Tag Archives: patchwork

Journal: 1 February 2015

spinning_doneToday my big news is that I finally finished my spinning! I still have to ply it (or decide not to), but I am so glad to be done with the spinning. I think I’ve already said all I really want to about this project: I am glad to have done it, but glad to be done and not planning to do any more.
presentI received a slightly-delayed holiday present that I’m quite excited about: two skeins of lovely soft wool-bamboo blend in muted gray-green and burgundy or dark fuchsia, and a short skein of purple and gray, 100% silk that is so soft you guys, oh my goodness. I already have plans for all of it, although nothing cast on: I’m going to learn broomstick lace and make some chunky arm warmers with both colors of the wool blend, and learn hairpin lace and make either jewelry or a summer scarf with the silk.

scarf_progressI’ve cast on and made progress with the weird yarn two-tone scarf. Other than using it as a travel/waiting in line project, I have been letting it languish a bit because I think it will need more yarn, so I want to get back to the store and see if I can match dye lots before getting too invested. The scarf is working up wonderfully thick; I should probably make it a priority to get back to the store and finish it before the cold weather goes away.

clutch_faceI’ve been doing a bit of utilitarian sewing that I may get a pattern up for eventually: I wanted a little zippered bag to keep in my desk at work and put band-aids, ibuprofen, and so on in. I’ve been wanting to try a quilting pattern I saw on somebody’s blog a while ago, of sewing short strips together into a braid or brickwork pattern. So I combined these two desires, and made the little clutch shown at right. It uses four each of three colors of strips, 2.5″ by 4.5″, sewn into a loop in the zig-zag pattern with quarter-inch seams. The top I sewed straight across, then set a zipper; for the bottom I pressed under the seam allowances all around, matched up the loose corners, and whip-stitched them together. I should’ve lined it, but got lazy, and now it is at work serving its purpose and will probably never get lined. Ah well. I also made a little coin jar using more or less the same technique: I made a loop of two strips of each color, sewed the bottom closed, and turn in the loose edges on the top and sewed around the rim. The bottom closure was a little tricky: I had three right-triangles loose at the bottom edge, so I sewed these together along the normal seam lines. This made the bottom a pyramid, which is not really ideal, so I just gathered the middle bit until it more or less sat flat. Photos of both projects:

blanket_progressFinally, I’ve got a mindless crochet project that I meant to only work on when I’m too braindead to work on anything else; perhaps predictably it’s progressing a lot faster than anything else. It’s a fractal blanket patterned on the Sierpinski carpet; I’ve done a Sierpinski blanket as a gift before (pre-blog), and liked it so much that I decided to make myself one. This one is in Bernat baby sport yarn; I’m expecting to use two pound-skeins of the stuff in the taupe colorway. I’m using filet crochet, with (ch1 dc) for the open pixels and (yo, insert hook in next st and pull up a loop, yo and pull through two loops, yo, insert hook in same stitch and pull up a loop, yo and pull through two, yo and pull through three; dc) for the closed pixels to give a little darker of a fill than normal (dc, dc) filled pixels. There’s a one row/2dc border all the way around. The 81-pixel, fourth-order fractal pattern made a good blanket width, and I’m planning to do two repeats to get a good length. I’ll probably write up a more explicit pattern and post it here once the blanket’s done and I can get good measurements off it. Right now it is definitely a little off of square, which I’m hoping some aggressive blocking (even though it’s acrylic yarn) will fix; it’s not the end of the world for me if it stays off-square though.

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Journal: 15 June 2014

I feel a little silly making two journal posts in a row, not sure why; at any rate I have not been feeling especially creative (although still craftsy as ever) so what’s to do? Since my last post, I finished the patchwork shirt mentioned there, made some things out of embroidery floss, and made a frumpy floral apron so I stop grease-spotting all my trousers when cooking. I also made it out to the store and picked up fabric for my next five projects: button-up blouses, in hopes that I will soon have a job that wants them (wish me luck!).

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Blue patchwork shirt, made from stash scraps

First up, the patchwork blouse, Simplicity 1462 in shades of blue. I’m not as pleased with how the colors worked out as I was with the brown one I did, but I think this time around my construction was better than either previous attempt. That is, the collar lies a lot flatter than either the brown or red shirts’ collars, and the seams and hems are all very neat. blue_detailWe’ll see if it grows on me.

 

 

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Apron with bib up

Next up, the Frumpiest Apron Of All Time. Seriously. I made it for purely utilitarian reasons—after a couple years being frustrated with getting grease spots on my clothes when I make fajitas or chicken tikka masala or basically anything in my big frypan, and simultaneously thinking of aprons as a rather silly frippery, I suddenly put two and two together and had to have one. I don’t always learn fast, but I learn well. apron_detailAnyway I had some floral fabric on hand that I was never, ever going to use for serious clothing, which I think I actually got from my grandmother’s stash (she basically ordered me to go through it one Christmas and take as much as I could pack). I cobbled together a pattern from the front panel of an A-line skirt, a trapezoid for the bib, and a bunch of strips.

