Friday, April 11, 2014

Me-Made-May 2014!

This is the first year I've decided that I have enough handmade clothes to last me throughout the whole of Me-Made-May!  I made my pledge today over on So, Zo.  Here it is:

I, Christina of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2014.  I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item (excluding underpants which are mostly handmade) every day for the duration of May 2014.

I won't be able to wear unique items every day, I just don't have enough.  But I might be surprised!  Some days I find myself wearing 100% me-made clothes (excluding footwear and bras) - and some nights too!  I have 2 pairs of handmade pyjamas which are in high rotation.  Plus I think I have an advantage because I have a bunch of knitting as well as sewing!

Why Participate?
1. I really love the handmade/sewing online community and I like to participate as much as I can.  It'd be nice to get some new readers too!
2. I'm looking forward to finding some holes in my handmade wardrobe and filling them!  For example, I like to wear t-shirts and pants on weekends and I have no handmade t-shirts.  Billions of skirts though.
3. This will give me a chance to figure out why I don't wear some things I made.  And then when the month is over, I will be able to re-work or chuck out the stuff I don't like!
4. It's fun to do challenges!

I'm going to take photos of each handmade outfit and post them on my blog - possibly not daily but in a weekly round up.  I prefer that format on other people's blogs so I should stick to that right??

Here's where you can sign up on So, Zo's blog
Here's a link to the flickr pool where people will post photos
Here's a link to the Me-Made-May Pinterest board

Will you join Me-Made-May??

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Finished - "Mattias" fair isle jumper for Charles!

Here is my first significant unselfish knitting project - and my first fair isle project - a jumper for my husband Charles.  He was getting jealous of all the lovely new knits I was getting and asked me to make something for him!

I am pretty happy with how this turned out, seeing as it was my first attempt at fair isle.  Knitting fair isle itself isn't hard, it's just a little annoying to have to weave in the unused yarn so it's not too loopy at the back.  I ended up with some very tangled balls of wool!
Charles really likes his new jumper, he wears it a lot!  But beware this pattern!
I did have to make some heavy modifications to the pattern.  I cast off the underarms where written, but stopped for the neckline much sooner than the pattern indicatd.  Charles' arms aren't as wide as his entire chest, you see.  I also re-did the neckline because it was too loose.  It's all detailed in my Ravelry notes, but it was a bit of a headache making it sit right.
When I first sewed in the sleeves, there was a huge amount of bulk at the front, so I re-did the sleeve heads to be smaller and also tucked in a little of the front armhole when re-sewing them together.  Now it works pretty well!
It is crazy hard to get a good photo of these colours!  It's a denim blue, quite muted in real life.  In photos the white tends to be overexposed which changes everything!
"YES! I have a new jumper!"

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pants take two!

I made another pair of pants!  
Same pattern as last time, Knit Wit 2100.
I narrowed the legs quite a lot, and evened out the hip curve.  It fits really well!

A bit of wrinkling in the back but it's pretty good.
From a distance they look like regular suit trousers!  But in reality they're comfy stretchy pants I can slip on!

The blouse is me-made too, from a Gothic and Lolita Bible pattern yonks ago.  I remember it was in Japanese and I couldn't read it!  But it's got cute pintucks in the front so I like it a lot.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pants! Knitwit pattern 2100.

Look!  I made some pants!
These crazy pants are KnitWit 2100, and I chose to do view A (the easy one).  View B has pockets and more difficult fastenings at the waistband.  I omitted the pleat down the middle to avoid looking too much like a nana!  I got the pattern from an op shop, I love knitwit patterns!
The fabric was a gift from Charles' grandmother, and is a fairly old cotton-elastic blend knit.  I can tell it's got elastic in it because it's perishing slightly!  It doesn't quite stretch back into shape when I pull it.  I made these pants as a toile, as I'd bought some nice black ponte to make another pair.
The alterations I plan to make include making the legs narrower, getting rid of the sagging at the hips (not really noticeable because of the fabric here, but I notice), and maybe making the waist lower.
The fit at my butt is pretty good.

