Almost-Finished Kahlua Cardigan

Sunny winter days make ya squint.

I breezed through most of this Kahlua cardigan but have stalled pretty badly right before crossing the finish line. The ribbing on this sweater is giving me so much grief. I’ve tried it two times and it did not look right, so I frogged. I brought it with me on a weekend trip to visit my sister and planned to give it another try en route. It didn’t work out, but I decided to put it on and start wearing it anyway. I am curious if fellow knitters have a “THAT GARTER EDGE IS GIVING ME ANXIETY” sort of a reaction, but it looks fine to me.

PS I am wearing my Link hat and my Farrow dress in these photos.

We watched The Art of the Steal forever ago, and had been telling my sister to watch it for awhile. After finally seeing it, we “celebrated” by visiting the Barnes Foundation to see Dr. Albert Barnes’ amazing collection of art arranged “just the way he would have wanted.” For anyone not familiar with the situation, his art was posthumously “stolen” and is now controlled by the group of people he detested most. ANYWAY, this is all setup to tell you that we were leaving the museum and saw the most beautiful wintry ivy wall, and we had a mini photoshoot. The light was so great, I barely edited these photos.

The pretty cable side seam.

Some musings about the cardigan now. The instructions have you do both sleeves before the body, and I may have found a permanent new order of events when knitting a seamless sweater. The sleeves went so quickly, and gave me motivation to get through the body, so thank you for the idea, Thea!! I highly recommend the pattern, its very clever in its construction and has details that make it feel so special. While knitting, my k1 columns were very wiggly and uneven, but it all came out with blocking. I kirchner stitched the back neck seam and the underarms to make for a less obvious join. Its not seamless, though, because its purl ribbing joined with knit stitches, but it looks nicer than a 3-needle bind off or mattress stitch. More details of my saga on ravelry. Also wanted to give Call Your Girlfriend a shout-out! I just found out about this show and knitted to several back-episodes over the past few weeks. I am now a loyal listener and when a new episode comes out, it shoots to the top of my “Play Next” queue.

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I used Quince and Co’s Owl in Tyto, and its very very warm and cozy. I love it! Now, on to the ribbing!! Third time’s a charm.

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Fumeterre Skirt

I finally got around to making a Fumeterre skirt from Deer and Doe. I have almost made it so many times, but whenever I felt the urge, I didn’t want to wait for the pattern to ship from France. So a couple of weeks ago, when I got their email newsletter announcing this skirt among their newly available PDF patterns, I jumped on it!

I got this VERY fancy wool-bamboo houndstooth from B&J Fabrics. Its my second most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, EEEP. I used faux-leather piping for the pockets, and I am particularly happy with my zipper fly. The back elastic seemed superfluous when I was adding it in, but it really helps to keep up the skirt without digging in to my waist too much. I did hong kong seams and wow did they take forever. It looks really nice, though!

I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, I am 5′6″ and its floor length in flats. I wore it to work for a party last week, and I had to hoist it up as I walked since it dragged on the ground a bit. The fabric is so dreamy and drapey, and it’s very fun to wear. I will definitely make this again in a warm-weather fabric this spring.

Ginger Jeans

I finally made some jeans, and I am pretty happy with them! The motivation to make these came from the sad day when the zipper broke on my favorite pair of black jeans. I really felt their absence from my wardrobe, so I decided I would take the plunge and use my Cone Mills black denim and try out the Ginger Jeans (View B).

posting a picture of my butt on the internet is a very odd feeling.

Overall I am extremely happy with these jeans and have incorporated them into my everyday wardrobe, so thats a huge positive!!! I am also very happy with the zipper fly, the way the pattern has you do it is very easy. I did a raw hem, so I cut 3.5″ off the bottom of the jeans, and did a straight stitch a 1/2″ up from the bottom to prevent extreme fraying.

Next time I will place the pockets higher on the butt, and take in the waist a little more, they are a little bit baggy in the front crotch area. I also think I’ll raise the hem a couple of inches, as these could really have a higher rise. 

Oops, I forgot to lengthen my stitch length for the waistband…

BTW, I am wearing my Shadow Pullover and my New Yorker tote in these photos!!

Handmade Vacation

Hey there! I just got back from my epic trip to Spain, and I wanted to share what handmade clothes I wore while traveling. Two standout pieces, my grey linen Brumby skirt, and my Red cotton/linen Moss skirt, were workhorses. I wore them almost every day!! I was looking forward to getting some wear from my jean jacket, but it was so hot in Spain, I only wore it once. What a beautiful country!

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About to discover the wrong entrance to the Toledo Cathedral in my Brumby skirt and carrying my New Yorker tote.

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Taking in the Barcelona view from Montjuïc in my Moss skirt

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Posing as the Washerwoman at Park Güell with my New Yorker tote and a Wiksten tank dress

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In awe of the Sagrada Família wearing my Hampton jean jacket

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Drinking in the Barcelona culture in my Lois dress

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Bonus Brumby skirt pic next to a delightful Joan Miró sculpture

I was daydreaming of sewing the whole time we were gone, so I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and get to autumn sewing.

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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Tova Dress.

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I am several years late to the Tova Dress party, but I’ve finally made my entrance. I had this Italian double-cloth shirting remnant from Firecracker Fabrics in my stash since Spring, and just couldn’t figure out what to make with it. I agonized over deciding, looking up every indie dress pattern I could think of and then googling to see how other people’s looked. You can see my final decision was the Tova. (I am also wearing my Wiksten Oversized Kimono jacket from Making Magazine!)

