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Completed: More Bras!

23 Feb

You may have heard that the south was hit with a particularly bad ice storm last week. Nashville was coated with a few inches of solid ice, that kept melting in the sun and refreezing overnight, turning all our roads and interstates into some scary-ass ice rinks for the majority of the week. Since we’re not really equipped to deal with that kind of weather (the last time we had an ice storm anything like this was over 20 years ago – it normally just melts the next day and it’s not an issue), that means that most people spent the week stuck inside their house. And by “most people,” I’m specifically talking about myself. I gotta say – it was pretty nice to have nearly a whole snow week! I wasted the first day by being sick (wah), and the remainder of the days it was really hard to get my ass off the couch because our house is REALLY freaking cold (I’m wearing a fleece robe over my clothes and sitting by a space heater as I type this. I love my old house, but man, they are drafty!). I did want to take advantage of all the free time I had from being home for most of the week, so I made a couple of bras. Bra making is great for cold weather sewing, mostly because you don’t have to strip down often for fitting. Really, just once, and that’s when the bra is finished.

I made 2 bras, but I actually have 3 to show y’all. The first one is one that I finished at the end of 2014 (yay!); I’ve had the photos for ages but I never bothered to post it because it seemed like a pretty boring post on it’s own. For each of these bras, I used a fabric+findings kit to assemble them – so hopefully this will help those of y’all who are still trying to figure out what kit works best for which pattern.

Red Marlborough Bra

Bra #1 is this sexy little red lace number. This is the Marlborough bra, and the fabric is from a kit from Bra Maker’s Supply (the lace is something I picked up in London; Bra Maker’s Supply doesn’t include lace with their kits). This is the second bra I have ever made, and while I did have a few learning curves with this one, I really learned a LOT.

Red Marlborough Bra

Red Marlborough Bra

I really love the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply – they are a good price (less than $30 USD) and the materials are pretty nice quality. I’m not super crazy about the fabric, but it looks nice when it’s sewn up (I like to use the side that isn’t shiny, so it looks less costume-y). The only thing I’ve had a problem with is that they don’t indicate what elastic is for what part of the bra – it’s kind of assumed that you already know. For this bra, I mixed up the lace edge elastic with the underarm elastic, whoops. So now the underarms are lacy, and the top of the lace… isn’t. I doubt any of y’all would have even noticed that if I hadn’t pointed it out, but, it is what it is. It’s not uncomfortable or itchy, at least.

I made this bra exactly the same way as I sewed my black Marlborough, except I left off the clear elastic and lining on the lace (I used the underarm elastic at the top of the lace, to stabilize it). I only made a couple minor fitting changes to the pattern, based on what Norma and I talked about while I was in Paris (scooping about 1/4″ off the bottom of the bridge and adding about 1/4″ to the edge of the upper cup, also moving the straps out about 1/2″). When I finished the bra, I put it on – and it was COMPLETELY unwearable. The back straps were so far apart, they were riding up the back of my armpits. Really really uncomfortable. So I threw the bra in the corner and ignored it for about 3 weeks while I debated what to do. The bra was already finished at this point – underwires inserted, hook and eye sewn in, everything – and I didn’t want to trash it after putting all that work and money into it. This here is the downside of bra making. You can’t really fit-as-you-go.

Spoiler alert: I fixed it and it’s now wearable. I had to unpick the entire back, but I made it work. What I ended up doing was unpicking all the stitching and elastic from the back band, all the way to the frame, and then removed the back band. I measured the pattern band against the band of my favorite bra, and redrew the back curve to match the RTW one. This ended up making the back band bigger as well – so I’m not sure the bra size anymore, since it’s bigger than the 30D I originally cut. Doesn’t matter, though, because whatever the size it is – it fits ME. Anyway, I recut the back pieces in power net and reattached them to the frame, pieced the elastic (since what was attached to the bra was now too short for the band – fortunately, the kits give you more than enough elastic so this was not an issue), and reattached the hook and eye. The bra now fits really well. The band is big enough – it was a smidge too tight before – and the straps are in the right spot. I’m really glad that I took the extra 2+ hours out to rip out and fix the bra, because now I have a wearable red bra!

Red Marlborough Bra

Here it is on me. This the only floaty ghost bra picture you get in this post, fyi. And only because I did this one agessss ago, ha. You actually see a bit more nipple in real life, but I was feeling modest so I pushed them out of the way. You’re welcome, I guess.

