Sunday, 8 May 2016

SEWN: Hannah by the seaside

Victory Patterns' Hannah Dress
I've really enjoyed being able to wear my latest summer dress so late into Autumn. Today was another perfect example, so we meandered down to Williamstown, chatted to some divers and fishermen and had a lovely lunch - and jumped at the chance to take a few snaps of Hannah, even though we only had a phone - I'm very appreciative that I have a very talented photographer.

Hannah, of course, is Victory Patterns' newest dress and 'not a shift dress, shift dress'*
*yes, I am possibly the only one who makes such a strange comparison between straight +/- A-line shift dresses that I adore, but don't adore me, and ones with amazing seamlines and non-shift dress details. It reminds me of the Dandelion dress that I made twice & loved to death.

Hannah is described as an intermediate pattern, and that's an accurate statement. Precision marking and sewing isn't my strongest point and there are 4 darts, and those fabulous angled side seams that flow into the generous pockets - ohh how I adore the proper sized pockets! 
Other makes: 
Corrine Appleby in a lovely herbaceous sketch print - definitely my kind of a floral. I can relate to her comments on precision sewing, it's not my strongest skill either and basting might be a very good idea. Her Hannah looks lovely in 2 fabrics, I especially love the exposed binding.

And of course the fabulous Christy of CleverTinker who whipped up a gorgeous black rayon-linen-poly version the second Hannah was released, and swayed the world towards adding Hannah to our 'must make' queues ;) As always it's gorgeously styled and she sealed the 'sew Hannah now' deal for me.
All of our dresses are appropriately short. Mine feels fine while I'm walking, I think it's the faced shirt hem that holds it in place. Sitting however is another story, it's definitely a 'napkin on lap' length.
For the record, I'm  5'5" 165cm and made the size 37, a 37 5/8" or 95.6cm length, measured (by the pattern info) from shoulder at base of neck along the front.

My bust measurement is size 6, (with hips of an 8), however I'm glad I didn't try to grade between sizes and just made the 8, as the front bodice is tight across my forward shoulders. I'll do my usual adjustments and cut away at the front armscye next time.

And the elephant in the room - yes, I stuffed up the concealed front placket. The instructions are detailed, full of images and take up 3.5 pages. I clearly didn't fold accurately enough as the front looked great, but the back was off by the time I reached column 9 of 11.
I had forgotten how wonderful Victory Pattern's instruction are, despite my placket troubles, they are illustrated, detailed and nicely laid out. The pattern booklet is 17 pages long.

I love the faced hem, I love the generous pockets and I love the side seamlines and the back detail.

I didn't have any difficulties sewing through the 6+ layers at the shoulders as my fabric was lightweight. I did have difficulties with seam finishing as my fabric frayed easily. All seams which are enclosed, aren't finished separately. This would be ok with almost any other fabric. Mine has wriggled and shifted and I've cursed as it threatens to fray through the seams. It's a slubby linen look poly blend in the most divine true blue (according to Dulux), from Kinki Gerlinki in Brunswick.

I'm now plotting how best to make a version suitable for winter layering - a light wool blend with a slip underneath I think ....

Monday, 15 February 2016

KNIT: Seaside Foundry in White Gum Wool

Oh how I have enjoyed knitting as part of a community. I've taken part in 2 KALS, or knit-alongs over on Ravelry since last I wrote. Both were shawls, and both were by Shannon Sanchez Designs.

Foundry is a steampunk inspired design, with rusting rivets, that I simply had to take to the beach.
I had the most fabulous time knitting Foundry, yes, at the beach, being inspired by the constant, reassuring crash of water, the golden sand and the continually changing colours of the waves.
I've used two shades of White Gum Wool, from two talented indie dyers.
Rebecca of Augustbird dyed the Orange Earl as part of her TeaTime club in November 2015 and it  cleverly has subtle orange shades amongst it's green background.
Jenna of Nunnaba released Herbs as part of her 2015 Spiced collection and the blend of blue-green is simply divine.
White Gum Wool, the base that both dyed is simply the snuggliest, squishiest, most divine soft wool I've ever caressed. It does help that it comes from happy Tasmanian sheep, raised by Nan and processed sustainably in NZ. I first heard of WGW when SewJillian posted her shade card on Instagram. I simply had to get one of my own, read all of Nan's blog posts, and when it arrived, promptly knitted up all of the swatch card and went searching for semi-solid colours, which led me to Augustbird and Nunnaba ;)
Knitting Foundry was a series of 4 clues over 4 weeks, and they were big! First was to cast on over 300 stitches, definitely a record for me, by about 200.... Jenny taught me the long-tail cast on & I used both ends of my ball of Nunnaba Herbs, very uneventful and took a bit over an hour, phew!

