Friday, November 25, 2011

Finished! - Lisette - Simplicity 2245

I concur. It's true. Everything that's been said about this dress around the blogosphere. Great construction details. Super comfy and Karen's right, I think it does actually look ok on me. It's great for travelling in. (I wore it for the flight over to Turin last Saturday and for a bit of sightseeing before we could check in to our hotel) From start to finish about 6 hours to make. (Doable in a day then, if you're ever lucky enough to have a day completely free of interruptions. Ha!!) What it doesn't do (hallelujah!) is make me look 9 months pregnant. Which is always a risk for me with this style of garment. While it's a style I love, it's one I've tended to steer clear of in recent  years. But no more! As Roobedoo put's it, this really is a uniform dress. One you can just throw on without too much thought, feel relaxed in, but still look like you made an effort. (Sorta! Excuse the dishevelled hair!) I can see me making more of these.

Also, although the pattern instructions make no mention of it, I'd recommend stay stitching the neckband and facing pieces too. Mine are a bit out of kilter and don't lie totally flat. I think the facing may have stretched during construction..

Love the back neck fastening and I just so happenned to have a perfect match in a pair of vintage buttons from my stash. I did fluff up the alignment of the neckband at the back opening (look closely) but I'll probably be the only one to notice. (Except I've now pointed it out to anyone and everyone reading this, ha! Doofus!)

I particularly like the resulting directional contrast of the diagonal stripes on the cuffs....

The adjustments I made to the pattern worked out pretty well. The 2" ease I added in was JUST enough. Ideally it could do with another 1/2" - 1". Having a fuller bust, (D cup) though, my tutor has suggested a slightly different approach which has me pretty intrigued. It involves an FBA of sorts. Slashing and spreading to add ease in at the bust point, then closing the opening this creates at the hem, and rotating it into a French dart eminating from the waist. In theory this should provide fullness at the bust with some shaping to prevent the additional ease making the top portion too baggy. I plan to try out this little theory at college over the next couple of weeks using the brushed cotton paisley below. This time with bound seams, now I've got the gist of the overall construction....

I've allocated my college time (2 hours a week) for sewing for myself. But from now until Christmas, all my other sewing time will be dedicated to slightly ambitious plans for handmade gifts...wish me luck?!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It's been a little while since I have posted. It's not so much the lack of something to blog about. I've been up to lots! There's been thrifting, sewing, knitting, illness (boo!), J has fractured his foot (again!), Elliott's been learning his ABC's, we've had weekend visitors, my Lisette is finished, and I've finished my toile and made my block for the Top Draftalong. But amongst it all, there simply hasn't been the time to photograph or write about any of it!

We spent a long weekend in beautiful Turin this past weekend. Although it seemed to pass in the blink of an eye! More on that later but whilst I was there I treated myself to a couple of 100g balls of these little beauties...

4.50 euros each. Pure Merino wool.  Bargain! Just look at those gorgeous tones and the lovely twist in the yarn. I wish you could squash these so you could feel how soft and bouncy this yarn really is...

I'm excited to knit something up with these. I can't decide yet. A beret? Jump on the bandwagon and make a snood/cowl? Or a simple scarf? Whatever I make, my gut feeling is to keep it simple so as to let the beautiful colour graduation in the yarn speak for itself. What would you make?  I've been wanting to try moss stitch but I don't think this is the yarn to do it with. I'd love some ideas please!!

At the moment I'm finishing up a hat (for Elliott) on double point needles using the yarn I originally recycled here.  It's super soft despite being predominantly synthetic. I've tried circular needles and, to be frank, they do my head in. Just can't get to grips with them. I find DPNs easier although from what I've gathered around the blogosphere that makes me a bit change there then.....;) Do you have a preference when it comes to knitting in the round?

I'm following this pattern here and really like the effect of the double rib...which was tricky to photograph whilst it's all still bunched up on the needles....sorry about that!
Hopefully it'll fit the little tornado AND he consents to keep it on in the icy cold weather that is apparently, just around the corner. Brrrr!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thrifty Finds # 31 - Stocking up...

It's been a while since I posted my thrifting booty here. Longer than I'd realised. I have however been thrifting pretty constantly (!!) since the last "Thrifty Finds" post and have a HUGE backlog of stuff to photograph before I can share it. But here's a few vintage finds that I have gotten around to photographing....Everything here cost me between 99p-£5.00. You gotta love thrifting!
Some of this is currently available in my Etsy store, and a couple bits have already sold on either Etsy or Ebay.  Yay! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My budding architect.....

I'll be honest. This photo is slightly blurred, partly due to my Little Tornado's propensity to be,well, like a tornado; and partly due to the fact I was laughing so much at the expression of unbridled joy and excitement on his little face. So unbridled that it's caused him to go slightly boss eyed with excitement. What, you may (or may not ;) be asking has caused such a stir? Ahhh......

