Monday, July 28, 2014

Butterick 4948 (1983?) Belle France drop-waist dress, Part I

Mispickel was completely out of control yesterday and I didn't get anywhere near as much sewing done as I hoped.

She finally fell asleep and I started the pattern grading on Butterick 4948 (1983), the Belle France drop-waist pattern.  I'm using the closed neckline from A but the plain skirt from B, graded up to a 12 from an 8, and a little extra added around the hips.

I think it might need a small FBA overall, but it's pretty close.  The side-seams are curved inward a little so it's loose without being a complete potato sack.

I forgot to lower the bust darts or this would almost be the start of a wearable muslin, if I have enough left to cobble together a skirt.  Maybe with blue gingham armscye and neck binding?   I might take the seams out and see if I can fake the bust darts lower to salvage the muslin.

 The original plan was for this to be black floral with short, cuffed sleeves.  Probably with buttons all the way down, too (we were going for a 1990's feel here):

And then a purple.  I thought it would have buttons all the way down, too, but I'm kind of thinking placket.  Long sleeves, if the yardage will allow?  Band collar?  Peter pan collar?  No collar?  Three-quarter sleeves?

Clare Lee "Brick" sweater Part I

One of my biggest hobby problems is focus.  I just have too many ideas and nowhere near enough time or energy to execute them, so when I do get a little time I go nuts and can't decide what to do with it.  

I started a black sweater a couple of years ago but didn't like how it was turning out, so frogged it and put the whole thought aside.  I've been going around and around and around about sweaters and finally decided to just pick a simple one, for which I could use yarn I already had (in this case, the frogged black Lion Wool-Ease), and start.  

The pattern I picked was Clare Lee's "Brick", which is a top-down seamless raglan pullover.  "Top down" and "seamless" are magic words for knitters.  Top-down means you start at the neck, which means you can try it on as you go and you won't have to worry about getting the length wrong: You just keep knitting until it's as long as you want (you do this for both the body and the sleeves).  

"Seamless" means just that--you knit on circular needle so there aren't any side-seams and, in this case, since it has raglan shoulders, there aren't any shoulder seams.  Seaming knits is a pain in the rear.

Not much to see yet, just a few rows of neckline:

I picked this because, well, top-down and seamless, and it got generally good reviews.  This one is supposed to be slubby--I'm making a size large and not doing the waist shaping or sleeve tapering.  The neckline seems to be designed to be wide so if I make a more fitted one, I'll probably cast on for a small and keep increasing until I get to a medium.

I bought this 1950's sweater pattern on Etsy a year or so ago.  It's worked flat and seamed (circular needles weren't that popular in the 1950's and they're only used on the yoke here), which seems like an unnecessary pain.  My goal is to rework it once I have a better idea of what I'm doing.  I think it will probably be the body in one piece and then the yoke picked up and knitted upwards, but we'll see.

Triangular Shawl #1 Doctor Who remnants: Part III

It looks pretty much the same, just bigger.  I don't have an updated photo.  I think I have about six inches left to go, which is probably another repeat of stripes worth.  Maybe two repeats, as long as the yarn holds out.  No point in making it undersized.  One more repeat would be about 27 inches from nape to lower point, and that seems to be a minimum size for triangular shawls (by about 50 inches' "wingspan").

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trianglular shawl #1 Doctor Who remnants: Part II

Listening: Polly Jean Harvey

I ended up going to Joann's and buying a skein of light blue yarn just so this shawl wouldn't have only two little blue stripes, which would make it look hopelessly makeshift.  But it was only one skein and it was on sale, right?

(That's gray, not olive green, and rust, not bright red.)  I am determined to do this without buying yet another, still-longer, cable needle.  Right?  Right?

But then I sinned.  Charlotte's had a coupon.  Rosslin From The Ashes (Breyer "SBH Phoenix") is our new Clydesdale gelding:

My shelves are packed and this is a fairly large model.  I have no idea where I'm going to put him . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's Thursday.

Yes.  Yes, it is.

