Saturday, April 27, 2013

So Neat and Sweet 1940s Pullover

I'm suffering just a tad bit of project ADD here lately, partially self inflicted and partially out of my control, but I have recently started another knitting project (one that is coming along quite nicely so far). I had started a 1940s knitted turban and frogged that project because I didn't have enough yarn left, so instead of that I made a baby hat from a vintage pattern book that a friend gave me. I don't have any pictures of that, but it turned out really cute. I've also been forced to put work on my 1950s lace sweater on hold for a while since I've yet to work out the mess of yarn that developed in the center of my skein. I got tired of trying to fix it and moved on to something else. During my little knitting break I finished work on the 1940s shirtdress I was working on, and have now cast on another sweater project. My mom knitted a cardigan for me from an early 1950s pattern and had TONS of yarn leftover. She was not the biggest fan of knitting with fingering weight on small needles for such a comparatively large project (she's a prolific sock knitter), and wasn't going to use all of the remaining yarn so I took it and started another sweater myself. The pattern I'm using is one from A Stitch in Time Volume 2

The pattern is originally from the 1940s, and is titled "So Neat and Sweet in her simple v-necked jersey"

Source: A Stitch in Time V2 ®Susan Crawford

I don't have any other sweaters in this style, and I thought it would be nice to have a nice pullover to wear with skirts and trousers for fall and winter. I thought about choosing a cardigan pattern, since they are more conducive to breastfeeding, but I really wanted to do something a little different from what I already have in my wardrobe (which includes numerous cardigans). 

I cast on the back a about a week ago and have finished that and gotten started on the front. The stitch pattern is a very simple one to memorize, which is nice for many reasons, and it's really knitting up very quickly. After having read through two other knitters' projects and notes I decided to go ahead and cast on for the smallest size, allowing a tiny bit of negative ease in the bust, instead of the few inches of positive ease and several inches of ease at the waist. 

I found Tasha's version especially inspiring, and as we're very close in size her notes on sizing, etc were very helpful. She's extremely talented, and I've really loved looking through all of her other projects! This is her version of the pattern. Isn't she adorable?

Image source: By Gum by Golly
I've been feeling pretty tired again the last couple of days, so I've spent quite a bit of time on the couch working on this and I'm excited about how it's turning out. 

It's back to knitting and Netflix for me for the rest of the day it looks like. I need to clean up the house and try and reorganize some things. We just got a new gas range delivered this morning and my kitchen is in complete disarray, along with the living and dining rooms, both of which are full of gifts, bags and paper from my baby shower last weekend. Knitting on the couch is a much more enticing prospect for this chilly, overcast afternoon, though, so knitting it is.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I finally finished another project!

The 1940s shirtdress I posted last time is now finished! I attached the sleeves, set the zipper and did all the other finishing work on it this afternoon and evening. It needs some more thorough pressing, but I really wanted to get some photos taken before it got too dark so I could share the finished product. I found two buttons in my (small) button stash that were perfect. They're a plain, dark wood and were the perfect size for this dress. I don't even remember why I bought these, but I'm glad I did. It saved me making another trip before I could cross this project off my list. I went ahead and put this navy belt on Tabitha just to see what it would look like, but it really needs a dark brown belt to go with the buttons. I need a medium width brown belt anyway, because my collection is somehow lacking one, so I will have to pick one up somewhere. 

Just as a reminder, this is the pattern that I used.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, I just wish that I could actually try it on myself right now. Only five weeks to go until my due date, though! So I'm inching closer every day to being able to wear normal clothes again. I hope everyone is having a good week!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Foray into the Forties

I've got a couple of WIPs that I've been working on the last few weeks, and wanted to share them with you, just to prove I've actually been sewing. The first is a modified version of Butterick 5152 (the 1948 robe pattern). This was essentially a wearable muslin, as I've never used the pattern before and the fabric was some quilting cotton I used as part of a stash busting effort. I've shortened it and added a waistband that will button in order to make it into more of a house dress. Sorry the second picture is a bit fuzzy. The camera and lighting in my house this morning weren't cooperating as I would have liked. 

Overall this pattern went together pretty easily. I cut a size larger than I usually would, so that it will be comfortable for immediately post-baby. The only issue that I ran into with the pattern was the blousing effect on the bodice back. The top is intended to blouse, as was the style in the 40s (particularly in a robe), but the blousing at the back of this was a bit extreme. I am a bit swayback as well, which may have something to do with it. I had a friend (also swayback) come over and try it on before I did any alterations since fitting on myself is a little challenging right now. I ended up taking about 2 inches of length out of the bodice back in order to get a smoother line. I have yet to hem it or make buttonholes in the waist, since I want to wait and do that once I'm not a complete watermelon anymore and can check it on myself. 

The second project I've been working on is a 1940s shirtdress. As I've said before, I'm making an effort to make myself some nursing friendly dresses to wear, and so shirtdress, and other patterns I can easily adjust to open in the front are on the docket now. This one was also a stash buster; another quilting cotton that's been sitting around for a few years. The pattern I'm using is Simplicity 4729 from 1943. I'm making View 1, but without the ruffle trim, and will most likely only use two buttons (as in View 2). 

