Apparel: August 2011 Archives
I am always on the quest for versatile patterns that I can use over and over. A good tee shirt pattern is like gold. It's shockingly difficult to find one with just the right shape and drape that also goes together quickly. Good news: The Hot Patterns Fringe Festival Knit Top is one of those!
First, I wanted to make the pattern as-is without tweaking any of the details. I used this Lightweight Starlet Jersey Knit because it has a nice fluid drape and is perfect for a late summer transitional garment. It'll carry me right into fall because it will make a great base layer that has virtually no bulk.
Cutting this pattern is a breeze. It's just three pieces, none on the fold -- easy peasy. Seven seams and you're done (plus hemming/finishing). My kind of pattern! The scarf piece is left unfinished on the edges, which is great for keeping bulk to a minimum and maintaining drape. I opted not to cut the fringe on the edges of the scarf.
The contouring through the body of this shirt is very figure-flattering and feminine, not the least bit boxy. Exactly what you want in a tee!
With the first shirt under my belt, I was ready to experiment with the pattern. It's no secret that pink is my favorite color, so selecting a pink knit was a no brainer. Since fabric flowers continue to be popular, I decided to try turning the scarf into a floral trim. I assembled the shirt just like normal, but then I cut the scarf pieces lengthwise, and played with twisting them into loose rosette shapes. As I worked, I pinned the flowers into place with safety pins. Once I settled on placement, I hand stitched the flowers down, and voila! All done.
Now that I have made this shirt twice, I can't stop thinking of other possibilities for this pattern. I want to elongate it into a tunic and make it out of a performance knit so I will have a new running dress to wear over leggings. I want to make it without the scarf in a rainbow of colors so I have a well-fitted tee for any outfit. I want to play with color blocking by making it with two colors (or maybe four). The pattern is so quick, even if I make a woeful design blunder, I won't have lost days and days of time stitching it.
The other great thing about this pattern is that you only need about a yard of fabric for it. I am seriously considering splurging on one of the yummy and butter-soft Liberty of London knits for my next version.
It's like a blank canvas to play with -- and I do love to play! Is your creativity flowing? What will you make with this versatile little number?
Not only was I totally pumped to have a go at the new HotPatterns Download before it hits the net but I was also pumped because I love knit tops. I am not a big ironing fan (though I do love a good pressed seam), so wrinkle free and knit tops are big populators of my wardrobe. After I saw how many pieces it took to create a Fringe Festival top I was even more excited. But that was all a candle flame compared to the sun of my excitement once I finally tried on my top! I don't know if it is the fit of HotPatterns or the style or an equal combination of both but few pattern makers final pieces make me feel as satisfied at HotPatterns once the project is complete. The Fringe Festival is no different.
This top was quick and easy and coupled with the grey Tencel Jersey Knit that I used the fit was easy but sexy. The fabric drapes nicely and the cut is perfectly shaped to cling (slightly) in all the right places and gently bunch right at the hips. One of the bonuses I noticed concerning the hip bunching is that when I bent over, kneeled or squatted down, I did not feel exposed. Even with the lowest jeans, the extra long hem line gives you coverage when you need it and the ruching hides any tummy troubles when standing.
I decided to modify it with a dupioni scarf and crochet trim. I wanted to braid the scarf in the knit fabric but given my deadline I couldn't make it work to satisfy me so I practiced my crochet skills instead. I used the given pattern piece to make the dupioni scarf and used a simple crochet decorative edge that I found in one of my stitch books. The crochet edging is working in Berroco Vintage in Pumpkin which really stands out against the teal silk and neutral grey of the top. With the casual sexiness of the cut of the top coupled with the elegant silk and lace edging this top is perfect of a date night, pair with a cropped tuxedo jacket for a cocktail party or worn with grey wool pants for office wear.
I often teach friends and neighbors to knit. Invariably they show up with a ball of worsted weight yarn and 2 ridiculously long straight needles. One of my first recommendations I make if I think they will stick with knitting is to invest in a set of interchangeable cable needles. But even if they are unwilling to take that step, I encourage my students to use cable needles as their default needles as opposed to straight needles. My reasons are thus:
1) Multipurpose. You can only knit straight on straight needles, while you can knit straight and in the round with cable needles. This means you can change needles less if you have a project that jumps from knitting in the round to straight and back again.
2) Weight distribution. Even when working straight on cable needles it is gentler on your wrists because the flexible cables allow knitters to rest most of the weight of a project in their laps or on a table in front of them. This is a good option of those with weak muscles, arthritis or people just getting in the game who haven't built up their knitter's bulk yet.
3) Odd jobs. Cable needles can serve as stitch holders, can be used in provisional cast-ons and other odd jobs that straight needles can't even dream off.
4) Lighter. Though not terribly so, over many hours the lighter weight of cable needles over straight needles can reduce fatigue, muscle strain and can speed up your project.
But how do you knit straight on cable needles? Easy, it is just like have a string tied to each end of your straight needles. You knit from your left needle to your right and once you get to the end of a row (this is easy to tell) switch your left needle to your right hand and vice versa for the other needle and start your next row. It is easier done than said and will really open your eye, expand your project load and reduce your needle inventory. You can start with one and go from there. I would encourage you as I do my students to invest in an interchangeable needle set; it is worth its weight in yarn!
Here is a great, quick Halloween mask pattern for our readers to get in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve before the rush really hits. Your kids are probably already planning their costumes and perhaps can't even decide what they will be. With the ease of this pattern, you can create several masks for them to 'try on' an idea to help the decision making go faster so you can order your patterns and fabric to get started!
Materials for 1 black cat mask:
1 piece of black eco-felt
Eye Mask pattern from Prudent Baby (reduced to fit your child's face. I reduced mine 20% to 6 in. wide)
1 spool of coordinating thread
Ear Pattern (See PDF download below)
After you have cut out your pattern piece, lay your quilting cotton face down and place your felt on top. Cut out 1 of the mask pattern piece and two ear pieces. Cut out two 4 in. by 12 in. from quilting cotton for mask ties.
Pin your mask pieces together and using a medium zig zag stitch, sew around the bottom of the mask, leaving the sides and top open. Set mask aside.
Assemble your ear by pinning them together and zig zagging around the ears. Place your ear between your mask layers (on above each eye) and pin in place. Repeat for 2nd ear. Zig zag across the top of your mask, set aside.
With right sides together, fold your ties in half lengthwise and sew a ½ in. seam across one short side and down the long side. Repeat for other tie. Trim your corners, turn and press. Insert your ties on either side of the mask in the side openings, pin in place. Zig zag your mask sides.
Trace a spool of thread onto your mask for eye holes. You can gently hold your mask on your child's face to mark the eye hole placement. Choose a spool big enough to accommodate your eyes and you know it will be big enough for your child. Cut out each eye hole, pin around the hole and zig zag around each eye hole. Trim any loose threads as needed.
You can add embroidery details or contrasting thread to highlight your ears. With the quilting cotton lining, you know these masks will be comfy enough for hours of play, giving you much needed quality sewing machine time.