Month: May 2014

Julia and Belcarra

I’ve been into quick sews lately. I think it’s a reaction to my ongoing little French jacket project, which is taking forever! It’s really only taking forever because I’m dragging my feet. Of course, indulging in other sewing projects on the side isn’t helping with progress. The upside of all this is that I have some great new basics in my wardrobe.

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Above is my second version of the Sewaholic Belcarra blouse. I made this dotty number out of a lovely cotton voile that I picked up at The Fabric Store last week. Until now I didn’t know how much I loved polka dots, but this fabric has opened my eyes! Polka dots be mine!! I have to admit to returning to The Fabric Store today to buy more of this print, but in silk crepe de chine. It was a bit embarrassing as I was there yesterday, too. The frequency of my visits is probably a little bit excessive!

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As for the blouse pattern itself, I think it’s fantastic! I like that it is a simple t-shirt, but the raglan sleeves and waist shaping give it a point of difference. I can imagine this same blouse but with navy sleeves, colour block style, which I might try for my silk version. It’s nice and roomy through the shoulders which is great for when you need to wave your arms around, but somehow the relaxed fit doesn’t stop it from feeling just a bit elegant. I can see this top in so many different types of fabric, and Tasia even left the hem straight so that it could work with a scalloped lace. Cool!

I’ve noticed around and about the internet that some people have expressed misgivings about the wide neckline. It is indeed rather wide, and for that reason I’m intending to add bra strap carriers to this as it does have a habit of sliding off my shoulders a bit. Otherwise, I love a wide neckline, I think it’s flattering. (By the way, there is a great tutorial for narrowing the neckline on the Sewaholic blog, here).

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The cardigan is the Julia Cardigan, which you can find here. It’s a great wardrobe staple, especially in this merino knit. It’s light and cozy and great for layering! I purchased my overlocker pretty recently so am only now discovering the benefits of whizzing up quick knit garments. I sewed this up the other day and was done and dusted by noon, and I didn’t even get up early or anything (cough 10am cough). It’s quick!

Finally I’ll leave you with a photo from our trip to the Auckland Zoo today. I wore my alternate Belcarra/Julia combo. What do you think of my tall new friends?!

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 PS Photo taking credit goes to Ben!

Strokkur!

I knitted my first jersey! This is the Strokkur pattern by Ysolda Teague.

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I had so much fun knitting this. I am fairly new to knitting, having only knitted a very simple hat and half of a cardigan (currently lingering in the unfinished object zone), so I’ll admit that it was a slightly ambitious project to take on. The educational potential of YouTube is unlimited though, so with the help of numerous videos I had no trouble knitting this up.

Throughout all my years of sewing, knitting always seemed kind of slow and a bit boring. However there is a lot to be said for it, I am discovering! For one thing, it is so portable! You can take it anywhere. Planes, trains, your couch while watching TV. Also, the slow pace allows for plenty of learning on the job. There is no potential for ruinous foot pedal acceleration or overlocker mishap in knitting! Plus, wool is just so beautiful.

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The wool recommended for this pattern is Lett Lopi, an Icelandic yarn. It turns out that Icelandic sheep are pretty special! For centuries there has been only one breed of sheep on the island, and over time it has evolved under exposure to the sub-arctic climate. The Icelandic sheep have a tough water repellent outer layer of wool with a softer insulating layer underneath. As you can see in the photo above, the wool has lots of hairy bits, for want of a better description! It does feel a bit scratchy to wear, however it doesn’t bother me, and with a light top on underneath I don’t notice it at all. It will certainly be cozy this winter.

I had a great deal of trouble choosing colours for this project. I ordered the wool online (here), so it was impossible to judge the true nature of the colours, especially my main colour. I didn’t want a black sweater, more of a natural brown one, and to my delight the colour I chose (black sheep heather) is an un-dyed brownish black. I think it looks great with the high contrast yoke!

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I definitely want to make another one of these. Next time I think I’ll take inspiration from Jaime’s gorgeous version and use rust colours. Check out my Ravelry notes here for technical deets!

Anna Dress

Things have been busy here and I haven’t had the time or sunlight to photograph my latest make, so I thought I’d share a dress that I made late last year. I love this dress! It is, of course, the wildly popular Anna dress from By Hand London. There have been so many amazing versions of this pattern, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was inspired by many of them, including Sallieoh’s hand dyed beauty and Fiona’s slinky black number.

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I decided to make this dress immediately before departing on an overseas trip. Maybe I’m alone in this, but whenever I have an exciting holiday coming up, something in my brain goes into overdrive thinking of all the new clothes I’ll need before I go. I lie awake at night fretting that I don’t have anything nearly hip or stylish enough to be seen wearing at my destination! In this case the holiday was to be in San Francisco, so I whipped up this dress, among other things.

Like many other people who have made this pattern, I would agree that it is very flattering. The gently flared skirt mirrors the bust pleats in such a complementary way, and as a huge fan of boat necks, I love the high neckline. The kimono sleeves are a cinch to construct and drape in a lovely way over the shoulders. This pattern really does have curves in all the right places. For the fabric I used an absolutely beautiful Liberty print called Kayoko, purchased once again from Shaukat.

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In terms of pattern modifications, I made almost none. The pattern is drafted with minimal ease around the waist, but I prefer a couple of extra cm to allow for eating/breathing etc. To remedy this I just reduced the seam allowance at the CB to 1cm in the general waist area. This was just enough for me and the fit is comfortable. Very scientific, I know! Additionally, I did have some gaping at the back neck, so I took out a wedge on either side of the zipper, just at the top. No fancy pattern manipulation here!

I used French seams throughout, including the waist seam where the bodice meets the skirt, and because anything made from Liberty deserves extra love and attention, I bound the facing and armholes with another Liberty print, Picardie. I am extra proud of this part, nobody but me will ever see it but it looks so pretty! I also stabilized the zipper area with some fusible interfacing cut into long strips.

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When I like a pattern I often make it more than once, especially if I’m really happy with the fit. I’ve made two subsequent Annas since this one – a maxi length version in black silk twill, and another knee length version in a navy quilting cotton that I picked up at B&J Fabrics in New York. It’s a real testament to the pattern that this dress works so well in so many fabrics.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with a report on the dress that I made last week, another Leini from Named!