Category Archives: knit

The Blending In Dress

The thing about moving to a new country is that you end up picking up on clothing trends, either because you choose to participate in them, or because you actively don’t. As I’ve mentioned before, in my initial “set in India” post, I’ve made some hemline adjustments, and I’ve said things in passing in other posts about clothing being “India friendly” or not “India friendly”, but generally I think I’m on the actively not participating side of the scale. After all, I haven’t adopted Indian forms of dress, nor do I follow the general “jeans and top” trend on display here among India’s elite. Instead, I tend to stick by my whole dress-and-skirt thing. Side note, try as I might, I genuinely do not understand something about the way people dress in India, specifically people who complain about the heat. Now, if you are comfortable in full-length pants and a long sleeve shirt in this climate, magnificent, no judgment here, you do you. If you wear a kurta and salwar trousers daily, I get that, it’s lightweight and really easy to wear, and I see how even if more of your body is covered, you actually stay really cool and comfortable. No idea what I’m talking about? It looks like this:

punjabi-patiala-salwar-kameez-suits-30

And if you swear by the sari? No comments here, I get it, sari for life. But what I DON’T understand is people who wear long sleeve shirts and pants, and then complain to me about the weather. Why are you wearing a long sleeve shirt? Why? These people are never people without clothing options. They are sitting in a sweater or blazer and trousers and complaining about the heat and it’s like, come on, now, this one is on you. Look at your life, look at your choices. I am one of those people who really prefers not to complain about the weather, mostly because there is nothing I can do about the weather, except try to dress appropriately within it. That, I feel, is on me. People here are constantly asked me, don’t I think it’s awfully hot? And yes, Mumbai is hot and humid, but I can mitigate this with my clothing choices! This is not a high-alert modesty city, so you have clothing options wherever you go, and besides, it’s never the people who walk around on the street who complain about this stuff with me, its people who go from car to cafe to car again. If you are hot, invest in a pair of capris! Wear a short-sleeved shirt! It’s not rocket science, people! COME on! No matter how nice that leather jacket is, you don’t live in a place where that is practical, so save it for your North-bound vacation, or IF you are going to wear it in a city whose normal temperatures are in the 80’s, please don’t complain. Look at your life, look at your choices. You’ve made this bed, friend. Lie in it’s wool-lined sheets and sweat away.

Anyway, rant over. Probably never going to really understand it, sigh.

But clothing cultures do affect me, maybe because sewing has made me creepy and observant and likely to drool over details in other people’s outfits to the point that I’m sure a lot of people think I’m sexually interested in them because of how closely I’m looking. Oh, well, whatcha gonna do. So I did notice that when I visited Singapore for the first time that the clothing culture there is wildly different from India, not just because of Indian ethnic dress, of course, but because it’s a super business-casual kind of town. In my woven cotton dresses and skirts I felt oddly underdressed, and I realized that georgette crepe, pencil skirts and synthetic fabric dresses suitable for a business meeting are more the done thing there, especially walking around during the day. Of course, that makes sense, everyone works in Singapore, it’s business IS business, and it’s highly influenced by Chinese and Western fashions. But the homogeneity of it, or the way it looked homogeneous to me, really amazed me at the time and I wandered around feeling like a shlub both trips times I visited. So by the third time I was set to visit, I decided enough was enough. I was going to make something in that tropical-climate appropriate but slightly more formal but not that formal sweetspot. We have to invent more names these clothing categories…

So without further ado, my dress I constructed to, like a spy or an anthropologist, blend in in Singapore. Not that anyone actually CARES about me blending in there, it’s so not that kind of place. But still, a girl’s gotta keep herself occupied, packing for trip wise.

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Singapore right now is rather rainy, but still humid and hot. But this dress, made of a synthetic double-knit with a nice slightly crinkled texture I got from Fabric.com when I was in the US a few months ago, survived the rain we got caught in this day well. My hair? Not so much…

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Oy. Well, again, WHATCHA GONNA DO.

