Christmas PJ’s

We stated a new family tradition last year which was letting the kids open one present on Christmas Eve.  The present is always going to be new Christmas PJ’s so I since this is my first Christmas since taking up sewing I was excited to make them for the kiddos.  So when I came across this reindeer fabric at Girl Charlee that had coordinating solids I could not resist.  I don’t have any actual PJ patterns in my ever growing collection so I decided to use my favourite t-shirt pattern, the recess raglan, from See Kate Sew and pair it with the fancy pants leggings pattern from Titchy Threads.  Both were perfect choices since they made it easy to combine both the print and the solid fabrics.

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For Daxton I decided to use the green solid fabric for the bum insert and the body of the shirt.

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And for Finnley I swapped out the green for red.  Now since these are Christmas eve presents I couldn’t really get the kids to model them for you guys to look at, but I figured that Daxton is a bit too young to really understand what is going on so took a few pictures of him wearing his.

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I had already made Dax the shirt in a 2T so I already knew I would be happy with the fit, but I had not made the leggings before.  When I took his measurements he fit perfectly in the 12-18month size and although that is not the size he wears in RTW I went with it and could not be happier with the fit.  I love how the leggings look on him and am thinking I might make him a few more pairs to wear as pants.  Fingers crossed the fit is just as great for Finnley when she puts them on Christmas eve!

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The bum insert is by far my favourite part of these PJ’s.  How adorable is his little bum?

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The cuteness factor alone makes this one of my favourite makes so far!

Elizabeth

Linking up with: Feathers Flight // Friday Favs

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Anna’s Night Out…

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It’s Anna! Finally! I am extremely late to the internet party on this one!  This make has actually been waiting for its blog debut for a few months now.  I made it for two weddings that I went to this Fall but I didn’t manage to get a single photo at either event! Fail! And bringing this silk darling to work to take photos was just not happening. However, my friend Peggy was visiting this weekend for an awesome Shibori workshop with Bookhou and I dragged her poor ass outside late Friday night and early Saturday morning for these photos.  And not even a whisper of a complaint from her…  I really do have the best friends!

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(note to self…  no one is around to stare at you posing in the middle of the street if you get up early enough!)

This is actually my second version of Anna.  The first was made out of a really lovely viscose with an even lovelier bemberg lining (love the feel of bemberg against my skin but sure do HATE sewing the slippery devil!). However, Anna #1 needs a new zipper and will have to wait until Spring. In the meantime, some details for Anna #2. This version was made with a green silk crepe de chine that I picked up for a steal at G&S Dye during their August sale.  $7.50/yd!  I kid you not!  This baby is even fully lined in the same silk, as it was less expensive to do this then to get the required yardage in cotton or bemberg!

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I can’t think of much to tell you about the pattern that you won’t have read already. The ladies at By Hand London do know how to draft a beaut of a pattern!  Everything aligns and comes together seamlessly. Well, not literally as I assure you, there are seams! Lots of them! I did grade between sizes to accomodate my small-ish torso and large hips. Sometimes the fit on something like this can be a bit tricky for me as I have an extremely small ribcage and narrow shoulders but a fairly full bust. I tend to use my upper bust measurement for this reason and do a full bust adjustment if needed.  In this case I was in a rush (more failed wedding deadlines… sigh) and used my full bust measurement and made no adjustments. I had no real clue how to adjust the bust with the petal pleats in any case and I was putting this together before the SAL. And that’s just a long way for me to say that using the full bust measurement did the trick in this case! I did end up taking out all of the extra ease in the skirt so didn’t really need to grade to a larger size. I’m pretty sure that I also added two inches to the length of the bodice but I’d have to double check my pattern pieces to be sure!

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I didn’t do French seams as I was fully lining this so nothing was going to be visible.  Also, I believe I mentioned the wedding deadline? I really do need to stop procrastinating so that I can put things together without the rush…  and the mistakes (we’ll get to those!). Instead, I pinked all of the seams allowances and pressed them open. This is not a finish that I generally like but with a fabric this fine, it works quite nicely. I did attach my lining a little differently then was described in the SAL.  I sewed the front and back bodice pieces for both the shell and the lining at the shoulder seams.  I then sewed the lining to the outer bodice at the neckline, graded the seam allowance and then understitched the lining so that everything stayed put. I then sewed the bodice to the lining at both sleeves and then pinned so that I could sew the side seams of the bodice and the lining in one go.  Less hand stitching for me this way, which is an absolute win in my books!  The downside of my method is that I had to hand stitch the lining to the zipper but I didn’t mind it.

