Look, Ma, I made a shirtdress! This is the first time I’ve posted in a while, even though I’ve been sewing and knitting I haven’t had much motivation to take photos while the weather was grey and miserable. However, I finished this dress on Friday and got my partner to take a few snaps when we were at the pub.
The dress itself is the Grainline Alder shirtdress, I cut it in the largest size and drafted the sleeves myself. I completely astounded myself with how well this came out, I’ve never tried making a shirtdress before, however, the sew along on the Grainline blog was super helpful, and I managed it without many mistakes. The only major mistake I made was to make the curve at the edge of the collar stand too thin, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to put a buttonhole on it. In the end, I didn’t add a buttonhole, but I usually wear my top button undone, so I’m still pretty happy with it.
Fit wise, I love the shape and style, I prefer more loose silhouettes and it’s really comfortable to wear. I did have to add a hidden button at the bust to stop any gaping and there’s some excess fabric at the back (you can see it slightly on the second picture) which I need to remove next time I make it. As this was a wearable toile, I just quickly drafted some sleeves without much consideration to style or shape, and they worked pretty well, but next time I think I’ll tweak the sleeve pattern a bit. The fabric itself was £3 a metre, so I wasn’t expecting much quality wise, and the threads tended to catch and show through on the front of the fabric. However, it is fine for the toile, and I actually quite like the pattern, it’s not too feminine so works well for this silhouette.
I was inspired by #sewtogetherforsummer on Instagram and figured it was worth a go, as I said, I was pretty pleased with the results. I have another Alder shirtdress planned, and I’ve also ordered some fabric for a Newlook 6180 and I might even make my partner a shirt, now I’ve tackled collars and buttonholes!
So, I haven’t had any time in the second half of 2016 to blog as I’ve been studying for my Masters in Computing Science. However, I want to look towards 2017 and plan out what I want to sew.
- Lane Raglan by Hey June. I already have this pattern and I made a trial t-shirt and it came up way too small, but I still have some sweatshirt knit I want to use so I’m going to print it off again in a larger size and hopefully it will work.
- Santa Fe by Hey June. I’d been contemplating buying this pattern since it came out, and I finally got it yesterday. I have some striped jersey and some jersey with cats on which I think would both be perfect for this top.
- Lark by Grainline. I know, three jersey tops, but that is basically all I wear most days. I haven’t bought this yet, so it’ll be the last one of these I make, but I’m intrigued by all the sleeve and neckline combinations.
- Lush by Tin Can Knits. This year, I’ve seen so many versions of this and they all look lovely so I think I will knit myself one in 2017.
- Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki.
- Hooray by
- Turner by Cashmerette. I actually haven’t sewn any Cashmerette patterns yet, which is ridiculous since they should suit my body type. I think the Turner dress will be the perfect one to start with as I’m always on the lookout for nice jersey dress patterns.
- M6884 by McCall’s. I have a jersey faux wrap dress which I wear all the time, so I want to make one similar. I would make the Cashmerette wrap dress but I want one which doesn’t have a wrap skirt, so I think this McCall’s pattern will be the one I use.
- Upton by Cashmerette. This pattern has everything that scares me with sewing: invisible zips, linings, fitted bodices, gored or pleated skirts. I think once I’ve finished my degree though, it will be a nice project for me, and the Cashmerette sew along looks very thorough.
This list is almost entirely jersey based, but that’s what I like wearing at the moment, and as I’m not going to finish my degree until September I think that will be the majority of what I have time to sew!
I’ve been so excited about this shawl for months now, ever since I bought the green and black skein of Countess Ablaze’s yarn. It’s from The Odyssey Trail, her series of one of a kind colourways based on the Odyssey, and this colour is ‘Take your turn in order from left to right’ from book 21 of the Odyssey. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at high school and took a module on the Odyssey when I was studying English literature at university, so I was really inspired when I discovered Countess Ablaze’s colourways. I love the last few books of the Odyssey, which cover Odysseus’s return home and I was so glad I could get some of this colourway.
The pattern is Asunder and I chose it because I thought it showed off the variegated yarn well with the dropped garter stitch, and the stripes remind me of a shield. I also chose it because there are enough rows of grey that the variegated yarn is not next to my neck when I wear it, because it’s a sock yarn and isn’t quite soft enough for me to wear next to skin. The grey in the shawl is Cascade Heritage Silk, which is a nice grey colour, and lets the green yarn stand out.
I loved knitting this so much, it was so soothing and comforting. I really enjoyed watching the yarn change colours as I was knitting it and I adore every shade of green in the shawl. As you can tell from the pictures, it’s been quite warm here, so I haven’t had a chance to properly wear the shawl, but I’m hoping there will be some cool summer nights where I can wear it round my shoulders to ward off the chill.
In the pictures, I’m also wearing my Seamwork Mesa dress which I just finished. I’m not completely sold on it, I think because I used too thin fabric so it isn’t as flattering as I liked, and the stripe matching on the gingham was pretty stressful. As usual, I added patch pockets to the front, because I can’t help it, and also I liked the way the contrasting stripes looked.
