After some life events, I’m trying to get back in the habit of blogging. First up is a project I finished early in the spring: a new pair of mittens. I started these over the Christmas holidays, but forgot that a full time job and a toddler means that I don’t have a lot of knitting time. On the plus side, the mittens are good to go for this winter.
I may have been spending too much time looking at plants when I came up with this design.
On the whole, I’m quite happy with these. I designed the vine pattern to fit inside my usual mitten pattern. The result can be seen here: VineMittens. That being said, I did manage to add in an extra 10 rows due to misreading the original mitten pattern. These were left in the linked pdf because fixing this means reworking the pattern and the mittens are still functional and look nice. Future improvements…
I’m looking forward to wearing these this year. I think my hands will be much warmer!
Another post from me and, oddly, it’s another pants post. This time: baby leggings. After spending an embarrassing amount of time looking at patterns for baby clothes, I discovered that they were great for getting rid of small amount of fabric. Of course, I don’t have much of that around, so I immediately pulled out the fabric I had left over from a test dress I made for this. If I had been more familiar with baby clothes at the time, I’m not sure I would have made sparkly purple leggings but they were still fun to make. (Side note: it’s totally fine if a girl owns clothing that doesn’t have glitter on it!)
I got the pattern from Spoonflower, but I thought I’d walk you through the steps.
First, cut out the fabric. This used about half a yard of fabric. Perfect for those leftovers I totally don’t save.
Sew the front and back together at the sides.
Hem the bottom of the legs.
Sew the inner leg seem.
Sew in the waist band and you’ve got a pair of pants! These took me less than an hour to make.
I thought I would get back into posts with a simple update; I made another pair of pants for Lloyd. These pants came about from a series of mistakes. A couple of years ago, I bought some black fabric to replace the top of a dress. When the fabric came, it was way too stiff to use for the dress so I put it in my fabric stash and forgot about it. Later, I bought some black fabric to make pants for Lloyd but, since he didn’t need any new pants at the time, I just put the fabric away until needed.
Fast forward to earlier this year when it came time to make the pants. I pulled out all of the black fabric I had and none of it seemed suitable for pants. Except for the fabric I’d originally bought for my dress. So I used that. Happily, the pants turned out really well and seem to be pretty durable. However, there may be more pants fabric floating around the house somewhere that I haven’t found yet! Also in black…
The finished pants!
These seemed huge when I was working on them given the scale of my previous pants project.
My brother recently got married and, as I have made my own dress for family weddings, it was time to make another dress. I knew I wanted to make the dress out of stretch silk, but wasn’t sure what color I wanted. I probably ordered too many swatches to look at, but ended up settling on a nice lilac color in the end.
The dress was based on my favorite go-to jersey dress that I bought a few years ago so I had to draft a pattern before I began. This necessitated making a couple of mock-ups to make sure I got it right. Once I was happy with the mock-ups, I started working on it in the actual stretch silk.
As I was laying out the dress on the silk, I realized one thing I would have to add: a zipper. There was no way the fabric was going to stretch enough to pull over my head. I immediately added a seam down the back of the dress and started looking at zippers, finally settling on a closely color matched invisible zipper. Unfortunately, I’d never installed an invisible zipper that I was happy with before. A couple of Google searches and several websites later, I felt slightly more confident about it – and then proceeded to put it off as long as possible. In the end, however, I was very happy with the result.
The invisible zipper as installed. Not quite invisible, but nicely done.
In the end, I was very happy with the way the dress turned out; I think I may have a new favorite material to work with! After wearing this dress all day, it was still comfortable and breathable despite the humidity of summer on the east coast. I would definitely make a dress like this again.
I even put some nice pleats in front.
The dress definitely had nice movement. Silk is great for that!
Lloyd and I had several conversations about hats this past week. It got me thinking about the hat I modified last year to have a removable band. The idea was to be able to change out the band to make it match multiple outfits or just give it a different look. Then the weather got cold and I got distracted and never made any additional bands.
But now that it’s hat season again, I pulled out my nice straw cloche and dug through my fabric bins to find something fun.
The starting materials. I used this fabric for a skirt a couple of years ago and really like it.
I wanted to keep things simple so I sewed a fabric tube with a single angled side and pinned it together. I’m very happy with the result and looking forward to wearing it soon!
The finished hat. I think Grandma’s pin makes this look a lot more finished.
