negroni

Man, it feels good to be sewing again!  So good, in fact, that I was willing to sew something for someone else!

IMG_4539I visited G Street last month right before some groupons expired, and since they had little selection for what I wanted, I had Mr. Nice pick out some flannel for a shirt.  I used Negroni by Collette – good pattern, I really liked it and now that I made some adjustments, I’ll definitely be making more.  Four years ago I made him a shirt (WHOA do I know a lot more now) from a Big-4 pattern and it was terrible, I had to make so many adjustments.

IMG_4544Mr. Nice gave me one of his best-fitting shirts to compare sizing, so I made some adjustments:

  • I added 2 inches to the length of the sleeves, and narrowed them by about 1 1/2 inches
  • I cut a L in the chest, then tapered down to a M at the waist
  • Due to the changes in the sleeves and chest, I ended up adjusting the armholes and giving a little bit of a sloping shoulder adjustment

I think it worked, because he approved.

IMG_4542I washed this flannel three times before cutting because I was so worried about shrinkage.  The resulting fabric was SO STRETCHY AND SHIFTY.  Cutting was tricky and I ended up doing neurotic pinning to line up the plaids.  I also had to tame my gorilla fingers to not pull and tug.  The result?  Hands up!  Plaid matching time!!

IMG_4549Not bad, right?  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I love how the flat-felled seams and bias-cut pockets and flaps looked and I LOVED the cuffs and plackets.

IMG_4545Maybe the man will make more frequent blog appearances now!

i’m making a comeback

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Marriage has made me try new things, like celebrate Valentine’s Day.  No gifts, but I sure would love a Whitman’s sampler of yarn (photo taken during a trip to Asheville, NC last year).

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What I’m REALLY here to say is… I just ordered a laptop!  Which means that hopefully, blogging can resume soon.  Just an announcement for those who haven’t given up on me yet (thank you!)

mitts and a new dress

Happy New Year! Even though it was too quiet around this blog, it was for good reason. The month of December found me knitting and sewing furiously, as I needed new mitts and a new dress so that I could do this [on Christmas Eve]…!

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These photos were taken by the wonderful Aram of Aram O Photography.  I probably owe you some more detail photos, but obviously taking photos for my BLOG was not exactly what he was aiming for [update: I figured out how to crop some more photos on my tablet].

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My dress is the Elisalex from By Hand London and my mitts are Spate by Jane Richmond, in Journey. There was a hat too but I didn’t wear it and I’m not crazy about it. Maybe a later post.

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I LOVE this dress pattern and will definitely make the sleeveless version. I actually made a real, live muslin and it was super helpful – I ended up slimming and lengthening the sleeves. Because of the high waist, I cut the same size for the top and bottom (usually I go a size up on the bottom). I ended up taking in the seams at the roundest part of the tulip because it was sort of collapsing on itself anyways. Too much tulip to hold itself up. You can’t tell from these pics but the fabric is actually black polka dot. I used interfacing on the skirt to hold the structure (after seeing this idea from Heather Lou who I SWEAR I wasn’t trying to rip off her [polka dot] dress AGAIN I bought this fabric, then saw her dress, OK for the second time, so maybe it was in my subconscious).

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The mitts are a great pattern but I wish I had bought a yarn without alpaca – I used Juniper Moon Herriot and the fluffy alpaca didn’t give the stitch as much structure as it should for this awesome stitch pattern. I also wish I didn’t make them quite so long – in theory long mitts are super cool but in reality it just means they bunch up a lot.

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I am really eager to sew and knit more but I have a major blogging problem – after my laptop died a year ago, I had to revert to my eight year old laptop, which apparently lost the ability to go on the internet a few weeks ago. Coincidentally, this occurred after I dropped it. Anyways, I have no way to get photos to the internet anymore (my tablet doesn’t have a USB) which is why I could only use the above photos that were already on the internet. I am bummed and not sure what I will do and when I will blog again. Boo.

taking inventory

One of those nerdy knitting things that we knitters do is take a picture of all our handknit sweaters when we see them all in one place.

