Monday, March 30, 2015

Vintage Print Linden Sweatshirt

This Linden Sweatshirt is positively autumnal, not exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to see when I'm pretty sure the snow is about to melt. I bought this fabric months ago and I've been meaning to make a Linden with it, but I am easily distracted by pattern testing, and instagram sew alongs. Then my printer got jammed big time, started to crack apart when I tried to fix it, and smashed into a million pieces when I threw it off the roof of a three story rowhouse. Okay, that's not actually how it happened, but it's mildly therapeutic to imagine that it is.
You may be thinking that this print in highly uncharacteristic of me. I've made a mental rule that I will post one not blue thing between each blue thing I make... or at least one not blue thing for each blue thing that I make... or one printed not blue thing for each solid blue thing I make. Let's be real, that's probably not going to happen cause I've gotta wear this stuff, and I like blue.

I really love the underlying neutral palette of this print. It has tiny flecks of orange, brown, and black on a cream background. I'm not a huge fan of orange clothing, but in these small amounts I love it for the way it compliments all the blue I normally wear. I wanted the finished top to be more dressed up than a true sweatshirt, but I also didn't want to be overwhelmed by the print. My solution was to tone down the print with charcoal gray arms and accents.  I ordered a deliciously cozy charcoal gray sweatshirt fleece, but it was not nearly charcoal enough to suit my grand vision. The vintage knit is thinner than a sweatshirt fleece so I also ordered a few yards of charcoal gray jersey knit thinking I would line the vintage knit with it, to even out the thicknesses. The jersey was just the exact right color, but of course the wrong thickness. In the end, my heart was firmly set on having a new top by lunchtime, so I doubled everything. Double jersey for the arms, jersey and vintage together for the body. Its not a terrible solution, I like that it maintains sweater feel of the shirt, but the proof will be in the first laundry cycle.
PATTERN: The Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio is a basic raglan pattern that can be made with banded long sleeves and waist for a sweatshirt look, or as a short sleeve t-shirt without waist band. To be honest, I didn't even look at the instructions. I've made enough raglan t-shirts that I know how to put one together. Based on the #lindensweatshirt pool, I suspect there is top stitching involved, I don't think this looses anything without it, particularly in the not so sporty sweater knit. I'll read the instruction next time, promise.

FABRIC:The 60's sweater knit print is from After Glow. The charcoal gray jersey is from Raspberry Creek Fabric. As mentioned above, I doubled the fabric at the body and arms to replicate the sweatshirt thickness.

FIT/SIZE: In true SweetKM fashion I cut all the sizes. Size 6 at the bust, size 8 at the waist, size 10 at the hip. I like the 6 to 8 fit, and would probably dispense with the 10 next time. I would also take 1" out of each arm length, and (if I'm going for a more cropped fit, which I was this time and did not achieve) 2" out of the length.

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Pertinent Info:
Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio
Printed Fabric: Vintage Sweater Knit from After Glow
Solid Fabric: Charcoal Lycra Knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cali Faye Basics

Let's pretend for a minute that it's summer. I just cranked up the A/C to prevent the sweat from beading, and it's hot as hell outside. Let's forget about the winter that just won't end, and the snow we've recently been shoveling. Imagine we're so far into summer that you've got tan lines, and have already lost one pair of sunglasses. Okay, now this outfit makes a little more sense. This little number is part of the Cali Faye Collection that I pattern tested the last week in February. This is exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, so I jumped at the chance to test, even though I couldn't actually imagine putting on a tank top (unless it was way under something else) at the time.
PATTERN: Basic Pocket Skirt and Basic Tank from the Cali Faye Collection. The Tank is a very basic A-line sleeveless top without darts and a scooped hemline. It is very similar to other tanks I've made, but I think I'm going to go ahead and say this one is my favorite. The narrow shoulder and swoopy neck makes me feel thin and pretty. The Pocket Skirt is a basic gathered skirt with generous patch pockets,  an elastic waist back, and a hidden side zipper that keeps the bunchiness to a minimum.

FABRIC: For the tank I used a light weight cotton voile from my stash. The drape is pretty perfect for this tank, but it is kind of see through (next time I'll do better!). The skirt fabric is linen from Joann. Joann can be a tricky place to come up a winner, but I like the linen selection (granted in mid-February it can lack diversity).  This is the Sew Classic Slub Linen in Black Papyrus.

