Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Burda Cardigan

I may never take this off.  This cardigan was inspired by the fabric.  It's not anything fancy.  It's just something I found on a trip to Joann's for thread.  You know how that goes.  You only go in to pick up some thread and...  It's a double sided knit. Polka dots on one side, stripes on the other.  Actually, I think this would be considered double cloth since it seems to be two knits fused together at the dots.  I have used some of this same knit before to make crawling baby pants for Jane a while ago.  It is really soft and spongy and has some drape because of the weight.  But not a lot of recovery.  So I bought it knowing it would be perfect for a drapey cardigan.  One that would show off both sides of the fabric. 

I cleaned out my pattern stash recently.  I was ruthless.  Since I began sewing all the time five or so years ago, I have bought patterns with reckless abandon.  Mainly big four patterns when they are on major sale at Hancock or Joann's.  I had a huuuuge pattern stash with no chance of ever making all of them up.  I got rid of everything that I didn't love.  I donated them to a local thrift store that has a giant crafting section so I know they'll go to good homes.  And I've whittled my pattern stash down to just what I intend to make.  I'm also vowing to not buy any more patterns unless I am serious about making it up.  We'll see how that goes.  I think I've already bought four or so since that cull.  Oops.

Anyway, this Burda 7184 pattern survived the pattern stash purge.  I'm generally a fan of Burda patterns, magazine or envelope.  So I kept this one.  It was perfect for this fabric.  The pattern has a two piece raglan sleeve.  The sleeve is not a very close fitting one.  I bet you could make this pattern up in some sort of wool knit or coating and it would be a great jacket.  Maybe even in a ponte knit.  I made the longer version with pockets.  I did size down to a 38 thinking the pattern pieces looked oversized.  I'm glad I did.  I normally make a 40 in Burda patterns.  I hemmed the front by flipping under twice and straight stitching.  The front hems shouldn't need to stretch much.  I made it up exactly as the pattern directed except for the neck facing.  The neck facing is a small piece of binding that you sew on to the back neckline and flip inside to finish the edge.  I inserted a piece of 1/4" elastic when I flipped the binding inside.  I wish I had taken a picture.  The elastic keeps the back neckline from stretching way out since the knit fabric is so heavy.  Helps it keep it's shape.

I love it.  It's like wearing a bathrobe that is acceptable to wear in public.  It's perfect for weekend wear.  This project was a win.  Like I said, I may never take it off.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Very Late Review

Ok, I told myself I wasn't going to bother doing end-of-year graphs this year.  But Joy's post changed my mind.  I love a pie chart.  Can't help myself.  So I make no apologies for this post.  I was curious how my year stacked up against previous years being that this was such a crazy one.  And I want to be able compare this year visually to the previous two years that I've done year end graphs.  That was a mouthful.

 Thirty-nine projects!  Holy cow.  I honestly can't believe I made so many things.  Most projects were super easy ones, but still.  I must have found more time to sew than I thought.  Of course summer is more productive since I get to be home all day.  Nap time equals sewing time around these parts.  I probably should have used nap time for cleaning time, but you know.  Most were blogged.  I think.

Here are some pie charts for your viewing pleasure.  First up, by garment type.

Lots of tops.  Lots of quick and easy tops.  No closure, pull over tops.  That was half (!) of what I sewed.  I guess that's why I ended up having such a large grand total.  I do love my Jacqueline tops so the fact that they were quick and easy is only an added bonus.  I only sewed four measly items for Jane.  Yikes.  I really thought I sewed more for her.  The things I did sew for her were a little more time consuming, though.  She has some projects already planned for this year.

Jacqueline Tops

Next chart, by pattern company.

Self drafted sounds fancy but most of that is all those half-circle skirts I made.  And I love all of them.  They probably win for most worn garment of this year, especially the leopard print one.  I used a few Indie patterns but most of that category goes to Tina Givens patterns.  I really like her wild, art teacher designs.  I love a big linen top.  My white Luella is such funky one.  And I wear my Jacqueline tops all the time.  All the time.  In fact, they may have surpassed my circle skirts at this point...

By fabric type. No surprise about the linen.  I love linen.  But yes, you so have to embrace the rumple.  I also discovered Fabrics-Store.com this year.

This last graph is a new one I added.  It's all my projects categorized as either a success, fail, or meh.  I added in ufo and baby for a few projects I couldn't categorize.  

I had a rough time this year with making things I was unhappy with.  It all came to head this summer.  It looks like I made a ton of projects in July but most of those were a bunch of fails I made at one time.   Looking back, my unrest in sewing things coincided with my unrest with life at the time.  I wrote a post about J's leukemia diagnosis well over a year ago and then never mentioned it again in this space.  He has chronic myeloid leukemia for those who are new here.  It's been a rough year, although things have ended up really well these last three months of so.  J "failed" two of his medications earlier in the year.  One lowered his platelet count too much and he couldn't take the full dose.  And one caused liver toxicity, which is scary in it's own right.  Anyway, he had to stop taking medication during the summer for a while to recover before we tried a third option.  And you don't want to be off of medication for too long when you have cml.  So in hindsight, I get why I've been so wishy washy and anxiety ridden this year.  2014 has been somewhat of a roller coaster.  I've had to put on my big girl panties a few times.  J is on a third medication now and is doing fantastic.  Very minimal side effects and all of his counts are in the normal range.  I think we can exhale now because I hope we've found the meds that he can be on long term.  Which, you know, we need him around long term.

