Saturday, 12 December 2015

Finished Project: Hinagiku Hat

I knit a toque for myself!  Hoorah!  I usually hate wearing toques because they aren't compatible with my ponytail, but I realised that a slouchy toque would fix that.  Such a simple solution, I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before.  

I used the Hinagiku Hat pattern by 87knit as the daisy stitch pattern looked interesting.  Also, I had some DK weight yarn kicking around that I wanted to use, including lots of Mirasol Hacho.  I don't really like this colourway to be honest, I had wanted a different one at first, but by the time my order was processed, there wasn't enough of a single dyelot in the green colour so they asked what I wanted to do.  I chose this colourway and have rather regretted it since.  Especially since I never did finish the shawl I started with this yarn and just ripped it back anyway.  Ah well, it's still useful.

This turned out to be the perfect size for me, even if the execution was a bit sloppy.  Before blocking, I could see holes and rows of tension issues.  I cheated with the holes by just sewing them from the wrong side, and the blocking did solve the tension inconsistencies.  Whew.  I used some blunt metal needles, and am so glad to see the end of this project!  The daisy stitch is done by working some knit 3 togethers, and the blunt needles just made that super annoying.  If it weren't for the smoothness of the metal needles I wouldn't have been able to do this.  Should I ever do it again, I'll have to buy some pointy metal needles.

I need to pick out a new, small project now.  Something portable.  Something easy, so I can continue watching Murdoch Mysteries while knitting at night.  I have just watched the first season so far, there are eight more to go!  Itsa actually attacked a ball of acrylic yarn I had in my stash and declared she had made herself a cat.  My poor yarn.  But, she asked me to actually knit her a cat with the yarn, so maybe I'll cast that on next.  To Ravelry!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Finished Project: Toque

My kids love rainbows.  I love rainbows, so it works out nicely.  In 2013 I went to the Fibres West Fibre Fest and bought a set of rainbow coloured DK weight yarn from Rain City Knits.  It's a super soft and smooshy superwash wool and the colours are so nicely saturated.  There are 8 colours, the standard ROYGBIV + pink.  Love it!

For Aki's hat I started with red in the ribbing at the bottom, and worked up to some purple on the crown.  I made the green a really wide stripe as it's his favourite colour and I had skipped the pink.  For Itsa's hat, I started with pink for the ribbing, then went to red up to purple.  I used the Simple Beanie (aka Lollipop Hat) pattern for my inspiration.  I cast on more stitches than called for, which is a bit odd since it's meant to go to adult size.  Hmm...  Anyway, the decreases for the crown are paired leaning decreases, so they make a pleasing star on the top.  I usually just do the standard spiral that evenly spaced decreases get you, but I like the look of this better.

I still have enough yarn left to make either two more toques or mittens.  Or something else, but I'm not sure what.  So, back into the stash with the leftovers.

The kids love their hats and are requesting cat ears on them.  I'm trying to let them forget that request as I do poor cat ears on toques.  They always flop over and look a mess.

Now to knit a toque for myself as my current one keeps flopping off my head.  The pompom is ridiculously large so it weighs the whole thing down.  I'm ready for a nice, light, slouchy hat that I can tuck my hair up into.  I'm thinking the Hinagiku Hat as it has a nice star stitch.  But I haven't done a proper Ravelry search yet to make sure that's what I want to commit to.  I did pick out the yarn to use though, so that's a start.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Finished Project: Quilt

My little girl turned 3 last week!  I am torn between being surprised she's so big and forgetting that she's still so little.  She thinks she's 6, and she tends to act like it.  I guess it's the common younger sibling thing as I remember being the same way.

I tried to finish a quilt for her in time to give her at her birthday party, but we had to move the party up 4 days to accommodate my parents' work schedule and I ended up on the phone all day one day, and at an interview the next, so I chose to bake and decorate her cake rather than finish the quilt.  No big problem though, I bought her some Lego instead and the quilt will be given at Christmas.  I used the Lego to decorate her birthday cake.  I'm not above using hard plastic toys on cakes.

I used a quilt panel of The Little Mermaid for the top, a coordinating printed flannel for the back, and a purple print I pulled out of the remnant bin for the binding.  Everything came from Fabricland except the thread, which was at Dressew for 25 cents a spool.  Coats Hand Quilting Multicolour for a quarter!  I love Dressew so much.

I thought to quilt bubbles on it, but they're kind of wonky.  My quilting techniques need practice.

