Category: Fabric

Vogue 8747 in Kaffe Fassett Check Cotton

Vogue 8747  View C sleeves with View B neckline

I was so excited when I found the custom cups on vogue patterns, but I’ve had really odd luck with vogue in the last year.  Either it’s swimming on me or it’s blindingly tight.  Mostly, it’s because I’ve been losing weight and sizing is a moveable target – like when I thought my full bust was 42″ and it was 41″.

For knits, I’ve settled on size 14 with tweaking, but with wovens, I’m anywhere from 14 to 18.  This pattern I cut at 14, D cup, and had to let out at the side seams for an extra 1″.  The waist was the biggest problem, which was a big surprise, since my waist is relatively small.

I cut the collar, sleeve hems and button bands on the bias and it’s ruddy adorable, especially where the top of the front catches the button band in matching bias.

Fantastic, right?  So, why this face:

Let’s start at the top:

1. The collar is interfaced and holds well, but the weight of it is crushing the bias in the upper front.  😦

2. The gathers at the bust give me cartoon squinch face boobs.   (My boobs are mad?!!?)

3. The sleeves are too long or, in real world terms, my arms are too short and the 3/4 length sleeves look wrong on me.  They just re-enforce the T-rex-yness of my T-rex arms.

I’ll still wear a couple of times before the inevitable donation.  And, sayonara, V8747.

(Parts of the above will be plagiarized for PR.)

On happier knitting front:

Isn’t this just delish?

I joined the Ravelry Tosh merino light mini skein swap.  Basically a group of 20, each cut up a different color skein of tml and have a grand swap of colors.  I joined two groups and will get 40 5g skeins of tml.  I’m kind of giddy.  In less than a year, I’ve become a big fan of the line and the colors.

The colors above are posy and duchess and it’ll be fun to see a ton of shades I would never spend money on.

I’m planning on a stripy top down sweater, with a neutral for the ribbing.

And, yes, I’m ignoring that I didn’t update this blog in a whole year.  Of course, it’s probably silly to re-start now.  In a couple of weeks, I’ll be away for almost a month.  But, if I keep procrastinating …… well, I wouldn’t blog in a year.


FO: Vogue 8737

Vogue 8737

The detail in this little top is amazing.  Usually the vogue own patterns can be a little snoozy, but this one is worthy of designer status.

The top is exactly the same front and back.  So each front (or back) has an asymmetric neckline, waist gathering on one side, and a sleeve seam facing the front on one side only.

I made a 14 all over, merging into the 18 on the side seams. This worked really well.  The neckline is faced, which makes the whole thing much neater and cleaner than a bound neckline, and is much easier, given the corners.

I can’t wait to make this again, probably in wool knit for fall.

Two FO’s: Warm Weather Knits

What to knit on a 72 deg day:  Mohair Mittens!

Pattern:  Josephina, adorable fingerless gloves, elbow length, with just a touch of girly picot cast off.  Perfect.

Yarn: Louisa Harding Impression, Gold and Slate

I found a small cache of the slate at an online store and bought one, just to get to use up my one ball of gold in the stash.  Then I re-lived what lovely yarn this is and order the rest of the slate, in case of an impending mohair emergency.  There’s a plan for it.  There’s a plan for everything.

Obviously, my hand posing is very derivative.  Of Palmolive ads, I think.  But the tune in my head is “mild green, fairy liquid”.  My husband remembers every ad ditty from his childhood, even though he didn’t watch  a lot of TV.  Actually, he has an incredibly accurate ear for a non-musical person.  There was this music game show when I was kid.  The contestants would bid money on how many notes it would take to recognize a tune, “I’ll name that tune in one”.   Tom is gifted like that.  I just realised the show must have been called “Name That Tune”.  Sheeesh, my brain is bust.


What to knit on an 80 degree day: Mohair hat! Stranded!!

Pattern: Fair Isle Hat from the super fantastic new Knit Noro.   If you like the stuff, get the book.  It’s the best Noro book I’ve ever seen.  The book link goes to Knitting Fever, the publisher, with all the pattern pictures.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden and Rowan Pure Wool Aran

Sulcoski, the designer, also designed the popular fake isle hat.  I bought these two yarns a while ago and this was perfect.  I added more patterning since I had a lot less color to play with.  The pattern uses a MC and a different colorway as two CC’s (either end of the ball) and it’s delicious.  Instead of I cord, I braided the ties (very cute, thank you very much) and placed the ear flaps more ergonomically (further back from the center).  Little details.

This is probably my most favorite colorway of Silk Garden, outside of #84.  It’s 282, and has big winey runs of purples and reds.  Delicious.

Can I just add, I generally find mohair uncomfortable.  I think the crazy may be over, at least with the mohair.