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I think I would have been happier with this if I made it a few years ago. There’s nothing wrong with the pattern, I just should have chosen a pattern with more shaping, because I now realize that’s what I was after. If I make this again, I would extend the center front fold line to create more gathers. On this version, it was barely enough to get any at all. The collar also lays a little wonky, and the back neck sits away from my body. I think this pattern would be a better match for thinner or drapier fabric.

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I do love the “rich” feel of this fabric, and I like where I used the contrast side vs the right side on the cuff binding, placket and collar stand. I think once I break it in a little bit I will like it more.

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We had a very unseasonably warm sunny day, so we headed down to Battery Park to take these pics. Very windy, which I bet you could have already guessed!

PJ Shorts

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My favorite sleepwear is a t-shirt and PJ shorts. I can’t do sleep pants, they always bag up around my knee which drives me nuts, so I stick with shorts. I found the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho awhile back and made a pair from some scraps (previously unblogged), with great success. This weekend, I wanted a quick sew and I had been meaning to make another pair. I had a fabulous 80s silk remnant from the Center for Creative Reuse in my stash, and happened to have coordinating purple bias tape (also from PCCR!!), so I thought why not!! These came together so quickly, in less than 2 hours. On this new pair, I made the side hem split significant bigger, but otherwise followed the pattern exactly. I was surprised by how much better I have gotten at applying bias tape to fiddly fabrics. Practice really does make “perfect” (btw these are not perfect by any means).

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Super comfy, and very luxurious in silk!

Archer For a Friend.

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I made a sleeveless Archer a few years ago using Grainline’s awesome tutorial, and I wear it all the time, even though its a white-with-bright-stripes 90s-looking seersucker. My friend Chrissy saw me wearing it one day and commented on how much she loved it, so I decided to make her one for her birthday.

I had some leftover all-white seersucker, but it was barely enough to cut out the shirt. I had to get a little creative with the pattern piece placement: I cut the button band and pockets the wrong way. I didn’t even have enough left to cut the inside yoke, so I used some light micro-floral cotton. I also used it on the under-collar as a subtle way to introduce some color to an otherwise stark white shirt. It took me a long time to settle on a fabric that wouldn’t show through the seersucker too much. I really struggled with buttons, I spent forever comparing at the fabric store before settling on these taupey gray ones. This is the first time I used a teeny button for the collar stand, and I like how it turned out. I also recently got a buttonhole cutter and some fray check, and WOW they improve the finish to look much more professional!

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I am so happy with this shirt, especially because I look at it and see such great strides in craftsmanship since the last time I made one.

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Summer of Basics #2 and #3.

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Continuing on with my second item for #SummerofBasics, I made a self-drafted linen gauze tank, heavily inspired by Karen Templer’s version. I made a patch pocket pattern piece and fully intended to use it, but I forgot to sew them on before joining the front + back, and decided to wait until the top came together to see if it felt right to add them. I think the side slits are too “extreme” to logically accommodate pockets, so I left them off.

I traced a woven tank top I liked to create this pattern. I made a quick muslin to make sure I traced accurately, and then I cut into the little bit of linen gauze I had left from my Tessuti visit last year. This material is pretty sheer, but when its 90 degrees outside with almost 100% humidity, such concerns retreat away through the heavy haze of summer.

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I cut the back along the selvedge in two pieces so I could remember how pretty it is, with its chambray-esque blue and a stripe of green. I used white single-fold bias tape for the neckline and armholes, and french seamed the shoulder and side seams. I made a mistake and double-folded the side slits to the right side (instead of the wrong side) of the garment, but I actually like it as a design feature, so I left it as-is.

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For my #SummerofBasics Number Three, I made a Moss skirt from more of that leftover Essex linen I had in my stash. I thought red would be an unusual color for a skirt, but it turns out that I love it and it doesn’t look unusual at all! I am not sure the essex linen is the best fabric for garments, as it unravels very quickly, but I bound all the seams with bias tape, so hopefully that helps with the skirt’s longevity. I had some berry colored piping and added it to the pockets and I think it adds SO much to the look of the skirt. I used the teeny bit of striped Italian shirting I had left for the waistband and pockets, and I LOVE it so much. Overall, really happy with how this turned out. I do notice that when I wear it, I have to constantly pull at it to make it sit correctly on my hips. I think I made the right size, but I am not sure why this is happening. I might get some true bottom-weight fabric and give it another shot.

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Summer of Basics #1: Maritime Shorts

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I’ve decided to enter the Summer of Basics make-along as a challenge for myself to pepper in practical, plain items along with all the garments with wild prints I am drawn to. Here is my first make, Maritime shorts from Grainline in Essex Linen. I made these once before a few years ago, and have been meaning to make more ever since. I remember being very challenged by the fly, but this time I really focused (turned off those podcasts!) and powered through successfully. I did use a 5″ zipper, because thats what I had, and it turned out fine. I also used a front button instead of a pants hook/eye closure.

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I really love these, especially the tushie pockets! I wore them all weekend, and they are very comfy. I was surprised by how little fabric they take, as well as how quickly I sewed it… I did the whole thing in 1.5 sittings. The trickiest part was the waistband… you have to reallly pay attention to the grain of the fabric and the way each piece is flipped, especially if your fabric has no RS or WS like this linen. One note, I sewed my button hole the wrong way! GAHH!

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