Patterns: October 2011 Archives
I love Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross because the projects look like a lot of fun, the pictures are gorgeous and the idea of projects whipped up over the weekend is great for busy sewers. However, I have learned to take this book with a grain of salt and always make a muslin. I have discovered from my previous projects that many of the projects in this book are ill-fitting and poorly graded. If you will remember the Flower Girl dress made with Liberty Art fabric. It was gorgeous but not sized correctly. After I made the size 2 and it didn't fit, I checked the gradations for the bigger sizes and they were too small as well. Then there was the Kimono dress from Dupioni Silk which called for the wrong drape of fabric and the overlap of the dress was all wrong. Now I have gone for the Guest Slipper because they are a great gift idea and should be very easy to make for friends and family. Umm, wrong again. These slippers are great gifts ideas and easy to make up... with my modifications! If you make them according to the book (which I did first) they will be:
Heel before modification
Heel after modification
1) Too small
2) The heel is too low and slips off
3) No fun because the sole is too thick and then you have to hand sew it on
Bah Humbug! To make these slippers fun and fitting, follow these steps:
First, I used some super soft flannel for the exterior to keep tootsies warm in the cold months. Second, I added ¾ in. to the length of the upper and 1 whole inch to the height of the back of the upper (see photos).
I did not modify the sole pattern piece at all. I only cut out 1 sole for the lining and 1 for the exterior, out of Micro Suede, and I interfaced the lining sole with fusible fleece for comfort. Next I assembled my slipper in 2 different ways, and you can decide for yourself which you prefer. For my muslin, I stitched the uppers together at the heel as per the pattern but then I stitched the uppers to the soles for both the lining and the exterior. I added the elastic to the seam allowance of the exterior and the loop to the lining. Then I stitched the exterior to the lining leaving a gap for turning. Turned and pressed the slipper open and topstitched around the edge. Since this was my muslin I didn't add the rick rack because I wanted to see how my assembly and the fit worked out first.
My second mode of assembly is faster but leaves the seam allowance visible inside the slipper but the edges can be pinked, serged or zigzagged for a more professional finish. This second method is more similar to the pattern as well. I stitched the uppers together at the heel and then stitch the lining and exterior uppers together and added the elastic. I then basted the exterior sole to the lining sole, wrong sides facing. With the slipper turned inside out I stitched the upper to the sole with the exterior sole face up and the upper lining side facing out. Then I trimmed the seam and turned the slipper right side out.
The first method eliminates a seam showing but makes it more difficult to add rick rack, elastic and loop but leaves a very nice finish. The second method just changes the end of assembly but there is no need to top stitch and who looks inside a slipper anyway.
All in all this is a good book with many good projects, the slipper among them. Just be sure you make a muslin and be prepared to modify. I recommend both the flannel and micro suede as they are great additions to this project. The micro suede inhibits slipping and looks good. The flannel is just right for hardwood floors on cold mornings.
I am loving all the new ruffle scarves out in the market this season. They are so fun and a great way to bring sophistication and style to a casual outfit, add color to your jacket or take an outfit from work to play.
A great way to create your own unique ruffle scarf is to use pieces from an existing pattern that features ruffles. You can modify the pieces without having to draft something from scratch. I used the flounce pieces from Kwik Sew Ruffled Collar Wrap Shirt. Though this pattern is designed for woven, I cut my scarf pieces from knit fabric for a warmer, softer feel. I wanted a really flouncy, bouncy, twisty scarf. The rest is complete pie (or cake whichever you prefer). After cutting 6 flounce pieces together, I stitched each piece together (right sides facing) with a ½ in. seam. Once done, I had 3 separate long ruffle pieces, I matched them up at the seam, layering one on top of the other, all with right sides facing up so all the seams, but the bottom, would be unseen. Then I sewed all pieces together right over the seam line. The next step is optional but makes it easier to keep your scarf from looking too crazy but does reduce the twisty ruffle effect just a bit. Line up and pin all 3 ruffles together on the inside edge and stitch down from center seam 10 in. on both sides along the inside edge. This will keep the ruffle pieces together better but will still leave the ends separate to be tied, dangled or twisted.