Anthropologie Knock Off

So, the kids at Apple have poked some life into the old girl (altho’ I was totally eyeing up a new 27″ screen) and I get to post.

This is my entry for the PR knock off contest and it was so much fun to get creative with patterns, although this one is super easy.  The original, Textural Paradise Top from Anthropologie:

My version:


  • My yoke ends higher on the front than on the original.
  • I used netting instead of lace and cotton jersey for the rest, all from stash and the netting tea dyed to soften the color and match the jersey.  The netting is very soft and oversewn with rough cut cotton floral shapes.  I didn’t have any lacey ribbon to straddle the front and back to the yoke, so skipped that detail.
  • My sleeves look shorter.

The original is Burda March 2010, 118 (size 42).  I used the back piece for the front also and re-traced a new front neckline.  I then added a shoulder yoke, by putting the front and back pieces together and filling in the gap (blue pencil).  And, two new cutting lines (green pencils) to create a back yoke (that extends a bit into the front).  Et, voila!

I made up my muslin from a very thin black flocked lace knit, using the fabric for all three pieces:

For the final top, I took in the Aline seams in by about 1″, giving it a more fitted look.

I think my top is a fairly honest interpretation and both my tops are really nice to wear in the summer heat.

More photos of the final piece:

I’ve been gathering more ideas for more knock offs.  I think this’ll become a rich new source of ideas to grow my sewing skills.


We’ve got house guests, my Mac is dead and my head’s all over the place.

I finally, actually, made something for a PR contest and have no way of posting it.

I finished knitting a pair of mittens and it’s 80 degrees.

Send help! Crazy person on the loose…….

Off to Chicago!

PR Weekend is finally here.  I booked my ticket about four months ago, so to finally have it all come together is really exciting.

It sounds as if a lot of the 1oo attendees have been sewing up a storm, but I just made one top and fixed a slinky skirt from six years ago.  Instead I focused on a cute nametag (I’ll blog that later) and a cover for my beloved kindle.

I bought a collection of felted, dyed wool squares from Purlsoho.  There are 10 squares, 9 of which can make a blanket.  In the suggested project, they use the tenth square to make a pocket for a folding blanket, a quillow.  Instead, I used the odd one out for my book cover.

Since it’s felted, there’s really no need to finish the edges, but I did large herringbone stitch to stabilise the opening and finish the flap hem.

Isn’t the button cute?  It’s from a long dead cardi.  Looks like a wood pansy.  Yes, I made that up.


Bag is packed, electronics are charged, I’m all checked in……

One more sleep!

Final thought.  I love spring ….. fresh fava beans.  Just blanch them for a couple of minutes, squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle of sea salt.  Yum.

Reminds me of my aunt making them for me in the spring.

Vogue 1247

vogue 1247

I don’t make too many loose fitting clothes, lest I look muumuu-clad.  But in the dog days of summer, when you lie melting into the couch, a little relaxed top is heavenly.  This is the new Rachel Comey pattern for Vogue.

It has a wide, v neck and  cuffed, elbow length, dolman style sleeves.

There are shoulder pleats

and the front is cut in sections, with the bottom torso being made up of four different pieces.

My fabric was a squirrely rayon crepe from Sawyer Brook.  It fought hard and I had to re-do the cuffs and re-sew the back seam, but I think I won the war.  The top looks very much like the original, although my back hem doesn’t gracefully flow down, like the model’s.  My hem resides contentedly on my derriere.  Maybe the fabric won a battle or two, but I’m guessing it needed more than 2-3″ ease at the hip.  It doesn’t create an eye sore, so I’m ok with it.

This top doesn’t have much hanger appeal, but it’s lovely to wear with fitted pants or a skirt.

Serious pose!

Downside of Stash

You know, apart from the monthly dash for more boxes.  Or the buying the same thing over and over again.  Or suffocating when it falls on you.  Or the horrible, slow shuffle towards hoarding.

Today, it was losing the stash, namely seven balls of Karabella Vintage Cotton.  They’re a grey-green color, which means they should stick out like a sore thumb around here (I have an exuberant color palette).  I’ve gone through the boxes in the basement, all double digits of them, all with labels (!).  I searched the corner cupboard, my shelves in the sewing room, the drawers in the sewing room.  I don’t think I have any other hidey holes and I’m flummoxed.  And, frustrated.

Teva Durham’s Bell Sleeve Blouse, one bell sleeve:

Lace Sleeve

On Ravelry

Isn’t that pretty?  Her Loop-d-loop Lace is one of the best knitting books I’ve seen.  Clever and different and fun, and I love my knitting to be fun.  So, the idea was to hand knit two fun lace sleeves and machine knit the body.  It’d be quick, satisfying and, oh, fun.  Except for the danged yarn.

