Retro Stripes

Nine months ago, when I had just made this dress, I wasn’t sure I’d wear it a ton. I loved the fabric (still do), but the shape was just not ideal on me. I felt like it hit a weird spot between lose in some places and tight in other places. And I liked it from the front, but I was bothered by the fabric pooling at the back. I also didn’t want to add darts to a T-shirt dress, so I decided to wear it anyway.

It has not become my favourite dress, but it has become one of my most worn garments nonetheless. Especially in the summer, when the weather’s warm enough to wear it without tights: it’s my go-to dress for lazy summer days. I also wear it in winter, with tights and a cardigan (usually this one), so it really is a year round dress. And I don’t ever think about its imperfect fit when I wear it.

To make it I used Sewaholic’s Renfrew top, which I simply lengthened. Now I know not to do that again. I also shortened the sleeves, got rid of the sleeve bands and made my own, much narrower, neckband. All hems were serged, then turned and topstitched with a double needle. Since I was using white thread, I made sure that the topstitching fell on white stripes. I didn’t topstitch the seam allowances of the neckband down.

The fabric once again came from the Stoffenspektakel. It has a lovely texture that sort of reminds me of vintage crochet; I love it!

I don’t have a lot more to say about that dress which is essentially a T-shirt (and I think my sixth version of the Renfrew pattern) so I’ll leave it at that. See you next week!

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Little Black Cardigan

You may remember that I concluded last week’s post by toying with the idea of sewing a black cardigan to match my Moneta dress. In an unprecedented turn of events, I didn’t procrastinate for a decade and immediately made the cardigan in question. It was a very fast sew: about five hours, cutting the fabric included. And that’s with me being an extremely slow seamstress.

I’ve become much more thoughtful than I used to be regarding my pattern buying habits; it’s now very rare for me to buy a pattern as soon as it comes out. But when Jennifer Lauren released her Juniper cardigan pattern, I could see View 1 become such a staple that I bought it at once without hesitation. It seemed like the perfect cropped cardigan, with such a cute shoulder detail (which you can’t really make out in my pictures — thanks black! — but it’s there).

It was my first time sewing one of Jennifer Lauren’s patterns, and probably not the last since I don’t have anything even remotely negative to say about this one: the instructions were great, the fit is great (even the sleeves are long enough for my monkey arms) and the resulting cardigan looks great! I didn’t print the pdf at home. When there’s a copyshop version included, I usually prefer cashing out to get it printed professionally than spending time cutting and taping an inordinate number of A4 pages. So the fact that there is a copyshop version included is great, too!

It’s a fairly easy pattern, but I still dreaded sewing the saddle shoulders a little bit beforehand. Now that I know what there really is to it, I can tell you that there really isn’t anything to fear: if you can sew a normal T-shirt sleeve, you can sew these saddle shoulder sleeves. The notches were a great help to get everything perfectly lined up. Not only at the shoulders, but everywhere you could need them. I like precision, and this pattern didn’t disappoint.

I cut a size 8 and didn’t make any adjustment. I don’t know that it’s a “perfect fit” and as is often the case I see more wrinkles in the pictures than in real life, on a moving body, but I still wouldn’t change anything for a next version. I also followed the instructions to the letter, except that I sewed everything directly on my serger. I only used a sewing machine to topstitch the neckband (with a double needle) and to make the buttonholes.

About the buttonholes, I stupidly placed the highest one too high: I had marked its top, but I mistook that marking for its bottom, and I only realised my error when I had spaced (and sewn) all the other buttonholes accordingly, so I didn’t bother unpicking it. This means that there isn’t any interfacing under this top buttonhole, but it’s clearly not a big deal since I hardly ever wear my cardigans closed.

The fabric is the same I used for this Ondée top, a cotton/lycra jersey from Tia Knight (on their eBay store, which apparently doesn’t exist anymore). I had thought about using a lightweight French terry from my stash, but I preferred trying the pattern with this remnant first. And now that I’ve tried the pattern, I’m not convinced (even a lightweight) French terry would be the best choice for it: there are places such as the junction of the waistband and neckband where it might be too bulky. But I’m not sure either; maybe I’ll try someday.

The buttons are vintage. I bought them at a yard sale two summers ago, still on their card, and I am so glad to have found a use for them as they are so lovely! Vintage buttons are one of those things that I think make handmade clothing even more unique and precious.

I made this cardigan to go with my hard to match Moneta, but I know it’s going to get worn with so many other outfits. A black cropped cardigan was something I felt was missing from my wardrobe and I had been meaning to knit one for a long time, which I actually still intend to do ultimately, but for the meantime I’m quite happy with this one!

 

Golondrina Moneta

When I finished this Moneta dress about a year ago and put it on my dress form, it was love at first sight. Then I tried it on and saw that the waist fell about an inch too low to my taste: I like the waist seam of my fit and flare dresses to fall exactly at my waist. And I prefer a waist seam that is a touch too high than a touch too low. But it did not look awful either, so I thought I’d try wearing the dress like that and see whether I’d maybe change my mind like it sometimes happens and decide that I did not mind the position of the waist in the end.

