Josephine

The sewing streak continues with a 5 out of 4 Josephine sweatshirt in a really nice french terry with jersey cuffs/collar. It only took a couple of hours – I’m always so amazed at how quickly knits come together as compared to wovens.

No issues with the pattern – it was a 2x bust graded to a 3x waist and hip, though the resulting sweatshirt fits slimmer than I would have expected for something labelled ‘relaxed fit’.

And now, a mini-gripe. Why do some designers not put finished measurements anywhere in their patterns? It drives me around the bend. I get that designers put a specific amount of ease into their patterns, but I’d like to know finished measurements to help me choose a size. When you’re super-short and curvy, it’s not always as simple as ‘my measurements say x size’, and it’s a pain in the arse to have to measure the pattern pieces and attempt to figure out final dimensions.

But enough of that. I’m pleased with the sweatshirt. Not sure what’s next in the sewing queue – I finished an airplane-print Estuary skirt yesterday but have yet to take a photo. Or rather, have yet to take a photo that I like. I took a few outside in the shade but they ended up too washed out to see the skirt much at all. Will have to try again this afternoon once there’s a bit of shade. Right now it’s all bright sun, and as much as that’s lovely to lie around in it’s not great for photos.

Note to self: change lenses before you take more photos. Your 85mm f/1.8 is a better portrait lens than your 50mm f/1.8.

More of the same

My parcel of birthday fabric arrived yesterday afternoon! After the requisite several minutes of fabric-petting I bundled part of it right into the wash so I could spend the evening sewing.

And I did! I’d planned to finish a mini Fringe before jumping into a jersey pile, but my sewing machine decided its buttonhole functions weren’t going to behave themselves. Erg. With all the quirks the machine is developing lately I worry that it’s coming to the end of its life.

So instead of finishing in-progress projects I made another I Love the 90s dress – one of the few projects (along with my Estuary skirts) I’m able to make with no alterations. Actually, that’s not quite true – I do always lower the neckline and make a band instead of lining the bodice, but I made pattern pieces for those so it feels just like a cut-and-sew project.

I was expecting the print to be smaller, but it still looks cute so I’m not complaining. I did accidentally manage to put a hot-air balloon on each boob, though. Oops. I don’t think it’s too obvious, is it?

I made another little Going Home raglan, too, with the scraps from the 90s dress. Took under an hour because a) knits; b) tiny. I love projects that let me use up my leftovers, especially since fabric tends to be on the expensive side for me. The only local fabric shop sells exclusively cotton wovens (and a bit of flannel), so if I want anything different I have to order online.

Really wish I had a local source for knits.

Tonight I’m going to start (and, let’s be real, probably finish) a third Page hoodie, this one in red with a contrast hood lining. I’m thinking about colour blocking the sleeves and putting a wide stripe of contrast down them, but I only have half a metre of contrast so I’ll have to see what’s left after I cut out the hood and cuffs.

It’s finally warm enough to take photos outside again! I mean, it was -5 when I took the photo above, but I can manage that for a little while in short sleeves.

Red!

It’s a dull, washed-out kind of day but at least I have a bright red York pinafore to make up for it.

It’s kind of ridiculous how long I’ve waited to make this – I tagged the pattern for future sewing when it first came out, but was convinced that it just wasn’t going to look right on me and waffled back and forth for literal months. Not sure what made me decide, yesterday, to just dive in, but I’m glad I did. I kind of love it. Even the slight cocoon shape works.

Alterations were simple – I shortened the yoke by 1.25″ at each of the two lengthen/shorten points, and I graded from a 22 yoke to a 26 waist/hip. It works well with the thick corduroy, but if I make one in a thinner fabric I may go to a 24 waist/hip instead. I might try the other pockets, too, just for fun.

I used much less bias tape than the pattern called for – I’m guessing the estimate was generous. I made my own out of a scrap of red/green/white tartan and it’s super-cute on the inside. I always seem to convince myself that I don’t like the process of sewing a bias facing, but every time I do it I conclude that it’s not at all the pain in the butt I told myself it would be. Good thing, too, because the neck, open sides, and pocket openings are all entirely finished with bias tape.

