Apparel: July 2010 Archives
I love knitting for babies but I didn't always. Before I joined the club, I had decided that knitting for babies was foolishness. Foolishness, I say! First, babies do not care one whit what they are wearing. Second, babies outgrow everything at a rate that exceeds the amount of time it took to knit the item. Third, from the rumors I had heard floating among other non-members, babies seemed to gain a cruel, almost nefarious, pleasure from spitting up on the cutest of baby presents. "That is not for me" said I. I will stick to knitting for those who appreciate it and can keep their stomach contents where they belong. However, all those thoughts dissipated with a quickness the moment my little one was born. Everything was so cute on her wouldn't it be even cuter if I had knit it, I questioned (it was of course rhetorical). My reasons against knitting for babes were rapidly replaced with arguments in favor. First, babies are cute, so cute and the perfect models for oversized sweaters, scarves used instead of warmth but to play hide n' seek, and colorful blankets. Second, babies are so super cute because they are small and small things are knit quickly. Third, Babies like bright colors and soft yarn. What a coincidence... So Do I! It was settled. I began to knit and as I did I came up with some rules (I mean guidelines. Who likes rules any way?)
The Baby Knitting Guidelines (Should you not be a member of the club please, PLEASE, heed these rules. Mothers follow your own rules but peruse should be you curious)
1) Let it be washable. For the love of all that is small and cute, plan on it being washed again and again. Babies may smile and giggle at all you do but it is because they are plotting and all that smiling is a carefully planned ruse to make messes and get away with it. Their favorite palette, themselves. There is nothing they won't use to obtain this goal. They are cute and devious. Beware
2) Let it be soft. No mother wants to put a scratchy wool sweater on their baby as much as you do not want to spend hours working with it. Test the yarn; rub it on your skin. Knit up a swatch and rub it on the inside of your wrist, your forehead or even your belly (all sensitive places). If the baby will touch it there so should you. If you love it so will the baby. Remember, babies do not really care how beautiful it is but momma's care how it feels.
3) Let it be oversized. Anything knitted will take you so time and, granted, the baby will look so stinkin' cute in it that mom will want her to wear it forever and ever. We become dismayed when out baby outgrows a beloved item. But big garments can be tucked and rolled to fit well before the baby is actually to size.
4) Let it be appropriate. A delicate lace shrug may seem like a good idea when you see it stylized in a pattern book but once the baby gets its toe caught in a YO or snags it again and again on the cabinet pull, it will become a hazard and ruined. There are many baby proof stitch patterns out there. Stay away from anything too delicate or lacey.
5) Let there not be too many buttons. Babies wiggle. That is all I have to say on this.
Well, the hour grows late and I must get back to my baby. My knitting list for her has already outgrown that for myself. One day she will knit on her own and I might be allowed to knit for myself. Then again, I may just serve as a second set of needles set to check off her list.
Here are some link to our great Baby Yarns (Yum):
Filatura Baby Yarn (fun Pom-pons)
I have been tempted to knits since I first received Wendy Mullins Sew U Knits. I created one very oversized t-shirt and stalled. When I decided to try my hand at Nancy's Dress, I was a little intimidated because many people say knits are tricky and my first attempt was not really what I would call a success. Some knits and some knit patterns are tricky. The Nancy Dress is not one of them. This pattern was quick and easy. It took me about 15-20 to assemble the pattern and then another 20-30 min to cut it out. But the sewing part was so easy. A little over an hour and I had a dress. A super cute, versatile dress. So I made another. It was addictive.
My first dress, I went by the pattern for every detail. My second dress I cut a size smaller on top for more insurance against the "creep down" notable in strapless dresses. I also cut the back piece of the top 2 in. shorter so it would sit below my shoulder blades and I could wear the front a little higher. This was not a problem with the first dress since the top was bigger. I cut the skirt the original size so there would be some gathering to make the skirt look a little fuller.
You can also wear this dress as a skirt by folding the top in half and wearing it on your hips. This versatility makes it perfect vacation wear. It is wrinkle free and can be worn in more than one way. I selected a small floral print jersey that could be worn with a variety of other pieces. The pattern was not too bright or bold to prevent coordination. So far I have paired it with a denim jacket, multiple colors of tank tops, a light sweater, a linen shawl with a chunky necklace and strappy sandals (It dresses up really well. It would make a great little black dress) and a ruffle t-shirt with the dress as a skirt. You can also pin a long length of ribbon to the center of the top and tie it behind your neck for straps. I wear one of my dresses once a week. It is so great as a mom to have a piece in my wardrobe that doesn't need to be ironed and I can slip on and feel great. The length is great to for modesty but short enough for a good summer breeze. I really love this dress: making it and wearing it. I would encourage everyone to make one.
