Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 5 Sewing Misses.

Sewing Misses

1.  Jamie Jeans - this version was intended to be a wearable muslin so I was anticipating having fit problems but thought I could make it work.  I've decided that the colour just doesn't work for me for full length pants so I've had no motivation to finish adjusting them.

2. Jacole Skinny Pants - the pattern is simple and a fairly quick sew for pants.  Whenever I wear these I feel like I have to keep hiking them up all day.  I've taken the waistband in a couple times and initially that  helps but I still feel like it doesn't work.  I made 2 pairs of these.  I made the coral ones because I thought the colour looked really trendy and I could pull it off.  Instead I just feel really conspicuous wearing them. I like the colour of the bluish grey ones.  When the weather gets warmer I might cut the legs shorter and make them capris and see if they are better then.  I also now know that I need to increase the rise in the back.  I squat down a lot while playing with my kids and when teaching kindergarten and if pants slide down when I crouch I won't wear them.

3. Velvet Disaster -   I used the Jamie Jean pattern again . . . because I had it and used a size up because I was using velvet.  I could get them on but they felt like a was wearing a vice when I went to bend down.  I took the side seam apart and added this stripe of black velvet.  My husband's comment was "you look like you are wearing velvet track pants" not the elegant look I was going for. These I am just abandoning.

4. Melly Sews Hi/Lo top - This is a great free pattern.  I tried adding a bit of width to it and ended up with the neckline being to wide.  It slides over to expose my bra straps, which I hate.  I am usually so worried about making something too small that I end up making my first versions too big.  I don't have a picture of this one.

5. Plaid Natalie Top - I was so excited about making a cozy plaid top for the winter.  I've made the Natalie top 3 times already so I knew it was a Tried and True (TNT) pattern for me.  Except somehow when I was cutting it out I added an inch to the front width and the same for the back.  I've been ripping out seams and adjusting and trying to save it.  I went back to the fabric store to get 1/2 m more of the same fabric and they didn't have any more! So I went home and thought more about it.  I found this shirt with a lace yoke.  I'm currently trying to fix the neckline by adding the lace yoke and a colour so it will match the rest of my family with their matching plaid shirts.  The pockets are terrible.  The collar is too big.  I'm not sure it's salvageable.

I don't dislike any of these patterns . . .  sometimes my fabric choice wasn't good, I didn't cut the pattern accurately or I need modify the fit just for me. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Top 5 Sewing Hits of 2014

Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is hosting a reflection series called The Top 5 of 2014.  First up is my top 5 Sewing hits of 2014.

1. Julia Cardigan

I made a whole rainbow of these.  They are the perfect light layer for spring, summer and fall.  I wore them all the time in the warmer weather. I will probably make a few more again next year when the weather warms up.  If you haven't made a Julia cardigan yet you should.

2. Natalie Top

This is my third version of the Natalie top.  I like my green one and even my first blue one that I made but this floral one is my favourite.  I love the fit of it. It looks great with pants are a skirt.  I gave it a slight hi/lo hem so I'm comfortable wearing it with skinny jeans or cords.  I like that the sleeves have little tabs for having them rolled up but I also like rolling them down to full length.

3. Newsboy Hat

Cutest hat pattern ever!  I bought the adult and child version.  Here are the first 2 I made for my kids.  The pattern is reversible so it is fun to play with fabrics.  I also made a fleece lined one for my daughter for the cooler weather.  I can see myself making one of these each year for the kids as they grow.  My cousin loved the look so much she asked me to make one for her as.

4. Weekend Rambler Skirt

I do love this skirt, even though the front pockets aren't very big.(Here's more details) I've worn it this winter with heavier fleece tights and I will wear it in the summer as well. 

