Saturday, November 21, 2015

Knit Hat

  When I knit this sweater for Foof, I mentioned that I was thinking about making a hat to go with it. I wanted a knit hat, but it turned out to be a bit difficult to find small hat that used bulky yarn and was knit! I finally came across this one, which goes down to toddler sizing, and decided it would be perfect.

  It uses short rows to shape the hat, which I'd never done before but didn't find difficult. It was really fun to watch it take shape as I knit! It was a really quick knit too... I'd say it took me about 5 hours total knitting time, minus the times I missed an increase and had to rip back several rows. 

  I ran out of yarn after I had knit 10 sections, and had to order another skein (this is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Bulky in Charcoal). I was nervous that the color would be noticeably different since they are from different dye lots, but it was perfect! =)

  I made quite a few mistakes on this that I had to rip out and re-do, and I think there was a mistake in the pattern too...  there are two stitches that are apparently never knit. Next time I would just cast on two less, because they were entirely unnecessary to finishing the hat. Also, the edge stitch directions are rather confusing. I think I get what was intended by the directions now that the hat is totally done, but I ended up just knitting those stitches instead.  I still love it though, and am planning on making another at some point!

  As for the sizing, that is quite accurate- it fits Beckers pretty well but is quite large on Foof! I think it could be made baby-sized by taking out 2-3 columns of stitches and knitting one less section. It looks ridiculously adorable on her though, in spite of being too big!

  The sweater is quite a bit too big as well, so they will probably fit her at the same time... which hopefully will be sometime before our short winter ends! It's possible that they would fit my youngest niece, who is 4 months older than Foof, right now. I'd hate for them to not get worn at all. 

  Oh! I also took a picture of Foof in the smocked dress I made for her... it's still too big, but not as noticeably so. I never mentioned here that the dress won the competition I entered it in! Many, many thanks to everyone who voted for it. =)

  In the works are coordinating dresses for the daughters for Christmas... I unfortunately can't afford to and don't have time to make gifts for everyone I usually make them for this year, but I think I can finish the dresses by then. =)

  Also, I completely forgot to finish updating the nursing dress tutorial... I'm sorry to anyone who is waiting on that! No promises on when it will be up, but I WILL work on it. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Floral Nursing Dress

  Of all the dresses I've made for myself so far, this is my favorite:

  This is once again my own nursing dress design, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

  I left off the pleats entirely this time, as well as the ruffle. I wanted to do a contrasting underlay but didn't have any coordinating fabric, so I used some pretty elastic trim to accent the edges and help provide contrast.

  I also added flounces to the sleeves this time, instead of cuffs- just to change things up even more. =) I didn't want the back of the fabric to show so I lined the flounces with self fabric before sewing them on to the sleeves and lettuce-edging them.

  The fabric is a thin, drapey, rayon blend from last December's Knitfix... and from the Knitfix plus. I had 3 cuts of this fabric, each two yards total, and ended up cutting pieces from all three for the skirt. It's a half-circle skirt, and I planned to cut it as two pieces initially but for some reason I can't remember ended up cutting three. I have several large scraps left though!

  I lined this dress with some milliskin swim lining, which is awesome for helping the skirt drape nicely but is a terrible pain to cut and not much fun to sew either. (I used matte black, but it's apparently no longer available.) It has a firmer stretch than the floral, so the trim on the crossover wants to flip under a bit, but it's not too bad.

  The hem is terribly uneven. I'll probably re-do that once I can get someone to help me level it.

  I used the same pattern as last time, but changed the sleeves a tiny bit. My bust is bigger and my rib-cage smaller than when I made the last one (and obviously my belly is a completely different shape!) so it's a bit tight and short over the bust. Other than that I'm really happy with the fit! I have almost conquered the armscye wrinkles, and I feel like this dress is really flattering.

  Having used the re-designed nursing cutouts, I'm happy to report that they work, although they aren't quite as easy to use. However, I'd prefer that over accidental exposure any day!

  I have the details worked out for re-doing the tutorial and just need to write it up... hopefully I'll get to that in the next few days. =)

  Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jalie Tee Times Three

  For my birthday last month, my husband gave me a day free from most chores and cooking. I was still on nursing and diaper duty, but for the most part I had the whole day to spend as I pleased. I, of course, chose to sew. =)

  The girls are always short on basics, so I decided to make a long-sleeved tee for Booper from Jalie 2805.

  I chose a size H based on her measurements, with added length in the body and sleeves. It worked!

  The sewing went really quickly... I was done long before the day was over!

  Since I still had plenty of time on my hands, I decided to make a matching shirt for Gaiw.

  I made hers in size F, also with added length.

  And then I made one for Beckers too... I started with size F, since that's the smallest size in the pattern, and slimmed down the sides and sleeves just a bit.

  The fabric for hers was leftover from a dress I made a couple of years ago, originally bought at JoAnn. 

