Blue Winter Susanne Cardigans

I’m obsessed with cardigans.

As if you couldn’t tell… and those are just the sewn ones. And not even all of them.

And I’m always in search of the perfect cardigan pattern.

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The Susanne cardigan from Compagnie M. certainly hits many of those marks.

I had these sweater knits that have been burning a whole in my stash for about a year. And I wanted drapey cardigan to go with them. I had thought about the new Grainline one, but it wasn’t perfect for what I wanted, and I searched the internet far and wide.

When I found this one from Compagnie M. I immediately purchased it as the short version hit exactly what I wanted for these knits. Then the problem became finishing the seams.

Sweater knits enjoy unraveling, in my experience, and my serger isn’t really in working order.

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When the new makerspace opened up in my building on campus, I was pleased to find out they have a serger! (Among other fun things, such as the laser cutter that I’m incredibly obsessed with. As in all the Christmas gifts…).

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My sweater dreams could finally come true.

The aqua was first, and the pattern made a sweater that was wearable, but big. I serged around every piece, and folded over the edge and tacked the neckline/pocket edge. The armscye was a bit large and loose, and it was too big along the back shoulders. And a bit long.

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After wearing it a bit, I decided to take in the back and raise the entire cardi. I did this haphazardly, at the serger (which I don’t recommend), and I lopped off the top of the sweater at both the front and the back, and I cut into the back to create a smaller back. Overall, it had the effect that I needed and it’s a lovely cardigan to wear.

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So when I brought out the navy knit, I made those changes to a traced pattern, to normalize them a bit. Otherwise, construction was the same, with serged edges for each pattern piece, except I used a marine blue bias binding around the neckline and pocket tops. It definitely makes the cardigan more stable, which makes it super comfy, and the pockets are potentially more useful. Not much, but they can hold the weight of my keys in one, and my phone in the other, so that’s a plus.

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I’d like to try the other variations in the future… and maybe the long version, if I live in a cooler climate next.

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Altogether, between the Susanne and the Julia cardigans, I have patterns that will probably serve me the rest of my life.

With a few others sprinkled in of course. Constant pursuit of perfection and all…

**Coming in with part 3 of get projects posted in 2016 when they were made… Part 4 (My coat!!! Squee!!) should be up sometime tomorrow, and then I’ll post my review of 2016!

Revisiting High Waists

comboMy first version of Closet Case Files’ Ginger Jeans pattern was high waisted, but out of some bad bull denim which did not have enough stretch. So I couldn’t really sit, and I couldn’t bend my knees more than 90 degrees, which was not fun when I was trying to sit.

My second version, I accepted defeat, and used the lower waisted version, which worked, with caveats. The denim stretches out, despite being pretty pricey and good quality.  I should have used a more curved waistband, since they continually slide down my hips, and I had to sew wedges into the waistband. But I did this well after I added belt loops and started using belts (daily for the first time in my life) for a month or two, and got fed up with needing a belt to take out the trash comfortably. I also cut them rather short, which means they are perfect for summer in sandals and flats. Boots too. But shoes and sneakers, not so much. They definitely look like high waters in those. And they let cold air in. And cold air is not my friend in winter. I still love them, but at the same time, they work best in certain situations.

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So when I got my package of Cone Mill denim from CCF last December, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. At that point, the high waisted option didn’t feel viable, and the low waisted would take a lot of work. Making new jeans was very high on my to do list, but it took an extra ten months to do it.

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This is a long winded way of telling you that I have two pairs of high waist jeans to show you!

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The first is as drafted high waisted skinny jeans (with the lines on the pocket and pictures outside), and the second is slightly less high waisted and more bootcut (with the anchor on the pocket and pictures in the corner). I don’t prefer super skinny jeans anyway, but the bootcut ones are straight from knee to hem.

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As suggested, I used the heavier weight to make the bootcut, and the lighter weight for the skinny jeans, and I think it worked out lovely that way. I’m not sure that the skinny ones would be as comfortable with the thicker denim, and they are super comfortable as is.

The skinny ones I made in October, as a celebration after this huge presentation I had to give, and I finished the bootcut this past weekend. The skinnies have pockets and facing from the same fabric I used to remake my grandmother’s project bag, and the bootcut have this cool batik and metallic quilting cotton as pockets.

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The bootcut pair, made out of the thicker denim, has the same issue as my Ripples pair of stretching out. Because I finished them the day before I left to visit my family for the holidays, I made this large dart up the center back and dealt with it, but I’m debating on cutting a new waistband and attaching it. I realized a few wears in that both stretching out pairs are self faced and not interfaced, which could be the problem. My new skinnys have quilting cotton as a facing, and they don’t stretch at all. Which is good and bad, but overall more of what I want. But I wanted to post these anyway!

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Overall, there’s not much more I can say about these. I altered the yoke a bit on the bootcut, since it was very high on all high waisted pairs for me, but beyond that this is the version of the pattern I’ll use in the future for more pairs, when needed!

side**Post 2 of the last minute 2016 crunch… One more tonight, and another tomorrow! Then the wrap up will commence, right in time for the new year!

Dancing Shoes

Have I ever told you that I ballroom dance?

I think I have, since I judge nearly every make involving a skirt for its swishability, but just in case, this is your warning!

So I go to social ballroom events monthly, and typically more often than that, especially during the semester. And that means I almost always have the “But what should I wear!!” problem…

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This summer and fall I rectified this by altering a vintage dress, and making a gathered maxi skirt.

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Now, the vintage peach dress fit me nearly perfectly off the rack. It would fit better if I wore a vintage bra, but that would require me having one…

It looks to be a handmade dress, as there’s no label, but if it isn’t then it’s been drastically altered. It looks to me like a 50’s dress, and the seam lines are so interesting that I considered buying it regardless of if it fit me…

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But it did, and that made me quite pleased. Until I tried to take it off, and couldn’t manage. It had a side zipper and slipped over my head with little issue, but then I couldn’t get the dress over my lack-of-biceps… Luckily I had a friend with me in the thrift store.

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However, I did not have a friend around a few days later when I got stuck in it again, around midnight. So I seam ripped and carefully cut my way out of the sleeve. It felt like a real workout by this point. I seam ripped the zipper out, and sewed up the side seam, and input a center back zipper. It’s not my best work, but it’s passable in person.

I also took up the hem of the “slip” underlayer a bit, since it was at an awkward length for me originally, and left the tulle lace layer alone. Every time I touch that layer, though, I seem to tear the tulle, so I try my best to be careful, but I’ve mended some of the big tears, and I have more to do.

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So then a few months later I wanted to make a new skirt to help get me out of my fall funk, and I put together this maxi skirt together out of a length of what seems like curtain fabric and some heavy lining fabric. So I call it my Giselle skirt… Get it?

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The lining is cut in a nearly A-line shape, and I gathered the curtain to put it into the dress. As it’s a border print, I cut off some of the top and saved the bottom hem. I aimed the hem to be about an inch off the ground when in my ballroom heels, and it may be a smidge short, but it’s still plenty long.

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But when I realized that I still needed a closure, and to take in the waist, I decided to try a temporary closure, which I haven’t yet fixed. I’m using some hook and eyes to provide shaping, and I pull the maxi skirt over my head for “closure,” so that the skirt stays above my hips, but still falls nicely. It works especially well with bodysuits, so that’s been my pairing of choice.

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This is the first of a series of posts labeled: “Annabelle’s Last Chance to post 2016…” Be prepared for a small influx this week…

Got any clothes that you pair with a specific activity (beyond workout wear)?

Amber Julia Cardigan

This is an absolutely lovely cardigan, and it has really changed my mind about a pattern.

But first some backstory…

I learned how to hold a grudge from my mother. Sometimes I still think she hates this one girl that was in my third grade class who screwed me over on a group project. (Over 10 years ago, mind you. Well over.)judge

Now, I’ve learned to form opinions on people and things rather quickly, and only change it with careful thought and lots of evidence (and I’ve got forgetfulness on my side… my mom doesn’t, so she needs lots of evidence).

So when I change my mind on a pattern due to a second try, something really has to win me over (I’m looking at you electric hand mixers. It’ll take a lot of work for me to give you a third chance). And the Julia cardigan from Mouse House Creations has done it.

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Last time, I used a one way stretch jersey (which was admittedly a mistake) and the version of the pattern that has an unfinished collar, because I didn’t have enough fabric for two. I wear the cardi a lot, but it’s mostly because it’s a nice green color for my wardrobe, and not because it’s comfortable. It also rides up a lot, which bugged me a bit, and doesn’t like to stay on my shoulders. I think it’s mostly a fabric symptom, now that I’ve made another.

