Thursday, June 30, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080: Thoroughly Mod[ern] Dottie

Version three of the Dottie Angel dress.  I went back to the kimono sleeves, lowered the waistline, and messed with the pockets.  I need to shift the waist tucks back toward the center back on the next version, but theses are pretty good.

The underarm on the purple dress tore so I reinforced these with bias.  I trimmed the seam allowance back to 1/4 inch, clipped it along the curve, ironed it open (butterflied), and overstitched bias, overlapping the end of the faux-French seam below it.  

This is an overkill variant of Lilacs & Lace's topstitching method.

From the outside.  The raw end of the bias was covered later by the sleeve-edge binding.

Fancy bias hem facing:


I need a better mirror.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel FBA series part II

So, this is dress #2, the FBA with the side dart.

I feel like something went wrong here.  Maybe with the added length, I needed less FBA?  It seems baggy.  Dress #3 will have a side dart on a smaller FBA, I guess.  (I'm also going to go home and measure it alongside Dress #1 to see if I did something boneheaded.  Pretty sure I didn't but it wouldn't be the first time.)

Not sure I'm going ot keep this dress.  I'm not wild about the fit or the fabrics--it looks very homemade, but not in a cool way, just in a "wearing bedsheets" way.

I need more small darts across the back, too, to keep the fabric from shifting forward as I walk.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel FBA series part I

I'm in the middle of my second version of the Simplicity 1080 Dottie Angel dress and I have a feeling I added too much to the FBA.  I did it differently this time than I did on the first one--it has a side dart but the armscye line was cut to the shoulder instead.  I'll see when I get home and measure it and the Version 1 purple dress if it's as much too big as I feel it's going to be, and then try to figure out where I went wrong.

Meanwhile, I just spent my lunch hour cutting out and altering scale models of pattern pieces becuause, yes, I'm that kind of person.

So . . . pattern pieces:

From left to right:
1) Original pattern piece
2) FBA 1 (the purple dress): Dartless
3) FBA 2 (the blue and red paisley dress): Side dart anchored at the shoulder
4) FBA 3 (proper FBA): Side dart anchored to the armscye

Pattern pieces cut and expanded:

All of these were expanded the same amount.

Note: After you expand FBA 1 and FBA 2, you'll have to straighten out the shoulder, which will have a dip in the middle where the slash opened.  This is easy, you just need to make sure you remember to do it, and that the length of the altered front shoulder matches the length of the back shoulder.

1) Original pattern piece: Not altered
2) FBA 1 Dartless: Width added only.  The cut for the side dart is overlapped toward the bust point.  This actually shortens the pattern piece, so the seamstress will need to add length to both the front and back pieces if she doesn't want it shorter.  The main reason this didn't work for my purple dress was that I used an applied belt instead of the back ties; if you're using the back ties that the pattern is intended to have, and check the height you need for the front tucks, this works well for a small- to moderate-FBA and preserves the simplicity of the pattern.
3) FBA 2 Darted, anchored to shoulder: Didn't really change the length.  Adds a bit to the upper chest which could be a problem for women with narrow shoulder and/or lean upper chests, but might not be too noticeable on a pattern like this that isn't fitted, anyway.
4) FBA3 Proper FBA: No width added to upper chest.

FBA 1 versus original:

FBA 2 versus original:

FBA 3 versus original:

Note difference in cap sleeve/armscye between these two.

FBA 1 versus FBA 2:

Pretty similar.

FBA 2 versus FBA 3:

The biggest difference is at the shoulder.

More later when I get the second dress finished  . . . 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel dress part I

 . . . sigh.  Yes, I've hopped on the twee dress bandwagon.  Enter Dottie Angel:

(I'm scalping part of this from my Sewing Pattern Review writeup.)

Okay, this is going to sound a lot more negative than I mean it to be:

The problem with simple patterns is that they usually fit one specific body type really well and everyone else poorly-to-not at all. This one, it turns out, has two pattern pieces that are the same except that the front has markings for pockets. Yes, you read that correctly: The front and back are the same.

