Patterns: September 2010 Archives
Fall has arrived and with it brisk air, longer sleeves and an urge for apple cider and all things comfy. The days have not quite decided to be cool but in the early morning and evening there is a chill. A light shawl is needed to add the right amount of coziness and warmth for that stroll around the block, concert in the park or watching the leaves change color. I designed the September Shawl with fall in mind. I knew that some days I would need something to nestle around my shoulders (if I wore a shirt too light) or to wrap around my neck to just ease the nippiness. The September Shawl is also well sized for small children to wear if they forgot their coat, can't be wiggled into one or won't stand still long enough for you to wrestle them into it. With eyelet rows begging for light ribbons or icord to be woven through, you can coordinate the September Shawl with your outfit or change it up with some sparkle for date night. This is a perfect fast knit for Christmas presents too.
The September Shawl is knit with Filatura Di Crosa Zara, a DK weight super wash merino wool. It is soft and cozy with great stitch definition. Some techniques you need to be familiar with for this project are: increases and decreases, and reading charts. The September Shawl will also look great in a silk, cashmere or cotton. This shawl needs about 250-275 yds of DK yarn. The eyelet pattern coupled with the ruffle make for a feminine shawl that is both simple and elegant. Made in a glittery yarn or with some sheen the September Shawl is perfect for holiday parties.
Football season is here and the Sandra Lee in us wants to decorate to bring the fanatical spirit alive. We have all done the fleece throws and quilt blocks. But there are more ways to show your fervor in your living room or to spice up that (shudder) man cave.
Now at face value (and, ok, the name doesn't help our case any either) Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows do not instill a whole lot of team spirit. They look luscious, beautiful and dreamy. In short the total opposite of Football. But should we couple our favorite team fabric with a great home dec pattern, we have instant fan power, a great place for extra fans to sit to watch the game or put up their feet. The Gum Drop pillows pack a serious punch. The pattern is so smartly simple that there are nofeminine details, no soft touches or pattern pieces to be tweaked to give it a masculine edge perfect for pigskin enthusiasts. Just a change of fabric can take this pattern to a different level. The medallion at the top seems to the best part for the fans at my house. Depending on your fabric choice, you can center your mascot at the very center of the medallion. My mom suggested that a team fabric can be stretched to accommodate 2 or more pillows by alternating team fabric with a team color fabric on each section of the pillow (4 sections of team fabric and 4 sections of a solid fabric). This pattern doesn't take much time or fabric. An 18 in. pillow (plenty big enough for feet or tushes) needs 2 yds and the 24 in. pillow 2 ¼ yds. You will need an insane amount of stuffing but if you are a recycler like me, old pillows and fabric scraps help a lot. I made the 18 in. in NFL Titans for my mom and have some Falcons set aside for my dad. They have a rivalry and I try to stay impartial but mom comes first. I found the pattern really easy and once the cutting was done, quick to put together. I took the pillow to the living room to stuff and hand sew so I could join in the action and put the pillow to good use once done. You can also check out our huge college selection here; don't over look the fleece!
I was so impressed with the finished product that I envision it in my own home though I never fancied myself a floor pillow gal. It will be great for kids to sit on for movie night, to put my feet on when I am working late on my laptop or just to curl around when reading. I hope to make 2 for the living room, as many as my little one wants in her room (once she is old enough to ask, that is) and maybe a few for my room and some for the guest room. You never know where you will need a good pillow (even dogs love it).
P.s. Just because it is a football post and it needs to be said: GO KU JAYHAWKS! And k-state- you know what I think of you.
Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard is one of the most fun books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. My library is full of resource books, books with great patterns, foundation books and go-to books but not many FUN books. It is kind of scary at first shrinking and cutting a sweater but there is a freedom that regular fabric cannot give. Mistakes turn into great details, seams are lovely and size is irrelevant.