I used a decorative stitch for the binding top stitching, and I enjoy how it looks with the variegated thread.

It's not a large quilt, but a nice drag-around-and-cuddle-on-the-couch size.  I used the new Warm & Natural batting that Fabricland carries: Warm & Plush.  It is surprisingly fluffier and cozier, and only a couple dollars more.  I think I'll use this on all my quilts I want a cotton batting for from now on.  Such nice loft.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Finished Project: Halloween Costume

For Itsa's first Halloween when she was nearly 1, I made her a black cat costume with inspiration from this tutorial.  I found a black tutu on clearance at the Bay that was too big, but I just used a binder clip to gather it in the back and it was all good.  She wore that costume for two years and told me she wanted to wear it again this year.  Perfect!  I just transferred the ears from the now too small headband to a pair of hairclips like these:
and was going to make her a new black sweatshirt, and she was going to be ready.

Of course, she's barely 3.  She changed her mind.  First, she wanted to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid.  Then she wanted to be Tiana from The Princess and The Frog.  After a few days, she settled on Disney's version of Rapunzel.  She did waffle back and forth on Rapunzel and Ariel for a week before I bought any materials and told her she would be Rapunzel.  

How do you make a good Canadian halloween costume?  Make it fit both under a coat for school and over a coat for trick or treating.
I didn't want a regular princess dress that she'd outgrow in a few months, so I was inspired by some Princess Aprons I saw on Etsy.  An apron is perfect!  She can wear it for a long time without outgrowing it, it can be worn over any seasonally appropriate clothes, and it takes very little fabric.  The only thing that took a lot of thought was how I would do closures.  Ties weren't the best as she'd be dependent on me to do them up for her, Velcro wasn't a good choice as she's a bit rough and it would come undone all the time.  So I went with a Japanese style apron that crosses in the back.  I used this pattern and kind of winged the construction as it was pretty straight forward.

I scaled the pattern down to 75% as I paper-fit the full size one to Aki and found it to fit perfectly.  I figured Itsa was about 75% the size of Aki.  I guessed right, but wish I hadn't as she'll outgrow it within a year.

I used two shades of purple satin I found in various remnant bins for the fabrics.

Ribbon as the bodice laces.

Trimmed the hem in lace from a thrift store.

I used single fold bias tape on the underarm and top of strap to finish the edges.  The seam allowances are just serged.

I am really happy with the outcome! I'll be making her more for Christmas.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Finished Project: Halloween Bags

This project was my longest standing WIP.  19 years!

I originally bought the fabric when I was 11 and in Fabricland with my mum and brother to buy some fabric for his grade 7 family studies class. (I can remember it very clearly, actually.  It was in Brampton when Fabricland was beside Toys R Us on Queen Street. 1996.)  He made some grey boxer shorts that I think he wore until they finally broke down in grade 12.  I wanted to learn to sew with the machine since it was set up on the kitchen table, so mum bought me some halloween fabric to make trick or treat bags.  I managed to get them partly done before my brother protested that we were too old to trick or treat and I put them away.

When organizing my fabric stash a couple weeks ago I pulled the fabric out again and decided it was the perfect time to use it up, now that my own kids are old enough to trick or treat.  I searched on Pinterest for ideas, and came across this Spoonflower tutorial that was just perfect.

I appliqued cats on the bags, because cats,

 and used webbing for the straps since I had some on hand. 

Where I managed to get orange webbing is a mystery to me, but it worked out well.  I was going to personalize the bags for each kids, but then decided that it would be better to just make them both exactly the same and avoid fights.

It feels good to finally use up that fabric!  The kids loved the bags, and they were a good size.  A touch too big for Itsa, so she just put her head through a strap and held it open in front of her.  It was hilarious.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Unusual Sewing Tools: Sharpened Chalk

This is one that I hadn't realized was unusual until someone on my Facebook asked how to mark on fleece.  I had never thought about it before as I've always used sharpened chalk to mark my fabrics.  But not everyone had my grade 10 Fashion Design teacher to show them that trick.  So, Thank you Mrs.Hammond for being a quick problem solver and coming up with one of the best tools for marking on fabric.

Photo from The Creativity Eschange

It's super easy to do yourself.

  • Get a pencil sharpener with the larger hole (the kind you use for Kindergarten pencils) 
  • Choose an assortment of coloured chalk
  • Sharpen the chalk just like a pencil

Photo from Things That Are Pretty
It doesn't rub off accidentally very easily, but does brush off without too much effort.  Marking on fabrics with some pile or loft is no problem and the markings come out in the wash. As always, TEST ON DELICATE FABRIC FIRST.  