SIZE/FIT: Fit was true to measurements, and that's all I'm going to say until I sew the final version of the pattern.
I'm not going to do the full pattern review because this garment was sewn from the test pattern. But I will say, this is one of the most impressively formatted pattern layouts I've seen lately. There is a 1" grid over the whole print out, giving you plenty of points to align the pieces with certainty. The hierarchy of line weights makes the cut lines for various sizes very clear, while secondary information is clearly marked but of a secondary size and weight. All of the pertinent information for cutting (i.e. size chart, fabric layout, symbol key) is printed right on the pattern pieces so you don't have to do any cross checking with information in a different computer file. The whole pattern fit nicely on my kitchen table when completely assembled. These may seem like odd criteria to judge a pattern against, but we all know there are plenty of beautiful designs in less than user friendly formats. A thoughtful layout makes cutting, and tracing convenient and fast.
I guess the whole point of separates is that they go with more than one thing, and these babies certainly do. The barest summer look is a long way off for me, but I suspect far-right will be seasonally appropriate in a few short weeks.
I was going to ask you all to weigh in but I've already vetoed these shoes. Ten years ago I would have loved them to the point of proposing marriage. Now, I'm just wishing they were navy.


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Pertinent Info:
Top Pattern: Basic Tank from Cali Faye Collection
Skirt Pattern: Basic Pocket Skirt from Cali Faye Collection
Top Fabric: Cotton Voile from India Beautiful Art
Skirt Fabric: Sew Classic Slub Linen in Black Papyrus from Joann

Psst...there's a discount code, go find Cali Faye on your social media of choice for more info.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dress No. 1

Every so often I get a feeling that I've read the entire internet. Like everything is one more blog blitz of the t-shirt du jour barely distinguishable from yesterday's t-shirt du jour and I'm just incredibly bored by the whole thing (though very grateful for the wide selection of t-shirts). Just in the nick of time along comes the Have Company sew along using the 100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1 by Sonya Philip. Two weeks ago I didn't know what any of those thing were. Like a breath of virtual fresh air sweeping across my interweb browser Have Company brought the lovely 100 Acts of Sewing pattern line into my life. 100 Acts of Sewing patterns are only available in print. It's been 100 years since I've sewn with a real physical pattern. The hand of the maker is so clearly visible in the simply improvised packaging, and concise format of the pattern and instructions. If sewing alone in a spare bedroom can ever be a communal experience, this was.
 I really thought I was going to look like a sorry sack of potatoes in this dress.  Where are all the bells and whistles? How could something so simple possibly turn out well? I'm a less is more kind of girl, but I know that less usually costs a whole lot more because it's more work to make something with so few elements look good. This dress has no where to hide. As I was sewing I was schemeing about belts and tie strings and a strategically placed hand-on-hip to photograph a dress that I would never wear.

Knucklehead! This dress is awesome.

The Dress No. 1 pattern is a single piece, plus a pocket. The front and back are the same piece, and there are instructions that show how to make the neck shape whatever you want. I shaved about 1/4" off of mine, and added a tiny scrap of Liberty to the back neck in lieu of a tag. The side shaping is fitted at the bust, straight-ish to the waist and full on flared to the hem. The simple construction makes this a really quick sew. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn french seams, and I'm glad I did. You can hide half baked seam finishing with ruffles and puffs. I wanted this to look as perfect inside as out. Again with the simplicity thing.
I wore my beloved linen Alder a ton last fall, but I worry that the ghost of Emily Post might stop me in the street and give me a stern reprimand for a seasonal fabric faux pas. This is my go-to light weight denim from Joann in the darkest wash. It's the right price, always available locally, and has a sturdy drape perfect for this dress. There is just enough room for a t-shirt layer under No. 1, so I can wear it with as many layers of tights and boots as I can stand in the winter, and gradually peel off the layers as the weather warms. The depth of the arm hole doesn't allow a speck of bra to show, so I'll wear it in the summer too. I didn't want to distract from the elemental form of this dress so I centered the pockets on the side seam rather than putting them on the front. 
Pertinent info:
Pattern: Dress No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing
Fabric: Light Weight Denim from Joann Fabric
For more sewing inspiration: #hcdressalong #100actsofsewing on instagram

Finally, a little something for Selfish Sewing Week. Are you sewing along? Kollabora entry here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pretty, Pretty Birds

When I am sewing something that isn't clothing chances are good the pattern came from Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns. She is one of the few sewists that I know in real life, and she got me hooked on Etsy when Etsy was still a good and pure place for makers. I've sewn her Love Your Lunch Box, and Lola the Owl twice (here, and here). Her projects can be characterized as user friendly, adorable, and relatively fast. The last Archer I made took me a week. I made these little pretties from Virginia's new book Pretty Birds in an afternoon (coincidently, from scraps of that Archer).