This is the bra that I showed Maddie when I was in Philly for the bra making class. I wanted her to see my fitting changes and tell me if there was anything else I need to tweak. Thankfully, the bra looks pretty good – so I’ve got the go-ahead to keep cutting this size, with my new back band piece and all that.

Soooo, here’s the next Marlborough that I made over the snow week!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

No fitting changes to this bra, just fabric changes (and a different kit). I really like that red bra, but I REALLY LOVE this one! I think it turned out sooo pretty! And, while I’m not the kind of person to sit here and wax poetic about my boobs or anything (I mean, they’re boobs, there’s nothing any more special about mine than, say, yours), this bra makes them look really really good. Gives them a nice lift and shape. I’m so happy with it!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I used one of the kits from Grey’s Fabric to make this one up (I don’t see it on the stock page anymore, but it was black and nude). These have the same duoplex fabric as the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply, but unlike BMS – they also include the lace, underwires, and enough strap elastic (you don’t get enough with Bra Maker’s Supply, fyi! Make sure you buy extra if you order from them). I did change out the ribbon decoration to a black one – and sewed a little rhinestone button in the middle, BECAUSE IT’S ADORABLE – but everything came with the kit. I like that.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

The major difference between this bra and the red one is the lace – the red lace is very stable, so it doesn’t stretch. The black lace here is a stretch lace that I did not stabilize. That alone made the biggest difference in the fit.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m just including this picture because Amelia looks like a deer caught in headlights hahaha

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m really happy that this lace had a scalloped edge, so I could use that in the bra. I think it’s really pretty! I stabilized the scalloped edge with a piece of clear elastic – this wasn’t included in the kit, but I have tons of it on hand, so not a big deal. All the findings are the same nude color; the only black is the lace and the power net (and the bow I made – I thought it looked better than the nude bow).

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Now that I’m feeling pretty good about the fit, I’ve started experimenting with finishing the seams. I used a 3 thread overlock for this one – at the advice of all my favorite bra makers, basically. You just have to be careful with 1/4″ seams; you don’t want to accidentally cut too much off (I know you can disable the knife blade, but me, I like to live on the edge). Oh, and you can see the little nude bow that I didn’t use! Maybe for my next bra.

Finally, I also made another Watson bra!

Green and White Watson Bra

I LOVE this one so much! I talked myself into buying that kit one day (I don’t know why, but I was convinced that I needed a green bra – like, who doesn’t need a green bra?); the nude/black kit was actually bought at the same time so I could get free shipping, ha. I used one of the lace Watson kits (the one I bought appears to be sold out, but this one is similar).

Green and White Watson Bra

I admit – when I first received the kit, I was completely confused. The lace only has a minor amount of mechanical stretch – i.e., no spandex – and there was a TON of powermesh. I wasn’t sure if the bra would even fit, considering the blue Watson I made used a very stretchy material. I sat on this one for awhile because I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I think I nailed it.

The cups and bridge are obviously cut from lace, with what little stretch there is going in the direction it’s supposed to. The bridge is also stabilized with the included lining from the kit. All the lace is lined with powermesh, and the back band is only power mesh (so it gets the stretch it needs). I’m really pleased to report that it fits very very well. The rigidity of the lace gives it quite a bit more support than the stretchier bra has, so that’s nice. Plus, it almost looks like a real piece of clothing now (I mean, not lingerie haha), with all the lace and shit. Now I’m wondering if this pattern would work with a bias-cut woven fabric for the cups and frame – that’s about the amount of stretch you get with this lace+mesh. Might be something to experiment with later!

Green and White Watson Bra

All the trim is white; pretty much the only green is the mesh. You can see that I used the picot lace elastic for the upper cups on this one, as well as the underarms. This kit only came with one trim, instead of two. I finished all the seams with the 3 thread overlock, same size and everything as with my last one.

Green and White Watson Bra

Green and White Watson Bra

I took a tip from Maddie’s bra making class and used a new method to cut this sucker out. First I used Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive (that links to the exact one I use; but any temporary spray adhesive suitable for crafting/sewing should work), then I used a teeny tiny rotary cutter to cut all the pieces (this isn’t the exact one I used, but it’s close enough – 28mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. I got it in the bra making class I took). The spray adhesive held everything together while I sewed it, which was extremely helpful – especially when basting the lining to the cradle fabric. No wrinkles there, yay!

