Friday, July 29, 2011

Something Knitted

Apparently, on March 28, I started a pair of "Stricken" socks, by Cookie A.  I needed a small portable project for working on while the kids had their various extracurricular activities.  Parts of the pattern are easy, esp. once you get into the pattern, but then other portions are not so mindless.  There were numerous little issues with these, but mostly due to not paying attention.  I did find it annoying that the instructions for the different symbols were not on the same page as the chart/symbol key.  So I'd have to flip the pages, then find my place back in the chart...and several of the moves are very similar, but some have a twist and some don't, etc.  (I was doing two at a time on magic loop).
I was using a boo-boo bin yarn from Sweet Sheep that I got from the last time I went to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair (2008!).  The yardage on the tag said 360yd, I think.  But I was having some doubts as I got near the heels.  I don't know if it was the cables or what, but it became clear I wasn't getting full socks from this ball.  I thought some sandal socks would be fine, but indeed, they were still too short!
I am having a REALLY hard time getting the pictures to move where I want them.  This "What you see is what you get" format is crap....and once it's posted, it never looks like it does in this window anyway...right down to a different font!


 I thought maybe gloves/fingerless mitts might be an option, and from the front, they looked great. However, even taking out the heel, the leg is still too wide around my wrist. I loved how the leg pattern was brought down into the heel flap (although I did NOT love the change from working in the round to working back and forth and doing those cross overs!!!!!!!!!!).
I have no idea how this post is going to look.  LOL.  Sort of how I feel about these socks.....rip?  All the way, or back to mid-calve and try to pick the pattern back up and work decreases to fit, and then try to figure  thumb gusset increases into the pattern?  I have pink tipless gloves already; although I really felt diva-ish with elbow length "gloves" on, and could see that they would be nice on those days I'm wearing a t-shirt in the house and need arm warmth when I go out but don't want to wear a full sweater under my coat. 
Ideas?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not a Funeral Dress

Last July, when we received word my aunt was dieing, I set out to make a dress for the funeral, as I had no sad, summer clothes.  I had a lightweight black woven, with a beige floral embroidery.  It had been bought as remnant pieces, so I had to have a pattern I could work with, and chose Simplicity 5189 (which I posted a few posts back, in a different version).  This was before I knew about needing a FBA.  I made the dress based on my measurements.  And hated it.   It was baggy in the shoulders, my arms couldn't move, it was too long, baggy in the back....I took one picture, which didn't even turn out good (blurry, and my hair was in a towel).  I put it in the closet thinking "someday....".  In August, I learned about FBA, but didn't know how to alter the princess seams of an already made dress...especially the shoulder/sleeve relationship.

In June, I decided enough was enough, and I really wanted a dress with sleeves.  I thought it might be faster to alter it than to start new.  Not too sure about that, LOL.
 I knew I needed to cut the shoulders narrower, and have a little less length in the upper chest.  I played around, but was worried about how the princess seam would fit into the armhole, and if the sleeve would end up fitting right, with a higher, smaller armhole (it seems weird that the solution for a constricting armhole is to actually make it higher/shorter).  This picture above makes my left shoulder (with the sleeve) look very sloping!  So I cut it back even more!
Better, but I still felt the sleeve was somehow too low...do I need shoulder pads in EVERYTHING?
I snugged up all the seams from the shoulder to the hips.  I wanted to keep the skirt fullness, but this resulted in a weird , giant pleat...the side front pieces folded inwards and the front center piece came to the front....

Edit to add:  I also shortened the sleeves.  I realized that while I don't like little cap sleeves or little flutter sleeves, I don't really like sleeves that go down my arms past my bust line (unless in a pattern, or slim fitting like a t-shirt).  I feel like  I look a lot wider than I am in the first picture above, because my arms blend into my bust.

I hated the neck facings.  I couldn't get a 100% cotton in black, so had to get a poly-blend, I hated the edging of it, nothing was nice.  Since I had just made my own bias tape for the other version, I went back to the store and got a bigger bias tape maker (it's for 1" tape, but the instructions say to cut strips 1" wide...the same as for the 1/2" maker!).  Doing it around just the neck was certainly easier than having to do the armholes too!

Once I lowered the neckline, I became perplexed with how the upper chest was laying.  I thought the bodice had too much length as I could pinch out horizontal darts.  But I knew horizontal darts were not the answer.  I could rotate them and make pleats along the neckline, but thought it looked a little slapdash.  I had hoped the bias binding would help, but it didn't.
(I also hacked off a lot of length!).  The neckline is held down by double-sided costume tape.  Which doesn't please me either.  I was just looking at the picture, thinking I could make it into a bit of a cowl neck...but how?  It doesn't need anything around the back neck, just something along the front neck.  What do I do to avoid this next time?  How do I make the upper bodice narrower but get the armholes in the right place compared to the shoulder?  And does this have something to do with how when I tried the FBA, the armhole ended up being a really weird shape?  Argh.  Just when I think I'm "getting it", something throws a wrench into it. 

I did just pick up two plain dress patterns from Value Village...a sheath dress and a simple dress with more of a full skirt.  I think I'll be able to do a basic FBA on them and get a good, dependable pattern.  Of course, neither has sleeves!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bathing Beauty

Back in early May, I decided to copy my bathing suit that was falling apart.  I figured, it had only a couple pieces, how hard could it be?  I found on line tutorials, blogs by people who sewed bathing suits, and got some supplies/material.  I dissected my suit (uh, there were more than "a few" pieces) and promptly got stage fright.

A little while later, I was at Value Village and took a look at the sewing patterns.  And wouldn't you know, there's Simplicity 8553, from 1978, in Meg's size!  I thought that might be a good way to get going.  We picked out the fabric together and then I had a panic attack at home when I realized the fabric didn't stretch as much as the guide on the pattern.  And the pattern called for 2 way stretch fabric, but isn't swimsuit fabric 4 way stretch?  Added to that, Meg was one size in the chest, and a much bigger size in the waist.  Bigger than any of the sizes on the pattern!  And then, there was the issue of the length.  Just how much should it stretch to be the right length?  She's only 5, and is tall, but probably not as tall as the size 8/10 that I was using.
 I carefully followed all the steps, in the order given (although I didn't really pay attention to the lay out of the pieces, so I've ended up with a LOT of the bright pink left; it called for .8m but since I laid it out differently, I used maybe .4m).  If I was doing it again, I would change when I did the button holes for the ties to come through to after sewing the side seams and putting on the binding, to ensure it lines up better.  Or, make it like my suit and have the ties come through the binding.
 There is no elastic used in the pattern.  I thought that was great for a young girl who often complains of things too tight.  However, her hips are not as big as the pattern, so I added a small amount of elastic in the binding at the outer thighs.
I have only two complaints...it seems a bit long, esp. the back.  The upper back is I think too tight, and it rolls downward, hiding the binding....and then it gets all droopy bum.  The neck tie at the front is stitched on the inside where the binding joins the suit, and that means the top edge of the binding rolls forward.  And the front droops too, I think pulled down at the sides by the back rolling down.

She loves it though and we've already bought fabric for another suit.  Or two.  However, there really wasn't a single skill I learned while making this suit that I then used to make my own suit.  LOL.