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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Celebrate Good Times

Things are going rather well lately: I've graduated in the best way I'd hoped, and found I myself not one, but two new jobs within a few weeks. On top of that, last saturday was my birthday. More than enough reasons to celebrate the good times, and for a sewist this means spending some quality time at the fabric store. By now, everybody knows all things related to sewing is what makes me happy. My best (early) birthday present was the serger. If you haven't got one yet: get one! It takes some time to get to know it, but after that it saves you so much time. It has allowed me to use the words 'sweater' and 'whipped up' in the same sentence. (More on that soon!) And it looks all pretty on the inside too. I used to show people my clothes were handmade by showing them the ugly unfinished inside, but now I'll have to find another way to convince them.
I'm also using my grandmothers sewing machine now, an old Toyota, and wow, she is so smooth! She makes sewing a real pleasure after my last machine. Very well maintained and all the accessoires are complete. My workspace is starting to look serious now! Although it would be nice to have a little bit more space, it still works. I draw and cut downstairs on the big table, and then sew upstairs.

Then I treated myself to some goodies from Sewaholic: the Minoru jacket and the Renfrew top. The Minoru seems like a great first jacket. I've actually already made a jacket before and it turned out allright, but I had to have the lining done by a shop because I couldn't figure it out. So I'll count the Minoru as my first since this time I'll actually know what I'm doing. The Renfrew seems (is, I know by now) a great starting point for all sorts of jersey and knit shirts.

All that I needed now was fabric, and my parents in law provided me with the means to get some of that. I went to a city nearby because the fabric shop in my town is not very good. It was still hard to find fabric for the Minoru, I couldn't decide what colour I wanted. After an hour I stumbled upon a very pretty, medium weight wool coupon in teal. It was 1,5 yards, so all I thought was well, I'll probably won't be able to make the hood. Ha! If I want to use it I'll have to make it without sleeves too. Very bad choice, but the wool is still pretty, and the satin lining I got for it is perfect. Maybe it'll be a suit jacket? I also got some jersey with diagonal black and white stripes to use with the Renfrew, a black cotton with some stretch and lining for a pencil skirt and some brown fluttery jersey. I'll have to go again soon to get some real Minoru fabric!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Norwegian Sweater

Everybody in my class wanted one but only a few of us actually bought one because they're soooo expensive. So ofcourse I figured I could make one myself. I bought wool in Sogndal in a sale, there was barely enough left for a whole sweater. It's not easy to find a matching pattern for wool you already have. Then I found this pattern from Drops Design. I knitted a test square, and figured that I had exactly half the stitches of the test square mentioned for the pattern. So, I basically followed this pattern, but divided everything in half. Other alterations I made were skipping the frills at the bottom, shortening it a bit and lengthening the sleeves. It was a bit scary because I did not know if I would have enough green wool. Stef always thinks I'm crazy not to calculate these things in advance, but it sort of gives me a thrill not to know. I also think it improves your gut feeling for these kind of things. And fortunately, it worked out. I had a strand of half a yard left when I was finished.

The wool is actually fuzzier than the pic below shows. It's called Silenzio, and it's composed of 50% acrylic, 25% new wool and 25% alpaca. I'm working on rewriting the pattern to match my alterations, and will also include some alterations I would make if I were to knit this sweater again. I am really pleased with how it turned out, but I think I would make it a bit tighter in the back, and also start with less stitches on the sleeves. I can put it up here if anyone's interested!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mustard With Eyes

Heyhey, I'm back! Last month was all about graduating, so no time for sewing. But now things have settled, I am stress free and I've started planning a mini wardrobe to sew. The first piece of my new wardrobe: a mustard skirt. I know, but I promise this will be the last mustard piece I make. Well, at least for a while.

I made this with the remnants of my yellow hoodie, I had half a yard left. This sweater fabric is thick, and soft on the inside so perfect for winter. I used my serger for the first time, and it went great! It came threaded with four colours and I used those on my skirt. These colours help with figuring out which thread needs adjusting. I just watched the Project Runway episode where they're all stressed out because the serger broke, and they're all like 'it's impossible to sew jersey without a serger!' I can now see why, it works absolutely wonderful! I again made no closure because there was no need to with these stretch seams. There's two things in this skirt I have been wanting to do for a long time: piping and the combination of black and yellow. I made my own piping from black bias tape and used it on the pockets. The black buttons are just decoration, I found the skirt looked a bit empty without them. I like it, but Stef thinks it makes it look like the skirt has eyes. What do you think?

Another thing that looks very cool is the waistband lining. To prevent the waistband from becoming too bulky I needed a thin stretch fabric. I found an old T-shirt of Stef with a cool black print and decided to use that. I think it adds to the boldness of this skirt, even though you can't see it from the outside. I also used a yellow T-shirt for the insides of the pockets. Now let's start working on something that goes with this skirt!