  It's an interlock knit with nice stretch, but it doesn't have much recovery so it looks worn out pretty quickly. It also doesn't have the vertical stretch recommended in the pattern, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

  The fabric for the older girls' shirts is from Girl Charlee, here, bought this summer. It's thinner than I like, but is mostly opaque and has nice stretch and recovery. It's also not as soft as most of the rayon-blend knits I've used. I have a couple of yards left... definitely enough for matching shirts for Beckers and Foof, if I felt like making them!

  While this pattern still isn't a perfect fit, it's much closer than the one I've used for Booper previously. I'm definitely sewing this one up again at some point! I might add another inch or so to the length next time... I feel like these are a tiny bit short. I do appreciate the extensive size range... this is the same pattern I altered for Christmas gifts last year. =)

  All three girls love their shirts, and they've been worn quite often since I sewed them. I'm thinking a few more wouldn't hurt... I'd really like to sew some in solids and add vinyl. =)

  (The older girls' skirts were also made by me... Booper's here, and Gaiw's here.)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Plaid Placket Dress

I've wanted to make a full-length t-shirt dress for quite a while now. However, since I started sewing in earnest I've always been nursing, pregnant, or both... and a dress like that isn't particularly awesome for those situations! I finally made one anyway, and made it work for nursing by adding a placket in the front.

  I used some super-soft, rather thin, and quite stretchy plaid that was in the KnitFix I bought last December. (This plaid is also one of the fabrics for this month.) Of course, that made a basic design more complicated because I had to try to match the plaid! I managed to get the horizontal lines matched up beautifully, but I completely forgot to try to line up the vertical lines along the side seams until it was too late. I also matched up two horizontal lines with the sleeve on the front bodice but couldn't make it work in the back.

  I used my basic tee pattern with some modifications to make matching the plaid under the arm a little easier, added a placket from some lightly interfaced black knit following this tutorial (only I altered the measurements to fit the dress better and pressed everything with an iron) and added bow cuffs to the sleeves.

  The placket turned out pretty great, especially since everything kept trying to shift under the presser foot. I planned on using KAM snaps for this, but the only ones I have that work well with this fabric are white hearts, which seem a little too youthful for this style. I ended up using some heavy-duty metal snaps that I had on hand... they are overkill for this fabric but since it's interfaced on the placket I don't think they will cause any problems there. The one on the neckband might though... I didn't interface there.

  Having made this dress, I probably would not make another in this style.

  I do like this dress, but it's not nearly as flattering as a style with a more defined waist would be.

  I added a knit belt with a flower... I wish I'd had some wide elastic to stabilize the belt, but it still turned out pretty cute. =)

  The hem is lettuce-edged as usual. I have another dress in the works too, with a different fabric from the same KnitFix bag... it's all cut out but I haven't started actually sewing it yet.

  Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Heart Smocked Dress

  I started this dress really soon after finishing the first dress I smocked- smocking is addictive!

  Since I wanted this dress smaller than the last one, I started with Made by Rae's free Little Geranium Dress and made a few alterations to get the look I wanted.

  I cut the bodice pieces in half horizontally and added seam allowances at the cut. I added the height of the lower half to the height of the skirt, plus 2 extra inches so it would be closer to gown length. I decided to make the width of the skirt pieces 3 times as wide as the bodice pieces, plus 3/4" in the back for overlap, and cut rectangles that matched my measurements.

  I used the lower half of the bodice pieces to mark the armscyes, but didn't cut them until after I'd finished smocking. I looked for a smocking plate that featured heart shapes for a while before finally coming up with my own, and I love how it turned out!

  The cable row at the top is pretty uneven, partly due to the texture of this lovely Swiss dot that Karen sent me a while back, but mostly because I need more practice with cable rows! I did much better with my vertical spacing this time though. After smocking the skirt pieces I French-seamed the front and back pieces together.

  Then I cut the armscyes out and finished them with a narrow bias strip.

  I assembled the bodice but left it open at the bottom, and sewed the skirt pieces in after basting. I didn't like how the front came out even with the basting, and ended up un-picking and re-sewing parts of it a few times to get a better line above the cable row. I used wash-away wonder-tape to stick the back pieces on before sewing and they turned out a bit better.

  I slip-stitched the bodice lining down by hand before turning my attention to the hem.

  I wanted to do a blind hem on this dress, but I knew the stitches would show up on this delicate fabric no matter how careful I was, so I just did my best to keep them tiny and even.

  I'm pretty pleased with the results!

  I could barely wait to put this dress on Foof... here she is in it at three days old!

  She wasn't particularly happy about not being held:

  But she calmed down after a while and let me take a few happier photos.

  I considered adding sleeves to this dress, but I'm glad I kept it sleeveless so I can layer it for cooler weather.

  It fits decently right now, but there is room for her to grow too... she might be able to wear it for another 2 months!

  I really love how this one turned out... I'm hoping I get a chance to do more smocking soon! =)

Thanks for stopping by,