Reviews: January 2012 Archives
I have a couple of New Year's resolutions this year that involve running, and I really, really like to make original running gear. One of the ways I try to keep things interesting is by adapting knit patterns intended for day wear into active wear. I used this pattern to make three tops (so far): one for my normal day-to-day wardrobe, and two for running.
For the first top, I opted for a sparkly jersey knit in green. I love how soft and lightweight this fabric is, and the subtle shimmer gives it a visual depth that takes it beyond the tee shirt realm. The shoulder and center back of the crossover neckline option took me a little time to figure out, but once I started really looking at the instructions and the pieces of fabric in my hands, it all fell into place. I think subsequent efforts would go much more quickly. Now to decide which knits to use!
For the second version of the shirt, I went with a color-blocked top using stretch nylon jersey, which is perfect for running attire. This version goes together in a snap, and when I wore it for a 5k, two different people asked me where I bought it and then looked dejected when I told them I made it. (At moments like this, I always take the opportunity to urge people to learn to sew. We need more seamstresses in the world!)
My third effort at this pattern is my favorite, probably because it's the one I took the most liberties with. I opted to skip the collar entirely and just do a foldover edge at the neck. If you're wondering where I found that Disney princess fabric, here's a fun tip: It's a lycra bookcover I cut apart! You can find them in abundance during back-to-school time at all your big box stores, and they feature a wide array of characters and designs. I usually hit every store I can in the week after school starts, and stockpile all the cute designs I find for projects just like this.
To make my mini pockets, I cut an overlay for the triangle sections out of the princess print fabric, then used a stretch stitch to finish the top edges, which have 1/4" elastic folded into them. The pockets are small, but they securely carry an energy bar and my keys, and I can clip my iPod shuffle to the top edge. Functional and cute -- that makes me a very happy girl.
This is definitely not the last of my projects with this pattern, because I adoooooooore it. I want to make a version of it with ITY, and I will probably make at least three more for running -- which will no doubt help me keep those running resolutions!
And there's no telling what other versions I'll think of while I'm whipping those out. How about you?
I am taking the Notional definition #3: indulging in or influenced by fancy. Fiskars' Circle Cutter is an indulgence in fancy but also a smart buy. I loved this from the first try. One of my biggest pet peeves is cutting circle and patterns that call for circle cutting. Why? Because it usually involves a random search all over one's house looking for any and all objects round that will create the size circle that is needed/called for. Plus, I can't cut circles out with my rotary cutter very well, somewhere around the hand switch I either bump the pattern object or I don't put enough pressure on the rotary cutter and all goes awry! These days are over and a new circle cutting era has dawned in my sewing studio- a glorious era of circles of all sizes (1in. to 8 in. that is) living in harmony with me.
Eventually my eyes cleared of stars and I was able to get down to business and put this circle cutter through its paces.
- This cutter is designed for paper. Well, I say "pshaw" to that. You can use it to cut lightweight fabrics easily. Get yourself some freezer paper (I bought mine at Wal-Mart) and iron it, shiny side down onto your fabric. Now cut your circles out with the paper side up. Also keep some pressure on the paper/fabric with pattern weights. This will keep the paper/fabric from shifting when the cutter is moving.
- You can also cut lighter weight Home dec fabrics but you will need to press a little harder.
- This circle cutter does not cut felt. The felt is too thick and the blade is not long enough, plus the felt is loftier than a woven so when you press down on the gripper foot it raises the area around the blade making it difficult to cut. I was a bit disappointed by this but cutting circles from felt is not as bad as a woven for me.
- When you are choosing your circle size, line up the ruler with the center of the shaft. This will give you an accurate size (the instructions don't mention this).
- You can pop out a dull blade with the tip of a knitting needle or a turning tool. The slot is small so you can't use a finger and you might need more pressure than a seam ripper can give without breaking.
- Best on quilting cottons, shirting, apparel fabrics including bottom weight, lightweight Home dec (linen, light wovens, silks, drapery).
Rosewood- Strong and sturdy better for small gauges, beautiful grain
Birch- tight grain and flexible
Ebony- Hard and durable
Blonde- Strong and warm
Coconut- Very strong (great for those who knit tight)
Surina- Very hard but very light
You could also include bamboo needles in this article because the attributes of bamboo in a knitting needle is so similar to wood: it is light and strong but the most flexible of "wooden" needles. Bamboo is also less expensive than wood so it makes the best beginner needle. Bamboo is a great choice for an eco-conscience person because bamboo is a grass, it grows back very quickly and the environmental impact of its harvest is minimal.
For my version, I used ITY, and it was a breeze to work with -- I didn't need to edge finish my ruffles! I opted to use the knit for both the body of the tank and the ruffle accents.
I found that the armscye on this pattern runs a hair tight for my taste. It may be perfect for you -- it's great in that you get full coverage, and you won't fall victim to gaposis or risk exposing your undergarments, but I am a wiggler and I like a little more space at for my flailing at points of articulation. In the interest of full disclosure, my upper arms are not exactly svelte. Even so, it's super easy to trim the armscye just a little wider and augment the length of the binding to match, and I want to stress that this is a personal preference issue.
I altered the neck ruffle on my version as well. Because I used my knit for this detail, the weight of the fabric seemed to pull the ruffle fairly flat initially, so I added a bit of pleating.
One of the best things about this pattern is its versatility, which really encourages creativity. You can extend the neck ruffle to go all the way around the neckline. You can play with with contrasting colors for the accent pieces. You can make it in novelty knits as a pretty-as-can-be pajama top, or splurge on a luxurious Liberty of London interlock to make a really special garment. It could be a dramatic black-and-white statement piece, or a neutral everyday favorite. The correct way to make it up is any way you can think of!