I am a bit of a backyard bird watcher, I had my little heart set on sewing a pair of cardinals. We have a pair that nests in the lot next door, and perches on our patio fence from time to time. Every single project in Pretty Birds can be made with the scraps of whatever garment you've sewn lately. Unfortunately, I rarely wear red, so I rarely sew with red, so I don't have any scraps of red hanging around.  I do have a ton of blue...plan changed to a pair of robins. These guys are doing their natural cousins one better with Liberty of London Tana Lawn breasts. I don't think I've ever thrown away anything but the tiniest shred of Liberty. Hoarding comes in handy (and is completely justified) at times like these. These little robins only took a few square inches of left over chambray, and light wash denim for the bodies, and the tiniest patch of print for the breast.
Pertinent Info:
Robin Pattern: Pretty Birds by Virginia Lindsay
Light Blue Body Fabric: Robert Kaufman Denim in Washed Bleach Indigo
Dark Body Fabric: Indigo Chambray (similar)
Light Blue Bird Print: Liberty London Betsy in Light Blue
Dark Blue Bird Print: Liberty London Thrope in Blue
Beaks: Wool Felt
Now, run along and enter the giveaway where 5 winners will receive a FREE copy of Virginia's beautiful new book Pretty Birds and a bird sewing kit!  If you sew a lot of red, I expect cardinals.


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Stop by the sites below for even more projects from Pretty Birds.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Reversible (sort of) Ole with Hood

I used to think I didn't like to make the same thing twice. I was so wrong. I am a process person. Since I restarted sewing last year, I can't seem to make a one off of anything (some of the seconds don't reach the blog). When I finished the first Ole by Zonen 09, I didn't feel finished. Sure that single garment was stitched, labeled and in heavy rotatoion, but I wasn't finished with Ole. 

The Ole pattern has many different options for pockets and collar, and the fabric combinations are endless. This Ole has a hood, side pockets, snap front, and the lining fabric was chosen to wear the inside as the outside sometimes. After faking my way through the construction of the first one, this one is constructed 100% as specified (okay, I cut the cuff as one piece so it would look more like a classic sweatshirt hoodie), with very satisfying results. You may notice the bottom edge of the button band was a little saggy on the my first version. With the second I used Sharon's sew the corner first method, resulting in a much nicer finish. Note to self: you get good results when you read the instructions. 
PATTERN: Ole by Zonen 09. (More pattern review) My last Ole was a cardigan made with two lighter weight knits, but this design works great with sweatshirt fleece. The combination of a heavy main fabric and a jersey lining takes this from a middle layer, to a full on spring jacket. All we need now is warmer weather.

FABRIC: The lining is cotton jersey from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. Love it, would be perfect for spring (if it ever comes) t-shirts, am annoyed I didn't buy more. The shipping is lightning fast, and the customer service is just as speedy. The sweatshirt fleece is from Girl Charlee. I still have trouble (but am getting better) at anticipating the weight of knits purchased via the interweb. Sometimes I'm disappointed when the package arrives and I realize its not right at all for the planned garment. This sweatshirt knit far exceeded my expectations. So buttery soft, it was almost a shame to line. I bought extra, there may be some Mini Hudson's in J's future.

FIT/SIZE: I sewed a 128 Standard (which is an 8, I think). The Zonen 09 cut tends toward long, lean, and modern. I sized up for longer wear, you can see he has some room to grow in the length.
This design is meant to be completely reversible, and I intended to make it that way, until I realized I could't squeeze the sleeves out of stripes. Some heather gray from my stash makes a nice substitution and isn't all bad on the outside.
Ole 1 and Ole 2 planning some sort of bed-headed conspiracy against the camera lady. 


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Pattern: Ole by Zonen 09
Main Fabric: Sweatshirt Fleece from Girl Charlee
Lining Fabric: Jersey Knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Archer View B

Oh look, another chambray shirt with black pants and brown shoes. I'm gonna try very hard not to poke fun at what seems to be my uniform, because it just isn't dignified. I like it, and I will actually wear it (with one for my many earth tone sweaters no doubt).

