Refashion Month: Toddler Dress

It is refashion month over at House of Estrela and I am super excited to be taking part!

Refashioning is not something that I do often but since I have a steadily growing pile of discarded clothing from both my husband and my own closet, it is something that I need to start doing more of.  For this project I started with an old dress shirt of mine that shrunk the first time I washed it, making it just a tad too tight.

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Since I still really loved the fabric, I opted to turn this into a dress for my daughter.

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To do this refashion, I started with the front bodice piece from the geranium dress.  I lengthened it by a few inches so that it would hit my daughter at her waist and lowered the neckline to give it more of a scoop neck.  I used the same bodice for both the front and the back of the dress and I kept the button placket from the original shirt and used that as the front of the dress.

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I used the back of the shirt for the back of the dress.

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To make the skirt I used the rest of the shirt and turned it into a simple gathered skirt.

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To make it even easier, I kept the existing shirt tail hem.

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To finish the neck and arms I made bias tape from some pink cotton I had in my stash.  I love the pop of colour that it adds!

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The final product is a simple and quick summer dress!

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Make sure to check out the rest of the line up and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Elizabeth

Julia Cardigan x 2

So as mentioned on my last post, I have been sewing up a ton of stuff for myself.  I wear cardigans to work almost everyday so when Welcome to the Mouse House had a sale a few months ago I snapped up the Julia Cardigan.  All of the cardigans that I have seen popping up on blog reader recently have looked cute so I finally decided to make one.  I had 2m of black interlock in my stash so I started with that and made a size M with the 3/4 sleeves.

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I also used the no hem option for the collar and the sleeves are finished with a cuff which meant I was able to construct the whole thing on my serger.  I love when I don’t have to pull out my regular machine!  Hemming knits has got to be one of my least favourite things to do.

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My measurements technically meant I should have made large, but I find that the medium fits really well.  Since I knew I wanted to wear it to work I didn’t want it to be too slouchy and I think this size worked out well.

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I found myself getting quite a bit of use out of my first Julia so I decided to make up a second.  When looking for fabric I had originally wanted a charcoal gray, but when I couldn’t find any at my local fabric store I decided to go with some colour and used some hot pink interlock.  Not a neutral like the gray would have been, but more fun!  I would still like to make up the gray one though.

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For this one I decided to try making the long sleeved version.  My one complaint about the pattern would be that she has you use the same cuff that you used for the 3/4 sleeve version which means the arms are really wide.  I did end up cutting off my original cuff and taking the sleeves in a bit.  I then added a slightly smaller cuff.  Could have been a bit smaller yet, but is much better than the first.

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Overall I am really happy with how these turned out and based on how much use they have gotten already I would call them a complete success.

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I desperately had a need for a plain white t-shirt so I made up a quick t-shirt using some white jersey and Doe and Deer’s Plantain pattern.  I have made one other version previously that I never blogged about (fabric colour is not so flattering so it doesn’t get worn very often) so I knew that the size M fits well.  From my previous make I knew that I found the neckline to be a bit low cut so for this one I used a smaller seam allowance when attaching the neckband (3/8 instead of 5/8) which made the band wider and made everything sit a bit higher.  Much happier with this neckline.

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I really love this pattern!  The fit seems to flatter everyone and I see many more in my future.  I don’t have a ton of basic t-shirts so there is a definite gap in my wardrobe that this pattern could easily fill.

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Elizabeth

Pattern Testing: Pleated Pencil Skirt

I love pattern testing and have been fortunate to do a bunch of it for my kiddos and occasionally for myself, but I am horrible at actually sharing what I make remotely close to the release date, if at all.  Well not this time!  I was lucky enough to get to test Delia from Delia Creates very first women’s pattern, the Pleated Pencil Skirt, and it turned out great which meant I couldn’t wait to share it!

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I am a huge fan of pencil skirts and often wear them to work, but this was my first time making one.  This skirt fit me great without having to make any modifications which is extremely rare.  This was thanks to the slightly more relaxed waist!

