Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sewing: Vogue V1515 Skirt

I made a skirt for fall and winter from Vogue Patterns V1515. My fabric is a great bottom weight cotton/poly slightly textured knit that I bought at Joann last year. I love this knit and I wish I could find more cotton/poly knits like it out there -- the poly makes it hold its shape and the cotton makes it really comfy. There are tons of all-polyester knits but I just don't find them breathable to wear. This is a pattern that falls into the interesting-construction category, and I love the quirky and asymmetrical look of it.

The skirt pattern provides two versions - one for wovens and one for knits. The knitted one relies on just the stretchiness of the fabric to hold the skirt up and I knew that wouldn't work with my non-existent rear end, so I added a waistband which encloses some elastic. The trim on the pattern is done with piping but I just used some double-fold wide bias tape. I used the same tape to encase the bottom edge instead of hemming it. For the middle trim, I ironed out the two edge folds and sewed the bias tape into the seam and then edge-stitched the tape to the skirt.

The skirt is a bit on the long side and I'm a bit on the short side, so I cut off about 1.5 inches at the bottom. If I made it again, I might also trim an inch from the middle piece. I omitted the pocket because to me, it sort of looks too much like an appendage growing on my hip. The bottom section does bulge out on one side, and the bulge is accentuated on my version because I used a heavier knit. With a softer, lighter fabric, it would probably drape more, as seen in the drawing and on the model.

I'm very proud of myself for actually wearing some boots to take these photos. Usually, I'm lazy and just wear slippers and never show my feet!

This post is linked into Gray All Day's Sew It Chic October.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sewing: McCall's M7385 Revisited

I liked my first rendition of McCall's M7385 so much that I thought I would do a lather, rinse, repeat. This time, I used a cotton sateen with a tiny bit of stretch. I bought this fabric a year or two ago from JoAnn because I really liked the feel and drape and its slight stretchiness. I could never figure out what to with it until this pattern came along. The stretch is not needed for this pattern as it has a nice easy fit. This dress is a bit softer and heavier than the first version but it's still a garment for warmer weather. It's been 90 degrees recently in the SF bay area so I could wear it. I used the same modifications that I made for the first version except that I made the lapel facings in contrasting black cotton. I used contrasting white buttons on top of the black.

I added a link to this post on the Gray All Day blog.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Crossroads sweater

I finished knitting Crossroads by Yumiko Alexander. The pattern is published in her "Modern by Choice" book, which I purchased early this year at Stitches West. I was attracted to thsi pattern because of the asymmetrical hemline,which occurs naturally because of the different gauge and drape of the bottom lace pattern. The pattern calls for a fingering weight yarn, but I didn't want it that light and airy. I wanted something a little more substantial that I could wear without a second layer underneath. Wearing a second layer with a cotton/silk knit defeats the purpose of a warm weather knit. I used the DK weight Rowan Purelife Revive yarn so the sweater doesn't have an open weave. I knit the smallest size at a slightly smaller gauge. Here's a list of the other mods:

  • I knitted shorter sleeves by casting on 8, then 6 stitches at the underarms.
  • I added some shaping to the neckline since I don't love boat neck sweaters. For some reason, I don't like how they feel against my throat.
  • I used short rows to shape the shoulders and 3-needle bind-off to join them.
  • For the neckline and sleeve trims, I used a row of single crochet followed by a row of reverse single crochet.
  • I reduced my needle size by 1 (from 5 to 4) starting at the upper midriff area because I wanted it a bit smaller on top.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sewing: McCall's M7385

I finished sewing McCall's M7385 recently, but I probably should have sewed it two months earlier to get the full use of it for summer. It's a great easy wearing dress for warm weather so I'm hoping that we'll get some hot Indian summer days in October. The fabric is a really nice medium weight cotton that I think I bought online from Mood on sale some time ago. I've always had issues with patterns that have waist line gathering, but I liked this one because the gathers do not cover the entire front and the waist seam also slants upward from the side. I did made a few small changes to the pattern.

