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Mid-sleeve longline knit cardigan (Oslo)

The Oslo Cardigan pattern from Seamwork was the first I bought and even though I didn’t blog about it I made five versions of it: one is this longer version with shorter sleeves, another is a micro-fleece house robe, a third, another longer cardigan made of suede (it was not stretchy so it turned out one size smaller), a fourth, a short wool cardigan that was too itchy to wear and a fifth garment, a kimono style wool cardigan with knitted sleeves and a belt.

The version here was the first one I made. One of the mistakes I made was eyeing the pattern when deciding how long this cardigan was going to be, without really stopping to think whether a really long cardigan would really be useful/comfortable/flattering. In the end I had to cut off a big chunk of fabric from the bottom. This mistake also led to not having enough fabric for long sleeves.

Now I measure first and cut second.

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I added two fabric loops at the waist level, on the back seams, slimmed the collar and shortened the sleeves.

The fabric is a mystery knit I found as a bolt end at Fabricland. Most of the time mystery knits (where the percentage of each type of fibre is not described on the label) tends to be polyester with some cotton or rayon, but this feels like it has a lot of cotton and it doesn’t feel like plastic to the touch.

At the counter, a very elegant lady, waiting in line behind me also touched the fabric and complimented me on my choice. She also noted with a smile that everything I had bought was dark blue.

She was buying ultramarine buttons and a zipper and was wearing a dark blue trench coat and indigo trousers. It was love at first sight.

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The denim dress I am wearing underneath is made with the Adelaide Seamwork pattern, a dress that I completely refashioned after I taking those photos.

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The unfortunate saga of the little crochet tank top

I actually made this crochet tank top last year, but I didn’t get the change to post about it. I was also very excited about the project in the beginning, but the fit was… meh.

I first sewed a lined crop top in a green rayon. I bought this fabric with plans of making a beautiful evening dress for a wedding last year, but after many hours of frustration I ended up with no dress and lot of small pieces of fabric. This is what happens when you don’t plan sufficiently and just cut by eye. Alas, a year has passed and I got over it 🙂

The crochet tank top is a self-drafted pattern I use for silk tank tops and it works great unlined because it moves and it’s light enough not to gap at the armhole, but when you line it, the fabric becomes rigid, and without any darts the top doesn’t fit right. I think this would fit well someone with a smaller cup size. Mistake not to be forgotten.

I could have added some little darts to fix the gap in the armhole, but at the point when I noticed it, I was already frustrated with having ruined the dress and didn’t have the emotional strength to rip the seams and start over 🙂

After sewing the top I sewed an edge with blanket stitch, to which I added the crochet trim. I didn’t use a pattern, just played with double and triple-crochet stitches, then added some rows of simple netting. Six (what!?) years ago I did something similar, when I added crochet trim to the neckline of a RTW tank top.

crochet tank top scallop point

If I would do this again, I would make the crochet part more dense. I am not sold on the whole showing your midriff trend, so that’s another mistake in the design of this top.

So things to remember:

  1. If you’re lining a bodice, always use darts in the construction of the pattern, especially if the garment is sleeveless.
  2. If you’re crocheting the lower part of a top, pay attention to the density of your crochet stitching.
  3. When unsure, take some time away from the project and rethink before it’s too late to save it.

Fitting and personal preference aside, it was really great to experiment with mixing fabric and crochet on this crochet tank top experiment. I really like the texture and how the garment feels and falls. I might try this again in the future.

I also notice how I always gravitate towards the same colours, green and blue.

Summer skirt and linen tank top

Linen is wonderful. Like cotton, linen, a textile woven from flax fibres, is one of the oldest and most popular textiles in history. It comes in different kind of weaves, looser or tighter, unbleached or dyed, and when washed, it wrinkles very easily.

There’s an old proverb that says “Never choose your women or your linen by candlelight” (Oxford Dictionary of proverbs) Apparently, it warns agains the deceitfulness of things in the light of the candle. Thankfully we don’t live in the sixteenth century, but sexist remark aside, it does talk about the importance given to choosing the best linen.

This particular linen I chose, has some cotton in it, so it doesn’t wrinkle as much as pure linen. It’s also softer and the loosed weave makes it very airy and breathable.

I’ve been thinking about making this linen top the moment I saw Seamwork Magazine’s Catarina dress. The original sewing pattern is created for soft fabrics with some drape, so I knew this was going to look rather boxy and structured, but I wasn’t sure just how boxy and whether it was going to be wearable.

Pattern and construction

I initially cut out a size larger for the tank top (or the bodice), just to make sure it would be wearable, but it was too boxy, so I ended up taking that one size off from the sides. I also made the straps much wider shorter, which brought the neckline higher. I lengthened the bodice, adding a few inches to the waistline.

In retrospect, I maybe should have lined it with a softer fabric, maybe a cotton batiste to make it less rigid. But I quite like that it looks very different from any other top I have. Even with the double layer the top is breezy and easy to wear.

