Sunday, 13 September 2015

A pattern for knit or woven fabric?

Is a pattern described as 'for knit/stretch fabrics' correctly marked, or is this a mistake?

This Lekala design is marked as "Fabrics: Knit. Is stretchy: yes":

Design 5081 is a long-sleeved blouse with bust darts, plackets and a button band.  I have never seen a knit/jersey/stretch fabric pattern with all these features.  Patterns for knit fabrics usually take advantage of the fabric being stretchy whereas patterns for woven fabric cannot: woven styles need openings along the front as well as in the sleeves, they need shaping in the bust area - knit patterns also don't feature completely flat pieces (the front and back of this blouse) but often include some kind of draping which woven fabric does not do well.

I must say that when I first saw this pattern I just assumed it was for woven fabrics. Assuming is always a big mistake, in dressmaking as much as in other contexts!  I cut out a polycotton fabric and started sewing.  It was by chance that I looked at the pattern again and finally saw the 'knit' reference. Oops. But really?

The website lists this pattern 5081 when you filter on 'woven' - so that seems to point to the knit description being wrong.

For these reasons I think that this pattern was marked incorrectly but I can't be sure.  What do you think?

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I would perhaps not have noticed the 'knit' claim if it hadn't been for the sleeves:

When I sewed the sleeveheads in I just couldn't make them lie flat - the curved seam around the top of the shoulder is all puckered and distorted even though I applied the normal technique: two rows of gathering and distributing the fullness of the sleeve material very carefully by pinning every centimeter.  No joy.

I also found an issue with the shoulder width that is down to me.  I used some of the Advanced features that allow you to customise your pattern beyond the standard measurements of height, bust, waist, hips etc - unfortunately I didn't realise that my shoulders are a bit narrower compared to their measure.

You can just about see how the shoulders dip down at the seam to the sleeves in these two photos:

So I will rip the sleeves back out and cut the shoulders a bit narrower. Only by 5-12mm or so.  That should take care of the sleeveheads being slightly too big and make sewing them back in a lot easier.

At least I hope so. Fingers crossed.

I am also wondering if I marked the correct centre front because these pieces barely overlap - or do I need to do a FBA?  That would be weird seeing as this is a personalised pattern.

The advantage to turning the sleeves into flat pieces again is that I can correct something I forgot to do:  I didn't sew the plackets on when I should have (what a mental lapse) - it'll be good to do that first!  Silver lining...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Amazing what you get done when...

Isn't it amazing what you get done when you're supposed to be doing something else and can't bring yourself to get stuck into that something else?

That's what it's like for me right now. Sewing is so much more fun than job hunting. So I am sewing. It is comforting to know that this activity is productive: I see a tangible result and that's very confidence building.

Most times I've been doing something else rather than sewing - perhaps I'm intimidated by it?  It could be because sewing seems so much work, or because I worry that I am not going to sew well enough... I'm not completely sure why I'm not finding it easier to knuckle down to.

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It is vitally important to me to get stuck into sewing projects to try and diminish my massive stash at least a little bit. So when a friend mentioned wanting to make an A-line skirt with pockets I had a project idea shoot through my head that seemed strangely fully formed.

A flared skirt with huge patch pockets on it. Love the idea, and it seemed very do-able (spoiler: I think it even was).  I preferred to draw my own pattern so I can avoid all those soul-destroying attempts at fitting and pattern adjustments. I'd rather start from scratch and know that the measurement is correct.

I established the different hip and waist measurements for front and back because I want my side seams to sit at my side and nowhere else. My front panels are a bit bigger than the back panels.

I'm glad to say that the skirt looks like a good fit even though I plain forgot to work the back darts into the pattern pieces - I can probably get away with that.

I did some lovely patch pockets with strips of light-weight interfacing ironed next to the three seams and then I found that these big pockets throw out the lovely flare of the skirt and I prefer it without them. I have some fabric left, maybe I'll use them in some other way in future.

The fabric is a funnily bouncy fibre, very thin and light-weight but surprisingly drapey. It sews up wonderfully well, I am really impressed. There are very thin and strong black warp fibres and softer silvery grey weft strands. I don't remember what the fibres are. I got it from Fabrics Galore on Lavender Hill in London (has there every been a better address for a fabric shop?). Their labels stated the fibre, I should have written it down! Or taken a photo...

I've done quite well so far. Except for attaching the lining inside out (I did French seam so I won't be tempted to re-do this). I need to hem the lining and then continue thinking about what I'll do for the closure. I attached two facings so could do buttons or hooks and eyes. I would prefer something unobtrusive.

I decided against a zip (even an invisible one) because I may want to take the skirt in a bit in future. It'll be easier to move buttons or hooks than a zip.

What do you think?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lavish seamless jumper

It is not quite seamless: all of a sudden I decided to knit the sleeves open - because it is easier to remember when to do the decreases for the sleeve shaping when there are knit and purl rows.

The stitch holder finally saw some use (I had them a while) but turned out to be a bit disappointing; they popped open on at least three different occasions and dropped stitches, which is precisely what they're meant to prevent.

So I'm slightly disgruntled on that point. I might have to get those horrible plastic ones that have an elastic go across them. I don't like the way those look. At all.

The yarn is Supersoft Lambswool 2/11.3Nm yarn in the colourway Lavish 1734 by JC Rennie, the greasy on the cone variety.  I don't actually know what '2/11.3Nm' means, I just copied that from their website.

I am knitting with a 2.75mm needle. A really long circular needle that keeps curling up and getting in the way when I did the sleeves. A tad annoying. Still manageable though.

I love the colour of this yarn, it is slightly heathery with flecks of other colours in it. But mainly a dark magenta-like pink. Love it.

Such a nice strong colour that makes me feel good.

Now I just have to prevent the moths from eating this before I can wear it!  It is washed for the first time (squeezed through some lukewarm water, no wringing) but still smells quite a bit of sheep.

PS: I am catching lots of moths in pheromone traps but now it's too hot to wear this even though it is so thin. I must check that the shape is okay and that I want to wear this. Otherwise I better take some corrective action sooner than later!