Carbeth Cardigan

I broke a personal record last month when I knitted a sweater start to finish in 15 days! I am not sure what exactly came over me but I worked on it during every free moment over those 2 weeks. This is the Carbeth Cardigan, which I’ve been eyeing up for months on Ravelry. I made the second size using worsted weight Purl Soho Good Wool held double. The yarn weight definitely contributed to my speed to the finish, but I am still so surprised and proud of myself. The sad part is I haven’t been able to wear it! Its been so hot here, but today we had some relief with a 70 degree day, so I put it on and Jacob snapped some lovely photos.

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I got the buttons at Pacific Trimming in the Garment District. I can’t wait till it gets cooler and I can start to jughz this cardigan into my wardrobe! I have been wanting a basic cardigan like this for ever.

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I highly recommend this pattern, the instructions are very good and the finishing techniques are just lovely, the sweater is beautiful inside and out, I especially love the foldover collar and the button bands.

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Bertoia Chair Cushions

A few weeks ago I happened upon some kelly green Knoll Bertoia chairs at Construction Junction. I had been looking around for some dining chairs to replace our benches for months, and was having trouble finding something that hit the spot perfectly between stylish, comfortable and not insanely expensive. I was scrolling through instagram and saw that CJ had received a generous donation of 29 Knoll chairs, and I lost all ability to concentrate the rest of the day at work. I left work early to buy them, and its a good thing I did. I purchased them and had to come back with Jacob’s car, and by the time I got back the rest of the lot was gone. The four chairs I snagged were a little (a lot) dirty, but I washed them up with some dish soap and a scrub brush and they all came pretty clean. One chair has some rust / damage on the legs (you can see its the bottom left one below), but otherwise they are great!

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I knew these needed cushions, but I didn’t want to spend the $$$$ on real Knoll ones since they are so expensive. I didn’t see too many ideas out there about how to make your own, but I did find this post with some clues on how to draft a pattern that matches the original pads pretty closely.

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I drew up my version in Illustrator, printed it and went for it. Jacob picked out some beige/green/red striped upholstery fabric at Mood during our LA trip, and I had just enough to cut 4 pads worth, plus bias tape to bind the edges. I filled each cushion with 2 pieces of 1″ thick batting. I machine-stitched the first seam on the edges, and then hand-sewed the other side shut. So far so good, we will see how they hold up!

PS I got some clip-on felt glides for the bottom of these. They are really hard to put on, but I think it will help keep them in good shape.

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A Warm Weather Escape

Jacob and I finally took a trip to LA. We had both never been! We stayed with our friend Claire, who was the best hostess and tour guide (thanks, Claire!!). She showed us so much in a long weekend: the Hollyhock House, Rand, Santa Monica beach, Venice beach, the Getty, Monterey Park, The Fabric Store, Mood, and SO MUCH MORE! We left Pittsburgh’s 15 degree winter snowscape and embraced the mid 70s and sun. It did rain the first day, but it was still glorious to not wear socks and a winter coat.

I also used this opportunity of good weather + nice camera to coerce Jacob into getting some shots of 2 me-made things I have not had a chance to photograph before now (thank you honey!).

Here is a Brumby I made last summer from some Anna Marie Horner rayon challis. I accidentally used FABRIC STABILIZER instead of interfacing because I had an unlabeled pile of each next to each other. I didn’t realize my mistake until I had finished. Oops. I did the exposed zipper, using Megan’s super clear instructions, and I like the resulting “grittiness” of it contrasted with the sweetness of the print. Great for a spring day, or any day in LA, apparently. These were taken somewhere between the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.

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Claire got some pics of my Hannah Dress in the Bradbury building! This building is breathtaking, even though you are only allowed in part of the lobby. I was not expecting to be so blown away, but wow, what amazing craftsmanship. New construction just isn’t the same. The day before we went to the Getty, which is also incredibly impressive, but just does not hold a candle to work like this.

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I had a really cumbersome time making this dress (as I mentioned in a previous post). I changed the front neckline, I did not care for the placket. I think if I make it again, I would go up a size in the shoulders/bust, its pretty tight there. It is a very comfortable dress (except for the shoulder fit), and the pockets are fun to hang out in, but I don’t think it is terribly flattering on me, it certainly doesn’t really photograph too well. So, not sure if I will end up making it again. It is silly to say, I guess, but I wish the back darts weren’t covered by the criss-cross overlay.

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Well there ya go. Great weather, great company and great food! What more can you ask for in a trip?

