Nothing (finished) to See Here!

 

It has been a slow, strange summer around here. June and July always bring time-sensitive costume sewing, altering, and mending for work, which destroys both my sewing space and my enthusiasm, and this year it was all made worse because I was also looking for a new job. After 4.5 years in my current job, I forgot how exhausting and demoralizing the job search can be! I am so thrilled, though, to say that at the end of this month I will start a new job at The Marine Mammal Center. It is such an amazing organization and I still can’t quite believe I’ll be contributing there every day. If you are in the Bay Area and haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, unable to face sewing at all, I’ve been knitting up a storm! No finished objects to show yet, though, as I keep switching projects. Here is my queue…

Current project: Lucca Shawl

One day I just had to start a lace project, and the Lucca Shawl it was. I am loving this pattern and can’t wait to see what it looks like!! Right now it’s impossible to know, being on small circular needles. It’s just a puffy, lacey blob.

 

UFO #1: Martine Pullover

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This was going along just fine until that day I had to start a lace project! Almost done with front and back. So far I like this pattern, but the stitch pattern is hard on the hands. It’s probably not a bad thing that I’m taking a break.

UFO #2: Fairweather Gansey

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I ran out of yarn with just a partial sleeve and neckband to go. The yarn is still available, but I haven’t gotten around to ordering it yet, for some crazy reason!

UFO #3: Stonecutter Pullover

Not even going to picture this sad thing–the lovely cables won’t show up in black anyway! This is the end of Stonecutter. Despite appearing to be almost done with front and back, I need to fix the back armhole and I’m just over it. As much as I love black, I’m never, ever knitting a complicated pattern in black again. Low visibility sucked all the joy out of this pattern! I do want to make it, though, but in a light yarn or maybe even a non-neutral!

I think this change of job will bring a change of spirits, and I’ll be motivated to sew once more for a more casual lifestyle. In the meantime, just keep knitting!

Floral Sundress

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For my June Burda project, I went back to this little sundress with inset panels from 2016. I just love inset panels, and even enjoy sewing those angled seams. As a beginner sewing them felt impossible, so now I’m always a little proud of myself when it works!

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Burda 6/2016 #108

I used a cotton shirting I’ve had in the stash for years. I bought it online with a shirt in mind, but in person the print felt too wild. I’m glad I waited, because it paired nicely with this pattern, particularly with the black piping highlighting seam lines.

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I eliminated the back zipper and seam, which was perfectly fine. There is plenty of room in this dress! So much, actually, that if I make it again I will probably take in the sides and add back shaping. It’s not totally unflattering, though, and it’s quite comfortable! The fit of the bodice is good, with close cut armholes, dior darts, and back neckline darts.

It’s actually warm out today in SF, and this dress is going to be perfect for afternoon knitting in the garden!

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Flouncy Blouse

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I completed a May Burda project, and almost even finished within the correct month (even though it’s now July)! This May I chose a pattern from the 5/2017 issue–the petite raglan blouse with flounces and ties. It’s a little overtly feminine for my usual taste, but there’s something about this pattern that called to me every time I saw it in the issue!

Burda 5/17 #109

I used navy silk/cotton voile leftover from my button-down shirt, and had barely enough. The fabric is perfect for this top, but I’m a little disgusted at my finishing. You can see the wrinkling down the front seam… that’s because I’ve been too lazy to really figure out settings on my serger, and it does not do well with single layers of fine fabric. The wrinkling in real life isn’t that noticeable, but this project has made me vow to either learn the serger or use different finishing techniques on fine fabric. There’s no excuse!

Speaking of wrinkling, though, I cannot get the washing and storage wrinkles out of this fabric. It is pressed flat, but the wrinkles remain. Again, in real life it’s not so noticeable, but I don’t like it. Any suggestions?

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The flounces are cut on, leading to interesting construction. You finish the edges first, and then sew the lower part of the front seam right sides together, and the upper part wrong sides together. The flounces fall open so that the wrong side shows the most, and I actually switched right side for wrong as my hem looked better on the original right side. It is not easy to get both sides of the hem and the point where the seams switch to look absolutely perfect. I felt a little bad about it, until I saw that Burda’s example doesn’t feature perfect stitching either! If I make this again, there will definitely be significant hand stitching!

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I said “if” I make it again, because it’s too big. Significantly so. What’s baffling, is that this top is the petite offering for the month! I’m 5’4″, the tallest height listed for Burda’s petite sizing, and have had to add a touch of length for previous petite tops. Here, though, the armholes gape so that my bra shows and the hem nearly reaches my fingertips. Was this really a tall pattern mislabeled as petite??

That said, I do like the finished top quite a bit, especially when the bow is tied up snugly. It looks great tucked into a skirt with a cardigan for work, and I’m not all that concerned with a black bra peeking out under the arm with my casual weekend lifestyle. Let’s just hope truly petite ladies notice that the pattern pieces look too big before proceeding!