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Apron skirt with bib folded down behind

The skirt is hemmed, the bib is hemmed on top and bound with the neck straps on the sides, and they are joined by a broad waistband that ties in back. I will probably mostly wear it skirt-fashion, with the top part folded down, but I like having the option of a bib for cooking e.g. bacon. When I was cutting fabric, I planned to put a ruffle around the skirt, but basically wussed out while sewing—I calculated that the ruffle alone would take at least twice as long to sew as the rest of the apron put together, and I wanted it ready to use ASAP—but since I have the strips all cut, I may gradually hem and gather them when I am between projects and attach them at some later date. I also plan to add a pocket or pockets at some point in the future. Despite making fun of how frumpy it is, I am actually rather proud of the construction—the sides of the skirt and bib actually line up well, even though I didn’t do any Serious Drafting With Math or even much measuring, the straps are good lengths and solidly constructed, and the coverage is good.

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Apron laid out on floor, showing construction

hearts_braceletWhile the apron and blouse were in progress, I made my way to the fabric store, mostly to get embroidery floss, but also because I was completely out of project-sized fabric (!). The embroidery floss was for a deadline—at the end of this past week, my SO departed to counsel a multi-week residential summer camp, so I made matching friendship bracelets for him and me. The pattern is a slight modification of this one, in a color scheme that he likes and that’s camp themed. headbandsWhile in the embroidery floss aisle, I picked up some floss for headbands—one to match my brown patchwork shirt especially, or brown clothing more generally, and another to match the bright red shirt with off-white flowers and basically nothing else in my wardrobe. The brown one follows the tutorial I’ve posted, while the red one uses my Atlantis edging pattern, slightly modified to make it taper to the ends.

blousesFinally, a glance ahead at my next few sewing projects: I meant to pick up fabric for three or four plain, workaday button-up blouses, just because I am trying to transition from grad school’s jeans and t-shirts to the respectable world and don’t have enough blouses. The store happened to be on a particularly good sale, so I bought five pieces in the end, figuring I’d want that many eventually anyway. I’m particularly excited about the white fabric—I can’t get it to show in a picture, but the fabric has a subtle but lovely paisley design in white-on-white paint, and I love me some paisley. The gray fabric is a fairly subtle floral print, and very soft; the rest are inexpensive cotton-poly broadcloth. I also picked up a new blouse pattern with sleeve and collar variations, McCall’s M6035, which I plan to make some blouses straight from and then use as a jumping-off point for more variations.

Journal: 7 June 2014

Since my last journal post I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done—mostly in that I finished the knit lace shawl that I’ve been working on. Also, wonder of wonders, I’ve completely cleared my backlog of sewing projects, although there’s plenty of yarn around and I manufactured a new sewing project out of thin air (read: my several cubic feet of scrap fabric).

First, the shawl. I have to give kudos to this pattern; it was a delight to work from start to finish. I did end up modifying a little: I am too much of a coward to work nupps on a shawl that’s already been in progress for a month, and I had enough yarn left as I was approaching the end that I added a few rows (repeated rows 3-10 of the “Lace Border” section). I mentioned on here that based on the yardage estimates I didn’t think two skeins would be enough, but I came in comfortably under and didn’t have to use the white yarn I bought. I’m a little tempted, actually, to rip it out and make something bigger that will use all three skeins—not very tempted, mind you, but a little. At any rate, I took a bunch of pictures of the finishing process and the finished shawl:

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Purple mandarin-collar shirt

Meanwhile I was also working on a Mandarin-collar blouse, which I finished shortly before the shawl. This is Simplicity 5098 style D. I’ve had this pattern for a while, and in the meantime went up a size, so I freehand increased the size and moved the marks while I was cutting; I’m rather proud that it all came together so well. Not much to say about this one, other than that this style of shirt does well with busy prints that would be overwhelming on a button-down or something—at least in my opinion. Perhaps I should mention, I took out the zipper that the pattern calls for and made the shoulder buttons functional, which is a pretty easy alteration to make.

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Button detail

I finally pulled out the sewing machine again and finished my second tote bag; I don’t have any pictures because it looks just like the other one, but I’m happy to finally bust this months-old WIP. I had stalled out because my sewing machine was throwing a fit over stitching so many layers of canvas, and just didn’t want to deal with it any more—but when I got it back out after a long break, it was surprisingly well-behaved (read: I only had to rip out and re-do about half the stitching due to tension issues or thread breakage; I seriously need a better machine).

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Flannel capris. Seriously I cannot emphasize enough how comfy these are.

