Wearable Schwearable

I’ve lied to myself over and over telling myself I was making a “wearable muslin” when in fact I was too lazy or uninterested or intimidated to make the adjustments that are implied by the term “making a muslin.” I wasn’t testing the pattern – I was making it as drafted in a hail-Mary pass and living with the consequences. Sometimes it was fine. Sometimes it wasn’t exactly fine but I wore the garment anyways. Sometimes a garment was unwearable. I mean, if you make a “muslin” and it’s wearable it qualifies as a garment, right? So what does “wearable muslin” even mean? That you got lucky?

IMG_9370.JPG

I’m on a mission to make some loose, easy fitting summer dresses. Enter my “wearable muslin” of the Willow tank from Grainline Studio. True to habit, I made it up as drafted. Also true to habit, I used french seams. And finally, true to habit, I was shocked – shocked! – when it didn’t fit.

I unpicked those french seams, swore to myself I would use my serger to finish seams on untested garments in the future, and moved the bust darts up an inch. This was the result. Wearable? Yes! Improvable? Yes!

Pattern: Willow Tank by Grainline Studio
Size: 6
Fabric: Cotton something from Jo-Ann
IMG_9371
I’m just sure the neighbor’s crew is coming over to drum tonight.

It looks OK, but the neckline gapes a bit. Not a big deal by itself, but when I use it as a layering piece it bunches a lot. I thought about tearing out the bias tape finish and putting in a small gather or pleat at the center bust, but, true to form, I forgot.

The opportunity of a simple pattern is that I get to try different adjustments to see what works best. I can try, for example, a square shoulder adjustment and see if that does the job, and/or a small bust adjustment, and/or a gaping neck adjustment. If I were a more organized person I might try each of these to see what the results are. Hold that thought, Mom gave me yards and yards of white-on-white quilting fabric she wasn’t going to use and I’m suddenly thinking it would be a terrific idea to try each of these ideas in turn. Some things I have to learn by doing and this may be one of those times.

I like to knit socks

I carry socks everywhere, the idea being that if I have them with me I’ll be able to whip them out and work on them in found moments when I’m out of the house. No matter that those found moments are so few and far between that it takes me 3.5 months to finish a pair of socks I could have made in a week back when I commuted by subway.

IMG_9333
Just trying to make a picture of socks remotely interesting.

They were ostensibly socks for Hubs for Christmas, but they didn’t make it and I wasn’t really trying. I sourced a finished pair from my box ‘o finished socks for the holiday and threw these into the same for next year.

Capture
Gifted socks in Regia Pairfect. I have made 5 pairs of socks with Regia Pairfect. It’s sort of a thing with me.

Hubs wears the socks I make him, even the traffic cone orange ones. But only on weekends, he informs me.

IMG_9328
A less interesting supersaturated picture of socks.

Those socks, the glaringly bright orange ones, our neighbor was laughing at them one day when Hubs was wearing them with shorts. “I made those socks!” I proclaimed. It felt silly and intimate and very us.

Everything New is Old Again

After putting Leaves of Grass in time out I picked up a swatch I’d made last fall for a sweater I just can’t make a decision on which got me to looking for my size 8 needle. I found it in my knitting basket along with a partially completed Lottie cardigan that was holding it hostage. I subscribe to the philosophy that if you’re going to make something for a new baby it’s best, if possible and reasonable, to also give a gift to the older sibling(s). I’d started this project more than a year ago as a big-sister companion gift for a new-baby sweater and left this, the larger, to languish when I decided two handknit gifts was possible but not altogether reasonable. OK, then, I thought. I guess I’ll go ahead and finish that up.

And I did! The knitting went along fine without incident, but… there always seems to be a but. Things are just not going my way lately in a death-by-a-thousand cuts sort of way. When I soaked this little sweater to wet block it it grew to gigantic proportions. With dismay I remembered that this had happened before with this pattern and Cascade 220. I threw it into the dryer which restored it to its original child-sized proportions, but fuzzed it up. It emerged looking hard worn without ever having been worn at all.

