Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cold Shoulder

This dog ain't right!

New York Skyline?

No - Port of Mobile!

Cochrane Bridge

Are we going to New York for Spring Break? No, but the Bankhead Tunnel was closed and the Wallace Tunnel was backed up, so we took the Cochran Bridge in Prichard, which goes over the port of Mobile, instead of under!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flat Butt Breakthrough!

So remember this was my first full pants muslin with no flat butt adjustment.

Peggy from Silhouette Patterns and Sandra Betzina recommend removing a wedge starting 1" below the crotch at the inner leg seam and tapering out to nothing. I hung the pants on a hanger to do it because it's hard when they're lying flat.

Here's what it looks like flat - I took 5/8" at the inner leg.

So here's one leg done completely. See the one on the left still has that bad diagonal wrinkle from hip to knee that I thought would need a different adjustment, but the wedge took care of that on the right.

And here's the other side adjusted - other than not being ironed, there's no more wrinkle! Yippee!

I just have to true the grainline (she shows that in her lesson on Craftsy), and I think I'm ready to cut some real fabric. Go have yourself a great Sunday, too!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Dog Chef

Did you see Saturday Night Live this past weekend. It was apparently a rerun with Jennifer Lawrence, but we missed it the first time around. Funniest skit ever - I love the doorbell bit especially.

Also, I caught an awesome sunrise this morning - aliens scanning for intelligent life, or God's laser beams, depending on how you want to look at it.

Off to my last Cub Scout Pack Meeting....EVER! Woohoo!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Case Study in Proportions

Okay, so my alpaca knitted sweater was a'might big and, frankly, made me look quite dumpy. I consulted with fellow (superior) knitter Amy, who concurred with my plan to run it back through the sewing machine and serger, and here we go. First, a before picture again.

This is what it looks like with my zigzag stitch and the the serger to clean up the seam allowance.

I went back and forth about 4 times taking deeper and deeper seam allowances, because there's no ripping out a seam in this yarn, and I thought about Gwen and her fabric art, because it makes some interesting textures with lots of seaming and serging on knitted yarn. I felt like I should make some project with the stuff I sheared off.

Several things happened. The armscye looks better and more my size now.

The waviness of my previous side seam is gone for some reason, though I didn't pay attention to my ribbing and it ended up not quite even at the bottom.

And the shoulder seam now sits right at my shoulder. Hey, my hips don't look quite as big!

And finally, I put a slight curve in the side seam to make it fit a little bit tighter. I think it's amazing how my silhouette changed. I think it was Pati Palmer's book that talked about moving shoulder seams in or out to get a different look in a garment, and by golly she was right!

Here's the before again, so you can compare them kind of side by side. Heck of a difference!

And after all that, I did cut out my first pants muslin from the fitting class. Now to do a flat butt adjustment and figure out that diagonal wrinkle from hip to knee. I do have to say that these are the most comfortable pants I've worn in a while. The waistband, crotch, and legs just feel really comfortable and right, if you know what I mean.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dress Forms and Alpaca Sweaterdom

Oh, my awesome PGM dress form (with hip!) came in a day ahead of schedule. She was a piece of cake to assemble, and she rolls so nicely. Introductions went very well. (You know when you bring in a new dress form, the old form can get territorial, but they seem to be getting along well.)

PGM: I can see SOMEone likes to eat pasta.
Dritz: You just wait, sister. When she gets finished padding you, that rear end won't be so perky.
PGM: (gasp) Well, I never!
Dritz: I can see that.

Enough, ladies! Ahem...let's move on to my sweater, shall we? Here's the neck where I picked up stitches to do the ribbing. The book said to go through the center of the cast-off stitch, but that made this ridge that I didn't like.

And I'm not happy that my decreases show up like holes. Don't know how to remedy that...

So I ripped out the 5 rows of ribbing and re-did it going below the stitch so there wouldn't be a ridge. I also tried to close up holes as I came to them. Off to the dress form. What the...?

Where's my other shoulder?

It seems that I took the ribbing all the way down the shoulder. RIP! After that, I realized that I sewed the wrong shoulder together, and I had front and back confused. I re-did the ribbing AGAIN. (It was a total of 4 times, thank you, I'm very proud.) Finally at 9:30 PM last night I got it finished.

Well, uh...hmmm. It's a sweater! And it's really warm and luxurious! But it's really big....and Dean asked me if I was wearing shoulder pads. The armholes are huge and I need to narrow the shoulders.