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Now for my big mistake.  I was attaching the zipper the night before I had to leave for Quebec for wedding #1.  No biggie, right? Except that I had no hook and eye sets for the top of the neckline!  Another fail!  So I did my best to have the zipper sit flush with the top of the neckline. Far from perfect but no one was pointing in horror at my dress so I guess it only looks shitty to me. And maybe all of you. Also, if I had not been in such a rush, I would have done a handpicked zipper here as I think it would have worked better for the fabric. Again, life goes on and the invisible zipper works fine. As for the deadline… I was doing the hem of both the lining and the dress at the wedding (well, before the wedding but while in Quebec). The upside is that there was an iron I could use. The downside was that I had no tape measure or pins! And there is quite a bit of hem on each layer. But I got it done and got to wear it so I’m gonna call that a win!

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Of course, the downside to this pattern is that it’s a bit of a tummy hugger (I’m not the only one who thinks so)!  And the silk was not helping matters at all! Hello, cling! Hello bumps and lumps! So as much as I love wearing this dress, thoughts of girdles and other torture contraptions ran rampant every time there was even the slightest breeze! But since I just don’t give a shit, I enjoyed the dress! And a silk lining? Divine!

Now on to Anna’s night out.  I had such plans for this post! I was going to take Anna on a fabulous walking tour of downtown Toronto. A girls night out, so to speak. Then I stepped outside in my silk lovely and sexy heels and reality hit. It’s winter! And I was cold! So this ended up being a walking tour of my front “yard”.

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On the upside, Anna finally got to meet Lauriel! These two were literally made for each other but because of failed deadlines, this is the first time they have been worn together. I had doubts about pairing bright pink with bright green but I kind of love the combo! Methinks these two will be seeing each other again!

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(I love the CN tower over the holidays… dressed as a candy cane!)

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I was also much happier sitting than standing in these heels. Sigh. I do love them but my arthritic knees were yelling ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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And it was a wee chilly.

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(scary attempt at smiling whilst shivering!)

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(And I’m done but Peggy is not so sure…)

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(the morning after?  Walk of shame?)

This was us testing out my camera in low light but Anna looks good even when draped over Victoria and my PJ tee!

I have to admit that I probably won’t make another Anna.  I’ll enjoy the ones I have but time to move onto something new.  Though I have seen a couple of midi-length Anna’s (for example, this one) or this colour-blocked version that I’m kind of digging so maybe I’ll reconsider this pattern come Spring. In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy the Christmas Market at the Distillery!  Hot cider, here I come!

Jyaa

Sara

Linking up with: Feathers Flight // The Train to Crazy

Blushing Lauriel…

What’s this?  Another post?  So soon?  You betcha!  I’m playing catch-up, big time.  For example, the cardigan I’m going to show you here?  Made this baby for a wedding at the end of September.  Mind you, I was not entirely successful and was actually knitting while at the wedding but just saying…  I made this awhile ago!  Scratch that!  I made most of it awhile ago! As some fellow bloggers can tell you, I’ve been wearing this around for the last couple of months with half of the snaps sewn on and only two buttons.  I’ve got a real problem with finishing shit lately!  If I showed you my knitting WIP drawer, you’d probably wince.  I do. Every time I see, which is often as the drawer is so overflowing that I can’t close it! Nonetheless, I powered through some hand sewing last night and finished sewing on buttons and snaps!  A real chore, I tell you.  Big time sucker.  Anyway, with no further ado…  my awesome and amazing Lauriel cardigan!  And a wee warning… this post contains a lot of PINK!

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This design was brought to us by the lovely knitwear designer extraordinaire, Ysolda Teague. This was my first time trying one of her patterns but it most definitely will not be my last!  I am in love with this make and wear if often… even when it only has two buttons and mismatched snaps!  I haven’t been knitting for long and so am still discovering what suits me and what I will get the most use out of.  For example, I’m drawn to pullover patterns but I rarely end up wearing the ones that I’ve made.  I’ve kept a few of my favourites but have given the rest away. Cardigans, on the other hand, get worn almost daily!  Love them!  And while I never imagined that there was a place for shorter or cropped cardigans in my wardrobe, this make has proven me wrong!  I made it specifically to go over my green silk Anna dress (will post that make eventually) and thought it would look ridiculous layered over the long T-shirts that I tend to wear.  You tell me.  Ridiculous? I don’t think so.  Or I really just don’t care!

(I’m going to pick new glasses tomorrow, which is clearly on my mind!)

