Best Beret!

finished objects, knitting
a woman shows off a new knitted beret.

Look at this cute beret (Rav link)! I made it over the weekend, and I was so excited about it that we went out for pics before I blocked it. I have been thinking about a beret for a long while now, and when Ritual Dyes featured the Best Beret pattern in their newsletter, I immediately put down everything on my to-do list to make it.

This is the beret I have been dreaming of. I raided my scraps to use see if I had anything suitable, and found some mystery white wool, held it with white mohair, and got started. I really like the construction of this hat, the icord start makes it so easy to get the fit right. Even though I have a tiny head, I ended up making the larger size.

The back view of the beret.

I suspected I was going to run out of white yarn, but just decided to wing it, and I figured I could do a little colorblock-action if I had to. Spoiler alert: I ran out of yarn. I found some leftover gray Zelana Performa from our trip to New Zealand, and I really love how it looks with the white! The natural halo of the possum compliments the mohair so perfectly.

The side view of a beret.

What a cheerful little hat to get through the winter!

Belt Bag

finished objects, sewing

Here’s something a little different: A belt bag (or by its pattern name, the Fennel Fanny Pack). I spotted this pattern at Rhinbeck on my friend Kiyomi. It looked so good on her that she inspired me to make my own version. I used a little bit of the Pendleton wool I bought in Portland (and still have enough to make something else!!), and lined it with some yellow linen scraps. I spent around $20 on notions at Pacific Trimming, since I was picky about the zippers and buckle.

a woman models a handmade fanny pack.

I must say the pattern is pretty steep at $14. I appreciated how the DIY pattern pieces saved paper, but I wish I had a visual reference for how to orient the zippers once the pieces were ready to be sewn together. My front zipper doesn’t close at the same side as the main one. I had to seam rip this more times than I’d like to admit, and by the time I realized the front zipper was backwards I was not willing to do more surgery. The pattern does mention that you have to be mindful of the zipper placement, but I think an illustration would help reinforce this.

Finishing the interior seams with such thick fabric was beastly until I remembered that double-wide bias tape is accurately named—switching to it helped things tremendously. Despite my complaints about its construction, I really like this bag. I’m not quite sure I can pull it off, but I am trying!

a closeup of a pendleton wool fanny pack.

Bonus: here’s a cute lil’ gif of me unzipping the fanny pack:

a gif of a woman unzipping a handmade fanny pack.

Stasis: A Christmas Sweater

finished objects, knitting
a woman stands in the city, wearing a hand-knitted sweater.

I just finished my Christmas sweater with some serious time to spare! I haven’t knit a fingering-weight sweater since the Twigs, which was the biggest beast of a sweater to finish ever. This is Stasis from Leila Raven. I’ve wanted to make it for oh-so-long, and I love how it turned out. I did the same mods as many others by adjusting the post-colorwork rounds for a less-high neck.

a woman stands in the city, wearing a hand-knitted sweater.

I decided to finish the neckline with red and green stripes since I omitted the waist colorwork. I knit the entire first round of each color change to avoid the “icky dots” that normally happen with color striping.

The pattern has you knit the sleeves first, which I really liked because 1. you make progress much more quickly than if you start with the body, and 2. the first sleeve can count as your swatch! I noticed that the colorwork looked sorta bad at the sleeve BOR, so when I got to the yoke, I started the “next” row’s colorwork a stitch or two (if the color change was very close to BOR) before the end of the previous row, rather than the end of the upcoming row so there was less of a noticeable shift. IMO the yoke BOR looks much better than the sleeves. I’m pretty happy with it.

the back of a woman's hand-knitted sweater.

I could not have timed knitting this sweater better for travel, I had juuust joined the sleeves to the body before a work trip to Indonesia. On the trip, I finished the colorwork and yoke so I only had the neck ribbing left to do when I got home. I already am dreaming of another more neutral version of this sweater to wear all year round. It fits perfectly, I love it so much!

It was pretty chilly and windy when we took these pics, so I was pretty ready to put my coat back on by the end of things:

a woman is jumping because of how cold she is.

Raw Japanese Denim Dawns

finished objects, sewing
woman walks away from the camera in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans
Special thanks to Tillamook State Forest for being so pretty!

Up until last week, I had only dreamed of having high-waisted rigid denim jeans. So, after dreaming long enough, I decided to get to work. Some very special vintage Japanese selvedge and a hardware kit from Blackbird Fabrics was patiently waiting in my stash, begging to be made into said dream jeans. So really, no excuses besides my fear of failure.

woman poses in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans

When I decided I was going to make these, I almost went for the Ginger jeans again, but 1. I wanted a higher rise, and 2. Ginger is designed for stretch denim. Much like Jasika’s commentary on the Dawn Jeans, I was very skeptical when that pattern came out. But after seeing how amazing Jaskia’s and Lauren’s versions turned out, I decided to go for it.

I measured the straight leg pattern pieces against my favorite pair of RTW jeans I own (that are too tight in the thighs but are perfect everywhere else). As I cut out a muslin, I sharpied the original inner thigh cut line and added ample ease so I could easily add room after I sewed the inseam and side seams if needed (and I did need it). I also tapered the straight leg in a bit to match the RTWs, and I like where I ended up.

I only muslined the front and back legs and back yoke. In order to get pants that were try-onable I extended the front pockets to the side seams.

closeup of the rivets and selvedge coin pocket high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans.
Selvedge coin pocket!! (Thanks for the idea, Jasika!)

