Thursday, October 23, 2008

knitting for Oz

I finally finished the little sweater for Oz. I bought this yarn in New Zealand 2 years ago when he was expected but expected to be a girl. Those ultrasounds are not always right! Fortunately this yarn is multi-colored and appropriate for a boy as well. I wanted to make a little cardigan with a hood which is what I did but I agonized about for a year because I didn't think I had enough yarn. All the patterns I looked at seemed to indicate that I did not have enough. This pattern, which starts at the neck and knits down, gave me the choice of ending with a crew neck or a hood. I figured I could get all the rest done and then make the decision whether to go for the hood. As you can see I just barely made it. I had only a few short pieces of yarn left over! I hope it fits him...

The sleeves are knit in the round which is nice because you don't need to sew up the seams. However I decided I'm not crazy about knitting with the double point needles in a small circle. I think I will try to avoid that in the future. I used vintage leather buttons to make it look a little more masculine.

Nursing modesty drape

My DIL is nursing Oliver so I wanted to make her a modesty drape that I have spotted others using. We just used to use whatever receiving blanket that was handy but this definitely is an improvement. The boning on the top edge keeps the drape away from the body so you can look down and see baby. The strap around the shoulders keeps it in place. I considered lining it with a soft flannel but my friend's DIL commented that she liked having the drape as thin as possible so it would fold up into the diaper bag easily. 

Since I decided not to line it I picked a fabric that looked good on both sides. In cotton prints that's not easy but this batik filled the bill. DIL wanted subdued fall colors thus my choice.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quilt/wall hanging

When I got involved in making the Wyoming themed flannel rag quilt for Oz I noticed some lovely designs that would make nice wall hangings for the town house in Jackson. I don't really intend to become a quilter but once and a while it is a pleasant diversion. I had never done an applique type project, or at least I haven't for 30 years or so, so I didn't want to start with too huge a design. This one is only 28 x 38 so it didn't take forever. In fact I did all but the binding when we were visiting Jackson at the birth of our second grandson, Oliver. My very, very old Kenmore machine which I gave to my DIL stood up well to the task. It is awkward to thread but handled the monofiliment thread I used to do the quilting quite well. 

It is a little small for the wall I intended it to hang on so maybe I will get ambitious again and try a bigger design.

I purchased the design and followed the colors pretty closely so there is not much originality on my part. I changed the inner border to the brick color to compliment colors in the house.

The photo shows the quilt finished except for the binding. That is done now so all I have left to do is the sleeve on the back and a label.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vogue 1061 Sandra Betzina jacket and pants

When we first saw this pattern, my friend Dorothy both agreed we had to make it. It looks like just the thing to wear instead of a warm up suit while being just as comfortable. And it is. She has just reviewed her incredible green version. In addition she made it in an almost sheer bamboo knit that is wonderful also. Since she covered everything beautifully in her review I will just add a few things.

The instructions are wonderful and Sandra really helps you out with lots of detailed advice. I did overlook the bit about the wedge in the front and cut the curve off both pieces right at the beginning. So watch out for that. There is a lot of sewing to this jacket. All the back seams are stitched, serged and then topstitched to form the ridge. I don't think there is anything really tricky about this garment, just takes a bit of time.

I think my fabric is rayon double knit jersey. At least that is what it feels like. I've had it a while so I'm not sure. Whatever it is it is incredibly soft and comfy feeling. Because it is a double knit it doesn't drape quite as much as Dorothy's. Be careful in choosing your fabric to pick one that is not too bulky. All those seams in the back add up to a lot of fabric at the back neck.

The pants are those included with the pattern. They are a great fitting one seam pant with a wide waist band. The band has negative ease and holds the pants up. I made no alterations to the pants except to shorten 2 inches. They are the same fabric, cut the same direction as the top so I don't get why the color looks so different in the photos.

Pants back
Pants front
Ruched sleeve
Very large hood
Jacket back
Another view of jacket back
Two pieces, front

I'm looking forward to using this as a travel outfit. In the photos I wore the top alone but I would be more likely to dress with a top underneath, as Dorothy did in her photos. Then I could layer on and off for plane flights or whatever.

Vogue DKNY 2951 skirt

Here is my review of the Thai Silk skirt:

Last year when I was shopping at Thai Silks I fell in love with this silk/rayon burnout chiffon. The celadon dots are velvet and the black is sheer chiffon. Nearby I spotted a duppioni in the beautiful celadon color so the idea sprung forth in my mind to combine the two. Since using the two fabrics together would make a more stiff hand, a more structured garment was called for. I searched through their one pattern book (they don't sell patterns but do keep a Vogue book on hand for such searching) and found this skirt that looked right and didn't call for a lot of fabric. I purchased the chiffon and duppioni as well as silk organza to underline the skirt.

I went home, entered the fabrics in my data base and forgot about it. Why, I was so excited about it at the time?? Anyway about 2 weeks ago my friend who lives near Thai Silks invited me over and told me about an open house event they were having at the store. 25% discount on all fabrics, goodie bags, refreshments were offered. We were encouraged to wear or bring something we made from one of their fabrics. So, you know what happened, I suddenly remembered this purchase and flew into action, sewing up the skirt. Read more about the event on my blog

I decided to cut all three fabrics at once. I have never done this before but I thought the other silks would help stabilize the chiffon much the same way that using paper underneath would. I layered all three and cut away. Then I carefully lifted each stack of fabric to the serger and overlocked all around the edges. This helped immensely in keeping the chiffon under control. Although this was fairly time consuming, the rest of the construction was speedy. This pattern goes together easily and if you are working with a linen, gabardine, faille or other sturdy fabric as they suggest, the skirt can be done in a few hours.

Pattern Description: Vogue describes the skirt as having a pleated front with invisible zipper back closure. 1" below waist and above knee length. The jacket is semi-fitted, lined with patch pockets, princess seams in back, topstitched design trim and buttoned front.

Pattern Sizing: 6-8-10-12 or 14-16-18-20. I made size 14 with no alterations.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes although I made the waist loose so it rides lower than 1" on me. It runs quite short and I like it a little lower on my knee.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Easy

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the pockets. At first I thought, why do I want pockets in a dressy skirt but I realized they are part of the design paralleling the pleat. Once done, I love putting my hands in them. I also like that the back is flat. I think if the tulip shape of the front were also in the back that it would not flatter me as well. Another view of the back.

Fabric Used: As mentioned above, silk chiffon burnout, silk duppioni and silk organza.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I would sew this again perhaps in a tweed or menswear wool. Definitely recommend it. I see it is now OOP but still available on the website. I'm not crazy about the jacket but bought the pattern only for the skirt.

Conclusion: In the photos you can't really see that the fabric is chiffon. Even in real life it doesn't look much like it but the combination of fabrics make an elegant, unique look.