Stefanie takes you through everything you need to know to turn your old sweaters into something new and special: toys, purses, different sweaters or any accessory your wardrobe is lacking. She talks you through picking a sweater for your project or vice versa, felting (washing machine and needle), tools and notions, deconstruction, reclaiming yarn, you name it. Stefanie shows the reader how to look at the details of a sweater and use them to their best advantage: the bottom ribbing of a sweater becomes the cuff of a mitten, the buttons of a cardigan are the central design on a bag, and the reverse of a fair isle becomes an endearing softie. The projects are a little bit crazy and a little bit bold but only because of Stefanie's sweater choices. The bones of each project are on trend and adaptable to many styles. There is something for everyone because you can make it your own with sweater choices. The fabric necklaces in the book may be too bold for you but if you choose neutral colors and amber colored beads, the whole look of the necklace changes. It becomes a remarkable accessory, a conversation starter upon close inspection but not a neon sign.
Stefanie also includes home accessories in Sweater Surgery that are amazing. Just imagine soft, luxurious sweater pillows to snuggle with on your couch. Such pillows are costly and popular at all the high end boutiques but with careful selection at a local thrift store you can have the same look for under $10 instead of hundreds. There are also some great holiday decorating ideas and projects in this book.
Each project is well explained and some include patterns. In the back, there is inspiration with summaries of how to achieve the look yourself or to use as a starting point for your own creation. I chose to use a mistakenly felted cable sweater and turned it into a sweater dress for my little lady come winter. I cut up the center of the sweater and cut off the arms. I left the seams on the right side because I really dug the look in some of Stefanie's inspiration photos. I stitched with a 2 in seam allowance on the sides and then cut the seam down to ¼ in. I then stitched up the center with a ½ in. seam, leaving 2 in. open at the top (to make it easier to get it over her head). I cut 8 in off the arms and sewed the arms back on with a ½ in. seam stretching to make the arms fit. I trimmed all the seams to ¼ in. The dress fits perfectly and looks even better (it will be great paired with some polka dot or striped leggings). I may use the left over arm for a softie or arm warmers for me when knitting in the cold. This book has got my blood pumping for more sweater projects and I am excited to reuse some of my old sweater instead of tossing them.
I call this blog entry "The Witching Hour" because that's about as long as it takes to put one of the new free Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch hats together. Any good costume trunk needs a witch hat. My trunk has... a number I'm not entirely comfortable disclosing. (Truth be told, I have no idea how many witch hats I have.)
This pattern gets an A+ in the fun department. I love, love, LOVE it! I couldn't stop myself from making hats! It's a fantastic project to burn through scraps of fancy fabrics that you couldn't bear to toss, and it's also a great way to experiment with new fabrics.
I won't re-write the instructions for making the hats - the free pattern has got you covered there. I will give you my tips and insights, and a photo series of the making of one of the smaller hats.
Here are my tips/thoughts:
- -For the large hat, which I made using a home dec velvet from my stash, I found that to make the crumples sit the way I liked them, it took a little bit of hand stitching to tack things into position.
- -The smaller hats do require a bit of patience when affixing the body of the hat to the brim. This is especially true when working with vinyl. (The trim on the pink sparkle vinyl hat is there to hide some atrocious stitching crimes.) It just comes with the territory when you're working with small items.
- -After making several of the smaller hats true to pattern, I found myself wanting some variation, so I cut the next several with straight bodies instead of crumple bodies. To do this, I just traced the outline of the lower edge of the original pattern and used that as the base of my triangular straight pieces.
- -I didn't want to purchase a bazillion headbands for all my hats, so instead, I stitched elastic onto circles of fabric to create a channel, and then glued the circles to the bases of the hats (in the photos below, you can see the underside of one of the smaller hats to clarify what I'm talking about). This way, the small hats are interchangeable on one headband.
- -The smaller hats would make darling table centerpieces for a Halloween party. They're also so quick to whip up that if you're having a smallish party, you could make them as party favors. You'd surely be known in your social circle for having the best party takeaway EVER.