I wanted to extend the pockets to become stays, as I hate re-stuffing my pocket bags every time I put on jeans. I copied the Ginger Jeans stay by extending the pocket of the Dawns to sew in the center front seam, but because the directions have you start with the zip fly and I forgot to baste them in prior to constructing said fly, I had to redo it. I also wasn’t paying enough attention when I cut out the pocket bags and cut both on the same side, so I have one pocket that’s right-side in, and one right-side out. I ended up taking out most of the extra room I added to the crotch seam, but I am glad I had extra and was able to take it in (rather than not having enough). Lastly, I had to re cut the waistband with a much more pronounced curve (using THIS very awesome tutorial). The fit is MUCH better now, but they still could come in a little tiny bit more. When I ripped out the first waistband, I also took a small wedge out of the back yoke, since I already was in there ripping out stitches.

I used regular thread throughout this project, as my machine HATES topstitching thread. I found the bar tacks were super easy to just do a very small length zig zag and go back and forth a few times. I am quite happy with how they turned out.

The rivets, man, the rivets. I don’t have a tailor’s awl, so I used a nail to poke holes in the jeans, but the rivet posts were a little bit wider than the nail, so it took some serious wiggling around to get them to poke through. Super worth it, though, I think it makes them look so much more legit.

woman poses in high-waisted, rigid denim Dawn jeans, a pattern from Megan Nielsen

I am SO HAPPY with how these turned out, I cannot wait for them to develop their unique wear lines. I am gonna try to maximize wear and minimize washing…. we’ll see how I do. They stretched out a bit from wearing them on my trip to Portland, but I think once I give them their first wash, they’ll tighten up a bit. They do fit very snugly when I sit down, so I can’t imagine them being much more fitted when I am standing. The toils of rigid denim I guess!

Sadie Slip Dress

finished objects, sewing
a woman poses for the camera in a red and blue silk dress made from Tessuti Pattern's Sadie slipdress.

I was not in the market for more fabric (…groan), but curiosity gets me every time and I always check Blackbird Fabrics’ emails to see whats new. Recently they had some “leopard print” deadstock silk, and I pounced on it.

I’ve had the Sadie Slip Dress on my “to make” list for quite awhile, and this fabric seemed perfect for it. As soon as the fabric arrived I got to work on cutting and sewing up this bad boy. I cut a straight S, but ended up taking in the waist a bit after I sewed the first seam of the french seams. It was a little tricky to cut the pieces on the 45″ wide fabric, I ended up having to shave off an inch or two of the total length.

a laydown photo of a blue silk dress made from Tessuti Pattern's Sadie slipdress.
Closeup of the neckline.

The bias cut is SO swoony, but the neckline facing was very tricky to get right. I completely ripped out and re-understitched twice, thinking I wasn’t careful enough, but every time I tried it on, it wanted to flip out to the front of the neckline. I was unable to get past this flaw, and I decided to blind stitch the facing to the dress. That solved the flipping-out problem beautifully, but now it messes with the bias drape. I might undo some of the hand-stitching and do it yet again… we’ll see how annoyed I get with it. I suppose I could edgestitch the neckline, but I love the look of it without it.

Understitched-only facing:

versus stitched-down facing:

Definitely some trade offs with both options.

Still assessing how to best handle this scenario, but in the meantime, I am wearing it and loving the swish of bias silk on the recent hot summer days.

Lina Tank

finished objects, knitting
back view of a hand-knitted linen tank top.

My first foray into knitting with linen! I used the Lina tank pattern, and some white and brown linen I bought during our trip to Spain last year. The pattern is very well-written, and has lovely shaping and finishing details.

I started with the back bodice, and thought I would have enough yarn to make the entire thing in white. Whoops, I was definitely wrong, and decided to do a marl/colorblock look. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it yet, but it definitely looks unique.

side view of a hand-knitted linen tank top.

I followed the pattern exactly as written, except I made it much more cropped than specified and I finished the hem with a self-facing instead of garter stitch. I did some digging on TECHKnitting to find out how I should go about this mod. TECHknitting has several posts about hems and the best approaches. What a fab resource.

closeup view of the double-knit hem of a the linen tank top.
closeup view of the back of a linen tank top.

Super happy about this one, but I am excited to go back to knitting with wool–much easier on the hands.

alternate view of a linen tank top.

Myosotis Dress I

finished objects, sewing

I made this Myosotis dress back in May using this beautiful silk panel print that has lingered in my stash. My original plan was to make the ruffle-y version, but sadly, I did not have enough fabric. I purchased 2 panels worth of material, but the fabric was barely 40″ wide.

Experimenting with how to make this work. Not the final layout.

Somehow it worked out that I was able to match the prints fairly well between the sleeves, bodice and skirt. I added more fullness to the skirt piece to take advantage of the left and right selvedge edges: no need to finish the side seams! I also thought it would be a way to add more fullness without the ruffle. Spoiler alert: I think the added fullness at the waist isn’t the most flattering thing.

Because the silk is very sheer, and I am a sweaty person, I fully lined the dress with Bemberg rayon (THE BEST!). If I am going to be super-technical, I actually underlined the bodice and finished the seams with bias tape. 🙌for sewing 6 darts once, not twice!!

dress guts

I hand-sewed the collar, sleeves and front facings with silk thread to make it feel special. I love how this detail looks! This print is so unique, and I love how I was able to use the different parts given how little fabric I had. I am especially happy that I found a spare sliver of the purple section to use for the collar.

I LOVE this dress. I am definitely going to make another with the ruffles soon. Based on other people’s reviews, I went down a size and I am happy with that decision. There’s still a lot of positive ease in the bodice and waist so its quite comfortable.

Pictures in public make me so self-conscious!