5. Family Button up Shirts - Kids shirts Lumberjack shirt, Men's shirt: Simplicity 1544,

These turned out to be the cutest things.  I had bought some plaid to make a shirt for myself (you'll see it under my top 5 misses) and had enough leftover to make a shirt for my son.  It is a bit fiddly to sew a button up shirt but so cute and somehow addicting.  I then decided to make matching shirts for my husband and daughter.  I've never sewn anything for my husband because he's quite picky about clothes so I was prepared for him to not like it but he does.  Aren't they cute.  My shirt was a fail.  I think I have a fix that will work but I didn't get it done before the holidays.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

DIY Knitted Boots

I saw these knitted Ugg boot last year on Pinterest and I loved them.  I really wanted them but I couldn't justify buying them.
UGG Australia boots

I had an old pair of mucklucks that I still wore on occasion but not often. So I into my yarn stash and found this purple yarn that had been a scratchy sweater at one point of time. 
I measured around the boot and the length of the upper part of the boot.  I did a guage swatch to figure out how many stitches to cast on.


Yarn: I used 2 strands of worsted weight yarn held together.
Needles: 5.5 mm
 Gauge: 3 sts/inch

Finished Size: 8 1/2" wide by 8"  tall

Cast on 36 stitches.  I knit the Twisted Braided cable pattern according to these instructions from Knitting on the Net  I knit until I had a rectangle that was 8 by 8 1/2 inches.  Then I attached it to the boot by stitching around the bottom, around the top and overlapping the sides.  I picked a few mis-matched buttons and sewed them on over the seam.

Voila!  DIY Knitted Boots that cost me nothing to make.  In a few years I think I will get some blue yarn and make a pair like my inspiration picture.   These would be easy to make with thrift store pair of slip on boots and easy to customize with your own pattern.
Have you ever knit anything inspired by Pinterest?  Follow me on Pinterest Christa Lakeknit

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Are you a Cowl Girl?

Are you a scarf or cowl person?  I've just come to the realization that I'm more of a cowl girl. I wear scarves but I wear cowls more.  Cowls stay in place.  There's no ends to come loose and droop down into my kid's artwork/food/random mess.  When I'm working I teach Kindergarten  . . . definitely no dangly pieces of clothing there.

I've had this scarf for quite a while and I've worn it in the winter as an outdoor scarf in November and March but then didn't really get much use out of it.  So I decided to stitch the ends together to make a cowl.

Another thing I realized . . . I never blocked it!  Here it is blocking.

Pattern: Wakefield Scarf   (free pattern)
Yarn:  I have no idea, some sort of wool with a tiny bit of silk.  Something that matched the gauge suggested.

I love it!  Now I wear it all the time, sometimes as an outdoor scarf and sometimes as an accessory.  What do you prefer scarves or cowls?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Rainbow Yarn - an Adventure in dyeing with Food Colouring

Have you seen the yarn from YarnInk.  She's a Canadian hand dyer.  I follow her on Instagram and everyday she puts up yarn that I have to resist buying.  I really hope that I'm getting some sock and shawl yarn from her this Christmas.  I gave my husband my list  . . . and he's pretty good at getting me stuff I like!

I keep looking at the Rainbow yarns she does.  My daughter would love a rainbow sweater, but at $27 a skein for DK weight yarn . . . .that's not happening.  So I decided to dye some myself.

I have 7 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes that I had bought to make myself a white sweater.  After making another sweater for myself in Knit Picks Swish Worsted I decided I wanted to save up for a better quality yarn for something for myself.  For kids knits Knit Picks is great.

I wound 5 of the balls into skeins and followed the directions in this Knitty tutorial for how to dye using food colouring.

I got all my supplies organized before my son's nap and I had it ready to go in the oven just as he woke up.

 I left it in the oven until it reached 82 degrees Celsius.  The water looked all clear. 

I let it cool and rinsed it.  Hardly any colour came out.

Rainbow yarn skein yumminess!!  I'm so thrilled with how they turned out.  If I was to do this again I would use a bit less yellow dye . .  . to make it a bit mellower.  For the purple I used Kool aid, which I've done before but I would like to try purple food colouring and see if I get get a bit more variation in the purple.

For a sweater for a 3 1/2 year old girl!!  Perfect.