This is the perfect all-purpose scarf that you can wrap, tie, twist or tuck in to keep you warm or stylish as needed. It is fast and easy so you can make one or a few for friends and family. You can adjust the size by adding length to the flounce or adding ruffle pieces to bulk up your scarf or use a sweater knit or fleece for colder climates.
One of my favorite things to do when Fall comes around is figure out how to still wear my favorite warm weather pieces through the end of the year. The same goes for my daughter. I love seeing her summer dresses peeking out from under sweaters or jackets. But what about my favorite summer patterns, should I be forced to stop sewing the patterns I love because the temperature drops a little. Umm...Nope, I just figure out a way to transition my best patterns to fit the season. One of my all time patterns is the Oliver+S Class Picnic. I love the style but it is clearly a spring/summer pattern. I didn't have time to make it in the summer so I am modifying it for fall/winter. I am approaching this from 2 directions: pattern modification and fabric choice.
Fabric choice: obviously for a cooler weather garment I am not going to use plain cotton but instead am going with a flannel (Urban Flannel Dots). This will really amp up the warmth of the shirt plus give it some extra softness that is needed when it is cold outside. You can also use some wool flannel, double knit, corduroy or velvet (something stable).
Pattern Modification: Now with ¾ sleeves, flannel alone is not going to be enough for fall and winter so we need to bring the sleeve down. I did this not by lengthening the sleeves but by adding a contrasting sleeve cap. To do this, I placed the sleeve pattern piece on some freezer paper and drew the sleeve longer by 4 in. on the freezer paper following the shape of the sleeve pattern piece. Then I removed the sleeve pattern piece and added the seam allowance to the top of my sleeve cap piece. Cut out your sleeve cap piece and then cut 2 from contrasting fabric (I used Urban Flannel Floral Diamond). When it is time to join your sleeves to your shirt, stitch your sleeve cap piece to the sleeves and then press the seams towards the sleeves and topstitch. Be sure and measure your child or an existing shirt to make sure you make your sleeve cap long enough and add in a hem allowance.
I love the way this shirt is easy to put on my wiggly toddler and gives her plenty of wiggle room. She loves wearing it and the style is cute and modern. The pattern was really easy to assemble without too many pieces. I definitely recommend using the whole 5 in. elastic pieces Liesl recommends. If you try to cut your elastic to size first to save elastic, you will have a tough time. By using the longer 5 in. piece it is easy to thread the casing and then to pull the elastic to size and stitch in place. You might waste some elastic but you will save time and frustration. This pattern is great for modifying. You can make it longer for a dress, make the yoke with contrasting fabric, and make the sleeves super short for really hot days. This is a wardrobe builder that is fun and fast. I recommend it to parents and grandparents alike!
I often try to see new ideas when I am knitting up a project. My mind churns through, almost like a program running in the background. I am focused on the project but sometimes a stitch or a new technique will trigger an idea. Just such a thing happened a few weeks ago when I was scanning a knitting magazine, reading an article on lace. I must have had Halloween in the front of my mind because after I had read 2 sentances the light bulb went off: Knitted Spider Web. Of course, it goes hand in hand with halloween and can easily be pulled off. Making one is simple and can be made to any size. Here's how to make your own knitted spider web.
1 skein of worsted weight cotton, cotton blend or acrylic yarn in any Halloween color (Shown in Lion Brand Cotton Ease)
US size 15, 24 in. cable needle (or longer if you are making a bigger web)
Cast on 8 sts
Row 1: *k1, yo; repeat to last end
Row 2: *k2tog, yo; repeat to end
Row 3: *yo (twice), k2tog; repeat to end
Row 4: *k1 into first yo, drop second yo, yo; repeat to end
Repeat Row 3 & 4 until your web is big enough for your spooky plans. Bind off very loosely. If you used a cotton or cotton blend yarn, you can block your web bigger. However, acylic yarn will hold up outside much better than cotton and hold it's color- the choice is yours.
Add this crocheted spider by Sandsteel Designs
Or this knitted spider by Dawn Riden
Either one dangling from this knitted spider web is sure to creep out your dearest friends and help your kids really scare the neighborhood!