I’ve finally finished my Moneta dress! I spent quite a long time putting off making it (because of the 63 page pdf, ugh) but I’ve finally finished. The top went together quickly and smoothly, the only alteration I made was to add a neckband because it makes it a bit more stable.
When it came to the skirt, I didn’t add any pockets into the seam because I didn’t want it to be too bulky around my hips. I originally used the same striped fabric as the top but the way the stripes fell on my hips looked a bit off so I used some grey jersey I had lying around instead. I added the patch pockets to pull the whole thing together, but I think the left pocket is a bit wonky so I’ll need to sew that again. I’m really enjoying wearing this dress, it’s really comfy and I can definitely see more in my future.
As it’s a bank holiday my partner and I went for a wander to the Plantation Gardens, they’re a hidden garden in Norwich with a mix of different things including hidden paths, a bridge and a medieval type wall. I’d never been before and really enjoyed looking round and taking photos.
I also got my hair cut yesterday, it’s quite a change from my last hair style, but I’d had a pixie cut four years ago and really wanted one again. My hairdresser was so excited to do a pixie cut, and I’m really happy with the result.
What I loved:
These past couple of months (I know, it’s a bumper review because I was too busy in March) I have been all about the prints. I really need to get out of my comfort zone and try some bright prints, because I want to mix up my wardrobe a bit. I adore this bright print dress, she always chooses the best prints and makes such awesome dresses. I love how Gillian has used this print, and her really ingenious ways of getting a whole dress out of a small piece of fabric.
This month I’ve been crushing on Countess Ablaze‘s yarn, I’ve so far bought two skeins, both from her series of one of a kind colourways based on The Odyssey. I love The Odyssey so much, and I was so happy to be able to get some of the limited edition yarns. I’ve already started knitting a shawl with the right hand yarn and it is looking so great.
What I listened to:
I’ve been really loving audio books lately, I splashed out on an audible subscription and it’s been great. At the moment I’m on an autobiography kick, I think because you don’t have to pay as much attention to the plot so I don’t miss as much if I accidentally zone out. I really loved A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes which is all about being an introvert and pushing yourself, I found it really moving and inspiring. As a fan of Grey’s Anatomy I liked learning what goes on backstage and how Shonda Rhimes created the series. I also enjoyed Spectacles by Sue Perkins, I’ve been a Sue Perkins fan for so long and her memoir was funny but also really touching.
What I’m planning:
You guys, I’ve finally finished my Moneta dress! I’m about to take some photos so a blog post should be up soon.
I’ve cut out the fabric for a Mesa dress, but I’ve modified it so it it midi length, which I’m more comfortable with. I also want to make a couple of Lane raglans but all my fabric is striped at the moment and I’ve been driven to distraction by stripe matching lately.
It’s spring… sort of! When we left the house to take these photos it was bright sunshine, and by the time we’d walked to the river it had clouded over and was really cold, I was lucky I had a shawl to wrap around my neck for the rest of the walk to the pub.
This is the Summertide Shawl by Curious Handmade. I really enjoyed knitting it, especially the third clue (the first white part). It’s an old shetland lace stitch which has the same repeats the whole way through, but every eight rows it is offset by four stitches which is why it changes. It’s really soothing to knit and looks really organic, like ears of corn or fronds of a leaf.
The shawl itself isn’t as big as it should be, my finished gauge is way off what it should be. This is partly because it’s cotton, so doesn’t bloom when it is blocked, and partly because I used a size too small needles. I really want to make it again in wool, so you can really see the lacework open up.
I also finished another jersey top, this time it is Deer and Doe’s Plantain. I really like how flared the pattern is at the bottom, making it a really easy to wear t-shirt, but I like my necklines a bit higher, even though I already made it higher when I cut it out. I think because the fabric has quite a lot of stretch, and my shoulders are quite sloped, it accentuates how low the neckline is.
A month or so ago I completed my first shawl, Lavalette shawl, as a birthday present for my mum, and I am now thoroughly hooked on knitting shawls! For my first shawl, I picked a simple pattern just using stockinette, yarn overs and a bit of garter stitch at the borders. I did still manage to mess up the first openwork section, but I put that down partly to inexperience and partly to trying to knit on a coach to London. I ended up adding an extra openwork section to use up the last of the yarn, which is why the edge is quite wavy, but I like it like that.
The yarn is King Cole Bamboo Cotton 4ply in colourway Opal, these pictures have done a terrible job at capturing the colour and I’ve had to edit them a bit to even get near how it looks in person. I loved knitting with it, the bamboo makes it really soft to wear and it is the perfect weight for summer.
Here’s a sneak peak of the Summertide Shawl by Curious Handmade which I am knitting for the Shinybees Podcast Rewind KAL. I’m knitting it in cotton so I can wear it in warm summer evenings once it is finished.
Finally, I have a couple of other shawls I am planning. I bought a beautiful Countess Ablaze skein as part of her Odyssey Trail colourways, which I want to combine with a more neutral colour and knit into Asunder. The yarn I bought is a sock yarn which isn’t soft enough for me to wear against my neck, so I’m thinking of pairing it with Tangled Yarn’s Coast yarn, which should be pretty soft. I also want to knit a Byatt shawl, but I haven’t decided on a colour scheme yet.