Here's how my jacquard fascinator came to life:
Cutting the interfacing:
Ironing the cut interfacing to the back of the uncut fabric (This way, the interfacing becomes the pattern cutting line):
The brim pieces stitched together:
The point of the body, stitched and clipped (I like to leave that little tail to give the point a teeny bit of support - your mileage may vary):
Clipping the interior edge of the brim once it's turned (you'll find this makes stitching a good bit easier):
Stitching the body and brim together:
Stitching from another angle:
Hat with stitching completed, awaiting crumple:
Three of my hats, crumpled and awaiting instructions:
The finished batch of minis! There's seriously no telling how many more of these will come to life between now and Halloween. I'm a hat junkie!
When I was pregnant and registering, I listed MANY books but the one I wanted the very most was Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby. Yes, the cover looks antiquated, the overall style screams earlier decades and the book looks like it was put together, illustrated and planned for the 1970/80's but you must look past that to find the best sewing book for babies. I mean no disrespect to all the other baby books out there. They are great and I love sewing from them but this is the Bible/ Farmer's Almanac of sewing for baby books out there. Let's face it baby fashion hasn't really changed that much from when this book was conceived. Onesies, jumpers, dresses, & footed PJs are still the staples of baby closets from coast to coast. The only difference is from year to year the details change. What this book is prepared to offer you are the patterns and simple directions to create your baby wardrobe with customizations that are popular now. Each section shows you some customizations and points out where in the instructions and on the pattern you can make your own. Couple these customizations with choosing your own fabric and you can couture your little bundle to the sky and it will cost you a fraction and because our Wee Ones are so wee, it will take a fraction of your day.
I was lucky enough to be gifted this book at one of my showers by a very lovely neighbor. I spent many happy nap times drawing pattern changes, rummaging through my notions and trim drawers, cutting several patterns at a time and sewing up a new outfit by the time my little bit woke up. I was so excited because my babe was gifted long legs and (because I use cloth diapers) an ample booty, so thanks to this book I was able to make most of her pants to fit her exactly. Pjs were another problem for the same reasons. Dresses were just plain fun simply because they are so lovely and much easier than I imagined. If you are expecting a child, grandchild or know someone who is, Kwik Sew's Sewing for baby is a wonderful gift. It is like teaching a man to fish.Made from quilting cotton from our Retro Mod sectionKnot dress made from modified pattern pieces from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby and quilting cotton, cotton sateen, & linen. Bodice is lined. Made from pants pattern and cotton jersey.
It is no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have always loved planning, designing and creating Halloween throughout the house, whether that be costumes or (my favorite) decorations. Costumes are one day of fun but decorations are a whole month long! It is this time of year that I am especially glad to be crafty. While I love shopping for Halloween goodies, I know my neighbors do too and at all the same places. It is no fun for every house to be the same so making my decorations if doubly fun. Here are some of my favorite patterns around Ravelry that I am planning on making this year to spook up my house and give that extra ghoulish factor!
Felted Pumpkin: I have made several of these over the years because they are so fun. They are also (say it with me) a quick knit, so when I get in the Halloween spirit I also run to my wool and make another. It is a yearly tradition. You can change the size to be as BIG as you want or as teeny as you want. It is knit in pieces so it is another great project to knit in the car on your way to the Apple Pickin' Jubilee. You might want to add some opposing increase/decrease to help your stem bendy and not look so excited, as mine does. Yarn Recommended: Berocco Ultra Alpaca light (plently of pumpkin colors to choose from)
Spider- Hey- let it not be said that I do not love our Crochet friends, I am just not a crocheter (YET). I love, love, love this spider. He is creepy and cute at the same time- very difficult to pull off. I suspect he is also quick to whip up and also the legs are flexible so the kids will love playing with him and bending him to their will. Yarn Recommended: Gedifra Angora Merino (this will give a good fuzzy spidery feel)
Scream felt Wreath- I almost died of Halloween excitement when I beheld this wreath. I am already a big proponent of wreaths and wreath-like crafts so this was right up my alley. It screams perfect for Halloween in every way. It is felted so it will last and mistakes are allowed. It is creepy. You can choose your own colors! What fun. Yarn Recommended: Rowan Cocoon (lots of Halloween colors)
Halloween Softies- Just plain cute and perfect for the kids. They can decorate their room with Halloween goodness that won't leave them with nightmares or wondering if that knitted/crocheted ghost comes alive at night and waits in their closets. They softies will bring some whimsy to those who prefer a cuter Halloween sans gore, demons and blood oozing down walls. Yarn Recommended: Lion Brand Wool Ease
Corn Hat- This is perfect for adults
forced lovingly walking their
children from house to house All Hallow's Eve. No need to dress up, one hat is
your costume. Plus you won't disappoint the kids with the lack of enthusiasm.
