Warmth, in this incredibly Warm Winter

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So after the large winter storm passed by here, it got warm.

Like really warm. There were some people wearing shorts. Winter, even around here, should not be that warm.

So its a fitting time to be knitting with wool, right?

In reality, both of these projects were conceived earlier in the month/last year.

Knowing that its supposed to be winter, I had decided that I needed a warm hat. I’m not a hat person, really, but I walked home (about 2 miles) one night when it was near freezing, and I only had a thin scarf and my “fall” coat (because its lighter than my winter coat, but still normally warm enough), and I’m pretty sure that I nearly died. It took me about 45 minutes to warm up enough to function like a human being, and then another hour past that to eat and drink enough hot stuff to warm up enough to fall asleep.

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The next day I started this hat. I had this orphan skein that I got on sale when I was looking for sock yarn. I couldn’t find any on-sale sock yarn, but even with my full-price sock yarn, this still fit into my hobby budget. It may have been 4 dollars, and I’ve got a couple of yards left.

So the pattern is Helios, free on Ravelry. It’s a pretty good pattern, though I stuck with the size 7 needles throughout, since I don’t have a slightly bigger needle. It makes it more of a globbular slouchy hat, instead of a beret/tam kind of slouchy hat. The one thing I’m afraid of is blocking it, since it’s a tad big, and I don’t want to stretch it out any. My other green knit hat was too small, so I gave it away to my cousin, so I guess I overcompensated with this one, and made it too big.

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Oops! Its still wearable, which is perfect. Because I was not going to admit defeat and try again.

And the second knit project is this pair of socks! This project can be described in three words:

Second Sock Syndrome.

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Yes, this time I fell prey to SSS hard. Really hard. There was a thought in the back of my head that I should somehow work both socks together, and my circular needle collection does not include a skinny enough needle with a long enough connection. So I planned it that once I got to the ankle of the first sock, I’d put it on stitch holders, and start the second. Which worked perfectly.

Yarn-wise this is an alpaca merino blend that I intended to use for socks for my dad… last year. Meaning 2014. Sorry dad. It’s also not machine washable, so perhaps its best that I made them for me, since I’ll be more likely to remember that…

The pattern is ish-designed by me. Meaning, I used this book I got, Socks a La Carte 2 Toes Up to plan it out, with a rotating rib leg, technically a double picot cuff that I’m too lazy to fold over and seam. But once I made the toes of the first sock, I realized that I would get super bored doing a simple stockinette for the foot, so I found this.

lace-diamond-knitting-motif-chartTo be honest, I’m not sure where I found it, but I think it was on a Russian stitch pattern website, and since this was before I started the sock, so I never anticipated needing to cite the source. If you know who’s this is, please let me know! Because its a beautiful lace pattern, and I’d definitely suggest it!

So after finishing both feet of the socks, I started in on the rotating rib of one of the socks, and I got a long way through when I realized that I should weigh out the yarn so I could maximize the height of the sock. Once I double checked that, I ribbed until I got to the cuff, made the double picot cuff, bound off, and then the socks sat there. For months. And months.

What I haven’t  told you yet, is that these socks were started over the summer. July or August.

Oh yes.

These took me about 6 months.

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When I went home for the holidays I brought these with me, and didn’t even make it a row. So once I got back I vowed that I would finish before the semester started. Which also didn’t happen. I made progress, but didn’t finish it.

It was during the first week of the semester, and I told myself that I couldn’t start any new projects until I finished these. Trust me. These got finished really quick after that. I even took them with me to the movie theater when I saw Star Wars the second time. I had the whole row to myself, so I didn’t even feel (too) self conscious about KIPing. There are some advantages to itsy bitsy theaters.

And then I started on the hat! So a happy ending finally. Plus, the hat got done in less than a week. All that pent up knitting energy I guess!

Got any SSS, or longtime knitting projects?

My name is Agent

skirtPeggy Carter is the master of well tailored shirts. Most of them are soft and drapey, and a few are structured. I’m excited to see whatever the next season brings, but from the first there were many good shirt examples, and mine is a combination.