The up side of this is that, yes, it's easy to sew. But does it fit?

. . . not so much.

The back width and bust width are identical, so if you're bigger than an A cup, it will be tight across the front. Going up a size doesn't help because then the shoulders are too big (and the bust is still probably tight. My first muslin was like this. I'm a just-barely-a-C-cup so we're not talking Dolly Parton geography or anything). And it runs a bit big--I ended up cutting a small despite being a pattern size 12+slight FBA. The shoulders on the medium were huge.

So, despite my determination to do a quick and adorable little dress, I ended up using another pattern I'd already fitted to graft on a higher neckline (the neckline is very wide if you have a lean upper body). I added back neck darts and did a 2" overall (1 inch per side) full bust adjustment. The first version I did of this, I skipped the side dart and only added width, which helped.  The second time, I am adding the side dart, too (I'll post this later). 

 I drew the third leg of the FBA to the shoulder instead of the armscye, though, to avoid messing up the cap sleeve/extended shoulder. Seems to have worked OK despite being technically wrong. 

 Changes:FBA, complete neckline redraw.

Lowered the waist tucks/beltline a lot. This is partly because I have a low bust and I had to, and partly because I didn't want it to be empire-waisted (so part fit issue and part design change).

Side note: The lower skirt panel on the original pattern is just cut straight across instead of following the curve of the hemline. I'm not putting up with that; I traced and cut a new one that's shaped correctly. I'm also doing a variant with a flared skirt panel.

Did an applied belt that buttoned at the sides instead of the back ties (I'm just not that into back ties). 

Bound all edges in bias binding.

The fabric was dull purple small floral and gray small floral trim, from Joann's:

In person:

Update Rundown

I spent the last week, ok, mostly driving, but this included three days at a college reunion.  Campus has changed a lot--I got completely lost in the huge science building--but the town looked great.  One of my best friends from kindergarten/early elementary teaches art there now and I saw her in person for the first time in 28 years.

Lots of pix .

I've found three more cockatoos for my Morton (Illinois) pottery cockatoo flock.  I think I'm up to ten variants:

Rhodochrosite (Rhoda) is full of energy as only a seven-week-old kitten can be.  Mispickel is still not on board but she hasn't attacked the door--Dad put a screen door in the upstairs hallway--and the grumping and redirected aggression has diminished.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Baby makes five

No, not that kind of baby.

It seems like all my friends just have stray animals drop into their laps.  One has a cat he found under a Wal-Mart dumpster; one has a kitten he found in his back yard (and later found the mother and siblings, all of which have been adopted out); etc.  I never find kittens.  Stray cats come and hang on our back porch sometimes but they don't stick around.

Well . . . I went out for a walk last night.  I was maybe a mile from the house when I saw a small animal toddle out of the shadows and under a parked truck.  Thinking that it didn't look like a skunk (it was after dark), I went in for a closer look:

I knocked on the door of the house but nobody was home.  There were no adult cats and no other kittens, either.  So I meowed at it

It answered, but wouldn't come any closer, and it kept crawling up into the undercarriage of the truck to hide.  That's a bad thing.  That's how kittens get turned into kitten-burger when unsuspecting drivers start their vehicles in the morning.

It got closer and closer but not close enough, so I called my father and told him to go into the tote I take to work and get the spare can of cat food (because it seems I am now the kind of person who goes around with cat food in her handbag, just in case) and bring it to such-and-such an address.

Luckily, it was hungry.  Hungry enough to be really distracted so that I could grab it while it ate.

It--we're pretty sure it's a she--is a brown bullseye tabby, maybe six or seven weeks old.  Clean but very hungry.  I don't know if it escaped from a house or rode in on the truck or what, because there weren't any other cats around, and I haven't seen any cats on that block.  And she/it is feisty.

