Hat Collection: Summer Hat Sketch

MakeDoMendZomerWow, it took me more than a month’s time to scan it, but here it is at last, the preliminary sketch for the summer hat of my hat collection! As per my self-imposed rule, I’m using only second-hand materials, so the basis for this hat was an old (and not in the good sense!) straw hat literally covered in… moth droppings! [Cue horror scream]

I hadn’t realised that when choosing this hat of course, and I’m pretty sure if I had known it I would have run for my life and looked for another option, but since I found myself at school with only this hat to work with, I didn’t really have any choice but to make do (and mend! 😀 ). So I started by thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!) washing it with soap and water, thinking it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it got the hat ruined after all. And after a few (hundred) washes, the water went from dark grey to transparent and I could begin to mold the hat into a new shape.

I’m actually almost finished with this hat now: I only need to add a few more flowers, the sweatband and some system to fasten it on the head. I bought a bunch of those old (in a good sense this time!) flowers in an antique clothing shop, thinking I’d have plenty enough and maybe more to get the lush flower crown I wanted to adorn the hat. But nope, I need to go buy even more! The good news is, even without the missing flowers, I can already tell what the hat is going to look like, which is pretty much exactly what I had in mind!

After that, only three more hats to make in, ahem, less than a week and a half. Oh, and let’s not forget I also need to make a presentation album of my collection. Time to get panicking I guess!

Outfit Along: I’m In!

OutfitAlongYou’ve probably heard about the Outfit Along co-hosted by Andi of Untangling Knots and Lauren of Lladybird. If not, here are all the details, but basically it’s a two for one: a sew along and a knit along combined! The aim is to create an outfit by knitting and sewing two pieces that will go together.

I knew I wanted to take part as soon as I read about it, but I’ve had kind of a hard time deciding on my outfit. There’s an official dress and cardigan pattern for the challenge, both really cute, but I didn’t feel like using those. I plan on knitting the Myrna pattern in the not so distant future, but it didn’t inspire me for this particular challenge. As for the official dress, I already own way too many dress patterns to go and buy another one unless I fall madly in love with it!

After careful thought, I finally settled on a knitting project and a sewing project, so I’m officially in! The knitting pattern I chose is another one by Andi, the Hetty cardigan, in navy blue Drops Karisma yarn (the pattern calls for a thicker yarn, but the smallest size is too big for me, so I had to adapt). And the sewing pattern is one I’ve already used in the past, the Februari dress from Little Miss Y.’s Homemade Wardrobe. I had been meaning to make another version ever since I completed my first one, so I’m really glad to finally tackle it! My chosen fabric is Ship Shape (clementine orange) from the Ahoy Matey collection by Michael Miller (kind of a poor woman’s Le bassin de bateaux, don’t you think? 😉 ). The yardage I have in my stash is fairly small (1,90 m – 110 cm wide), but I think I can make it work.

I still need to buy some lining fabric before I get going on the dress, but I started the cardigan last Sunday and it’s been flying off the needles: I’m not under the impression that I’ve had so much knitting time this week, yet I’m almost finished with the body! Oooh, I can’t wait to complete those two projects!

Hat Collection: Make Do and Mend

MakeDoMendIt’s so weird to think that, in less than two months’ time, I’ll graduate as a milliner… In order to do so, each student has to present a small collection of hats around a theme. I hesitated between a few themes for some time, but none of them really convinced me. Then I thought about the theme I would finally choose, which is, as you might have guessed from the title of this article, Make Do and Mend, and it was kind of an epiphany since it combined two of my main obsess… I mean, interests, vintage fashion and upcycling.

So the plan is to make some 1940s inspired hats only using second-hand materials, with a few exceptions such as thread and other notions that would be too difficult, if not impossible, to source in the second hand market.

The assignment is to make five hats: a winter hat, a summer hat, a hat on a buckram base (the buckram is one of the things I’ll have to buy new) and two hats made with free to choose techniques. I was thinking about knitting for one of those last two (I think I could find a sweater whose yarn I might be able to repurpose), but nothing’s set in stone yet!

For the time being I only have started on the first two hats (the winter and summer ones), but I wanted to share the process with you before the end for once. So here are the first two pages of my inspiration notebook: the one you see above is simply the front page, where I sketched without thinking too much some hat shapes that evoked the forties to me. And the one below is the inspiration page for the first hat: some pictures of the hat I would transform and some drawings I made to decide what the final hat would look like. As for the summer hat I started, I haven’t finalised the inspiration page yet, but I’ll share it with you as soon as I do.

MakeDoMendWinterThe winter hat will almost certainly look like the simplest of the drawings, the one that’s on the head. I tried various ribbon combinations but I quickly realised I prefer to let the felt flowers be the focus. And I’m pretty chuffed that I’ll probably even be able to reuse the petersham ribbon from the original beret inside the new hat! I just need to wash it I think, and it’ll be good to go!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Knitting: Scallops


FestonsAfter my last knitting project, which dragged on for four months, I decided the next one had to be as easy and fast as possible. So I chose Andi Satterlund’s cute scalloped cropped sweater: I had already knit her Miette cardigan and Chuck sweater and each had taken me about two weeks. The yarn I’m using this time is Nepal by Drops (#7120 light grey green and # 3620 red).