Green and White Watson Bra

Then I made the matching undies with the leftover! Didn’t realize the lace was supposed to be used for the front part (it’s in the project description now, but it wasn’t there when I bought it), so I just made the whole thing from powermesh. I used the wider elastic for the waist, and the decorative for the legs. These are okay; I need to practice more pulling the elastic because it’s not quite stretched enough. But it works well enough.

Anyway, that’s it! I love all these kit options for bras, because it saves me the headache of trying to source all the matching supplies myself (plus, I’m such a sucker for a good kit. Especially when it comes in it’s own box and everything is individually bagged; makes me so happy!). Now that I’ve used a few of the kits and gotten a general idea of what elastic to use in which part (and what it looks like, etc), I feel a lot more confident to buy all the supplies myself and not have to rely on a kit. That being said, I love the kits and I am looking forward to some new color options for sure!

Out of all the kits, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I love the Bra Maker’s Supply ones because they’re really good and basic – everything is dyed the same color and it matches perfectly. The Grey’s Fabric kits are nice because they have a nice range of colors and they’re not just one solid color, plus, I like the pretty strap elastic and picot edged stuff too. I really love the hardware that comes with the kits from Blackbird fabrics, however, I think I prefer the more rigid lace + powermesh for a Watson, as opposed to the super stretchy millskin. Just a personal preference! The millskin almost feels like a swimsuit. If you’re trying to decide which kit to buy from where, I think it really boils down to your color preferences and how much the shipping will cost. There are lots of options, and they’re all really great!

Ok, I think I’ve done enough bra and boob talking for today! What’s your favorite bra out of these 3? Are you ready to start making your own now? Is there another kit option I should be looking into? I want to try the Merckwaerdigh kits next, I really love the color and pattern options!

TUTORIAL + GIVEAWAY: The Sewtionary (+ last week’s giveaway winner!)

22 Sep

Sorry, y’all, I’m in giveaway overload this month! Can’t help it if my friends are releasing awesome shit all at once, you know?

Adobe Photoshop PDF

I’m sure most of y’all have heard all about this fabulous little book by now – The Sewtionary, written by Tasia of Sewaholic (one of my FAVORITE sewing pattern companies! Seriously, some top 5 shit right there). A couple of months ago, Tasia reached out and asked if I’d like to be a part of her Sewtionary Blog Tour to help promote the book. While I do realize that blog tours can be a little redundant if you read the same blogs over and over (I know I can sometimes get jaded at looking at the same photos/reading the same gushing daily for 2 weeks or whatever), I really wanted to help promote this book because I really do give a shit about Tasia and her business. She’s one of my friends, and I like to do things for my friends. Plus, the book is beyond excellent- a great resource of 101 sewing techniques, written out like a dictionary. The photos are beautiful, each technique includes why it’s necessary (something my nerdy brain just loves), and it’s spiral-bound, so it’ll lay nice and flat on your sewing table. Lots of wins here!

Anyway, that’s about as much of a review as you’ll get from me (if you want a true review, definitely check out some of the tour stops that I’ll be linking at the bottom of this post!). Today, I wanted to do something different. I’m going to share a tutorial from the book with y’all .Everyone likes tutorials, right? :)

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Today’s tutorial: Making a Tailor’s Ham & Seam Roll.

First up – you’re probably thinking, “What the hell are these things and why the fuck would I spend my time making them?” Well, I’m so glad you asked! Both are used as pressing aids – the Tailor’s Ham is a big pillow-shaped tool that is used for pressing curved areas (such as darts and necklines), and the Seam Roll is a long, narrow stuffed tube that is used to press hard-to-reach seams (such as the inside of a sleeve), as well as a helpful way to avoid making seam allowance impressions on the right side of your garment. While I have a Tailor’s Ham that I’ve used for for years (and no lie, my cat literally uses that shit as a pillow when she naps on my ironing board), I’ve yet to get a Seam Roll. They are both great to have, but can easily cost you $20+ a pop when you buy them from the fabric store. So here’s where we learn to make our own – at the delightful price of FREE NINETY-NINE. You heard me!