  • The pattern calls for lining just the side upper front pieces and I didn't want to do that because I wanted to keep the bodice cool and light in weight. I finished the armholes with bias tape cut from the fabric.
  • For some reason, the pattern does not call for a front facing piece, which is odd since the front "lapels" can fold over and the wrong side would show. I added front facings and also interfaced the corner sections so that the lapels would be crisp.
  • It's difficult to see in the photos but I sewed a button onto each lapel to keep them tacked down.
  • I added a bit extra width to the shoulders and to the front armhole areas for a bit more coverage.
  • I narrowed the skirt sections a tiny bit to cut down the fullness.
  • I top stitched many of the seams, because that's just how I roll.
I like this dress enough that I'm going to make another one in a printed cotton stretch sateen that is a little less crisp with a little more weight. I'm thinking of using a contrast fabric for the front facing/lapel.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bettie's Pullover

I recently finished knitting Bettie's Pullover. The yarn is Knit One, Crochet Too Batiste, one of my favorite yarns. It's made of merino/linen/silk and very comfortable most of the year, although the higher crew neckline makes it a bit too warm for summer. It may turn out to be one of my favorite pullovers. It has a very vintage-y 40s look to it -- I call it my Bletchley Park sweater.

As usual, I made some mods from the pattern.

  • I wanted short sleeves, and I ignored the instructions for knitting and attaching sleeves as you go. They looked too complicated and I wasn't sure about the fit. I just bound off and decreased for the arm holes and knitted standard set-in sleeves.
  • I only used one needle size smaller for the lower ribbing and didn't cast on that many extra stitches. For the body shaping, I used a smaller needle size for parts of it and did side decreases for the narrowest waist section since I had stockinette stitches at the sides.
  • I aimed for a slightly wider neckline and also a slightly lower one in the front. I would have liked it lowered a bit more because I'm not a fan of high crew necklines.
  • For the neckband, I did the ends as K1P1 and converted to double knitting for the main section. The double knitting gives it a lot of body. I skipped the button hole and just sewed the button through all layers.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

McCall's M7381 - Maxi Dress

I was recently bitten by the maxi dress bug because I kept seeing them in shops and on the blogs. I don't think I've worn one in over 30 years, so I figured it was time to try again. I wanted something really light and airy for hot weather. I chose McCall's M7381 and my fabric is this silk and cotton voile that I bought from The color is a bit subdued but I love the feel and drape of the fabric.

I did make some changes from the pattern instructions. The pattern calls for a lining for the bodice, but I wanted to keep it really light so I omitted the lining and finished the openings with bias tape cut from the same fabric. I changed the shape of the front bodice pieces to be a little higher on the front neckline and I slanted it across the front for a wrap look. My goal was to prevent wardrobe malfunctions but it didn't help so I ended up sewing the pieces together for about one inch at the top of the overlap. The side seams are sewn with french seams. Since the fabric is thin, I lined just the top half of the skirt. The lining encases the seam and serves as a casing for the elastic.

I've worn this dress a few times and I absolutely love it. I photographed in on a breezy day, which helps give the skirt that floaty look. I have plans to make this again in the shorter length.

Monday, July 4, 2016



I finished knitting this Anemone sweater shortly before the weather got warm, so I haven't really worn it much. My yarn is Katia Cotton Merino, which is 70% cotton and 30% merino. The yarn doesn't feel like cotton at all, and it's incredibly soft and warm.

As usual, I made a few changes to the pattern. I used the stitch pattern only on the front and just did the back as stockinette. I did this partly because I was lazy and partly because I wanted a less bulky sweater. I also changed the raglan ratio a bit to have more stitches on the sleeves and less on the body. I made the center stitch pattern a little narrower because I wanted more stockinette on the side in order to add some shaping. And finally, I just went with short sleeves because that's generally how I roll. I'm happy with the fit, but I'll have to have more wearing time to see how the yarn holds up in the long run.