I'm still waiting for my new cable needle, although it should be here today or this weekend.  In the meantime, I've started culling some sewing projects that I find I'm not wearing.  The blue sundress with white lace trim ended up being a fit failure, and the green calico and blue 9880's are just enough off that I don't really enjoy them.  I found another blue fabric that I like (Moda Bella Solids Prussian blue.  Like Kona only by Moda instead of Robert Kaufman) and plan to make a replacement 9880.

I've also started taking apart some older projects to salvage the fabric.  The 1947 Grit nightgown pattern needs more alteration so I'm taking the finished one that totally did not fit apart for the calico.  I found a deep-rose circle skirt I made probably ten years ago when I was just starting to sew, that I never wear but whose fabric I love, so I'm going to take that apart to salvage for the navy and pink Crown of Thorns quilt that's on the to-do-someday list.  I'm taking apart the dress Mom made me for reenacting in 1991, to salvage the dark brown and black plaid brushed cotton for a skirt.  It's pretty worn but I think it will hold up well enough.  The dress shrank when we washed it and the sleeves are too short, and it hasn't been worn in a long time (and it was a commercial modern pattern, anyway; not remotely historical).  But I love the fabric.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Triangular Shawl #1 Doctor Who remnants: Part I

My sewing table was occupied this weekend so I started experimenting with triangular shawls.

I'm using leftovers from the Doctor Who scarves.  I did a garter tab cast-on, which worked great, and then basically did:

Right side:
Knit 1
Increase 1 (I did this by picking up and knitting the "bar" between the stitches)
Knit up to the center stitch
[place marker]
Increase 1
Knit center stitch
[place marker]
Increase 1
Knit to last stitch
Increase 1

Wrong side:
Knit all, or knit five [purl] knit five, or whatever you want.  I've been messing with knit and purl textures.

However, I knitted until my US8 straight needles were full and had to order a longer cable needle, which should be here by the end of the week:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

McCall 5136 (1943) back-wrap sundress Part I

Listening: The Wayfarers.

I'm just beginning to trace the pattern pieces for this.  I've had the pattern and fabric for several years but kept putting it off to do things I felt I should do, even though I've been kind of dying to work on it.  But that's silly: It's summer and I should be making sundresses.  I will probably do a variant of the Simplicity 4727 bolero to go with it, too.

McCall 5136 (1943):

Back-wrap sundress with sweetheart neckline:

The fabric is Andover On The Breeze in pale lime green (think Baskin Robbins' Daiquiri Ice, which has been my favorite ice cream since I was six):

It reminded me of this 1930's vine print that I saw online somewhere (eBay, maybe?).  The Andover was out of print even then and I had to do some serious Googling to find it.  Totally worth it, though.

I will probably do piping around the armscyes and neckline.  I'm leaning toward either dull orange (I can get commercial piping in a color called "carrot" that's dead-on for the orange in the leaves) or one of the greens.  I'm not feeling the red.

If I do a jacket, it will probably be the dark green.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Simplicity 4727 (1943) Part V: In real life, and Arkansas

Here it is, in the flesh on the courthouse square in Eldorado, Arkansas.

This picture is also proof that introverts are not necessarily shy.

I went to my brother and sister-in-law's in Arkansas for the weekend (about a 6 hour drive.  Six and a half if you're a right-lane slowpoke like I am).  Thursday night was the town fireworks display.

We went to Jimmy B's for breakfast (I highly recommend the Western omelet).  Everything was closed so we moseyed around the square for awhile until we happened upon the one and only open shop.  It was an antique mall.  My brother got some antique bottles to use as samples at work (he's an archaeologist, except they spell it "archeologist" in Arkansas, because you can do that when you're the most geographically beautiful state in the Union).  I got a Napco Great Dane:

And a Frankoma "Good Luck" trivet, because someday I'll have a retro Western kitchen.  Right:

Saturday, we went to Toltec Mounds State Archaeological Park, the Plantation Agriculture Museum near Scott, Arkansas, and to Little Rock to see the bicycle display at the 1836 State House Museum.  And of course we went to a bike shop, for pizza (the Victory Garden was OK.  Kind of light on actual vegetables), and to River Market books.