You can deliver the message of "don't worry; I won't be feeding all the candy to
my kids. At least half goes to me". Additionally, should it be cold where you
and your family will be haunting the streets, your ears will thank you for your
sweet, Halloween Spirit. Yarn
Of all the knitting bags I have made (it might be JUST short of 100), Amy Butler's Stash N Dash is one of the top 3. It is perfect for knitting on the go (which I do a lot), small projects (my current obsession), socks and gifts. I made the biggest, Toiletry Bag, and it is perfect. I have decided I can use it as a project bag- in which I only have to pull out my needle, zip it and knit. It holds my yarn, tangle free and keeps it from rolling all over. This is also perfect when just knitting on the couch (keeps my yarn from little fingers) or at the Doctor's office. The strap hangs from your wrist so you can wear your yarn and quickly stash it away. The toiletry bag is also great for notions, wristlet for quick shopping trips, or a treasure bag for a little lady or man to tote their polished rocks, shiny coins or red marbles around. Oh and the bag is more spacious inside than it looks on the outside.
The Stash N Dash is quick to cut and sew up. I used a combo of quilting cotton (strap and top of bag) and home dec (lining and bottom of the bag) so I just interfaced the quilting cotton. Some more bags are definitely coming up and I am thinking of adding the straps or a little loop to hook a strap onto the smaller bags. These bags are a great option for Christmas presents because you can create a set in any fabric to match the recipient: dupioni silk for my sister in law, funky cotton for my mom and solids for my mother-in-law. These are also great teacher gifts, neighbors and the friend who has everything.
The perfect beginning to the fall fashion season is a good jacket and in my eyes there is no better jacket than the Midtown Trench by Indygo Junction. This was a surprisingly quick project. With all the details and beautiful flares in this pattern (large cuff, box pleats, and portrait collar) I would have thought that this was a time investment but the opposite was the case. The pattern was very well written and it seemed everything lined up and was excellently illustrated. The only trouble I had was with the hem. I ended up doing a 2.5 in. double turn hem as opposed to what was written. Also my auto buttonhole foot did not accommodate 1.25 in. buttons so I had to free hand it. I have learned that button holes are not my forte. Now buttons, I rocked those. No one sews on a button like Tara Miller. I kept the hand sewing to a minimum by doing the double turn hem and I stitched in the ditch to tack down the facings at the shoulders. That worked well. I would recommend any of our designer prints for this or smooth sateen or twill fabric. I used a size 14 needle and all purpose thread. You will need a large space to layout and cut your fabric; some of the pattern pieces are large. The fabric is Love by Amy Butler and it was great fun to work with as well. Not a big hit with the husband but all my girlfriends and mom loved it.
The top stitching incorporated in the pattern adds a lovely and professional finished. The back box pleats really add some extra swing to this jacket. The ¾ length sleeves, large cuffs and wide portrait collar are really 'on trend' but are still classics to last years. The fact that this jacket is so quick makes it easy to make several in different patterns and colors. There are 2 different versions included in the pattern. I made the shorter version without patch pockets. You can make the short for a fall jacket in some of our designer prints and the longer in laminated cotton as a great rain coat. The jacket called for 3 3/8 yd of 60 in. fabric and 3 7/8 yd of 45 in. fabric, 1/8 yd of interfacing and five 1 to 1 1/4 in. buttons. I used 5 of our ceramic buttons in a herringbone pattern. They look incredible with this print; the buttons match perfectly.