Friday, July 24, 2015

Moving right along

Lots of stuff going on around here (por fin)! The new house is officially ours, and we're busy, busy, busy getting things painted, moved and organized. The first room on the painting docket is my new.....SEWING ROOM! The downstairs bedroom is going to belong to me for a while, until the boys are much older, and it's probably going to be the only way I manage to preserve my sanity for the next several years. It's been super fun planning out decor, furniture arrangement, and so forth, and I'm so excited to have space for all of my machines, my fabric stash, ironing board, and everything all in one room. No more sewing on the dining room table for me! I've yet to find a desk for in there, to double as a sewing table and a storage space for home-office related stuff, but I'll make do in the meantime. 

We've been busy painting this week so we can get things moved in, and my sewing room was up first on the list (partly because a lot of the big stuff we need to move will be going in there, and also because it's clearly the most important room in the house). The color looks a little pinkish in photos, but it's actually a really lovely, pale lilac. 


Our bedroom is next, and I'm about half finished with the first coat, but OH LORD is it difficult to paint when you're also wrangling an infant. Having to stop every 15 minutes to change diapers or nurse makes it unbelievably inefficient and it's taking like twice as long as it should. He is pretty cute, though.

Taking a break for a sling nap and some lunch, since he was getting really cranky about sitting in his little bouncy seat.
Our room is going to be a bright, minty aqua color, and the boys' room is going to be a bright blue (so that dark grey will be gone). This is taking a frustratingly long time with little R.H. in tow, but I'm really hoping that with a little extra assistance from the mister on Sunday (maybe) I'll be able to get all the painting in the new house finished by the end of the weekend. We'll see.


While we were still waiting around to be able to close and get started moving I found some more time to work on getting projects cut out, so once we're settled in I can get right back to sewing. Three of them are part of my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, and the fourth is another Hawthorn blouse/stash busting project. New York 1292 and Anne Adams 4811 are a couple of warm weather patterns I hope to get finished before the end of the summer if I can. 


McCall 3610 is a long-sleeved, late 1930s pattern I chose to help flesh out my cooler weather dress options. It's not nursing friendly, so probably won't get much wear this winter, but I think it will become a staple next year. The skirt should even be pretty cycling-friendly. I'm making the bishop-sleeved version, but without the detachable, contrast collar. 



Since I finished my first two Hawthorns I've been wanting to make more. I had this blue and yellow floral cotton in my scrap bin, left from a dress I made a few years ago and ended up giving away. There was just enough left to cut out a sleeveless version of the blouse. I've also got some upholstery weight yellow gingham in my scrap bin that I'm going to use to make a coordinating belt, and I'm thinking about trimming the blouse with blue piping (the collar at least). 


I really can't wait until we're settled in and I can sew again (even if it's just a little bit every now and then).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer florals: Finally fulfilling my fabric needs

It's been a rough several days around with the jealous toddler, and not having my normal stress relief outlet available (i.e. ALL of my sewing stuff) has been extra difficult. While knitting helps, there's really not anything like cutting into new fabric and listening to the whir of my sewing machine. I finally decided that enough was enough, so I shoved all the hefty boxes of books aside and dug out a piece of floral cotton from the bottom of another pile of boxes. While this wasn't originally in my plan for Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, I decided it was going to be a quicker and more user friendly pattern than the dress patterns I had on my docket at the get go. It's great for the sweltering Ohio Valley summer, and it's also nursing friendly, on top of being a super quick and easy project.

The fabric is a piece that came from the stash at my mom's, and I pulled it out to go with the linen I used for my grey-green circle skirt (which I will hopefully be able to fit into in the next few weeks). The piece was tiny, so I knew that it was destined to be a sleeveless blouse of some sort, and I really liked New York 1292 after I finished my first version. It was actually barely enough for this pattern even. I had to piece the under collar and there wasn't room for the sleeve facings, so I'm going to finish the armholes with bias strips instead.


I can't really get my machines back out, so I doubt any actual sewing will be accomplished anytime soon, but I think I'll try and get one of my dresses cut out (or maybe two, but I'm not going to hold my breath) in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be making myself another version of Anne Adams 4811, since it's such a ridiculously comfortable dress. This is the first version I made:


I've got another rayon challis print I'm going to use for it. I bought a bunch of challis on sale a while ago, because I just can't resist it, and while I originally bought a pink floral to make another of these, I decided that print was better suited to another pattern I've been wanting to make, so I'll be using this instead:


It will definitely require a slip, but I think it's going to be really pretty sewn up. I figure if I can get a couple of projects at least cut out, once we're finally moved and settled I'll have all the annoying cutting done and can dive straight back into sewing (between diaper changes and trips to the grocery).
Despite having to work around the child dumping my pins everywhere, and the baby crying because his brother wouldn't leave him alone, it felt really nice to have my scissors in my hand again, even if it was only for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Turtle" to some..."Rough" to others... - Project Progress

Well, since we're STILL waiting on the stupid mortgage lenders to give us an actual closing date, practically everything I own is still packed up in boxes, so despite the incredible urge to sew that I've been having lately I haven't been able to. I've moved on to yet another one of my knitting WIPs, so I'll at least have some new stuff to wear this fall/winter even if I can't get any more of my Vintage Pattern Pledge summer projects (or any modern patterns for that matter) finished for the warmer weather. 