I don't recommend this for every project, sometimes you need a precise, thin mark to follow, and sometimes you need something that absolutely can't be removed.  I tend to use sharpened chalk the most in my sewing.

A quick Google search tells me that this a common technique for really precise chalkboard writing.  I have never thought of that, to be honest.  

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Finished project: Shelly Bra

Being off work is the perfect time to catch up on my sewing.  I had a bra to do for a client that was "No Big Rush", so I had put it off a bit.  

After having her try on the mock up, I made a slight change and then did up the good copy.  The rough one had a bit of hollowness in the upper cup, so I lowered the mid cup seam a quarter inch and that should do it.

The pattern is Shelly from the Pin-up Girls, and the fabric was a kit from Merckwaerdigh's Etsy shop. The wires are also from Bra Maker's Supply.

The only problem I encountered was that the main fabric in the kit is a 4-way stretch fabric, and the pattern calls for a stable fabric.  I solved this by hand basting the pieces to duoplex so there was minimal stretch during sewing.  This worked quite nicely, although it does feel a bit thick.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out and have now cut out one for myself out of another kit I bought at the same time from Merckwaerdigh.

Mum wants one done too, but she's leaving next week with her sisters on vacation for the rest of the month, so I'll have the rough draft done before she comes back.  

Honestly,  I think that the best part of custom made bras is the underwires.  A RTW bra uses the best wires for the size of the bra, but a custom one allows us to use the best wires for the size of you.  I have a full set of Long and Extra Long wires from Bra Maker's Supply, so I can keep switching out wires until the most comfortable ones are found.  This is excellent as RTW bras in my size tend to have wires that go under my arms and poke me in the armpits.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Finished Project: Birthday Party Dress

Here is the dress I made for Itsa for her first day of school.  She is super happy to have a dress that matches her brother (who she loves to pieces even when he's indifferent to her existence).  I used the same fabric as I used for Aki's shirt, bought at Fabricland.

I used the Oliver + S Birthday Party Dress pattern.  I had been eyeing the pattern for a while, and unsure if I should buy it, but then found it on clearance at A Great Notion for $2 and snapped it up!  Nice deal.

This was an easy and quick dress to do up, with the pleats being the only technically challenging part.  

I decided to use snaps on the back instead of buttons as I had run out of thread and didn't want to leave the house for more.  I love design choices born out of laziness.  I'm not so good at using my snap pliers though, so these snaps took a lot more effort than necessary.  But I really feel I have a better technique now.

I serged the seam allowances.

And added a Varelikatt label.  I really like having those little labels.

The hem facing is a nice touch on Oliver + S patterns.  I basted the hem first, then I blind stitched it.  This was the first time I had basted a hem first, and it was so much easier to do a blind stitch.  I can't believe I haven't done that before.

Itsa really enjoys wearing this dress, and I think this may be my go-to little girl dress pattern.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Finished Project: Boy's button down shirt

Aki started Kindergarten this year and Itsa began preschool.  I'm a little heartbroken that both my kids are in school, but also excited at how much they've grown.  No babies in my house anymore.

I decided to sew them up some new garments to wear for their first day of school.  I did Aki's first as he's handmade worthy, and Itsa's because she asked... and sewing tiny dresses is so cute. I'll parade Itsa's out next, but focus on Aki's now.

I used the Peek-a-boo patterns Classic Oxford Button-Up for this as I used it last year with great success.  I really like this pattern, it's the epitome of a classic button-up shirt for children.  Adding a little piping takes it to the next level and it goes together so quickly.  Perfect.

I used matching thread instead of contrasting as I usually do just because I wanted the print to be the star instead of the stitching.  This fabric was bought from Fabricland last winter when they first started stocking Licensed fabrics.

I sewed the size 5, which is my mistake as the size 6 would last longer.  I hate sewing kids' clothes that fit *right now*.  At least it can handed down to my nephew once it's outgrown.

The buttons are from my button stash.  My grandmother gave me all her buttons a few years ago when she moved from her house to a retirement apartment.  Hundreds of buttons saved since the end of WWII are now mine.  I've been having a great time using them on gifts I send to my cousins as I feel like I'm spreading a bit of Grandma's love to them too.

Aki is super happy about his new shirt and loves to tell everyone that his mom made it for him.  Sweetie. :D