Friday, February 28, 2014

A sporty look

The second skirt in my Pendleton quartet is another plaid number. This one is fairly plain as well, with some simple alterations made to change the look up a bit. I widened the waistband and added suspenders. I've always really liked the look of the suspender skirt (whether from the 1910s or the 1950s or anywhere in between), and have intended to make myself one for a long time now. I thought it would be a nice silhouette with this plaid also, simple enough to showcase the pattern, but not so overly simplified as to be boring. This piece of wool had just a few moth holes that needed repair, so I set myself to work at re-weaving again. This is a much finer weave than the previous fabric, so it required a little more precision, but it really wasn't too bad. I have to admit, I think I'm actually getting a little hooked on it. It's just the kind of insanely meticulous work I find fun and relaxing ('cause maybe I'm a little nuts).

After pulling threads from a scrap of the plaid, I set to work reweaving the two holes in the skirt front, and then the two in the suspender pieces. 

Doing this made me feel a little bit like the woman who made Chanel's braided trim for decades (although not old, French, and incredibly skilled).

You can see the first hole mid-repair just to the right of the pin. 
The skirt turned out pretty well, and I had just enough left of the fabric to make a matching hat (because every outfit should have a matching hat, right?). Anyway, I used the Wearing History Sporty Toppers pattern, view 1. I was working with scraps, so the plaid doesn't match perfectly on top, but it doesn't bother me too much since there is so much seaming to break it up in the first place. I used a slightly narrower ribbon than called for in the pattern, but I like how it looks.

To complete my sort of "golf-course" couture look, I managed to finally finish one of my biggest UFOs; this brown wool suit jacket. I started this suit about three years ago, finished the skirt, got about half way through the jacket and then put it on the back burner and left it there to stew. It feels really good to finally have it finished and out of the project pile. It's far from perfect, but finished it all I was really aiming for at this point, so I'm happy with it. I don't have all the pattern details in front of me, but I'll try and dig them up. I'm pretty sure it's a McCall's pattern, and it's from the 50s, but I'm not sure the exact year and can't remember the number. Anyway, here's the ensemble all put together and ready for a stroll across the fairway. (Both pieces need a little touch up with the iron).

So, that's that. Now on to other projects in the queue. I've still got two of the wool skirts to put together, and then numerous other summery projects to start, but I've got an Edwardian event to go to in early May that I also have to make some stuff for, and that will probably take precedence. Hope everyone has had a good week!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Warding off the winter chill

As promised, I have finally taken a few photos of the other two projects I finished in the last couple of months. They've been worn and washed, and worn and washed repeatedly, so they are not quite as neat and tidy as they looked when I first completed them, but they have already been well loved in their short lives, so what does that matter? 

The first is a nightgown I made from McCall 5441, the same pattern I used for my black silk nightgown (blogged here). I cut it a tad larger to accommodate nighttime nursing sessions, and it has worked out perfectly. I wanted something longer to keep me warm at night, since it's been so cold here, and most of my other nightgowns are short, slip-like things. I do tend to get overheated though if I'm too covered up, so the sleeveless style of this nightgown was perfect (despite the fact that when one generally thinks of flannel nightgowns they include sleeves and lace). I'm so happy with how this one turned out! It's so comfy, and I've been guilty of throwing a sweater over it and wearing it around the house all day a few times when the boy and I were stuck in the house due to weather. 

The second project is a pair of 1940s pajamas that I made using two different patterns. The pajama pattern that I wanted to use is Simplicity 4528, but the copy that I have is a few sizes too big. 

Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki
 I didn't have anything else similar to use, so I decided just to grade the jacket down and use the trusty  Simplicity 3688 trousers so I wouldn't have to bother altering those at all. I put in a snap placket (like the pajama pattern called for) instead of a zipper, with a button at the waist. I obviously omitted the belt and contrast revers as well. The double welt pocket is not one of my crowning achievements, but they were pajamas for myself, and I didn't feel like redoing it so I just decided not to worry about it. It was late, and I was tired when I put it in so my chances of getting it perfect were low to begin with. I do get too hot at night to actually sleep in these, but they are wonderful for wearing around the house during my couple of hands-free hours after the baby goes to sleep. I'll probably make myself another pair at some point down the road (and try to get the pocket right that time). They're really warm and cozy! 

