Monday, December 31, 2012

Plans for the New Year

While other bloggers are spending today summing up their year's activities, I'm trying to plan what I will be doing for the next few months when we move to South Carolina for the rest of the winter. This is a yearly trek, part of the benefits of being retired, but becomes a problem for a hobbyist like myself who needs lots of raw "provisions" to work with---fabric, yarn and books!   We live in a much smaller space down there and though I do have a dedicated sewing room, it is much smaller than the full basement I spread out in in the warmer months while in PA.

The other problem with my hobby supplies is that they must fit in 2 cars, along with our clothes and 2 cats. My poor husband is used to not having much room for his stuff!   SO, I am thinking over what I really want to do and make for the next months.

SEWING--I want to keep working through the "Pattern Magic for Stretch Fabrics" book that I am enjoying so much  

The stretch fabrics for that don't take up a lot of room IF I plan to make the items just for my half-scale model. Though she is half as long in the body, the fabric needed is only 1/8th as much and usually just scraps suffice.  However I wonder if I am missing something by not enlarging the pattern and making it for myself as I've done in the past???

Here's an experiment with my last creation from the book making it for the model only.    It is called "Peas in a Pod B" and like the A version is made from 2 identical pattern pieces, but with one twice as large as the other.      In this case the pattern was 2 T shapes put on the fold.
Here are my pattern pieces and how it looks put together.  The bigger piece is gathered up to fit the smaller one, different straight portions become the arms, bodice and neckline, and looks like this.

And here is my model's verion----It was really amazing how it all fit together!

I was going to ask my readers if they had seen enough of the pattern on the model without seeing a version on me!   BUT, I think by writing this I have answered my own question.    I am too curious to see how this amazing pattern works to not make a version for me and am heading down to the sewing room in the basement now to make one!  So stay tuned for more.

So, you can see how my allowed space in the cars fills up fast!  This means I better take lots of knit fabrics when I head south, enough to make each outfit for us both.   The picture at the top is only a small portion of my colorful knit collection, so I will have to select carefully.

I realize that I haven't even begun to talk about my knitting and reading plans for the winter, so will continue more about that soon.  

  I will add pics of a new Origami book I got for Christmas that i hope to work from.     I've always loved the folding process and consider the activity much like sewing up unusual patterns to see how they will come out.     Plus, the materials won't take up much room!
These are some of the more complicated designs towards the end of the book.  Mine will be much simpler, while I figure out if it gives me the same satisfaction as sewing complicated patterns.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and lots of creative activity in 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Pattern Magic" for the Holidays

Since I have all my holiday fabrics out,  I decided to sew one more thing with them from my "Pattern Magic Stretch Fabric" book.    This one is called "Crescent Moon" and is related to the one I just made called "Full Moon" in that it is made from 2 circles of fabric.      However in this version the 2 fabrics are different colors and it is put together differently.    
Here are the pattern pieces and made-up version from the book. As you can see there are 2 offset holes, one for the head and one for the waist. The circles are sewn together  with 2 openings in the outside circle for the arms.

  Here are my unsewn pattern circles and how it looks on my half-scale model.

And here is MY version.  It can really look different depending on how it is twisted when worn and is a very comfortable extra layer for a casual holiday look.

On a more traditional note I made the long version of Vogue 8422 to go in my holiday "collection"  . It is out of print so I can't find a pattern picture but it is 3 versions of a wrapped tunic.  I decided to try the longest version and like wearing it with my skinniest pants.

That definitely is the END of my holiday sewing!   Well, except for a New Year's oufit I have in mind. |As always, more later!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lagenlook for the Holidays

I've been trying to extend my "lagenlook attitude" to most of the new things I make. I needed something to wear to a holiday "Eggnog and Cocktail" party on Friday and that afternoon decided everything I had to wear was too hot, too cold or just not what I wanted to wear with my extra 5-6 pounds in the waist I've managed to put on this month!     I have many versions of black pants and tops so just needed something to wear over them that was quick and easy to make---plus comfortable and washable (in case I spilled eggnog or appetizers on myself!).