We also saw a unicycle-go-round:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Simplicity 4727 (1943) jacket Part III: Basted

Sleeves are basted in, and the sleeve bands are basted, ready for topstitching.  I'm so close to being done.  I have to go shopping tonight to get some things to take to my brother's house this weekend, so I don't have a lot of time, but I'm determined to wear this, no matter what.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Simplicity 4727 (1943) jacket Part II

The original pattern:

The concept:

So far:

After a lot of fiddling, I finally added 1 1/2 inches to the upper back, but within he back neck (not along the shoulders).  I tried adding some of it along the shoulders but the darts didn't work out that way.  I had to carve down the sides under the arms again after that, but it works pretty well overall.  

It's supposed to have bias facing along he back of the neck and the lower hem, but I have never, ever, gotten bias facing to work well so I made cut facings (I traced the outer pattern pieces and then took out the darts so the pieces would be fitted).  The back of the neck is not so hot, but it worked out well enough in the end.

I have red, white, and blue bullseye buttons for the lower front but they're nonfunctional, so I put in hooks and eyes to hold it closed at the bottom, discreetly.  

The sleeves will have bias plaid faux-cuffs with red trim.  The red piping was a bit of a pain but it looks nice.  I didn't do the revers corners right; I'll do better next time.  

I believe I added a half an inch or an inch length below the arms, and I made the shoulder darts longer and the waist darts shorter to lower the bust point.  It actually fits pretty well.  It's easy, too. I just have the sleeves and buttons left to do.

I might go to Arkansas for the weekend of the Fourth, if my brother and sister-in-law aren't overwhelmed with moving preparations.  We'll see.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simplicity 4727 (1943) jacket

I started the jacket today.  This whole pattern is a drafting doozy.  Weird shoulder seams, weird darts, weird everything.  I suspect I won't have it done by Friday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) Black-green Kona Part IV

Listening: Dan Levenson, Barenaked Banjos.  Which also describes the cover art.  You've been warned.

Just wrapping stuff up:

Front (I'm not quite this short-legged.  It's camera angle.  Also, the dress has a slightly raised waist but you can't tell here):


Wow, you can really see that I have my dad's reddish hair.

No ease in those sleeve caps!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Car drama: Progress

I am still waiting on a call from the car donation people.  Come on, guys, I know you're a nonprofit but the GMC place would like to have it off of their lot and I would like to have it off of my insurance.  

That said, introducing LBC II (Mazda CX-5):

Which is actually quite a bit less little than the previous Little Black Car, but the idea is there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Car drama

Well, then.

So, it wasn't a hack job by the garage that did in my transmission.

It turns out that Matrix/Vibe 5-speed manual transmissions are notorious for self-destructing.  Sometimes as early as 50,000 miles.  I basically drove on borrowed time for 100,000 miles.  This time, though, there is no repairing it, unless I were inclined to spend a few more thousand dollars having a rebuilt transmission put in.  Since the transmission would be a rebuild of the crappy transmission that's already in it, and I'm not inclined to start buying transmissions in job lots, the only thing left to do is to call the Public Television car knackers and have it picked up and donated.

My consolation is that I must be pretty good with a stick shift if it took me that long to break it, right?  Right?  Throw me a bone here, people.

Unfortunately, I had no reason to look into this until it died or I wouldn't have had the clutch and pilot bearing done, but . . . water under the bridge.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and move on.  And sometimes doing that is awfully expensive, but there you are.

My hope was to put off all this until the end of next year, but that's obviously not going to happen because the car is dead right now.  Fortunately, there are a lot more big hatchback/tall wagon/small faux-SUV type vehicles available now than there were in 2002, and the features I like are more universal, so I didn't have to make compromises.  Flat-folding rear seats, for example, are basically a given.  Not "flat"(ish) folding seats, but flat enough to carry stuff or to sleep on if you're camping and a storm blows in.  There are even a scant handful of models available in stick shift for pigheads like me who like to do extra work.  (Yes, I'm aware that manuals aren't even more efficient these days, but whatever.  If I'm going to have one car and keep it until it completely dies, I'm going to get just what I want.)

I'll update when the finalist arrives and I have keys--actually, I think it's a remote starter tag nowadays--in hand, but by the end of the week I should have the rest of the car shenanigans wrapped up.

But in case you're wondering: Yes, it's black.  I've already reordered my Rust-Eze and "Nice Butte--Radiator Springs" bumper stickers.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) Black-green Kona Part III

I basted the sleeves and pinned the hem over lunch. 