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I made this using a merino/cashmere/silk blend so as you can well imagine, it’s pretty lovely to wear.  It’s a slightly garish colour but I find that my dk and sport weight wool options are limited…  especially when you’re looking for a sweaters worth of yarn in the sale bins at Romni wool!  Nonetheless, I’m kind of in love with shades of pink, fuchsia and red right now, which is extremely obvious if you’re looking at my Ravelry project page!  And yellow.  Lots and lots of unflattering yellow (will also address this unfortunate love affair when I get to a t-shirt post).

This pattern has some lovely details on the yoke that are repeated at the waist and on the cuffs. Really quick and easy to knit and a feature that I enjoy.  They also helps break up the mindless stockinette stitch that makes up most of this sweater.  And while twisted stitches make me grumble and groan, I love them here!  They really make the ribbing stand out.

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Another new feature for me in this pattern was the shaping at the bust.  Genius!  This really allows for a great fit overall and I’ll be looking for this feature in other sweater patterns.

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(yes, I am making your looks at the bewbs.  Get over it!)

However, a real downside to this pattern (at least for relative knitting newbies) is that it was part of a book and some some of her pattern extras were unavailable to you if you purchased only the single pattern.  I have no real problem with that but it would have been nice to know up front so that I could decide if it was worth it to buy it all.  Anyway, as you can see from the pictures below (ignore the cheese and awkward poses and focus on the bewbs, peeps!), the bust shaping is not perfect on me and it sits too high.  Clearly I would have benefitted from some bust darts but I had no idea how to do them and those instruction were not included. I did email Ysolda about this and someone eventually emailed me back with a link to a knitty tutorial (this one, which I have also linked to on my Ravelry page should anyone else encounter this problem) but it was too late for me to use.  I was on a *failed* wedding deadline after all!  But if I use this pattern again, then I will add some small bust darts.

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Another new favourite of mine for cardigans is the use of grosgrain ribbon (or petersham ribbon if you prefer) to stabilize the button bands.  I used this previously for my Neon cardigan. However, this time I also added snaps to the equation and I quite love the convenience of them! The ribbon is also an excellent way to add some fun and/or contrast to your make!

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And for the usual posing cheesiness, I give you the following.  Alisha told me to sit.  And so I did…

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(Trying to look all scholarly, prim and proper…)

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(and then looking slightly less dignified!) 

Then she told me to stop being ridiculous and that maybe I should stand.  Anyone else have a habit of looking at the ground?  Or off into the distance?  Although in this case the ground was kind of awesome (colourful and squishy) and I think that an ambulance was going by resulting in my “off in the distance” pose.  Yup. An excellent reason to look far, far away.

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(clearly the ground was fascinating!  And something awesome was going on in the distance!)

And that’s pretty much it folks.  Should you be interested, you can find my Ravelry project page here. And for a little more Lauriel inspiration, take a look at this fucking amazing version by Tasia.  I still want to make it again in this exact colourway.  One day!

Over and out.

Sara

Lucille Top

You only have to look through some of my previous makes to see how much I enjoy the patterns from Shwin and Shwin so you can only imagine how excited I was when I got the chance to become a pattern tester for her.  Shauna recently released 2 brand new patterns, the Lucille top and the Martha bubble dress, and I tested both of them.  Today I am going to share my Lucille top and I will be back later this week or early next week with the Martha bubble dress.

The Lucille top is a raglan sleeve, colour blocked top with some fun angles which makes it different than any other pattern I have seen.

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The colour blocking lets you have some fun with mixing prints and for this version I used some floral scraps with some red french terry.

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The front and back are angled down to make a v

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and the sleeves are angled in the opposite direction and point up.  The sleeves also feature two small pleats where they attach to the bodice on both the front and the back but you really can’t see them on the fabric I picked.

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The sleeves are super tapered at the wrist, and although I love the look of them, this made it super difficult to hem them.  Trying the wrestle those suckers with my sewing machine was a struggle and my stitches are not nearly as straight as I would like.  Looking at the final pattern it looks like she added the option to use a cuff to hem them which should make them easier to work with.

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Taking these photos was crazy challenging.  I have been playing around with the setting on my camera and trying to learn how to use it to get some better quality photos (which I obviously have not quite figured out) and the first set I took ended up being super overexposed.  Trying a second time was asking a bit much especially when your one year old tags along.  So we ended up with lots of funny faces as seen above.

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And lots of them had little glimpses of this little man as he was playing and distracting his big sister.

Overall this pattern was really easy to sew and the directions were easy to follow.  Finnley has asked to wear this multiple times in the last few weeks which means it was definitely a success.  I foresee another one in our near future.  But first I need to start and finish my holiday sewing list.  It is December 2 and I still haven’t even started!

Linking up with: Feathers Flight // The Train to Crazy