Friday, October 10, 2014

A pair of Hawthorns

I finally made a Hawthorn! Well, okay, I finally made two Hawthorns, and I made them a couple of months ago, but still. I made a Hawthorn!

I'm totally late to the Hawthorn party, but I'm so glad I've finally joined. This is seriously one of my favorite new patterns. I rarely make any pattern twice, and having now made the 3/4 sleeve dress and the blouse version, I have plans for more of each.

First up is the blouse version. I made this in a white, swiss dot that I got from Michael Levine, and I couldn't be happier with the fabric for this top. I was clearly inspired by the sample in white with black polka dots. Must have polka dots! The swiss dot was subtler, though, and will therefore be more versatile when it comes to pairing it with things in my existing wardrobe. For the blouse I cut a straight 6, and didn't really have to make any changes, other than raising the waistline seam about half in inch in center front and center back. I frequently have trouble with RTW blouses pulling at the bust, but since Hawthorn is drafted for a C cup already I didn't have to make any changes. This fabric does wrinkle as soon as you look at it, which can get a bit annoying, but It's less noticeable on than when it's on Tabitha. I swear I ironed it, really.

Hawthorn #2 is the 3/4 sleeve dress version. I used a chartreuse Italian shirting (also from Michael Levine), and as this fabric had a lot more stretch to it than I was anticipating I cut a 6:4:6 to make sure that I had a snug enough fit at the waist. The only other changes I made were the same shortening of the waistline at center fronts and backs because for some reason it was dipping quite a bit on both versions, and I also added in-seam pockets. Now, let me just say, I LOVE this fabric in that the color and pin striping are amazing and it feels really good on, but Oh. My. Lord was it a pain to sew. The amount of stretch in this stuff made stripe matching an absolute nightmare, so I eventually gave up on it for the most part. It also made  stitching the sleeve plackets a total bear. As a result, they are far from impeccable, and I really would like to make another one (maybe a long sleeved blouse) to try and get the plackets really perfect. I ended up facing the hem in order to keep a little bit of length, and I think next time I'll just cut the skirt an inch or two longer, since I like my skirts a tad longer than the pattern calls for. It also makes sitting on the floor with toddlers a little more ladylike. All in all, I love this dress, and I've already worn this one a few times too. The boy and I had just gotten back from a bike ride to playgroup, hence the rolled sleeves and rosy cheeks, and this dress is totally bike friendly as well. The bike that I have the baby seat on doesn't have fenders or skirt guards, but a simple dress clip fixes any skirt catching issues, and the skirt is long enough that I don't feel like I'm flashing everyone even when it rides up a tad. I have a million other things in the queue, but I would kind of like to make another of these for the fall now that the weather really is finally cooling down.

(The lighting in our house is terrible, but it hasn't been much better for photos outside lately, so I apologize for the glare through the side door. And boy do I need a haircut.)

Happy sewing everyone!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Irish lace

In what little time I have to sew and knit lately, I've managed to grab a few moments here and there to  work on a new sort of project for me. A couple of years ago a good friend gifted me with a pretty massive stack of vintage and antique crochet and knitting books, ranging in age from about 1915 to the 1950s. The vast majority of them are crocheted lace patterns (plus one KILLER 1930s knitting book, which I've got plans for later this winter), and while I've never been much of a crocheter, some of these lace patterns are just too pretty for me not to try my hand at it. 

I decided to try and stick with something fairly simple for my first go 'round, so I picked this fabulous Irish lace jabot pattern. There is no dat on the pattern, but I'm guessing it's from around 1940. It has taken me MONTHS (ok, honestly I have no idea when I started this thing, but if feels like eons ago) to finish this thing. Mostly since I only had little bits of time here and there to work on it, and even then I couldn't work for very long in a sitting because it started to make my hand cramp after a while. Maybe this should tell me something about my tension? 

1940s crocheted irish lace jabot ruffle

1940s crocheted irish lace jabot ruffle

A lot of these patterns call for size 50 crochet cotton, but I had a hard enough time finding 30 anywhere. I'm seriously doubting whether 50 even still exists, but it seriously has to be about the size of hand-quilting thread because the 30 is pretty darn tiny. Anyhoo, this pattern was not only simple, but it was one of the few that called for 30 to begin with, so I guess it was kismet. After the foundation rows the jabot is worked back and forth in a "U" around the center, building outward in a series of simple 7-chain loops. The final three rows are done with an alternating 7-chain loop and double crochet shell. I was kind of winging it on the final rows, since I couldn't tell from the picture exactly what the edging was supposed to look like. In theory, this is right. Either way it looks pretty, so who cares, right? The entire piece is about 18 inches long, and gets folded in half when worn. I have no ideas what I'm actually going to wear it with since almost all of my clothes have "V" or scoop necks, but I'll figure something out. It's just too awesome not to wear. 

1940s crocheted irish lace jabot ruffle

I still need to hit it with a little bit of starch to get the ruffles to hold really well, but overall I'm really happy. I'd say for a first lace project it was a success. Has anyone else been trying their hand at something new lately? I'm always keen to learn new skills (because I clearly don't have enough projects already). Even if I only end up doing something once I can at least say that I have. 

(You've also got a little sneak peak on Tabitha of what I've got to share with you all in my next post, however belated). 

The fall weather seems to finally be here to stay in Kentucky. This weekend is supposed to be pretty chilly, and I'm loving it so far. Mr. S is off work next week so I'm hoping to get in plenty of time outdoors with my boys, plus lots of sewing time since I'll have an extra pair of hands around to help with the Tasmanian Devil who thinks he's two already. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

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