This project is sort of part of my own personal Vintage Pattern Pledge, although it's knitting and not sewing, so I'm at least in keeping with the spirit of my original summer plans. It's a pullover pattern from a knitting magazine that a friend gave me a couple of years ago. The magazine is from 1940, and there are a few really nice sweater patterns in it, as well as patterns for four different skirts, intended to be combined with any of the sweaters to make either a two-piece outfit or a dress. I'd really like to make a couple of the skirts as well, since I've always admired the vintage, knitted suits and dresses that are so popular but so difficult to find.

Anyway, I bought this yarn (Cascade 220 in Irelande) ages ago, with the intention of making a cabled sweater of some sort, but then decided I wanted to do something different. Initially, I thought I'd use it for a pattern in North, but the neckline would prohibit wearing a camisole or anything under it, and the yarn isn't quite soft enough to wear against my skin. So, after much pondering and sifting through all of my knitting patterns and the Ravelry library, I decided on this pullover pattern. It'll be great for winter bundling, because I'll be able to wear a long sleeved shirt or long underwear under it, which will be nice. 

vintage knitting magazine 1940s
I really like the cabled sweater on the front, too. 

1940 turtleneck pullover sweater

1940 raglan sleeve sweater
My project bag was made by Rochelle. The colors are so cheery, it makes knitting even more fun to carry my projects around in this. (Way better than the medical supply company tote I used to drag them around in.)
It's a raglan sweater, as you can see, knitted top-down in the round, so I don't have to mess with all that tedious seaming once I've got the pieces finished. I'm seriously loving that aspect of this pattern, especially after seaming together all those pieces for my mohair cardigan a few weeks ago.  I've got a fair amount of this finished already, as the straight stockinette goes extremely quickly. I did go back and knit the collar before finishing the rest of the sweater just so I could really see how it was going to work. I just didn't have the patience to wait. I've got about 8 inches to go before starting the waist ribbing I think.  I think I've gotten more knitting done in the past 6 months than I've gotten done in the last couple of years (partially because my machines are packed up), but I'm really looking forward to having some new knitwear this winter. Once I've got this finished, I have a 1940s fair isle vest from A Stitch in Time V.2 up next in my queue, along with another pair of socks, this time with a little color work. 

Finally, although we are still waiting around on house stuff, our second little boy made his debut in this world just about two weeks ago. He's a sweetheart, and we're all pretty fond of him (even the two year old, although he's having a hard time adjusting to sharing the attention). 


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Honesty: a 1950s inspired cardigan

Well, not much else has been happening around here. Boxing things up and trying to bounce this baby into being born. I've been using the think system on him, but it doesn't seem to be working. We're still waiting on a closing date, too. No luck with the think system there, either. All this waiting around and having all of my fabric packed up has left me with the time to finish up my latest knitting project though, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. You all saw a little preview of this cardigan in a previous post, but now it's here in all it's fuzzy, mohair glory!

Kim Hargreaves Honesty Cardigan

It still needs a last steaming/blocking now that it's assembled, but I don't have the space to do that right now since so much of my stuff is packed up so it'll have to wait. It's going to be far too warm to wear it for a little while anyway.

I found a few different buttons that matched the yarn color really well, some a little dressier looking than others, but really couldn't decide which ones I liked, so after a quick poll in a knitting group I decided to go with these sort of two-tone 1/2 inch buttons that really matched the color exquisitely well.

undyed mohair

mohair yarn

The skirt is pinned up to fit Tabitha's waist, hence the funny bustle effect.


The very center back of the neckband could use a bit of improvement (although it's really something that only I will ever know about), but it is laying alright, and once it's been pressed again I think it will be just fine. It was the first time I'd done kitchener stitch, so I wasn't super confident in the execution of it.


