Monday, September 24, 2018

The Aveiro Cardigan

I'm back this week and once again talking about another new Itch to Stitch pattern.  I'm starting to feel a bit crazy fan girl with all my posts about them these days, but I really do apparently sew them up the most compared to other companies.

Today is the release of the Aveiro Cardigan and given how I live in cardi's all the time I thought it would be a great opportunity to finally branch out from my tried and true Blackwoods.  While the Blackwood is awesome, I have been wanting a cardi that has an option to close for the longest time.  Last year (or was it the year before?) I tried another pattern for a v-neck, button up cardi and it was an unmitigated disaster.  Everything about it was awful and completely unwearable for me.  It ended up being cut up for use in another pattern because there was just no way to selvedge it.  Because it was such a disaster, I've literally avoided so much as looking at any other patterns in that style since.  Then Kennis posted a tester call for the Aveiro Cardi and I was definitely game for trying it...

I knew being an Itch to Stitch pattern I could forget about any concerns regarding fit that I'd have with other patterns, and it was exactly what I was looking for all this time.  It did not disappoint.  It went into immediate rotation in my wardrobe as soon as I snipped the last threads from the machine.

It's an easy pattern and quick to sew (unless you're me - more on that later) which of course gives it big points in my books.  There are four different length options for the body - long, regular, short and bolero.  Then there are three sleeve options - long, 3/4 and short.  Add to that two cuff options - regular and long cuffs.  Use buttons or snaps or leave your cardi plain, the choice is yours.  With all these options you've got plenty of ways to mix and match for completely different looks every time.

In the spirit of keeping things real here at chez Prairie Girl Knits though, I have to tell you I had THE WORST time sewing this one up. Not because of the design.  Not because of the pattern.  Not because of the fabric.  Not because of any of those reasons.  The design is great.  The pattern is great.  The rayon, spandex, poly blend fabric, whilst drapier than perhaps needed, is just fine.

However, my serger tension kept going out of whack and I apparently forgot every single thing I knew about sewing.  Honestly.  If there was a possibility of making a mistake I did it.  I must have sewed on and ripped out the neckband at least three times and in the process I manhandled the fabric so much that it was all rippled and warped on one side.  Thankfully I was able to steam the neckband pieces back into shape and finally re-attached it like I actually knew what I was doing.  I was really happy to have finally sorted out all that and went to apply the snaps.

I must have applied hundreds of KAM snaps at this point in my life.  After all the diapers, swim diapers, diaper covers, and other miscellaneous projects that I've used snaps on you would think it would be a task I could do with my eyes shut.  But no.  Not so much.  I managed to get all the way to the last snap and then I put it in backwards.  WHY?!?!  HOW?!?!  It took several attempts with various tools, implements and bad language before my husband gently took it from me, and got the snap out without damaging my poor much abused neckband fabric any more.  New snap set, my cardi was good to go.  Something that should have taken me an hour to sew at most, took me the better part of three days, but in the end it was worth it.  And next one I sew up will definitely go easier.  At least so long as I don't take complete leave of my senses again.   Just goes to show that it doesn't matter how long you've been at it, sewing is not always rainbows and unicorns and projects that go together without a hitch.

I plan on making a few more Aveiros over the next few weeks - I definitely want the long version, and one in the short version and if time permits, I'll be making another in the same length as this one.  I'd like to play with the longer cuff option too.  If you'd like to grab your own copy of the Aveiro Cardigan , head on over to the Itch to Stitch website!  The pattern is on sale for the release week (no code necessary) and to optimize your savings, Kennis offers a "buy more, save more" style discount that is still in effect with the sale price - check out the shop for all the details on that.

I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging in the next few weeks.  After being off work since mid-June when my term position finished, I'm about to head back to working full time next week, so crafting and blogging may be put on the back burner for a week or two as I wrap my head around my new job, and we launch headlong into hockey season the same week.  This year the boys are on different teams - one has aged up and the other has not - so the two practice schedules are going to be a bit nuts.  I hope to pop in soon though because I do have some other fall sewing projects that I'm eager to show off!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Time to Sew - Itch to Stitch Blog Tour

I was so excited when I found out about the blog tour for Itch to Stitch*! I feel so honoured to be amongst some amazing bloggers to be part of it! If you've read my blog before you know that I'm a huge fan of Kennis Wong's designing.  I've done loads of pattern tests for her over the last few years as well as sewn plenty of her patterns I haven't tested.  I know how much attention she pays to details and fit, so if I want a pattern I don't have to worry about fussing a lot with I often choose an Itch to Stitch one.