IMG_9341.JPG

Pattern: Lottie Cardigan
Size: 4T
Yarn: Cascade 200 Superwash

Not without it charm, but not gift-worthy. We don’t need another sweater that my child will deny and ignore, yet into her sweater drawer it goes to be denied and ignored. If it doesn’t have Minnie Mouse on it it doesn’t rate. Wait, do they make Minnie Mouse buttons? Of course they do! Silly me. But will that be enough? Worth a shot.

Milling About

Windmills have been a Thing for me since visiting Kinderdijk a couple years ago. So cool! Holland was a stop on our family’s Viking River Cruise (SO FUN – thank you ever and always to Auntie Em and Uncle Popcorn). Those tours are seriously fast-paced. Shopping is a trade-off to sightseeing and I would always rather see sights than shop so I came home with only a few souvenirs for the kiddo and nothing for myself except for an extra 5 pounds around my middle. Maybe I should have spent more time shopping than I did eating and drinking.

Nah.

This little project serves as a memento of that trip.

IMG_9303

I made it from a lovely Cozy Blue kit that my mom gave me for Christmas. I could make every design Cozy Blue puts out.

IMG_9302

I get a little thrill whenever I have a glue-gun sanctioned project. THIS is why I keep them around I triumphantly think to myself in an attempt to assuage the guilt of having so. much. STUFF that I hardly ever use. Especially when I have to dig it out from the back of the mess of other stuff I hardly ever use in the attic closet.

IMG_9301

We’ve got some backstitch, brick stitch, satin stitch, and split stitch in there. Weave stitch would have been awesome for the windmill blades, but I didn’t learn about it until after I’d already backstitched one and a half of them. I was tempted to tear out what I’d done, but those stitches are teeny and I worried I’d do damage to the piece.

IMG_9296

No matter, it’s done and I love it. I added it to my hodgepodge of keepsakes and mementos and lost no time picking out a new project to fill another hole on my wall of places that are meaningful to me: Satsuma Street’s Pretty Little Italy. I’ve been spending my evenings revisiting the plodding pace of cross-stitch, my first craft obsession.

Baby Steps

Behold, what is commonly held up as the most unblogworthy of sewing projects:IMG_9317

Pattern: School Bus T-Shirt sewing pattern from Oliver + S
Size: 3T
Fabric: I dunno. Knit. Pink. With Stars

IT’S A T-SHIRT! A tiny t-shirt at that. RAAAAAAAH! THE CROWD GOES WILD!

OK, maybe not exciting for you, but very exciting for me! This is my first t-shirt, you see, and only my second successful attempt to sew with knits. This is also the first time I’ve used my serger to assemble a garment and the first time I’ve used a double needle. Even my mother, when I called for advice, said she’d never used one of those. Go me! I wish I’d followed up by asking her how she’d hemmed knits because I steadfastly used every tip and trick listed here (except for buying a 2nd bobbin casing because it would have been $70) and I still have tunneling, especially where my stitching missed the wonder tape. How does one sew over tape she cannot see? I expect the answer here is “measure better.”

One small step for a sewist, one giant leap into a world of stretchy garments.

Digging Out

To quickly reprise: in this post I will discuss the alterations I made to attempt to salvage a long-ignored ill-fitting top I found stuffed in a drawer:

IMG_6468
Before…

Emboldened by my recent forays into fit I analyzed the problems here. Clearly this pattern is drafted to someone with a larger cup size than I have. Fabric that would be crossing and cascading from my ample bosoms instead puddles and pools around my waist and belly.

I’ll spare you the exhaustive detail and cut to the chase. Blathering on about trying to get clothes to fit my body is entertaining for me, but I don’t expect it to be entertaining for anybody else. One thing led to another and this was what I ended up with:

IMG_9197.JPG
…After

Oh, no, too tight. Perhaps I over-compensated for my under-endowment. Not uncomfortable, but not pretty. Especially across the back:

IMG_9123.JPG

That’s a lot of yuck across the yoke.