We still have plenty of time to finish our Holiday gift list but most of us will procrastinate or worse overestimate our free time and fill the list with complicated, involved masterpieces worthy of induction in MOMA. Not everything needs to be 100% knitted or works of art incorporating 14 different stitch designs. Most, if not all, of your gifts just need to be from the heart and well thought out. You can achieve both of these goals by knitting parts of your project and adding them to completed items. Since I love ruffles (along with the rest of the fashion world) and know from my window shopping that they can make anything look better, I decided to add ruffled project to my Christmas list. All I need do is knit the ruffle and add it to my gift. Since I am knitting such a small part of my gift and will be saving so much time, this leaves me with the freedom to spice up the ruffles and try something new. It is ok to complicate it up if you are going for something small because mistakes will not put you back very far.
I am gifting a friend a set of vintage dish towels I found at a local antique store but since her taste is a little funky I knew a knitted ruffle would be right up her alley. The towels are in a gingham style so I decided not to make my ruffle too fancy since the towel was so busy but I did knit it in a contrasting color cotton yarn, like Lily Sugar n' Cream Yarn. To make my ruffle, I worked up a swatch to find my gauge and then multiplying by the width of the towel calculated how many stitches to cast on. I worked my first 4 rows in garter stitch to give me a solid flange to attach to the towel.
Row 5: *knit 1, yo; repeat to last stitch, knit 1
Row 6: purl across all stitches
Row 7: knit across all stitches
Repeat Row 6 & 7 for 1 in.
Work 4 more rows in garter stitch
You can make your ruffle as long or as wide as you like by adjusting the number of rows worked or stitches cast on, respectively. You can layer your ruffles for a bolder effect or knit them with a fine gauge yarn for more flutter. You can add ruffles to shirt necks, capes, placemats and pashminas. You can spice up new store bought items or scored vintage treasures. Adding ruffles can not only save time but also increase your stitch library since they are a great way to experiment.
To attach my ruffle, I pinned the flange to the wrong side of the dish towel, letting the purl bumps peak out just a little. Then with a size 12 needle and a straight, medium length stitch, I sewed 2 lined of stitching, one at the top edge of the flange and the second at the bottom edge of the flange. These two stitches secure the ruffle in place and keep it from flipping over to the back side. A stretch stitch is not needed since we are attaching to a woven but if you are attaching your ruffle to a knit, a zig zag stitch is needed in a size appropriate to the density of your knit and knitted ruffle.
It is important to note that you should match your yarn to your gift by taking the washing instructions into consideration. Since a dish towel will be washed a lot, choose a washable yarn like cotton or acrylic. If your gift is delicate like pashmina it is appropriate to choose an equally delicate yarn like silk or cashmere. For a knitted ruffle added onto a top, choose a non-irritating fiber like superwash merino which can still be blocked to the right shape.
In our house dinosaurs rule, not an hour goes by that I don't hear a mighty roar coming from the vicinity of my toddler. This is why I was so excited to discover Made by Rae's free Dragon Slipper Tutorial. These things are so cool but please take my advice and take Rae's advice: don't take liberties thinking that you know better. You don't... I mean I don't [know better].
Typically when I make my patterns I add modifications so you can see another way of making something your own or to give you new ideas but this time I am going to tell where I went wrong and urge you to go in a different direction. Firstly, when Rae recommends Jumbo Ric-rac, she really means slightly larger than average ric-rac. I say this with confidence because I used JUMBO ric-rac and it was too jumbo. My slippers feature 1 3/8 in. Apple Green Ric-rac and I would recommend using 5/8 in. ric-rac instead. Secondly, in my wisdom I decided to make these slippers just a little big since my daughter has small feet so I anticipate them growing a great deal any day. Instead of tracing her feet (as recommended) and adding the seam allowance, I traced her shoes and then added the seam allowance. End result, too big slippers! On the bright side too big is better than too small.
Now for the breakdown: for the slipper upper I used Organic Sweatshirt fleece which is super-duper soft. So soft that I placed wrong side out for the lining so the fuzzy part would be what her feet touched. Secondly, I let my toddler pick the eyes and it was decided to move them higher, add purple eye shadow and make them out of felt. For the soles, I used a felted cable knit sweater but I also recommend any of our fleece. This pattern is pretty easy but it will take more time than expected since you must draft the pattern pieces and then cut and assemble. This took me 2.5 naps but the result was worth it. These are a big (but floppy) hit. Just remember to follow Rae's Rules and only wing it with the embellishments. I would try adding ric-rac on the back (as a homage to a tail), or felt wings for the dragon or no ric-rac on the front but a small horn and yarn down the back for a unicorn. The possibilities go on but you must make a pair!