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The skirt does a great job at hugging me where it should without restricting my movements or make it uncomfortable to sit in all day at work.

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The skirt features a side invisible zipper and I think I did a pretty good job for only my second invisible zipper ever!

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It also has a closed kick pleat.  A first for me, but a detail that I love because this combined with the relaxed waist makes your fabric choices quite open because you don’t need a ton of stretch.  For this one I used a sateen with a tiny bit of stretch and it worked perfectly!

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I am so happy with the finished product and love that it looks so great with my Belcarra blouse!  This skirt was actually such a huge success that it can be credited for kicking off a ton of selfish sewing which means my face should be back on here sooner rather than later!

Elizabeth

 

Black Belcarra Blouse

Hey look!  My face is actually on the blog instead of my kiddos for the first time in months!  It isn’t that I haven’t been sewing for myself (although there hasn’t been a ton), but rather that I have not been loving pictures of myself and have not wanted to share for everyone to see.  Time to get over that and I will start by sharing my first Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic.  Sorry for the second Belcarra post in as many days, but figured since I participated in the sew along that I should get my version up now rather than later.

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This version was meant to be my wearable muslin and thankfully it is extremely wearable!  I made it out of some black viscose that I got from my local fabric store.  It was my first time working with a somewhat slippery material and to say that it frustrated me would be an understatement.  I didn’t think it had shifted that much when cutting, but when I tried to line up the sleeves with the bias cut edge on the body they were off by a ton.  It took quite a bit of stretching to get the sleeve to fit, but I managed to make it mostly work.  The rest of the shirt lined up with no problems so it was just the bias cut edge that gave me trouble.

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I do feel like there is some extra material where the sleeves and body meet, but feel like that might be because of my cutting issues.  For this version I made a straight size 10 which fits, but is a bit looser than I wanted.  I have already traced and cut out the size 8 pattern pieces for my next version so will give that a try soon!  The only change I made to this version was to bring the neckline in a bit.  I am very glad I did because even after bringing it in it still slides and shows my bra straps.  I plan on bringing it in even more for my next version.

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I love the waist shaping that the pattern has.  I think it does a great job at keeping the shirt from looking like a tent.

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Cutting issues aside, I am really happy with how my first version turned out.  This pattern fits perfectly with my style and I can see many more version in the future.  In fact I bought some lovely floral rayon for my next, but need to figure out a better way to stabilize my fabric before I cut it out.  Thinking I might give some spray starch a try and see if that works.

Elizabeth

a Graphic Belcarra

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Some slightly unfortunate pattern placement…!

What’s this? A sewing post? I will say that after the Albion, my sewing machine and I needed a bit of a break from each other. Or a longish one as it turns out. Nevertheless, I have been dipping back in of late and have a few simple projects to share. Up first is my inaugural Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic.

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I made this one using a graphic silk/cotton blend that I bought at a fabricland sale long, long ago.  It is fairly delicious against the skin! Light and airy and positively perfect for the humid heat to come! I opted to mix and match the versions to get the details that I love. I’ve used the pleated sleeves from view B and the wider cuffs from view c.

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I realize that the print is busy and that the pintucks get a bit lost amid it all but this is the detail that sold me on this pattern so I couldn’t skip them! And you would be surprised at how often people comment on this feature so apparently they are not lost at all.

I was worried about the wide neck on this from the very beginning and have no idea why I didn’t take it in… especially given my narrow shoulders! Indeed, the neck is wide.  Almost unwearably so.  Oh well…  a little slippage is not going to stop me. However, I will be bringing the neck in substantially on the next version and to make that nice and easy, this little alteration was covered in their recent sewalong.

2014-05-29 19.12.02“Maybe if I stand really still, the neckline will stay put!”