I drafted the pattern for this, based on my bodice block for a woven, which I converted into a princess-seam bodice and removed the seam allowance because of the knit-factor. I thought I would have to add a zipper because it was a double knit but this thing is stretchy as hell and so comfortable I can’t get over it.

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The skirt is a half-circle and I pleated the sleeve-heads. But really, the fabric is the star here, anti-synthetic bias aside, it’s just great. I love the print and the recovery is stellar. Damn you, synthetic knits!

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A little side view for you. You really can’t see any details of the stitching, ah well, sorry guys. The wind up on the roof of the National Museum of Singapore was a bit fierce, so the skirt looks a little hi-low in this photo, but it’s not, I promise. Boy, this dress post is all about trust, isn’t it?

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I seamed the back which looks okay, not great. If I was doing this again, I would omit the back-seams and just keep the princess seams on the front, which I like, shape-wise.

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So there we go! I probably should have taken some crowd shots so you could see how well I blended in in Singapore. But again, trust me, I’m really basically a native because of this outfit, I promise…

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, knit, Travel, Uncategorized

The Knit Wit Outfit

I love a good knit. This may or may not come from my mother. If Megan Trainor is all about that bass, my mother is all about the knits. And who can blame her? A knit is a godsend to all women. Say what you will about Coco Chanel, but that woman made other women more comfortable by her innovative use of knits. Look, I love wovens. Who doesn’t? I would never surrender my love for them. But knits are just so deeply comfortable. They make anything cozier and easier to wear. If the casting off of the corset after the First World War transformed the way women felt in their clothing, then knits have done that once again, embracing curves and angles without darts or fabric geometry, stretching with the human body, moving as they move. They are more forgiving than any Catholic priest ever could be. They don’t mind too much if you have a big lunch, and they also shrink to you when you’ve been good about your running routine. Knits are like a sweet non-judgemental friend you can watch dumb movies with and enjoy large bottles of wine and large bowls of ice cream. Wovens are like that friend that motivates you and makes you feel ambitious and high achieving and professional and adult, but wovens aren’t going to hang out with you on a Sunday night while you watch The John Oliver Show, because wovens are busy, wovens are important, wovens don’t approve of getting their news with a side of comedy, wovens have ALREADY read the New York Times article and seen the BBC report on that issue and have OPINIONS before you even have context. Knits kind of make fun of wovens, as soon as they are out the door, and you smile, and sigh, and say “I’m friends with both of you, okay? But yes. Wovens can be a little uptight.  Now. Back to John Oliver. More wine?”

See, I would watch that show. That show with those three characters. It would be great. I wish someone would pay me to make a show where it’s just me talking to my fabric. Wouldn’t you watch that?

NO? Fine. Whatever. I wouldn’t watch your dumb show either.

Ahem. Anyway. Knits also make everything a little less formal, which I generally don’t approve of, as I like to feel fancy like a grown up, but I do think that knits can get there, with a little bit of sophistication and style. Of course, with silk jersey and rayons you can have a drapey slinky 1970’s dream, but what about the in between of this? Isn’t there something between sweatpants and draped halter?

And that’s why I like some of the new knit patterns that have been released by independent companies in the last few years. They have flare and they have fun. They are comfortable but they don’t only look like they are comfortable. You know what I mean?

Take, for example, Tilly and the Buttons Coco. I did:

KW1Oh, and what’s that on the bottom, lurking underneath? Is that a Colette Patterns Mabel? I DO BELIEVE IT IS! How delightful.

KW3

Yes yes! See, it’s all knit there, but I don’t look like I’m wearing a Juicy Couture Sweatsuit, I look like a person who has a job, and ambitions, and dreams.

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I made my friend Liz take these photos when we went to Philadelphia for the day to see the Patrick Kelly show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I knew nothing about this designer, and the show is excellent, as is his work. Really a fascinating and vivacious man, bursting with talent and innovation, whose appropriation of cultural and racial stigmas and stereotypes richly activated his work. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of him before, and saddened by the brevity of his amazing life. If you have the chance to see this show, please do, it’s really lovely and worth the trip if you aren’t in the area.