Mispickel is not pleased with me but isn't completely freaked out, either, so I think we'll be able to negotiate a truce.

(Her paws really are that big.  I could end up with two very large cats.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Self-drafted dress 01

I'm still running too many projects at once.  So what's new?

I started my first self-draft last night.  I think I already know where I went wrong, and I need to get Mom to remeasure me in a few places because I'm pretty sure that not all of the measurements she took make sense.  Spent my lunch hour doing calculations ahead of time.

The shoulder and armscye on the bodice front don't look right at all, and I'm pretty sure that the treatment of waist darts makes no sense.  We'll see.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stuff updates

I need to update my pix.

Moving right along on the black plaid homespun dress.  I set the sleeves last night and hope to get the skirt attached and maybe the buttonholes done tonight.  After that, it will be a lot of handwork: Ladderstitching the cuffs closed, buttons, lots and lots of seam finishing.

The square shawl is chugging along, too.  I added the pattern, such as it is, to Ravelry (it links back to the blog post).

Reunion is in like two weeks.  I doubt I'll get the Wisconsin Flower Child dress done but I can try.  I'll ask Mom to help me measure myself this week, at least.  Once I get the pattern to fit it should be a quick project.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Wedding gifts

Aack!  Running out of time!

Gem heart pillowcases:

And pot holders:

(This one is for me.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

L7 shawl or blanket

Super-basic, blank-slate, knitting pattern for square things (square shawl, baby blanket, coasters, whatever) . . . 

You'll need:
5 double-point needles, circular needle[s] for later when the project outgrows the DPN's.

This isn't dependent on gauge--you can use tiny yarn and tiny needles or big yarn and big needles or anything in between.  I used some old Sirdar Aran/worsted/4 weight and US8 dpn's here.

Set up:
Cast on 8 stitches (I used a long-tail.  Just don't use a bulky cast-on.)
Distribute stitches among four of the needles (two stitches per needle)
Round 1: *Knit 1, Knit front and back* (12 stitches/three stitches per needle)
Round 2: Knit all

Body of shawl/blanket/etc.:
Round 1: *Knit 1, make 1 left, knit to last stitch on DPN, make 1 right, knit 1*
Round 2: Knit all

I put a marker on the first needle so I wouldn't lose track of which one it was, but didn't mark the other needles since you repeat the stitch pattern the same way on each needle.  When I switch to a circular needle, I will place markers between each repeat (in the middle of the two knit stitches between the left increase and the next repeat's right increase).

After that, I guess the pattern would be:
Round 1: *Knit 1, M1L, Knit to stitch before next marker, M1R, knit 1, SM*
Round 2: Knit all

You could also use KFB or yarn-overs instead of M1R and M1L, of course.

UPDATE 2016 May 13:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Traveling Stars shawl part I - test swatch

OMG OMG OMG!  I am so excited!

Spoiler alert: If you're even a moderately accomplished knitter, skip this.  You'll think I'm nuts.  And very silly.

I've probably said this on here before, but I've been a beginning knitter for like 30 years.  Seriously, I'm hopeless.  Okay, I'm probably not actually hopeless, but I have too many hobbies and can't devote mastery-level attention and energy to all of them.  Knitting is definitely a second- or third-tier hobby.  I love the idea of knitting but I mostly do it because I can't find sweaters I like (I've yet to actually produce a whole sweater, by the way).  And I'm resistant to a lot of it: I like basic patterns.

I think some of this is my arithmetic-related learning disability--patterns that require a lot of counting and keeping track of stitches are extremely stressful.  I'm not here for stress, thanks.  I'm getting better and recognizing specialty stitches when I see them, but I'll probably never be into fine lace shawls.

So . . . a couple of months ago I splurged on a ridiculous amount of Cascade Venezia merino/silk worsted weight yarn.  It was on clearance or I would never have done such a thing since my knitting skills are strictly Wool-Ease league.

It goes without saying that you can't use that yarn on just any pattern.