Miraculously, the sleeves needed no easing.  Yes, they actually fit the armscyes.  They look a bit puckered here because of the large basting stitches, but they didn't have to be wrestled into place:

The I pinned the hem facing.  I'll probably have to redo it at home, but maybe I won't have to redo the whole thing.  (That's a sleeve facing sticking out.  I forgot my dark green thread so I couldn't finish the sleeve facings.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) Black-green Kona Part II

Listening: The Devil Makes Three.

Limping along.  Actually,  I got quite a bit done last night--I got the skirt attached, the skirt facing attached at the hem (though not finished), the sleeves seamed, and a test sleeve set.  I have a lot of hand finishing to do, but I should have this dress done this weekend.

It's looking pretty rough.  That's the hem facing hanging down at the bottom, and a wacky mint-green test sleeve:

Close-up of the bodice.  Neither of these show the color well.  It's not blue/teal--it's a very dark black-green.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) Black-green Kona Part I

Listening: Cowboy Junkies.

The 11th was Mispickel's birthday (observed, since she was a foundling):

Don't worry--she didn't actually get cake.  She just got to smell cake.  She did get a nibble of chicken breast, though.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I know, I know: Move on, already.

I made some tweaks to 9880, again: 

Closed up the neckline:

 Added 1 1/2 inches overall to the upper back

Cut in the side front slightly:

 took the extra 1/2 inch of length back out of the bodice; took an additional 1/2 inch out of the front bodice, where I'd added it during the FBA; added neck darts to take up the extra width in the back; 

widened the upper sleeve and lowered the sleeve cap.  

This dress actually goes together pretty quickly once I get moving.  I dug out the green Kona that I overdyed with black years ago, and keep not-using because it's too dark and swallows up any design detail.  

With green . . . I suspect this is a Concord print, for the sleeve and skirt facings:

 This dress doesn't have a lot of detail so it's OK if it's dark.  I'm planning on dark green buttons right now but if I really love it I could go with shiny brass.  This is normal yardage so I'm using two widths for the skirt, with side-seam pockets.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We seem to be starting another round of car drama.  My parents are supposed to get their car back from the garage today, but they wanted to make sure the loose electrical connection was OK.  

Mine seemed OK until the clutch bailed out on the way to work this morning.  The garage was super polite.  I am not happy.  My father's theory is that somebody basically learned to do a clutch job on my car, since they don't see many clutches at GM.  Next time, I'm getting a car from a maker that sells stick shifts on a more regular basis.

You know what always cheers me up?  Health food:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) blue cotton Part IV

Listening: The Foghorn Stringband.

I stayed up far, far, later than I should have last night finishing this.  It always takes longer than you think it will. 
So, the FBA by cutting through the shoulder totally helped

It created more bust room but also more upper-chest room.  I guess technically that means I needed a bigger size but I didn't want it any bigger around the waist, and the shoulder length was OK. 

Other thoughts:
1. Close up the neck some.  I keep thinking it's still buckling around the neck because of the shoulder angle but I think it's actually that it's a little too open and feels loose.

2. Take that half-inch of length back out of the bodice.  Flattening out the shoulder slope gave it enough extra length; I didn't need the added bodice length and now it's kind of droopy.  I also need to maybe shorten the front bodice a little bit; it's a bit pigeon-breasted.  I could also rotate some of the waist fullness to a shoulder dart to see if that creates a better shape.

3. Something is still pulling a little bit across the upper back/shoulders.  I think I probably need to do an upper-back width addition and then rotate the darts into the back neck; this could solve both the shoulder-pulling and would refine the neck fit.  I might also need to make the armscyes less scooped out in the back. 

4. The sleeve caps were a pain in the neck.  I think they need slightly less height and slightly more width.

Good thing I have so much cheap fabric to use to test patterns, right?

No pix right now.  I was too bloody tired last night.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Simplicity 9880 (1996) blue cotton Part III: Sleeve tweak

Not much to see here.  I added 1/4 inch to the middle of the sleeve pattern and reduced the taper by half an inch.  I wanted to wear it tomorrow but I'll have to hustle if I want to get the sleeves, buttons, and buttonholes all done.