Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Knitting Cables, Fourth Sample...

I've finished the fourth sample for the Explorations in Cables class.  Here is my unblocked version:

This was really more practice of the doing a cable without a cable needle.  In my sample, I worked the cable with a cable needle and without a cable needle.  Can you tell difference?  I worked three sets of the pattern and only one is without the cable needle.

I'm still not loving the cable without a cable needle.  However, I can definitely see a use for it and will continue to practice it.  When you're crossing one stitch over another or two stitches over one, it is fairly easy to accomplish.  I'm still dropping stitches but I suspect that is a matter of practice.  Have you ever tried this technique?

I'm still finding chart reading difficult.  Maybe this is a matter of practice, also.  I suppose it is possible that if I had started out with a very simple knit/purl chart that I would have thought chart reading was easy.  This class is going over many types of charts and it could be that I'm not feeling like I getting it because of the lack of consistency.  I do appreciate that we are being shown a variety of ways to that a chart can be written and how to interpret them.

On to the next sample...I've been sewing a lot lately which is slowing down the knitting a little bit.  I enjoy doing both but it can be difficult to fit both in a day or even a week.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Basic Jean Skirt....

I finished my first garment of the year using this pattern:

The "My Basic Jean Skirt" pattern by Silhouette Patterns.  This is a great basic skirt pattern.

So far, I have made it twice but the first time it was a tad bit small and I did not finish it because of that.  If I should lose a bit of weight/inches and it fits I will finish it but for now it will remain a UFO.

With the second skirt, I made the following changes to the pattern:

1.  increased waist slightly, and
2.  made the side seams 1" wider.

Unfortunately, I needed all of the extra room.  I guess I expanded a bit over the holidays.  Sigh!  That's not suppose to be happening.

The most difficult part of this skirt is the top stitching but as with anything the more you practice the better it gets.  Of course, the skirt is almost completed by the time you can try it on.  This is when I realized that there was a length issue on the skirt that is much easier to fix at the pattern stage. This skirt will be high-waisted on me.  I will be removing 1 1/2" to 2" the next time I make this skirt to drop it down to more of a mid-rise fit.  The other issue is that the skirt is very long on me.  Maybe this is due to my just under 5'5" when the pattern is drafted for 5'8".  Unhemmed, it hits the top of my calf.  I removed about 4" to get it a little closer to my knee and 1" for the hem.

Here's my final result:

When ironing this skirt, I realized that I missed putting the belt loops on.  The belt loops would add a little bit of bulk and I would most likely never use them.  I suppose I will think on it whether to go ahead and add the belts or not.

Here's me wearing my new skirt.  Sorry for the dark picture but it is a dark day.  I know I will wear the boots with the skirt but not sure about the sweater.  Now, I need to locate some brown tights or fleeced lined tights/leggings.


Fabric:  100% cotton twill
Needle used:  100 jeans needle
Topstitching: 3.5mm
New technique:  edge stitching the waistband

Conclusion on this pattern:  Overall, I'm very happy with this pattern.  Once I get the fit perfected, it will be a TNT.  If this is a style of skirt that you like wearing, go get it.  It will become your go-to casual skirt pattern.  I can see having 2 or 3 or 4 more for summer when it is hot outside.

Oh, one thing that I did find was that the pattern piece was missing for the belt loops.  You will have to create your own pattern for this or just use a ruler and rotary cutter.  Another item that I noticed is that it doesn't mention needing a button on the pattern envelope.  Obviously, you need a snap or a button of some sort for a closure.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, January 15, 2018


I enjoy checking out Neiman Marcus from time to time.  Today, I found a wonderful jacket:

I need a need jacket for spring.  This particular jacket is water proof and wind resistant.  The fabric is cashmere and nylon.  Doesn't it sound luxurious?  Unfortunately, it is priced at $3,615.  That is a wee bit out of my budget.  I think I will see what I can to make similar jacket.  By the way, if you are interesting in looking at the jacket, it is the Loro Piana Wind Stretch Storm Freetime Jacket.   

In the pattern stash, I have the following pattern:

I think this will do a fair job duplicating the inspiration piece.  Now, I need to locate some fabric.  Although I have a huge fabric stash, I know that any type of water proof / wind resistant fabric is not part of it.  Any suggestions on where to locate this type of fabric in the US?

Happy Stitching!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Place mats & Coasters.....

The first project of 2018 is finished and it's four place mats with four coasters:

I found this lovely panel on and it is part of the Farm To Table fabric collection.  I had to have this fabric when I spotted it this past December.  I did get an eye roll from my husband because he doesn't understand why I need more fabric when I have so much already. 

Back to the place mat....when I received the panel I realized that there was suppose to be a pocket on the front of the place mat and I didn't want to do that.  That is how I ended up with the cute little coaster.  Can you have too many coasters?

Have you ever purchased a panel to make something?  How did you like working with the panel?  Did your project turn out as intended?

