Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Striped Nightgown

While waiting for the parts of the other projects to come together, I headed over to Fabricville to find some cheap practice fabric. In addition to the practice skirt material, I found some cotton knit to use for a nightgown. I bought the pattern on sale at Fabricville at the start of my vacation. Finally: a project I could start.
This was labeled "very easy" so I figured it would be a good way to get back onto the horse. I sewed last in November when my MIL was here to help. This time I knew I'd be a bit slower, and wanted to take time to look things up as I went to help increase my knowledge. It was also nice to sew without a deadline. Usually my MIL is here for a limited time, and we have to steamroll through. I did this project in my spare time during July, finishing tonight. The bedroom downstairs is pretty much my sewing room at the moment, so I was able to leave things out in the open while I had to go off and do other things.
Project Central
I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this, but I remembered I had an extra bulletin board lying around, which takes pins as well as magnets. I stuck that up on the wall and it kept the sewing instructions in a dedicated location. John put down some extra foam tiles for me so I had a bit more support while working.

I inherited some sewing supplies from my grandmother, including some supplies that I hadn't used before but the pattern called for. Seam Binding was one of those things. I did a lot of Googling during this project! Since it was late and the seam binding wasn't going to be visible, I used what Nana had even though it didn't match. Thankfully I didn't have to stop the project at this point for more materials.
Seam Binding
I had done a zigzag stitch at least once before on my machine, but I took some time to test the settings and get a feel for how it worked with the material. Though the pattern itself *was* easy, the stretchy knit material needed for PJs is not much fun to work with. I'm quite happy with my first major zigzag attempt, and got closer to the seam the more I did it, as I felt it looked better that way. Really made me want a serger, though.
Zigzag seams
Having used bias tape on the aprons I made with MIL, I figured this would be a much easier (and neater) way to finish the neckline than the small hem I made for the arm holes and bottom. So back to the store I went for some complimentary bias tape. I had some blue tape on hand, but this being visible, I wanted to be slightly more picky. So much for not caring as much about a practice piece!
Bias tape neckline
I'm very happy with the job I did on the neck sewing. Less happy with the arm and bottom hems. On my next attempt, I might use the bias tape in all 3 places.

I finished the nightgown tonight, yay! After being gun-shy on the size of the skirt pattern, I went with Medium on this pattern. It actually ended up being a little too large for me, and I pre-shrunk the material. But as a practice item, I think I did a very good job, and the next one will definitely be easier. I will likely switch to a Small for that one.

Finished Striped Nightgown
The only down side to this nightgown is that it's long-sleeved and thicker material, so it will be a while before it is cold enough to wear it. But probably not as long as I think.

Project status update

Status update on the previous post: When I began to work on the skirt, I realized that I had not measured myself beforehand. What is listed on the package as dress sizes were so totally off what I am buying in the store that I ended up with the wrong package. I thought size 6-14 would be plenty of range for me to fit into. Turns out that according to this pattern, I am a 20. For someone who buys size 4 and 6 off the rack, this feels more than a little disheartening. I still want to make this skirt, so I said a big "FU" to the fashion industry, and found the same pattern on sale online in the larger set of sizes. Just picked the pattern and the yarn up this past weekend. Haven't had time to start them yet because I was just about finished my "while I'm waiting" project (see next post).

Following the suggestion of my MIL, I went to the fabric store and bought some inexpensive fabric to use for a practice skirt before I tackle it with the material I love. I actually quite like this material too. Thinking it might need some trim somewhere to break up the solid color? Not sure yet. This fabric was in the "fashion sample" rack for $3.75/m at Fabricville. It's thicker than the other material, and won't need a lining.

Practice skirt fabric

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

New craft projects

I started to knit another baby hat for charity at the end of last week, then realized the pattern wasn't knit in the round. I'm fine with knitting preemie hats with DPNs and wasn't relishing having to sew a seam on a hat for a delicate head. My yarn was also much lighter than the pattern, so despite going up 1 full mm in size, I was still too small on gauge. I got cranky and said to myself, "I'm tired of knitting things I'm not enjoying." 

What I really want to knit is a sweater. I keep seeing a friend of mine knit sweaters, and I wear sweaters all the time in fall and winter. It's something I could make for myself that would be incredibly useful. The only thing holding me back is the fear of mistakes and failure. But I have a very skilled friend who is dying to see me try something more complicated. She has more confidence in my skills than I do. I have knit several blankets, so I have the patience to stick with a longer project. So it's time to spread my wings and try it, and get support along the way.

The sweater that caught my eye and really stuck in my brain -- to the point where I woke up Sunday morning excited to try it -- is a cardigan with an Estonian braid along the edge.  I wear cardigans at work constantly, so I knew if I picked a neutral color, I'd get a lot of use out of it.

Elda cardigan by Vera Sanon
On recommendation of my friend, I'm using Knit Picks Swish DK. It was on sale, and very affordable for something that needs 10 balls.
Knit Picks Swish DK in Cobblestone Heather
Since there was already a yarn sale, and if I added more to my cart I could get free shipping, I also picked up 9 balls for a pullover sweater.

Poema by Vera Sanon
Something about this garnet red really caught my eye. Both of these sweaters are top-down knits, so I can try them on as I go.
Knit Picks Swish DK in Garnet Heather
Last, but not least, while my MIL was here for Thanksgiving last year, I couldn't resist this fabric. Without a specific project in mind, I bought a couple of metres. Last weekend I finally picked up a skirt pattern. My MIL has assured me that sewing as many aprons as I have, a skirt should be not much different. Scanning through the pattern, it looks a bit easier in some ways. There is plenty of fabric here that I could make 2 skirts. So if I screw up, I can make it again. I also want to add pockets, which isn't in the design, so I'll need some advice there.

I'm on vacation this week, and since the weather turned to rain, and my yarn is on order, I opened up the skirt pattern. Only then did I remember that I hadn't washed & shrunk my fabric yet. Why is it every time I get motivated, I have to stop for this step?  I should be throwing these in the wash as soon as I get home from the store. At least this time, I washed both fabrics I had purchased, even though I only needed one.

I'll see how things go, but at least I'll be working on things for myself for a change.