Pretty happy with these pants though.  I'm goint to wear them all the time!
Maybe.  They do look a bit like pyjamas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Series 2 Episode 3 - Knits!

I am really enjoying this series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  It seems better structured than the first series - and also it has more episodes!  Always a win.
Episode three of this series was on working with knit or stretch fabric.  This is something lots of sewers find a bit challenging! I've been trying to work with knits a bit, making underpants and a few other knit things (post to come!).

The first challenge - the "pattern" challenge - was to make a pair of leggings to fit the mannequin.  Different fabrics produce a different amount of stretch, so the contestents had to be sure to measure accurately and adjust the pattern accordingly.

The creative challenge was to take a large men's plain t-shirt and make it into something different!  I always love to think of what I'd make in this challenge.  This time I would have made a pair of underpants and maybe a singlet if possible!  That's certainly a big change to the t-shirt!

The fitting challenge was to make a wrap dress to fit the models.  Some of these dresses were absolutely gorgeous, things I'd like to wear!

This is such a great program - even my husband Charles looks forward to it each week.  I'm naughty and download it but I think in some countries you can watch it on youtube (not available here).

Not much of a review today but I recommend you get into this show!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Self-drafted bodice dress

So I have been really enjoying Dolly Clackett's blog - her dresses are always made of gorgeous fabric, with a fitted bodice and full skirt.  I wanted one too!
First I made myself and Elisalex bodice to see if it would fit - and - it didn't.  Not at all!  The shoulders fell off, the bust was baggy, it was AWFUL.  So I drafted a bodice for myself using a book I had.  The book is from the 60s and has errors in it!  Annoying!
I traced the neckline of the Elisalex dress and combined it with my own bodice block.  It still didn't turn out that well!  I feel as though it's baggy in some places and tight in others and I'm not sure what to do next.  The skirt is just a box-pleated rectangle, and I edged it with some broderie anglaise.
This dress does look ok with a petticoat, cardigan, and heels.
I also put in a waistband, which may have been my main mistake.  It looks like it made the bodice too long for my body.
It does have one pocket!  Just one.  WHY.
Bias binding armholes - yes this is an armhole not some random body part.
My "invisible" zip - gosh I suck at them.
Ummm thanks for looking?  It's a weird dress and I'm not sure whether I'll wear it.  Failure is the first step on the road to success, or something.
I'm going to enter this dress in the Sew Dolly Clackett competition but I have very very low hopes for winning!  But as they say, you've got to be in it to win it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Completed - Chuck jumper!

I've made another lovely jumper!

It took me a little while to get gauge on this top, the pattern says 5mm needles but the gauge was totally huge.  4.5 wasn't much better, so I went with 4mm.  Two whole needle sizes down!  I was a little worried while knitting, because whenever I showed anyone they said "Oh it's so small!".  But it turned out perfect.
This pattern features exciting cables down the front.  I hadn't done cables like this before but the pattern has detailed instructions.  Once I got going it was fine!
Another nice thing about this pattern, is that you only need one needle size.  The ribbing is all knit on the same size needle, and it doesn't gape or anything.
The wool is from Bendigo Woolen Mills as usual, and I'm using the Luxury wool.  It's barely itchy at all, which is something that usually bothers me.  My Milena was knitted with their Classic wool, which is much itchier (I'm thinking of lining the arms to help - blog post to come if I do).
The sleeve caps are shaped with short rows, which are way easier than I thought.  Gives a nice neat effect too.  I made my sleeves full length instead of 3/4 because I don't have many 3/4 length blouses to wear with it.
So yes, very happy with this jumper.  In these photos it looks like the sides are wrinkling but I don't think it's a problem.  I just needed to pull it down!

Now I'm knitting a jumper for my lovely husband Charles!  It's my first time knitting fair isle, so stay tuned for that!!