Part of the reason it worked better this time is definitely the fabric, and this rather weighty and drapey jersey is it. I got it from a mystery fabric warehouse, but it feels like a rayon lycra blend, and for the thickness its heavy and perfectly scrumptious. It also has terrible recovery.

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I used the double collar version this time, since I had just enough fabric. I also made it long sleeved, which was nice. When I finished it, I immediately wore put it on (strings floating around and all), and I noticed a few things. For one, I forgot to cut the armscye out, since I never cut the bodice pieces, which would work for both sleeveless when uncut and sleeved when trimmed a bit. Also the sleeves were ginormous in both length and width at my wrists. But on the whole, the whole cardigan worked!

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Before I wore it again, I unpicked the top of the sleeve, trimmed the bodice back and restitched the sleeve. I also skinned the sleeve and shortened it… And it grew once more in length. The new width is acceptable to me, because I often squish it up to my elbows, which works well with the sweater. The length bothered me though, so before I wore it a third time, I topstiched the cuff seam allowance down, and I created thumb holes! (And now a few weeks later, I re-attached the cuff even higher up the sleeve, and now the thumb holes are a bit short, but still doable, and nicer volume when I inevitably push up the sleeves to my elbow.)

And I’m in love!

It does help that this color is a good match to my wardrobe. I’ve noticed that my wardrobe is rather bimodal in color scheme. It’s either cool jewel tones or fall colors (and black which I’m not counting). And this cardigan works for both! I love it with bright indigo/royal blues, and I love it with olive green, and it’s just lovely overall.

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Can you tell how much I love it?

Got a favorite sweater that works with almost all of your wardrobe?

(Oh, and if you’re reading this in December 2016, I’m about to write another progress post on my early winter sewing plan for this week… It’ll post tomorrow. With pictures this time!)

Progress – WSP

It’s been nearly a week since I posted about my short term winter sewing plans, and so far I’ve completed about 2.25 of my goals. I’ll be creating real posts for all of these (once I get pictures), plus posting a bunch of the stuff I completed this year and forgot to share, before the new year, but I figure I’d keep you updated!

So I managed to serge and put together a sewn knit cardigan last Wednesday, when I had access to a serger at a makerspace on campus. It’s got a pretty bias tape pop of color! But the serger threads were white, and it doesn’t fit well with the navy color… I’m debating what to do.

And I got the jeans cut and serged last Wednesday as well. Putting it together, though… That didn’t happen until Sunday at 1pm when I realized I hadn’t left the couch yet that day. But I got them finished before 1am on Sunday night/Monday morning!

As for my coat, I roughly cut out the pieces, and dyed them using normal RIT dye, and some iDye Poly, and let them dry. I intended to actually cut and interface the pieces, but I’m still working on the muslin, and deciding if I need a different upper collar and cuffs fabric because the wool is kinda scratchy to me. But this seems quite doable in a week! (I may be delusional…

I’ll be parading around in my new jeans today, rather happily. Maybe parading is too much. Sashaying quietly? Scurrying quietly, or something like that! Have a lovely Monday!

Next Few Weeks of Winter

People. Winter is here, even in my area (which means rain and below 60’s temperatures right now), and it’s only going to get colder.

And I need a coat. Not necessarily a super heavy winter one, but at least a wool warm coat. I bought a pattern at the pre-Thanksgiving Joann’s sale.

And I could use another pair of jeans. I’m thinking bootcut this time. The Ginger jeans pattern just needs an alteration or two.

And I want to make another sweater. I’ve got this sweater knit, and I should have a pattern to work with (but I need to check my “muslin” again). I’ll show you the first one soon, I promise.

For that matter, I should really finish this sweater I’m knitting. I’m almost done the two sleeves! After that it’s just the fronts…

So there’s two weeks before I head home for the holiday break, and I’d like to accomplish this short list… I know I can make jeans in a day, and the last sweater did not take more than a few hours (not the hand-knit one, the other one). So the coat is the big time suck that I will be working through… I’ll try to keep you posted, so I stay accountable… With some extra posts from previous makes sprinkled in, I hope it doesn’t end up to monotonous!