Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pink and Purple Stripped Wool Knitted Jersey!

I am so proud to present this new knitted jumper!
I am a new knitter, this is only my third project, and although I imagine all projects are special, this is special for me because it means me mastering the technique like a boss!
In the previous jumper, I was learning and struggling till the end. I had to undo many times long and short bits of knitted material, I even accepted many mistakes as part of the project.
 Not in this one.
This is perfect, no flaws, no mistakes. This is me mastering the knitting stitch and the creation of a pattern copying another jumper I had, tight to my body. As in the previous one, I followed the Knitter's Handy Book of Sweaters to replicate a raglan sleeve model. 
 I used the circular needles as the book suggests, so I now have a completely seamless jumper. I think it is the best way to knit a jumper, for the comfort circular needles offer and for the result.

 I took the sleeves with me in my summer travels to Portugal, Czechia and Cadaqués, and knitted in planes (that helps me in my fear to fly a big deal) and trains, beaches and hotels.
I used Katia's 100% merino wool like in the previous one. It's gorgeous to work with and wear. I won't be the last.

As I knitted along, I read Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears, and I realized Budd's book is indebted to our saint patron of the knitters, Elizabeth Zimmermann, who invented, or at least popularized, the seamless sweaters knitted with circular needles, the technique of closing stitches in the underarm area, among many other things. It is a very interesting book to better understand patterns and freestyling.

The idea and design of the stripes was mine. I made them quite wide, 5 cm, or 16 rows long.
I also included some waist shaping, with decreases and increases that coordinate with the striping (every 8 rows).

I had some tribulations with the neck. The first version was too close and tight, so I undid it all and started anew some cm before. The second version was more becoming but since I simply bound off stitches at the last row, it became too tight too, so I undid it again and finished with a sewn bind off as E. Zimmerman, or Budd recommend.
I recorded all the details of the pattern in Ravely

I still do not master blocking, let us be sincere. I submerge the finished jumper in lukewarm water with some drops of soft soap, rinse and take the excess of water with a towel. Then I put it over a foam mat, with pins stuck marking the shape the original jumper had, and I spent two hours trying to shape it back into there. It is huge after taking it off the towel, and I have to proceed with infinite patience to clap and poke and gently try to absorb the excess into shape. It took a whole day to completely dry, but after so much struggle, the result is perfect. I have been told wool clothes have to be washed only once a year, and also that the piece will keep its blocked shape for 7 or 8 wash-ups, but I think it is going to become huge again next time I wash it. We'll see!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Long-Sleeved Body

When I was in Portugal last summer, I found this wonderful elasticated cotton, perfect for a body to wear under the jumper I was knitting.
I've sewn three or four of these already, it is a must in winter time, specially to wear under wool jumpers. I have sensitive skin, and for me even the softest wool is itchy.
I used my own pattern, like in previous versions. For next renditions of the pattern, I will definitively adjust the crotch area, since it is too long and wide, and I always have to reshape it after fitting.
Other than that, perfect result!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Man Tracksuit Pants

Good news and bad news.
Bad news is "The man in front of Sainsbury's" is a sham. I was so proud of having met him, he seemed so eager to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth about fabric composition. Well, caught lying the lad. I bought and carried through the air three metres  of this s***t for nothing. He told me it was cotton, double sided, gorgeous. Well, it is not, at least not only cotton. Its blackness glows, it sticks to my iron if too hot and it burns like (to say the least) viscose, or worse, the feared and despised polyester. What a pity! Three metres, 140 cm wide.
Good news is I made a new custom fit pattern: tracksuit of my love.
I used Aldrich's book for menswear, drawing the flat paettern in paper with K's real measures. This is almost necessary in this particular case because he is so tall and thin, the standard sizing is always wide or short. Now this is proportionate, well fitting and becoming. A pattern to keep and use over and over. The man loves his traksuits. And burning them lighting the fireplace... hahaha! So, these will not be the last. I hope.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Black Jersey Minishort Copycat

A very simple but necessary kind of project, when I saw these Adidas minishorts on my friend Meri, I had to have them. 
So I borrowed them, and used the rub off technique described in this book, which is proving VERY useful, to copy them. They fitted me like a globe, so I only had to reproduce them exactly. In the final stages of construction I decided to put a couple of elasticated bands at the top insteat of a cord, between the topstitching lines.
For future reproductions, better not to topstitch the top part, only understitch it like in the model, to avoid some ruffling. Nothing serious, since it disappears when wearing them, but it makes the piece to protude slightly off the body.
Other than that, and the fact that this is not 100% cotton (thanks to the man in front of Saintbury's, who lied to me) perfect!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cotton Sundress