I have a blue 3/4 sleeve cardigan that my mom made me from an original 1954 (I think) pattern she's had for ages, and it's a wonderful sweater. The waist length on it is just perfect, it's super warm, nice and simple, but it's a crew neck, which is not generally my go to neckline (Now don't get me wrong, I still wear the heck out of that sweater every fall/winter. I love it.) The neckline on this one is really lovely though, and much more akin to my standard styles. It'll be perfect over t-shirts and button downs, and will show off necklaces, scarves, and my lace jabot to perfection. It was a complete accident, but it actually looks really gorgeous with the linen circle skirt I just made (pictured) and the addition of that Irish lace jabot is amazing. The perfect combination of classic shapes, chic palette, and Miss Marple frill :)

v-neck cardigan sweater

Hand knit cardigan

Iv'e really been dying to get some more work done on my coat project, but can't do that until we move, so I'm stuck daydreaming about sewing for some time. I've also been thinking I may swap out one of my Vintage Pattern Pledge dress patterns for a blouse pattern I'll be able to wear sooner, since it's undoubtedly going to be a scorcher this summer. I may pull out my 1940 Roll Neck Pullover project to get back to work on in the meantime, since it's still easily accessible, unless this baby decides to show up (hopefully) in the next couple of days. I have to say, I'm glad that the next few things I've got in my knitting queue are worked in the round because GOOD LORD seaming is the worst. It really didn't take me all that long to do last night, but it's just so tedious. Seamless knitting all the way for me for a while at least.

I haven't actually gotten to try this sweater on yet, being massively pregnant and all, but it fits Tabitha pretty well, so I have high hopes for it on me. The sleeves appear to have ended up just a hair on the long side, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I like to be able to pull sleeves down over my hands some during the cold weather, and it may also be something that rectifies itself slightly when worn over other sleeves, or once I've gotten it properly blocked.

It's not quite Friday yet (at least not in this hemisphere), but have a good weekend! It's back to cleaning and boxing for me now.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Limbo

I thought I'd have more to share with you all at this point, but we are currently playing the waiting game....with everything. I'm four weeks from my due date and we are in the process of a buying a new house (as we have currently busting our 1.5 bedroom house at the seams). We were NOT intending to move for another year or so, giving ourselves plenty of time to adjust to two small children, but we ran into one of those "too good to pass up" situations and jumped on it as fast as we could. Now that we're in the paperwork stage though, everything has slowed down to a glacial speed. So, we're waiting on getting a closing date set, waiting for this baby to get here, waiting until we can actually start moving/painting, waiting to get our house ready to rent, and waiting until we can get any of the baby stuff set up since we don't know what's going to happen first; baby or house. I'm trying to keep my activity level down so this kid doesn't decide to show up too early, but I've been plugging away at my mohair cardigan, FINALLY cleaning out my fabric scrap bin(s), slowly packing our life into boxes and waiting for someone to tell me it's finally ok to start moving forward with something. I was actually tempted to cut out a blouse for myself this weekend (and get another Vintage Pattern Pledge worthy project knocked out), but then remembered I'd already boxed up my fabric stash, with the exception of the wool I've got cut for my new coat. I may try and get a little thread tracing done on that in the next couple of weeks if I can squeeze the time in somewhere, but I'm not holding out too much hope for that. I did go ahead and opt for potting a few pepper and cherry tomato plants so I can move them easily without hurting them, and it's been killing me not being able to get my other tomato vines in the ground yet. So that's that. Hopefully in another couple of weeks I'll have some more entertaining/interesting things to share...be it a baby or the new sewing machine set-up I'll be working out in the new house. For now I'll leave you with a pretty dose of spring from a friend's yard. They've cheered up the dining room table a bit, since it's surrounded by boxes and bags of stuff on nearly every side.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Palette cleansers

After the failed experiment that was my 1950s maternity shorts, and the busy prints and fussy bits involved in the previous two projects, I decided it was time for something quick, easy, brainless and rewarding. I dove into the stash and pulled out this odd shade of silvery green linen that I'd been planning to use for a skirt. The drape is gorgeous, and I knew it would be perfect for a comfortable, breezy circle skirt. Now, this is clearly a post-baby project, so I have a few months before I'll be able to get myself into it, but it's exciting to know you have new clothes to wear in upcoming months/seasons as well, and it was nice to sew a real waistband, too.



I used to have a few full-circle skirts in my wardrobe, but over time because of weight fluctuations, aesthetic changes, and overall massive size of wardrobe, I ended up getting rid of all but one. The one I kept was originally a dress that my mom bought at a thrift store in 1973 or '74 and then I wore it until the bodice disintegrated and then made it into a skirt. Judging from the overall shape/style it's probably from around 1950, but the best part about it is the CRAZY print on the fabric. Organ grinders, fisherman, farmers and gypsies. Need I say more? But I digress. I love circle skirts. They're so comfortable and chic, and all that swishy fabric makes you feel kind of glamorous without a whole lot of effort. Since I cleared out my closet I've been wanting more of them, and when I found this yardage in the infamous "communal stash" I knew exactly what it wanted to be. While I wanted to get a jump on another project for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, this was going to be a much simpler endeavor, and it kinda sorta counts since it's essentially a 1950s skirt despite being self drafted. I cut the back in two separate panels because of yardage limitations, so there is a center back seam where I put the zipper; my first invisible zipper I might add. It was the only zipper in my stash that was the right color, and it meant I got to try out my new invisible zipper foot as well. Not the worst thing in the world I have to say.



