Sunday, June 16, 2013

Finishitis #2

Let us turn, for a moment, to knitting.  A while ago I showed you an incredibly light knitted summer top.  It's made with a single thread of lace-weight slubby cotton from ColourMart.  It's hardly there at all.  While it will be just the thing for those hazy hot days of summer when The Sewing Lawyer would really rather not be wearing anything at all, those days are few in this neck of the woods.  For more versatility, a matching cardigan is just the thing.  However, it took almost 2 months of knitting to produce a sleeveless top that weighs only 51 grams.  So for the cardigan, the lace weight cotton was doubled to produce a slubby and still very lightweight cardigan.

This is the Featherweight cardigan.  There are 5,405 projects using this pattern on Ravelry.  So, a very successful pattern for the designer.  Briefly, mine is top of the heap :-) as it's the most recently-posted.

Beginning of endless rounds
However, as usual the Sewing/Knitting Lawyer cannot leave well enough alone.  The cardigan is knit top down and seamless, starting with a bunch of stitches which are the back neck and about 6 on either side which turn into the sleeves and front.  Then you increase, and increase, and increase, at the raglan sleeve points (8 stitches every 2 rows) until you have enough to make sleeves and are down to your underarms, and then you knit, and knit, and knit, and knit on and on and on until you have a sweater body and sleeves.

Back neck unattractiveness - as
And then, you pick up those front/collar bands and knit back and forth in endless rows of stockinette stitch until you are ready to slit your throat with the boredom, and then you have a sweater where if you don't haul down on the front bands (as the model is doing, I notice), the back neck sort of sticks out at the wide and sharply curved back neck in a most unattractive fashion, as shown at right.

This would never do!  Taking a cue from the weightless top, I made front bands using the same lace pattern as in the top (but 2x the heft with doubled yarn), and blocked these into long bands which I sewed to the body.  This allowed me to ease the fronts above bust level and to make the band hug the back of my neck.

Without further ado, some pictures of this object, finished today after only one month of knitting!  (I bow down to people who can toss off a project in a couple of days.  I cannot figure out how this is done without time travel.)

Neck-hugging band
of lace
The sleeves are slightly shorter than the pattern calls for - they hit at my elbow.  The length of the body is slightly longer than the pattern calls for - I wanted it to end at about the same spot as the matching top.

The band hugs the neck very satisfactorily.

 I did the equivalent of a 3 needle bind off at the neck CB (I had to knit 2 bands to ensure the arrows in the lace bands would be in the same direction).  However, I used a crochet hook to do the bind off.  This makes for some nice symmetry in the pattern.  Do pause and admire the neck-hugging properties of the lace band.

Here it is with matching top.

Sorry for the dress form photos.  It is really wet and cool here today.  If it warms up tomorrow, maybe I'll model these for the blog with the last of the Finishitis projects.  If you were keeping count you will know it is a sewing project.  

Finishitis #1

The Yarn Harlot (funny knitting blog, amusing even for non-knitters) writes of "startitis" in which a knitter compulsively casts on for multiple projects at a time rather than calmly working on and finishing those already in process.  I'm sure there is a version for sewing, although perhaps it is a bit less common.  I think I've had the knitting version in a mild dose.

Is there an opposite condition?  Finishitis, finishista, finish-it-up-itis?  Whatever, there is nothing like the high that comes from a week during which multiple projects were finished.  To wit:  one blouse, one pair of cropped pants, and one cardigan.  Or by category:  sewing (2); knitting (1).  It doesn't sound so grand when I go by the numbers, does it - kind of disappointing.  However, I refuse to be dejected.

Because it is cool and wet here today, I am not quite up to modelling all my new pieces as they are very summery.  However, a couple of days ago I took pictures of my first-to-be-finished item, a modern take on my personal "vintage" pattern, Vogue 2281.

This pattern is from the late 1970s, really almost the 1980s, hence the very loose, fits-where-it-touches silhouette.  In those days I always bought size 8, and I made this up completely unaltered except to shorten it since there is absolutely no need for a shirt that I can sit on.

The fabric is very smooth and light (silk-cotton).  I interfaced with silk organza and I'm proud of the completely finished interior of this shirt.  To the right, you can see the encased lower seam of the pockets (built into the yoke) and the finished edge of the facing.

Except for sewing on the buttons, the shirt is entirely done by machine.  The hem is a machined baby hem.

This is the easiest possible finish, and it's very light and secure for a fine fabric.  Turn up the raw edge a small amount and run a line of machine stitching very close to the fold.  Then trim the edge close to the stitching.  Then turn it up once more, and stitch again on top of the first stitching.

All materials are from my stash, including the perfectly coloured buttons.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

French seams

It has been years.  Decades perhaps.  However.

This is a yoke seam with built-in pocket, from a vintage Vogue pattern.  The pattern instructions specify French seams.  Mine are definitely not as small as Vogue wanted me to make them (1/8") but they are not too bad and the inside of this shirt is definitely as pretty as the outside.  In the end, it may be more so.  I have yet to make the buttonholes...

The last time I made it, it was the 70s and this pattern was new and fresh.  The Sewing Lawyer was yet to become a Sewing Law Student.  I am (again) making view B at top right.

I found a tiny scrap of the original fabric.  Chinese silk brocade, with tiny woven birds.  Fabulous stuff, found in (if memory serves) Fanny's Fabrics in Regina Saskatchewan.  I wish I had more of that silk.

This version is made of lightest silk and cotton blend, purchased in Montreal during PR Weekend in June, 2010.  I hauled it out of deep stash thinking it would look great with my cashmere skirt.  Now I'm aiming more squarely for summer wear.

By the way, did you notice the somewhat rumply white fabric upon which my new airy version of V2281 was resting?  It's 100% linen, 3.5 metres.  It is pretty beefy and, realizing the futility of trying to maintain its crisp smoothness, I tossed it into the washing machine and dryer to soften it up.

Some of the linen is destined to be a pair of summery cropped pants.  The rest ... perhaps a skirt?  Any suggestions as to what silhouette I should aim for?  Don't be shy - give me some ideas!