This shirt post is long overdue. After all, I first wore this shirt in an unfinished capacity on Halloween… But then didn’t get around to actually finishing it until December. And it’s very wordy…

sideI started drafting in late September, and it went through a number of muslins (at least 4) and an incredible amount of drafting variations (meters and meters of Ikea drawing paper), some of which got scrapped before a muslin was even cut.

frontThe many alterations that I made for this shirt included a full bust adjustment, rotating and then eliminating darts, removing the back darts, adding a yoke, raising the armscye, moving the shoulder point up, doing a full back adjustment, and then taking some of that out, making a swayback adjustment, removing it, and then adding it back in, adding room to the bicep, adding room to the sleeve cap. Etc.

I had bought this lightweight linen at the same time I bought the linen for my Merida outfit, so I knew that it wouldn’t be super drapey, but not 100% structured either.

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This is also the time to infodump my many sources for patterning and fitting this shirt. This was the website I used to draft the initial block that I drafted the shirt from. I used this article to help explain and draft my one piece front/collar and facing. I’m fairly certain I tried this forward shoulder stuff too… This placket tutorial is awesome! And this explanation of sleeves and drafting remains my favorite reference, and one that I re-read often.

sleeve upper back

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The front darts were replaced by three tucks, which do a good job of dealing with the dart-replacement, but make hemming the shirt a bit miserable. I eliminated the darts in the back, and tried to use a center back seam to solve swayback issues… It only worked a smidge, and the execution needs to be improved on my next version.

raised armsLook look look! I can raise my arms! The armscye is super close to the base of my arm, which I’ve learned is the key to a shirt that doesn’t pull out of a tucked-in state, and since I knew that I would be tucking the shirt into the 40s style trousers, this was very important to me. Because of the size and shape of the armscye, though, this shirt is oddly uncomfortable to take on and off. The sleeves are ginormous at the top, but because the circumference of the base of the sleeve is about the same as my bicep at its fullest fat level, the sleeve base pulls a little as I put it on. The sleeves are ginormous mostly because slimmer set sleeves were creating extreme draglines, so I overcompensated and made a super large sleeve cap instead, since I was running out of time. I’m hoping to slim them down slightly for the next version.

back skirtThis was supposed to be my Halloween costume, if you remember. And a version of it was in fact done for Halloween… One that wasn’t hemmed, no cuffs, no placket, a very ill-fitting back, and I sewed the top three buttons on when I was in the car on the way to the party… Also, I was sick-ish.

So most of the finishing was done post-Halloween. It’s currently a bit too chilly to wear the costume out of doors, but I anticipate that once spring comes, I’ll have more opportunities to photograph and show you the full costume! Maybe with a second version, that’s a bit neater and more crisp.

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In fact, I can’t actually wear this version as is… The cuffs don’t overlap, and for these pictures I’ve managed to pin them close with these tiny treble clef pins that I got in high school. Unless I take those off, and attach new ones (if I can find any remaining scraps of fabric), then this shirt won’t really leave the house.

I keep talking about this next version… I have the fabric, a white shirting material, and I’m just working up the motivation to cut it out and make it.

First I’ve got to finish this homework assignment due in four hours…

Chase the Wind

I posted two weeks ago about my Merida skirt, which I’m super proud of… all that embroidery…

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Today I’m going to tell you about the top that I made to match it. I was never really into two piece sets, because most of the ones I found consisted of shorts and a top. But when I had the idea to make the Merida themed outfit, I knew that I didn’t have a need for a black dress. I wanted to have a more versatile outfit, so a two piece set of a skirt an a top it was!

The peplum craze is still going, and excepting my Belle Mark 2 (where it was “accidental” because it as a dress was too short, so I cut it shorter) I don’t have any in my wardrobe, so I wanted to try one out…

Verdict: I don’t really like it, but I’ll talk about that more later.

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The top is made of the same heavy black linen (from Joann’s) as the skirt, but its got a green lace layer over the peplum, and is lined with a forest green “posh” lining from Joann’s. The lace is this gorgeous stuff from my stash, and is the same as I used in the Dandelion suiting dress and the Dandelion linen sleeveless top. I actually think that this linen might be the same weight as that sleeveless top

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I self drafted this top from the same general “block” that I started with for Peggy. The block itself is quite… wrong, but it was a good starting point for the moment. Since it was wrong, I had a few adjustments to make. I had to raise the armscye since it was drastically too low. I also made it sleeveless, so I raised the edge of the shoulder and made the shoulders a little more snug. I had to adjust the front and back darts in order to get it to hang properly. Using a side seam zipper seemed like a good idea at this point, especially since I only had a deep green, not a black one, but I’m not sure that it was the right call.