Moving on to the next project.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sewing Pants for Women...Pressing Your Pants, Part 13

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we talk about pressing your pants:

Pressing Your Pants

To some, pressing pants is as frustrating as a wrestling match with an octopus.  To others, it is a simple business involving nothing more mysterious than straight lines.  Neither is the case.

You will discover it is easy to set the creases in the Fronts before you have sewn a single seam!  With the pants in this completely raw state, there are no distractions from either the crotch or back.  Simply fold a front precisely on its crease line (which, of course you dutifully marked with tailor's tacks in  the cutting stage), making certain that the fold points squarely to the dart.  As you press, remember that the crease stops just below the waist dart.  Later, you will see that a previously set front crease is a handy guide when setting the back crease.

Setting a Crease

Is not a matter of making a few desultory passes with a steam iron -- not if you would like a lasting and professional crease.
  The tools of the trade are few and simple.  Your ironing board should have firm padding and not too much of it.  Thick, soft padding may sound luxurious, but it will offer no resistance to your iron;  a hard surface is essential to a knife-sharp crease.  A steam iron is the most practical way of providing moisture, but on some fabrics it will raise a shine, so add a pressing cloth to your list.  A striker is also needed.  It is a wooden instrument shaped somewhat like an iron and is used to strike or pound the steam into the fabric.  If you don't own one, can't find one, or merely decline to make the purchase, you can use the bottom of your sleeve board with adequate results.

With these tools at hand, lay out the fronts on the board with the fold on the crease line and pointing to the waist dart.  Apply steam.  Now, with the striker, pound the steam into the fabric until all the moisture ha bee absorbed.  

Hold that iron!  Before you step back to admire your handiwork and congratulate yourself on creases so straight that they made an arrow look like a wiggle-worm, think a minute.  Are your legs as straight as that?  Not if you walk around on them.  You have a gentle swell to the calf muscle which is functionally necessary and cosmetically nice.  Therefore, when you slip a leg into those arrow-straight pants, the symmetry will be disturbed by that rounded calf.  The fronts will be pulled toward the rear and their hems laid smack up against your shins as if you were standing in a gale.  As the pants pull backwards to accommodate the shape of the calf, there is a fringe benefit in the form of baggy knees.  All the precision of your careful crease will be gone! And what can be done about it?

The cure for shin-plastered pants and baggy knees is part of the pressing technique.  After you have set the creases in the above manner, keep the pants on the ironing board.  Starting about 3-inches above the knee-line, stretch the side and inner leg seams of the fronts, stopping about 3-inches from the hem.  See Figure 42.  As you stretch the two seams together, swing them forward until you have created a concave curve in the front crease. The method is demonstrated in Figure 43.  Continue stretching until you have added from 1/4-inch to no more than 1/2-inch in length, the amount depending on the give inherent in your fabric.  When you have stretched the proper fraction of an inch, trim a corresponding amount off the front hems, the same amount all the way across.  In other words, if you stretched 1/2-inch, remove 1/2-inch evenly from the front hems.  See Figure 42, broken line.

When you stitch the fronts and backs together along this stretched seam, the shape will hold.  The slight concave curve of the crease will forestall the tendency to baggy knees, for it moves out away from your shins, distributing the hem width evenly, front and back.

Fabrics with give (especially stretch fabrics) need not be stretched in advance by pressing, but can be stretched directly at the machine.  This is done when seams are joined and front seam is stretched to meet the longer back seam.

What about baggy knees in finished pants?  The same procedure will work in this case, too.  Rip the side seams to 3-inches above the knee-line.  Stretch the inner and outer side seams of front only. When you have gained 1/2-inch, you will see that you have achieved the typical concave curve in the the crease line.  Remove a like amount evenly all the way across the front hems.  Sew up the seams again and bid adieu to bags at the knees!

These things accomplished, your initial pressing chores are at an end.  Press your seams as you go, paying special attention to the crotch curve.  Remember this in this case, you press the front and back seams open from the waist down to the notches, but below that  through the crotch curve you do not press the seams open at all.  You will find further information when you return to the Sewing Instructions.

When the pants are finished, set the back creases with the striker, just as you did in front.  Use the previously set front creases as a guide in laying out the pants.  Back creases stop at crotch length.  There!  They look almost too impeccable to put on!

Don't Hang Those Pants!

Yes, of course, you were taught as a very small child to always say "please" and "thank you" and to always hang up your clothes.  Quite commendable.  But when you have just finished pressing a pair of pants, lay them on a flat surface for a period of time to all the fabric to dry out thoroughly.  All your preciously won concave curves may hang right out if you hang them up too soon!  This procedure should be followed both with your unfinished front pieces and with the freshly laundered finished pants.


Now we have come to the end of a perfect way.  The ghosts of ancient pants problems have been laid to rest.  No longer can the specters of men's alterations haunt the tailoring  of women's pants.  

In this series, you have found a concept of fit designed from its inception for women.  Its impact will sweep the last vestige of cobwebs from your pants construction, and put you in the vanguard of an army of faultless fitted women in pants.  

Now that pants have been made for women, it is triumphantly clear that woman were made for pants!