Sunday, 24 May 2015

SEWN: MINDBENDING MONA

I MADE A BLAZER!!


Sorry for shouting. I'm a bit excited and inordinately proud.


Meet Mona - she's a mindbending beast.

It seems everyone is getting on the blazer bandwagon at the moment. Gail is whipping out incredibly and impeccably tailored blazers at an alarmingly amazing rate. And every other blogger in blogland appears to be dating Morris. Morris doesn't do it for me. I'm not that keen on his style lines, I'm a bit judgy like that. Maybe also because I'm not into the ponte/double knit craze (I'm sorry, when I touch it it always reminds me of synthetic old lady comfort clothing, but feel free to convince me) or stretch wovens.

Unless it's this stretch woven in the the form of Pinch Coral, a glorious cotton/polyester/spandex blend from Pitt Trading*. Then it's all good.


Oh, this is one lovely fabric. It's a beautiful weight for a jacket and doesn't crease horribly the moment you bend your elbow. That's my kind of fabric.

I really upped my game on this make. It felt a bit epic... then I gave myself a slap and realised I got it done over maybe three days of intermittent, half hour here, an hour there, sewing. Possibly because whilst this is a casual, relatively untailored jacket, requiring little in the way of tweaking, it had the most mind-bending construction I've ever come across.


Let me be clear. I've never attempted a jacket, lined or not, so I'm a newby at this. Actually I lie. I made a very 80's cropped, short sleeved, lined and shoulder padded bolero number in my teens, but really I've blanked that fashion decision from my memory.

This pattern, Jacket Mona, is from a new-to-me German pattern company, Schnittchen. It's got some great patterns at a very affordable 5 Euro (for PDF patterns, and new season patterns appear to be 6 Euro), but if you want detailed instructions go elsewhere. The written instructions for Mona include no diagrams and are more a list of the steps. Now, there is an online photo tutorial on the Schnittchen blog for this (and most?) patterns, but I still struggled. Often the photo provided wasn't of the part of the step I had issues with.

Thankfully I had Instagram and Google. After seeing Gail post a collar she was constructing on IG, I sneakily begged for help with mine. Way above and beyond any expectations I had she pretty much prepared a step by step photo tutorial and direct messaged it to me. Gail, I'm a little bit in love with you right now.


I also had to refer to Grainline's tutorial on bagging a lining. Which is excellent. As is my teal/aqua/sky blue lining. Yeah baby, pop of colour coming your way. A RTW quality lining also from Pitt Trading* that barely frayed (what!!??) and pressed beautifully. Mmmmm silky.

The mind bending came from the construction of the lining. It basically has you attach a small part of the lining to the outer straight up, then construct the lining whilst attached to the outer. Madness! My understanding is that quite often the outer and lining are created completely separately then sewn together after the fact. Yeah, that would make life easier. So would having some experience, as I might have been able to work out how to avoid the suggested construction if I had any of that.


But I love the result!! I wonder if it's not a little wide across the shoulders. It's meant to be boxy at the back, but perhaps there's a bit of additional fabric there. I did make a toile and it wasn't as obvious in the linen. If I can get over the trauma of this make (there was a fair amount of swearing in my figuring things out), I'm thinking about an unlined (much easier) linen version. I'd skip the interfacing on the front facing to give a drapier effect.


But for a casual, throw over the top of a tank or tee, blazer?

Like. A. Boss.


*Thanks go to Pitt Trading who provided my choice of fabric and notions free of charge for this project in exchange for images of my completed make for their use. Opinions are all my own.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

KNIT: THE PALETTE CLEANSER


Squishy. Yummy. Like a warm hug.

I need one right now whilst sewing, and really any crafting, is out due to a nasty back injury. Oh the cruel irony that I spend my days "fixing" others backs and then mine goes.


I've also been dithering over a new knitting project since finishing my marathon Caramel. I needed a palette cleanser and I was convinced I wanted to do a chunky knit the likes of a Chunky Fudge Lace Cardigan to achieve a quick-off the-sticks project. Than I snapped myself out of it and realised that given I'm almost too toasty in my sportweight Caramel I was gonna be a sweaty mess in a chunky knit.


But I'd been fondling the chunky yarns at Lincraft during their recent yarn sale and really liked the Mondial Merino Special (12 ply, 60% merino wool, 40% acrylic).

I know that's gonna make all the purists out there shudder at the '"a" word, but pure wool was going to be stifling and I don't mind some acrylic in my accessories. And interestingly it had that strong signature wet wool smell on blocking and is delightfully soft.

So I decided on a delicious cowl - scarves are less my thing as I always feel I have to adjust them and deal with that strangled feeling.


This is the Lael Cowl by Wendy Neal (wound twice around the neck). It's a super easy make that is billed to look equally good on either side. Its chunkily textured fabric comes largely from the K1 below stitch. Although it's a ridiculously easy stitch, I've clearly messed up in some places where the fabric looks markedly different. Oops.

Front of fabric on left, back of fabric on right
Good thing about chunky cowls? Mistakes are generally easily disguised when wearing all bunched up.

And whilst I console myself that I have the perfectly fitting toile for my Schnittchen Mona Jacket and no capacity to cut or sew it, this cuddly little number is making it much easier.

Squish, squish...

Monday, 4 May 2015

SEWN: NOT QUITE CAKE

I think we are all aware of my predilection for icing/frosting. Cake is really just the vehicle to deliver the good stuff in my opinion.


But recently I found myself making what I considered cake. A top that could be worn in more than one outfit combo, with a variety of coordinating pieces.

Meet Peplum 2 or Not Quite Cake.


You see, this cake has icing that's perhaps not immediately obvious. She's a bit more dramatically shaped than The Phoenix.

A bit more pep and puff.


And she has a somewhat hidden quality that's not obvious from far away.


A type of floral burnout/embroidered gorgeousness. Is there a name for this type of fabric? It's a cotton viscose blend I purchased from My Hung Fabrics and stashed at the end of last year. I had it in mind for a top of some sort and after making The Phoenix I decided it would be perfect to create a lightly iced cake.

There's not much to be said about this make. I used my heavily altered peplum top pattern and it all went swimmingly.

I have to say I'm still not convinced about me wearing black. I feel it looks a bit hard against my fair skin and perhaps there is a better neutral for me. But I've worn it already and I did enjoy it. Not quite a woohoo, but certainly not a meh (insert shoulder shrug here).