The muslin I made out of the same linen was pretty terrible, so I had to make changes. Namely change some of the darts, and fix the side seams, which were leaning to the front. The back of this version is now both tight and loose, with a bubble above the darts… I’m not sure if its that the fabric is super finicky, or if its a problem with drafting that I’ll need to fix for next time I make one of these, but I guess time will tell.

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The peplum itself is a 3/4 circle skirt, and is hemmed with black bias binding. It’s got a lot of body, because the linen is so heavyweight. That’s probably why I don’t really care for this peplum. I do like the idea of it, and I like the Belle version, made out of a fairly thin knit so it hangs flat, but I think the body of this version is too much. Especially with looser bottoms like these jeans. I don’t own any pencil skirts, because I feel like I can’t walk in them, but I bet such a skirt would be a great match for this. I’ve mostly worn it with skinny jeans, and I think it balances well.

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Looking at the pictures, I can’t tell if the horizontal waist seam is bubbling or whether its an unfortunate trick of the light. Now that I have a full sized ironing board this will probably be easier. My tabletop ironing board was too small for its own good, though I’ll keep it around for small scale things like quilt top seams and the like. I’ve been thinking about adding some embroidery up by the neckline, but I think I’m just going to leave it alone. More versatility. The neckline doesn’t always lie flat, which is something that I will need to improve for future drafting projects, but when its tugged at, it will, so once rigged up to the skirt, or any skirt for that matter, it should help.

Realistically, this top will mostly be used with skirts, since its a plain but structured top above the peplum, but if I ever go on a trip and bring it along, I can see wearing it alone. Only time will tell!

I’ll be back soon with pictures of the two parts together, but before that, I need to actually rig up a way to fasten the two together… Procrastination is my specialty, after all.

5 Goals for 2016

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

It’s time for the final post of the Top 5 of 2015, the goals post. Some of these were easy to propose, but I had to think about the last two. Real hard. I guess its time to go ahead and share my crafting resolutions!

1. Draft real slopers.

I’ve drafted things on my own before, namely my Claudia vest and Belle dress, both of which have their flaws. I haven’t shown you my Peggy blouse in full yet, but I showed a pic yesterday… It went through so many iterations and muslins to get to the final point, but I can raise my arms and the blouse doesn’t come out of a tucked-in position. Isn’t that great! Now I just need to go through the mess of pattern pieces I made in order to find the last drafted and final pieces. That’ll be… difficult. But if I have well fitting slopers, perhaps I won’t need to make so many muslins!

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2. Make 3 pairs of jeans.

I’ve got the denim for 3, so that’s my goal. I’m thinking one “low rise” Ginger, which will probably not be terribly low rise on my short torso-ed body, one high waisted, adjusted so its more comfortable than the last pair, and to round it off, a bootcut/flare pair that’s got the same rise as whichever of the above was most comfy…

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3. Only buy fabric that I have a distinct and thought-out plan for.

I have a ton of new fabric that I got on the shopping trip with my mom, and most of it I’ve got plans for (excepting those pictured above), but I need to work on making sure of that in the future. Otherwise I won’t be able to work down my stash, since I’ll just keep adding to it.

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Fabric for the skirt and a new blouse for the TARDIS

4. Finish my TARDIS build.

It’ll be three years in March since I first planned the costume, and I haven’t made any progress on it in a year and a half… I did get some more fabric for the skirt, so that may be the boost I need to actually make the bustle and petticoats and skirt.

ashildrkayleelink and link

5. Work on at least 2 other (big) costumes.

I’ve got most of the work done on Hatter, Claudia, and Peggy’s mission outfit (though I’m making another Peggy shirt). So those can’t count. I’m thinking about perhaps Kaylee’s jumpsuit outfit and Ashildr’s Face the Raven outfit. Maybe I’ll spring for a larger costume, but I still probably won’t have enough space in my apartment for a ballgown… It’s unfortunate.

And then there’s always the life resolutions, like brushing teeth more often, cleaning dishes the week I use them, that sort of thing. But you don’t need to hear about all that!

Thanks again Gillian, for hosting the Top 5s, and I hope you all have a great year!

Top 5 Reflections of 2015

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

This post was more difficult than the previous three. I reflect on my work all the time, whether we’re talking my job-work, or my blog/costuming/making in general-work. But to boil all that down to 5 is more difficult.