I bought this wonderful printed cotton in my summer holidays in Lisboa. It is made in Portugal, with a beautiful Japanese pattern, good quality old cotton, only at 9 Euros per metre. Traveling to Lisboa is worth it only for fabric hunting. And food. And Alfama. And weather, beaches, nice people...
When I came back, I decided to replicate another sundress I already have, this time to make it with a lower waist, since the first version is lovely but has this unconfortable problem.
So I used the same pattern than the previous version. The bodice is my pattern, with the waist enlargement modification, and the skirt is a masterpiece I love, by Burda. It is a flared skirt with inverted, unpressed pleats, two in front and two in the back.
I self-encased all the seam allowances in the dress, and topstitched them, since black thread is really invisible in this fabric.
First, I finished the skirt with a waist band, and then I made the bodice, sewing it to the same waistband, which becomes invisible, but works as a stay to the waist when wearing the dress. I had to calculate precisely the waist measure to make it conformtable to wear, not to tight or loose.
I also modified the shoulders, moving them towards the inside, because in the previous version they had a tendency to fall off.
I installed a 70 cm long zipper in the back. Due to the waist sructure, this cannot be sewed as invisible, but as the old lapped zipper thing.
The dress is very confortable to wear, beautiful and becoming, I think. Total success!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Classic Bodice Bust Dart: My First Draping Project

Every summer I try to learn something new in sewing, and this 2016 draping it was. I bought this massive book:

which is proving to be really impressive and worth it. I have only had time for the first 5 projects, but I can already apply the newly acquired learning to my sewing projects.

The first project is a tunic; which I did wrong, thinking it was whole front and back, when it was only half of each. 

This is a study on breast darts. Much more easier and graphic than the horizontal paper alternative!!
On top of that, I believe new learnings are better acquired  if applied with a real purpose, so I plan to use the projects the book presents to me as real sewing projects whenever possible. And this presented as a wonderful possibility. I had some remaining fabric from my last dress. It is a wonderful cotton Liberty print fabric, not to be disregarded, and it was perfect for the Classic Bodice Bust Dart project:

 The book gives you graffic ideas of how to transfer the studies to actual clothes. This was a blouse with a bust dart, no waist shaping and a bias neck-bow piece.

This is the pattern as I made it over my dress form. I invented the armscyes and the neck-cut, but in fact I pretty much followed the book suggestions.

And this is the result. With a deep-blue background, it is screaming for some jeans to go with, poor thing.

When I was draping my pattern, I put a little on at the waist. To be able to visualize that and do it there! is great. I love that!

This is a blouse to put in your suitcase for holidays in warm places. Really wearable.

The fabric was so scarce, I had to attach different pieces to make the bias neck tie.

I will go on practicing... maybe not so much in winter (I must work and study, so less hobby time), but the projects are candy for my eyes, really. Great book, it seems!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Shirt Dress V8970

 I love shirt dresses! Specially in summer, cotton shirtdresses are great. Retro and yet modern. Very femenine, specially with a Liberty print cotton like this. I bought it when I got my new Bernina, in the same shop. Expensive, but worth it. Light, sweet, cool and not much wrinkles. I took these photos after a long morning shopping around the city with my car in a VERY hot day, in Lleida.
The pattern I found it in the internet, and it is the last commercial pattern I will ever buy. EVER. I promise that. Two sizes big. I mean, two sizes!! After drawing the pattern pieces, taking the seam allowances off, checking they were roomy enough, but... that roomy????!!! 

I took a whole size down after the first fitting, with all the dress basted, and I think it is probably still too big. But in a way I like it being big, loooots of ease. 

And that is why I loved this pattern in the first place, because in spite of being a shirt dress, small at the waist and with a flared skirt, it is not trying to pretend I have some waist by putting a LOT of pressure in my reverse waist. I don't need that to drive and do errands in a hot summer morning. But I still like walking in style! Ha!
The pattern is still nice, though. I am not quite sure about those huge darts under the breast and over the skirt, shaping them both at the same time. Clever. But are they too high? Too deep? Would they be better if multiplied? I have the intention of revisiting this pattern again, the dress is comfy and becoming, so... not bad after all!