top

Hey there! I'm hoping to blog a bunch and get caught up on all the things I made at the end of last year, plus what I'm making so far this year. I'm out of practice, so please wish me luck. 

This is a favorite shirt that I made last year, the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY. The fabric is a rayon lawn from Cotton & Steel. As expected, it is great fabric. The unusual substrate is really nice for shirts. It's less drapey than rayon challis but drapier than cotton lawn. It's really easy to work with (not slippery) and it hangs really nicely (not clingy and not stiff).

I originally made View A, the straight hem version of this shirt, but it was too cropped for me! I tried it with all my high-waisted jeans and pants and it was just too short for my taste. Why didn't I measure first? I had made a different version before, which was long enough (did I add length to that one and not change the pattern? It's possible). I was in a hurry to make and wear this shirt, since I loved the print so much. And I guess since Beth, the pattern designer, is tall, I thought it might fit me without alteration, but I should have measured. Of course she makes patterns for average-height people, not just for herself :)

I love this fabric and wasn't about to let my too-short shirt hang unworn in my closet, so I decided to add a band to the bottom of the shirt. Can you see it in the photos? It's not that obvious because of the busy leaf pattern of the fabric. 

I looked in my fabric stash for a complementary fabric to use, but I didn't find anything I liked for the band. Black would have been nice, but only if it matched perfectly and was a similar substrate. Nope - I didn't have anything that would work. 

I'm happy with the matching band, but I would have been happier if I'd added a couple inches of length to begin with! *Note to myself and my tall friends, measure first, please.

I love this shirt and plan to make a bunch more Lou Box Tops (remembering to add length!). I'll also buy more rayon lawn, if Cotton & Steel add more prints to the line.