Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Yup, It's Pink

This summer I made several trips down to Bay Area to take care of my dental work, including this past weekend.   Every time I went down to Bay Area, I vowed to go into SF and walk around.  Then I never did.  I simply didn't have the motivation to deal with the traffic there.  So I learned to bring some easy projects while I chilled at my brother's house.  I usually worked on socks during my trips, but this time, I brought a shawl project.

The yarn, Malabrigo Socks, was purchased at Fengari in Half Moon Bay when I last visited Bay Area a month ago. Half Moon Bay is the one place where I was always glad to drive to as the traffic there is much, much easier.  And I love going down to the coast and see the big Pacific Ocean.

I bought one skein in multi-color, and the other in hot pink, both were obvious impulse purchase. My town has no yarn store, so I buy most yarn online and make my color decisions based on what I would wear, etc.  But whenever I visited an actual store, I'd totally go crazy with the blings and brights.

With these yarn, I made a colorwork hat few weeks ago. However, the design looked lost in this combo.  This time I made a shawl with the left over yarn.

The design was exactly the same as Handspun Shawl  I made last year.  I needed a easy pattern for the road, and the simplicity of stockinette stitch for the the body of the shawl was a perfect choice.  Made most of the shawl the few days I was chilling at my brother's house, and finished the very simple border after I got home.

I'm loving the crazy color combo, because it was adventurous for me.  Now I totally want to venture out beyond the regular old reliable, aesthetically pleasing choices a lot more!

One note, I finished the border while watching day 1 of Democrat Convention on TV.  I was tearing up watching our First Lady Michelle Obama's speech.  She reminded me that despite all the hurtful languages that are thrown around, this is a wonderful country.  This is the country that elected an intelligent black president 60 years after civil right movements. This is the country where I can be myself and thrive as an individual beyond molds.  This is the country where people do acknowledge the problems we have so we can work on them.  I remember when Michelle Obama was campaigning for her husband in 2008, I said to my colleague,  I'd totally vote for her if she ever runs for president."

And, one more very BRIGHT note, the doctor's office just called a hour ago about my test result and said everything came back normal!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

One More Jacket, This Time in Purple

On the heel of the yellow linen jacket, I made a new one like I promised I would.  This time, the material is linen-look rather than linen.

This time, I made several more modifiacations to the pattern:

1. straightened the neck edge of collar a little more.
How the original versions were drafted
The modification on neck edge
2. curved in more on the armscythe of front and back.

3. changed the bell curve of sleeve a bit more to fit the new armscythe.

4. slimmed down the sleeve circumference.

5. cut away more on the princess seam on both center front and side front so the curve becomes more fitting for me.

6. Lengthened the jacket by 1 1/2 inch.

The result?  I am so very very happy with the final version. So happy that I used the leftover material and made a matching shift dress that used asymmetrical 3 thread overlock serging  as decoration.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finished Seams, A Linen Jacket

This time, I was rather pleased with myself even if the fit wasn't perfect.

I loved peter pan collars after making the last 2 shirts so I decided to improve the collars and make a linen jacket using the same peter pan collars.  Immediately, I thought of the yellow medium weight linen that had been sitting in my stash for years.

I know there are plenty of patterns of the same style out there, but I love drafting patterns. Because I learn the most through mistakes, so I'm generally not too obsessed with having perfect pattern each time.  It is also an excuse for my laziness about making a muslin first. I went ahead and drafted my imperfect pattern.

I have drafted princess seams before, and one thing I learned was that simply cutting away the dart area, the 2 pieces that made up the front do not line up at armhole when sewing them together. I used my daily walk in the woods with Ritchie to churn over puzzles and problems like this in my head. During the walk of the day I was going to draft my pattern, I realized rather than trying to research and figure out the math, the easiest way was simply cut away the darts, then tape the 2 pieces together and redraft the arm scythe and rest of the front pieces.  That solved my problem.

Because the collars on the previous shirts kind of stick up a bit, This time I modified it by straighten out the neck edge a little instead of the original method of tracing the neck lines with front and back taped at the shoulder and draw the collars edge few followed the same neck arc at few inches away.