Check out our recommendations for fabric here
With the first day of school fast approaching, holiday projects being planned, and warm weather ever so slowly fading into cool, it is time to start knitting for you. You have dedicated your time to summer projects, work deadlines and family fun but how much time have you set aside for some "me time". If you are like me, check the none-to-very little box please. It is understood that the time you can set aside for you may be very little but as long as you fill it with a relaxing activity (like knitting!) you can make the most of the tiniest of breaks.
Picking a project for you is very easy; simply pick something you love and can't wait to get started. Pick something small so it will be a fast knit and pick something that will enhance future "me times". For me, that was easy, Coco Knits Ballet Slipper. If fit all of the above. It was for me! I simply could not wait to cast on and it was fast (approx 4 hours of knitting time +/-). As I write I am wearing these slippers so I can honestly attest to them enhancing my future "me times". They are cute, sassy and comfy. I can also say with a smiling face that I enjoyed knitting these slippers. First of all, they were fast. #2, They were easy. #3, It was not a bunch of Stockinette stitch (which is very easy and equal to a dose of Sleepy Time tea) but small little challenges, like mini games. There were enough small challenges to keep me interested but not too much to bore me. It has been some time since I have used Short Rows so I needed a refresher and I have never knit pleats. There was a little taste of everything and not too much. It kept me interested enough to happily finish the second slipper. No second sock syndrome here. I loved learning something new, as well. The pleats were fantastic and really added to the sassiness of the slipper. I was so pleased to have finished this project but also to finish with the sensation that my feelings of excitement and anticipation leading up to the project were never depleted and I did not feel let down. I am looking forward to knitting more Coco Knits patterns. These ballet slippers have now heard top ranking on my Christmas list projects.
Knitting for you can benefit you in so many ways. For myself, I was able to find a project to look forward to. A project that I enjoyed knitting so much that very little wine was required. A project that left me feeling a little disappointed when completed, much like a really good book you don't want to end. After finishing my knitting for me project, I felt energized and rewarded. I am ready to get back to my daily grind and all I needed was 4 hours.
Check out my project notes on Ravelry
Whether Back to School means getting the kids stocked up and ready to go or preparing for a slower pace for yourself, Back to School sewing is an important event.
If you are on the 'Stock up the Kids' side of the fence, start with measuring your youngsters. They have grown since the end of the school year. The first day of school outfit is make-or-break, as everyone knows, so pick a pattern that will wow! For Girls, I love the Bananafana Gumdrop or Mod Girls Julia. Both call for several patterns that are bright and fun, try Arianna or Pretty Bird by Michael Miller. For Boys, Oliver + S Sandbox outfit is fun with lots of personality. The Kwik Sew Hoody pattern is a simple project perfect for the first day of school once you add a Sublime Stitches Pirate.
For kiddos heading off to their very first day of school, SewBaby's Backpack pattern is perfect for art projects, crayons and notes home. Pair this pattern with some of the bright, fun prints in the Retro & Mod section.
If you are gearing up to slow down once the school bell rings, you had better start your project list, because you are going to need a new bag, jacket, bed spread and more! Now you have the time to spare, why not spend it on yourself; you need a break! Check out this to die for purse pattern from Indygo Junction. The button placement and buckle are so different but also classic. You will be the envy of ladies everywhere. The Victory bag is begging for woolen fabric with complimentary retro buttons. I am going for a plaid version with buttons!
To go with your hot new bag, you need a hot new jacket. Perfect for early morning coffee runs, soccer games in the park and waiting for the bus, the Midtown Trench features bracelet length sleeves, a wide portrait collar, back pleating for swing and 2 lengths. I am dying to create one in Waverly Geometric or Amy Butler's Love.
Finish off your project list with some Gumdrop pillows to seat extra guesst for coffee, book club or kids afterschool on rainy days. These pillows are also great for piling on for family movie night or just diving into followed by plenty of kiddy giggles. Choose a fabric that is washable and blends in with your décor. Or make some for the kids play room and let each kid pick their favorite print.
Whether you are sewing for you or for others, Back to School is different for everyone. Pick and choose which projects work for you and you are sure to find plenty to fill your time and dress your family.
While I love writing these blog posts for Fabric.com, some topics are more fun than others. Today's topic will be filed under the Super Fun category. I always begin every article with research, though some need more than others. Today's article on Craftster didn't, at first, seem to be one topic that needs much research. However, it has been a while since I have visited Craftster so I went back just to reintroduce myself. Within seconds (literally seconds!) I was kicking myself for not continuing to visit daily. Right on the home page, I spotted a dress I cannot live without and nor will I!
