Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Look at all of those lovely seamlines!  I'm working on my jacket toile to check the fit of this Burda pattern.  I've never sewn with Burda before, and my body shape has changed a bit since I last sewed for myself.

(I love 'toile' as an alternate word for muslin.  I picked it up from Tanit-Isis a while back.  I mispronounce it as 'toil' in my head, but since muslins are a toil sometimes, it seems the apt word.)

I managed to finish tracing the pattern last night while listening to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy audio book.  It got easier as I went (thanks to everyone for the advice on finding pattern pieces in the Burda pattern sheet mess!), and I can see myself attempting another Burda if I like the garment enough.

Anywho, I wanted to share how the back turned out because I'm giddy about actually sewing (EEEE!) and how the toile is turning out.  LOOK AT THOSE SEAMS!  The pattern just has you using the wool fabric across the entire back, but I'm considering turning those thin side panels into leather for a bit of back interest.  I added the centre back seam in case I have to do any adjustment in the toile, but I think I may keep it in the final garment.

What do you all think:  Leather panels on the back?  Keep the centre back seamline?  Is there any Burda magazine pattern you'd be willing to attempt tracing for?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nalu Fingerless Mitts

Took me nearly a month, but look at the fingerless mitts I just finished blocking!  I'm super proud of the result, and itching to keep them for myself.  Alas, they'll probably be a gift for my Step-Sister, who just started a new office job and, I predict, will freeze to death sitting in front of the computer.  These should help keep Ms. I'm-Always-Cold a bit warmer while letting her type on the computer.

I LOVE the stitch definition. So lovely.
The pattern is the Nalu Mitts created by Leila Raabe (link goes to Ravelry), and I absolutely adore this pattern.  So pretty and detailed, but still simple and elegant.  And she offered the pattern up for free, which is always a bonus in my books!

I used Cascade 220 wool yarn for this, which is worsted weight.  For those who don't know much about yarn, they come in different 'weights' or thicknesses; much like fabric.  The weight of the yarn will help determine the gauge (stitches per inch) of the finished fabric.  Think of it like the fabric you buy: the finer the fibre, the smoother the fabric; the thicker the fibre, the more 'coarse' the fabric (and by coarse I mean the more you can see the details in the weave of knit - think cotton twill vs. fine silk).  Tension and needle size also plays an important roll in stitch size. 

But that is for a different post.
Anyways, the point I was getting to with the yarn weight is that the yarn I chose is actually heavier than the pattern called for (DK or double knit - for those who like these sort of details), so I made up some mods along the way to make sure the mitts didn't turn out too large.  I actually detailed the mods over on my ravelry project page if you're intersted in checking it out (should be accessible for anyone following this link), but it mostly consisted of decreasing the amount of stitches and tightening up my tension.

They fit quite snugly when I finished them, and since I consider myself having medium-sized hands (man, are hand sizes ever abritrary - pain in the butt to work out), I figured they'd work out just fine for my smaller-handed Step-Sister.  Then I blocked them to help define the pattern, and they came out a bit larger.  They still fit me really well, but I suspect they'll be too big for their recipient.

If I hadn't had to pull each of these mitts back umpteen-bajillion times before I finally got them finished, I'd be tempted to keep these and make a new pair for the Sis.  But I guess we'll see.  They may be fine, and I'm probably just making excuses to keep them, because hello pretty mitts, you're even in my favourite colour!

This project is the first time I've used a chart (different coloured blocks or symbols to indicate different stitches).  The pattern only charted the detailed section on the back of the hand, but I kept getting lost when it was time to do the increases around the thumb gore.  After pulling the project back 3 or 4 times for that reason alone, I chose to just sit down and chart the whole thing out in Excel.  It worked out really good, and I could highlite what rows I'd finished to keep track.  Definitely something to keep in mind for complicated patterns in the future.  Time consuming to do, but infinitely helpful to refer to, especially when you put the project aside for a while and need a reminder where you are.

So there we have it, another Christmas present (hopefully) done.  Many, many more to go.


To those not interested in the knitting projects, rest asure I am working on a sewing project.  Or rather, tracing a sewing pattern.  Got a couple more pieces traced this afternoon, and will hopefully finish it up tonight.  I really do need to muslin this pattern though because I don't know anything about the fit of Burda patterns, and my own shape has changed since the last time I sewed something for myself.  Stay tuned for those posts. 

And also for other knitting projects, because boy have I been knitting!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pattern Tracing Woes

I hate Burda Magazine patterns.  You'd have to really love a pattern to put up with tracing the entire bloody thing from the messy sheet they give you.  I decided to finish tracing my jacket pattern (this project, for those just tuning in) this afternoon, and after a few hours of figure skating and Mythbusters on in the background (and maybe a lot of procrastinating on facebook and twitter), got two more pieces traced.

That's right: Two.

4 pieces down, 7 to go.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Re-Fashion Contest: Planning and Original Items

Challenge Contest 2012 - Refashion / Repurpose
Look what I did.

Okay, I know I haven't been blogging much and sewing even less, but I'm determined to do this!  I really want to make this Burda jacket I blogged about a while ago:

And I just happened to find these two thrifted jackets:

LOOK, A DANIER LEATHER JACKET!!!  It's knee length and nearly fits me.  I'd leave it as is except that there's some wear and damage in some areas and the button holes are stretched out.  Found it at a garage sale raising money for a child's cancer treatments.  It was by donation, so of course I emptied my wallet for the jacket.  Think I paid about $25 bucks for it, and I probably would've paid more if there was anything left in my wallet.  Even so, I have no quams with cutting it up!

I found the Nygard wool jacket for about $6 at our (awful) Salvation Army thrift shop.  I didn't realize until I got home that it smelled like it'd been in a house fire, and after a couple washes it took a 12 hour soak in very soapy water to get the smokey smell out.  Definitely a stubborn making-do moment.

I even started tracing out the pattern from the September Burda issue.

Uh...I got the two sleeve sections traced.  It took 2 hours.  I can't find any other pieces...  Um, I'm really glad I have a couple more weeks to get this all traced out.  ...Maybe I should just make a wool and leather stuffed guitar...

Anyways, that's my plan for the refashion contest!  I need to figure out a lining fabric still, and pick up a metal zipper, and decide what colour I'm going to do the hand stitching in (because I'm totally including that part).  I'm leaning toward blue or burgundy, just for some colour.  Or just a cream. What do you think?


This picture is actual for Tanit-Isis.  It's the back of the leather jacket (see what I mean about the wear on the left hip there?).  I'm including it because the amazing full-length coat she sewed for her husband was damaged when it got stuck in the back wheel of his motorcycle.  Luckily he wasn't hurt, but the back got ripped off.  Also luckily, it's only the one side, and ends at about the hip.

When I was taking pictures of this jacket, I noticed the seamline across the hip (done because it's difficult to get large pieces of leather), and I thought it might be a possible fix for Mr. Isis's coat.  Not as pretty as a continuous piece, but a possible way to keep the coat length.  If, of course, she has anymore fabric...  I figured I'd share it anyways.  :)
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