One more crazy idea that came to me during the walk was skip lining and finish the seams with Hong Kong seams. I'd never done that before, or any other nice seams, and I was super excited. I Googled and searched Pinterest on how to do Hong Kong finish, and it looked simple enough.  I was very blessed with my ignorance on how time consuming this would be.  I proceeded with cutting my bias strips with a paisley cotton I had.

Next day I had another inspiration during my walk, rather than doing the nice finish after sewing everything together, I could serge all the edges of individual pieces first followed by sewing bias tapes over the edges, then sew the pieces together.  I didn't give myself room to think about if I had to re-fit or re-sew. Fortunately everything came together nicely albeit the fit wasn't 100% perfect.

One major problem came up, I forgot to add in seam allowance for the sleeves in the pattern! They were tight for my comfort that they had to be taken apart, re-draft, and re-sewn.  I ended up over-compensated a little on the second draft and the sleeves came out a bit wide especially at the cuff.  But that didn't bother me enough to make me want to redo them.

All in all I was very happy with how the jacket turned out.  The collars came out like I wanted. They are more subtle than real big peter pan collars, hence a bit more grown up look.

First lesson learned: after putting all the numbers on paper, add seam allowance to the numbers before drafting the pattern.
Second lesson learned; next time, allow more than 1/2" of seam allowance on Hong Kong finish so I wouldn't have to do it so carefully.
Third lesson learned: test out bias strips for the right width before cutting them all so I wouldn't have to sew them so carefully.

I vowed to make another one that will improve on these:
1. sleeves that are still easy to wear but not as loose.  (I really don't like too fitted sleeves with woven material.)
2. better drafting on the arm scythe  so the sleeves and front are more fitted.
3. better princess seams for a slightly more fitted look..

Not super excited with sleeves don't hang straight when wearing, but, I am also not super excited about drafting and cutting 2 pieces for each sleeve like what more tailored jackets have.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New Pattern - Fine & Dandy

I got a new pattern available!
It's called Fine and Dandy.  Here is the link to all the descriptions on Ravelry. 

The shawl used exactly 1 skein of each color in Shibui Knits Linen. It can be modified easily into different sizes.

It's my perfect shawl for summer, linen and very simple knitting.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Sewing Goes On

Last time I was at Mill End I bought some lovely rayon fabric that has embroidery on it.  I kept thinking about what to make with it, a dress? a skirt? Finally, I decided it needs to be a top with with peter pan collar.

The pattern was simple to draft, boxy with simple darts.  The only thing was that I liked how the collars turned out enough but I still wasn't really 100 % happy with it.  Oh, well, I could live with that.

 I loved the fit, BUT, little did I realize the embroidery on the fabric makes it a bit scratchy to wear!! sigh.  What a disappointment.

So I thought I should make another one and improve the collars a bit. The second time was using a gauze material that I had in stash.  It was orange with crinkles.  When I tried it on, it just begged for shorter hem, so shorter hem it went.

These are some quick summer sewing!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Summer = Dress

I made a dress! I really should say, I copied one.  I copied this one from LL Bean.  One difference was I didn't cut the skirt part on true bias as I didn't have enough yardage to do that.  I also made my neck opening a bit higher,  I never cared for tie belts myself, so that was skipped too.

The fabric was from Mill Ends in Reno at $4.00 a yard and I used 2 1/2 yards.  I think my cost is a little cheaper than LL Bean's version. Haha, it's total cheap fashion here.

It was a quick sewing project. Drafting the pattern was fairly straight forward.  Only 4 pieces of pattern: top front, top back, skirt panels, and sleeves.  The stripes on the skirt on the back didn't match up quite nicely, oh well.

Ever since I learned sewing sleeves to armhole first before sewing side seams, sewing tops and dresses have become much more enjoyable.

I basically live in t-shirts and other knits. So a knit dress is totally up my alley wardrobe for a bit dress up.  I want to make more of these if I can find some fun patterns knit.