This fall's blog tour theme was sewing up something we'd been meaning to make, but hadn't got around to yet.  Itch to Stitch has so many options to choose from, and although I've made several of the patterns, there were still a few I've not had the chance to do yet.

Because we're well into football season here (man those evening practices are getting chilly to watch - brrrrrrr) and hockey season will be well underway in a few weeks (and I'll be shivering in the stands of the local arenas on a regular basis), I decided that cozy and comfy should be my go to.  I want to wear all the warm and soft fabrics! With that in mind, I chose to sew both the Newport Top and Tierras Woven Joggers.  To be honest, I hadn't thought that I'd be at all interested in the Tierras.  I'm not a joggers person... I'm definitely not a jogger either!  LOL)  But once I started seeing the tester versions, and then they popped up a few times randomly on my Facebook feed I was definitely feeling my interest piqued.

First up is my Newport Top.  I chose a snuggly soft baby french terry from Sly Fox Fabrics, who is one of our blog tour sponsors and very generously sent me the fabric. Let's talk about my fabric for just a second.   It's got just the right amount of stretch for the pattern and the recovery is really good so it's not going to get saggy or baggy with wear but because the Newport is a boxy silhouette I wanted to make sure my fabric had a nice drape to it as well.  The print is on the loop side of the fabric giving it a bit of texture for interest. After looking at a few different choices there was no doubt that this fabric checked all the boxes for me and of course it's a floral so that made it absolutely irresistible to me and when it arrived in the post, I was not disappointed.

As for the pattern?   Comfort - check! Cozy - check! Dress up/Dress down - check!  I love the fact that it has the lapped neckline and while I'm usually definitely not a fan of a high low hem, I really like this one (and the fact that it'll be a bit more warmth when I'm sitting on cold arena benches this year is a definite drawing point!!! Is it just the arenas that my kids play in or do all arenas steadfastly refuse to turn on the heat over the benches in the dead of winter???). Plus it's so quick to make.  There is nothing I enjoy more than a pattern that I can whip up in a short time frame!  All I needed to do was my standard adding length - on this one I didn't add quite enough length and ended up feeling it was going to be too short for my liking if I hemmed it as stated in the pattern, so I just made a facing pattern by tracing around the bottom of the actual pattern pieces, then stitched it on, turned it up and topstitched it down.  I am super particular about the length of my tops and I'm ridiculously long waisted.  While you'd never know if I hadn't told you, it was a quick but necessary rescue.  I've already corrected my pattern for my next one (I'm looking at you blush pink and navy striped french terry sitting in my stash!)

Onto the Tierras!  I had a hard time deciding on fabric - I wanted to stay away from anything that might be construed as pj pants given the elasticated waist and jogger silhouette - but I wanted something with some drape that would also be a bit warmer feeling.  I ended up choosing a rayon blend twill that was just from my local fabric store.  Its super soft with drape, but not so much drape that it feels flimsy.  It's got a bit of weight to it too, which will make it warmer in the cooler months.

For the pattern, I did do a few minor modifications.   The rise on the front of these joggers is pretty low, but the pattern gives detailed instructions how to change that up to give them a higher rise.  I measured both front and back and decided to just adjust the front because I knew if I did both, the rise would then be too high on my back so I slashed and spread the pattern at center front to my desired amount (in my case 2") and then I tapered that to nothing at the side seam.  I had to re-draw the side seam and smooth everything out and re-angle the center front seam back to the proper place, but it all worked out nicely in the end.  I also scooped out the back crotch curve a bit to get a better fit there. (I just followed the instructions on the Itch to Stitch Blog from the Liana Stretch Jeans sew along to figure out exactly what I needed to do!).  Unfortunately with all my concentration on perfecting the fit of the top part of my joggers, I forgot to add some length to the bottom part, so I did the straight hem rather than the elastic one, and unfortunately I feel like these are just on the verge of being a bit too short.  Note to self for next time...

I really like the comfort factor of these pants with the slightly looser fit and elastic waist (I left out the drawstring), but the slash front pockets lend themselves well to making this a pant that is easy to dress up or down too depending on fabric choice.

I'm super pleased with my end results and glad I took the time to finally try out these two patterns!!

Before you head off though,  there's more fun for the tour!  First of all be sure to check out all our incredible sponsors.

Next you'll want to keep tabs on all the tour stops.  Click on the links below for that.

As an added bonus, for today only there is a flash sale on the patterns that have been featured today on the tour!!!!

Anza Jumpsuit and Dress
Chai Shirt and Dress
Chirripo Top
Havar Jacket
Idyllwild Top and Dress
Newport Top
Tierras Woven Joggers

Just click on the pattern names to  check out these great deals today!  You don't want to miss out!!! (*hint* you will want to be checking out all the tour posts as there's some great deals to be had each day.  I know I will be definitely adding to my pattern stash!) 