When I bought the Archer Button Up Shirt pattern over a year ago, it seemed daunting to figure out my size AND sew a pattern with all those steps and new techniques. In the time since I've gotten a few collared, buttondown shirts under my belt (Theo 1Theo 2Alder). The perfect build up to my ultimate goal: Archer View B.
PATTERN: Archer Button Up Shirt pattern from Grainline Studio. This pattern is all over the inter web, you hardly need me to tell you what I think of it. It's a great pattern. When I'm sewing with Grainline Studio I usually use the instructions from the sewalong. Jen has a few tips and options for how to finish the collar stand and the collar points. I found them much more helpful than the bare bones pattern instructions.

FABRIC: This is the very same chambray from my last chambray shirt. I don't think I have enough fabric left to make anything else with it. At the very least my next project will be sewn with a different chambray!

ALTERATIONS: I made this shirt with an Anthro tunic in mind. To achieve a similar look I added 1"of length to the front to make sure I had adequate coverage to wear it with leggings.  I also wanted to move the line where the tail meets the back of the bodice up to my natural waist. I thought it would be a little more flattering to my shape if it didn't accentuate my bum. To do this I shortened the upper back piece by 4", then lengthened the lower back piece by 5" to accommodate the 4" I took out of the top and the 1" I added to the overall length.

SIZE/FIT: I graded between a 6 at the bust, an 8 at the waist, and a 10 at the hip. Initially it seemed a little big over all, but now that I've worn it a bit I kind of like that. I have already cut out a View A that is just a 4 bust to a 6 everything else, I hope I don't regret the smaller sizing. The sleeve is also about 1/2" too long. I normally roll sleeves so it's no big deal, but I'll fix it next time.

Now on to that Archer View A...



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Linking up with Straight Grain readers today.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Secret Valentine Exchange : Gray Marled Shape Shifter Scarf

from @kristi_sweetkm on instagram

You may recall the Secret Valentine Exchange hosted by Sanae and Ute. Lovely makers the world over swap handcrafted Valentine treats with one another. This year I made a scarf, (last year I also made a scarf, apparently I am a one trick pony) inspired by a photo I took at the farm on a gray winter day, and the preferences of my recipient. 

I was assigned to make something for Monika of Schneider Meistern. Monika is a German pattern maker with an urban sensibility. Most of her website, and all of her patterns are in German, but definitely worth a visit, pictures being worth a thousand words and all. I was super excited about this assignment because she is so cool. I was super nervous about this assignment because she is so cool. I was totally relieved that she lives in a place with winter justifying my propensity to knit. And knit I did. 
PATTERN: This is a slight variation on my own Shape Shifter Scarf Pattern (available here). I made it a bit bigger over all, and I made the garter section a few rows longer than the rest of the scarf, casting off the side panels, then coming back and knitting about an inch more in the middle. One more shifting shape.

YARN: This is Palette Yarn by Knit Picks. I tried hard to stick to the use-what-you-have rule for this project, and I always have a good selection of this yarn on hand because it's inexpensive and comes in a ton of colors. To get the marled look I knit with two strands held together. The side panels are Cream and Finnley Heather, the middle panel is Cream and Asphalt Heather, the bottom middle panel is two strands on Asphalt Heather. 
This little assemblage of Shape Shifter Scarf, chambray bento bag (using this illustration), and some SweetKM Valentines, is now thousands of miles away hopefully being put to good use. Once again thank you to Ute and Sanae for taking on the organizational challenge of this little exchange. It was a ton of fun. You can see what others are giving and receiving with the hashtag #2015sve on instagram, or in the Flickr pool. 
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Now for the gift I received.
Angela of Sew Snippet made me some lovely felted bowls, and matchbook notebooks. I love both. L and I have been debating what to store in our new bowls. The DPNs were my suggestion, the peg dolls were of course hers. Thank you Angela! I love international mail, especially when its a beautiful handmade present for me.

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Because you may want to dig a little deeper into the online presence of the makers mentioned in this post (trust me you could spend a whole day on any of their sites drinking in the creativity) here is a recap:
Monika
instagram *  blog  * shop

Angela
blog * flickr

Ute

Sanae
 instagram  *  blog