My first KAL? It was for the mystery ArtDeco inspired garter stitch short-row shawl Lucky in September 2015. I knew what Foundry would look like when finished, for Lucky, it was a mystery until I'd finished clue 4. I learnt a lot knitting Lucky, especially different types of short rows (German suits me) and Judy's magic cast on (it's magical, I love it!).
Stretching Lucky on the line
I also learnt that I like BIG shawls and scarves, so that's why I chose to make the fingering/4ply Foundry in DK/8ply.
2.10m along the bottom edge, oh yeah!

My Ravelry Notes for Foundry:
I like the description of Foundry as a sampler, I learnt bobbles, i-cord cast-off edge, beading, lace, a long-tail cast-on of over 300 stitches and making a fingering shawl in DK ;) It was lots of fun.
Total size 82" across the top edge and 12"wide at the centre, perfect and as I hoped.
Total wool used 414m
Herbs (Nunnaba blue-green) - 86g (200m) (14g left)
Orange Earl (Augustbird Green) - 91g (214m) (9g left)
28/1/16: clue 3 done. Have 26g each of herbs and orange earl left. Used herbs for all of clues 1&2, orange earl for clue 3. I await clue 4…
27/1/16: mid way through the short rows of clue 3. Put on a double cable and I love the length!
My lace is an organic interpretation, rather than the patterns gridded metal, I can only improve with each lace project. And my first beads were slow but not too fiddly… (used a piece of metal wire prethreaded in batches and bent through each bead as I placed them)
12/1/16: finished clue 1.
Around 90” bottom edge length in Dk, perfect. 305 stitches. My first bobbles! Love it & am really happy I’ve opted for Dk. I didn’t do the beaded picot cast on, just a long-tail as I may find myself playing yarn chicken with the 2 green skeins. (used 50g) 
And a huge Thank You to Jenny who hung out at the beach with me and took these shots on an awesome photo shoot day!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Achievement Unlocked : KNITTING : Liathite in Malachite

My very first 'BIG' knitted item!!
Well, ok, I did start a white jumper back in the 80's, but mum finished it, I think I might have made it part way down the front...
Yes, the only thing I'd ever finished knitting before casting on for this was my little scarflett.

Channelling my inner 30's self: Flat shoes. Wide legged pants. Cloche. Comfy woollens. 
Grumpy expression = sun in eyes, give me back my sunglasses...
 This is Carol Feller's (Stolen Stitches) Liathite cardigan. It's top down, and all in one, so there's no seaming which my 91 yr young grandma is very amazed at, but it got so heavy to lug around!! The attraction of Nicky Gabriels's triangle jumper, as made by Carolyn, has never been so acute.
The Stolen Stitches pattern was very explanatory and the cables were both charted and written out. I knitted the body, adjusting for length and width as needed (loved trying it on as I went!) and the cable pattern just kept marching down the CFs (well, so long as I remembered which row number they were up to).
I dropped the underarm seams by doing a few (2cm worth) rows without increases before joining front & back - eternal thanks to my online knitting mentors, especially Gail & Jillian for their input.
Look Mumma, no set in sleeves!
It's knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills' 12 ply Stellar, the same 50% bamboo & 50% wool blend of my little scarflett.
All Ravelry details on my project page here.

These photos were pre-blocking as I nabbed my photographer when I could. I was a little wary of soaking it, and having all sorts of trepidation about using the bamboo - it's so gorgeous to wear against my skin & keeps me a lovely temperature, but I was afraid of it stretching with the weight of the cardigan. I didn't need to worry as much, it dried in less than a day (much faster than my bamboo socks!), didn't stretch and the stitches have settled smoothly - I'm a convert ;0
Fully Zipped
The zip 'should' be blue. I had a perfect 2 way zip ready for it when I polled Instagram about how long to knit it. I haven't found another (longer) 2 way zip in blue, and I was a tad impatient to 'just wear it', so it has a cream zipper for now, I might swap it out, or not ;)
I do like the crushed velvet ribbon I stitched to the zipper tape.
The cardigan is significantly longer than the pattern, and I omitted the hood. Several other knitters have made a high ribbed collar that folds over, I've opted for a snug crew neck that doesn't get in the way of my extensive scarf collection ;)
I know it's not perfect, but, I finished it, I made a proper adult cardigan! I've also been throwing it on every evening as the temperature cools inside my home, it's so perfectly snuggly.