IMG_4308This is what happens when you are packing, you don’t want to pack, and you start to realize good lord I have knit a lot of sweaters.  And a lot of other crap too.

Want to know why I was packing?  Because we bought a house!  We moved in this weekend.   And guess what – while I know the location of the box which contains my sewing machine, that’s about as close as I am to sewing right now… I hope it’s not too long…

geometry mitts

Did you know I knit?IMG_4274Apparently I almost forgot – it’s been a while… but I’ve had the idea for these mitts in my head for a couple years now.  In fact, I bought the yarn for them last September in Portland, OR at Happy Knits.

IMG_4271I love geometric patterns but I have no idea where this came from – I think one of those things that just pops! into your head.  I sketched it out on graph paper and test-swatched it several times – I like them overall, but as a functional knit project they’re a little tricky when you have 3-4 yarns going at the same time.

IMG_4262My other complaint is that I don’t think the yarn colors provide enough contrast.  Don’t use neutrals, right?  Yes, I know, but I love neutrals.  However, the gray and beige seem too close in tone – although in bright light it’s not too bad.

IMG_4291These are knit flat and seamed up the side with a hole for the thumb and the yarn is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.  I had sort of hoped these would be something I could write up and sell a pattern of, but they are a little crazy in the middle there to knit, like I said, and my knits have never drawn as much interest as sewing, so I don’t know if anyone would be interested.  Either way, I think they will get some fall use out of me, but winter might be too cold.

IMG_4296Hopefully I’ll have some sewing soon… I’ve lost my sewing mojo recently and there’s a lot  of [good] stuff going on in Casa Nice lately so I have been a bit distracted…

p.s.  It probably won’t be up much longer, but look whose Belladone is up on the main banner on Kollabora (hang in there, it’s like 4th or 5th on the slide show)!!  I forgot to mention that they had my polymer beads up there recently too, AND on their blog they have posted both my Lakeside pajamas AND my Bombshell.  Kollabora, I sure do love you!

fall belladone

This dress is the reason I bought the Belladone pattern… my first one turned out to be the best wearable muslin I’ve ever made (well, that’s sort of a stretch, I did intend it to be a real, live dress too).

IMG_3898 IMG_3899Something about this fabric seemed French to me.  Who knows.  I picked it up from the DC/MD/VA blogger meetup last year.  This dress was supposed to make it the the layaway box, along with the boots, which were in there briefly,  but it is just too perfect for this time of year with the in-between weather.

IMG_3894IMG_3891Rummaging through my inherited stash, I found this coat zipper and loved it.  But it reminded me of something I couldn’t place at first… you know what it is?  This kick-ass dress by Heather Lou that made me discover her blog and her amazing sewing talent.  So maybe I ripped it off of her, but copying is the sincerest form of flattery, AND I’m like several seasons behind, so….  basically, I’m really not as cool as her.

IMG_3895I made the same modifications as with the first one (a 38 top and a 40 bottom), but I think if I was to make it one more time (likely), I will add another inch or two to the bodice.  I’m a little too tall. It was also the first time in a long time that I did not use french seams – I thought the fabric would be too bulky so I just finished with a cheapie zigzag stitch and ironed them flat.

This time around I hid the bias tape because I could not find a good color match and didn’t want contrast on this one.  But I did add a pop of orange inside from my Nonna’s hem tape collection.  I’m nuts about blue and orange.

IMG_3913This one might be a new favorite in the closet…

baby pillah

One of my college roommates recently had a baby shower; the moment I found out she was pregnant, I knew what I had to make her.  A baby pillah.

This particular friend had a ratty and well-loved doll-sized pillow that served as her teddy bear her whole life; dubbed “baby pillow.”  With her lovely southern Virginia accent, this came out “baby pillah,” and we LOVED teasing her about it.  So of course, her baby has to have his own baby pillah.