Last but not least,  remember those sponsors I showed you up above? Not only does Mabel Madison have a fantastic offer for our readers - $10 off a $50 order using the code ITSTOUR until September 30, 2018, we've got a contest going on as well, with lots of great prizes to be had so be sure to enter using the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and I hope you enjoy today's stop on the tour and get a chance to check out all the other stops as well!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Petaluma Dress

I'm going to my first ever Frocktails event later on this week - I'm both ridiculously excited (Meeting new sewing friends!!!) and ridiculously anxious (Meeting new sewing friends!!!).  I know I'll have fun when I get there, it's just the walking in the door that is a bit nerve wracking.  Like the first day at a new school when you were a kid, or the first day on a new job as an adult.  You know that nervous, but excited feeling?

Anyways, I've been pondering what dress I wanted to make for the event and was having trouble deciding.  I was leaning towards a wrap style dress, but couldn't make up my mind which pattern I wanted to use.  Then Kennis posted a testing call for her latest pattern, Petaluma Faux Wrap Dress*. HELLO DRESS OF MY DREAMS!!!!!!!  Decision made.

My husband asked if I was  sure I wanted to choose a pattern that was just at the testing stage for a dress for an event and I thought, "Of course! It's an Itch to Stitch pattern!!"  I had all the confidence in the world that I could make my dress in the testing phase and be happy with it.  I've been lucky enough to test enough of the Itch to Stitch patterns to know how much work Kennis puts into them before she even releases it for testing.  They're always so incredibly well drafted that the first version of a test pattern is often the final version. Her patterns always fit like a dream too.  I rarely have any alteration to make besides adding a bit of length to the bodice.  So of course I was sure!

Petaluma was everything I hoped it would be!  I used some fabric I've had stashed away for probably three years at least.  I haven't wanted to "waste" it on a pattern that might not be worthy of it.  It's just a poly peachskin, but its pretty and it seemed "special" so I've held onto it all this time.  It just goes to show how much faith I have in the ITS patterns, that I was willing to risk a precious cut of fabric on a first run of a test!

So let's talk about the pattern now!  It's got a crossover bodice with the choice of three sleeve options - short like mine, flutter and double petal.  All are so pretty and the flutter ones are definitely going on my next Petaluma dress!  There is an optional tie belt (I absolutely adore the tie belt!!!) that can be tied in the front, or around the back depending on the look you like.  The petal skirt is finished off with a narrow hem.  Check out the ITS blog for some great tips on doing a narrow hem without pulling your hair out and/or throwing a temper tantrum.  It does require a serger, so if you have one, you'll be set.  (If not, she does give some other options in the post that you can look into further).  I don't know why I don't always try the serger method.  I did it on my Crystal Cove Camis and was amazed at how much easier it was.  With Petaluma I fought and cursed and burnt my fingers with the iron and just about cried.  Then Kennis gently reminded us of her serger method and I went back, stitched ripped the hideousness that was my hem pressed it all nice and flat again, serged the edge, folded and stitched.  I was done the front hems in about five minutes.  Oh.  And this dress has pockets!!!  Told you.  Dress of dreams!!

Petaluma promises to be a go to pattern whether you're looking for a new dress for fall (or one for summer if you're in the Southern Hemisphere). If you head over to the Itch to Stitch site you can get your copy for a discounted price right now and don't forget the volume discount still applies so if you've got your eye on any other patterns, right now is the time to scoop them up!

Happy crafting until next time!

I'm baaaaaaaack!  Did you miss me?  LOL

Just popping if for a quick edit, because I wanted to show you all the flutter sleeve version that I finished last week.  This one is in the "Sarah" crepe from Sew Me Sunshine in the UK - let me just stop for a moment to tell you how amazing Sew Me Sunshine is!!!  By some sort of postal miracle, she had my fabric to me in less than a week from when it shipped.  WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS THAT?!?!?!  Unheard of.  That's what that is.

My only problem is trying to get my narrow hem on my sleeve to lay flat.  That sucker just keeps flipping up and driving me mad.  Anyone have a solution for that?  Because I love this dress and would prefer not to lose my sanity over a sleeve...

For this version I did a wee bit of a broad back adjustment, so I have more room for my linebacker-esque shoulders and I did grade out a little bit at the waist for a slightly looser fit in the mid-section.

This dress.  Red. Polka dots. Flowers.  Flutter sleeves.  I have all the LOVE for it.

There.  Now I'm done!  For real this time! ;)