My only pattern alteration this time around was to add a curved hem. I’m a fan of this finish as it allows me to accomodate my generous hips without wearing a tent! I made the shirt according to my measurement but I do find it a little too large so next time around I will be going down a size in addition to taking in the neck. Maybe in a solid so that those pintucks can really shine! And I should have shortened by bias tape for the neckline a bit as that would have helped it lay flat. As it is now, it tends to flip up a little. What can I say…  it was late and I was lazy!

And that about covers it. A quick and extremely wearable make! Another pattern win by Sewaholic! Any of you interested in giving this pattern a try?

Sara

Knitting with friends.

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Soooo…  this post was supposed to be up on Saturday! That was the deal I made with my fellow knitters, Andrea and Kristin.  They posted (found here and here) but six days later (I keep having to up that number as more days pass!) and here we are.  My bad! Apologies, Ladies! No excuses! Though honestly, I’m not sure that I have anything worthy to add after their thorough and thought-provoking tales!

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A couple of months ago, in a fit of pique over the crap weather that Toronto kept delivering, Kristin, Andrea and I decided that we might be able to pretend it was Spring if we started knitting for Spring. Bright colours, fun patterns and all that jazz. The Mizutama pattern from Olga Buraya-Kefelian was one that Kristin had been eyeing for some time so after a trip to our favourite LYS EweKnit, we were off!

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I’m not sure that I have much to add about the actual knitting of this pattern that Kristin and Andrea have not already covered in their posts. Suffice it to say that this was not necessarily the most enjoyable knit except that we were in it together so could complain and bitch to each other! Picking the yarn made for an eventful evening! We had trouble settling on a base and picking colours that were bright and flattering but were not already overrepresented in our Ravelry project page. The yarn selection at EweKnit is large so narrowing it down was no small feat! I kind of feel like I failed on all fronts but live and learn! I opted for a yarn that I had not worked with before; Raventwist Torc. This name is no joke, my friends! This yarn has some serious twist to it, which made it interesting to work with. I had high hopes that it would bloom a little when blocked but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The result is that it feels a bit like I am wearing string around my neck, which is an overall fail in my opinion. The twisty nature of the yarn did endow the shawl with a slightly architectural look to it though, which is rather lovely. And the mix of red-orange, a colour that can be seen time and again on my Ravelry page, is awesome!

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Lined up (Kristin, Andrea and Sara)

Kristin and Andrea both went with Madeline Tosh Merino Light, which I have worked with often and continue to love. You can check out their posts to see what they thought of it but having fondled all three shawls, I much prefer the texture of theirs! So lovely to wear! And is probably obvious, the photoshoot was a blast! All is all, a successful knitalong! We’re currently repeating the fun with the Aisance cardigan but likely won’t have a group post until the Fall as wool sweaters are not high on the priority list as the weather heats up in Toronto.

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So. Now that we have saturated the interwebs with photos of our shawls, are you tempted by the pattern? Or to have a good KAL with friends? What colours most remind you of spring? Do you have a favourite yarn or fibre for shawls, scarves, cowls or anything else worn up around your neck? In the words of Kristin, let’s talk!

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An illuminated Hamilton fivehead for you all to enjoy!

My project notes can be found here.

Sara

 

Tackling the Channel…

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Pretending that I’m not wearing this sweater in 30 degree weather…

I just got back from a quick blog photo session with Andrea and Kristin so I actually have multiple projects to share! So rare! And I plan to get the rest of my stack of finished projects photographed this week before so many of my obliging friends depart the city. As in move far, far away. For good.

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Most of the projects that I have to share are knitting so best to start there and spread the sewing out a bit! So with no further ado… The Channel Cardigan (project details can be found here)! This gorgeous, squishy delight is brought to us from the delightful imagination of Jared Flood.

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Ignore the terribly wrinkled skirt!

This sweater was part of the Brooklyn Tweed Winter ’14 collection and I have been drooling since I saw the first photos.  Instant knitting lust! I was temporarily intimidated by the 5/5 difficulty rating but I quickly got over that. Then I was thwarted by my stash diet as this project is a bit of a yarn hog and I didn’t quite have enough in my stash to cover it. However, I had some yarn to exchange at Romni Wools and mixing colour lots on commercially dyed yarn is generally pretty safe so I forged on!

