Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wardrobe Architect Making: Shirts

Hello everyone! Today I would like to share some of my progress on my Wardrobe Architect project.  Mrs. Singer is standing in for me today as I'm still in my pajamas and I don't feel like being photographed.  She does list to one side slightly, so please excuse her if things look slightly lopsided.  I've had her for almost 10 years and I am reluctant to change her out for a new model.

Sewing can be pure magic and making this shirt was one of those times.  It's the Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt and it went together beautifully.  The drafting behind this pattern is clearly meticulous.  I have always admired their aesthetic and I'm really happy that I can now find their patterns locally at Needlework.

I made quite a few modifications to the original pattern. Firstly, I sewed a size 12, which is one size smaller than my measurements, as I have read that Merchant & Mills patterns have a lot of ease.  That was absolutely the right decision as it fits me beautifully across the shoulders and bust and gently flares (not sack-like at all) to my mid-thigh.  

Secondly, I shortened it by 9" overall as I wanted a mid-thigh length tunic and the original length is mid-calf.  I took equal sized wedges out of both the front and back pieces to get the length I was after.  I kept the bib as drafted as I liked the slightly longer length and vaguely tuxedo-esque feeling. 

I chose to sew bracelet length sleeves and changed the pleat at the bib to an inverted one as I think it looks neater.  I really like the soft gathers at the yoke and I finished the neckline in bias binding rather than to self-line the bib and yoke.  It's a simple finish I prefer and I was able to make this shirt out of 1.5 m of 60" wide brushed cotton.  I also used the Perri Pullover pocket piece to add inseam pockets. 

My local fabric store had several prints available at an unbeatable price of $4/m and I bought every one that appealed to me.  I love the vintage-style calico feel and the softness of the fabric.  Once washed, it softens up to an almost flannel-like texture and is heavenly to wear.

Working through the Wardrobe Architect revealed that I do like softly tailored shirts are the way to go for me.  I like versatile shirts that can be dressed up or down and can be matched with several items in my wardrobe.  This pattern definitely fits the bill and I have several more versions planned.  On a day-to-day basis, I like to look neat and well turned out, but not overly dressed up.  Comfort is key. 

I would like to mention that if you are a pattern tracer like I am, that this one is very straightforward.  All the pieces you need are on one page.  The pattern is printed on sturdy white tissue with dark blue ink, which makes seeing the pattern lines so much easier than the Big 4.   I think it took me a total of 10-15 minutes to trace out everything.  

I'm looking forward to sharing more versions of this beautiful pattern with you, as well as some other pieces I'm making for my Wardrobe Architect.

What's on your sewing table?  Are you doing Wardrobe Architect too?

Monday, January 16, 2017

My First Socks

I never thought that I would become a sock knitter.  Being under the impression that DPNs were required for the entire sock project was not something I relished - they often feel like wrestling octopuses (octopi?) - and I felt that was definitely more trouble than a pair of socks were worth.

It wasn't until Lucy of Attic24 started knitting her own socks on tiny circular needles that my interest was fully engaged.  Circular needles are a cinch for me as most of my knitting is in the round.  I followed Lucy's sock posts avidly, drooling over the self-striping sock yarn and the rainbow of colours available.  It wasn't until I had read Winwick Mum's Basic Socks pattern all the way through just after Christmas that I felt confident enough to try.

I bought a pair of 30 cm, 2.5 mm Addi circular needles and a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk Paints yarn in Mulled.  The yarn is a scrumptious blend of merino wool and silk with deep, saturated colours.  It was, quite simply, a joy to knit.  It wasn't so fun winding over 400 yards of fingering weight yarn into a ball by hand, though.  *sigh* I think I need to invest in a ball winder.  Any suggestions?

I was slightly terrified of turning the heel and using Kitchener Stitch to graft the toes.  I had heard through various knitting grapevines that both of these techniques can strike terror in even the most skilled of knitters.  I needn't have worried, though.  Christine is clearly an experienced knitter and teacher and by following her pattern and her step by step tutorials online, what I thought would be an experience fraught with frogging, sweating, and swearing, was actually quite enjoyable!  I am quite pleased with my heels and my grafted toes.
Turning the heel was simple, too, as it felt remarkably like knitting a sleeve cap.  I only had to frog it once on one sock as I miscalculated my decreases.   Even using DPNs while knitting the toes was easy-peasy! Christine even tells you how many stitches to put on each DPN in her online tutorials! I really feel that if you can knit, purl, decrease, and knit in the round you can knit a pair of socks.

One unexpected bonus of my sock knitting experiment was an improvement in my hand and finger joint pain from my psoriatic arthritis.  It has really helped to decrease the inflammation and my overall pain is so much better.  Now, if I could only figure out how to knit with my feet, I'd be set! LOL!

I have cast on my second pair already - this time for my daughter - using as lovely merino wool from Knit Picks in a super fun colourway.   I have two balls of Opal sock yarn on their way to me and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in with those.  I am mesmerized by the colour choice and watching the self-striping magic unfold.

This pair has been constantly on my feet since I finished them and, for the first time in I don't know how long, I have warm feet in winter!!!

What's on your needles?  These socks are my second completed project for 2017.  My first is a beautiful cowl that I knitted from a kit which my lovely friend Theresa gave me for Christmas (among other gorgeous knitty goodies).  I still have to block it, even though I've been wearing it constantly, and photograph it.  My To Do List grows and grows.....

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Etsy Shop Update

Hello everyone! It's nice to see you all after my blogging break.  I've just finished updating my Etsy shop with lots of happy rainbow necklaces :)  You can see them all here.  I do ship worldwide and accept Etsy gift cards.

For those of you with more neutral tastes, I have just the thing! Icicle is a clear glass bead bracelet and Inkwell is a black glass beaded necklace. 

I have been knitting and doing a bit of sewing behind the scenes and I have projects to share.  I just need to get myself organized in order to take photos for blog posts.  I even finished my first sock!

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the start of a new year.  See you soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Safe Place

I don't discuss politics or activism on my blog as they are something I prefer to do quietly and in  my own time.  However, global events of 2016 and their potential repercussions in 2017 have prompted me to discuss them today.

I want to reiterate that my blog will continue to be a safe place where your gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation  will never be held in judgement.  You can feel safe and welcome to visit and interact with me and the others that read my blog.

I hope you continue to feel welcome here. 

Have courage and be kind.