It’s impossible to know if I’ll reach for this when the weather is warmer than this mornings 3-degree windchill… but I think not. I can’t get over how terrible the back looks. I still like the idea of this pattern and might try it again with proper sizing and adjustment. After ignoring it for another spell. I’ve had enough of Ella for now. I say this even as I’m contemplating inserting gores under the arm add fabric back in around the bust and back. Hmmm.

The series of ambivalent events follow if you want them.

When you do a small bust adjustment you cut width and length. Ideally I would have sliced and diced from the front of this shirt (where my boobs are) and not from the back (where my boobs are not). I also ideally would have cut at the bust and graded to the hip which actually fit well. I didn’t trust myself to grade symmetrically on both sides so I took the lazy route used my rotary cutter to cut a full inch off each side and hoped for the best. I sewed over the existing bust darts to extend them, serged the sides together, and tried it on. Now it was too narrow at the hem (picture me shaking my fist at my past-self. I knew that would happen!). I couldn’t undo that serger seam so I folded the top in half length-wise and ad-libbed a scooped hem to release the side seams without shortening the front or back. My hem is wonky and homemade looking: I barely turned it up at the side seams, but it’s turned up an inch at the front and back. This is probably Wrong, but it accommodated the curve while shortening the top so whatevs.

Musing about the shoulders and if there was any possible way to shorten them after the fact made me realize how much better the back fell when I lifted it up. Since I couldn’t shorten the back from the shoulder I got to wondering if I could shorten it at the back yoke. I hated to lose the piping trim detail, but I decided the best way to shorten the back without increasing bulk was to fold at that seam and serge it together, cutting off the the piping in the process. I topstitched my new seam down, finished the armholes, and called it done. It seems I traded a shirt that bagged in the back with one that is stretched thin across.

The more I talk about it the more I think maybe I’ll experiment with gores and get back to you. I’ll stuff this in the drawer again until then.

Digging In

Look what I found stuffed in a drawer!

IMG_6465
I am thrilled.

It’s an unfinished and long-forgotten Ella Top by Liola Patterns! I started this sometime last year. The fabric is a double gauze that frays like crazy and I had french-seamed everything like I like to do. French seams would normally be a prudent choice for a frays-like-crazy fabric, but in this case their use backfired. There was no possible way to tear the seam without tearing my fabric. I couldn’t even discern the seam from the fabric’s warp and weft. When I tried this on and it looked awful I just didn’t know what I could possibly do to try to salvage it.

If I hadn’t had an attachment to the fabric I may have chucked it. But this is the same print that I selected when I was inspired to make a tiny baby baby jumper from 1 Yard Wonders for my first baby years and years ago in a sewing-as-nesting jag that didn’t take hold.

IMG_9252.JPG
Exhibits 1 and 2

I don’t think I ever put her in it. I was intimated by buttonholes. I used to be embarrassed to admit that buttonholes intimidate me, but having recently used my mother’s borrowed Bernina with a programmable buttonhole function to finish Hubs’ shirt I challenge any of you to use a nearly-40-year-old machine to make manual buttonholes and tell me it isn’t intimidating. The gigantic snaps I sewed in (badly) as a substitute were bulky and awkward and it turns out that jumpers are simply not my go-to garment when it comes to dressing an infant.

You can also see that I made some curtains with that print. I made those for my last baby.

And it was a gift! I would hate to not use a gift. It makes sense that I would choose the same print myself, but in this case my mother-in-law chose it for me! Thus this print has turned into a bit of a theme just as dandelions have become a personal metaphor for accepting life’s small frustrations. I think that’s not typically the way people read meaning into dandelions, but I am my father’s daughter. His lawn preservation battle rages on.

I was able to eke out two sleeveless tops from the two yards of coordinating fabric she gave me. A Ruby top came together well enough:

IMG_8889

I’m not sure about that sagging in the front, but I don’t care enough to do anything about it, either. Is it a bust fit issue or did my fabric stretch? Dunno. Don’t care.

This Ella one, though. Nope. Not working. Tune in again to see if my hacking and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants alterations helped.