The blouse will co-ordinate with a piece of printed Indian linen from Purl Soho.  It’s a very heavy and rustic fabric, reminding me of sew-in canvas interfacing for tailoring, and it’s printed with silver leaves.  A little hard to photograph, but I think they’ll look great together:

printed linen from purl soho

I’m guess I’m going to have open up boxes tomorrow.  I’m actually sick of my stash and want it gone.  (Well, mostly gone.)  I’ll have to unload some of it soon, somehow.

And, now, a segue from:      Insane Stash ……….> Insane Bunnies!

Psycho Easter Bunnies

It doesn’t show up too well, but the bunnies look, erm, altered.  This was an Easter basket for my son and he loved it.  All he asked for was something with bunnies and this is what my copious stash threw up.  It’s by Jay McCarroll of Project Runway, season one winner.  Kid has a kooky eye.

Connor had the coolest basket at the egg hunt, so a win all around.

Ooh, and on an ever better note, ladies, coffee is good for you.  I’m not at risk of either diabetes or stroke, but hey, I’ll take all the health benefits I can take.

Burda February 2010, 147 & Echino

I’ve been sewing up a lot of little things recently.   My knitting was leaving me bogged down (probably the bulky yarn) and I couldn’t get a coherent sewing story happening.

A couple of years ago, I knit a small messenger bag for Connor out of Rowan’s Denim yarn.  It’s gotten all used up and scrappy and is now too small.  So I decided to sew one this time.  Burda’s 02/2010, 147, is a sweet shoulder bag for kids, from canvas with leather closures, piping and strap.  I’ve got the leather, but didn’t want to make my own buckle closures.  M&J Trim has some, but it would take 6 weeks to get them in. So I scuppered the fancy bag and chose some Echino Leopard print (by Estuko Furuya for Kokka) that Connor had already stashed.

I found some dark brown linen to line it and fused both with some black collar interfacing I found at Joann’s.  The bag is very easy to adapt if you’re not piping it.  You just sew the body and the liner separately, leaving a seam in the bottom of the liner.  When you’ve sewn the body and liner, right sides together, you turn the whole thing out through the open seam, and hand stitch the seam closed.

I used cotton webbing for the straps and the closures, using D rings instead of pronged buckles.  In retrospect I should have stuck with the leather for the trim, but the webbing works very well.

I fussy cut the fabric to get both leopards incorporated.  The leaping one on the lid:

And the sitting one on the body and side:

And, the back:

Connor loves his bag and the leopards.  He’s pretty tall and it’s a perfect size to use cross body for him.  There’s also lots of room for his ‘stuff’.  So far he’s used to take snacks and tools to summer camp, but he’ll use it when we go on holiday later this month.

I used another piece of Echino fabric, Flower Bed in yellow, to make a gift bag for my son’s teacher.  It’s from a half yard with poly webbing handles.  Since the fabric was sturdier than regular quilting cotton, I left it unlined and squared off the bottom to make it more practical.

Sorry about the dingy photo, but it got delivered the next morning with this inside:

We have cooking parties at the end of the school year for C’s friends.  Last two years, I’ve handed out these as party favors.  You pour layers of ingredients into a mason jar and make up cute instruction/gift tags tied on with ribbons, and you’re done!  Everyone for the past two years has loved them.  There are recipes all over the web for dry cookie mixes, but this one is from William & Sonoma’s “Kids in the Holiday Kitchen” – a really fun cook book for young ones.

I was so in love with the gift bag, that I got some Amy Butler cotton to make up one for myself.  They look more stylish than my shabby Wholefoods bags, so it’ll be great to stick in my day pack for travelling.


If you’ve watched “My Neighbour Totoro“, you’ll understand how easy it’s to fall in love with the tree spirits.  If you’ve never watched it, it’s a lovely Japanese anime, especially for kids.  Since we wound up watching the rental DVD 3 times, I ordered the movie for keeps.  Meanwhile, I made this cute guy:

Pattern: Blue Totoro by Lucy Ravenscar (free, on Ravelry)

Yarn: Northfield by Valley Yarns

It’s a really good pattern and very easy to follow, and I’m pretty much a novice amigurumi crocheter.  It takes a DK yarn, crocheted at a tight gauge.  I used up 2 balls of the blue grey and a fifth of a ball of the white.  He’s about 9″ tall to his ear tips.  Absolutely darling.  And, he has a big fat tale to keep him upright.

I made the embellishments after the big Totoro, rather than the middle one.  (The big one from the movie:)

I got a “good job” from my son and a big smile, and Totoro got hugged all night.  Happy happy.