Showing posts with label Vonica cardigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vonica cardigan. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Been knitting

I finished my cardigan.  

Soooo, what else can I say about it?  

I used extra-fine merino, double knitting weight, from ColourMart.  I've sung the praises of the yarn from this UK vendor before.  They are like a knitting yarn jobber - they reformat fine machine knitting yarns used in top knitting mills in the UK and Europe into weights that hand knitters can cope with.  (I'm wearing the cardi with a silk top also from ColourMart yarn.)

It does fit, as you can see.  The shoulders are dropped but not excessively so.  I made something between the smallest and second-smallest size and it seems about right.

The fabric is stretchy and could be pinned together at CF, if I was so inclined.  

I like the simple zig-zag lace - it was very easy to memorize the pattern.  

Inside Out
To the right you can see how the sweater is constructed, from the inside.  The horizontal line is where the back joins the front and lower edge of the collar.  I've reinforced this line with a row of single crochet chain, to stabilize the shoulder line.  

The edges of the cardigan lie nice and flat - it's a simple edge - K3, P1, K1, P1 (on wrong side, K1, P1, K1, P3) and then on with whatever the body is.  The 3 stockinette stitches at the edge curl to the wrong side and the 3 stitches of ribbing contain the amount of curl very effectively.  You can see the wrong side of this edge on the collar.  

I'm contemplating my next project.  I have a muslin cut out for this skirt.  

The problem is, as designed it's pretty skin tight.  I've added 2 cm at CF and another 2 at CB, because I'm contemplating it in a woven suiting instead of a cotton-lycra sateen as Burda intended.  

I need another suit...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Knitting patterns - The Sewing Lawyer muses

Knitting.  Sometimes you start slow and simple (bottom rib band of a sweater or the top rib band of a sock) and sometimes you have to plunge right into some sort of complicated manipulation or technique.  Inevitably there will be chunks of relatively mindless knitting (back and forth, around and around) on an established number of stitches, and transition points where you have to engage your brain.  However, overall knitting gives you lots of time to think.

If you are making anything to fit the human body, the characteristics of knitting are truly wonderful.  Its geometry and the fluidity of knitting combine to allow you to make the stitches flow and grow or decrease as the case may be, turn corners, attach new garment segments sideways, make holes and close them up again as needed, and do virtually anything to make the needed shape.  Knitting designers love all this stuff.  But do they care about fit?  

Chic Knits - Vonica Pattern
Right now, I'm working on a cardigan.  It combines a relatively simple lace pattern (7 stitch repeat over 16 rows) with some mindless stockinette sections.  The pattern is by an accomplished designer, Bonnie Marie Burns (Chic Knits).  It's called Vonica.  It was first published on Ravelry in April, 2011.  As of today, it has been favorited by 2,727 people, making it one of her most popular patterns, although there are "only" 184 projects posted on the site as of today.

People really like this sweater.  As does The Sewing Lawyer, I hasten to add.  (I actually can't wait to finish this - I SO need a black cardigan...)  It's just that, from a fit perspective, it's kind of strange.  More on that below, but first read about how this sweater is built.

Progress so far
Construction-wise, the pattern grows out of the centre back collar. You do a provisional cast on, knit a narrow strap to form the back collar, cast on to make the piece a lot wider for the shoulder on one side, and work the front down to the bottom of the armscye.  (This seems to flummox lots of knitters, judging from comments I've seen on Ravelry, but produces a shape that is completely logical to anyone who has ever sewn a garment with a shawl collar.)  Next, it's back to the CB collar where you work in the opposite direction from your provisional cast on to make a mirror-image piece for the other front.  Then you pick up stitches along the cast on front shoulder edges and the lower edge of the collar, and work the back down to the bottom of the armscye before casting on additional stitches at the armscye (for under the arm), joining front to back, and knitting seamlessly down to the ribbed hem.  Then you pick up stitches all around the armscye and knit the sleeves, in the round, down to their ribbed hems.  It's truly ingenious, as per comments above about knitting's fluidity and ability to change direction.

I've just finished the body, and have started on the left sleeve.  To the right, you can see what it looks like so far.  Once it's blocked, the fabric should actually cover me ... although this cardigan is designed to be unfastened and looks pretty good even if the front edges don't touch or overlap.

Here's the weirdness, at least to this sewing person.  Everybody knows (don't they?) that the back, above the armscye, needs to be wider and longer than the front to fit the body.  If it isn't, the garment shoulders will slip to the back, as the relatively-too-short back borrows fabric from the relatively-too-long front.  Moreover, the wider front shoulders will facilitate the garment's tendency to slip to the back.