Liz sews too, in fact she works at the Museum at FIT, so she is always a wonderful person to see these shows with, to force to take my photograph, and to enjoy drinks and fries with afterwards. She’s a multi-talented human being.

What can I say about the construction of this. Knits are easy, man, especially the ponte de roma that makes up this top. It’s got structure for days, for a knit, but still moves with your body. Score.

KW9I used the three-quarter length sleeves and the funnel neck, which is as close to turtleneck as I can get without feeling horribly self-conscious about my chest.

KW7

There is also  a little split action on the sides, which I like a lot. You can just see that in the photo above.

KW4Close up! I love the cuffs on this shirt, they are genius. I’ve made this once before, as a dress, actually.

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The skirt is the longest of the Mabels, because I’m not a micro-mini kind of girl. It’s seamed up the front, which is hard to see on this black.

KW6See? Even I can’t see it! This skirt is just the easiest thing I have made in months. It literally took me 40 minutes, from cutting to hemming. That’s the real length of a one hour drama minus the commercials. With breaks. To drink wine.

I got that scarf at a vintage store in Austin, by the way. It has ships all over it. I love it.

KW2See, that is the face of a comfortable YET decently dressed person. Simple, easy, cozy, yet with flare. What else can one ask for as the weather grows cold? Don’t worry that I have abandoned my wovens, I will always be more type A then type K (GET IT? K FOR KNITS? Seriously, this would be a great show), but it’s nice to have the option, isn’t it?

 

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Filed under Colette Patterns, knit, Sewing, Tilly and the Buttons, Uncategorized

The In The Pink Dress

I wouldn’t consider myself a girlie-girl, per se, though my mother might disagree, because compared to her I’m Imelda Marcos meets Marilyn Monroe meets Shirley Temple. And that’s just because I enjoy a ruffle or two, while my mother once turned to me and said, stop sewing with ruffles. It’s too many ruffles. Take a break. And, as usual, she was correct. That woman knows her ruffles. I do like a floral, and a shimmery eyeshadow, on occasion, I enjoy le Pinterest, and I have been known to order the rare fluffy cocktail, although not as much as what’s-his-face, who never met a fruity cocktail he didn’t like. So maybe I’m somewhere between my mom and him on that scale. That’s a fun thought….

But generally I would like to think that I’m more womanly than girlie. Girlie is like Polly Pocket (which, sidenote, remember Polly Pocket? Why did anyone think that was good for small children? It has so many choke-worthy parts! Can you even buy that anymore? I had, like, 4.) Womanly is like Mae West. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself…but I honestly can’t remove, by surgery or otherwise, my enjoyment of pink. I like pink. Especially bright pink, the brighter the better. Maybe that’s the adult way to like pink, in fact, as a fierce bold color, not a pastel insipid one. Maybe liking pink is the daring choice, especially in New York, where black is the new black is the new black. Maybe pink can be a feminist statement, not a Stepford-Wife aspiration, saying that I’m comfortable enough enjoying such a pretty-pretty-princess color while still maintaining my adult (well….semi-adult, let’s be real, 26 years and a master’s degree does not a complete grown-up make) sense of self.

At any rate, anxieties about adulthood aside, I recently was puzzling over a pink fabric purchase from months ago, two yards of magenta jersey from, where else, GirlCharlee.com, and thinking what would be the best use of it. A wrap dress? I’ve made so many. A few tops? I’m kind of sick of overbuying jersey and having three shirts in the same color. And then it hit me, a maxi-dress. I’ve wanted another since my first attempt, and I knew I wanted to use the Mission Maxi for the bodice, while having a fuller skirt on the bottom. I also knew I wanted sleeves, albeit little kimono ones. These desires fresh in my mind, I went to work, using a highly unscientific method of making it up as I went. I cut, snipped, and hoped for the best. And you know what? It turned out pretty wonderfully!