Decided on The Sewing Workshop  Eshrug pattern which I've made before and loved. It is  a one piece pattern (plus sleeves) that fits wonderfully---I've previously tweeked it to make it longer with bigger armholes. I was able to get it made with time to spare and had a great time at the party. Even got several comments on my "unusual outfit"
Of course I added my nutcracker necklace and purse made from a thrifted sweater

I'm also continuing to work through the "Pattern Magic Stretch Fabric" book and add to my holiday wardrobe collection.

 Since I want some new tops I decided to try "Full Moon"
It is made from 2 circles sewn together on the outsides. The top one has neck and armholes and the bottom one has the waist hole.  Here are the pics of the pattern and the finished version on my half-size mannequin Dolly.   It is SO convenient to have this little dress form as I can tell by how it fits on her if I want to enlarge the pattern for myself. Here is the top piece with neck and arm holes. You can see how it looks over the bottom piece in the left pic.

Here are the pieces for my top, which are all cut to twice the length and width of the half-scale model
And here is my version from different angles:

These patterns are so fun to work with and I've already started another one that is made from 2 circles but has different openings for the body parts---more tomorrow on it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My most TIME-CONSUMING project ever

I just finished my first Dale of Norway fair-isle sweater---in time to wear on my holiday trip starting tomorrow!  I think I started this several years ago for the winter holidays, worked on it some last December and put it away when it became evident it wouldn't be finished by Christmas 2011.

I got it out again about a month ago and decided to make a concerted effort to finish it this year. I've been working several hours a day on it----any more time and the graph I followed started swimming before my eyes!   For the last week I have been working on the "finishing up" nearly full time---I learned to make knitted facings and several other interesting techniques. For you readers that knit, you probably know that the fair-isle technique involves holding different colored yarns in each hand, so you are actually knitting both the "Continental" and the "English" (or American) methods at the same time.  I actually found that method very rhythmical and relaxing once I got the technique down.

I'm quite pleased with the fit too. I was able to measure the the length as I knitted but had to "block" the width that I wanted after finishing.

With the afternoon left before starting to pack for my trip, I decided I needed some sort of co-ordinating coat in case the weather turns cold.  I had some good grey fleece and decided to make the "cocoon" coat that Shams just wrote about on her blog   

 I made it just like her directions except that I cut a 24" slit up the middle front.   This made mine shorter in the back and with more fabric to fold back on the front.

How ironic that while my sweater took the LONGEST time of anything I've ever made, the coat took just minutes!

I made a few more seasonal accessories to go with my outfit:
                                           Crocheted hat, fingerless mittens and headband
Mobius cowl

That's it for stuff for me---now I'm ready to start working on some Christmas presents for others! I'll be back next week to show those.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Perfect top for Layering

                                                    Vogue 8669

I decided to take a break from my Pattern Magic construction project today and work on my mini-wardrobe that I will be wearing in a few weeks on a trip to see family near Kansas City. I want to have pieces in Blue and Green that can be worn several differnt ways.

Since I've been into the "Lagenlook" scene lately I wanted to be able to layer a different assortment of tops with basic pants for different looks.      Sometimes I layer as many as 3 different tops and want all of the collars to show! In finding the pieces for this look, I think the different necklines that will be worn together are very important (also the different hemlines but I don't need a pattern for that).

What I needed was a middle piece---one that would allow an underneathe turtleneck to peek out but wasn't so large (in the neck area) that I couldn't wear another layer over it. I must have at least 50 different knit top patterns in my stash and finally decided on this one, which turned out to be perfect.

I made it up in green with an underneathe blue t-neck.  The neckline still enabled me to wear my signature (at this time of year) Nutcracker necklace.
I am trying to use some of my self-made knit and crochet items in the wardrobe so here it is with my crocheted purse                                                        
And here it is with my newly "off-the-hook" crocheted tunic----now you can see what I mean about showing 3 different layers at the neckline:
Sweater collar down

sweater collar "draped"
I even tried some crocheted "boot toppers" but am not sure if they are a little TOO MUCH?

Now to think of some different tops that will go with my "look"----and a coat coming up too (as soon as I decide what pattern to use).