Knitting and Packing Instead of Sewing

I have been terrible so far this year in sewing.

Last weekend I caught a head cold and ended up justifying beginning a knitting project. I had saved the Cornflower Cowl on Ravelry by Karen Scott and thought it would be a great time to knit it up since I’ve been wanting a cowl to wear indoors.

Knitting: Cornflower Cowl 1

It was my first time knitting cables without a cable needle and it was so simple! I wish I had known that was an option when knitting up all three pairs of Nalu Mitts I knit late last year! The instructions at under ‘decorative stitches’.

Knitting: Cornflower Cowl 2

The yarn I used it 50% Silk 50% Merino Wool and is perfect for people like me who get a bit itchy from wearing wool directly on sensitive areas like my neck. Plus the colour! I love it and have worn it practically daily since I finished.

And yesterday I had an unfortunate day filled with allergies from the packing that we’ve been doing to ship everything to Vancouver. But I decided to let myself begin another new knitting project!

Knitting: Feather and Fan Scarf 1

This time it’s a scarf, since I realised I have never actually knit a scarf. The Feather and Fan Scarf by firefly is so pretty and sounded like a great way to try my hand at lace work.

So far it has been extremely simple to knit, it would have been perfect for my flight since it requires no stitch-markers (which I took ~10 minutes to retrieve when I once dropped one on a train) and it’s so easy to memorize that I haven’t had to refer to the pattern yet. It looks all uneven now, but I can’t wait to finish and block this.

And here’s a wonderful dessert at a place called Salon du The Alcyon. They have a lunch course which consists of soup, main (fish or meat), a large dessert, and Tea of your choice. This month I couldn’t resist their Mont Blanc which was White Chocolate flavour.

White Chocolate Mont Blanc

I cannot wait to try to imitate this sometime. It’s top layer is the White Chocolate Mont Blanc, followed by a layer of meringue, with 3 layers of ice cream (vanilla, strawberry, vanilla) which contains a few pieces of brownie and frozen strawberries. Does that not sound like a perfect combination of sweetness? I will miss eating out when I leave Osaka but it will be nice to be start being a lacto-ovo-vegetarian instead of a pescavorian pescetarian.

That’s all I’ve been up to. I need to work on my Pendrells and a dress I’m making but my room is far too messy to cut fabric in due to all the boxes and things to pack! I hope I don’t fall behind on the sew-along….

Pendrell Sew-Along: Fabric

Pendrell Sew-Along: Fabric Choices

I’m pretty excited about this sew-along. The Pendrell Blouse is just the kind of top that I lack in my wardrobe. And luckily I had three fabrics in my stash that would work for it so I am going to treat myself to three blouses!

The top fabric is polyester that I initially wanted to line my Chanel-inspired jacket with but opted for plain lining instead, so I don’t know if I’ll have enough (1.5m), but since the drape is so nice I’d love to make a View A in it.

Second (blue floral) is a cotton from Lecien that my mom had lying around, it’s a bit stiffer so I think I’ll go for the sleeveless View C that is unless I don’t have enough fabric with the first one for View A . I don’t think this would be a fabric I would initially have chosen for the Pendrell but after seeing this version by Sam I think it’ll be great (2.0m)

Third is a lighter blue of the Second fabric. My mom went out to buy this after realising that the blue one was a bit too bright for her. I’m making a View C for her since she needs it to be able to layer under a cardi. (2.0m)

The bottom fabric is also a cotton from Lecien. I’ll make a View C for this as well. (2.0m)

I’ll be doing a few alterations on this pattern for myself, for my mom she is in the same chart for bust and waist so I won’t alter it other than the hip and length.

According to my overbust measurement of 34″ I’ll have to cut out the size 8 (bust 34.5) and do a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) to have the blouse fit properly in the shoulders. The blouse’s finishing measurements are a full 4 inches larger in the bust than measured so instead of doing a 2.5″ increase for my bust it will hopefully go well with just a 1.5″ increase. Unfortunately the size 8 waist was already too big for me and the FBA will add a bit of thickness to the waist. I will most likely fix that by fitting unless Tasia goes over that on her sew-along.

I’ve already done the FBA (according to this tutorial by Sew, Mama, Sew!) but I still need to decrease the hip circumference (which I will do according to the Sewaholics post on it). Then to adapt the pattern for my short-waisted-ness and lastly to shorten the length.

After that I think I should do a toile since I altered so much of it. I’m hoping the pattern I end up with will fit my body well enough that I’ll use it over and over and sometime make a Pendrell Dress out of!

A New Year

Happy Year of the Rabbit everyone!

(Where I began the year 2011)

Unfortunately I have not been so good with blogging and then had a trip to Vietnam but it is now the new year and I can have a fresh start to being more consistent with Dropped Pins.

And of course I will need a few resolutions and a nice list of things to sew!

First off, General Resolutions:

1. Do not buy any article of clothing that I can make myself with the exception of thrifting. This will hopefully have a double effect of motivating me to sew more and save money.

2. Participate in Me-Made-May and Self-Stitched-September. I was so jealous while other bloggers were participating this past year and it’s time for me to join!

3. Exercise. I haven’t exercised regularly for around 4 years… it’s time for a change.

4. Blog more regularly. This probably should have been higher up. I have been terrible so far and I need to get much better.

5. Do NOT buy fabric unless I need it for a project. Now that I am preparing to move I realise how much fabric I need to use up. I was very bad about this in 2010…

6. Dress more for my body type. I really didn’t consider this at all before, silly me.

7. Start cutting my own hair. I’ll begin budget living when I return to Canada and a since I’m growing my hair out it won’t be too hard and it will hopefully go well. I’m a bit nervous about this one.