And I've already cast on  for her.  A pre-school size Baby Sunnyside Sweater. (It's the same pattern as I knit my last sweater, the Lady Sunnyside)  .  I'll have to call them Thunder and Rainbow sweaters since mine is grey.

The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn so I'm knitting the 3-6 month size using worsted weight yarn and 4.5 mm needles.  So far it looks to be the perfect size.  Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Slouchy Cardigan Pattern by Heidi and Finn

Pattern: Slouchy Cardigan by Heidi and Finn
Fabric: rainbow jersey purchased at Textile King in Toronto

Size:  Cut a 2T in width and a 4T in length (she's 3 1/2)

Modifications:  Lengthened sleeve and shortened cuff.  In the first version I made of this my daughter didn't like the long cuff

So cute!  I love it.  Hopefully I made it big enough that it will fit again in the Spring.  It's gotten too cold here for it now.  I took these photos at the end of September.  I love making children's clothing.  It is so quick compared to items for me! And a bonus too because Heidi and Finn is a Canadian Designer.  I make a point of trying to support Canadian artisans. Do you try to support artisans in your country?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Lady Sunnyside

This is me when I first finished the sweater just in time for then end of the KAL being hosted by Tanis
Better daylight pictures

Lady Sunnyside Sweater by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: Green Label Aran "Granite" by Tanis Fiber Arts

I got the pattern for free on Ravelry when it was first released. I bought the yarn during an Etsy update of the TFA store.  I love this yarn.  I'm going to have difficulty buying yarn from anywhere else. 
I love this pattern!!  It's like Tanis wrote a custom pattern just for me.  The seamless construction is fantastic.  You start with the cabled neckband and then pick up the sweater stitches from there.  I extended the length to come down to mid-thigh so it would be a nice warm sweater for this winter.

My favourite sweater yet!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Weekend Rambler Skirt

Even though I am home right now on an extended maternity leave with my children I do sometimes think about when I return to work.  One of the things I have been thinking about is developing a better work wardrobe.  I'm a teacher and when I return I will be teaching kindergarten to 4 and 5 year olds.  The past couple of years when I've been working I've gotten really casual with my wardrobe and have been known to wear jeans to work!  I would do that if I could all the time but we have a new principal at my school who is wonderful . . . .but I don't think I can come in wearing jeans and get away with it now so I am on a mission to develop a professional, yet comfortable, wardrobe that I can wear while teaching kindergarten.

The Weekend Rambler Skirt by Snapdragon Studios was the one of the first garments to catch my eye that I thought would really work for me to wear to work because it has POCKETS!  I have now seen lots of other skirts and dresses that have pockets and I am now never again making a skirt or dress without pockets.  I purchased the pattern from the Indie Sew website.
I love the details of this skirt.  I think it gives it some nice definition without being too dressy. 

For the skirt I used a mid-weight cotton fabric that I bought on my shopping expedition in Toronto this summer.

I also made another Julia Cardigan in a white sweater knit with a jersey band.  It's a great layering piece with this Skirt  . . . or jeans! 
Nice and warm for fall and winter. I wore this outfit all day while playing with my kids.  Functional yet professional for wearing to work! 

Now after finishing the  skirt I was really disappointed with the front pockets.  They are a really funny shape, long on one side and short on the other.  I couldn't fit my phone into the pockets so I ended up adding back patch pockets to put my phone in.  The front pockets sit really nicely and otherwise I love this skirt pattern so for the next version I'm going to lengthen the pocket lining to make it symmetrical and large enough to be functional.
Front Pocket -Closeup
Need a pocket for my phone (what the skirt looks like after being with my kids all day)
Front of Skirt

Back of Skirt with patch pockets added and belt loops.
Overall I do love this pattern.  I have the fabric cut for another one already, a brown corduroy and I'd like a grey one as well.

Over the next while I will be talking about building a capsule wardrobe for myself.  It's something I have been thinking about myself but I've been motivated by Zoe of the Tadpegs blog.  She's started a Capsule Wardrobe Community, which I've joined. So I will be posting about how my sewing/knitting plans work into building my Winter CapsuleWardrobe. 

Thanks for reading!