I was right, this sweater is a very fast knit, but it’s not finished yet… because I knit it in the wrong size and only realized it after completing the whole body and more than half a sleeve, ugh! What’s worse, I first unravelled and reknit the sleeve a size smaller, thinking the body was ok, before realizing it was the whole sweater that was too big. The smaller sleeve on a bigger body was not a pretty sight, let me tell you! 😀

It pained me a lot to start from scratch, but once again everything went incredibly fast, and here I am with a new body and a new sleeve already, ones that fit this time, so no regrets here! It’s always so much better to lose a little bit of time to undo a mistake rather than to get a finished garment you’re not satisfied with. Also, I should always listen to that little voice in my head: I had a hunch that it was going to be too big from the beginning, yet I convinced myself I should go on and everything would be ok.

Anyway, only a sleeve and the collar to go, I can’t wait!

Sketchbook: Blue Stripes

BlueStripesI usually stick to one project at a time, but I’ve been soooo bored with my babydoll coat that I’ve allowed myself to put it aside and work on one or two easy projects before getting back to it. And what better suited project than the Renfrew? Especially since it’s not my first go at it, which means no more tracing/cutting the pattern and I know it fits!

Even so, I have already encountered a few obstacles: first, with only 1,30 m of the fabric I chose, I had to do some creative cutting in order to get a 3/4 sleeved dress out of such small yardage. Then I forgot that I’m no good at sewing after 9pm and went on sewing and making stupid mistake on stupid mistake… to the point where I had to shorten an already short dress in order to hide one of them.

Anyway, the dress is almost complete now, and it looks promising (albeit short) after all. See you soon with a new dress!

Knitting: pompom Garland

GarlandNo, I’m not knitting a pom pom garland, I’m knitting Garland, the beautiful sweater from the cover of the latest issue of pompom!

I’m using Drops Alpaca Silk, a mix of brushed alpaca and mulberry silk, in the colour Heather (#08). It’s been a really nice yarn to work with so far, and for a mohair like yarn, it’s also quite easy to unravel (ask me how I know!).

It’s been more than two months since I started working on the sweater and I’m finally reaching the end of the body. The sweater itself is really easy (a lot of stockinette in the round, with no increases and hardly any decreases), but the five rows of lace of the bottom gave me the hardest time! If you plan on knitting this sweater, I strongly recommend placing a stitch marker between every repeat of the lace pattern. Yes, that’s about forty stitch markers, one every seven stitches if I remember correctly, but if I had placed them from the beginning of the lace I would have saved myself a lot of tears, time and frustration! Only after frogging the lace rows for at least the fifth time did I place the markers, and even though I still had to frog the lace a few times, I don’t think I would have been able to complete it without them.

After spending so much time on so few rows, I had kind of lost the motivation to work on the sweater, which is why it’s been taking me so long. Also, after all my efforts, the lace looks weird: I don’t really see the cute flower motif I’m supposed to see there… I’m hoping this will change after blocking, especially since I’m quite sure I followed the chart correctly! Anyway, there was no way I was going to frog the lace AGAIN, even if I did mess something up!

And one row here, one row there, the body is almost finished, which gives me a new motivation! Though I kind of fear the beginning of the sleeves, which feature the dreaded lace pattern again!

Sketchbook: Grey Babydoll Coat

BabydollCoatHere’s what I’m working on at the moment: a grey babydoll coat! It’s been taking me a lot of time, especially since I have only been able to work on it in small chunks of time here and there.

The pattern is BurdaStyle 01/2011 Babydoll Coat #118 (from the French version of the magazine). It’s a pattern in petite sizes, which I thought meant a 1,64 m height, so I thought no big deal since I’m 1,68 m, but it actually means a 1,60 m height. Of course I realised this after cutting everything, oops! Well, let’s just hope it doesn’t turn out unwearably too short.

The only thing I did lenghten were the 3/4 sleeves, because I personally need long sleeves on a winter coat (how novel of me!). I’m also planning on changing the required 2 sew-on snap fasteners into 4 functioning bound buttonholes, which will be my first ever bound buttonholes!

The fabric is dark grey 100% wool and the lining is grey polyester with pink polka dots! I’m planning on using the remnants to make a matching beret from a vintage pattern (McCall’s 9448). That is, if there are any remnants to speak of after I perfect my bound buttonhole technique!

WIP: Retro Camper Tee

CamperTeeI don’t know how long I’ll keep up with it, but I’ve decided to start a sketchbook where I make a small illustration of each sewing project I begin, in the hopes it will encourage me to draw more frequently.

This is the first one, a Sewaholic Renfrew made from a cotton jersey knit printed with retro Volkswagen Campers! I chose a contrasting off-white cotton ribbing for the neckline and sleeve bands (and no bottom band).

This is also the first project where I’m using my new serger! So far it’s coming along nicely, except for the fact that the jersey knit is printed a touch off grain, which drove me kind of crazy during the cutting.

WIP: Grey and Pink – Take Two

WIPIt seems of late that I can’t knit for the current season: I knit a merino fall sweater under the Spanish August sun, and here I am knitting a cotton summer sweater when fall is definitely ahead of its schedule here in Belgium!

When I began this sweater about ten days ago, the weather was so warm I was pretty sure I’d be able to wear it towards the end of the month. Now I’m not so sure, to say the least! But I still want to finish it before starting another project since I don’t do UFOs (I’d never finish anything if I did).

The pattern is from Phildar No. 86. I didn’t see the potential of this particular pattern rightaway because the colours really put me off. I’m not usually one to fear colours, but come on, red and orange… and green… and black?! I’d be surprised if even one person knit this pattern in those colours! I initially thought of black and white, then I remembered I wanted to add a few grey and pink items to my wardrobe, so I chose those two colours instead.

The start of the schoolyear means I haven’t had a lot of time to knit lately, but the sweater is progressing slow and steady. The stockinette stitch and simple construction mean that I can take it with me and knit everywhere, which has helped a lot.