Bonnie Marie Burns did not follow these "rules".  This pattern has many fewer stitches at the shoulder line in the back (22 in my size) than the front (29).  In the intended gauge of 20 stitches to 4" (10cm) that's a dimensional difference of about 1.4" (3.5cm) Personally, I think the back fits my relatively narrow shoulders correctly.  At left, you can see that the edge of the back armscye lies pretty much straight down from the shoulder point.  At right, a view from above showing that, as I would have expected, the actual shoulder line (red) is slipping to the back.  The blue line is the actual top of the shoulder.  Believe me, the edge of the sleeve at front is falling off the shoulder.  The fit of this cardigan is going to be quite different in the front than it is in the back.  Neither is, in the abstract, wrong or bad, but shouldn't they match?

I get that knitting is different from sewing, and its qualities allow different fitting norms to apply.  But do they have to be so different?  Is there something technical that requires this garment to be constructed this way?Or should The Sewing Lawyer stop fussing and enjoy the process?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A bad blogger attempts to bring you up to date

Wow, I've been MIA for the entire month of December!  Some of this is due to necessarily secretive pre-Christmas sewing.  Which really wouldn't excite you anyway, consisting mainly of pajamas.  One example at right.  I did well in my annual quest for unusual/loud/surprising prints with this urban scene.  Notice the contrast piping on the collar.  It's repeated on the pocket and cuffs.

I have also been knitting. I'm making yet another pair of socks, and this cardigan.  Mine will be black and I'm pretty sure that it will have full length sleeves since a wool cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves sort of misses the mark in the climate I live in.

Why yes, that is a kid-sized Chicago
Blackhawks hockey jersey ...
I also  sewed up a top and cardigan for myself, but my computer decided to freeze up on me as I was attempting to cut and paste all the photos.  The forced restart resulted in some interesting visual effects, as you can see.

I'll take some more pics soon, maybe even with the skirt they are supposed to coordinate with.  When it is more than a muslin, that is.

In the meantime, here is the back of the top.  For some reason, this is the only picture that survived unscathed.

If you're a very dedicated follower of patterns, you may be able to tell that this is Jalie 2682.  The fabric is an extremely stretchy wool and lycra jersey purchased many years ago at a knitting mill in downtown Hamilton Ontario.  A friend knew about weekly sales of seconds, and I snapped this up for (if memory serves) about $2 per 1.5 metre piece.  Two pieces made the sleeveless top and a coordinating waterfall cardigan.  The atmosphere of the place was positively Dickensian and I wonder if it could possibly have survived.  If anyone knows, leave me a comment.

I didn't have enough fabric to double the front, so I finished the neck edge and armscyes with the world-famous Jalie no-elastic trim finish.   This time I put the binding on the inside, like a facing, and topstitched it.  Looks just great, and as always it produces a firm and beautifully finished edge.

The delightful skirt I'm wearing with my new top is the second muslin of Vogue 1324.  For fun I thought I'd show you how the first muslin compares.
To the left is my first muslin.  It's unaltered, except that I sewed the front darts lower in an unsuccessful effort to get rid of the unattractive pooching.  

There are not too many reviews of this pattern as made up, but every one I've seen has had this tell-tale pooching at approximately crotch level in the front.  It's not a great look, IMHO.  

While the skirt is overall too tight, the main problem in the front is that there is too much length from waist to hip level in the CF piece, and there is too much width caught in the darts, which release just where the pooching is at its max, making it all so much worse.  I showed you the fix in this post.

The post-alteration front is smoother through the tummy.  I think once it's made up in my cashmere fabric (yummy) it will lie smooth and flat.  Or maybe I'm self-deluding.

The original side view shows that the skirt is too tight.  See how it cups in under my butt? I'm too old for that, and anyway I don't think such a tight skirt would be at all comfortable.

The arrow on the other side is pointing to the folds caused by too much length in front.

My adjustments add width through the thigh, making the skirt more wearable.  However, now that the skirt can fall from the waistband, other problems appear.  The back is also too long.  See how it's pulling diagonally at the upper side, drooping under my seat, and hitting the back of my knees at the hem?  If I scoop about 1.5cm off the waist seam at CB, tapering to the original point where the side seam would be, it should take care of these problems.

So I hear you thinking that I've taken all the interesting bits out of this and turned it into a ho-hum pencil skirt that looks like every other pencil skirt in the universe.  I assure you, it's still slim fitting and plenty interesting with those curved seams.  I've just altered it into the wearability range, for The Sewing Lawyer.  Besides, it will be orange cashmere when I've finished.