Best of all.....POCKETS! I debated for a while about whether I wanted to do in-seam pockets or oversized patch pockets, but after a little feedback from the ladies at We Sew Retro and considering what I actually wanted out of this project as a sewing experience, I opted for the less mentally taxing task of in-seam pockets. The patch pockets were going to require much more planning and thought than my poor little brain wanted to tackle at this juncture, plus you really can't go wrong with simple, clean lines.


I let the skirt hang for about four days before leveling it, hemming it to about 27 inches in length. This is going to be a real test, since I couldn't try it on myself to check the length and make sure I had everything level visually, but I'm hoping I got it pretty close. I hemmed it about half an inch longer in the back to account for body curvature that Tabitha doesn't have, tapering it out to the side seams.
Since the fabric is so lightweight, and because I wanted to prevent further stretching on the bias, I opted for a fairly narrow hem. I was going to use a bias band or hem tape to finish it, but I didn't have enough of anything to go around all 6 or so yards of hem on this puppy, so I just turned it under. It made things a tad more fiddly as far as getting it to lay smoothly, but since it's linen everything pressed pretty nicely once I had it all stitched.


I've actually gotten started (FINALLY) on my next winter coat project, a self education in couture tailoring techniques, but so far I've just got the outer fabric cut. I also still have a couple of dresses planned for the Vintage Pattern Pledge, but am approaching a VERY busy couple of months around here (and not just a new baby, but more on that later), so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get around to those. I'm planning on doing some more detailed process posts while I work my way through this winter coat, not only so you can see a little more of how I work, but also so those of you unfamiliar with the hand tailoring process can learn a little along with me. I'm hoping to be back in a couple of weeks with more on that.

Have a good week!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Project progress: Hazy mohair

I've got some progress on another knitting project to share with you all today. It's a total departure from the sock knitting I've been doing for the last few months, and it feels nice to get back to what I'm more accustomed to working on....a sweater! I'm making myself a cardigan for next fall/winter so I've got something warm (and new) to wear that is still nursing friendly, unlike the last sweater I made for myself. I love it, but a cardigan is definitely going to be more user friendly for the next year. 

The yarn I'm using is a GORGEOUS, un-dyed mohair yarn that I got at our new LYS, A Yarn Crossing. It's so nice to have a great LYS around again. We haven't had one within a reasonable distance for years and I'm seriously loving this one. One of the things I really love about them is that they have a consignment section for local farmers, spinners, dyers, etc to sell their wares. This yarn is from one of their consignors, H & K Farms. I went in for one thing and then walked around for ages trying to make up my mind once I saw this. I couldn't stop touching it, but the color was not one that I generally wear or that is particularly flattering, so I just couldn't decide. One of the owners finally helped convince me to buy it, though (although it was actually something he wanted for a project himself). It's been working up beautifully, and it feels like silk. 

I wanted to make a simple, classic cardigan, and the pattern I finally decided on using is one from Kim Hargreaves' North which was released this past season. The pattern is called Honesty, and I fell in love with it (and numerous other patterns from the book) as soon as I saw it. 


The simple stockinette body, the subtle shaping, the deep v-neck and the long sleeves were absolutely perfect, and it's actually designed for a mohair yarn. I did decide that I wanted to crop it to waist length, though. While I do love everything about the design as is, I do tend to prefer waist-length sweaters as they work better with the proportions I go for in my wardrobe (my winter wardrobe in particular). Because of the simple stitch pattern it was really easy to shorten, and it's been knitting up pretty quickly. I've gotten the back and a fair amount of the left front finished at this point, although I've only gotten pictures of the back. 

cropped Honesty cardigan back

The color of this yarn is so difficult to capture. It's a really beautiful golden brown color with an incredible sheen to it. This goat has some seriously stunning hair, and it feels like buttah.

Back detail mohair cardigan

Waist ribbing mohair cardigan

The original pattern calls for pressing each piece in it's entirety (ribbing included) since it's a hip length sweater, but since I want a more '50s silhouette I think I'm probably going to leave the ribbing alone and just press the rest of the body and sleeves. I've started thinking about what sort of buttons I want to use for the finished sweater, and while I'm a huge fan mother of pearl/shell buttons on just about everything. They tend to have fairly sharp edges, though, and I don't want anything too abrasive against this yarn. I've been toying with the idea of a brushed gold, or maybe a brass button. I'll have to take a look at a few options against it before I can make any sort of decision. 

I've also been gearing up to start work on some post-baby sewing in the near future. I've got a couple of fabric/pattern options to decide between, and I'm leaning towards another version of my favorite 1940s challis dress in an orange on white floral print.....or I may make a new skirt. We'll see. Hope everyone has had a good week!
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