You will need:
– Large scraps of wool fabric & cotton fabric. Try to choose something with a dense weave that does not stretch, that is 100% (aka – no poly blends!). I used leftover wool coating from my Vogue Coat and black quilting cotton.
– Something to stuff it with. Traditionally, these things use sawdust. You can also use cedar shavings (from a pet supply store), wool fabric scraps, or even old nylon stockings. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using sawdust. It is *extremely* messy. It is also extremely free. No lie, I just waltzed right into my local Home Depot and asked for a bag of sawdust, back where they cut wood to spec. I can’t speak for other countries (Tasia tells me that you can’t sell sawdust in Canada, say whaaaat), but here in the good ol’ US of A, lots of hardware stores will give you free sawdust because they would otherwise throw it away. My sawdust man also informed me that it makes a nice mulch for the garden. Isn’t that handy!
– Sewing machine, thread, and hand sewing needles.
– Outdoor space, or a really really good broom. I told you, this shit was messy. You have been warned.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Here are the instructions, Sewtionary-Style. Told y’all that book is just lovely.

Now here are my steps.

TO MAKE THE TAILOR’S HAM:

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
I found it easiest to start with a paper pattern piece, since the shape is so weird. You’ll want to make your ham 14″ long; 10″ wide at the wide end and 8″ wide at the narrower end. This will result in a bit of an egg shape.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using your paper pattern piece, cut one egg from both the wool and the cotton.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Pin the pieces, right sides together, leaving a nice 5″ gap at the wide end. PROTIP: Whenever I’m sewing something that requires an unsewn gap, I mark each end with a double pin. This reminds me to stop sewing when I get to the double pin! Otherwise, I’ll just keep going my merry way and complete the circle, which is exactly what we don’t want right now.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire circumference of the ham, again leaving that 5″ gap at the wide end. Make sure it’s 5″, too – you’ll need the room for stuffing (don’t make it more than 5″, or you’ll hate yourself for it).

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Turn the ham right side out.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Ok, time to get messy! Take that ham outside and start stuffing your stuffing in it! If you are using sawdust, expect a big mess that will get everywhere.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Instead of just quickly trying to fill the ham with sawdust, take the time to pack down the sawdust with each handful. The narrow end of the ham especially needs to be packed pretty tight, or else it will collapse. Once you’ve packed it down, work on the next section and pack that. Again – this IS messy, and it will take longer than you think, because sawdust loves to pretend it’s tightly packed when it’s secretly not. You want the ham to be pretty hard so it will retain it’s shape. When you think it’s full – keep stuffing. Then stuff some more.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
In the meantime, here’s a photo of my cat glaring at me for daring to sit outside without her, haha.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Once you are sure the ham is packed as tight as it can go (Are you sure? Are you sure you’re sure?), it’s time to sew it up!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Holding the ham between your legs (do as I say, not as I do – don’t set it on the ground; you don’t want to push the narrow end back in!), turn under the seam allowance on one side and lap it over the opposite side. Using a tight whipstitch, sew the opening shut by hand.

Next, you’ll probably want to beat the shit out of your ham (if it’s covered in sawdust like mine, anyway). I just pounded mine against the porch railing until all the dust was knocked off.

This post is turning into one long “That’s What She Said” joke, isn’t it?

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
End result: Completed Tailor’s Ham!

TO MAKE THE SEAM ROLL:
How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Unlike the Tailor’s Ham, I didn’t bother making a pattern piece for this one – I just drew it directly on my cotton with a Chaco pen. Draw a 14″x5″ rectangle and round the four corners.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Cut one of each of these rectangles from both your cotton & wool.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew the two rectangles, right sides together, leaving a 5″ opening in the middle of one long side of the seam roll (I have no idea why I don’t have a photo of this, but I trust you can work this step out). Turn the roll right side out.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Time to stuff that bad boy!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
As with the Tailor’s Ham, really stuff and pack each long narrow end before focusing on the middle of the roll. This will ensure that your roll is nice and tightly packed, and hard enough to hold it’s shape.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Once you’ve packed the roll nice and tight with sawdust, turn one seam allowance under and lap it over the opposite side of the opening. Sew this closed by hand.

