I was scrolling though Pinterest the other day, looking for pinspiration, when I was reminded of the Macaron dress I planned to make nearly two years ago.
I’ve got a wedding coming up in a few months, and I think this dress would be perfect. I immediately dug out the pattern pieces I cut over a year ago.
I’m pretty much planning for this project to be a toile. I have a weird love-hate relationship with the fabrics I chose. I never normally wear pink, but I couldn’t resist the pretty floral pattern and birds. I remain unsure about whether the blue looks good, or the top of the dress would pop more with a white contrast.
Anyway, it will be a pleasant surprise if I end up with a wearable dress. I’ve never bothered making a toile before, but I paid full price for the Liberty fabric and I’m really looking for perfection in the final garment. Macaron is quite an intricate pattern so I’m a little apprehensive about my ability to fix fitting problems. Eek!
I whizzed through the steps of constructing the bodice pretty quickly.
As soon as I tried on the bodice, I realised there were big problems. The fit on the waist was tight and the bust seemed okay, but I had a lot of fabric pooling in the back.
You can even see the bagginess on the hanger. I tried pinching in the side seams and tugging in various directions, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it lie flat. This is my first solo attempt at a fitted bodice.
I decided to trace a copy of the bodice pattern to make my adjustments. This is a bit of a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted- since I cut out the pattern pieces, I’ve lost the larger sizes. However, this way I still have a back-up in case my alterations somehow make the fit even worse.
I ended up deciding to book a private sewing lesson to get some expert fitting advice. I completed as many steps as possible to take along. I have to say, Macaron is surprisingly easy to construct given the polished final look of the dress.
Slashing the pleats to place the pockets was a bit scary, but I adore the final result. This is what the pieces looked like before my lesson.
Wish me luck!
Pattern: Macaron by Collette Patterns
Fabric: Viscose bought on holiday in Indonesia. The blue is some random fabric purchased on Goldhawk Road
I was feeling pretty unwell yesterday but managed to drag myself to my second sewing workshop at Sew Over It.
Forgot to take many pictures, but got a lot of work on the body done, including front and back darts. So far the fit is looking pretty good.
The most tense moment was attaching my collar to the shirt. It worked out, fortunately. I have some hand-stitching to do as my homework- you can probably see that the inside of the collar is unfinished.
Need to pick up some buttons during the week. Looking forward to finishing!
Last Friday was the first session of my Carrie Trousers workshop at Sew Over It. It was a three hour workshop and most of it was spent cutting out, which is one of the stages of sewing I find most stressful. The pinning. The endless smoothing of fabric. The fear.
Managed to get a pile of pattern pieces without much fabric left over. I hadn’t realised before that this cotton lawn is pretty transparent so I will have to make careful underwear selections when wearing these.
The first step was constructing the pockets, which are the most important part of any pair of trousers. This stage was a lot more challenging than it should have been because there was something wrong with the sewing machine I was using. It kept making long stitches and the thread broke loads of times. My fabric is very fine so I don’t like unpicking as I’m scared of making holes. It wasn’t until I had to leave to catch my train that the instructor realised the bobbin thread had something wrong with it that had caused the problems.
I left feeling really frustrated as I’d hoped to get further, and very small things I tried to do had taken ages because I had to keep re-threading the machine. I wished the problem had been picked up on sooner.
Anyway, despite everything my pocket is looking pretty good and I’m hoping this week’s sewing will go much more smoothly.
I’ve also been continuing work on my Aubergine Rainbow sweater. Not long after my last post, I joined the front and back at the armpits and began working in the round, which made the knitting go a lot faster.
The stripes are also helping to keep up my motivation.
I’ve got to say I’m feeling relieved as the stripes progress. I was hating colours at first and worried that 2016 is just the year of bad yarn colour choices (far from the worst thing about 2016 but still). However, I’m liking it more with each additional colour and hopefully the sleeves will add to the effect. I just love the little speckles within the stripes.
Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins
I realised that I haven’t posted a satisfactory knitting update in some time, so here is my attempt to redress the balance. My knitting libido (knitbido?) is still quite low this year. I wonder if that’s due in part to taking a sabbatical from the HPKCHC. I’m still working on most of the projects I mentioned in my will-it-ever-end Wednesday post.
I’m still making slow but steady progress on my League sweater. I have finished the back, and I just did the second set of decreases on the front, which means I’m over halfway towards starting the armhole shaping, which is a little more interesting.
I’ve still got both sleeves to do next, so this jumper isn’t going to be finished any time soon. That’s okay, because it’s not woolly jumper weather right now, but if I continue at this pace, maybe I can have it finished for the autumn.
I’ve also made a small amount of progress on this cardigan. I’ve finished the waist increases. I’m going to add some shaping at the back hem for interest.
The most exciting knitting on my needles is the swatch I’m making for a possible Humboldt sweater. This pattern, in particular the use of marl, has really grown on me as the designer occasionally posts about in on Instagram. I’m thinking this would be a lovely cropped jumper to wear over dresses- less boring and warmer than a cardigan. I would probably knit this in Lemonade Shop speckled yarns, like the purple used in the swatch, so this sweater would be a pretty big financial investment. However, I also think that a sweater like this in worsted weight yarn would spark my interest more than the two small gauge projects I’ve got on the go at the moment. Plus, it would plug a gap in my wardrobe.
I’ve been wanting to make a hat for a while. I love knitting hats, but I try not to do it too often otherwise I would have hundreds of hats. As much as I would love that, I live in London and thus have limited hat storage capacity. First world problems.
Anyway, I decided to treat myself to a new hat. I am obsessed with the yarns dyed by The Lemonade Shop, so new American yarn was part of the treat.
Yummy. I couldn’t resist winding this yarn straight away.
I had intended to make a beautiful cabled Vogue hat, but lovely textures tend to get lost in crazy yarns, so I decided to keep it simple. I cast on and was a little worried the cuff was tight.
I always look grumpy on the bus.
I also wasn’t happy with how the colours were pooling. I had imagined large sections of white and turquoise, and this had an air of clown vomit to it. Disappointing given how excited I had been. I decided to press on and experiment with striping the yarn from each end of the ball to see if this improved the pooling.
As you may be able to see, the pooling improved a bit on the ribbing section, but looks a bit funny again once I switched to stocking stitch. I tried on the hat at this stage and was happy with the size, so I decided to rip the hat out and start again. I did go up a needle size for the ribbing.
I won’t keep you in suspense.
This is exactly what I had in mind when I bought this yarn. It puts me in mind of a super cool comic book about a badass magical girl.
Here’s what I looks like with the brim flipped up, which is how I will wear it.
Update before publication: I’ve finished the knitting on the hat and now I’m a little uncertain. It’s slightly too small and I don’t know if I like the contrast stripe.
To re-knit this to fit I think I would have to add eight stitches, which I think would throw off the awesome pooling.
I’m a bit annoyed as my gauge is exactly correct, but then I do have a big head. Maybe I need to do the finishing before I decide as a massive pompom hides a multitude of sins.
Pattern: Classic Cuffed Hat (free)
Yarn: Sparkle DK in Princess of Power by The Lemonade Shop
Last week I posted the sketch of my design for these convertible gloves. In one of my frequent fits of chronological optimism, I had hoped to have these finished on Sunday as part of my Order of the Phoenix mission for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. This is where I managed to get.
This is glove one so I’m not even close! I changed a few elements of the design as I knit, especially after reading a very interesting article about selecting shades for colour work by the inspirational Jared Flood. Right now I’m not 100% in love with how these are looking so I think I’ll finish the thumb and leave them to hibernate for a few weeks.
Here are a few process pics. I do love the method for lining the glove, it’s very clever and neat even if it did almost cause my head to explode.