Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There's a Certain Greatness to My Lateness...

This afternoon as I sat here in a sweatshirt and jeans and contemplated how many layers of warmth I should plan to take to watch the boys football practice tonight, I started writing a blog post about sleeveless dresses and tops. The season is fast wearing down, but better late than never and all that.  I had planned to write this post weeks ago.  I even took the photos weeks ago.  And then life happened.  And then distractions happened.  And then other blog posts happened... However, maybe there'll still be some warmer days, or maybe you're in the southern hemisphere and you're heading into summer soon.  Or maybe you can just tuck this away in your mental filing cabinet for next year.  Whatever the case, I wanted to highlight two free patterns that have been in constant rotation in my wardrobe this summer.

The first is the Agnes dress from Halla Patterns.  It's a paid for pattern unless you're in their Facebook group - go join the group, check out the announcements and get a coupon code to get it for free.  You won't regret either of those instructions I'm giving you.  The Facebook group is warm and welcoming and you'll get lots of inspiration from the sharing going on in there.  As for Agnes, when I downloaded it last summer, it was simply a top or dress.  Now, it's been updated to include sleeve options as well as more length options.  Last summer I made the top version, because I was convinced I wouldn't like the dress.  (what was I thinking????)  I made it from a one metre remnant of Liverpool that I found at the local fabric shop for a couple of dollars.  I wasn't willing to spend a lot on it, because I wasn't sure I'd even like the top - I normally shy away from swing tops and dresses - but I sewed it up figuring I had nothing to lose.  I then wore it all the time for the rest of the summer.  I wore it so often with my jeans to work I'm sure people were starting to wonder if I didn't own any other tops.  Here's that first version last summer.

Because I loved last summer's top version, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make a dress version at the beginning of the summer.  It's such a ridiculously quick sew and turns out I loved the dress version as much as the top version.  For my dress I used a Double Brushed Poly from Sew Sew English that I'd bought last summer and had been hoarding.

I decided I absolutely needed to make a second dress because like last year's top, I was starting to wear my dress every second day.  I ordered more DBP, this time from Elevated Fashion Fabrics and as soon as it came in I sewed it up too and have worn it approximately eleventy billion times since.

These dresses are perfect for throwing on and feeling comfy for kicking about home in, but dressed nicely enough to go out in.  I have all the love for these dresses.  I'm now on the lookout for the perfect fabric for a sleeved version for fall to wear with tights and boots!

I also have another metre of Liverpool I ordered in the spring to make another top version, but have kind of run out of time and hot weather so I'll probably plan that for next summer instead.

The next pattern I want to tell you about is Itch to Stitch's Lago Tank.  It's one of her free patterns that is available on her site all the time and although it's a freebie, like all ITS patterns you are guaranteed to have the same great standard of pattern drafting that you've come to expect from designer, Kennis Wong.  I made two tanks in quick succession and only thing stopping me from making more was time.  I can't tell you how many times I've washed and worn these two tanks since making them!  The only change I made to the pattern was to add my usual length in the body.   You can squeeze this pattern out of such a little amount of fabric that it's fantastic stash buster.  I keep thinking it would be a fun one to use my Silhouette Cameo and cut out some vinyl for on the front too.  Hmmmm.  Future project idea...

The first one was made using a jersey of unknown content, left over from the fabric I made my green Molly top in during the winter.  It definitely has a touch of drape to it more than a regular cotton lycra, but I have no clue what it is.   Maybe it's just a poly knit because I can wash and dry it without any signs of shrinkage.  (and if there's one thing I excel at, it's shrinking all cotton).  Whatever it is, it's soft, washes and dries like a dream and feels cool and comfy.

The second one I made is DBP that I had in my stash from the same Sew Sew English order as the feathers print I used for the Agnes.  I loved this print so much and was going to make a Patterns for Pirates Sunshine dress.  I had planned to do a sleeve hack and got everything cut out and sewn up.  I don't know what happened along the way, but disaster ensued.  Ok.  I know full well what happened with the sleeves.  Like a complete dolt, I had forgotten to change the armscye to accommodate sleeves and couldn't move my arms. Rookie mistake there.  I know better!  So no worries, I'd make it sleeveless like the pattern... except things went south from there.  My bodice was way larger on one side than the other throughout the shoulder.    My bodice was also hella crooked in length.  As in a good 1 1/2" out from one side to the other.  AGGGHHHHHH.  I called it quits at that point.  I mean really.  There's a line that has to be drawn in the sand as to what you can selvedge and what you can't and this was it.  But I was so sad about the fabric.  I was able to cut on the cross grain (thank you gods of four way stretch!) and rescue just enough fabric from the skirt.  So while the fabric wasn't destined to become the dress I dreamed I'd wear all fall long, it did become my very favourite tank top of the summer and I'm ok with that!

