Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dino hat

Hello again! Today I bring you the world's coolest baby accessory: the dinosaur hat. My dear friend Kristen of Glitter, Gloss and Glaze and Lip Gloss and Sippy Cups is expecting her first child in March. I couldn't make her baby shower in Tampa but I wanted to send a gift anyway. Plus, I finally had an excuse to make one of these adorable dinosaur hats: 

Dino Cap by Kris Hanson
Unfortunately, my first attempt was a bit of disaster. It was all going well until it dawned on me (much later than it should have) that I put the ear flaps on backwards so they curved away from the face. One of my knit night friends very sweetly tried to convince me it was better that way because babies don't like things in their faces. I was already contemplating starting over, and this just sealed the deal. I wanted Baby D to have awesome baby adventures in this hat (a la Rugrats), not be upset by ear flaps in his face!!

For take two, I used a basic beanie pattern (Be Loving by Melissa Simpson) and added the spikes from the Dino Cap pattern. I was worried the spikes wouldn't fit right, but happily they fit perfectly! I made the hat kind of big, in the hopes that Baby D can wear it through his first winter.

I used Knit Picks Brava, their new acrylic, so it would be machine washable. I am not a huge fan of acrylics because they tend to split and pill, but practicality was really important in this case. I mean, it would be ludicrous to ask a sleep-deprived new mom to hand wash a baby hat, when I can't even be bothered to hand wash my tights, you know? Also, I think I may be becoming a bit of a yarn snob, you guys. Anyway, I have to say this was by far the nicest acrylic I've ever used. I would recommend it for projects that need to be kid-friendly or easy care.

So, Baby D, I hope you feel awesome in this hat and have many play adventures with Reptar or Little Foot or whoever is popular with the baby crowd these days. You are going to be one cool little dude and I can't wait to meet you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hats and Scarves

Hello again! The past couple of weekends have been very full (in a good way!) so I haven't started any major projects. I did finish a couple of small ones though, just in time for the end of winter.

First up, the Indian Summer Hat. I got this pattern in a 2012 page-a-day calendar two Christmases ago and just now got around to making it.

Indian Summer Hat by Kalurah
It's supposed to be a slouchy beret, but unfortunately mine didn't turn out slouchy at all, even after I added an extra inch to the eyelets before decreasing to lengthen it. I hate to admit this, but I think I need to come to terms with something: I have a big head. There, I said it. I like to think I have a dainty head, but let's face it, I got my dad's big noggin.

I used double-stranded Knit Picks Shadow. It was my first time using lace, and it was so delicate I could just break the strands with my fingers if I was feeling too lazy to dig out my scissors. Funnily enough the hardest part of this project was picking out the button. Nothing seemed quite right, but is what I ended up with:

Even thought it didn't come out slouchy, the hat is big enough to cover my ears, and loose enough that it won't give me hat hair. I'm putting it in the win column! More project notes are here on Ravelry if you're curious.

The other project is an infinity scarf made from a 25 cent remnant from my trip to Fabric World. It was maybe 1/3 of a yard at best, so I cut it into two long strips, and joined them to make one very long skinny scarf.

I looped it around three times. It goes almost down to my feet without looping, and was about 10 ft long before I joined the ends. This should give you an indication of scale:

The fabric was slightly sheer, so I decided to give french seams a try. Very easy to do, but pretty boring to sew two 10 ft seams! The french seams blend right in: 

I wore this outfit to brunch yesterday with a friend and as we were settling in at our table she looked at me and said "Did you make that scarf? That seems like the kind of fabric you would pick out." Busted! I like to think my me-made items blend in well with my ready-to-wear items, but maybe not. That's okay though. I'm okay with being a little eccentric.

Hope you all are having a lovely President's Day. I have the day off (one of the perks of working for the government!) and am hitting up the Joann's sale this afternoon.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lisette Market Top

Hello again! I recently decided that I needed to get over my fear of sleeves, unless I wanted to make nothing but sundresses forever more. My first attempt at setting in sleeves was disastrous, and I was reluctant to give it another go. That is, until I stumbled upon this "cheater's guide" to setting in sleeves flat by A Fashionable Stitch. Trying to fit a tube into a slightly smaller tube is just crazymaking, but this, this I could get behind.