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Stable buttonbands for the win! Gorgeous, heathered yarn for the win! Awesome vintage buttons from
The Workroom for the win! So much winning!

This project was done using Cascade 220 Heathers in Peacock and while I was a little unsure of this colourway before I started, I am now in love with it! The purple and green strands make this yarn almost luminous when the light hits it (see above photos for most representative images of the colour). I’ve never worked with the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter that the pattern called for so while I can’t really comment on how it compares, Cascade 220 does seem to be a fairly common substitution. This cardigan is HEAVY though so the loftiness of the Shelter yarn might not be a bad plan if your stash diet and/or budget isn’t prohibitive! Today was 30 degrees in Toronto so putting this sweater on to take pictures was a little miserable! But next winter I am going to be a happy camper in this baby!

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As always, knitting from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern is a delight from start to finish. Their patterns are always well edited, are usually error free and explain every technique in excellent detail.  It’s rare that I need to look for tutorials online when I’m working from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. My last couple of projects have been from Quince&Co patterns, which has only made me that much more appreciative of BT’s attention to detail.  Sadly, I have yet to encounter a Quince pattern that was error free.  Anyone else have that problem? I’ll freely admit that it irritates the hell out of me, even if the mistake is an easy one to figure out. But I digress…

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Elements that I love on this cardigan? The tubular cast-on. The raglan sleeves. The giant shawl collar. The dense and stable button band. The gorgeous belt loops. Gauge! I’m a tight knitter and therefore usually have problems getting gauge on projects. However, I tend to be spot on with  Jared Flood’s patterns, which is always a relief!

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Elements that I dislike? The belt! This sucker was a misery to knit and I find that the edges of it are uneven enough to drive me mad! I also wish that the belt loops sat a little higher on the body as they don’t quite hit my waist. Since that is a problem I could have and should have corrected while knitting, I’ll table the complaints for now! I also find the collar a little awkward as it is. Another button or two would be a huge help but since I don’t currently feel like undoing my work, I’m going to settle for a couple of snaps. It might also be that I knit a little too much fabric for the button bands; I definitely knit the side with the buttonholes a wee too long! Oh well…

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Not a clue what I was doing here!

All in all, I’m not sure which element(s) deserved the 5/5 rating as I think this was fairly straightforward make. The textured fabric requires more attention than straight stockinette but otherwise? Not a difficult pattern so dive in if fear has been holding you back!

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And a little fun from Kristin! The sweater looked fabulous on her!

So what do you think? Any interest in making this sweater? You all share my love affair with Brooklyn Tweed designs?

It’s late and writing coherent sentences is becoming increasingly challenging so I am going to leave it at that for now. If I think of anything else to say tomorrow then I’ll add it!

G’night Peeps!

Sara

Lemon Squeezey Pullover…

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Hello! I’ve had this post sitting as a draft for well over a month and I’m still at a total loss for words. How to describe this make…?! Nonetheless, today is a good day to talk about Amy Miller and her designs (more on that in a bit) so off we go! This is Sperry, done using Cascade Superwash Sport with a little Mirasol Nuna for the contrast stripes (project notes can be found here). Absolutely no complaints on the yarn front as both are excellent to work with, wear well and are very reasonably priced!

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I knit this sweater last August and have yet to wear it out of the house, which is why I am calling this one a fail. I can almost see Andrea, Kristin and Gail shaking their heads at that statement! They’ve all seen this sweater and told me I’m nuts but I have my reasons! Actually, just one reason, which you can see below. The stupid i-cord edge on this thing will not lie flat! Drives me absolutely bonkers!