ITP 2.jpgOh, dear, that expression looks really painful but I promise this was a really fun day! I wore this dress to my department graduation, where what’s-his-face and I both were lucky enough to hear the most amazing speech from the truly astounding playwright, Anne Washburn, and then we enjoyed lunch and a boat ride with what’s-his-face’s family. As it turns out, a maxi-dress transitions well from place to place, and boy does it work well in New York in warm weather and then out on the semi-open seas. And the color? I can only speak for myself, but I think it works.

ITP 1.jpgThere we go, that looks like a better face, right? Much more reflective of the day. Tour boats might seem touristy, but actually they are the most fun, especially when the weather is lovely. Manhattan looks lovely from afar, where you can’t smell the garbage so strongly, and New Jersey even looks attractive, woodsy and well groomed. I would heartily recommend it, for tourists and natives alike.

ITP 5.jpgI have to tell you, I’m deeply in love with this dress. I got more positive feedback on it from my classmates at our department graduation than I did on any of my work over the past two years. Which is….sad, now that I come to think about it. No, I’m just kidding. My classmates are amazing and I have been so lucky that they all support my writing AND my sewing.

ITP 4.jpgThe construction of this was extremely simple, just like knits always are. I gathered a large rectangle into the skirt, and stitched up the bodice with a neck binding and a simple turn and stitch hem at the sleeves. I actually left the skirt un-hemmed because it was the perfect length and I didn’t want to mess with that. I know, I know, sloppy, sloppy, but whatever, I can live with that.

Just to prove to you that these boat trips are fun, check out some views:

ITP 6.jpgNot too shabby, right? One more:

ITP 7.jpgIf only there weren’t so many PEOPLE in the way. Damn the world…

ITP 3.jpgOne final happy boat shot. This is totally going to be my go-to summer dress, I can tell right now. Pink and all, girlie or womanly, it’s me, and that’s what matters.

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Filed under Clothing, Jamie Christina Patterns, knit

The Gun Control Dress

I’m not the most political dresser there is, in fact, I’m not even sure I know what that would mean. I guess if I was more anxious about it I wouldn’t sew from vintage patterns, because that’s totally buying into a gendered way of dressing reviving a system of the past and embracing with nostalgia the notion of “vintage” without investigating its deeper historical and social connotations. More on that here.  But as it is, I don’t really care so much if other people don’t think about this stuff, or think about it a lot, or if they have a political view I don’t, although I will say, I admire sewing bloggers the world over, but I tend to read regularly the writers who aren’t all that far from me, as far as I can tell, in terms of social politics. I mean, I don’t know how comfortable I would be regularly reading people who make amazing things but consider homosexuality to be degenerate. And I’m sure there are people out there who like my makes but are offended by my words. It happens. I want to dress sometimes like a 1950’s housewife, but I sure as hell have no interest in ever acting like one.

Of course, all of this gets into clothing and what you wear and what it says about you and how much you want it to say about you. When I was young I went to a Quaker School from 3rd grade to senior year of high school (please don’t make an oatmeal joke, don’t be that guy, everyone hates that guy) , and some of the Quaker doctrine of non-violence had to have stuck with me, because we couldn’t wear any cameo (…not that I wanted to.) or anything with curse words on it (which is good, I think, school isn’t a Limp Bizket concert, unless your school was wildly different then mine…), or anything with any symbol of violence on it. And I’m not a big fan of guns, in general, like, I wouldn’t want to personally own one, or live in a house with one, or be near one on any kind of regular basis. I know not everyone feels that way, and I understand that completely, but that’s just me. So recently when I was home in Philadelphia over my winter break, I picked up a few yards of this ultra-cheap (1.99 a yard, whaaaaaat?) jersey from Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet, aka my Mecca, mostly because I really really love the color. But the thing is, it’s a Betsey Johnson print, and I’m not wild about her prints in general, and this one, well, it’s covered with guns.

UCG 8.jpgAnd hearts, to be fair. but, I don’t know, I just couldn’t really get around it. I thought I would be fine with it, but the more I considered it, the more the influence of those damn Quakers pervaded me, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable covered in guns. So, I did something a little radical. Can you figure out what it is?

UCG 1.jpgI used the wrong side of the fabric! WHAT? I know. I KNOW. Such things are not DONE. Such boundaries are not CROSSED. Well, just call me Lenin because I am a revolutionary! Waaa waaaaaaaa.

UCG 3.jpgAh the smug look of a history joke. These indoor photos are a little yellow, by no fault of my amazing photographer, my boss, Sam, who balanced a camera and a womb filled with a child, because she is amazing. The color is a little more cool than these photos would indicate, but I think you can see how nice and orchid purple it is.

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The pattern is Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress, with three inches added to the length of the bodice, and cut to a trimmed small, with full length sleeves and a half circle skirt. I have made it many times with many alterations and adjustments, and it was a piece of cake, and remains one of my top favorite patterns ever.

UCG 6.jpgKnit dresses. They are the best. They are comfortable and they look nice and they don’t wrinkle. What more can you ask for?

UCG 5.jpgI topstitched the neck binding and did the hems in black. This took me no time at all to make. It took me way more time to deliberate about my whole “using the wrong side” decision then to actually construct this. Sewing. It’s 90% agonizing, 10% doing.

UCG 7.jpgBut I think it works, and honestly, if I had used the right side, I don’t think I would have ever worn it. As it is, I can see myself wearing this thing often during what is clearly an everlasting winter. This is what Winterfell must feel like ALL THE TIME. Death must come as a relief to the Starks… too soon?

UCG 9.jpgHAHAHA JUST KIDDING EVERYONE SURVIVES GAME OF THRONES OBVIOUSLY IT’S MORE LIKE YOU WIN OR GET COOL PRIZES FOR TRYING!

No. No it’s not. But that being said, this leaves Robb Stark time to CALL ME. I already have a dress for our date/engagement/lifelong love. I think he’ll like the guns inside. Don’t you? If you don’t get any of this, don’t worry, neither would I have just over a year ago.

The point is, sometimes the wrong side is the right side for you! Too cheesy? Whatever. I like this dress a lot, and I’m glad it worked out. The rest of the fabric I gave to my boss for baby clothing. That baby’s going to be way more bad-ass than I am. Fact.

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Filed under Clothing, Dixie DIY, Fabric, knit, Sewing

The What Does The Fox Say Dress

I would be the first to admit that I can be a bit behind trends. Or maybe I wouldn’t be first, because I would behind the trend of knowing that I was behind the trend. I think part of this comes down to the fact that I get most of my pop culture news from my friend Ben, hi, Ben! And Ben only sends me things that have to do with Game of Thrones or cat ladies dying alone, I guess because he feels like those are my two major interests. And, hey, he’s not wrong, per se, but it does mean that I saw the Rebecca Black Friday video way later than everyone I’ve ever met. And I still haven’t seen any of the Miley Cyrus stuff, or the Gangnam Style Video. But that might be a conscious choice on my part, I’m okay with my existence as it is. I HAVE seen this video with kittens doing the Lion King, so, you know, I think I’m doing pretty well. Though if those people would do kitten Shakespeare I would seriously lose my mind with happiness. Meow is the winter of my discontent made glorious summer, AM I RIGHT?

Ahem. As you enjoy that splendid joke in all it’s glory and admire my brilliance, let me tell you about my latest dress, which I have named after a new internet Meme (well, not THAT new, as I explained) that my friend Ranjit introduced me to (THANK YOU, Ranjit. Ben, step up.) Basically it’s this video. And it’s weird. And scientifically inaccurate.