I love, love, love the Lisette pattern line, so I picked the market top (Simplicity 2211) as my test case. It's view E, the one the model is wearing on the pattern envelope. I loved the puffy sleeves, and this type of casual top is a big hole in my closet right now. I have t-shirts and work clothes, but not a lot in between.

I have to say, I'm thrilled with how it came out!
I'm still learning fabrics, so I'm not exactly sure what this is. It's some kind of midweight cotton I got on clearance at Joann's, but it's not quilting cotton, promise!
I did break down and make a muslin on this. I'm not a huge fan of muslins (the extra fabric seems wasteful and it adds a lot of time to the process), but I originally I cut out a straight 12 an it was HUGE. Like muumuu territory. I ended up with a 10 in the shoulders and sleeves, and a 6 in the sides. The only alteration was adding 3 inches in length because the pattern is quite short.

 It's still a little wider than I would like it to be, but I couldn't take it in any more and still get it over my head and shoulders (no stretch or side zipper). If I made this again, I might go up to a 12 in the shoulders because it's a little tight when I cross my arms.

Look at those sleeves! Setting them in flat worked like a charm.
One sleeve cap came out puffier than the other and I had to redistribute the ease to match, but that was a pretty easy fix. As other reviewers have noted, the sleeve bands are on the small side.

Also, can we talk about this edge stitching? My new Viking came with a special edge stitching foot, and it has really helped take this from homemade to handmade.

It's a little boxy, so you may need to take in the side seams if you're like me and like your clothing more on the fitted side. The instructions are crystal clear and the collar is constructed so that you don't have any annoying facings.
I definitely recommend this pattern, especially for fellow beginners.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January sewing

Hello again! I am absolutely LOVING my new Viking. It is such a dream to sew on that I feel like a big portion of my past sewing struggles can be blamed on my old machine. I know, I know, a poor workman blames his tools. Still, it is much easier to get nice results when the tension doesn't suddenly give out halfway through a seam, you know?

My first project of 2013 was a fun one - a disco costume for a friend's themed birthday party.

The party was the weekend after New Years and sort of snuck up on me. After a bit of online research, I decided the quickest and easiest route was to make extreme bell-bottoms to go over my green skinny jeans. I headed over to a shopping plaza nearby that has a thrift store and a fabric store, and I figured between the two I could put something together. Lucky for me, everything was half off at the thrift store the day I went, so I got that shiny silver shirt for $2.50 and then walked over to Hancock, where I bought a yard of this spectacularly tacky snakeskin fabric for $4. Success!


This kind of mystery lamé fabric would have been a nightmare to sew on my old machine, but the Viking took it like a champ. I didn't have a whole lot of time to make these up, so I cheated here and there. I didn't make a proper casing for the elastic, finish any seams, or hem them. I figured it just needed to hold up for one night!

Funny story: I shopped in Joann's Fabric wearing this costume. Seriously. There are no Joann's ITP (inside the perimeter), so I try and wait until I'm already heading out to the suburbs instead of making special trips. I needed buttons and stuffing pretty badly, so I decided to throw pride to the wind and stop in anyway. I did take off the snakeskin bell-bottoms, but I still looked plenty strange with my shiny shirt, headband and heavy lavender eye shadow. The side-eyes were totally worth it though: I got my supplies, my costume was a hit at the party and I had a really great time.

My second project this month was a set of draft snakes to help insulate the sunroom a little better. Between the three large windows and the sliding glass door, it's pretty drafty. I am a total wuss when it comes to the cold, and so I wanted to make the room a little more comfortable for sewing. Plus, I love any excuse to break out the rotary cutter.

I used one of my 25 cent remnants in my stash from my trip to Fabric World. It was all straight seams and took no time at all. Stuffing, on the other hand, took what felt like forever. Like, a movie and 3 episodes of Felicity on Netflix over the course of several days. Totally worth the drudgery though - the draft snakes have helped keep the room warmer, and I'm pretty happy with the snug fit, considering the height and depth measurements were mostly guesswork.

Next up is the Lisette Market Blouse (Simplicity 2211)! I'm taking my fear of sleeves head on.