Saturday, 30 April 2016

Me Made May 2016

Just a very quick bonus post today. May starts tomorrow (though you wouldn't think it with all the bleeding snow!) and this year I am going to take part in Me Made May. The idea behind this is you wear handmade clothes everyday for the whole month of May, well I don't think I'm quite there yet (unless you want to see the same outfits over and over again), so I am pledging to wear me-made clothes at least three times each week for the whole month (obviously more if I can).

This is a great exercise to test how well your makes fit into your daily life, and identify any gaps which can then be filled. I feel like this works very well alongside my wardrobe architect project, where I have been trying to do mindful sewing (stuff I'm actually going to find useful), so prepare yourselves for regular outfit updates. I'll also be posting regularly on Instagram (user ID: kathrinej81), if you are so inclined please pop over and have a gander.

Almost.... But not quite

So a couple of weeks ago I tried to make mys of a Delphine skirt (from Tilly's book 'Love at First Stitch'). I had the perfect fabric... And as the skirt is A-line I figured it's sure to fit me fine... And then I ran into some problems. But first let me give you an idea about my vision...

In exhibit a. we see the lovely exaggerated A-line skirt... And the awesome Korean cotton with cute little cogs on it. I think you get the idea.

I ran into trouble at the trying on stage. The pattern itself is lovely, the instructions a piece of p. to follow. But I didn't make a muslin (fail #1), and I didn't take into account that my hips are a good size and then some bigger than my waist (fail #2) meaning I should have been tracing a smaller size and grading out for the hips. I didn't take a photo of the fitting failure (I maybe should do that... Just to remind me and help me learn), but the skirt itself was fine... Then the waistband stuck out like a bleedin' funnel!!

So I went back to the sewing machine... Removed the waistband and just folded over the top of the skirt to make it start at the hip (fail #3) instead of creating a new waistband.

The finished skirt is ok... But in my opinion it really looks home-made and feels unfinished.

As the exaggerated a-line was also a bit lost in my hips I tried to take the skirt out a bit below hip level by narrowing the seam allowance, which helped but makes the side seam a bit lumpy. But then I ran into trouble with the lining... Which I managed to cut too narrow... Meaning it didn't quite reach the zip at the back (fail #4). I got inventive at this point because I just wanted it finished, so I used some strips of bias binding leftover from my wedding outfit jacket...

Oh yeah and the lining's white because I didn't have enough navy left in my stash (fail #...what are we up to now?). Ok I'm a little smug about this fix though, it works really well.

So in a nutshell... I managed to make myself a perfectly wearable skirt... Which I don't feel satisfied with because it's not what I had pictured in my mind... I wanted a Delphine, I got a basic a-line.

But I've learned from this... 1. TAKE PROPER MEASUREMENTS!! And pay attention to them, don't just go with 'well my hips are big so I'll just trace that size'.

2. Spend time making a muslin. This means when I solve the fitting problems they are solved for every time I want to make this skirt in the future.

3. Appreciate that this is still a very nice skirt, even though it's not quite what I wanted. I have worn it out and about and really feel that it needs a proper waistband, so I might be going back to add one, but I did enjoy wearing it.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Coco Loco

I must be the only blogger going who hasn't made a Coco. Ok maybe I exaggerate, but it kinda feels like it. I've debated for a very long time over whether to buy this pattern. I mean yeah it's cute, but it's also very basic, and could I not find something to match it? (the Plantain t-shirt is pretty close). Well I mentioned that I had a hen-do to plan recently, the theme of which we decided was going to be French (she loves France and Paris in particular). We even found an art class (OK a life drawing class) to do for a bit of fun, so obviously we needed to look like French artists. 

So I needed a French striped top, and what could be more perfect than a Coco tunic with some skinny black jeans... So I caved and bought it!

Ha ha... Odd socks!! 

The Coco has three options with mid- cuffed sleeves, long sleeves, dress length and tunic length as options, and if you really want something striking there's an awesome 60s style standing collar too! I'm so trying that for a winter dress next year!

I bought some ponte-Roma jersey to make it with, which turned up a bit rough and scratchy which I was disappointed with... But bloody hell is it warm! I was obviously going for tunic length, and decided to make the cuffs as a cute extra detail. On the photos you can hardly see it because of the stripes, but they work really well.

