Ages ago in “internet time,” back when I still used Instagram, #WIDN was a popular hashtag for sewers and knitters. WIDN, or “what I’m doing now” is something I’m going to try out here because I miss sharing my in-progress projects. So…. here’s WIDN.
This beauty is coming along, but slowly because of it’s intricate stitch pattern. I love it and the very special Cormo yarn I’m using, but I’m knitting slowwwwly. I think I am on the cusp of memorizing the repeat…. we’ll see.
I’ve had this sweater in my queue since it came out last year. Once it became available as a standalone pattern, it jumped to the top of my queue. I decided to get some Green Mountain Spinnery yarn at Vogue Knitting Live to make my own. I’m trying out the “sleeve as swatch” technique, but I’m not sure how much I like the color combo I chose. I’m going to block the sleeve after I finish and see if I like it.
Jacob needs a new spring/fall jacket. Since he has very long arms, no RTW jacket ever fits him perfectly, so I’ve decide to make him one. I scoured the internet to find a suitable pattern, but nothing seemed right. I finally came across a blog dedicated to sewing all the patterns from a Japanese book of mens’ coats, and decided to bite the bullet and order the book. Spoiler alert: the book is entirely in Japanese. I think I’m up for the challenge, but we’ll see what happens when I tear into the muslin. Jacob has picked out No. 13. I am planning to start tracing and making a muslin this weekend. I am looking forward to fabric shopping for it!
This task was a unique challenge for me. I had only written instructions and 1 on-body pic from Emily to guide me (which I assume is on par for test knitting). Usually before settling on a pattern to knit, I spend hours looking through Ravelry. I like to see other knitters’ modifications and how their finished objects turned out. Emily did have to help me figure out the sleeve details, I felt pretty challenged by them with limited photo references.
I love the reverse-stockinette and garter stitch combo, its so unique. And how about those statement sleeves!? My favorite part of this sweater design is the foldover neckband. The crochet bind off looks so tidy and professional! The yarn I used is Elder from Ritual Dyes, and its so soft that it doesn’t even feel like wool. Its a joy to wear. What can I say besides I love this sweater! One of my best knits ever, for sure.
Struck by inspiration over the holidays, I sewed a summer sundress! I bought the fabric at a yard sale a few years ago for less than $5. It has that lovely handfeel of an aged poly-cotton blend that I love so much. They don’t make ’em like they used to! The odd thing about this panel print is that the gradient goes weft to weft. Most other panel prints I’ve seen that follow the grainline. So, I did the unthinkable and cut the skirt pieces the wrong way. I did cut the bodice pieces on the grainline though, and this inconsistency is not noticeable at all. This made the hem very easy to sew because the selvedge edge eliminated the need to double-turn!
I went into my stash for buttons, and found some grey ones that look pretty perfect. I didn’t buy anything new to make this dress. Sewing from the stash feels good! This was my first time sewing my own buttons since I got my machine fixed, it was nice to be back in action on that front. Instead of using vilene shields, I staystitched the neckline pieces. The self bias tape helps a lightweight fabric look professional.
I have worn this once in the cold, paired with a turtleneck and a sweater, but it will become a staple in the spring. Happy 2020!!
I made it through 2019 (almost) without buying new clothes or shoes! I decided to try a buy-nothing year myself after seeing others on the internet. I remember looking in my closet thinking, “wow I have so many clothes and I never wear them all.” This, combined with my guilt about how wasteful I am as a human being, inspired me to take on this challenge.
How did I do it?
Early on this spring, I remember almost purchasing a top from a secondhand store, but I resisted! Remembering the bigger goal of a no-buy year helped me when urges crept in. I did make clothes throughout the year. I discovered some tactics and want to share them in case you too decide you’d like to try it:
Unsubscribe from retail marketing emails. If you cut temptation from your inbox, you’re less likely to shop
Make a list of the clothes you want, and see if you still want them months later
Don’t go shopping. Don’t tempt yourself. You may find you save a lot of time!
Tell at least one person close to you about your goal so you can go to them if you feel tempted
Stop using Instagram. Through the lens of the internet, it may seem like the stuff in everyone’s life is perfect. But stuff is not ever going to make you happy (duh). YOU are the product on free social media apps. Advertisers are lining up to sell you stuff and use your data, and they’re pretty good at it. I quit using Instagram in January, and I credit that as a large part of my success this year.
As the months tally up, recognize your progress! By June, Remembering how far I had already come helped me later on in the year when I wanted to buy something.
I found these resources inspiring to help me remember why I took on this challenge:
You may be wondering how much money I saved by not buying any clothes. I use YNAB (NO they did not pay me to say this, but YES, I recommend using it), so it was pretty simple to gather data to share. I am only displaying the budgeting categories that relate to this post. In 2018, I spent almost $4,000 on clothing and jewelry. Before looking this up, I had no idea I spent that much. To be honest, its a little embarrassing to share.
That’s it! I am proud of myself, and time will tell if I have broken the spell of wanting new stuff. I suspect it will be something I have to work on forever.
I did have some exceptions to my no-buy, and purchased some clothing throughout the year. Here’s my full list:
new soccer turf shoes (classified in my budget as “Soccer” not clothing)
2 bras w a gift card from husband (doesn’t show up in my budget because I used a gift card)
Fringe Supply Co. bandana (this was my true moment of weakness…)
Coach purse before I left the company (no it was not ethically made, no it was not made sustainably)
This super-unique pullover sweater is Niska (rav link) by Bristol Ivy. She released it right before Vogue Knitting Live in January, and I got to try it on (!) at the Wing and A Prayer Farm booth. I made it over the summer, but just recently began to work it into my wardrobe.
I loved knitting this, the cable pattern was super interesting, and the construction was unique and thoughtful. I am a charts-only person, so seeing the written out instructions made my skin crawl, but I just zoomed past it and followed the charts with almost no problems. The only modification I made was adding a folded neckband. This was my first time working with BT Shelter (what?!) and it was delightful. Such nice yarn.
I am finding it challenging to figure out how to wear it. Every time I put it on, I don’t feel quite right. But, I love it and I’m on a mission to figure it out!
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.
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.
What a cheerful little hat to get through the winter!
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.
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!
Bonus: here’s a cute lil’ gif of me unzipping the fanny pack:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.