Elliott had just made his own little viaduct...all by his clever little self!  I just turned round and he'd built it. He's 2 and a half.  Is it just me, or are 2 and a half year olds pretty darn clever these days? The "supports" are the roofs and bases of little wooden houses that came with his train set. He just decided they'd be perfect for holding up his track....

To be honest, I find everything he does pretty amazing.  But then again, I'm not exactly impartial, lol!  But how on earth did he think to do this? Did he somehow store a visual memory of a viaduct we'd driven past and suddenly fancy building one? We had one near us where we used to live but we moved from there before he was a year old. Perhaps he saw one on the TV. Perhaps he's never seen one before in his life. Either way, he was very excited to have built his wooden track version.  I was telling people about this all weekend. How amazing our children's minds are, huh?

Monday, November 07, 2011

In Progress...Simplicity 2245

It's been a while since I have sewn anything from scratch, from a commercial pattern. I seem to have taken a lengthy detour into refashioning and drafting/fitting for the past, oooh, several months. Much as I enjoy refashioning and much as I place a great deal of importance on addressing my fitting issues once and for all through the drafting/fitting process, the other day I was suddenly acutely aware of the huge stash of patterns that I have. The vast majority of which remain untouched since they were bought...eep! So I made a start on Simplicity 2245. The lovely Lisette tunic that I've been meaning to make for some time. (Since this, this and this to be precise!).

Mindful of the sizing issues that have plagued me in the past (why do commercial patterns have sooooo much ease??) and the potential for me to look pregnant in too loose styles, (the perils of a larger bust!) I cut a 14.  It's a bit of an experiment if I'm honest. This pattern comes in 2 size ranges 8-14 or 16 upwards. I toyed with buying a 16 but presumed the pattern would have more than sufficient ease for me to get away with a 14. On inspection of the pattern envelope, it seemed not! The pattern envelope showed the finished garment measurement of a 14 to be my exact bust measurement of 40". But I'll need to move....and breath...and get it on I thought!! So I added a total of 2" of ease across the pattern pieces using a basic slash and spread technique. This, in theory, should mean my finished garment measurment will be 42".
I slashed the down the length of the front pattern piece, shoulder to hem, roughly in line with the bust point and parallel to the grain line. Avoiding any notches so as to cause as little disruption as poss. Or course it's never as simple as altering one pattern piece. Widening the Front piece affected the alignment of the Centre panel and pocket facing pieces too. So they had to be widened by the exact same amount to ensure they all lined up again properly. Muslin you say?? I know, I know....!

In any case, we shall see if it has worked shortly! I'm aiming for a winter version in the lightweight wool below. Time will tell if the bold stripe is a mistake or not. The cuffs are cut on the bias (I'm making version B) which may make for an interesting directional contrast. I've done all the cutting out, marking, interfacing and stay stitching and am about to begin construction....

Wish me luck! Fingers crossed that a) it fits and b) I don't have strangers asking me "when is it due?" ;)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Vintage Knits - Adult Patterns

Happy Guy Fawkes weekend to you all! As the weather looks set to be wet and cold this weekend, what better time to share some more cosy vintage knits?! These are some more of the stash of vintage patterns I acquired this week.....

Could I EVER be this ladylike?!!

I particulary like these hats....

Matching vests for the whole family anyone?
I'll be converting these to PDF over the next few weeks as well as the kiddies ones, and making them available in my Etsy shop. I still have yet more to scan in, but of a slightly later vintage. Some great 70's pics, lol! Talking of which, Kerry is sharing some corkers over at Kestrel Finds & Makes. If you like a giggle go check it out! She's been running a whole week of knitting related posts this week on her blog too with some great tips, advice and inspiration.
In other knitting related activity, Tasha has launched her Vintage Knitting College with a post about stranded colour work. If like me, you are a novice knitter keen to learn more, this is definately looking like a series worth following.
Have a great weekend :)
Love and hugs

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Vintage Knits - Kids Edition

Hello friends. First off, can I just say a huge and heartfelt thankyou for all of your kind comments regarding the passing of my dear feline friend Oscar. I was seriously bowled over by the level of empathy and compassion from you all. You are indeed a beautiful bunch and I am very lucky indeed to have you.

On a slightly happier note, I was very lucky this week to have acquired a huge pile of vintage knitting patterns dating back to the 1940's. Eeeep! I just had to share them here as I know many of you will just adore them...

Aren't they just beautiful! Not being a particularly capable knitter myself (yet!) I've decided to make these availabe in my Etsy shop over the coming days, as PDF patterns, (since they are out of copyright) and I think lots more people will be able to enjoy them along with me. Some of them have been damaged or written on so I shall have to take some time to re-type the text to make them useable, but in the meantime I thought you may enjoy seeing these beautiful scans.
Theres a whole bunch of adult (mens & womens) patterns that I shall also be sharing too. Some real stunners.