Questionable April Burda…

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For April, I decided to revisit the 60s dress from the 4/16 issue. I made this pattern for an event last year out of a pretty icky poly suiting, but really liked the pattern. This time, though, I’m not sure. I had a batik cotton caftan to repurpose and thought the different border patterns could make for an interesting design, but I find the dress so unflattering! The lower half just seems to balloon, and the fabric is both stiff and clingy. A shorter length might help, but that would sacrifice the border… I made this for my mom for Mothers’ Day, but I just can’t quite give it to her!

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The print placement on the front really doesn’t help, that rectangle zooming in on the chest! The dark to light also enhances the ballooning effect. I do like the print placement on the back, though. This was the first time I really played with placement, and have definitely learned a few things for next time…

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The original Nod to Mod dress

Chandelier Cardigan

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Two months gone by! May is always terribly busy at work, and I’m glad to see a little rest in the coming weeks. I finished this cardigan quite some time ago, but needed to sew on buttons. Of course, when I finally forced myself to do it, these were the best looking buttons I had in my stash! I intend to replace them at some point.

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I absolutely loved knitting this pattern up, and the finished cardigan is really great too. Better than these photos suggest, and much lighter. (Sidebar: the photos look lighter on my phone too, so hopefully anyone reading can actually see the detail! Someday I’ll take good photos. Someday.) It really might be my most enjoyed knitting project yet! The lace pattern is not hard and it’s easy to see where you are. I meant to put in lifelines, but decided I didn’t need to early on (and luckily I was right!). This pattern is in the book The Art of Seamless Knitting, which I got on eBay for $4, including shipping. The other patterns look nice, but I don’t think I like them enough to actually make them. Too many amazing patterns out there!

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I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in sport weight, because I still feel like too much of a sweater novice to spring for nicer yarn. It’s fine, easy to knit, and the finished item is okay. The sapphire color is amazing, and I think it makes the yarn look nicer than it actually is! I knit the second size, and it came out perfect. Then I put it in the washing machine on delicate before blocking, and it shrunk just enough that I could use a size bigger. It’s not unwearable, just a tad snug in the arms.

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There are so many patterns in my Ravelry favorites that I can’t really imagine knitting this one again, but I probably should! Definitely a winner of a pattern!

Ogdens 2 and 3

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My dream camisole collection is growing! I did a small FBA on the True Bias Ogden and the fit is much better. I’m still seeing a little pulling in the upper chest, though it feels fine to wear. For the next one I may just try going up a size without the FBA.

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This top is made from remnants of another silk-cotton voile. I made a long sleeved top out of this fabric in October, but I messed up in construction and took an inch out of the bodice, making it unwearable. I really kicked myself. Burda patterns have fit me so consistently that I got complacent with using small seam allowances, and there was no room for adjustment. Luckily, the Ogden takes so little fabric, I was able to get a top out of the leftovers and salvaged sleeves! I love the fabric, and have worn this top almost weekly since finishing it a month ago.

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Next up is my first 100% silk camisole. I’ve dreamed of having a collection of silk camisoles form the base of my wardrobe for many years, and it’s finally happening! I feel so elegant and put together wearing it under cardigans and jackets, even when I know I don’t quite look it. It sounds so shallow, but feeling good or bad in clothes can really impact my mood. This is a step in the right direction!

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I intended for the matte side of this rosy charmeuse to be shown, but I couldn’t help it. The fabric has more of a luster than a shine, and it’s just so pretty. I pre-washed and dried the fabric in the machine, and serged every raw edge. The silk probably deserves more caring techniques, but this cami will be worn a ton and I want it to hold up, even when inevitably thrown into the dryer by accident. I did hand roll the hem, though, at least there’s that! I go back and forth about pressing the rolled hem flat. I left it for now. I kind of like the soft waviness in person, but it is bothering me in these photos!

I have a few more single yards of silk waiting. I can’t wait to make the next one!

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February shirt in April

IMG_6669Making that motorcycle jacket kind of threw off my monthly Burda project. I might catch up, or not. I haven’t been thrilled with this year’s March and April issues, but last year’s both have a number of designs I would love to make. At any rate, here’s a February design! I’ve been hankering to make a button down shirt, and decided on Burda 2/2016 #108, minus the pockets and sleeve tabs.

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I used a navy silk cotton voile that’s been in my stash for years. It’s absolutely dreamy to wear, like a cloud. I love this shirt and have worn it just about every week since making it. I hope the shirt is stylishly oversize, and not just frumpy. I feel great in it, but it’s hard to tell how it really looks when I’m so biased.

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Eeek, need to iron that collar! 

I did as instructed and made a covered button band, only I’m sure I did not do it right because it’s nearly impossible to button. Luckily, I can slip the shirt on and off without unbuttoning! I’m going to need to find real instructions before attempting this feature again. I hand rolled the hem, which is one of my very favorite techniques. I love the soft roll and wave, not to mention the perfectly narrow hem, especially on such a soft, floaty shirt.

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