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The linen top can be worn tucked in or over another garment, like a pair of jeans. It’s not quite a crop top, but it’s shorter than I usually wear, to balance out some of the boxiness. I am also looking forward to colder weather, I think this could look good layered over a blue shirt I have or under a cardigan.

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The skirt is the same floral one I posted about before. I’ve already worn this more times that probably any other skirt I’ve ever worn, so I’m considering it a great success. For a skirt 🙂

I used a rectangle of fabric I had for the skirt, then created the pleats and added the waistband. Pretty straightforward.

Last thing about the top: look at the back straps and the backline of this garment, and how perfectly they align. What a beautiful pattern.

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Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Catarina dress, altered

Things I wish I’d done differently: Use a bigger piece of fabric to remove the center seams, maybe line it in a lighter fabric.

Fabric: half a metre leftover white linen from another project.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = CAd $4 pattern (with the subscription) + $10 fabric = $14

How to make a Turban-style headband

Summer. You pour a glass of cold water and the surface of the glass instantly turns opaque, then melts into thin, transparent paths. You wait for, and enjoy even the mildest breeze in the hot air.

Summers are for keeping what your wear airy and fluid and your hair up and away from your face. They’re also a good time to start simple and useful projects, like a turban-style headband.

It’s easy to make one. All you need is scrap fabric and a piece of elastic. I started by creating two wedge shaped tubes of fabric, that I stitched on both sides and turned inside out.

The length of the pieces is the distance of your head, from one ear to the other, going over your crown. It’s up to you how wide you make your headband.

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I then arranged them to form a loop, like so:

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Once the loop was formed and shaped, I prepared another tube of fabric, somewhat thinner than the main loops and with the length corresponding to the distance from one ear to the other, going around the nape of the neck, plus 2.5 cm (1 in) on either side. Then I inserted elastic in that fabric tube and pinned it at both ends. then stitched it securely.

IMG_4973sI then sewed the loops side to the elastic side as neatly as possible. Here, I folded towards the inside the elasticated tube and pushed in the two loops from one side, then stitched by hand using tiny stitches.

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Repeat on the other side and you’re done!

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Now you’ll want to make another five of them and that’s ok 🙂

Knitting WIP: Leftover Cardigan (Inspired by Pegouno)

Not too long ago I decided that I would stop buying yarn. My yarn stash was growing bugger and bigger and the number of finished and loved projects was still very small. Some of the knitted projects I have finished lately are:

  • a white cardigan (my first knitted garment!) which turned out cute
  • this vest which is in the unravel pile right now
  • this mint knitted t-shirt which turned out meh and was since donated
  • this cute pom pom hat I wore all winter + 3 other hats I made as gifts (so rewarding <3)
  • and this wool chunky sweater, which I really liked but couldn’t really wear as it was too warm to layer under a winter coat or to wear inside during winter and not enough to wear on its own

At this point I was left with lots of tiny skeins of yarn in different colours, textures and weights. What to do?

leftover cardigan 2

And then, one day I saw the Pegouno (Penguin) cardigan designed by Stephen West, a knitwear designer based in Amsterdam. The pattern (like everything he designs) is really funky and really fun. A sort of patchwork for yarn, which allows you to mix yarn in different weights and textures.

Here are other amazing knit patterns by Westknits: this short-sleeved coat-cardigan, this magical sweater, and this embroidered panda dolman sleeve sweater.

leftover cardigan 3

Inspired by the Pegouno cardigan, I started knitting a similar cardigan. As usual, I am not following a pattern, but rather trying it on as I go. My cardigan – which I am calling the leftover cardigan – is a bit different: first it’s fitted and a bit longer. And I want to make it long-sleeved. But the principle is the same: play with the yarn you have and make something new.

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To knit this, I started with the two square blocks that make the back and then added the rectangular stripes to the sides.

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Then I picked up the stitches from the collar and front lapels and knitted a border. I did the same with the bottom hem and then I joined the shoulders.

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If I leave it as a vest, I could to the same with the armholes, but I would rather like this to be long-sleeved, so I think I will knit another rectangle at the bottom of each armhole and then pick and knit the armhole on circular needles. Unless you have a better idea? 🙂

With the lovely weather outside I am not very inspired to keep knitting this, but it would be nice to finish it before moving to a next project.