763a1ba9552164ff69a0c079a0e47b34Foxes actually sound like this. Except in England where they probably sound like “STOP HUNTING ME FOR SPORT YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER TOOLISH PRAT!” It’s England, they say prat there. But the point is, that video is super weird and I can’t get the song out of my head. Also, there is an awesome SNL parody of this with the incomparable Kerry Washington who I would love to be my best friend and we could drink copious amounts of wine and talk about how pretty and talented she is. I feel that this could happen. If you see her, do let her know about this plan, I’m sure she’d be on board.

So, this song implanted itself in my consciousness, which is probably another reason I let youtube video trends pass me by, because I get WAY too into them and influenced by them, and I went ahead and bought some fox themed fabric. Like you do.

WDTFS 3.jpgAnd I made a dress! Please enjoy my face filled with laughter and delightful closed-eye photo. The pattern is the Hope Wrap dress which I have now made 4 times. When I like something….This time I made it a faux-wrap by stitching the whole thing together. I have to say, I love this style, I know a wrap isn’t for everyone and I respect that, but it really works for me.

WDTFS 2.jpgThis is me, thinking seriously about what the fox says. The foxes on MY dress just tell me I’m pretty.

WDTFS 1.jpgMy boss took these for me at work and I got lots of posing advice from her and my co-worker, Martin. This three-quarter turn with the Miss America arms is all them. Can’t you just see me telling everyone what I want is World Peace? Cue the “cupping a bird” wave.

WDTFS 5.jpgThe fit of this is pretty nice, I think. I mean, knits make all that so easy, and this jersey shrank a tiny bit in the wash but also softened a bit, becoming a little heathery, and the stretch is nice but not too drapey, so it holds the shape well. I should just tack the wrap part at the bust, I have it kept together with a safety-pin now like the class act I am.

WDTFS 4.jpgThese indoor photos make the color look duller then it is, it’s actually a deeper blue and a truer brick red. I got the fabric from Girl Charlee, duh, and while you can’t find the dark blue there anymore, they have the same pattern in a lighter blue, if you want to go foxy as well.

WDTFS 7.jpgThese foxes are so cute. I love them. I love wearing this dress! Seriously, this pattern is great and so easy, I would recommend it heartily to anyone, especially someone new to knits, because it’s simple and flattering and quick and looks good on everyone I’ve seen make it. There are tons of wrap dress patterns out there but this one is FREE.

WDTFS 6.jpgYou are never lonely if your clothing is covered in friends! Fantastic foxy friends. So I’m pretty sure what the fox REALLY says is, awesome dress, Leah!

Also, in holy cuteness news, Foxes apparently wag their tails when they are happy. AND IT’S AWESOME.

You’re welcome.

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, knit, Sewing

The Touch Of The Irish Sweater

It’s the strangest thing, but when I told people I was going to Ireland many of them asked if I was visiting family. It’s not that it would be weird for me to visit family, though I don’t have any in Ireland whatsoever, I don’t know what the Russian Jewish or Puerto Rican populations of Ireland are but I can’t imagine they are bounteous. Perhaps I’m being dreadfully unfair here, and if so I’m awfully sorry, and there is an Irish Jewish Museum here, as a quick google search reveled to my mother and I, but the point is, no, I have no family in Ireland. But it’s not the implication that I would or wouldn’t have family here that surprised me, it’s that people asked. On few other trips I’ve been on has anyone asked me if I was visiting family, which makes me think that’s a thing, many Irish people must come back here to see family or their home town or where their ancestors ate potatoes stuffed inside potatoes on top of potatoes. I’m kidding, the food has been lovely, actually. But the point is, I just think that’s sort of funny that people seem to immediately ask that question about Ireland. Because my family is many things, but Irish isn’t one of them.

That being said, my mom used to get asked if she was Irish all the time. She had sort of auburn hair when she was younger, and she has pale skin and freckles, so I guess she looked the part, and besides, she looks amazing in many shades of green (She’s an autumn). So when I told her I would make her a sweater this year for a (very) belated Hanukkah present, I thought I could make something that would both fit the woman and this trip, as I had a suspicion I might be furiously knitting as we drove across hill and dale. And as it turns out, I know myself very well, because I ended up finishing this sweater literally as we drove about the Ring of Kerry on the 31st of December! So I got it in just under the wire for 2013, that’s something, at least. My mother was amazed, she was sure she would get it for NEXT Hanukkah. Oh ye Deborah of little faith…It’s not that my mom doesn’t think I’m a fast knitter, it’s just that she KNOWS sweaters take forever, and I think she felt guilty about me making her a gift that takes so much time and effort. But if she could gestate me for 9 months and then push me through her body and out into the world, I can make her a damn sweater or five, am I right?

At any rate, the sweater was one thing, convincing my mom to allow me to photograph it was another. So many battles, so little time. But I did it! I made a sweater AND I got my gorgeous mom to pose for me! Victory lap! So let’s see this 6 week long endevor, shall we?

TOTI 1The pattern is a free pattern (FREE PATTERN!) from Berocco, Avocet B, a really nice simple well designed open cardigan. I ended up changing the garter stitch to stockinette stitch, but making no other changes, except, well, I guess because I didn’t use the recommended yarn I just ended up with TWICE as much yarn as I needed by buying the number of skeins suggested. So that was…odd, and I’m not sure what to do with the 5 extra skeins of Berroco Vintage Yarn I now have in this color, Douglas Fir. It’s not a great one for me, sigh, so…

TOTI 3My mom is the cutest. We took these photos on a woodland walk through the grounds of Ashford Castle, a really lovely place.

TOTI 7She loves this cardigan, she was very happy to have it and even happier that I finished it in such (for me) record time. The sleeves ended up a bit long, but otherwise the fit is perfect for her, by her own admission.

TOTI 5She grumbled a bit that I made her take off her coat in the middle of the woods, and what you can’t see from these photos is that my dad is nearby holding all our stuff. Thanks, Papi.

TOTI 8

See? Awesome color for her.

TOTI 9I like this collar detail a lot. You knit these extensions in the side pieces and seam them together into a collar that kind of rolls away from the neck. Simple yet very pretty, I think. In general I found this pattern totally easy to follow and clear, and I’m pretty pleased that a free pattern was this well made and transparent. Why can’t sewing patterns be more like that? I’m looking at you, BurdaStyle!

TOTI 10A little close up of the yarn for you. It’s actually a bit darker than this, but here you can see the gold in the green. It was actually pretty nice to knit with, the acrylic/wool blend is really nice and soft.

TOTI 2As reluctant as she initially was, my mom really got into the posing by the end. She would be the best model. Call Gucci, he should know about this!

The woodland walk was just beautiful, want to see?

TOTI 11 TOTI 12 TOTI 13 TOTI 15 TOTI 16And I knew the whole time that my mom was nice and warm and cozy in her new sweater! She might not have a touch of the Irish in her blood, but at least now she has it in her wardrobe. Not too shabby, right?

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Filed under Berocco, Clothing, knit, Knitting, Travel

The Old Hat Outfit

As I write this I’m sitting in an impossibly fancy cocktail lounge in an impossibly beautifully and grand castle that has been converted into a hotel in Western Ireland. I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I really hope no one kicks me out. This place is stunning and elegant and I keep swirling my cognac like I know what I’m doing and hoping no one notices that my shoes are from H and M. Suffice to say, 2014 is going wonderfully for me so far, how is everyone else doing?