Finally, I made myself a new pair of wear-around-the-house flannel flare capris. They are so comfortable; I am a little sad that I need to be presentable this evening, or I’d’ve worn them today after finishing them off last night. These are made from the same pattern as I used for slacks recently, but cut with each leg being one piece (front and back panels connected) so they have no inseam to rub and annoy. They’re also flared on the outside leg seams, have a side zipper and two-button closure, and an in-seam pocket on the other side, all made of soft flannel. If anybody’s interested I can put up a real tutorial on these, but it requires having a pants pattern that fits you already, and I guess not many people have made their own pants before? Anyway, register interest in the comments.

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Pieces for blue patchwork shirt; front on the left and back on the right.

Finally, because I can’t sit still for long, I cut fabric and started in on a new patchwork blouse, this time in shades of light blue. Again I am using Simplicity 1462, the same pattern I used for the brown patchwork shirt which is currently my favorite item of clothing. Hopefully I will like this one just as much—it’s entirely from stash scraps, like the other, although with a less pronounced color gradient and overall fewer different fabrics. The sleeves came from a single quarter flat, so, note to future self: that is doable, although it required some creative pattern placement and I cut into the seam allowances in places to make it fit.

Journal: 4 March 2014

Since my last journal post, I’ve mostly been sewing. I finished the paisley shirt, started and finished the patchwork shirt, cut fabric for two more shirts, and am halfway through sewing one of them. I also did a bit of tatting and finished the slippers mentioned. You’ll have to forgive the mirror-selfies in this post, as I wanted to show both shirts on, and my auxiliary photographer isn’t available.

Paisley shirt: this is, as previously mentioned, Simplicity 3750. I’ve modified it to be a little longer, and instead of making the sash/tie ends out of a contrast fabric, I just got a wide ribbon and used that—it saves effort and makes the bow less bulky; the first one I made from this pattern, I made entirely to instructions, and the big bow in the back would dig into my spine whenever I sat against the back of a chair, to the point that I would get nauseous and achey. I didn’t have that problem in the first day of wearing this shirt with the ribbon, and I took the precaution of making the ribbon long enough to tie in front (or in back). Pictures: shoulder detail (tied front), shirt front (tied front), shirt back (tied back), bust detail (tied front), matching scrunchie.

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I made a matching scrunchie using the same fabric and some bog-standard sewing elastic; I am not terribly happy with the results, as the elastic has less stretch (and therefore, since I measured to the fully-stretched size needed, less grip) than normal scrunchies. It does well enough, but I’m not happy enough to post a tutorial on it yet.

Patchwork shirt: Simplicity 1462, which is a princess-seam shirt with raglan sleeves. Princess seams mean that the pattern has a larger number of smaller pieces than is the case for darted or unfitted shirts, so I decided to try this one out in patchwork. The side pieces and collar are small enough to make from quarter-flats, and the sleeves, front and back are large scraps from old projects. I like how this came out, especially for fabric that I had on hand; some of the color matching is not ideal but it is certainly good enough for wearing outside the house, if not to work. One alteration from the pattern: I omitted the zipper, and erred on the side of sizing up, making this a pullover shirt; the pattern works well for this. Pictures: shoulder detail, front, side, back.

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100_0897 (1024x768)The two shirts I’ve cut fabric for are a) the same pattern as the patchwork shirt, but in a bright-red floral print, and b) a tunic with a keyhole neck in a dark-cornflower-blue jersey knit that I bought a while back and have had kicking around. The pattern calls for non-stretch fabric (and a zipper), so we’ll see how it does; the knit fabric has been kicking around because I don’t really like any of my knit-specific patterns enough to make another right now, so nothing really lost if it doesn’t work out.

Tatting: in the process of writing up the headband tutorial, I needed to make some rings and chains for phototutorial purposes, but I didn’t really have good colors on hand for a 4-color headband, so I actually modified the pattern to make a 6-color rainbow headband. It’s basically the same as the 4-color one, but with an added strip in the middle; the added strip alternates between rings facing forward in color #3 and rings facing back in color #4 by switching the needle from strand 3 to 4 (or, as I did, using two needles). The tie ends are also extended—after I ran out of skeins 1 and 6, I still had a bunch of skeins 3&4 left over, which I tied around the ends of skeins 2&5. Photos: full headband, detail of center.

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Slippers: I’m not going to rehash what I said in my last journal post, but I do have some lovely photos of the finished slippers:

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I ended up doing the heel rather differently than in the pattern (see granny_slippers), as an experiment; instead of the gradual short rows and decreases, I did an abrupt short-row heel similar to the knitting technique, where between one full row and the next is a set of short rows decreasing in length by two stitches per row until the row is 5 stitches long, then increasing in length again. One immediate problem is that this left a row of gaps down one diagonal of the heel, which I had to fill in by working a chain down the row of gaps. Overall, I’m still not sure how I feel about this technique vs. the first one I worked out—it looks a lot more professional, but it doesn’t seem to fit/hug my foot as well as the first pair, although this may partly be due to the change of fibers (cotton being less stretchy/springy than the acrylic).

I’ve also made some slow-but-steady progress on the knit shawl, but nothing worth mentioning in particular.