I stitched it together on the sewing machine, but apparently that makes this little wavy seam that may have to do with my tension or the way I lined up the fabric. On the plus side, my seams lined up perfectly at the underarm.

So I'm thinking of putting this thing under the serger (what?!) to try and take in the shoulder and side seams. Think it'll work? Amy, the Queen of knitting in my opinion, thought it was worth a try, so I'm giving it a shot. (Of course, it's supposed to be 80 degrees here today, so I'll have to wait a year to wear it.) So what have you screwed up lately? I mean sewed...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knitting with the Sewing Machine

So here's the magazine where I read the article by Eunny Jang about seaming knitted things with your sewing machine. They also tell you how to insert a zipper (are you kidding me?) and a button band! Good stuff...
And here're a couple of things I did with the Betzina pants muslin. I didn't get the invisible side-seam zipper in evenly since I just slapped it together and basted (I rarely pin anymore).

So I took my double-sided tape Sandra told me to use last time she was in Mobile, and put it on the zipper tape...

Then laid the fabric right where I wanted it. I did a few stitches right here, then sewed the whole thing up lickety-split.

So here comes the zipper...

And now you cover it with the button band - neat!

And now some gratuitous shots of my new dishrag. I just love closeups of knitting! And also a serged seam pressed flat...

And finally, the finished product. I still do have that little wrinkle below the right waistband that I think is related to my swayback adjustment, since it disappears if I lift the waistband slightly.

This cotton will not take a dry press, but I think all the wrinkles will be gone after a wash and press. I'm deliriously happy with the crotch fit. (And no, I wouldn't wear these shoes with these shorts, but I haven't gotten to wear them since I bought them, so I was just having some fun.)

One PR reviewer complained about the inadequate pockets, but I think if it holds almost an entire iPhone 5 (which is also purple - can you see it?), it's a pretty darn good pocket. Definitely will hold an ID, credit card, and cash.

Although I guess I would stab myself if I sat down with a pen in my pocket. I'll have to think about that when I make the pants...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Productive Weekend

Well, here's what I accomplished on the alpaca sweater. I read an article in a magazine about seaming knitted items on the sewing machine, and voila, it works! My machine did not even think about eating the sweater.

This shoulder seam looks a million times better than the one I did by hand.

Here's an extreme closeup of the stitches that you can barely see.

And then I ran out of yarn. Yep, not enough to even start on the neck ribbing, and Clara's Loom in Foley was sold out, so I placed a frantic call to In the Making in Birmingham, who is shipping me one more skein. Check out their cool website - they apparently have a blog where they post a pattern every week that you can make over a weekend. (Note to self: The Yarn Cottage in Fairhope did not even return my call - no link for them!)

So instead of knitting, I worked on my pants muslin from the Betzina class. I'm making shorts to work on crotch adjustments, etc. Can you say smiles? This means a short front crotch length, and the advice is to let out the crotch seam, which I did by 1/4".

Okay, much better, but I'm thinking now I need a full thigh adjustment possibly. I left it alone for now.

I was happy with the back crotch, and there wasn't any obvious bagginess, so I didn't do the flat butt adjustments yet.

Just to show you how hard it is to get a back shot without twisting, I had to hold the mirror and line up the phone perfectly. If only I could be so talented at lighting...hey, maybe Drew will let me borrow his light stands he bought for his filming! Also, don't worry about the big wrinkle at the waistline - I didn't press or trim that seam yet.

I'm happy with these so far as shorts, but I know pants will be different because I'll have to figure in knobby knees with the flat butt. Anyway, there are some cool construction things with this princess seam pant. She talks about topstitching the seams, so I did that just for fun, and guess what's right under the front waistband?

Two pockets that I can fit my whole hand into! Clever design.

Since I didn't have a zipper to finish the shorts, I started an official queue for when these are done. I'm going to read up on these patterns at PR and see if one is favored over the other, but I'm thinking the Butterick sheath for my new cotton purchase. I don't think the fabric would be drapey enough for the McCall's. What do you think?

And I've had this black silk charmeuse for years (it was the very first thing I bought at and thought it might make a nice sleeveless version of view B, which is the blue velvet drawing on the bottom. Any other ideas of what to do with 2 yards of charmeuse?

Hey, did you go see "Mama" yet?