Tuesday, 25 February 2014

KNIT: "NIMBLE FINGERS" MITTENS

Winter is coming!

Sometime....

In the not altogether distant future...

Really it is...

Even if it was 30 degrees celsius today.
Colour is a bit off - truer in the other shots
I figured I'd best start my knitting early this year in preparation for the frosty months. See the problem with waiting 'til it's cold is that by then it's simply too late. Especially if you're not an altogether quick knitter. My first sweater knit last year was ready for about 2 weeks of cold weather before Spring set in. Ummm..... yep.

So this year I decided to start with a few small projects in these warm summer months. No big mass of adult human-sized sweater resting in the lap on a sweltering day.
My fingers did need "nimbling". My last knitting was back in November. And I have a condition that means keeping my hands working is really important if I want to be a little more pain free. So I limbered up my digits and got my first ever pair of fingerless mittens!

Secret? Never really understood the point of fingerless mittens. Aren't my fingers going to be cold? I like the look though, so when it gets cold I'll let you know how my fingers feel.

These babies were finished weeks ago, but life got in the way (in the form of man flu) and I couldn't nab a photographer until today.

Project deets

Pattern: Andi Satterlund's free Adorable Fingerless Mittens (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee in Storm (thought it was going to be a more "petrol" blue, but is far more dirty grey)

Time to complete: Couple of days knitting here and there, very quick knit.

Up next? A few fantastic hats. I love hats...

Saturday, 22 February 2014

I'm featured on Pattern Review today!

Wow! How did that happen?

I have this sneaking suspicion that it is a random pick, but I'm going to enjoy my little moment of fame anyway.

Check it out, that's me in the side bar!!

Oh and I know I've been real quiet lately, but I have stuff to share. I just need time to take some photos. Life... it has a habit of getting in the way now and then.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

SEWN: "HAPPY CUSTOMER" DRESS


We interrupt regular programming to bring you this special episode of... Unselfish Sewing!!! (imagine one of those big Hollywood voice over voices).

Can I make a confession? I am a horrendously selfish sewer. Hell, who am I kidding? I'm an incredibly selfish knitter too.

I just can't get as excited about making things for others, as I do for making for myself. Especially for small people who outgrow clothes quicker than you can say "where on earth did my toddler go?" . It's just so thankless.

But when conversations start going like this...

Enter stage right... Me with a new piece of fabric/yarn

Miss M: Is that for me??

Me: Ummmmm... No.

Miss M: Who's it for then?

Me: Ummmmm.... Me.

Miss M: Again!!!!???? (said incredulously)

...you just can't help but feel it's time to make someone else feel special


So I let Miss M loose in my (very modest) stash and she picked this piece of fabric from Alexander Henry's 2009 fabric collection called "Piccolo". I actually won this piece in Jorth's birthday giveaway in 2012. Lucky me! Miss M dove on it immediately.

I pulled out my trusty True Bias Toddler Swing Tank (size 2T) pattern and continued to hack away. That thing is pretty much re-drafted entirely now since Miss M is a size 4. This is such a good shape for a basic dress and one that quite suits Miss M.


To break up the strong fabric design I decided to add some broderie anglaise trim to the armhole for a bit of "flutter". I think that was the winning bit in Miss M's mind.


I used some leftover orange and cream bias binding from the stash to finish the neck and armholes and a perfect blue flower button salvaged from some old garment or other. I love stash busting and re-purposing, it almost feels like it's free!

And really, in the end, how could I resist this happy customer's face??


And now it's back to our regularly scheduled program of Selfish Crafting...

Monday, 3 February 2014

SEWN: "MISS KITTY" SHORTS


Purrrrrrrrr.

That's the sound my 1950 Singer Featherweight 221K AKA Miss Kitty, made as she sewed up these delicious 1950's shorts. So of course, they had to be named the "Miss Kitty" shorts.


This project has been a long time in the procrastinating planning. I purchased this lovely medium to heavy weight cotton sateen at The Fabric Store in Sydney last February at a Sydney Sewists Social. I then proceeded to prep the fabric and bury it place it safely in my very modest stash. I just wasn't feeling it...