I'm thinking I might still make a few more Lago Tanks if I have the chance even though summer is fast coming to an end.  I think they'd make the perfect layering piece for fall.

So there you go.  Two awesome patterns to fill your warm weather wardrobe with! Now I'm off to go have a cup of tea and find my fuzzy slippers because damn it's chilly tonight!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2018 Outfit Along

Waters Tee and Lander Shorts

I can't believe that I actually managed to get my outfit done in time for the 2018 Outfit Along done.  I was sure that this year was going to be a bust, but by some sort of OAL miracle, I finished up the morning of the final day!

For those of you that may not know what the Outfit Along is, it is an annual event taking place on Ravelry in the Untangling Knots group.  Knitwear designer Andi Satterlund and Lauren of the famed Lladybird co-host the "along".  The goal is to knit a piece and sew a piece so that you end up with a complete outfit at the end of the two months.  There are official patterns each year, but participants are free to choose whichever patterns they want.  The outfit along is truly my very favourite "along" and I look forward to it every year.

This year's official patterns were the Waters Tee by Andi and the Lander Pants by True Bias and I decided to both.  Waters is a very simple top down knit tee that has a scoop back and almost boat neck front. I'm sure that the Lander Pants need no introduction.  I may, in fact, be the last person in the world to sew them up.  They've been out for ages now and are a high waisted, button fly, wide legged pant with three different length options.

While the Waters was a super simple pattern it took me what felt like forever to knit.  I think the combination of miles of stockinette stitch on tiny needles and fingering yarn slowed me down.  Combine that with my distinct lack of knitting mojo and I really didn't think I'd get finished within the two months of the challenge.  In fact had I not had a sudden short-lived burst of motivation in the last two weeks of the Outfit Along, I can guarantee that my top would not have been finished in time. (the mojo has once again disappeared, and I'm struggling to pick up my needles for any reason right now).  The Lander Pants sat waiting because to be honest the thought of having to go through the fitting of pants was really not what one could call enticing.  Pants.  Ugh...

Everyone has what seems to be some serious Lander love going on.  I definitely did not.  In fact I dubbed my the "No Love Landers" and thought I'd never wear them.  However, now that they're done and I have had some distance from sewing them, it turns out I'm wearing them quite a bit.  Fitting quickly became a nightmare - I clearly have no clue what size I really am when it comes to pants, because I am fairly certain I started out two sizes too big.  Of course I followed the steps according to the instructions which meant all the fancy bits like top stitching and the buttonholes and bar tacks for the fly were already done before I sewed up the side seams only to have the shorts fall straight off when I tried them on.  I was pretty peeved with myself for the rookie mistake and was determined I was going to get them to at least sort of passably fit before throwing my hands up in defeat and wasting all the effort of my top stitching not too mention my fabric.  I took a good inch and a half beyond the already allowed 1" side seam at the hips, about another 3/4" at the waist on either side, then took in the back center seam tapering from the original seam to a decrease of an 1 1/4" at centre back.  Then I shaved off a good 5/8" from the height in the back.  I still need to wear a belt with them or they're not staying up, but given how often I've worn them this week, maybe they deserve some love after all.

Waters is pretty good fit wise.  As it turns out I like to wear it backwards favouring the scoop neck in the front rather than the back.  Its kind of nice to choose whichever way I feel like wearing it depending on my mood.  I think I could have done with a few less waist decreases and a bit more length, but at the point I cast off I was just  happy to have it done on time.  I can live with the not re-doing the waist decreases, but I may at some point down the road add a bit of length to my tee to make it more comfortable for me.  It's not enough to keep me from wearing it  so we'll see.  I'd have to actually find my knitting mojo first.

Waters Tee and Landers Shorts