I have been futzing around ever since with potential patterns but none of them measured up.  Too busy, too complicated, too boring, too whatever.  Whatever pattern I used had to be:

1) Relatively simple.
2) Not hideous on the reverse.  Didn't have to be pretty, I just didn't want it to look like hamburger.
3) Not too open.  Some eyelets = fine.  Tons of eyelets = what's the point since it's not going to keep you warm?
4) Not absolutely boring.  I'm actually fine with plain shawls with some garter ribs or whatever, but not for this.

Finally, I ran across two patterns, both of which had elements I liked.  Both are by Judy Marples: One was the Lineau shawl, which I like for the eyelet rows and raised knit stitch-on-a-purl-background band, and the other is the Deep Cove scarf (inexplicably neglected by Ravelry users.  It's a lovely pattern!), which I like for its simplicity and because the pattern is diagonal but is not knitted on the bias. 

So I emailed some knitting friends for help.  For awhile, it looked like knit-one-below was going to be the answer, but that meant knitting on the bias and . . . ugh, blocking.  So much blocking.  But another friends suggested traveling stitches.  OMG!  Traveling stitches!  Little, tiny, one-stitch cables!  Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Diagonal pattern that's not knitted on the bias.  Easy.  Not too open.  Raised ridge of contiguous knit stitches.  Hooray!

Sorry, I know I'm out-of-line pleased with this but knitting pretty much never does what I want.

The pattern is a 14-stitch repeat (the test swatch shown has a four-stitch garter border on either side.  I forget what I cast on but it was not a multiple of 14, but that doesn't matter since it's not in the round; it just ends mid-pattern):

First row: *Knit 1, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, purl 4, knit 1, purl 4*
Second row: *Purl 5, knit 4, purl 1, knit 4*
--From this point on, all wrong-side rows will purl the five stitches over the eyelet band, knit the purl stitches, and purl the traveling knit stitch.

F subsequent RS rows, you move the pattern over by one pattern stitch each time, and you travel the single knit stitch:

*purl1, Knit 1, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, purl 3, [switch the knit stitch and the next purl stitch after it] purl 1, knit 1, purl 3*

The next RS row would purl 2, etc.

Butterick 1983 4948 Belle France black plaid part I

The pink version of this hit a snag--the facings aren't behaving themselves and I think the fabric is one I overdyed, so I can't get more (I can't match the color).  I went to get some similar cotton to test the facings and found a pink I like better, so the old pink is going in the scrap bin until I can get back to the fabric shop.

So . . . marching on to the next fabric.

Black and gray plaid homespun:

This will have a bound neckline, long sleeves, shoulder darts, plain black buttons, and . . . probably tucks in the skirt.  I was thinking about a bias strip set into the skirt but I'm not really feeling it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Butterick 1983 4948 Belle France raspberry rose Part I

I've had this fabric for a long time but I think I finally have the pattern the way I want it, so here goes:

Butterick 1983 4948 yet again:

The idea: 1920's style shirtwaist dress with shoulder darts, long sleeves, and shirt collar.

The main fabric is . . . either Kona or Moda Bella, and I might have overdyed it.  I've forgotten now.  The color is between deep raspberry pink and rose:

The disadvantage here is that it's been impossible to find buttons.  I wanted matching pie-crust buttons, more or less, and they don't exist.  I have several selections on order so, fingers crossed, one of them will work.

The skirt facing, cuff linings, and the underside of the collar will be gray DS Quilts leaf print, because I'm short on the pink fabric and because I like them together:

I rotated the bust dart to the shoulder.  The dart doesn't get sewn all the way down, though; I'll get a pic of the bodice front in the next post:

 Same with the back neck dart.  The darts line up when you sew up the shoulder seams:

 No more of this continuous lap nonsense.  A shirtwaist dress gets shirt sleeve plackets:

Thank you, David Page Coffin and your Shirtmaking book.  Also, this is like the best thread/fabric match ever.

See?  I'm right, aren't ?