Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just One More Row

I remember when I was younger and was told that it was time to get ready for bed, I usually responded that I was going to read "just one more page."  I loved reading as a kid.  Well, when it came to knitting up this sweater, I just needed to knit one more row, then I would get to such-and-such.  My poor husband probably thinks that it takes me three hours to knit one row . . .

After unraveling all of my previous progress on this sweater, I really didn't think I would be finishing this anytime soon.  Then I committed to including the sweater in my fall wardrobe plans - and I panicked.  I can't knit a sweater in a month or so, especially while sewing up a storm.  So, I found myself knitting constantly.  I knit in the car (while my husband was driving) even if it was just a short ten minute drive, I knit during nap time, I knit after putting my daughter to bed, I knit while I was eating.  Baby, all that knitting paid off, because I now have a finished sweater!

I have wanted to knit this sweater up for a long time.  I purchased this pattern before I even started my blog, meaning I have owned this pattern for four years.  I have no idea why it has taken me so long to knit this up as I love cardigans and wear them all the time in the fall and winter.  I suppose I did get sidetracked with all of my vintage sweaters (which by the way all have short sleeves!)  Can you believe this is the first time I have knit a sweater that has long sleeves?  I mean, I've always associated sweaters with warmth, and therefore long sleeves.  Why on earth has it taken me this long to actually knit a sweater with long sleeves?

I really do love the simplicity of Jane Richmond's Georgia.  With very few design details, this was the perfect sweater for some quick knitting.  Since I was able to knit this up faster than I expected, I took the time to reinforce the button band with petersham ribbon.  I really love how this added detail turned out and plan to add it to any future cardigans that I knit.

I love that this sweater goes not only with my fall sewing plans, but also the 1940's dress that I made this year.  Basically, this sweater goes with most of my wardrobe so it is going to get worn all the time. I am pretty happy with this sweater, what more can I say?


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chocolate McCalls 6891

I am so excited about my most recent make!  I've been wanting another shirtwaist dress since the one I made almost two years ago.  This time I used McCall's 6891, which is in my opinion the perfect shirtwaist dress.  I find this dress to be really flattering with the neckline and open collar as well as the a-line skirt.

This dress also has long sleeves!  I have never had a dress with long sleeves, and this is such a critical need in my wardrobe since I live in Minnesota.  I must be a real shorty because I had to shorten the sleeves by over 2 inches, and they are pretty much the perfect length now.

It's funny that in the instructions, it says that this is the perfect three hour dress.  Three hours?  This dress took me much longer than three hours to sew.  Now I did french seam just about everything, hand stitch a blind hem, use hong kong seams on the sides, and basically make the inside even more lovely than the outside.  But still, there must be some super speedy seamstresses out there.

I have had this brown cotton in my stash for four years!  Yes, shortly after I made my very first dress, I bought this fabric in the hopes of making a 1950s dress.  While I never got around to making that 1950s dress, I am delighted that I saved the fabric for this dress.

I love the fit of this dress and how easy it is to wear.  I see myself wearing this a lot this fall, especially with different color belts to add a pop of color.  A chocolate brown dress is the perfect backdrop for adding a pop of color.  What color would you pair with a chocolate brown dress like this?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Green and Gold for the Win!

I didn't have as much time for knitting or sewing this week as I wanted, so I don't have anything to share from my fall sewing and knitting plans.  However, I do have a darling face to show off :)

Over the summer I knit my daughter a hat in Packers colors to wear this fall and winter.  It was all done except for the pom-pom.  I wanted to make sure that I would have enough yarn to knit a green hat in the next size up.  As the weather cooled down, I started having my daughter wear her pom-pom-less hat, but I felt it really needed the pom-pom.  This forced me to finish the larger hat, so I could see how much yarn would be left for the pom-pom on this hat.  Luckily, toddler hats don't use a lot of yarn, so there was plenty left over to make a nice full pom-pom.

I know I've shared this hat pattern a billion times on this blog (okay, not quite a billion, but a few times at least), but it's just a great hat.  My little girl actually likes wearing it.  All summer she tears off her sun hats and runs away.  But now that the weather has cooled, when she wants to go outside, she brings me her shoes and hat.  She rarely tries to take the hat off when we are outside.

Part of me feels bad for making her a hat in the colors of a sports team (we don't even let her watch tv yet, so she really has no idea what Packers football is all about).  The hat does look like it belongs to a little boy, but all I see is my baby girl when I see her wearing this hat.

Now that my little one is set with a hat for winter, I realize that I have never knit myself a hat and I could sure use one.  Does anyone have an adult hat pattern that they simply love?  It needs to be something that will keep my head and ears warm, not a fashion hat for winter.  My girl loves to be outdoors, and I have a feeling we will be spending a lot of time tromping through the snow this winter.  Eek, it just feels wrong to be talking about snow and winter already, but truly it is just around the corner!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Falling Leaves Belcarra

Can you believe it, two completed sewing projects in two weeks?  I think I'm on a role!  Actually, I picked the two easiest projects from my fall sewing plans to sew up first.  Last week I shared my Renfrew top, which was a very quick sew.  This week I have my Belcarra blouse, which was another relatively quick sew.  I did take the time to blind stitch both the neck facing and hemline, but even with the hand sewing and french seams this baby sews up quickly.

 Hands down, my favorite thing about this top is my fabric selection.  I mean, those vibrant colors and that beautiful drape of the fabric - love!  That said, when I first started cutting out this project I whined and complained (to myself) about how much I hate sewing with rayon.  One absent minded moment and it would look like my 14-month-old helped me during the cutting process.  Sadly, I do this little pity party charade every time I sew with rayon.  Then, once I have a completed project, I'm all I need to stock up on rayon and sew with it more often, rayon is the best.