Again, you’ll probably want to beat the shit out of that thing to get all the dust off. Be aggressive! Honey Badger Seam Roll don’t care!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
And here’s the finished seam roll!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
And here’s my new pressing family! Yay!
BTW, be sure to save some of that remaining sawdust – once you use the ham or seam roll, you may find the sawdust settling and thus need to be repacked to firm up the shape. Unless you just really love having an excuse to go to Home Depot – in that case, don’t let me stop you.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED
All right, I promised y’all a giveaway so let’s get on that. To win your own copy of the Sewtionary, simply comment on this post and tell me your favorite sewing technique. Are you a freak about pressing (high five!) or is sewing patch pockets your thing, or…? You tell me! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the entries a week from today, on SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 AT 7:00 AM CST. Good luck!
GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

If you’d like to buy your own copy of the Sewtionary, you can pick up a signed copy at the Sewaholic website (or a boring ol’ unsigned copy on Amazon). Thanks so much, Tasia, for letting me be part of this book tour & for generously donating a copy to giveaway!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Want to read some more Sewtionary reviews and/or enter some more giveaways? Check out the full blog tour here:

ONE LAST THING – We have a giveaway winner to announce! Lucky number generator says:

winner1

winner2

Donna, you’re a winner! Is this now offically the second time I’ve made your Monday exciting? :) Congratulations! Sending your email now!

Everyone else (and there were a lot of y’all – nearly 400 entries, wow!) – I’m not turning you away completely empty-handed. Kat has generously offered a coupon code, which is awesome! Use the code LLADYBIRD to get 15% off the purchase of the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, good through 9/29. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! Y’all are the best :D

Completed: The Out & About Dress

28 Mar

Hey everyone! Today I’m participating in the tail end of a blog tour for Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern, the Out & About Dress!

Out & About Dress

Described as a year-round, day-to-night sort of dress, the Out & About dress is a simple knit dress pattern with a scooped front neck, gathered skirt, and binding to finish the neckline and sleeves. The pattern comes with two hem options (knee-length and maxi), as well as two sleeve lengths (elbow and full). It’s also pretty easy to customize, based on your styling whims.

Out & About Dress

Since the dress does not have a lot of pieces – just a front, a back, a skirt, two sleeves, and those bindings – it’s ideal for using large scale knit fabrics that may be difficult to print match, since you really only have to worry about matching the side seams. Even easier, cut the bodice in a solid color and the maxi skirt in the print and let it really take center stage!

For my dress, I went the simple route and let this cool striped fabric steal all the thunder. Yay stripes!

Out & About Dress

I wish I could tell you where the fabric is from, but it was actually a stash busting gift from my gal pal Elizabeth, so I have no idea of it’s origins. What I do know is that it is super slinky and fun to wear, but that also meant it was a gigantic bitch to work with since the fabric wanted to shift around the entire time I was cutting and sewing. Don’t look too closely at my waistline seam, because the stripes get a bit funky over there. Oh well! It’s a loungey happy dress, not like I’m going to the Oscars or anything in it :)

Out & About Dress

Like all other knit patterns I love and trust, this one was super easy to sew up. Caroline’s instructions are all full-color photos, which makes things very clear if you’re a knit n00b and can’t swing the diagrams (I personally loove me some diagrams, but I know from experience that a photo is MAJORLY helpful when you’re a beginner!). The dress is assembled with the side seams sewn last, which makes it easy to tweak the fit to your preferences.

Out & About Dress

To make this bad boy, I cut the size XS, but ended up taking another inch out of the side seams because I wanted a fit with negative ease (and also because my fabric is reeeeal stretchy!). Since the fabric is so drapey, I stabilized the shoulders and waistband with 1/4″ elastic to prevent those areas from drooping over time. This is not something that is included in the instructions, but it’s SUPA easy to do – just align the elastic on the wrong side down the middle of the seam line, sew it down with a zigzag, and then put the pieces together as normal. I also cut about 4″ off the skirt, because I just don’t care for anything knee-length on my frame.

Out & About Dress

I used the included neck binding to finish the neckline, but I did not bind the sleeve hems and instead just topstitched them down with my twin needle (same as with the hem). Other than the twin needle stitching and zigzagging on the elastic at the beginning, this entire dress was sewn up on my serger – even the gathering was done on my serger. Wooho!