Of course this little one has been a huge bright spot this year.  She mostly overshadows all the hard stuff.  And makes it all worth it.  Those teeth...

Anyway, this turned in to a rambling and deep post.  I so enjoy writing this blog even when posts are few and far between.  I've thought lots about whether I want to keep this space up this year.  And yes, I do.  I love the sharing, the connection with others and sense of community we have around here.  I love reading sewing blogs whenever I have a free moment.  It's like being a part of great big, bright and boisterous sewing club.  So thank you for reading, thank you for having conversations with me and thank you for sharing, too!  Here's to never ending bobbins in 2015.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Dress!

 Yes, a dress!  A completed project that I am actually pretty happy with.  I think this is a good way to start the new year.  And yes, I know it's technically cheating since I started this dress back in.... October.  But I am adding it to the Jungle January pool since that is the reason I finally finished it.  It had been sitting on my dress form for over a month now waiting on buttonholes and a hem.  But Jungle January peer pressured me in to finishing it :)

Like I said before, I started this project months ago.  And it started out differently in my head.  I planned on making a maxi shirt dress for a November wedding I attended.  I envisioned a floor length shirt dress made out of a slippery, flowy fabric.  So I browsed around online and ended up purchasing this army green leopard print rayon challis.  When it came, I was underwhelmed.  It kind of reminded me of camouflage.  I forged ahead with my plans anyway, cutting out the top half of a Lisette shirt dress pattern, Simplicity 2246, that I've made before (view C but with the long sleeves).   I planned on using my half circle skirt pattern for the bottom half of the dress, which I luckily did not cut out right away.  The Lisette pattern is an easy beginners version of a shirt dress.  The collar is one piece, which I think is a little strange, and there are no cuffs or sleeve plackets.  I knew I liked the fit, though, because I made a version last year.  That dress has been on constant rotation this fall.  It's not a super close fitting shirt dress.  I left a little bit ease in the waist and bust on purpose.  I made the original while I was still nursing baby Jane and I needed the ease then.  I've found after wearing that dress a lot this fall that I really like the extra ease.  It's an easy dress to wear all day.  I wear that one to work a lot.

I did the same shoulder adjustment where I took out all the excess ease.  Only I think I went to far this time.  There is an issue with the fit in the shoulders which doesn't seem to be apparent while looking at the dress, but I can feel it.  There is a tugging feeling.  I think I would leave a little bit of ease in next time around.   Also, the shoulder seam pulls off the ends of my shoulders which doesn't happen on my first version.  I did a collar stand by tracing from the one piece collar.  I didn't realize there was actually a separate collar stand pattern piece (d'oh!) until later so I can't comment on that.   It ended up huge.  I can actually flip the collar stand down and it looks almost like a full size collar.  As a side note, I've yet to sew a shirt collar that I haven't found too big.  Why do collars on sewing patterns always seem so large compared to rtw?  Or maybe I just prefer a smaller collar.

Somewhere along the way I lost interest in the project and I didn't finish it in time for the November wedding.  I think the fact that I didn't really love the fabric contributed to my stalling.  But I revisited it later on and decided to go with the gathered skirt from the actual pattern instead of a maxi skirt.  I lined the whole dress by cutting out the same pattern pieces from a solid drab green rayon challis and basting each piece together before sewing.  It makes for a really nice finish.  See dress guts below.  The whole dress feels very substantial and nice on.  Rayon challis is definitely not a cold weather fabric but it works in a double layer like this.  It's actually decently warm.  The skirt lining was hemmed separately but incorporated in to the placket.  Speaking of which, that placket is all sorts of messed up.  It's wavy and ripply and all over the place.  And my button spacing is not even.   I cannot get my one step buttonhole function to work if it is anywhere near another seam. Fortunately the print hides most of it.  I hope.

And now for the sleeves!  I am most pleased with the sleeves.  I was working on this dress when a post at Handmade by Carolyn describing a simple buttoned cuff came up in my reader.  It was the perfect solution.  The Lisette pattern doesn't include any sort of finish for the long sleeves.   Just a hem.  On the original dress I made, I did a sleeve facing which looks good rolled up.  On this dress, I did the simple buttoned cuff that Carolyn so kindly did a tutorial for and I love it.  So thank you, Carolyn!  I was lining the sleeves already so I didn't have to create a facing.  I just sewed the split and button hole and that was it.  I like how they look rolled up, too. 

All in all, I am pretty pleased with the finished product.  I know I'll get some everyday wear out of it at this length.  Although I still want to make a floor length shirt dress in a wispy fabric.  One day!