8. Make a dressform of my own body. How else will I make all the clothes in my list!

9. Organize a productive craft area. Once I move back to Canada I won’t have to sleep and sew in the same room (my allergies are going to be so happy) and I can finally organize properly!

10. Finish reading through Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers and put many of the techniques to use by making my list of things to make in 2011.

And now, things to make (I’ll keep it down to 10 or else I might overwhelm myself!):

1. The Pendrell Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns. I will participate in the sew-along and make a few for myself and one for my mom (for her birthday). Although Tasia is focusing on pear-shapes and that is not my body type, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy the pattern since it is the exact kind of garment I need so I can wear the skirts I have sewn (This will be very handy when it comes to my Resolution #1).

2. A party dress to wear to my sister’s wedding-party. I rarely have a chance to wear a nice semi-formal dress and although this might make me over-dressed for the party, I really couldn’t care less.

3. My sister’s wedding dress. This is a lot of pressure for me but I am looking forward to working with good quality fabrics and making something that will be so beautiful and meaningful.

3. A basic straight skirt in a neutral. Most of my skirts have been a-line or flare and it’s time for me to have a straight skirt in my wardrobe. I’ve got a nice Camel coloured cotton fabric perfect for this.

4. A summery dress. I haven’t sewn one yet, and that’s just not right.

5. A knit vest. Last Autumn I really into knitting for the first time and I think a vest would be the best way to ease myself into knitting clothes.

6. A knit pair of convertible gloves. This one is for a certain person who lives in a colder place than me. It will be fun to try new techniques for this project.

7. A silk camisole. I made one last year out of vintage kimono fabric but it was my first time working with silk and I didn’t finish the seams properly to make them last. But that one gave me a taste for having silk right up against my skin and it is just divine.

8. Another coat. Last year I made the Lady Grey coat and I’ve been wearing it almost daily since it goes so well with skirts. I’ll need another coat for next winter!

9. A Raincoat. I’m moving back to Vancouver after 4 years away and I’m pretty sure I need a raincoat since my last one doesn’t fit anymore and the ones I’ve seen are either not-so stylish or are very expensive.

10. A dress shirt. Since discovering that dress shirts tend to pull towards my back due to my bust and my large shoulder-blades, I’ve thrown out many of my old (and now dirty) dress-shirts and I haven’t bought any new ones. I really want a good pattern that I can keep and make over and over again.

Hopefully that’s not too much for 2011! Do you have any special resolutions for this year?

Lady Grey Sew-Along: Finished!

Lady Grey: Finished

Last month I participated in the Lady Grey Sew-Along with Gertie and I finished my lovely coat about 2 weeks ago!

I didn’t do the best job participating and putting up pictures of my progress and couldn’t even put up a picture of my finished muslin due to changing it so much that I didn’t have one I could even wear to take pictures of. But here’s the finished coat and some details of the alterations in construction and fitting I did.

Lady Grey: Finished Side

(This picture shows the real colour of the coat much better than the first)

Lady Grey: Finished Lining

This was my first time using a commercial pattern and thanks to the sew-along I was aware that the first thing I had to do was a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the pattern and take the bust measurement from my upper-bust (just under my armpits) which luckily ended up with the pattern that was my actual waist size.

Secondly I had to raise the waist as I am short-waisted, meaning that my natural waist is higher than average. In order to fix this I folded the pattern about 3cm in the waist area and then trued/smoothed the lines. Most of this wasn’t as necessary as I thought since I ended up having to shift most of the pattern pieces to get the grain to lay straight where necessary.

I followed Gertie’s steps in the sew-along for the most part but did a few things differently.

Lady Grey: Hem and Hair Canvas

I connected the hair-canvas in a different manner to prevent bulk by using strips of iron-on interfacing and baseball stitching over it. I also used the hair canvas on the bias to create a softer drape, both of these I read about in Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer.

The sleeves of the pattern were not working with my body at all and I was getting a lot of creases so I just draped it to my liking. Then I opted to set my sleeves in by backstitching by hand before going over it with machine stitching. I also did not attach the sleeve lining to the rest of the lining until I was fully done.

Lady Grey: Stitches on Lining

For the lining I stitched 5mm from the seam line by sewing machine and then handstitched roughly on the seam with cotton basting thread. I learned this from my teacher as the way to attach the lining so that if the wearer needs excess room the cotton thread will break easily as needed and only in the locations where more room is necessary.

Lady Grey: Collar Padstitches

Other alterations I did were to change add a collar base to the collar so that it does not droop (I should take pictures with my hair out of the way of the collar) and also did not use bias fabric for the bottom side. Changed a bit of the collar shape to be a more traditional style. Finished all inside seams that need to lay flat by catch-stitching. Finish the hem of the coat with a bias strip of the lining. Attach all the lining seam allowances to the hair canvas loosely and therefore I didn’t need to directly attach the lining to the coat. I also made the pocket larger (I have relatively big hands) and ended the belt diagonally instead of square since I like the look of it best. There is more but I think that’s enough details.

The sew-along was a great experience and I learned a lot of new ways of doing things and loved following along with other seamstresses and their progress. Plus I ended up with a fantastic coat with teacups and teapots as the lining, what could be better!

Bonus: I knitted long fingerless gloves to wear with it!

Under Construction

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’ll still new to wordpress and figuring out how all this works so bare with me while I make this easier on the eyes (which it the job of any good seamstress!).

The About page is finished if you’d like to know what the posts on this blog will regard.