We've had some really nasty weather the last few weeks, but I've been able to get some work done on a few fun things which has helped. Our little boy is getting so big, and he's a little more able to entertain himself now that he's mobile, which makes it easier for me to get things done (including housework and grading). At 8.5 months he he's just figured out how to walk while pushing one of our dining room chairs around on the wooden floors. It won't bee too much longer before he's walking all by himself! Next year I'll at least be able to take him out to play in all this snow we've had. 

Hope everyone is having a good week and staying warm!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mason and Helen

In addition to the skirt and vest I finished (as well as two other projects I've yet to photograph because I've been wearing them constantly and they're rather wrinkly), I've made some decent progress on my two current knitting projects. I cast on for these after I finished my Victory Tam; one project for me and one for my husband. The sweater I'm making him I mentioned before, but just as a reminder the pattern is Mason, from the Rowan Vintage Knits book. It's knitted on 10.5s/11s in a bulky yarn and so it's going SUPER quickly (especially for someone used to fingering weight yarn on 2s and 3s)! The only change I will be making is that John wants a simple crew neck instead. The pattern itself is also very simple and therefore easy to work on at night when my brain is fried from spending all day with an 8 month old and trying to keep up with housework and grading. 

The project I've been working on for myself is another quick knit, also because it's done on 10.5s in a very simple pattern. The pattern is Helen, from A Stitch In Time Vol. 2. It's a beautiful little shrug/bed jacket pattern originally from the 1930s. As the pattern states, the original model was knitted in a pretty shell pink, but for my version I am using two shades of blue wool 4 ply. It was some yarn that my mom picked up years ago and never used because the colors weren't really suited to anything she was working on. There wasn't enough of either color for a single project, but combining them in a two row stripe as I've done here there is plenty for this shrug. I really how the colors are turing out. It almost looks like I'm using a variegated yarn. The contrast is very subtle, and goes perfectly with one of my other recent sewing projects (I'll be sharing that soon). I'm about half finished with this. It's about 2 yards long including the ribbed cuffs, and the scads of this two row repeat would be a tad mind numbing if I ever had more than a few minutes to work on it, but with my knitting time being so limited it's the perfect sort of pattern to work on. Hopefully I'll be able to get it finished in the next month or so. I really want to get Mason finished first though, so the mister can wear it before the weather warms up.

Here's a sneak peak of what's up in my sewing queue as well. These are the other three pieces of vintage wool (mostly Pendleton) that I mentioned in my last post. I've already cut a skirt from each (using the same pattern as the skirt in the previous post, each with some minor style alterations), and serged my edges to make assembly easier and faster. Before I can get to sewing on the plaid or the blue I've got to do some moth hole repair (I've only found two holes in the plaid but the blue is full of little pinholes). The fabric is such high quality that I simply can't bear the thought of not trying to salvage it, especially since I got it for free. I figured I can spend a little extra time on it. The camel colored wool seems to be fine, though, so that is probably the one I will put together first. I've got a long list of projects I'm trying to work through, and I really want to finish these skirts so I can allow myself to cut out the stripe for my Hawthorn!

Have a good week everyone!


Friday, January 31, 2014

I've been busy (and not just with the baby)!

It's been a while since I posted, but I promise I've actually been working on lots of projects. It's just taken me forever to get anything finished and photographed. The boy makes it difficult to work on things steadily, and my project ADD doesn't help (especially when I've got 6 or more projects in the works at the same time). I have finally managed, however, to get some things finished and took a few pictures to prove it this morning. The first things I want to share are the grey vest I cut out ages ago, and another pencil skirt I whipped up. (Shown first with my black blazer, just because I am already in love with this outfit!)

The vest matches the grey skirt I made a few months ago. Since I just finished up the vest last night I haven't had a chance to see what the two pieces look like together, but I'm so happy with how it looks paired with my new plaid skirt that I almost don't even care! The pattern I used for the vest is Butterick 9474, View A. You'll forgive the wrinkling, as Tabitha and I are not quite the same shape/proportions (especially not post-baby, despite being back to my pre-pregnancy weight).

Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki

The skirt is cut from the same pattern (with similar alterations) that I used for the grey skirt, and the fabric is a vintage Pendleton wool that I acquired in a stash from a friend's late mother. I have a few more pieces that I've cut for skirts as well, as there was just enough yardage for a skirt from each one. I did have to repair a small area with moth holes near the kick pleat, so I tried my hand at re-weaving for the first time. I know exactly why the pros get paid so much! It was very tedious, and my result is hardly perfect, but it's fairly invisible, especially to the untrained eye. I've got some holes to repair in two of the three other pieces as well, but they are a finer weave, so I may try a different method. We'll see when I get there.

The bottom points of the vest fronts are not perfectly aligned for some reason. I marked and matched my center fronts, so theoretically they should be even, but the right sits a bit lower. If I decide it bothers me too much I can just shift the buttons up a tad to even out the points. I'll have to take a better look at it once I've actually tried it on my own body with a shirt underneath and a real bra.

The lining, as I mentioned in my post so many moons ago, is left from another dress project that ended up gifted to a friend when it didn't fit me perfectly. I like crazy linings and this one definitely fits the bill.

The skirt hem I finished with some vintage, rust colored hem lace from my stash.

As I said earlier, I'm absolutely in LOVE with this outfit! We're going out for my husband's birthday on this weekend and I think I may wear this (that is if I don't decide to try and squeeze myself into my teal wool dress). I can finish it off perfectly with my stone marten stole, a black velvet hat, and my new Sydneys from Remix. Mr. S. won his fantasy football league and let me have the money to buy myself some new shoes. I'd been lusting after Sydney ever since Remix announced their release and now they're mine! I'll have to take a picture of them soon, but they're in the bedroom with a sleeping man right now, and I don't want to disturb him.

I've got a few other knitting and sewing projects in the works right now, but I'll save those for a separate post so this one doesn't get too long.

Have a good weekend!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Knitting victories

As I mentioned in the last post, I decided to participate in the Knit for Victory knit-along that's currently going on, and had chosen Tasha's "Victory" because I figured I was much more likely to finish something small by the deadline than any of the number of sweaters I'd like to make. This pattern knitted up even faster than I had anticipated, and I managed to get it finished in just a few days! I actually (and unintentionally) finished the last few rows on Pearl Harbor day, which I thought was wonderfully apropos.

Let me simply say that I ADORE this pattern. It's very well written, super easy to follow, and knits up so quickly I'm really tempted to make another in different colors at some point. The only change that I made was to knit the body of the hat on 3s instead of 2s, since I wanted a slightly bigger, floppier hat. I blocked it on an 11.25 inch stock pot lid instead of a plate and it fits really well over my hair, even when it's up, with some good "flop" at the sides and back. I've always loved fair isle and am so glad I finally tried my hand at it. As daunting as it seems like it might be at first, the color work was very easy. It took a minute to get myself used to carrying two colors, and finally settled on picking the main color and throwing the contrast. I can knit both english and continental, so it was super quick once I got myself all organized. Since the knit-along isn't over until January 31st, I am toying with the idea of trying to get another small project finished. I'm considering either this snood or this tea cozy from Susan Crawford. I've got some much going on over the holidays though, we'll see if either of those actually happens. 

In addition to my "Victory" tam, I also managed to finally finish this eyelet baby set I've been working on for forever months. I got it finished just in time for him to wear it a few times before the sweet boy grows out of it. I'm planning on him wearing it for our various Christmas engagements. Hopefully it doesn't get covered in spit-up before we get out the door.

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to work on my vest soon, but as usual I've got so many things I want to work on it's hard to keep myself committed to just one project at a time. 

In unrelated news, I was out shopping for fabric to make new curtains for the baby's room a couple of days ago and was recognized by one of my local blog readers! It's the first time that's happened to me while I was out and about and it was really fun to run into someone who recognized me from my blog. If you're reading, Caitlin, thanks for saying hello :)

I hope that everyone is having a good holiday season so far!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Knit for Victory

I'm finally getting to participate in something! I have wanted to join in so many of the wonderful sew-alongs and knit-alongs that are always happening in the blogging world, but have never been able to get myself organized enough to do them. First it was school, then it was moving, and now the baby, but when I read that Tasha was going to be hosting a Knit for Victory knit-along I was determined to figure out some way to take part. I've got a zillion and one 1940s patterns I'd love to work through, but since most of them are sweaters I knew there was no way I'd be able to get an entire project finished by January 31st. I've got to finish up the cardigan and pant set that I've been working on for the peanut (which I'm very nearly finished with at this point), and I've also got a couple of sewing projects in the works. I'm trying very hard to finish one thing before starting another because that has been a bad habit of mine for some time. Since I've got a major deadline for completing the baby sweater (It's 6-9 month size and he's only got a couple of months left that he'll sit in that size; i.e.
 Mom needs to get it finished ASAP!), I've been working diligently on that so I can cast on my next project for the knit-along. 

