Thursday, August 27, 2015

Black And Blue

Another maternity top- finished!

  As with the last one, this is based on my own design with a curved waist seam.

  This time though, I added quite a bit of width at the waist and a bit at the bust, so the fit is much better!

  I doubled the amount of gathers at the center front too, and did a very slight adjustment to the armscye so it's not so wrinkly.

  The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and was much more opaque than I expected for one with a white background! I'm really pleased with the overall quality of this fabric, but unfortunately it appears to be out of stock already... and I just bought this a couple of months ago!

  Because it was opaque enough on it's own, I didn't line this top at all. I accented it with some black knit (also from Girl Charlee, and actually still available!) and used a whole lot of wash-away wonder tape to keep that bitty waistline strip from rolling away while I was sewing it.

  I had some pretty black elastic that I was planning on using around the neckline, but at the last minute I decided I liked it better without, so the neckline is just folded under and stitched with a three-step zig-zag. It doesn't look quite as polished as a balanced twin needle stitch does, but it's not obvious either- and I didn't have to fight with skipped stitches like I would have with the twin needle.

  I used black thread for the lettuce-edging on the hem and sleeves to match the black waist accent and the faux-layering. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out!

  I have a couple of baby things still in progress- that quilt, which was temporarily set aside so I could clean my sewing room (it's clean now! For the first time since we moved here- I love it!) and a smocked baby dress. Hopefully I'll get the dress finished in the next couple of days. It's not turning out how I imagined it at all, but it's still cute!

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Knit Baby Sweater

It's not sewing... but I'm pretty happy with how this turned out! =)

  I came across this pattern a few months ago and decided to test the waters of garment knitting- while I'd knit a few basic rectangular items, I hadn't yet tried anything with shaping.  A few weeks ago, I bought the pattern, the yarn, and some buttons and got started! I wanted to make it for my littlest to wear this winter, but I'm a slow knitter so I thought it would be best if I started it early.

  I'm still rather surprised that it's already finished! I didn't expect to finish it until at least October!  I knit this in the smallest size, which is 0-3 months. My babies tend to be long and slim, so I added a half-inch to the sleeves but otherwise followed the pattern.

  There were a couple things that were either wrong in the pattern, or that I did incorrectly- at this point I'm not quite sure which! The first is the button spacing- the buttons in the example pictures are much farther apart than mine are. I noticed that they seemed close and added a fourth buttonhole, but I ended up only using 3 buttons after all. ;-) Next time I would space the buttonholes out a bit more.

  Secondly, the seed stitch for the button band and hem wouldn't match up if I hadn't fudged it- with the number of stitches there are in this size before the hem, I would have ended up with a wrong side and right side row with bumps in the same spots at the hem. I knit two together just before the band to hide the mismatch, because I thought it would show up less than a doubled row, and I can't tell it's not perfect unless I'm looking for it- but next time I'd start the wrong-side button band with a knit stitch instead of a purl stitch!

  The third odd thing was the underarm area- no additional stitches are cast on at the underarm area for the body of the sweater, but you are supposed to pick up 4 stitches in that area when knitting the sleeve. Which meant some strange finagling that I'm not entirely sure was necessary, and I'm curious if the sleeves would work just as well without picking up those extra 4 stitches. There were some gaps at the underarm area from that, but I was able to close them up when weaving the yarn ends in.

  I learned a LOT while knitting this! Here are a few things I'd never done that I had to learn for this: the backward loop cast on, binding off and casting on mid-row, using a stitch holder, using double needles (I had to buy some to finish this- I didn't own any!), picking up stitches, and knitting in the front and back of a stitch. Most of those things felt really awkward at first, but were a lot less awkward after doing them a few times.

  I haven't blocked this yet. I keep meaning to and getting side-tracked with other projects! I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in Charcoal for this. I have half of a skein left so I'm thinking of making a matching hat, but haven't decided on a pattern yet.

  I read when I was 75% of the way finished with this that one should not choose a top-down garment as their first foray into garment knitting, but it seems to have worked out well enough this time! =) In spite of the things I mentioned above, I felt like this pattern was pretty beginner-friendly, and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

  And that's one out of three things for baby #4 that I've finished! I actually finished the binding for the quilt I'm making her, but I think I need to go back and add more quilting to the borders, because I'm nervous about the batting shifting in the wash.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Another Nursing Dress

Remember this black nursing dress, and this navy one? I decided a while back that I wanted to update the tutorial I made for that, for a few reasons: flippy ruffles, accidental exposure, and too much weight. In preparation for that, I've made another, which addresses two of those issues well enough.

  I'm actually not nursing right now, but I doubt I'll have a lot of sewing time after this baby arrives, so I wanted to finish this now!

  To get rid of the accidental exposure problem, I've changed the nursing cutout portion significantly, and after wearing the dress for a day I'm happy to report that there are no more issues in that regard!

  I swapped the full-circle skirt for a half-circle skirt, which means there's a bit less pulling on the bodice. I also like the way it hangs better- it's full without being overwhelming.

  I partially fixed the ruffle problem by lining the front crossover pieces, but I failed to apply the clear elastic I was planning on putting in the neckline, which means it still gapes and flips a bit. Not nearly so bad as my first two versions, and instead of a messy edge there's a neat lining, but I'll admit it's enough to bug me. I'm considering unpicking the waistband and adding the elastic retroactively.

  I added notched cuffs to the sleeves, but did them differently than before- I like the look of these better, and they are actually a bit easier to sew too.

  I'm not happy with the underbust pleats- I experimented and angled them, and they just look like wrinkles. It doesn't really help that the baby pushes the waistband up in the front though!

  I made some small alterations to my armscye too, and the back at least is a tad less wrinkly. I'm still not happy with it, but it is a tiny bit better than before.

  The skirt was an unexpected bit of happiness- I cut the half-circle so the skirt would stretch in the front, but still expected to do a lot of hem-leveling. I didn't have to! The stretch in the front was just enough to make it hang right over the belly! Of course, it will have to be leveled after the baby is born, but for now it's nice to have it even.

  The back bodice of this is lined to help support the skirt, and the skirt is lined to the knee. I love that the lining keeps the skirt from sticking to me!

  The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and is a pretty nice fabric. I do think the weight is less than is stated on the website- I'd say it's closer to 8oz. I love the color! Although my husband is of the opinion that this dress is far too much grey. And he may be right!

  Speaking of whom, thanks to my husband for taking all of these photos for me! =)

  I'm hoping to make another version of this dress without ruffles or pleats as well, but I don't know if I'll get it finished before the baby arrives in September. And in the meantime, I've finished a knit sweater for her, and am very, very close to finishing a quilt. (I just have hand-sew the binding to the last two edges of the quilt.) So I will be back soon! =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Two Year Old Tiered Skirt

  Beckers is now two! Which is pretty crazy, because it still feels like this happened only a couple of weeks ago. I made her a quick tiered skirt for her birthday, just like I did for each of her bigger sisters' 2nd birthdays. (Gaiw's skirt can be seen here, but Booper's was made pre-blog.)

  The skirt is made of four width-of-fabric strips by 5" for the bottom tier, two width-of-fabric strips by 5" for the middle tier, and as much width as I had left (about 32") by 6" for the top tier.

  The gathering took a while, of course, but the interior is just serged and I did a rolled serged hem to keep things simple and light.

  The skirt came out a bit fluffier than I expected, but I suspect that is due to the fabric being slightly stiffer than what I've used in the past for tiered skirts. It's the same fabric I used for this pleated skirt, which still gets worn quite a bit!

  I think it will settle down a bit after I wash it a few times, but in the meantime Beckers certainly doesn't mind the extra fluff! =)

  This little girl... she is a bundle of joy!

  Beckers is still my most shy child, but has finally started to relax a bit in the presence of other people. She'll probably still give you this look if you try to talk to her though:

  Most of the time Beckers is quiet, and seems to notice everything.

  But she is also very mischievous and loves to make people laugh.

  She's still my little snuggler, and loves to sit in my lap and rock, while sing-songing, 'rocky, rocky, rocky, rocky.'

  Beckers loves books, and carrying them around with her. She can sit and 'read' for hours!

  She also loves food, phones, and twirling. =)

  Beckers memorizes things quickly, but insists on calling things by the wrong names. For example, she called Booper 'Gaiw' for months, even though she would point to the proper person when asked where Gaiw was.

  She loves to 'wash' the dishes and help put clothes in the dryer, but she's not a fan of picking up her toys.

  We all adore this little girl!

  In addition to the skirt, I made her a chocolate cake, with cherry whipped cream covering and filling it, drizzled with ganache. Pretty much everything than can go wrong with ganache, did, so it was not nearly as smooth as it ought to have been, but it still tasted delicious!

  Speaking of which, I promised these little girls of mine each a piece of the leftovers, and seeing this photo has reminded them of that promise- so off I go to get them some! =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Elephant Everything

  Actually, just two elephant things, for my little nephew who arrived two weeks ago. =) Firstly, a onesie:

  I used the same pattern as last time, with almost the same changes... I widened the binding to a full two inches so there would be enough room for the snaps this time.

  I didn't want to use the camouflage fabric this time, and I don't have a whole lot of other fabrics that are particularly boyish, so I decided to go with a plain grey. This fabric is also from Girl Charlee- it seems to be pretty good quality! =) I added a tag again, and hand-stitched it on because of course I didn't remember to add it when it made sense. ;-)

  To add a bit of interest to an otherwise very basic shirt, I cut an elephant with my Silhouette and some white heat transfer vinyl. The cut file is available for free here.... I just reversed it.

  I did have the iron too hot, and my vinyl shrank and bubbled a bit, but it's still cute! Overall, this was a quick and easy project. And secondly, I made a toy elephant!

  This elephant is from Abby Glassenberg's book, Stuffed Animals From Concept to Construction (affiliate link). She also has a different elephant pattern that I like even better, but the book has been on my wishlist for a couple of years now. I did make a few changes to the elephant.

  I left off the toenails, tusks, and mouth, and replaced the lidded eyes with simple embroidered dots to match the elephant on the shirt better. I also made a double-layer turned tail instead of a felt one.

  The one in the book is made from felted wool, but mine is made from quilting cotton- which may have contributed to the difficulty I had in sewing it! That, and the lack of seam allowances. I'm pretty decent at sewing an accurate 1/4" seam, but adding a neat 1/4" seam to a pattern is apparently a skill I lack! Mine were definitely not as even as I wanted, which is why the hind legs are a little off. ;-)

  While the ears and main body of the elephant were easy enough, I had a hard time sewing the underbody gusset without puckers. I love that the gusset makes him stand alone though!

  For all my struggling, I think he still turned out really cute! And I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book and learning the techniques it teaches.

  All in all, I'm pretty happy with how this gift set turned out!

Thanks for stopping by,