I made up a muslin of this shirt before I started cutting out my fabric and immediately decided that I needed to bring in the neckline a bit.  So I did bring it in about 3/4 of an inch on each shoulder, but I am wondering if I need to do so even more next time.  It doesn't look too bad in these pictures, but in the reality of chasing after a toddler I find that I am always adjusting the blouse so that my bra strap isn't showing.  If I elegantly trotted off to lunch dates and happy hours in red heels, maybe it wouldn't be a problem.  But, that is not my life, even if I pretended so for these pictures.

I am delighted that the fall colors are taking their time, so there is still plenty of beautiful scenery in my yard to shoot these photos.  While the hazelnut (or chestnut) tree has lost most of its leaves, there are still a few trees in the yard that have only just begun changing colors.  Hopefully things will continue to cooperate as I sew and knit up the rest of my fall wardrobe.

If I am going to continue my progression of easiest/quickest sew to most difficult/time consuming sew, that means my Beignet is next!  Will I stick to the plan . . . 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hazelnut Harvest Renfrew

It really feels like fall now, and just in time for fall I've got the first completed item from my fall sewing plans!  This is my Hazelnut Harvest Renfrew, named such because I finished it just in time to start harvesting the hazelnuts from our tree.

I seriously love this top.  I really need more long sleeves in my wardrobe, as I hardly have any RTW and absolutely no hand made clothing with long sleeves.  The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and there are still a few yards left.  It's a rayon and cotton blend, so there is a bit of drape and just the right amount of stretch.

I love how perfectly the stripes on the side seam lined up.  Can you see the seam?  How about that stripe matching on the front band as well?  Actually I think larger stripes like this (1" stripes) are pretty easy to mach up, but very gratifying nonetheless.  

I made this pattern with no adjustments as I didn't need to make any adjustments with my first Renfrew.  The sleeves are a tad long, but I kind of like them that way because I love to hide my fingers inside my sleeves on cooler days.  I haven't decided if I will shorten the sleeves on my next Renfrew, but it doesn't matter because that's not the next item on my sewing list anyway.

Have fall colors started where you live?  I simply adore this time of year and can't wait for the rest of the colors to appear.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Picking up my Knitting

Last week I went to visit my Baba and Dido to see if the beets in their garden were ready because I wanted to make some borscht.  While I was there, my Baba picket a bouquet of flowers for my daughter.  As my little girl was having fun running around their yard with the flowers in hand, I decided they were as much my flowers as they were hers (ha-ha-ha, evil mom laugh).  So, when we got home, the flowers were given water and put in a vase in the center of the kitchen table for all to enjoy.

Getting flowers from my Baba and Dido's garden is a memory from my childhood that I will always cherish, but I think I love it just as much now that I am an adult.  Does that ever happen to you, where childhood memories seem just as wonderful now?  As I was getting all nostalgic and admiring this beautiful bouquet, I couldn't help but see my fall mood board in these flowers.  Of course this just made me happy; inspiration to keep sewing.

But I really didn't feel like sewing.  After my crazy week of sewing to get my dress completed for the Fall Bombers Moon Ball, I kind of needed a little break from my sewing room.  However, I still really wanted to work on my fall mini wardrobe.  It was at that point that I noticed my too-small-Georgia sweater fit in quite nicely with my fall sewing plans.  While I was super encouraged by all of your comments to complete my yellow sweater, I decided to start unraveling the plum cardigan and begin work on that instead.  I think this will be the perfect addition to my fall mini wardrobe.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bombers Moon Ball

Hey, I finally have some sewing to share with you!  Lately it has been all talk as I've shared my process for planning out my fall sewing.  Right as I was about to actually start on my fall sewing something came up that put a huge halt to the entire thing.  My parents mentioned that they were going to the Fall Bombers Moon Ball.

What?  An event where people dress up in 1940's attire and get to listen to a live swing band.  Sign me up!  I did sign me up, and my husband as well.  Then I decided that I simply must have a new . . . um old . . . oh yes, vintage dress to wear.  All this occurred a week before the dance!  If you know me, then you know I have never really sewed anything from start to finish in a week.  Never.  Not ever.

Except, I did it this time (with many, many, many thanks to my hubby who spent all his free time watching our daughter, so I could spend all my free time sewing).  But can I tell you how close I cut it? When the babysitter arrived at 5:30 I hadn't showered or eaten and was still pinning the hem on my dress, with the lining to follow.  Needless to say, I did not do a hand-stitched blind hem as originally intended, but I did leaved the house in my dress and managed to do a sort of wonky victory roll-esque hairstyle with totally wet hair.

Enough with the dramatic introduction, what about the dress?  The dress is Butterick 5281, which I've had in my pattern stash forever.  I honestly wasn't even sure I liked the pattern and probably would not have sewn it up at all.  But, I was on such a tight time schedule that I needed to start with something in my stash, this was one of my only reproduction patterns that was era appropriate.  I had a few actual vintage patterns, but knew I didn't have the time for the more careful handling that actual vintage patterns require.

I love the fabric.  I used a black rayon with tiny pink flowers all over.  Not sure if hot pink was used back in the forties, but floral rayon was definitely used.  This dress is fully lined, and my lining is a hot pink silk!  It matches the flowers in my fabric perfectly.  The dress is so light weight and perfect for dancing (which for the record, both my hubby and I are terrible at, but we don't let it get in the way).

I really haven't done any vintage sewing since this dress almost two years ago!  Oh my goodness, I do miss it.  This gives me extra motivation to make sure I finish the McCall's skirt from my fall mood board.  What about you, do you prefer sewing from vintage or modern patterns?  For those of you who sew both, do you find yourself in phases of one or the other at times?