Out & About Dress

Ok, party time fun aside, here’s my secret shame – the stripes on the side seams don’t match up perfectly! Wah! I did cut these with matching in mind, and they were beautiful and straight and matched when I first closed up the side seams… but then I took that extra inch in, and things went haywire. Since this is a knit, i definitely could have manipulated those stripes to match by stretching one of the fabrics, but then the waistline seam wouldn’t have matched. I figure it’s better to have a nice waist seamline (even if I wear a belt over it) than perfect stripes, so the stripes had to bear the brunt of my wrath. Actually, it’s not so bad now that I’m looking at the photos, but I was PISSED at myself when I was staring at it in the mirror. Ha!

Out & About Dress

But, hey – at least the skirt side seams match, as do the sleeves. So there’s that! Maybe I’ll just stand with my arms down my side all day :)

Out & About Dress

I really like how this black and white striped fabric looks with other colors – like turquoise (don’t groan yet, but I was definitely belt-inspired after seeing how the fabric looks with my hair lolz). Makes it a little less Beetlejuice, don’t ya think?

Out & About Dress

I love my new dress and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can give it some proper wear out and about (see what I did there? :)). Right after I took these pictures, the weather got all stupid and cold again. ARGH! I swear, I’m not taking any more bare-legged photos outside… clearly I am angering some Winter God or some shit.

Love the Out & About and want your own? Get your copy here! Now, go forth and check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour:
Adventures in Dressmaking
Four Square Walls
Alida Makes
Paisley Roots
Lexi Made
True Bias
Sewing Like Mad
A Golden Afternoon
LLADYBIRD (that’s meeee!)
House of Pinheiro

Out & About Dress

The Big Reveal – The Fabiani Coat!

6 Feb

Finally! I get to show off my new coat! :)

Coat front
Notice anything different (aka: good) about the pictures? Yeah, it’s because I didn’t take them! Ha! These were all shot by Sarah McDonald – aren’t they gorgeous!?

Quick details recap-
Pattern: Vogue 2925 (Thank you, Molly!)
Fabric: Coating – Sea Green Solid Coating (Thank you, Tracy!!); Lining – Bemberg Rayon Ambiance Lining in Kiwi
Notions Used: Horsehair interfacing, fusible interfacing, silk thread, self-covered buttons (made to order, yeehaw!), and the tiniest piece of silk organza.
I didn’t initially intend on this, but I guess this actually ties in quite nicely with Sew Grateful Week – showing my thanks for this pattern, fabric, and the pictures! Yay!

What else is there to say about this coat? It was definitely a task, although it went together much faster than my first coat – I guess I had enough practice to better understand what I was doing :)

Buttons

Coat - side
I am REALLY pleased with how it turned out! The coat is so warm & snuggly – too bad it’s been 60* (that’s 15* for all you non-Americans :P), and thus too warm to wear a coat! Ah, well, maybe I’ll go on a short vacation somewhere cold. Ha!

Coat back
Pretty much the whole thing is interfaced – in addition to the interfacing already fused to the fabric (which definitely gave it a nice hand and made it really easy to handle), I used horsehair interfacing on the front pieces & on the collar/lapels. The hem & sleeves are interfaced with a lightweight fusible that was cut on the bias. This coat is nice and heavy!

lining peek
There are snaps under the fake buttons to keep everything in it’s proper place.

Lining
Oh, yeah, and the lining is pretty freakin’ bright!

Top stitching
I love how the top-stitching turned out and I’m really pleased with my buttons. I tacked the spare on the inside by the hem, but forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry :(

Tag :3
Here’s my tag!

And some flat shots – sorry these pictures are awwwwful, lol you can definitely tell I took them.

Coat - button backs
The functioning buttons are backed with small buttons – partially to keep them on the coat, and partially to cover the ugly threads on the lining :B

Coat - feather stitched lining pleat
I tacked the lining pleat down with feather stitches, as originally suggested by Gertie.

Coat - buttonholes & top stitching
Bound button holes

Coat - label
Here’s another label shot. It’s hand-embroidered on bleached muslin & then catch-stitched down to the lining. I sewed everything in after the coat was finished, which was a bad idea… very difficult to get everything in there! Next time, I will sew the label in while the coat is still being assembled.

Coat front
So yep, that’s my coat! I hope these pictures were worth the wait :) Hehe!
Thanks again for all your patience/input/contributions – and thank you Sarah for taking these amazing pictures!