As far as construction goes... This is really absurdly easy! Front... Back... Sleeve... Sleeve... Done! The cuffs and collar add a bit more work, but not much. The things I would change about it next time would be to cut a smaller size over the shoulders and sleeves, and grade it back out again for my hips... There does seem to be quite a bit of excess fabric on this one...

But it makes it loose and comfy. The whole thing can be squeezed out of a mere metre of fabric. I have loads spate of the 1.5 meters recommended... Hmmm maybe a colour blocked Coco sometime?

I even managed a spot of stripe matching!

A detail I really liked was those little notches as the waistband, it gives it a more professional feel and another cute little detail. What I really wasn't keen on was the idea of zig zag top stitching. I think it really shouts out that something is home-made. I went with a twin needle... Though I really need to work on my straight lines!

In all I like this pattern, it's simple but interesting enough depending on how much you put into it. I am looking forward to trying it as a dress (which is basically a really long version of the top). There doesn't feel like there's much to say about it, maybe because it is such a straightforward pattern, which is presented really well in its packet and instructions.

And if you want to know how it looked on the day?

Yeah the tash and beret were obligatory... That was a good day

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A whole new world

Excuse the melodramatic title, but it's kinda what I'm feeling right now. Ok first things first, where on earth have I been? Hundreds of posts for a couple of weeks and then a sudden radio silence. Well last weekend it was my sisters hen do, and as the head bridesmaid I had a lot to get done, the least of which was making an outfit for the event. But more on that later, I'm here to tell you about a little revelation I had in WH Smiths this afternoon...

Knitting magazines

Don't get me wrong, I knew they existed... I just never realised they were this good!! I'm already a regular of the sewing magazine, which I buy primarily for the free patterns (£6 for a magazine and up to 2 patterns that I would probably not be adventurous enough to buy... Yes please). I used to glance over the knitting section and think pffft, it's all beginner or Nanna knitting stuff. But then today these two caught my eye.

They also come with free patterns, The Knitter has a pattern card...

Ok a bit Nanna-ish (in my opinion) but the other patterns in the book are great.

And Knit Today came with a cowl pattern and lovely bamboo needles...

But the shop had one of each copy open to allow the (probably biased like me) punters to have a flick through. These magazines are wonderful, they have the same energy as the sewing magazines I usually buy, and the patterns included are really lovely (no Nanna jumpers to be found!)

Knit today includes lots of home knitting, throws, toys... And lampshades? Erm, OK.

But there's also quite a bit about new types of yarn, and interviews with designers and knitters.

The Knitter on the other hand includes umpteen patterns, including that awesome purple number on the cover. It has more patterns per page than Knit Today, but does include some chat too. In all I am really pleasantly surprised by the fantastic non-beginner Nanna-less style of these magazines... And the sinking feeling that my month has just gotten two magazines more expensive.

Though I should probably say no bribery was involved in my gleeful report of these magazines, I just think they're awesome.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Work in progress

I have had quite a busy week, much knitting was done through the week in various intervals at work. On the flip side of this, because it was my birthday on Sunday, and I had my mum up visiting, absolutely no knitting was done over the weekend 

I even got a sewing themed card from a fellow crafter at work!!

At the moment I am making good progress on my Bailey cardigan, I've even nearly made it to the armhole divide. It looks very wobbly so far because of the recycled yarn, but I did a quick steam block of the bottom which put it a bit to rights. I'm glad I did that too because the yarn felt softer afterwards, so hopefully a full on block will really soften it up. Those wonderful pockets get added later on, so it's a whole heap of mindless stockinette at the moment, perfect for tv watching.

I have also made a start on my other summer project (I say other like I just had the two... Ha ha... As if!). This is the Campsite cardigan. It's a raglan which is made neck down... a nice contrast to the bottom up Bailey. I'm using Lang Omega yarn it a colour I can only describe as mouse.

It's as soft as a mouse too... So this is my mouse cardigan. The Camping Mouse (hmmm, name needs more work) is going very well, but also very slowly due to the high number of stitches I needed to use to get the size right on the gauge I stubbornly wanted to use. More details on that little treat later. Anyway this is what the Campsite cardigan will look like all finished up...

Photo from the pattern page on Ravelry.

So anyway, here's where I'm at now, hopefully soon I shall be able to show off a completed cardigan.