Dress Like Your Grandma

I love this challenge that Tanya hosts so much, but have felt like I can’t really participate as I don’t have a photo to go on. It’s silly, the sewing community is so inclusive, but it took reading a note that the inspiration photo can come from anywhere that allowed me to give myself permission to participate.

There’s a photo I saved years ago that makes me think of my grandma, who grew up in Minnesota and loved skating. I love skating too, and that link to her seems special to me.

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Image from http://www.prettyoldpatterns.etsy.com, where you can buy the pattern. Which I did, naturally!

The pattern is dated from the late 1930’s, when my grandma would have been in her early 20’s. At $3.60 I went ahead and bought it, but am actually on the fence about the sweater. It uses 8 colors, and that’s just a lot of fair isle, especially in confusing vintage instructions. The fair isle patterns are charted, but the pattern doesn’t actually indicate when you should start the chart. I could always leave off the charted design or sub something simpler.

I have a pattern booklet that actually belonged to my grandma, and may choose one of these instead. I love the cowboy sweater, and could extend the arms, and maybe change the motif. Super cute, but I would be self-conscious in real life!

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Both the original and the cowboy options look like they’re knit in fingering weight, which means a lot of knitting! Way too much to finish by April 30. I think even a sweater in worsted wouldn’t even get done in time!

I am considering a few other options in heavier weights. These are all modern, and honestly would probably get more wear. Most would need shortening a bit.

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Boundary | Grettir | Carbeth | Snowfall

The skirt of the inspiration photo is also knit in fingering weight yarn. That’s not happening! I do want to make a similar a-line skirt out of fabric, though, and I could use one in my real-life wardrobe too.

I don’t think I’m officially entering the challenge, because I do want to knit the sweater and there’s no way I could finish in time. I could whip up a sweater on the serger, though, we’ll see ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to Tanya for this special challenge!

Fairweather Pullover

After running out of yarn halfway down the second sleeve, I’m finally finished with the Fairweather! This was a fun, easy pattern to knit with interesting details, like the very cool shoulder gussets and sleeve shaping.

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Unfortunately, I don’t like wearing it all that much! The neckline is really wide on me, so wide that it’s practically off the shoulder. The model wears a button down shirt underneath, which I haven’t tried as I don’t have a shirt that matches (yet). I also just don’t really like front panels on me in general. I knew this going in, but went for it anyway. Despite these dislikes, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit with leggings and boots in our recent stormy weather. It fills a significant hole in my closet, and I need to look out for other longer patterns.

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I do have ideas about fixing it. I may try running elastic around the neckband to give it a little more stability and pull it in a little, or I may put it in a warm wash to felt it up a bit. That’s a risky move, but felting worked wonders for my Mountain High sweater. Until then, I’ll just keep on wearing it!

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Finished Knit! The Lucca Shawl

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One benefit of having way too many WIPs is that they do sometimes wrap up one on top of the other! This shawl is definitely the more exciting of the two suddenly-finished projects. It’s the Lucca Shawl by Brooklyn Tweed, picked up one day last summer when I had a hankering to knit some lace.

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It’s a full circle, knit with lace-weight merino. It is so soft and light, and I am a total convert to lace-weight yarn. I also had a blast with this pattern, and I feel like I can tackle any lace pattern now! It actually was not that difficult, and I even quit using lifelines pretty early on. There are mistakes throughout, but I was able to make one or knit two together on the next round to make the stitch count right, and with all this knitting even I can’t spot the mistakes!

Despite loving it, I’ve only worn it once, to the Bay Area Frocktails last month (which was so fun!). BT’s models make it look so easy to wear, but I find the circular shape awkward. I also wear a backpack to work, which doesn’t help. I may just need to leave it at work for chilly days!

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Knitting the shawl was really fun, in part because as time goes by you end up with a big blob of knitting. You cannot really see the lace except in snippets, and it’s impossible to tell how it will look in the end. Then you have the excitement of starting the edging and starting to see the piece unfurl… and then sobering realization that the scalloped edging is going to takeย forever. It seemed like the edging took as much time as the rest of the shawl!

I can hardly wait to start another lace project, but I am determined to get more projects off needles first. Really. And maybe I’ll start sewing again… I skipped January, but did start a blouse from the 2/18 Burda! I actually wondered if I remembered how to sew when tracing. So far so good ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ruffled Sweater

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Happy New Year! I’m so glad 2017 is behind me. Even setting aside the appalling political state of the US, this has been a year of change, uncertainty, and adaptation for me, and it shows in my creative output. Since my last post about UFOs in September, I made a couple easy christmas gifts, and I’ve cast on two more knitting project to add to the UFO list. Seriously, it’s out of control.

However, on christmas day I felt that long-lost burst of inspiration and energy to make something, and so revisited my December Burdas and chose a raglan sweater with shoulder flounces from the 2017 issue to whip up before heading to the in-law’s for dinner.

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The pattern also features sleeve flounces, but that is a step too far for me! I used a spongy wool blend sweater knit purchased from Mood several years ago, which the cat immediately attacked when my back was turned. Placement was tricky, but there was just enough fabric without bite holes to proceed. The flounces are unfinished, and I sewed seams on the regular machine with a zig zag before finishing with the serger. Hems are done with a zig zag. No fuss here.

I love it. Wore it to christmas dinner and then to work the next day. It’s slouchy and comfy, but the texture and flounces keep it a little interesting. The only problem is that it collects pet hair like crazy, and does not release it without a struggle. I did some aggressive lint rolling before taking these photos, and it barely made a dent! Oh well, this is my life now.

I’m hoping this is the beginning of a fun, productive year of sewing. I’m excited to plan out January, the 1/2018 issue is pretty fantastic! I’m continuing my loose challenge of one Burda from the month’s issue (or earlier years), plus one paper pattern, plus one piece of lingerie. We’ll see ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.ย 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!

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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!