As Christmas gets closer, the panic sets in and you are straining to finish a unique, gorgeous and stunning hand knit for everyone on your list but just realized that there is no way to do it...RELAX. There is an easy way to turn simple, quick projects into stunningly unique gifts that you will feel proud to give and the receiver will be just as amazed. Incorporating simple texture stitches to simple patterns can take your projects from boring to "Holy Cow"! I will show you three stitches below; the first is your standard stockingette, the second is a half twisted stitch that gives your fabric the texture of a herringbone wool or chanel-esque suiting, the third is a full twist that gives the illusion of a fine textured ribbing when coupled with a variegated yarn lends a boucle look to any project and all are so simple!
Half Twist Stitch: Row 1 (WS): Purl
Row 2 (RS) Knit all stitches through the back loop
The twisting of half of the rows in the above stitch are not enough to delineate into a ribbing like our Full Twist Stitch but gives enough to break up the monotony of stockingette without destroying the smooth background that is one of the best features of stockingette. The slight texture is a great pairing with cables and bobbles (like stockingette) but also great on its own for use with a fine yarn with properties to stand on its own. I love subbing this stitch in for striped scarves and hats so my fast projects look amazing!
Full Twist Stitch: Row 1 (RS): Knit all stitches though the back loop
Row 2 (WS): Purl all stitches through the back loop
This stitch also gives a slight texture that can easily be subbed in for stockingette without looking bland and also gives a faint ribbing effect that cannot be mimicked with even 1x1 ribbing. This mock ribbing/texture stitch can take any basic pattern up 5 notches and dazzle under the tree. I love using backwards knitting with this stitch to nix all purling!
The bonus with the 2 great simple texture stitches given above is that they do not need to be worked over a certain number of stitches. You can take any simple pattern and apply them as-is. This will ensure that you can enjoy making all your gifts, you will get them done in time and that they will look like you spent 10 times more times and money than you did (that leaves more time and money for you!)
The above swatches were worked in the amazing Lion Brand Martha Stewart Alpaca Blend
One important thing you should know about me is that I am a Harry Potter Fan. One reason for my JK Rowling fanaticism is that she is a fan of knitting and so are the costumers for the movies. I love curling up on the couch with my sketch book waiting for inspiration to come on the screen. The subject for today's posting is courtesy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies. The lead female character wears a cardigan with a cabled button band that I fell head over heels for. It is such a fun and unique idea that I decided to experiment with my own.
You can really see the bar tacks on this picture
For my cabled button band swatch I knit only the button holes. Knitting a button band for the buttons is the easier of the two and I want to figure out the right cable and button hole combo for me. I started with a 9 st cable with a 3 st purl center (see Twist Cable instructions below). I added a horizontal one row button hole but found that it left a bar tack on the right side of my cable that I didn't like. Next, I tried the same cable with a vertical button hole. This button hole/cable combo seemed to work well together but I prefer horizontal button holes on my cardigan to reduce button slippage.
Third, I tried a simpler cable that didn't cable across the whole of the sts like the Twist Cable above. The Honey Comb Cable just twists over half the sts on each side. This greatly reduces the tension and allows the button band to lay flat and means you can cable between fewer rows so you can have more button holes. I coupled this cable with a double yarn over button hole. The combo of the Honey Comb Cable with the simple button resulted in a very polished button band. The light cable will not pull on the sweater when the button band is attached (making blocking easier) and the simple button hole was easy without distorting the cable.
The yarn used for this sample is Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Button Hole Instructions can be found here
9st Right Twist Cable: Cast on 9 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 3, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): Purl 3, knit 3, purl 3
Row 3: Slip first 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, slip second 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, knit third 3sts then purl second 3 sts from cable needle then knit the first set of 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 twice (or more depending on the size of your button hole) then repeat Row 3
Honey Comb Cable: Cast on 12 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 6, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): purl 3, knit 6, purl 3
Row 3: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, purl next 3 sts, knit 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 once
Row 6: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in back, knit 3 sts then purl 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts and then knit 3 sts from cable needle