Man did I feel self-conscious that next day at work! I could not not think about that too low waist and kept unwittingly crossing my arms to hide it. It had been a very long time since I had felt that uncomfortable in a piece of clothing (which in turn made me cherish the fact that I’m so used to feeling good in my clothes that it has become a given)! So that was it, I definitely had to alter the waist.

You know me, summer came and I hadn’t even touched said waist yet. I tried on the dress again, to get an idea of how much I had to shorten the bodice and I thought “hey, it actually looks way less weird than I remembered” and wore it the next day. I felt far from as uncomfortable as the first time I had worn it, yet I knew I still had to alter it.

What’s funny is, in the two times I’ve worn this dress, it has garnered a crazy amount of compliments. More in two days than each of my most worn garments in the numerous times I’ve worn them (except for this dress; it’s like I cannot wear this dress and not get at least one compliment — I’ve been stopped on the street by strangers about this dress 😀 )! But none of that really matters when you don’t feel totally comfortable, so I knew I wouldn’t wear it anymore until I shortened its bodice at last.

It took me a few more months, but I eventually did (almost a year after finishing the dress…). And even though this means the skirt now falls an inch higher up my knees and does not hit that perfect-for-me spot anymore, I finally feel perfectly comfortable in my dress, phew! It might still benefit from shortening the back bodice by something like one more centimetre to compensate for my probable swayback, but that’s a detail that can wait for the next version!

I have to say, it’s not the easiest dress to wear in winter though… Not because of its shape, but because of the fabric (from the Stoffenspektakel and tissus.net — I regretted to have only gotten one metre of it at the Stoffenspektakel so I bought some more when I came across it while browsing tissus.net), or more precisely because of the colour of the fabric. It’s proven very difficult to find a matching colour other than black. The only cardigan of mine that does not look too bad with it is my red Mary Mead, but what I need is a black cropped cardigan. I do own a black cardigan, but its shape does not look nice at all with this dress; it makes me feel like I’m wearing a nightdress and a dressing gown. I’m pretty sure a black cropped cardigan could be worn with a lot of other outfits, so I absolutely need to either knit or sew (I’m looking at you, Juniper!) one.

Now that I’ve solved my little fit problem with this dress, I want to make a million more! I love the shape of the neckline (especially at the back), sleeves and skirt. And it’s sooooo comfortable, all the while looking so elegant!

The only thing I didn’t like with the pattern was the way they have you gather the skirt, ugh! I don’t understand how people can get a nice looking waistline with that method: you need to stretch the waistline of the bodice so much for it to match the skirt; even with the addition of the clear elastic (which you also have to stretch too much), I personally couldn’t get a truly clean result and the waist seam is a bit wavy in places.

EDIT (12/1): Oops, I suddenly realised that this is not the way the pattern has you gather the skirt! It has you gather the skirt with clear elastic, then attach it to the bodice. I now remember using this method the first time I attached the skirt and hating it about as much as I hated the method I used the second time around, if not more: stitching the stretched out to the max clear elastic on a sewing machine was such a pain! At least with the method I described above, I was able to feed the elastic through the guiding slot in the presser foot of the serger, which kept it in place much better.

Next time I’ll make sure to apply my usual method, the same you’d use on a woven (always using a contrasting thread for the gathering stitches in order to be able to take them out easily afterwards without messing up the serged seam), but with the addition of clear elastic, and serging the waist seam of course: much less painful, much better results…

Now to choose the fabric for my next Moneta! Or maybe I should make that black cardigan first…

At Least It’s Not Easter Yet!

Ho ! Ho ! Ho !

Christmas has come and gone, but I’d rather not wait a whole year to blog this little knitted hat. And my Christmas tree is still up, so…

Fandangle2The pattern is Fandangle by Andi Satterlund, and it was my first real stab at stranded colourwork (this sweater I made in 2014 featured a tiny bit of stranded colourwork). I found it a bit tedious to knit, although not really complicated. I just don’t like dealing with two strands at the same time. But I’m not really happy with the way my ornament motifs look: at first I thought I had pulled the floats too tight (despite making all efforts not to), but I have since realised that I was simply not supposed to cross the strands behind each and every stitch, duh! Ah well, it doesn’t look catastrophic and I don’t even think about it when I wear the hat, and at least now I’ve learnt my lesson!

My hat also fits tighter than intended (a what? A gauge swatch?!), but that’s not really a problem: at least it feels secure on the head, even with the weight of that HUGE pompom I made!

The yarn is Drops Flora (#01 off white and #18 red). It was my first time using it, but I was on familiar ground since it’s similar to Nepal, one of my favourite yarns, only in a different weight.

I started knitting this hat a few days before Christmas last year and finished it two to three weeks later, too late to wear it that same year. So I put it away, and I was very glad to find it waiting for me at the beginning of this festive season. I’m pretty sure I’ll be just as happy to pull it out of its drawer again come next Christmas!