Craftster is full to the brim of swaps, projects, tutorials, reworking, recycling, challenges and forums. Craftster is a great place to show off your latest FO as well as check out inspiration when you are hankering to start something new. Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, Upholstering, Jewelry are just a few of the crafts welcome at Craftster. In the past I have learned to make yoga pants from old t-shirts, found one of my favorite dress patterns and discovered projects that make me want to run to my sewing room and get to work right away.
Upon entering Craftster you will see 4 sets of pictures that change all the time: Hot New Projects, New Projects, Featured Projects, and Current Craftster Challenge. These pictures alone are enough to secure you on the website for hours, since one picture inevitably leads to another and another. But if you click on Community on the bar above the pictures you will find a drop down menu of all the crafts on Craftster. You are sure to find something interesting and more. My favorites are clothing, home sweet home and, oddly enough, crochet (that is my next craft to tackle). I love how you can find projects created with all new goods as well as recycled and reused items. I feel ashamed to say that the days I am able to dedicate ample amounts of time to Craftster are followed a short time later by a delivery from Fabric.com. I am duly inspired by the new prints in
Just Arrived Quilting as I am by the projects on Craftster. More often than not, my shame spiral starts with a visit to our website to get ideas for new articles, when I just pop in to peek at the new prints. It is all so innocent in my mind. I see a fabric or 15 that I LOVE (that must be said in a sing-song voice for full effect) and then I descend like a lion onto Craftster to give me a reason to purchase these new prints. 15 min later I have an order confirmation. It is all so shameful that I walk around the house berating myself for 10-20 seconds and then I feel so much better. After all I cannot possible be expected to work on my new projects in a bad mood. Plus, I have new fabric coming in the mail and an awesome Craftster project awaiting me. Who can feel bad in that situation?!
P.s. Check out the Green Ophelia Dress here!!
Every occupation has references that are the foundation of a job well done or a job easily done and sewing is no exception. With the guidance of a few of my favorite books I slowly educated myself in the correct and, consequently, the easy way to do certain tasks and complete certain projects. You will discover new skills and techniques, get inspiration for new projects or gain knowledge needed to tackle a challenge. Here are my foundation books for any sewer, beginner or beyond.
Machine Embroidery Essentials (Jeanine Twigg)- When I first purchased my sewing/embroidery machine (Brother He-120) I was stoked to be able to embroider. "This is going to be so easy!" I said to myself. Well self, you were wrong. A dozen broken needles and almost to tears or on the brink of drop kicking the machine down the stairs (the jury is still out on which), I found this book. It has opened the door to embroidery. There are notions and techniques that are not even comprehensible to a beginner such as me. I highly recommend this book to make machine embroidery enjoyable and fun.
Reader Digest: New Complete Guide to Sewing- Not just everything you wish to know about sewing but everything you could know seems to be in this book. Tailoring, adjusting patterns, stitches, feet, tools, you name it- it's covered. The book has saved my behind several times when I had a hunch on a technique to try. Each time I would check out what "The Book" says before launch my own method and I was way off. The tome has saved me countless minutes of wasted time but also frustration which can call a halt to any project for me. I have also learned how to tailor certain garments from this book, which saves me money since I can now peruse the sales rack in just about any size (knowing I can adjust it to fit). I have also gained inspiration from "The Book" as well. Not so much from the pictures but from the techniques. I can read one and just imagine the possibilities.
Sew U Knits by Wendy Mullins- I love this book so much I often read it before bed while dreaming of my soon-to-be wardrobe. Wendy's tips on working with knits are spot on. I love the one concerning resting your knits before cutting. She walks you through all the essentials of working with knit with both a serger and conventional machine. Each book comes with patterns for basic pieces and Wendy shows you how you can modify them to create a bevy of looks with recommendations of fabrics. This book is easy to follow, I recommend it for beginners on up. My first t-shirt from this book was cut and sewn in less than 2 hours.
Big Book of Window Treatments (Sunset Editors)- One cannot assume that every sewer sews only clothing. I thoroughly enjoy dressing my home as much as myself. But I don't have hours to spend searching the internet for window treatment looks that I like and hoping to find a picture big enough so I can guess how it is done. One book can give me access to many, many different options with techniques on creating them yourself. Do you really want a café curtain in your kitchen- here you are with several different customizations to choose from. Not sure what exactly you want for your living room, you just know it must block the light and keep out the drafts, check out the panels, drapes and roman shades. I have used this book for few of my neighbors' homes as well. I often sew home dec around the neighborhood and this book helps me show them the image I have in my head (especially good since I don't really have a hand for drawing). This is a must if you love to sew home dec or want to redo your home.