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What do I like about this pattern?  Everything! Well, almost everything. It was well written with no mistakes that I could find. Amy describes this as a “top-down raglan construction with a quirky shirttail hem make Sperry fun to knit — cool stripes and a lightweight yarn make it fun to wear” and I think that sums it up nicely. Though the cascade sport is definitely on the heavier end of sport-weight yarns so I’m not sure I’d call this a lightweight make. Not to mention the fact that this is 100% wool! Let’s just call this pullover perfect for Fall/early Spring in Toronto and leave it at that!

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The fit on this is not quite what I was aiming for but similar to my Kara cardigan, this had the recommended positive ease a few months ago. My bad! And this leads me to my issue with the i-cord edge as I don’t think the tails on this sweater would roll as they do if the sweater did not fit quite to snuggly! Also, this was my first time working such an edge (please remember that I am relatively new to knitting!) and I should have gone up at least one more needle size.  Probably two.  If you look closely, you can see that my i-cord is too tight and it distorts the bottom edge of the sweater. This is all an easy fix, mind you as I can easily remove the i-cord and redo it! Problem is that I have yet to find the motivation to do so. Gail also suggested that I do a rolled edge instead and I think that’s actually a great idea… again, assuming that I ever undo what I’ve already done!

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I really, really love the colours, the stripes and the overall look of this pullover though so maybe that will be motivation enough to either fix it or to suck it up and wear it as is!

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Now. Getting back to Amy Miller. She has some excellent patterns to choose from and I’d recommend you give them a try! To make that nice and easy for you, she has a coupon code available for a a free pattern for a few more hours today (ends 5PM CST on May 7th) to welcome a new addition to her family! You can find out the details here.

Despite all appearances, I have actually been sewing and I do have a few makes that I will share soon! In the meantime, happy sewing and knitting!

Sara

Finnley’s Summer Wardrobe

I have big plans over the next month or so to sew the majority of my kids summer clothes. Fabric has been bought and patterns have been picked, but not much more than that has been done so far. Last weekend I did make a start and whipped up a super quick tank and some capris.

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For the tank I used the rio racerback tank from Peek-a-Boo patterns.  I picked this one up as soon as it was released because I knew it would be a great staple for my daughter’s summer wardrobe.  Plus I am a sucker for a good knit pattern.  Love, love, love sewing with knits.  So quick!  This top took about an hour to make from cutting to hem.  I have plans for a few more tanks and at least one dress.  The triangle fabric is from Girl Charlee and can be found here.  The one thing with sewing for toddlers is that their clothing doesn’t take a lot of fabric and I still have about 2/3 of a yard left.  What to do with the leftovers?

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The fit on the tank is really great.  I cut a 3T for the width, but made it a 4T for length.  I especially love the racer back!

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To go with the tank I just happened to have some aqua stretch denim that I picked up for 50% on a recent trip to my local Fabricland.  Totally lucked out and it was a perfect match for the triangles (plus a couple of the other knits I picked up from Girl Charlee on my last order).  I decided to try the host pants pattern from LouLouBee clothing that was part of the most recent Pattern Parcel.

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The host pants are a super popular pattern and there are lots of adorable versions where the fit is excellent.  Unfortunately the fit on Finnley’s pants is not quite what I was going for.  She very clearly fit into the 3T measurements, but there is a ton of extra fabric on the back of the pants, especially in the bum area.  The waistband is adjustable and I had to tighten it quite a bit just to make them stay up.

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Thankfully when her top is pulled down it becomes less obvious. I would like to try the pattern again, but will have to do a bit of tweaking to make it work.  To make the pants into capris I used this as a reference and then simply rolled the pants up to make a cuff.  Simple to do, but makes the pants perfect for spring.  I tacked the cuff down, but they could easily be taken down and turned into pants in the fall if I so desire.

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Fit issues aside, it is a great outfit that was made just in time for the warm weather we are having this week!  Comfy and easy to move in which works well for playtime, such as digging in the dirt with sticks with little brother!

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Elizabeth

Linked up with:  Tuesday Sews