 

A pleated floral skirt

I made a skirt! And I actually wore it outside the house, moments which are important in my life as a maker and wearer or skirts 😉

I was never a big fan or skirts because I considered them fussy and higher maintenance than a pair of shorts, especially when you bike, run around and sit in the grass, looking at ducks floating peacefully on the lake. But when I received this beautiful fabric as a Christmas gift, I thought it would make a really pretty skirt. I didn’t know if I would really wear it, but I made a promise to myself I would at least give it a try.

floral skirt back snap detail

Pattern and construction

The skirt itself is just a rectangle of fabric, shaped by knife pleats, with a fitted waistband. I used a zipper and a pressure button for closure.

floral skirt back detail

This is probably one of the simplest garments to make. If you’re not sure about the pleats, you could just sew a tube and gather it with a drawstring or elastic. Since the cotton has a medium weight, I thought the pleats would work better, but if your fabric is lighter, elastic might actually be a better choice for you.

floral skirt sq

I like the skirt because the cotton is quite heavy so it can stand a little wind. It also makes it bicycle friendly (tested!). The overall shape, a bit like an inverted peony looks very pretty, makes it look special. With flat sandals and a t-shirt it looks pretty and casual and it can look quite formal with heels and a silky blouse.

I haven’t lined it yet, but I think I will.

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-made.

Things I wish I’d done differently: love this! Next time, I’ll make sure to add pockets in the side seams!

Fabric: around a metre of cotton, received as a gift 🙂

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = nothing

Tie Dye Flared Knit Top

This is actually a short sleeve top I made almost two years ago (!), I just drafted the pattern using a t-shirt I already owned and, instead of cutting the body of the top at the sleeve point, I continued the shoulder line, perpendicular to the neck line. I explained how to create the flare, in the How to make a flared waist tank top blogpost.

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The construction is very simple: I first sewed the shoulders seams together, then the side seams. I then finished the flutter sleeves, the neckline and the bottom hem. Very simple and very practical.

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-made. Similar to this one I described here.

Things I wish I’d done differently: Maybe use a more drapey knit?

Fabric: 1.1 meters tie-dye knit I bought in Barcelona for maybe a couple of euros.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = a couple of euros 🙂

Thick knit long sleeve tunic (a Mesa pattern hack)

If you’ve been reading my blog before, you might have noticed a lot of Mesa Love. Mesa is a basic, yet beautifully shaped, t-shirt dress pattern from from Seamwork Magazine. I love Seamwork Magazine. I love the simpler lines and how easy it is to modify them. It’s easy to be creative with a good base.

Other Mesa-based garments I made:

Magenta knit mesa dress (no alterations)

Green textured knit mesa (modified)

For this long sleeve tunic I changed the neckline a bit by bringing in closer to the neck (to make it less boat-neck-shaped) and then lowered it a few centimetres.

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I lengthened the sleeves to make for a long sleeve top and I shortened the dress to just under the hip.

I used a double knit I found in the scrap bin at Fabricland. I like the scrap bin because I don’t feel so bad using beautiful fabric when I hack into patterns and try something new. I also aim to make garments that I will wear a lot and I only keep what I love, so this makes me feel a bit better if I have to end up donating a garment that looks good but I know I will never wear.

I also don’t make muslins, but rather try to fit as I sew, which is easier for knit fabrics than woven ones. I will aim for a wearable muslin if it’s the first time I work with a fitted pattern for wovens, but if it’s a tried and already customizes to fit my needs pattern, I will take the risk.

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Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Mesa (in my stash). I used an already altered version of this pattern (different neckline and graded in at waist)

Things I wish I’d done differently: cut a shorter neckline band. I want to see if the band will look better after the first wash and press, if not I might have to reinstall it.

Fabric: 1.1 meters textured knit 10 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 10 CAD

Slouchy, cropped cardigan (knitted)

This is a slouchy T-shirt shaped open cardigan in stockinette stitch. It doesn’t get simpler than this. There’s no ribbing, no shaping, apart from the increase for the sleeves and it’s knitted in a cross shape, from the back piece, to shoulders and sleeves, to the two front pieces.

The fabric is lucky soft white acrylic that looks good over my mesa dresses. Being that the -28 C degrees weather doesn’t permit really permit non-warm layering, this will have to wait until spring, probably.

I keep thinking whether I should ad a closure of some kind or just leave it as it as.

white knitted crop cardigan collage

 

Oh, I almost forgot!

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Upcycled: blue wool Oslo cardigan to tiny vest

As happy as I was when I first made this wool Oslo cardigan, and as much as I tried to wear it outside the house, the cardigan just didn’t work! It was just so itchy! It was itchy even on top of two layers, so lining it would have not worked.

So I washed it cold and dried it hot in the drier to see if the felted wool would be a bit less itchy. The cardigan was oversized so it worked, but alas, it was still itchy. I washed it with conditioner in an attempt to make it even less itchy, but that didn’t really make it wearable either, so again into the washing machine it went, to felt even more.

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Miraculously, this time the fabric was nice and soft. So I cut it up and made this tiny vest. I used the felted wool sleeves for making guest slippers.

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I sewed some metallic snaps to keep the vest in place.

I’m still not completely sure I love it, but it’s really warm and I’ve already worn it outside twice. It doesn’t look very bag with a dress either. And it all else fails, it’s a great little layer under my coat too.