I've got the bodice and skirt assembled, and just have to attach the sleeves, hem the skirt and finish the fastenings. I really like how it's coming together so far, and I may well use this pattern again in the future. 

I really liked this "coffee bean" print, but I do wish the fabric were a bit less stiff. I think the skirt would hang a little better. Again, as more or less a wearable muslin, I'm pretty happy with it. 

I'm still debating what to do with that rayon print I posted last time, but in the meantime I have another button front dress pattern in the queue. Once I get this shirtdress finished up I will be starting on this 1930s pattern: Simplicity 2636 from 1938. I have this lovely, pale lavender, cotton lawn that I plan on using for it. It will be nice and light for summer, but will obviously require a slip at all times. I've actually got a 1960s slip in my "collection" with a broken strap that I never wear. I never wanted to get rid of it because I got it for free, it's exactly my size, and the lace is pretty, but I haven't bothered to fix it either. I realized the other day that I could actually make it into a nursing slip when I do fix the straps, since it needs to be done anyway. I can just as easily use snaps or hooks to make it more utilitarian. 

I'm going to be making View 1 (without the sash) since the tiny buttons on the front bodice are actually functional. I was a little surprised by this, but was glad to discover this since it means I don't have to alter the pattern to add functional front buttons. I'm going to need to find/make a narrow purple or green belt to go with it, but once can never have too many different colors of belts anyway. 

Hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Decisions, decisions.

I have a question for all of you. I have 4.5 yard of this lovely floral print challis (it's 54" wide) and am having a devil of a time figuring out exactly what I want to do with it. I bought it knowing I wanted to do something late 30s-early 40s, with gathering details and so forth, but am limited not only by my pattern stash when it comes to this sort of thing, but also by the fact that I need it to unbutton in front (needs to be relatively nursing friendly).
I have a couple of patterns that may be in the running, but am not sure that fabric-wise they will be the best choice, as this challis doesn't have a whole lot of body. I can fix that to a certain extent with interfacing, but would like some other opinions.

Here's the fabric....

And here are the two patterns I'm toying with at the moment...

Marian Martin 9241

And Anne Adams 4811...

I'm totally comfortable with combining components of patterns, or drafting new pieces (although I would rather not take the time right now), but I'm having a really hard time deciding A. if either of these will work, or B. if this is really the style I want to go for at all. These are very different from most of what I have in my closet now (although I am a fan of this era), but most of what I have is also not nursing friendly and I'd love to have something practical but cute.

Any opinions on these two patterns, or suggestions of other patterns to look at would be much appreciated!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A UFO sighting

Several weeks ago I started working on a 1940s knitted turban with what I had left from the cabled baby jacket and socks. However, I soon realized that I was not going to have enough yarn for the whole turban, so I was forced to frog it. I've since started on a baby hat from a vintage pattern book with the rest of that yarn. Anyway, in the meantime I have also pulled out one of my remaining UFOs to work on. It is a 1950s lace sweater in an aqua colored lamb's wool. 

This is the pattern I'm using. 

I've gotten the back finished and am very nearly finished with the front. I don't have any decent pictures of them, but I should get some taken here soon. I've hit a major snag in the project for the moment, however, both literally and figuratively. I developed a HUGE tangle in the yarn (which in lace weight yarn is incredibly infuriating). I spent an hour and a half working at it last night and made major headway, but still have a big tangle to work out. I have to get it all untangled because my yardage is very limited and I can't afford to waste a single bit of the yarn. As it stands, I may have to make the sleeves a teensy bit shorter already and don't want to start hacking at this wonderfully soft yarn anyway. Patience, though, is a great virtue to the knitter/sewer and I am making a good practice of it with this mess. I know I can loosen it all eventually. 

For the last couple of days I've been trying to get lots of organizational/prep work done around the house before the baby gets here as well. We have less than 8 weeks to go now, and I still have lots of work to get finished so I can just relax the last couple of weeks. Today I threw together a couple of wet bags (we're will be cloth diapering at least part time) and it was a nice, quick project to make me feel like I'd done something productive without much effort. Here's a sneak peak of them. They are lined with PUL (so they're more or less waterproof on the inside) and each has a snap strap for hanging on strollers, cribs, etcetera if need be. This "jungle babies" fabric was just too cute to pass up as well. I think I may have just enough of the PUL left to make a cloth diaper cover as well. We will see. All in all, I spent about $12 total on these two bags: not too bad since store bought ones seem to cost at least twice that much. 

I've also got a 1940s house dress in the works for after the baby is born. I hope to get that finished up and have pictures for you all soon. I had to make a few alterations to the back (it was SUPER blousy) but I think I've got it worked out. I had to have a friend come try it on since I can't get the wrap front around myself right now. I think it's going to be really cute though. 

Hope everyone is having a good week!

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