IMG_3874 And a little aviator hat to wear home from the hospital!

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This is the Aviatrix baby hat, made with Rowan Cashsoft Aran from many years ago.  I think this barely took a half-skein, it’s sooo teeny-tiny, and so soft.  Raveled here.

IMG_3873I made some tags with brown kraft labels stuck to some origami paper and attached with baker’s twine and a safety pin.  Baby pillah is machine washable and has a ‘lifetime’ warranty; future repairs and replacements are covered.  I stitched all the seams twice in hopes of adding some durability.

The coolest part?  The pillow matches the nursery colors, of which I had no idea.  It’s my sewing sixth sense, you know, NBD.

more lakeside pajamas

Uh, this looks to be the beginning of a personal collection of Lakeside pajamas….

IMG_3801I’m nuts about this crazy fabric – it’s been in my stash for 4 or 5 years from the remnants at Osgood’s in Springfield, MA.  It’s a satin I guess (I really know too little about textiles).  Unfortunately I did not have enough to match the pattern.

IMG_3802Mr. Nice is responsible for props.  Vegan Pie in the Sky, anyone?  :)

I attempted to make bias tape out of the scraps, which resulted in a wonky tank hem, but it’s not too bad.  I chose to use regular bias tape for the neck, straps, and shorts for some structure, but was worried that it would be too stiff for the hem.

My weirdo “bias tape” resulted in something more like piping along the hem.  These are about the only 2-3 inches of it that weren’t crooked.

IMG_3809IMG_3812I also put a little loop in the back of the shorts so that I can do this:

IMG_3813I went a size up on the shorts because nobody wants too-tight-satin.  I’m torn about what size to make for the next two sets (one top already cut, next fabric bought), but I’m thinking the shorts look a little loose in the pic below?  Maybe I need to grade between the sizes.

IMG_3804Oh yeah, and another lovely improvisation of mine due to a limited amount of fabric was to cut the front waistband on the bias.  Terrible idea, it’s kind of stretched out, but well, they’re still wearable so far.

I’m going to try not to turn this into a Lakeside-only blog… I’ll have to find something else to post to break it up!

my jams

Apparently I’m not the only one who was drooling last year when Jen from Grainline made the cutest pajamas ever for herself (see, I even pinned them back then!)… thank goodness she did not force me to try to create them on my own.  Guaranteed disaster.

IMG_3797Lakeside Pajamas!

IMG_3730There will be many more of these to come, I foresee.  I made a size 4 top with no modifications and a size 6 bottom.  I finagled the part of the side seam where the bias bindings meet a little differently than in the instructions and I think on my next pair I will only sew 1/8″ side seams on the shorts before attaching the bias binding (or just baste it) because my seam did not end up encased in the binding.  I’m considering going up a size in the bottoms – since they’re woven they don’t have a lot of give, particularly when you’re getting in and out of them.  Also, for some reason I could only fit 1″ wide elastic (rather than 1.25″ that the pattern called for) – but it works just fine.

IMG_3775Luckily these are pajamas.  The public won’t see my errors.  Except right now.

IMG_3776I ended up using a contrasting binding by accident (all I had) and ended up liking it a lot.  Something about the print and the color combination looks Japanese to me.  The fabric is actually a quilting cotton from G Street – I’d like to try something more drapey like the pattern recommends, but this is nice and crisp and lightweight and not as heavy as some quilting cottons, so I like it too.

IMG_3747I topstitched in a contrasting color because I’m lazy and don’t like changing the thread.  And I’m trying to force myself to be more neat and careful.  I’ll give myself a solid B on this one.

IMG_3742These were surprisingly quick – I thought all the bias binding would be tedious, but it was actually quick.  I think from now on I will bias-bind EVERYTHING.

Final conclusion:  they have been officially sleep-tested and I love them!  And there is a pile of fabric at my feet waiting to be chosen for the next set…