Here we go!

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1. I’ve learned to fit my body better.

It’s still not perfect, but as I learn which fitting techniques and tricks to use, it’ll go better. This holiday break I had an opportunity to try on some clothing in a RTW store, which I avoid in normal life, since I rarely need to buy anything anymore. I was reminded yet again why I really started sewing my clothes, and how much of a self-esteem boost it is to wear clothing that actually fits. For instance, the shirt above that I made for my Peggy cosplay that fits so well in the sleeves that it doesn’t move much even when I move my arms up.

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2. My posts and my makes are not always… simpatico.

It’s not that I don’t always want to post (relatively) on time, but I just happen to procrastinate on pictures… a lot. Looking back at the year, I had all these posts on TARDIS progress in February, but really that all happened last October. And once again, my Halloween costume will be posted (in full) in the new year, not this year when it actually happens.

3. I’m not as terrible at makeup as I always thought.

I wear glasses daily. It’s taken nearly 4 years to get through a box of contacts containing 45 days worth. So with glasses, I don’t like to wear makeup, because they already exaggerate any undereye bags… I don’t need them to exaggerate undereye concealer mishaps. Plus my eyes get itchy a lot, which doesn’t bode well for eyemakeup. I’d been improving, but this year my knowledge took off. I can now do more than just basic eyeliner and vaguely acceptable lipstick. As in, I can put on fake eyelashes and can leave the house wearing full face makeup and not feel (entirely) overdressed. Plus there was the time when I walked into my local grocery store with full costume makeup including those aforementioned false eyelashes… Oh wait, I’ve done that twice now…

4. My me made wardrobe has overtaken the RTW… It was a slow crawl, but now the rolling stone has picked up some speed.

There are days when I wear head to ankle me mades (I can’t count the shoes… sometimes the socks). And I get nearly all the way through the day before I figure that out… I still can’t give up my RTW undergarments, but now I will be able to make jeans (3 pairs worth of denim is now in my possession), as well as my shirts and skirts and dresses and such.

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5. Solids are still my jam.

In fact, I went fabric shopping with my mom last week, which is an all day endeavor involving multiple stores, and only one of the fabrics has a print. I’m interested in large scale designs though, and may have to look more closely at Sew Red’s tee embroidering. And not just because of the Little Mermaid design.

Also, to update on where my goals last year left me, I completed 2, and partially others. I did improve fit, and have been actively trying to buy better quality materials. Most of my garments are at least somewhat subtle cosplay inspired too, so that makes me super happy. I only got around to making two quilts, not three. My serger is still finicky,and I didn’t work with much specialized crafting things. I did do a lot of knitting, and fabric painting, and doodling though. And finally the stash. It would be hard to tell, but the old stuff in my stash has mostly been either used or trashed, just more has been added to even it out.

Top 5 Highlights of 2015

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

This post is all about what happened to me this year!

This year I did not graduate from college or study abroad or anything terribly exciting, so it’s more about the little things for me this time…

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1. My Susan costume was finished!

I’ve been dreaming of making this costume for years, and this year its finally done! It took a long time, and a lot of frustration, but I’m very proud of it.

2. I truly succeeded with my clothes buying ban.

Last year I did a pretty good job, but this time I managed to succeed in buying (if anything) only things from thrift stores. Excepting undergarments (bras, underwear, camis), all my newest clothing was made or thrifted by me! I even resisted it at one of my favorite stores ever, when it came to the States (because Primark is a surprising wonderland) but I managed to prevent buying actual clothing.

3. I worked in an office all summer (well, at least most of the summer), and I didn’t hate it.

This might sound terrible to people who do work in offices, and I’m sorry for that, but for as long as I can remember I wanted to do scientific research so I wouldn’t have to work in an office. So now that most of my work is on a computer, an office building is the logical place, which didn’t occur to me until this summer. My work is really cool, and it makes up for the setting.

4. At least three costumes have been finalized.

Peggy Carter, Susan, and Belle have been finalized, and if not finalized then photographed. Woot!

5. I moved into my own place, and I love it!

Nobody can tell me to do the dishes or eat something other than candy (other than myself… when I run out of dishes or candy, respectively). In all seriousness, I love having my own (rented) space, and its definitely improved the quality and time frame of my projects.

Well, that’s it for highlights! Check back tomorrow for the reflections on the year!