Tuesday, February 4, 2020

I've Reclaimed My Knitting Machines

I am finally able to knit on my knitting machines again. I haven't knit in the 10 years that I been married. We don't have a basement and there just wasn't enough room. It was obvious my husband wasn't ever going to finish the addition made to the house and me a craft room, but what I have now is just as good. He moved the furniture out of the living and dining room, which we weren't using, and I converted it into my paper crafting and knitting space. I currently have three machines up, one with a motor with plans to add two more machines and one more motor. Oh happy day.

I've already knit and constructed my first two garments in 10 years--a jacket and a skirt. Can you believe it? The yarn had been around that long and so has the pattern. I used Simplicity 9361, released in 1995. I made view B. I'd made it previously in a different color of the same yarn. This time I did add a bust dart...because I'm anal that way. Although I added the bust dart, I was still able to use the same schematic from before. I always draw myself a schematic and calculate the stitches and rows, based on my swatch, of each pattern piece much like what you see in knitting patterns. I took about four days to do the knitting and three days to do the blocking and the cutting of the pattern pieces. I could have done the knitting in less time but wasn't in any particular hurry.

It's important to stabilize the shoulder and armhole seams to prevent stretching either out of shape. I use 1/4" ribbon. For the sewing, I don't use any special feet, thread or needles.

I spent two days seaming the skirt seams by hand and sewing the knitting pieces by machine. It's easier to mark the pattern piece with wax and chalk markings. The buttonholes were made on the machine and I even sewed the buttons on by machine.

And the finished looked....drum roll please...excuse the photobombing dog!

 Although I'd been away from the machine for 10 years, I didn't miss a beat. When I tell you I hadn't forgotten a thing, believe it. I am so impressed by the notes I've kept and how organized they are. Nearly every technique I've learned over the years are kept in binders and further organized using dividers. Most technique pages are encased in page protectors! How impressive is that? I've already started on another knitted garment but I must admit, the pieces are over 10 years old. While searching through my knitting treasures I found a plastic bag with all the pieces for a garment--front, back and sleeves. I've already blocked the pieces but need to look through my patterns to find something that will fit the knit pieces. Expect to see more of my knit creations in the near future.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Slappy Dress

The fabric has been in my stash for a while. Don't ask me what made me purchase it but I liked it. Originally I was going to make a bathrobe but that never happened. Enter Halloween. I'm currently working as a court reporter and wearing a costume in court is not an option...enter "The Slappy Dress." If you didn't know, Slappy the Dummy is a fictional character and antagonist in the Goosebumps children's series by R. L. Stine. He is one of the series' most popular villains and the main antagonist of the Night of the Living Dummy saga and a major villain in later series.

I "frankenpatterned" this design using two of my favorite patterns--Simplicity 2684 bodice and McCalls 6953 skirt. I've altered the 2684 bodice to fit me perfectly but the 6953 skirt presented more of a problem because the fabric was only 45" wide and I didn't have enough. Not to be deterred, I pinched out a pleat between each of the pattern pleats to narrow each of the skirt pieces and voila!

I didn't even cut the dress out until 9 pm on Halloween and my procrastinating. All seemed to be going well until I decided it needed pockets. I couldn't find my favorite Mimi G pocket pattern from her maxi skirt download. I had to spend about 30 minutes looking for that. When I finally got the pockets cut and sewn it was nearing 1 am. I have to start getting ready for work at 6:30 am. I've got to get some sleep! I'm was going to line the bodice with the "burrito" method so the zipper still has to be installed. As I was tacking the top of the pocket to the bodice seam the sewing machine jammed. I cleared that jam about three times to no avail. At this point I'm exhausted but not deterred. I called it a night at 1:45 am.

I slept fit-fully until 5:30 am. I got up swapped out the jammed machine for a backup and finished the dress by 7 am. Thus the invisible zipper is "nearly invisible" as I'd never installed a zipper on "said backup" machine. I also didn't have time to be fooling around with a curved hem. I serged around the dress bottom. While I thought I was going to pair it with a fine-knit looked too "Mrs. Doubtfire" so I added a chunky necklace, cropped denim jacket and black suede over-the-knee boots. I absolutely loved my look. Of course when I got home from work I was too exhausted for pictures and while I thought this would be a "one of" wearing, it's so comfortable and fun I'm sure it will get lots more wear. It'll be a great conversation piece!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Butterick 5687

Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted, lined above hipline jacket has front and back princess seams
Pattern Sizing:
8-22 I sewed a size 18 at the shoulders grading out to the size 22 at the hipline
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

I think so except that my fabric has an "houndstooth-like" plaid design
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I'll admit this was not my first jacket "rodeo." I didn't use them at all. That's why I rated the pattern "Intermediate." Not sure how the instructions tackled the collar and lapel.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I didn't dislike anything about this pattern. I particularly like that it is above the hipline. That is a good proportion for my body. It has been in my stash for a while. I'm trying to not buy so many patterns but use ones I already own. I love a good princess seam bodice whether it be for a jacket, blouse or dress.
Fabric Used:
This fabric was from my stash. I don't remember when I got a matter of fact I forgot I had it. I do know that it was from Fabric Mart and not recently!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut a 18 through the neck and shoulders grading out to a size 22 in the hip. I love how well-drafted the armhole and sleeve cap are. I also did my usual 1" FBA following the Palmer/Pletsch instructions.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I've already cut it again and have several more pieces of fabric lined up. This will be my go-to jacket pattern for a while.

It's a keeper...if only my photographer were! He's my husband so I don't have much of a choice!