A little over a year ago, I knit myself a pair of ballet slippers. Unfortunately, the slippers were not made to be worn every night for over a year and soon wore out.
Just a couple of small holes.
I really liked these slippers and still had plenty of yarn left over, so I decided to knit myself a new pair. This time with felt soles.
Ballet shoe style soles.
I also changed up how I did the lacing in an effort to keep them in place on my feet a little better.
The new lacing method. More like actual ballet shoes.
I’m very glad I have a new pair of slippers. Hopefully this pair will last longer than the last as I’ll have to buy a new skein of yarn for the next pair!
My new favorite (and only) pair of slippers.
For the past two years, I’ve used Lloyd’s company Christmas party as an excuse to make myself a fancy new dress. This past year, I finally decided to give print at home pdf patterns a shot. I have to say that I’m not a fan of this pattern distribution method. Yes, I can get the pattern right now and, yes, the selection is really very good, but they’re really a lot of work. First of all, like many millennials, I don’t own a printer so the first hurdle is finding a way to print my pattern. Then I have to assemble it myself, make a muslin of the garment (something I’d do with any type of pattern), and then draft a new pattern piece to match the changes. My taped together pieces of computer paper just don’t hold up under modifications.
Once I got my pattern set up and resized properly, I was very happy with it. Since my favorite fabric store in the Seattle area went out of business, I’ve been ordering my fabric from Mood. I got a light green silk for this project and the dress turned out really well! As a bonus, it’s also one of the most comfortable formal dresses I own. I’m very happy with this one.
The finished dress. I thought the lighter color would work at any time of year – not that I’m looking for a reason to wear it again… :)
Since I first went in to Britex 10 years ago, I’ve wanted to make a fancy dress from the fabric they sell on the first floor. For those of you not familiar with this particular fabric store, the first floor is where they keep all the expensive fabrics like silks and wools. As a grad student, that wasn’t going to happen. So when we went back to SF to visit friends last spring I knew what I wanted to do: shop on the first floor of Britex!
I’d already done my homework and knew, generally speaking, what style of dress I wanted to make, what materials I wanted to use, and how much fabric to buy. However, one of the advantages of Britex is that the staff is always excited about offering advice on fabric selections. I was introduced to a silk/silicone blend that had an interesting shimmery tone. I really liked it, but thought it was a bit much, so I got a geometric print sheer silk fabric to use as an overlay to tone it down. For the skirt, I got a lavender wool crepe. I’ve always wanted to work with this fabric and, now that I have, will definitely be buying more wool crepe next time I go to SF.
I was very happy with how this dress turned out and have already been able to wear it to two events. Shopping on the first floor was definitely a fun experience and something I’d like to do again – though I probably won’t go all out again unless I have a particular reason. I don’t need that many fancy dresses!
The dress from the front.
The back view of the dress. You can tell it’s late in summer from my very visible tan lines. :)
My purple cowl has gone missing, so I decided to do the sensible thing: order the same yarn and knit myself a new one. While I was looking at yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a couple more skeins and make a second cowl since I got so much use out of the first one. This time, I decided to make an ombre cowl that faded from burgundy to charcoal. Other than that, the cowls are the same. And now I have two beautiful new cowls! Just in time for summer. *sigh* Such is the way of my knitting projects…
Have you seen my twin? I don’t know where it’s gone.
I really like this color combination. And knitting stripes.
I wanted another pair of fingerless gloves that would be light enough for spring but would still provide enough warmth on rainy, cool days. After looking through various patterns, I chose a light weight lace glove. Since I’ve made a lot of fingerless gloves in the past few years, I decided to make up a pattern of my own.
First, I chose a length. I knew I wanted to make them to be longer so that I could wear them with t-shirts instead of a sweater so this step went pretty quickly. Next, I had to pick a lace pattern that required between 14 and 20 stitches. This limit was due to the number of stitches across the back of the glove (20 stitches). I probably spent longer than necessary looking at lace patterns, but finally decided on a diamond twist pattern and started knitting.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the gloves turned out. They were warmer than my sweater the day I took these pictures so I think they’ll work nicely as well!
The finished gloves.
I used ribbing on most of the glove for a closer fit on my arm.
And the lace detail. Lloyd gave me Vogue Stitchionary: Lace for Christmas and I have definitely been making use of it.