Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Peplum blouse (wearable muslin)

So, for a very long time I've been wanting to make a late 1940s style peplum blouse. I just love the look and I do have a few store-bought ones but they really don't fit so well on my tall and big-boobed figure. The waistline ends up too high and/or the bust pulls up the fabric in the front... Guess how often I use them...? Pretty much never. 

I drafted a pattern based on my standard bodice and this picture i found on Pinterest (here: ). 

A quick Google search and I found the front of the pattern envelope. Really cute, right?

I used those pattern pics as a guide and made a simple boat neck and nothing extra on this first attempt, mainly because I wanted to test the basic structure but also since I chose a busy fabric. Also I decided to put an upside-down zipper in the back. You can see the layout from the inside:

I learned a few things from this muslin! For one I hate zippers (ok I admit I knew that already. I need practice.). The old synthetic fabric scrap I used for the project (some rayon-ish thing) is very stiff and loves to make strange folds and puckers everywhere. Very obvious in the picture below.. (and that's the best pic from the back out of the six I took!) Also I really should have put on some more structured underwear (like, a corset or shaper of some sort) before taking these pictures... but anyway, could have been worse.

I need to adjust my pattern in the upper back (I am not quite as hunchbacked as I seem to think) and below the waist in the front (to make it even more hourglass shaped). But overall, not bad for a first muslin!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The 'Pink Experiment' Dress

Finally a new dress sewn after the Big White Wedding Dress last year!

I may have broken myself a bit on that one. (Well, ok, perhaps not just on that, considering I am still recovering from my occupational burnout #2 so far in life...)

Anyway, I've been going over my patterns and fabric stash a lot lately and been really itching to get some sewing done. At last I dared to try something and so I opted for a very simple dress (with only one new constructional detail) and a fabric I think I at some point got for free! In other words: a very low pressure project, seemed like a good idea.

Here's how it turned out! (and you get a peek of my messy but colorful workspace and fancy dress collection - old, new, homesewn, storebought and inherited - in the background, you're welcome...)

Since the fabric is striped, I've always known I wanted to use the stripes as a slimming feature, in some clever construction thing... So, I used my absolute favorite pattern making book from 1956 again to alter the darts on my me-made standard dress pattern. This V-shaped dart-design was perfect for my plan!

I also did a "decorative" double stitched seam on the edges and to highlight the darts. It's hard to see from a distance so here are some closeups!

The next time I make a dress from this pattern I am going to shorten the bodice back and lengthen the front a bit. I have a bit of a sway back so there is some bunching around the waist mid back. Also since I am "top heavy" i.e. carrying around a (European size) 75F bust, it's always tricky to calculate how much extra length to add mid front to make the waist sit right both front and back... You can see in the following picture that when I move around in the dress there is a lot of unnecessary wrinkling because of this.

Still, I am pretty happy by the results. I think it's a great dress for both a fancy day at the office (perhaps paired with a short black jacket and some more low-key shoes) or a dinner at a nice restaurant (like I'm wearing it the pictures)! Plus I have more nice fabrics in my stash that I could use for making more versions and perfecting this pattern.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The big knit blanket

So - I finally finished making the blanket! 

Not that the work itself has taken a lot of time, I've just been doing other stuff. I love that it came out kind of like a modern hippie thing, all colors at once and quite weird and wonky. 

Here it is!

The blanket is made from all those jersey tops and t-shirts that had so much holes and wear that they had been downgraded beyond the "slopping around at home"-pile. And since I am one of those people that have a slight inclination towards... um, hoarding I guess... well, I had a lot of them.

23 to be exact. Some were strap tops, so very little fabric there, and some were tunics. These made a very heavy thick blanket of circa 120*120 cm, when not stretched. 

A little bit of How to, for those interested:

First of all, find your "yarn" and from there, pick the size of your project and what knitting needles to use. You can buy very thick yarn resembling fabric scraps and avoid the boring bit that is cutting the fabric, but at least here in Sweden, those yarns are ridiculously expensive. 

Another idea if you don't save your crappy old t-shirts like I do, is to buy some lightweight jersey fabric (these are often very cheap / on sale when next seasons colors come in) and use for making the yarn! 

Some of the tops I could tear instead of cut but mostly they are either woven in a way or have been washed and worn so much that they do not tear in any straight-ish lines at all.  

If you decide to cut up old tops, there is no right or wrong way to make the yarn. I both tried cutting back and forth in a zigzag-pattern and starting from the bottom and cutting in a spiral.

Since I had, well, loads and loads of fabric that I could use, I just ballparked how thick I wanted my blanket and went with size 15 needles and cut the fabric into roughly inch-wide ribbons. I did not care at all if the yarn varied in thickness.

There was supposed to be a picture of the needles here but someone (Pippin the fluffball) decided to lie on them when I had the camera out so, no. (Or rather, you can't really see them...)
I ended up casting on 40 stitches, mainly because the needle was getting awfully crowded, and that it seemed like a nice even number.

I decided to do a wide rib stich (this might be called something else when you do five knit, five purl instead of the common one or two..?).

To make a big blanket (for a cold winter day spent in the couch) I went for making four separate pieces and assemble into one. 40 stitches on size 15 needles made for a 60 cm wide piece, and roughly 45 rows for 60 cm lengthwise. However the measuring tape is your best friend during this...

After making the four parts it's time to decide how to put them together (not really an issue if you have gone for buying/making your yarn in just one or a couple of colors). I just laid them out on the floor and changed it around until it looked ok.

After that it's assembly time! This, if ever, is the perfect time to bring out that massive crochet hook... like the one I have neatly put away in some good spot last summer and can't find. But, no worries, it works perfectly fine to just tie them together by hand!

I went for "as simple as possible" and mimicked a hemming stitch by just threading the yarn through and over the knitted stitches.

This can of course be done using some sort of needle too.

Again, not exactly perfection, but it looks good for the overall style of this type of project! 

I tried to get some great pictures of what it actually looks like, on me, in my favorite chair. This is as good as it got after, um, way too many takes. The blanket is cozy, Speedy the cat is looking chubby and majestic, and I am making a very weird face. But it's all good. 

I hope you are all having a great week! Peace and love, folks!