I have had a crazy few weeks with very little time for craft. As things have calmed down, I have found myself being drawn to creative tasks again, which is a sign that I’m feeling better. Mostly I’ve been planning exciting projects for the summer and beyond, but I’ve also been doing a few rows of my League sweater here and there, and somehow I have nearly finished the boring knitting on the front, ready to start some intarsia.
I got quite a bit of work done on this while watching Serena winning her historic 22nd major title in tennis, which was so inspirational. Watching her eponymous documentary courtesy of the BBC was very emotional and it’s nice to know that those memories will be associated with this sweater.
I fancied doing another sewing workshop and these Carrie trousers caught my eye.
They look like they will be very useful for smart casual summer wear and travelling. I got time to go shopping on the Goldhawk Road to get some fabric. I love imagining the joyful projects made from fabrics like these.
I decided I needed to see in person how the minis looked next to different colours and textures of yarn so I made a pilgrimage to Knit With Attitude in Stoke Newington. It was strange to be back in Stokey, where I lived for three years in my early twenties. The staff in KWA were great but unfortunately nothing in their stock was quite right due to my pickiness. It was a very helpful trio though. I had envisioned using grey as my background colour but no greys really made the minis pop. This slightly muted blue was the best option.
I later popped into a second LYS, with which I have a chequered past, and found this stunning aubergine yarn.
I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can swatch.
It’s nice to have projects to look forward to.
Thanks to my day off, this skirt ended up being a pretty quick make. It also represents a first (thanks to Craft Blog Club on Twitter for the prompt). This is the first sewn garment I have ever made totally independently and I must say that I am absolutely thrilled with the way that it turned out. What I like best is the shape from the side.
I’m not ashamed to say that inserting the zip was one of the greatest feelings of pride I’ve had all year. I had hoped to do an exposed zip with metal teeth, but Sew Over It didn’t have any, so instead I went for this golden yellow standard zip. I think it looks pretty cute.
Getting it neatly exposed involved some finagling. Luckily I had read a tutorial on inserting an exposed zip, so I was able to follow those instructions on the left hand side of the zip opening. It’s not perfect, but I’m still very happy. Here’s how it looks on the inside.
Something I need to remember next time is to save some extra fabric for pocket facings, as in seam pockets have a tendency to gape open. I salvaged some awesome fabric from the scraps bin at SOI for my pockets.
…which does have an unfortunate tendency to peek out. I can definitely live with this flaw, but I will try to avoid it in future.
I haven’t yet managed to get any great pictures of the skirt when I’ve worn it, but I did fulfil one of my more minor ambitions in it.
I have to say that I’m absolutely thrilled with how this dress turned out, considering that my sewing skills are still in their infancy. I wore my dress to work on a beautiful winter day with the aim of getting some nice pictures, but I didn’t get a chance to take any in the end, so here is a slightly dodgy photo.
At the end of the last post, I had sewn up my bodice and finished the skirt pieces. The next step was to carefully stitch the front seam, ensuring the pattern matching was as neat as possible, stitch the side seams, and then attach the circle skirt to the bodice.
One of my mods was to add pockets to the side seams of this dress. Mum and I had a debate at this stage over whether to anchor the pockets to the waist seam, or have them loose and so do them at the end. We decided that we didn’t want additional bulk in the waist, so elected to do the pockets as an afterthought.
I tried the dress on again at this stage and had my mum pin it closed. We discovered that the back had some additional bulk, which we were able to take out by making the shoulder straps shorter.
The next step was the zip. Mum didn’t have an invisible zip long enough so we used a normal dress zip. Never forget the importance of pinning and basting your zip before machine stitching.
Next came the facings, which I had cut in three pieces (front, left back and right back). After stitching the side seams, I pinned and basted the facings to the bodice. This was particularly important as we had changed the shape of the shoulders, so it took a bit of easing to make sure all of the notches matched. Mum commented that she almost never uses facings, preferring bias binding as it is much less fiddly.
Stitch the facings and bodice, right sides facing, around neckline and underarms.
Mum gave me a super duper secret dressmaker tip. Rather than top-stitching the underarms and neckline to join the facings and bodice, as indicated in the pattern, stitch as closely as possible to the seam on the facing only for a more professional finish.
The next step was joining the shoulders, which was super fiddly. Finally we added the pockets in pretty much the same way as I did to my skirt in this post.
After a bit of finishing I was done! I’m really pleased with how this dress turned out, though it’s a little bit formal for work. Here is what the back looks like.