I didn’t do a year-in-review post this year, partially because I was traveling, and partially because I couldn’t really stomach the idea of summing up my year of sewing/life (in that order) in just one post. I have learned so much over the past year, from my continuing work at the Costume Shop, to sewing for other people with its challenges and delights, to trying new projects for myself, I can hardly contain it all. I made a coat! I made yoga pants! I made three swimsuits! (One was for my mom so you didn’t get to see that, she isn’t as brazen as I am, though she looks really good in a swimsuit, never fear.) I traveling a lot of places! I forced so many good friends to take photos of me and, and this part is important, they still say they like me! So I feel happy about what I did, sad for the failures, but I can honestly say that anything that didn’t work on my I either gave away to the Salvation Army or to the Textile Recycling in my neighborhood. I also made the shift to recycling all my fabric scraps, large and small, at the Textile Recycling as well, which makes me feel amazing. So big days.

But I will say, I did not keep my sewing resolutions all that well, or at least one of them. I had vowed last year not to make the same pattern over and over again and yet I think I have done that more this year then ever before. I guess I sort of unintentionally reverse-pyschologied myself. So, well done, self, but also, you are silly. Honestly, maybe this is just a part of growing up, that you realize there are certain things you reach for over and over so you had better make yourself a bunch of those because that’s the best thing for your wardrobe and your getting-dressed-sanity. Is this boring? Maybe. Is it practical? Certainly. Don’t get me wrong, I also tried and will keep trying new patterns, but I think I will also stop beating myself up when I make another of something I love. I might not always document it, but I plan to keep making certain things again and again for the simple reason that I love them, they look good on me, and if it ain’t broke…

So without further ado, I present to you my new Old Hat Outfit, worn on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, in Dublin:

OH 2Do I even have to say this at this point? The skirt is obviously Simplicity 4529. I really need to make another skirt pattern. OR DO I? I don’t know. I love this thing. Ten darts. Curves for days. Kick pleat. Less than a yard of fabric. I may never stop making this. NEVER.

OH 5I only dislike how shirts create a roll underneath pencil skirts. How do I avoid this? Any ideas? The shirt is a Hemlock from Grainline Patterns. I’ve made, like, five of these. It’s a great pattern. I slim them all down and get them out of about a yard of knit fabric. Ha, two yards, one outfit! Style for yards! Don’t groan, that was brilliant. Can’t stop, wont stop.

OH 4It was so cold when we took these but my mom warmed me by making my laugh at myself. She is the best.

OH 8

I was a little worried about the stripes of this fabric, a Costume Shop freebie, by the by, with all the many darts happening here, but somehow it worked pretty well! You can see the darts, of course, but I don’t really mind that. I mind more the small dish soap smudge there, but what can you do? At the side, in an earlier photo, you can see that the large hip dart kind of makes a chevron thing happen, which I personally support.

Oh 6As you can see, I put in a red zipper. Which is showing, quite a bit. I hand-picked it, and it really doesn’t usually show this much, or at all, I promise. Maybe it’s all the hip sass happening here? Could be, could be.

OH 7

The button is a vintage button.

OH 1

This skirt is so warm and cozy, I can’t even describe it. No lining, just soft wool.

OH 3

The fabric from the shirt is from GirlCharlee.com. Obviously. That’s kind of a give-in with my knits at this point, honestly.

OH 10I forced my mother to take these photos (I tell you, that woman is a Jewish Saint, I swear, the princess moments about photos that she puts up with from me. With anyone else I’m like, it’s great, so great, thank you so much, and with my mom I’m like, DO THIS BETTER, GOD, haven’t you ever used a CAMERA before? This woman gave birth to me. What is my deal?) in the courtyard of the former Royal Hospital, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t actually go inside this museum because homie don’t play that with contemporary art (but you get me near some 17th century something something and baby, we got a stew going!) but it’s right across from Kilmainham Gaol, a large prison which has housed some of Ireland’s most important political prisoners and rebellious heroes. It’s an amazing place, and if you ever come here I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out:

OH 12OH 17OH 16OH 15OH 13Grim, isn’t it, and this was a very NICE prison by Victorian standards. Oy.

Okay, enough sadness. here is a cat photo from a nice Irish cat we met:

OH 11So handsome, with those green eyes. Cadfael, forgive me, who can resist a bit of Irish charm?

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage