Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Koos Skirt and Lagenlook trip wardrobe

I have had this skirt designed by Koos (Vogue 1244) half made up for what seems like several years.
It was lots of fun to choose and put together the different fabrics. I used quilt strip piecing methods rather than all the little patterns pieces and then cut my finished piece to the size of theirs (this was made convenient by a full underskirt piece in the pattern).   BUT when I tried it on it looked TERRIBLE---the LAST thing I need is a long skirt with vertical stripes emphasizing how short-waisted I am.  And of course I would never wear that tiny top and thought it looked almost clownish in one of the print fabrics (on ME, the model looks great)

I've been thinking a lot about the Lagenlook lately since there's a good discussion going on in Pattern Review and had the idea to have large horizontal stripes on the top to balance out the bottom.  Instead of having the stripes go all the way up to my waist I used the dark underskirt fabric on the upper half, giving it a "layered" look. Then I gathered up my top tee into horizontal pleats to give my upper torso some more width.

The underskirt is sewn to the outer at both top and bottom so all the outside is finished. It pulls up the hemline in a soft fold which you can see here.
This is the final item in the mini-wardrobe I've made for my 5 day trip to Charleston, SC coming up. It won't be very cold there but I did want to look fallish!
The top left is a sweater I crocheted and the bottom left is the Sewing Workshop Trio outfit. The others I've already blogged about.   Hope it doesn't rain as I didn't have time to make my grey krinkly microtech raincoat!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lagenlook pattern from McCall's

Since I've gotten (re)interested in  Lagenlook , especially in the mode of having several different fabrics and colors in the "layering", I've been looking for simple patterns that would give me the LOOK I want.    Surprisingly, several of the major pattern companies are starting to have ones that fit the bill. Since they are usually simple but unusual cuts it wouldn't be terribly hard to draw up my own, but it's SO much easier when there's a pattern in my size to start with.

I picked up several at the 99cent pattern sale that JoAnne's had on McCall patterns this month.  One of my favorites that I just had to have was M6607
This is View B, which caught my eye immediately with the side drape.  Views A and C are cut straight across the bottom in different lengths and still have that great layering collar.

It was just what I needed to get the right addition to a darker pair of pants and tee that I just made.

 I had to recut this yellow fabric from a longsleeved top I"d already made, which was TOO much yellow----so I couldn't make quite as long a collar drop as the pattern but plan to try that next. I also didn't sew the side seams quite to the bottom, so there would be 2 points on each side instead of one.

The pants are the same pattern (V8637)I made in the last blog, this time out of a chunky dark grey ponte
knit, which gives those folds and tucks a little more definition.
 I also made the bottom leg darts on the outside for interest and pulled in the bottoms a little bit more with a band. They are SO comfy and I love the way they fit and look.

The underneath long sleeved tee was just the simple rectangle with sleeves that I also explained in my last blog.  I tend to use those simple geometric shapes over and over!    OH, and I've been picking up pieces of tapestry to make purses to go with different outfits----I feel that they almost add another "layer of interest" to my Lagenlook.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lagenlook for every day

Probably most of you who read this blog already know that "lagenlook" means the "layered" approach to dressing, also known as "arty" or "funky".  It is a look I have always loved and since the Artisan Square Sewing Guild site has come along with 2 LL forums (one is doing a LL 6-pac wardrobe) I've taken a renewed interest in experimenting with different versions of this look in easy knits.  I've found that the clothing that results is so darn COMFORTABLE that I want to wear it all day.  So I ventured out to JoAnn's and other fabric stores yesterday in my newest attempt:
I have gotten many questions as to what patterns I use so will attempt to "deconstruct" my process here.
For this kind of top, I think large geometric shapes give the best "flowy" look. For the underneath blue tee I started with a large rectangle and added sleeves (without the sleeves it's a good summer look with "cap" sleeves)
For the over top I wanted something that was bigger around the armholes so cut this all-in-one pattern, adding the straight cowl pattern later:

I use a large rotary cutter so the edges will be perfectly smooth and often don't even finish them. You can see that I cut the front hemline a little shorter in the front and curved it up a bit in the middle. The extra width at the bottom will cause a knit to drop down into gentle points on the sides

For pants I use a different approach and must use a pattern (especially for the crotch area). Tight pants make me look like a giraffe so I like wide pants on my long skinny legs, but do NOT like them to just go straight down.  You can see from this Vogue Marcy Tilton pattern 8637 that there are suble curves in the seam lines of the pants:  (the skirt is a real winner too)
I am always looking for new ways to give interest to the pants leg lines. Vogue has quite a few "different" leg treatments and the (sadly now defunct) French Pattern company Au Bonheur has some great ones. But don't despair, I'm planning to make up several of my old Au Bonheur pant patterns in the near future and will blog enough info that you can create the look without having a pattern.

But first I want to attempt to knock-off these "Dress to Kill" pants------More soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Finishing my sweater with FABRIC

The sweaters in this book "Knit,Swirl" by Sandra McIver were all the rage last year and I got interested in making one when my favorite yarn shop Colonial Yarn Shop offered a class in making one.

Though all the sweaters are somewhat different they are all made by starting with a gigantic circle which is knit round and round for what seemed like thousands of rows.  When the huge circle is complete the sleeves and back are knitted right into it. 

  Here is the sweater I made in the class. It can be worn 2 ways,with a smaller collar and longer back.
 or "upside down" with a large collar and shorter length (which I actually liked better)
I enjoyed wearing it so much that I decided to make one in Fall colors, sort of like this:
Well, I had forgotten just how much knitting goes into this sweater and by the time I got the circle done I put it away for a "rest period"  and forgot about it til this week when I vowed to finish all my "in progress" knitting sweaters without much knitting.

I decided to SEW the body of the sweater to go inside the circle, using a simple rectangle folded to make the sleeves.    I auditioned several fabrics from my stash and here's the wool fabric I decided on, some left-over felted wool from another project. It did seem to match one of the sweater stripes better than is shown
in the picture.

Since I wanted the body and sleeves to be loose and flowy I used the folded rectangle method for it, sewing the edges together a little way for sleeves, and sewed the complete outside to the inner circle of the knitted piece.  I later serged the seam to look better.
I'll have to say I'm quite pleased with the results. In fact I may end up wearing it more than if it were all knitted!   Here are some views:

Closed with my favorite Shawl pin, a knitting needle!
collar can be worn as hoodThis actually feels better than the knitted version!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Finishing my sweaters, Any Which Way

Going through my winter clothes this weekend I saw that I have several Hand-Knitted sweaters that have been "on the needles" for years and probably won't get finished in the next century if I want to continue knitting the original pattern (too much fun to start NEW stuff).  However, since I know how to crochet (faster than knitting) and SEW (MUCH faster than knitting) I came up with the idea of using these other techniques to attack these UFO's (Unfinished Objects in knit talk).           Since none of them are wearable now I don't have much to lose and there's always the possibility of coming up with something unique and wearable!

I started with a sweater from one of my favorite knitting books (and the one I learned to knit from 10 years ago), the first in a series of 3 by Sally Melville.         I started the sweater on the cover because it was assymetrical, without realizing just how much garter stitch it required.  I alternated different colored yarns for stripes which helped somewhat with the "bore factor".

When I finished the sweater enough to try on the one slightly longer front just looked like a mistake and the whole thing looked boring.   I finished it this morning by adding some crochet to the short side (leaving it still somewhat assymetrical) and crocheting around the edges with the contrasting color, even leaving ends hanging for a "funky" factor.     Here is the result:

Stay tuned for my next Sweater finishing, as it will involve sewing on some fabric!                                                              

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sewing Expo report

I spent Thurs and Friday at the "Sewing and Quilt Expo" in Chantilly,VA.  Though it was fun to do with my mother, who is visiting, we both had mixed reviews of the experience.  Though I expected there would be lots of quilting classes and vendors, I was disappointed that there was so little for dedicated sewers. Vogue Fabrics was there but not many other general fabric sellers.

There also seemed to be very little self-sewn clothing worn by the attending crowd (I've noticed that most quilters don't sew clothing).  I got some very strange looks at my Vogue 1234 dress:

Oddly though, I got MANY comments on my handmade necklace, not the ones shown in the picture above but this "seasonal" one made from things I picked up in the floral section of the craft store
I enjoyed taking the classes from Sandra Betzina, especially since she mentioned she really doesn't  "do" these shows much any more.  She had all her Vogue patterns made up in fabulous fabrics and showed some of her new patterns which will be coming out in Nov.----an unusual skirt that I can't wait to see!                

It was really fun doing this with my Mom, who is visiting from Missouri---she is still sewing at 91, when she's not busy with her other artistic interests.  I read that "ultra-suede" and other leather-like fabrics are big this year so told her wear her ultra-suede dress that she made over 30 years ago. When ultra-suede first came out Vogue had several patterns just for it and this is one of the classics:

It has been worn and washed  100's of times and still looks great. I guess ultra-suede is one of those things that will still be around after we're all gone, along with cockroaches and Red Heart yarn!

I would go again to the Sewing Expo just for the free stage shows that occur every hour. There was a great one with professional models which included clothing by all the independent designers.  I especially loved the "coat in a bag" by Judy Kessinger of www.fitnicesystem.com     She had free instructions on her website on how to make this jacket that folds into a bag.
    I'm planning to make this as the final item for a mini-wardrobe I'll be reporting on soon.