Now, as I said, everything I wanted to make was too large an undertaking for my busy schedule if I actually wanted to be finished by the deadline, but lo and behold Tasha has just released her first knitting pattern! It's a beautiful, 1940s style, fair isle tam called Victory

Image via Tasha Moss, modeled by Rochelle
It's a small enough project that I shouldn't have too much trouble getting through it in the allotted time, and I absolutely LOVE fair isle. I've never actually done any color work this complex before, but it's long been on my to-do list when it comes to expanding my knitting skills. It's an adorable hat, it's a small enough project to finally participate in a knit-along, and it's a good sized project to serve as an introduction to fair isle! I can't lose! I had some yarn left from the 1940s pullover I finished several months ago, and I ordered a few more skeins of the same yarn in different color ways to fill out my palette. 

It will coordinate perfectly with my pullover, since it will use some of the same blue, and I'm really excited about the combination of colors on the whole. The orange and red are great for fall, and the green, blue and ecru really round the palette out nicely I think. I've super excited about seeing what everyone else makes for the knit-along, and maybe next time around I'll be able to make one of the sweaters on my list! If you're interested in participating, or just seeing everyone's projects, the knit-along info can all be found here.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Skirt

Progress on this skirt has been slow, but I tried to keep whittling away at it little by little. I finished my seams, then interfaced and attached the waistband before moving back down to the inset. The decorative band for the top of the inset gave me some fits. I measured everything out carefully (or at least thought I had), but when I got it all stitched, turned, and pressed I was not satisfied. One end came out perfectly. The other, however, was a different story. Somehow I managed to let the band taper in across the length and then wound up with a thinner, shorter and less crisp point at the opposite end. I cut another one, made sure to REALLY measure that one carefully as I marked my stitching lines out with chalk, and once it was all pressed I was greeted by a much more uniform, attractive button band.

I put the finishing touches on the skirt last night, after adding the inset and turning up the hem yesterday afternoon. I'm very happy with how the final product turned out. I still need to drop a few more pounds (as anticipated) before it really fits perfectly, but I love the shape of the skirt and the way the pleats hang at the back. I did much of the finishing by hand, particularly around the inset itself in order to keep everything looking clean. I usually do most finishing work by hand, but I was a bit more careful with this than I often am (especially if I'm trying to finish something quickly so I can wear it). Since I can't remember exactly what the fabric content is (a burn test only confirmed that it was a blend of some sort) I had to err on the side of caution and use a slightly lower setting on the iron than I would have if I were working with a pure wool suiting; and the fact that my interim iron is a lightweight p.o.s. that was left in our house by the previous owner didn't make perfect pressing any easier. So far the pleats are holding nicely, though, and I may get a better press when I hit them again with a heavier duty iron.

And a few more details of the pleated inset and button band...
(You can see the slightly pegged hem of the skirt in the first photo a bit better).

I finished the hem with an olive green hem tape I had in my stash (and admittedly could have been a little more meticulous about my hem stitches, but it was late, I'd been alone with a sick baby for three days, and I was tired). I've got a decent stash of hem tape that I picked up on super-clearance at a Ben Franklin's a few years ago. I really enjoy the little bit of contrast on the inside of my hems, and it does help minimize bulk as well.

As you can see in the above photo, after I had cut my fabric I discovered blue manufacturer stamps of some sort all over one side of the fabric. I was really mad at first, but since I only paid a few dollars a yard for it, and online fabric shopping is always a bit of a gamble I did make my peace with it. Fortunately they were all placed in a way that they were easy to hide on the inside of the skirt. Now that I've finished the skirt I can get started on the vest. I've got everything cut, I just need to finish marking everything before I can start sewing.

I hope everyone has had a good week and is enjoying their weekend!


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