A Farrow Dress

I was so excited by the Farrow dress by Grainline Studio, that I ran out to Spool to pick up a paper copy so I could get started right away. Its funny how sometimes “right away” means going to the store to get the printed pattern, but sometimes it means caving and downloading the PDF.

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I used some lovely, drapey viscose from Blackbird Fabrics and I think it suits this pattern perfectly. For some reason, I had it in my head that the neckline facing was not going to be comfortable, so I semi underlined, semi lined the bodice pieces. It made for some tough decisions when it came time to sew the middle front seam, and to finish the back neckline. I don’t think I would recommend doing it, but it is nice to have an extra layer in there. I also didn’t face the sleeve hems, I just turned them under twice.

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I used a wooden button from All Buttons Great and Small  that I had leftover from a short sleeved linen shirt I made for Jacob. I used Tessuti’s chain button loop tutorial from the Ruby dress to fasten the button. I am happy with this dress, but it is very shapeless, especially once you get past the hips. It was hard for me to find shoes I liked with this. I think the print makes it tricky to wear, too. Overall, though, it was a satisfying instant-gratification sew.

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Another Archer.

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetI made another archer. What a versatile, well-written pattern. I really like making button ups because its the right mix of technical sewing, but pretty quick to make, and very very satisfying. The finished shirt blends right in with my RTW wardrobe. …Well, this one might not because its very very loud. I was at a loss for what color thread to use, but I think I should have used a darker blue to blend in. Those topstitching lines really stand out, I had to rip things out quite a few times to make sure it looked great. Overall I am very proud of this one.

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Popping the collar to show the polkas

Things to remember for next time:

  • I didn’t pay attention to right vs wrong sides for the left and right front (I cut 2 left fronts with the idea that I’d trim down the 1 for the right front) along with the rest of my pieces with the fabric folded) and ended up having to switch the side that the button band goes on, so it looks a little bit odd.
  • I hemmed the shirt with single-fold bias tape, which is super fast and easy, but I don’t think it looks as professional as a baby hem. I might rip it out and redo it..

 

Details/Credits:

Floral shirting from Blackbird Fabrics. Polka dots were scraps from my stash

Buttons are from All Buttons Great and Small in Enmore, Sydney

Photos by Leah Vautar, who is about to set out on her journey west to CA 😦

Tessuti Patterns love affair.

tessuti_alice_topI visited Tessuti Fabrics when we were in Sydney a few months back. What a wonderful store! I bought the Alice top pattern while I was there, and have made two so far. It is a really nice, quick pattern. I have not tried a dress version yet. Here is my version in a wonderfully drape-y crepe de chine from Blackbird Fabrics. It was a little fiddly to work with, I think I ended up using a 5/8″ seam allowance for the sleeves instead of 3/8″ to catch all the layers of fabric (understitching changed the sizes pretty considerably).

Very fun and swishy! I think I can dress this up or down. I also finished the sleeve seams and yoke seams with bias tape so nothing would unravel. I added some side slits, although I wish I would have made them even bigger. Just a quick baby hem since the fabric was so slippery.

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closeup of the front yoke.
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slighty sheer, delightfully drape-y.
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swingy!

I also made a Tessuti Tokyo Jacket. I got this very delicate and floaty silk/cotton from The Fabric Store in Aukland. I french seamed everything, and its a bit bulky at the arm pit, as the pattern hinted it would be, but I didn’t want “overlocked (don’t have a serger)” seams hanging out. I omitted the pockets for a more floaty finish. I enjoyed the cuff technique, I was very skeptical at first but when I finished the first one I thought, “HOW CLEVER!”

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all photos by Leah Vautar.

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Honeymoon PJs. Made with some French cotton voile from Marché Saint-Pierre, and some blue silk trim. Working with silk bias tape was incredibly fiddly, and I had a really hard time keeping things tidy. To make it, I did use this tutorial which I found very easy compared to tutorials I have followed in the past. I also finally figured out how to use my bias tape maker, so that was also a big help. I french seamed everything but the crotch seam (I just zig-zagged to finish instead), and I only had 3/4″ elastic, so thats what I used for the waistband. I tacked it down via stitch-in-the-ditchat both side seams (instead of sewing in the middle of the waistband all the way around).

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I compared these, my second version of the Lakeside PJs, to the first that I made ~2 years ago, and its neat to see how my sewing skills have improved dramatically since then. The first time around, I vastly underestimated the amount of ease in the pattern, so this time I made a 6 in the top, and an 8 in the bottoms. The bottoms are still a tiny bit tight (!!) but they will work.

SUPER EXCITED FOR NEW ZEALAND NEXT WEEK!!!!!!