But after my recent trip to The Fabric Store my interested was re-ignited, and the Miss Kitty shorts were born!


This is a 1950's (I think) Fashion Cut Pattern No. 9720, that I scored some time ago quite cheaply (on eBay I suspect - my memory is notoriously like a goldfish).

I'm not even sure why it appealed to me as I am more likely to prefer a dress or skirt. But appeal it did.

This is my second time working with an unprinted pattern (pre-blogging days) and I find them completely user-friendly. For those not in-the-know, an unprinted pattern is one where the pattern tissue is not printed with markings and seam lines and the like. There is nothing on each pattern piece except for perforations. The instruction sheet tells you what each pattern of perforations means. For example, three in a row means cut the piece on the fold, four indicates the straight of grain, dart placement is also represented clearly by a series of perforations. Unprinted patterns were common up until the 1950's, which helped me roughly date the pattern.

And based on the pristine condition of the pattern, this one appeared to be completely unused, in factory folds and with the original advertising insert.


In honour of its condition I decided to be good and use pattern weights (*cough* tuna cans *cough*, I'm nothing if not low tech) to hold my pattern pieces in place for rotary cutting instead of pins. My goodwill did not extend to tracing the pattern, but I did take care not to nick the edges with the cutter.

More importantly guys, this is my first time EVER making pants/shorts (do those plaid elastic-waisted monstrosities I made in my teen years count?). I am soooooo very proud. I am aware of some fitting issues going on there, but still! First shorts!

I, of course, did not look into pants fitting or muslining these prior to cutting into my fashion fabric. I don't have time for that stuff and the size measurements matched me exactly. I just went right ahead and got stuck into it. It was all going swimmingly until I sewed up the inseam. Dudes, the crotch of these shorts was hanging out somewhere down by my knees. I'd have had to pull them up near my boobs to get a crotch sitting anywhere near where it should be. Eek!

Off to good old Google I went. The following is a quick and dirty way to deal with a low hanging crotch in an already made pair of pants/shorts. The following is a fusion of a few tailoring methods I found.
1. Try on your pants. Have someone help by pinching up a fold of fabric in the centre back seam that corrects the low hanging crutch to a degree you can live with. Let's be clear here, if it's inches and inches this is not gonna help, but for less extreme alterations this seems to work just fine.

2. Pin that fold in place.

3. Measure the depth of the fold - in my case, around 1/2 inch.

4. Unpin that fold as you are not going to be altering that seam at all. Go to your inseam - that's the one that runs up the inside of one leg across the crotch and down the inside of the other leg (you may need to unpick the crotch seam a bit depending upon your construction method). Sew a new inseam the same depth as your fold (again, 1/2 inch in my case). You can continue to sew the entire inseam if needed at that depth (you've got too much bagginess in the leg, for example) or gradually ease the stitch line back into the original inseam where desired. I altered the entire inseam.

5. Stand back and check that shit out. It might be poor planning and pre-adjustment, but dang, it does work!


I'm super happy with the finishing, but if I'm totally honest I wasn't completely true to the vintage process. I could not do without my overlocker for seam finishing, but I did complete a part of one of my Spring/Summer Sewing Promises. I used Miss Kitty's adjustable zipper foot to insert my invisible zip. Tres happy!

I was defeated by the buttonholer attachment, however, and had to remorsefully head to the Janome for my one buttonhole. I will have to reach out to some Featherweight fanatic or other and work out how to remove Miss Kitty's damn thread cutter (it stops you being able to attach the buttonholer).

I still think there is a bit too much depth and length in the crotch and a pattern tissue adjustment would deal with that better next time. I think those horizontal crease things on the rear view near the waist mean I need a sway back adjustment to account for my badonkadonk. Small waist, bubble butt, that's me! Ah, it's all a learning process. Weigh in here guys if you have further advice!

Sorry about the photo bombing, I swear this is not a narcissistic love fest, I'm just so dang proud of these! I'm not even sure I'll wear them in real life, but I'm still proud.

And now I'm off to massage my feet. Three words: Torturous high heels.