Monday, January 25, 2016

I might be a little bit addicted

My sewing machines are sadly neglected while I've been knitting.

This colourful item is a shawl I made for a friend's birthday. She had been dropping extremely broad hints ever since clapping eyes on my version. It was a quick knit. And you can't go wrong with Kauni rainbow yarn.

And I've been machine knitting too. I made another zipped cardigan, this one for my husband. It's the same as the one I made for my son except for the colour.

This side view shows the ribbed detail rather well.

Again, I'm quite proud of the finishing on the collar.

And I've just started a hand knitting project - a cabled cardigan for myself. The pattern is challenging as it's knitted top down with all shaping built in by increases, and the back panel requires cabling on every single row. I should be absolutely comfortable with cabling without a cable needle by the end of this project. The photo shows the back. No points for finding my mistake.

My final knitting news is that I acquired yet another knitting machine - a standard gauge Singer with ribber and punchcard mechanism, which excites me excessively. I spent some quality time cleaning and oiling it on the weekend, and then I put it through some of its paces.

Fair Isle

The two samples above are knitted with the same card and technique - the crazy mosaic is the knit side when knitted in two colours and the white sample is the purl side in (obviously) one colour only. Both are tuck knitting.

These two samples are also made with the same card but different knitting techniques. To the left is slip knitting and to the right is fair isle.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a new year, and there is a new dress

Best of a bad lot on a dark January evening
My Burda sheath dress project got temporarily side-lined by Christmas present projects. And by a little mishap that deflated my enthusiasm for it. I was merrily sewing along making great progress towards the end of November when I discovered a hole (yes, a HOLE) in the fabric of the skirt, right at centre front. And above the level of the hem (although luckily near the hemline).

Good God, how did I miss this when I was cutting out the dress? Good God, how was I going to recover?

Mend - inside
Mend - outside
Luckily, the fabric is very thick and very dimensional (it is a double wool crepe, so technically two layers of crepe that are attached to each other, but not extremely firmly), I could easily harvest lots of self-fabric thread for mending, and the hole was worse on the wrong side than the right side (although there were cut threads on the right side too). I did my best invisible weaving imitation. And then I put the mostly-constructed dress into time-out to stew over its sins and let the magic closet do its work with that little mend (out of sight = out of mind). It has mostly worked I think.

Onward. This fabric is magic. It is thick and dimensional and my triple-stitch topstitching looks pretty fabulous on it, if I do say so myself. Further, because it's crepey, it has a lot of give and the dress is super comfortable although quite fitted. And then, because it's wool, it is nice and warm even though it's sleeveless.

Bodice lining is poly tie fabric
I think Burda wanted me to line it to the edge, but I made little facings (which I sewed to the lining and then treated as part of the lining) to prevent the lining from showing at the neck and arm openings. This made the edges fairly thick - I kept it all nice and flat by allowing about 1/8" for turn of cloth at the armhole above the diagonal seams on both front and back.

The relatively thick facings made for a bumpy shoulder area. I retro-fixed this by cutting a little padding out of fusible fleece which I slipped between the layers and fused to the lining side.

The seaming details are really lovely even though they might be mostly invisible to the casual observer. The seams line up very nicely with the darts at the waist and with each other at the side.

As usual these days, The Sewing Lawyer's stash came up with all the needed bits including the interesting lining, invisible zipper, thread and emergency fusible fleece. The fabric for this dress was purchased at Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago when I was there in 2012, along with the fabric for this suit. So they coordinate, right? Well yes, the jacket does look pretty good with the dress.

But to my surprise, another jacket in my closet looks even better with it. I made this jacket in April, 2007, long before this blog got started, and it's what The Sewing Lawyer will be wearing with the dress on the first working day of 2016.

Happy New Year from: