Enfin Lupin!

I made this jacket almost a year ago and it took me that long to write about it, which might be a new record on this blog! There are three even older creations I haven’t shown here yet, two Ondée tops I don’t intend on blogging about in detail (but which should still appear in future blog posts) and Monsieur’s jacket, which I definitely want to write an article about; I “just” need to take pictures of him wearing it!

The scarf I’m wearing in the first picture is a simple garter stitch scarf I finished knitting in May. It’s such a simple project it doesn’t deserve a post of its own, but I like keeping track of everything I make, so I did want it to at least appear on the blog. The yarn I used is a cotton and silk blend called Florine, by Veritas. It was my first time trying one of their new yarns, and I loved it! It was nice to work with and the finished scarf is delightfully soft. It was too warm to wear when I finished it, but it’s just the right warmth for the weather we’ve been having in September. I guess that’s all I have to say about this incredibly basic project. Except that it was incredibly boring to knit, too: eighty stitches x more than two metres of garter stitch, yaaaaawn!

Now for the juicy part, my Lupin jacket! I finished it at the start of last autumn and it’s proven to be the perfect autumn/spring jacket, the one I reach for whenever it’s not cold enough for my rain jacket. Although I did hope it could read as a 1940s jacket, I was not completely sure it would and was especially wary of how it would look with full skirts, especially since I had sized up to get enough room for my shoulders. I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised! It also looks really nice with skinny jeans, with my Cardamome dress, with my Zéphyr skirt… Actually, I don’t remember not liking it with an outfit I was wearing; I just wouldn’t wear it with a long cardigan, that’s all.

I did choose its colour with versatility in mind: I thought grey would look nice with virtually any other colour. It’s the shape I was not so sure about.

The fabric is a thick cotton satin (but fairly matte) I remember buying on sale at Maison Dorée when I was making this skirt in 2013! I had bought it to make a Pavot jacket but went for this other Deer&Doe pattern instead. It was a bit stressful to work with because it unravelled more than I would have liked, which made sewing the welt pockets a touch tricky, but far from insurmountable. I forgot to take a close-up picture of the pockets, but you can see them in the next picture (and I did share a close-up on my Instagram while I was making the jacket):

All in all, sewing the Lupin jacket was much more straightforward than I would have thought. I followed the instructions and, sewing it step by step over a little bit more than a week, got a nice looking finished jacket if I do say so myself.

My favourite part might be the lining. It’s a cotton lawn I got at our first ever fabric swap, once again in 2013! I had already used a small piece to line the waistband and pockets of a skirt. It’s really soft and I love the small floral pattern. I also love the buttons I put on the epaulettes, antique Belgian military buttons I bought at the same time as the ones I put on my Quart coat (I bought a whole box of various antique Belgian military buttons at the time):

There are two small things I would change if I ever were to sew another Lupin jacket. The first one would be to lengthen the sleeves by one or two centimetres. Their length seems right when I stand with the arms along the body, but when I raise my arms (to hold the handlebar of my bike for example), they start to feel a bit short. It’s something I’ve been noticing with all of my jackets (bar one, the Minoru jacket, whose sleeves are unusually long), so it’s not that the Lupin sleeves are too short; it’s just either personal preference or I have monkey arms (or both), in any case something I should keep in mind for any future jacket/coat I make!

The second and last thing I would change is also pretty simple: I would add a hanging loop. It’s something I feel is missing every time I hang the jacket, and it would be such an easy addition, I’m sort of kicking myself for not thinking of adding one beforehand! Like lengthening the sleeves, it’s something I should always keep in mind when sewing outerwear.

Except these two small imperfections, I don’t have anything bad to say about this jacket. Other than not being sure the shape would look right with full skirts, another thing I was wary about was the fact that there is no closures. And, well, the fact that I didn’t even think about it anymore until I started to write this blog post most means that no, this jacket definitely doesn’t need any closures!

I always procrastinate on sewing outerwear (I mean, even more than usual), but I really shouldn’t: it does require more work than sewing “normal” clothing, but the satisfaction is proportional since you get to wear each piece of outerwear so much more than the rest of your clothes!

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Flamingos!

I. LOVE. THIS. DRESS.

I love it so much that I almost didn’t dare starting to wear it! I finished it about ten days before my travel to Spain, so I decided to save it for the travel and didn’t wear it before we left. Once in Spain, we spent a week in Madrid and I didn’t wear it because I wanted to save it for later. Then we arrived at the village where we spent the rest of the holiday… and I didn’t wear it because I felt it was too fancy for the village! So more than a month after finishing it, I hadn’t worn it even once!

Once we got back to Belgium, I kept postponing the first outing of this poor dress: it was not even that I feared damaging it; the problem was that I was afraid to wear it and realise it was not comfortable or didn’t fit as well as I thought or some other letdown and be disappointed. Don’t worry, I have since come to my senses and started to wear it! And it is comfortable, and it does fit as well as I thought it did! 😀

Which it should, since I made a muslin, but still, I was worried! I rarely make muslins. I know, I know, boo me! But I always check the measurements of the pattern and usually baste the garment together to check and correct the fit before I sew it for real. When in doubt, I also use fabrics that I like, so that I can wear the finished garment if it’s a success, but that I won’t cry over if things don’t work out the way they should.

But this fabric, ah, this fabric! I don’t remember where I first saw it, but it was out of stock, so I hunted it down for months (maybe years?) until I came upon it at the late Fabric Rehab. I bought enough to sew a Deer&Doe Belladone, which was what I wanted it for in the first place. When it arrived I realised it was thinner than what I had expected (I was expecting more of a quilting cotton and it is a poplin), so into the stash it went until I found a pattern that would be worthy of such a dreamy piece of fabric.

The pattern I bought on Etsy: it’s a vintage pattern, Woman W388. I loved the simplicity of it and thought such a simple silhouette would suit various fabrics from my stash, including and starting with my precious flamingo fabric. I was a bit bewildered when I opened the envelope to see that it was an unprinted pattern: quite surprising since I’d say it dates from the early sixties! But then I thought it would be nice to try my hand at an unprinted pattern for the first time with what seemed to be a pretty easy one. And it was!

I soon learned unprinted patterns are in fact no more difficult to use than printed ones. In case you’ve never used one, there are holes of different shapes in lieu of printed markings, that’s all there is to is. There’s a key to which shape means what (notches, darts, grainline…) in the instructions, but you don’t even really need it as it’s intuitive enough to be understood just by looking at the pattern pieces if you’ve ever used any pattern, printed or otherwise, before.

So I set out to trace the pieces and sew a muslin of the bodice. This first draft looked horrendous on me! The first obvious problem was that it was much too big. I took off 1 cm at each side seam (4 cm total) and things started to look more promising. I then shaved off between 1 and 1,5 cm from the top of the front piece and between nothing and 1,5 cm from the top of the back piece. I also cut a 2,5 cm wedge off the bottom of the back piece and tadaaa, perfect fit! Okay, maybe not perfect, but as perfect as I can achieve with my meagre fitting knowledge! I’m still debating whether that wedge I took off the bottom of the back piece should have been 2 cm instead of 2,5 cm and have not reached a definite conclusion yet.

The skirt didn’t need any fitting as it’s so full, plus I didn’t even use the skirt of the pattern, for which I didn’t have enough fabric. I made a simple gathered skirt, as full (the width of the fabric) and long as I could with the fabric I had left after having cut the bodice, straps and bias tape. Two widths of bias tape are used for this pattern: a smaller one for the little bows (ah, the little bows!) and a wider one to finish the neckline:

The pattern has you sew the straps inside the bias binding at the back (which I did) and then adjust the straps at the front and stitch them on top of the bias binding. I didn’t like that so I reopened the binding at the front placement of the straps after I had settled on a strap length and hid the strap ends inside. It’s much cleaner/prettier like that.

Another simple deviation from the pattern was the addition of pockets. I hesitated between side seam pockets and patch pockets and opted to use these cute rounded patch pockets I borrowed from a late 1950s robe pattern I had in my stash (McCall’s 4319). I think these pockets look lovely on that dress, so I think I’ve made the right decision.

Although I am one of those annoying people who can’t wait for autumn to start, I must say I’m going to be a bit sad to say goodbye to this summer dress for so many months (this might leave me enough time to find a well-fitting strapless bra to wear with it though, who knows? 😉). I am trying to get as much wear as I can out of it while it’s still possible. I once again took the pictures for this blog post coming home from work and this is the outfit I wore that (rainy) day… Minus a cardigan of course!

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Vintage Lace

The last garment I posted on this neglected blog was a knit, so I hesitated posting this one for a minute. Then I realised, why would it even be a problem to post two knitted garments in a row, especially with a five months hiatus in-between? I’ve also completely abandoned any effort to present my creations in the order I made them and this knitted top is the last thing I finished. This hasn’t stopped me from wearing it a couple times already!

The day I took the pictures was my first day back at work after the summer holiday and what you see here is the exact outfit I wore that day. I came back home and suddenly thought, hey, why don’t I take some pictures of this top for my blog? This hadn’t happened since last March apparently… It took me ten minutes, fifteen tops, which makes me think I really need to get back into the habit of taking pictures when I’m wearing something I haven’t blogged yet.

This is my version of Andi Satterlund’s lovely Zinone top pattern. As soon as I first saw the pattern when it was published, I knew I wanted to make the cropped version (duh) with the full-lace back, in off-white for a vintage lace effect. I of course turned to my go-to yarn brand where I immediately found what I was looking for, DROPS ♥ You #6 in 101 off-white.

I didn’t bother knitting a gauge swatch and, well, I should have! I knit the whole body down to just before the waist ribbing when I realised it looked kind of short and, more annoyingly, the armholes looked tiny! I tried on the top and the armholes were indeed too small to be comfortable. I also measured it and compared the measurements to the pattern schematics: the width was pretty perfect, the length, not so much… This is when I at last thought of checking my gauge: not surprisingly, the stitch gauge was spot on, but the row gauge was much too tight!

I was on holiday in Spain at the time and knew I was going to get lots of quality knitting time in the following two weeks, so it wasn’t too much of a pain ripping out the body up to the armholes. I then added twenty more rows to said armholes (front and back) and went on to knit the body a second time. I intended on adding more rows to the body, too. However, when I reached the waist ribbing again, I got the impression that the length I had added to the armholes might prove sufficient once I knit the ribbing. This was confirmed when I tried on the finished top: although shorter than intended by the pattern, it is the perfect length for the high-waisted skirts I want to wear it with.

The only thing I am not entirely happy about with this top is that I didn’t think of adding any depth to the neckline: the row gauge discrepancy means that I should have added some rows there, too, in order for the neckline to be as deep as intended by the pattern. I didn’t think about that until I had knit the i-cord edging at the very end and saw that the neckline had ended up higher/smaller than it should have. Luckily this doesn’t make the top too difficult to get on and off, phew! It’s one of those errors you don’t even think about when you wear the finished garment (I would have completely forgotten about it had I not mentioned it in my Ravelry notes)… Speaking of the neckline, how nice does the i-cord bind-off look? It was my first time trying this method and I had a bit of difficulty understanding why I was doing what I was doing at the very beginning, but I decided to trust Andi’s instructions, and rightly so.

Between the fact that I didn’t get a lot of time to knit at the end of the last school year and that I almost had to knit it twice because I didn’t check my gauge first, this top took way more time than I thought it would from start to finish. I am glad that I managed to finish it and wear it a few times before summer leaves us for good, though, as it would have been a bit of a shame finishing it and not being able to wear it even once before next spring!

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