Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lonsdale Progress

Finishing the Beignet really improved my outlook on sewing and provided a much-needed kick in the pants to dive into the Lonsdale project. As you might have noticed, I've been somewhat dishonestly displaying that sewalong badge on the right panel over there for about six months now. Oops.


I'm happy to report that things are going swimmingly. Today I traced off the bodice front pattern piece in order to complete the FBA. I did it pretty much as Tasia described in her sewalong post except that, rather than shave off the excess waist width on either the centre or the side seams, I opted to create a vertical waist dart in addition to the horizontal bust dart (which I believe is how Sarai handled it when she made her gorgeous floral version). Also, like Sarai, I had to shorten the bodice by a whopping 1.5"!

After all this, I did a brief tissue fit and then cut into my fabric. After sewing it up and trying it on, lo and behold, it fits perfectly. Major relief for this non-muslining girl.

I've got all the other pieces cut out and ready to go, so hopefully it won't be too long. Unless, that is, I let the hemming drive me to throwing it into the back of a cupbard. (Does anyone else despise hemming?)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


After languishing 99% finished in the cupboard for a few weeks, my Beignet skirt is finally finished.


I'm absolutely in love with this skirt. It's by far the best and most comfortable, wearable thing I've ever made.

The fabric is a wool crepe I picked up on clearance in the summer. Locals might recognize it - there were still bolts of it available at the Boxing Day sale! Either they had stocked way too much of it, or I'm just the only person in Vancouver who actually wanted to buy bright fuchsia wool. In any case, it was the best of all worlds because it was a fabric I actually wanted to work with at a price that let me justify approaching this as a "wearable muslin."

I'm very glad I approached it that way, because this project felt so much more straightforward and fun. I fall between a size 8 and 10, but closer to the 10, so I followed Colette's advice and cut that size. In the end, it was too large and I had to take in two inches all over (I simply took in the side seams). Otherwise, the fit is perfect. The proportions are correct and I absolutely love the straight silhouette - not pencil, not a-line. I love it so much, I plan to turn it into a TNT pattern with a solid front and a side zip. I also want to make another true-to-pattern version in a more neutral colour.

I lined it with bemberg rayon and actually really enjoyed working with it - perhaps I'd just heard too many horror stories so my expectations were low. The only real mistake I made was picking too dark a colour. In person you can see where the lining meets the facing although, happily, the belt distracts enough that it's not really an issue. I had already hemmed this once, before realizing it definitely needed taking in, and I did the machine "invisible" hem. It was a little too visible, so this time I did it by hand. I chose to omit the twill tape in the waist, which I may regret, but I didn't have it on hand and wasn't willing to make another trip!


My next project is a dress (Lonsdale), and I'm trying to decide how to approach it. After this experience, I'm really keen to continue forgoing the muslin altogether. It really does drain a lot of the fun out of sewing for me. I suppose ultimately it depends on the complexity of the pattern and the cost of materials. Since the Lonsdale is relatively simple and the fabric was on sale, I think I'm going to go straight to fashion fabric. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


My first knitting project of 2012:


It's the Lotus Hat (pattern is free and available here) made up in Malabrigo Merino Worsted. The pattern was a breeze to make, very fun and straightforward. I cast on Saturday and bound off Monday, with no marathon knitting required. The charts were easy to memorize - in fact, it was so easy to "read" the knitting as I worked it that I'm not sure memorizing the charts was even necessary. I love the end result.


My only word of warning: this pattern comes out small. I obtained gauge and followed the instructions for the "long" version (four repeats of chart A, rather than three) and it still came out so short that it popped off my head prior to wet blocking. Now, that being said, I do have a rather large head. Still, it barely covered the tips of my ears, let alone my earlobes (as it said it would)! Luckily, this was made as a gift for my mother in law, who is rather birdlike in stature. Also luckily, I didn't bother to wash and block my gauge swatch, so it had some room to grow. Hopefully it fits her correctly!

In sewing news: my Beignet skirt has been finished for forever, save for the hem (which I just haven't had time to sit down and take care of). It's hard not to use pressure to update this blog as an excuse to craft, but I really do have other things on my plate at the moment. Hopefully you'll be seeing it sometime this week!