Soooo, now that that’s over… have I inspired anyone else to make a coat yet? :)

4 Things to Remember When Knitting Your First Sweater (Guest Post)

27 Jan

I’ve got a treat for y’all today :) Mika (our wise & patient knit-along cohost) graciously agreed to write up a guest post with regards to knitting a first sweater. Whether or not you are joining us in the Agatha/First Sweater Knit-Along, this is really great information straight from the mouth (fingers?) of a seasoned pro.

Ok, enough blab – I’ll let Mika take it from here -

Knitting your first sweater is incredibly exciting, and also pretty nerve-wracking. What if you spend all of these hours knitting something, and then put it on and there are holes where there shouldn’t be and it doesn’t fit? (No, of course I’m not speaking from personal experience! There is definitely not a mangled sweater sitting in my old room at my parents’ house.) Here are my top 4 things to keep in mind when knitting your first sweater, things that I wish someone had told me before I made mine. Obviously picking your pattern and yarn are very important and I don’t discuss them here, but if you’re looking for tips on these issues, check out my blog – I’ll be posting my favorite sweater patterns for beginners, with yarn recommendations, sometime during the next week.

1. Size: Picking your size to knit can be confusing. Sweater sizes are generally by your full bust measurement, not your bra band size! The sizes listed by the pattern reflect the finished measurements. Think about ease as well – some sweaters are meant to be worn with negative ease (like the Agatha cardi), meaning the finished garment size should be smaller than your bust measurement. Others should have positive ease. Others should have zero ease. If you’re not sure, check out the Ravelry project page for your pattern – has someone written about the ease in their sweater? Do you prefer those that are more fitted, or loose? If you’re in between sizes and considering ease doesn’t change that, in my opinion its best to size down. Blocking (see below) can work wonders on adding width, but it really doesn’t help much with making anything smaller.

Don’t let this happen to you! [Image Source]

2. Swatching & Gauge: Swatch! Especially for your first sweater. Once they’ve been knitting a while, many people skip this step, depending on the pattern. For sweaters that are meant to be fairly fitted, however, swatching is crucial. Swatching is also a great way to figure out a complex lace pattern and make sure you understand it. Swatches are also helpful for testing the durability of your yarn. Does it say superwash? Soak it, lay it out to dry, and measure your gauge so that you don’t have to knit another swatch. Then chuck it in the washing machine and the dryer. If it comes out a felted, pilled mess, at least you know not to do that to your whole sweater.

Knit your swatch to at least 4″ wide. Then, block it (see #4). Once it’s dry, measure and compare your gauge to what’s stated in the pattern. Is it the same? Great! You can start knitting now. If it isn’t, try again with a different needle size. Even if the 1/4″ extra width in your 4″ swatch doesn’t seem like a lot to you now, the difference will turn a 34″ bust into a 36″ bust – which can make a big difference in how your sweater fits.

[Image Source]

3. Blocking: Blocking is the queen of knitting. If you plan to wash your sweater at all (and I hope you do!) you have to wash and block your swatch – gauge can change dramatically once a swatch has been blocked. If you’re knitting lace, use blocking pins to expand your swatch and open up the pattern. For ribbing and stockinette, lay your swatches flat on a towel, yoga mat, etc. Once you’re done knitting, block in pieces (if it’s a seamed sweater) by soaking the pieces, gently lifting them out of the water, squeezing (not wringing!) out the excess water, rolling them up in a towel, and then laying them flat according to the pattern measurements. Blocking is invaluable if, despite your best efforts, the pieces come out a little bit too short or too narrow.

4. Perfection: Even if you do everything you can, your sweater may not be perfect. My first sweater looked ok in pieces, and then I seamed it and there were holes in the seams because of my loose tension at the edges of my knitting (and some bad seaming). And then I machine washed and dried it (I used a superwash yarn, so why not, right? Wrong.) and it partially felted and shrank. And never saw the light of day again. But it was a learning experience. If it hadn’t felted and shrunk, I would have worn it anyway. Under a coat. :) The only way to get better at knitting is with practice – some people make perfect sweaters on their first try, and I hope some of these tips help you get there. And even if the final result isn’t perfect, a) you made a sweater!! With string and sticks!! and b) your next one will be better.

Thanks again, Mika, for this guest post – very very helpful!
Does anyone have sweater-knittin’ questions for Mika? Ask away in the comments :)

pincushions!

2 May

i just got a couple new pincushions in the mail & i thought i would share them with y’all :)

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