I’m not sure how much time I spent on this but it seemed like a fairly quick sew. It’s not a dress but I’m tagging it as one anyhow, because I’m not likely to need a ‘pinafore’ tag anytime soon.

Seals and Pandas!

Just when I thought I might see spring sometime this century, Friday brought 25 cm of snow and near 100 km/h winds. I didn’t budge from my sewing room most of the afternoon – I had new patterns to tape together, plus a few projects on the go.

A couple of weeks ago I acquired some seal-print cotton/spandex jersey, and it took about 24 hours for it to become this I Love the 90s dress. It’s a cute pattern – empire-waist dresses will never not be my jam – and the fabric is gorgeous quality. It’s very soft with great recovery, and has a nice weight and thickness to it, too. Plus, seals. I am a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body and I’m absolutely fine with that.

The only alterations I made were to have a single-layer bodice, which necessitates adding a band to the neckline for finishing, and to drop the neckline, too, because otherwise the band makes it a little too high for my liking. This is my second dress from the pattern, and it won’t be the last.

I haven’t worn the first one much, but that’s not the fault of the pattern. It was only my second project with jersey, and I managed to muck up the hems just enough so that they flipped after washing, and even the iron couldn’t get them to lie right. This morning I finally got around to unpicking the sleeve and skirt hems; I redid them with my twin needle and I think they’ll be fine now.

… Back to being a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body, though, because I also made this Claiborne top from panda-print cotton. First time using a DIBY pattern, and it worked all right, but some of the pattern pieces didn’t quite line up. I’m not sure whether that’s exclusive to this pattern or a more widespread issue, but it was a little frustrating.

I didn’t actually pay attention to any of the instructions. I mean. Basic top, gathered empire waist, gathered sleeve ruffles, neckline facing. Not complex. Sometimes I like to just do my own thing. I did end up cutting two inches off the sleeve ruffles because I found them too long and puffy, but other than that it’s sewn as drafted.

I have a parcel of birthday-gift fabric arriving in a few days and I’m super-excited. I ordered enough for four projects – a third Page hoodie, a Josephine sweatshirt, another I Love the 90s dress and a Fuller cardigan. Eee. Have I mentioned before how much I love L’Oiseau Fabrics? Because I do, especially when it comes to jersey and french terry.

And now, back to the sewing machine.

A hoodie, and some complaining about photos…

I have a bunch of finished objects to share, but the photos are such a mess that I’m going to wait a while until it’s warm enough to take some shots outside. My speedlight died a couple of weeks ago, the quick-release plate for my tripod has disappeared, and I can’t find my remote shutter release, either, so my camera situation is not great, right now.

I still haven’t figured out how to process indoor shots so they they look even half as decent as outdoor ones, and I don’t have a stoop or patio I can duck out to for a few minutes in the winter. Sometimes it’s just too danged cold and windy to get outside, regardless – I’m not going to be standing outside in minus thirty-something in a single layer.

At least spring is coming. That makes it easier for photos, though I really do need to at least get a replacement remote – the other option is running back and forth to the camera after every shot instead of being able to take a bunch at once and likely getting a decent one somewhere amongst them.

I scuttled outside to take a quick shot (literally one – please excuse the face I’m making) of my second Page hoodie, and it’s not hard to tell that it was pretty cold when I did it!

The pattern’s sizing chart put me in a 20 bust graded to a 24 waist and hips, but due to the 10 inches of ease built into the Page I sized down to a straight 14 (?!) to get this slim-fit version. My first, roomier version was a straight 18 – being 4’11” means that a lot of ease doesn’t work as well on my frame as it does on taller people.

As drafted, the hoodie is a crop length, but I used the longer length of the drawstring version then added a band and I think the finished length is perfect. Actually, everything is just about perfect. I love this hoodie to bits.

Like Chalk & Notch’s Fringe blouse/dress and Victory tank, this hoodie pattern I think is going to become a staple for me. Their patterns just work for me – I always seem to end up making them multiple times. I’m working on another mini Fringe at the moment, and have another Victory cut out and waiting in the queue.