And now? I want to knit ALL the things!!!!
Next up will be a post on my hats, such pretty, rewarding little hats ;)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

70's Splendour at Frocktails Melbourne

Yes, I do spend my life swanning about at all the most fashionable functions ;)
Well, in my dreams I do...
Photo Credit Poppykettle
After a wonderful weekend in our nations capital for #cbrfrocktails, I set about planning for '#Frocktails', here in my home city of Melbourne.
Now, I knew Canberra would be frosty cold, but somehow the Antarctic winter that Melbourne was experiencing was more 'real' and caused more angst about 'what to wear to be warm'. Well, that and the reality that I was staying next to the venue in Canberra, but would be waiting on open platforms and catching trains in Melbourne.
Jenny Rennous-Oh-Glennus had the most brilliant of solutions - pop over to her post to see not just the best full skirt ever made, but also, her hidden source of toasty warmth.
 I accompanied her on the train to Frocktails in a full length wool coat, appropriated from my mum's "AFL games at the MCG" attending wardrobe - I felt very Sherlock Holmes. I will be making one for next winter. My headdress was the source of much fascination for a young girl also on the train, clearly we were going to a ball.
And what a ball it was! 51 gorgeous ladies from as far afield as NZ & Brisbane, all in handcrafted magnificence. My photos of the evening aren't mine and all credit goes to Mel Poppykettle, Helen Funkbunny and Gabrielle UpSewLate, they have many more in their posts.

Photo Credit Poppykettle
Keeping up my tradition of sewing my way through my silk stash, I paired this very tactile, almost peach skin silk with a classic 1970's pattern. The Tuesday before Frocktails I was full of 'the flu' & my wonderful mum drove me around some opp shops, as we like to do. There were 5 perfectly 70's patterns in a little shop that simply said 'take me home' and this one then said 'make me, in silk, tonight'. I did mention my raging fever? Anyhow, I was sensible enough (for a change) to soak the silk in a gelatine mix before laying it out and cutting the dress as long as the crosswise width of my fabric allowed.
I've reinforced the channels at the top and along the CB zip with silk organza. SewSquirrel is my online & local supplier. This silk is divine, but really doesn't like being unpicked and even with a new microtec needle, threatens to run on the stitch lines. That invisible zip, it's white, shhh, don't tell anyone ... A perfect excuse to buy a new summer shade of nail polish really ;)

DH had understandable reservations when he saw it in it's full 70's glory, it was quite Aline and made a strong 70's silhouette statement. My concerns were more along the undergarments line, its not an opaque fabric, and in it's original styling, bras were rather optional.
Mel reassured me early on in the night that the paparazzi flash wasn't showing my undergarments, phew! (I'm still wary after my first Frocktails experience where my understated burgundy slip became the main event, rather than my black lace dress). For those curious, this has a black halter neck slip ;)
Photo Credit Funkbunny
It was a truly magnificent night and I managed to escort the last ladies standing down Collins St to hot chips after 2am, so that's a definite achievement!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A Canberra Capsule Wardrobe #CBRFrocktails

I recently flew up to Canberra for the inaugural #CBRFrocktails and after a few false starts landing through the fog, was warmly greeted by the local sewing spoolettes, coffee and a sunny sky. 
Seven items proudly made by me ;)
Most importantly, what did I wear! Well, I took great delight in packing a small case with a co-ordinated selection of favourite RTW and new and favourite me-made items. Basing my daytime outfit around a pair of dark denim mid-waisted boot cuts (I found my 'perfect' RTW jean at the 11th hour before sewing a pair), I simply required a top each day to go under my Named Patterns' Saunio +/- layered with my teal Swoon cardigan. Two perfect workhorses that, conveniently layer beautifully together.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Named Saunio

Such an unassuming blog post title for such a little workhorse of a cardigan.

Named Patterns released the Saunio cardigan in their SS14 All Things Nice Collection well over a year ago. I've seen it made up, by the always on-trend and stylish Kirsty of Top Notch, three times, however I never really noticed it, until now. Her third version, and Blogless Anna's, combined with Named's discount code for The Monthly Stitch's separates competition, tipped me over the edge, I wanted one, and I wanted it now.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Sea Change Sea Change One Two Three !!!

I do love a top with interesting details, especially one that has fabulous drape from big pattern pieces, fits me without headaches, and where I can move about freely without readjusting it over the day.  Having bands to finish the hem and sleeves neatly and making it both woven and knit suitable ... I'm sold!

Introducing Lily Sage & Co's Sea Change Top.
The Sea Change top is loosely fitted, with wide kimono sleeves. The hem is designed to fall just below the natural waist for a modest, cropped look that will both complement and showcase high waist pants and skirts.

The top length can easily be lengthened through the top. The armbands and bottom hem band can also be altered in length for different looks.
Recommended fabrics:
Light to medium weight, drapey fabrics will be the most flattering choices for this top.
Options include knit fabrics like jersey. Cotton, viscose, and rayon are fibres that will all work well. Woven fabrics like silk satin, silk crepe de chine, and habutai will also suit this pattern.