Friday, August 30, 2013

Outfit Seven: August

I've finally caught up!  Here is August's outfit... in August!  I have a confession, it has been ready for nearly a week and I've had plenty of opportunities to photograph it but I waited 'til I got my new hair.  It had been over a year and a half since my hairdresser laid hands on my hair, and it was incredible to get a proper style cut and colour instead of the shaggy growing out 'do I've been sporting lately.

I am very pleased with this outfit.  This was a big departure from the outfit I had originally planned, but given that elements of it have already been getting near constant wear I'd say it's one of the biggest successes of my 12 outfits so far.

Starting from the outside, this oversized cardigan is a simple big boxy shape with pockets, but in warm black drapey knit fabric it goes with just about everything in my wardrobe.  It's casual and comfy without being sloppy.  The pattern is from Burda Style 7/2013, 109A.  I have bought a fuzzy, lacy knit to make another for spring.

 I bought the fabric for my shirt at the same time as the fabric from March's skirt.  They are the same print on different backgrounds.  I love the bright red and bold graphic floral print.  It works perfectly with the pattern, you guessed it, another Burda mag 2/2009, 120.

Because the fabric is an almost sheer cotton voile, I used french seams throughout.  It was well worth the little extra effort to enclose all the edges, the finish is really clean and the seams are nice and secure.

I put a bit more thought than I usually would into the pattern placement.  I didn't want sheer background patches at the bust, or a great big flower arrangement bursting out of my guts.  I'm pretty smug about the way it turned out.  Perfect for the transition into spring that the weather has been hinting at this week.

When the pattern for the Maroo Mitts was released I fell in love with them.  I love the scalloped colour work, and the colours used in the samples were right up my alley too.  I've been hoping to get more confident with knitting colour work, but just hoping wasn't doing much so I've started practicing.  These are a fantastic introduction.  I had decided to knit them without being part of any outfit but noticed that the greys and yellow fit in so nicely with the colours in this outfit, and I just happened to have greys sitting in stash and yellow left over from my cowl, so here they are!

I bought this super smooshy grey 4ply yarn from Wendy Dennis a couple of years ago at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show.  200 grams was perfect for the Mara shawl that has been in my Ravelry queue for a couple of years too.  On 4mm needles I used about 90 grams got the garter body of the shawl and then 95 grams for the the ribbed ruffle.  Blocked out it became a great big squishy hug.

Finally pants.  For the record, I don't do leggings.  I wear running tights when I run, I wear tights under dresses, skirts, even under shorts.  I do not wear leggings.  These pants were borderline.  The ponte knit is dense enough to avoid unsightly sheer stretching over my widest parts.  The pattern had enough structural detail to take them far enough out of leggings territory and into pants land.

These were my first garment from a Style Arc pattern.  They are the April Pants.  I must say I was very happy with the pattern.  Again I put more effort than I have in the past into these pants.  All the seams are overlocked and topstitched, the result is a very smooth neat finish.  The fit is perfect, the pattern is great, I'm looking forward to making the Sandra  Jeans I bought at the same time.

You can see my assistant in some of the above photos.  When she wasn't wandering through my photos she was doing this:

Muddy puddles!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Costumes and Props - Book Week

You know that kid whose parents always go totally overboard with his book week costume?  His name is Coen, and it's not his fault we take Star Wars very seriously in this house.

When we asked him what book character he wanted to go as for the book week parade, his answer was very specific.  Obi Wan Kenobi, in Attack of the Clones.  He is adamant that this counts as a book character because he has so many Star Wars books featuring Obi Wan and really, who are we to argue?   So this week I took a break from working on my August shirt to make my boy some Jedi robes.

His brown robe is from the same pattern as his everyday blue hooded dressing gown, just with less finishing and no pockets, it's made from the leftover brown polar fleece I had after last year's Gruffalo costume.  The cream trousers and shirt are from my basic kids pyjama pattern and used up the last of the huge amount of cream ribbed knit I scored.  His vest is made it of a couple of pieces of upholstery fabric, that has a foam backing, which gives him those great padded shoulders, and I dismantled and shortened one of my old belts for him.  To top it all off, this morning he let me blow wave his hair into Obi Wan's meticulously styled 'do and colour in his beard using eyebrow pencils and stage make up.

I can't take credit for the lightsaber though.  That is the work of my lovely husband, who took some poly pipe and attachments, spray painted them and used his Jedi skills to make an amazing lightsaber!

Now he needs to make one for everyone else in the family!  Starting with mine!

The boy was very proud of his costume today in the parade and that's the best reward we could ask for.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Next Six Outfits

While I've been working on my first six outfits I have also been planning the next six.  For a while those next six were fairly vague ideas with a couple of key pieces.  Now they have been fleshed out, reassessed and rearranged, ready go with August.  Of course they are all still subject to change as the mood takes me.

So here are the upcoming outfit plans:

Originally I had a navy and teal knit that I planned to make into a hoodie dress.  I decided to make a wearable muslin from the same black fleece knit as my June trackies to see how it looked.  Turns out I really loved it in the black and don't really need another, oops!  So the new plan is dark grey ponte knit pants from the Style Arc April Pant pattern.  The top will be a red voile tunic/shirt with big floral print, similar to the black floral I made my March skirt from. This one is a Burda Style pattern from 2009. And I've already made my cardigan!  It's this one, again from Burda Style.  The fabric came from a local boutique that has shut down production of its own clothing line and has a basement full of fabric that is all for sale for five dollars a metre.  It is a beautiful drapey soft black knit.  I'm wearing it right now and I'm really happy with it!  I knitted a pair of Maroo Mitts and have just finished a big Mara shawl.

The key piece for September was always going to be a Dahlia cardigan in Colinette Jitterbug in Ginger Cinnabar.  It still is, only now it has a slightly dressier pencil skirt in another floral print.  This fabric is a medium to heavy weight cotton that I picked up for a dollar, there's just over a metre, perfect for yet another Burda Style pattern.  I have a reasonable stash of Burda Style magazines from a couple of years subscription.  I keep finding patterns i them that I didn't notice before and that are basic enough to be current with adjustments to fabric choices and styling. The top is a basic button down chambray shirt.

This is another outfit that was based on a knit.  This one the Myrtle cardigan in bright red Wollemeise.  I am sticking with the fabric I chose for a dress to go with it, but have now picked a pattern for it as well.  It will be this one.

November has has stayed the same as well at this stage.  It is still a seersucker skirt with sailor style buttons on the front and a plain white tee with a nice neckline.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to knit a short sleeved cardigan to go with it.  Maybe Soay, or Abbi Light, or Vodka Lemonade, or a short sleeved Brynna, you get the idea.

I had planned to make a Christmas dress for December.  But decided that a Christmas dress is not really an outfit to help build a wardrobe so much as a special occasion garment.  So now December is getting shorts and an obnoxious bright floral Wiksten tank.

Finally There is January's swim suit!  I'm looking at a Bombshell bikini bottom with a top from a mixed bikini pattern I already have.  But then I also found a really lovely simple 1970s one piece pattern that I like too.  I guess I could make two?  I want to try making a huge wide brimmed hat too, I'm searching for the right pattern, and then I thought that I might add a Clair de Lune, because I'm totally glamourous enough to get about in a retro swim suit, giant hat and oversized lacy cardigan.  I am.

My Style Arc patterns arrived today so I'm going to get stuck into my August pants!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sewcial Bee

Last weekend was another productive one!  This time on the personal development and sewing fronts.

First I spent Saturday and Sunday training for and getting my motorbike learner permit!  Finally I can ride my beautiful bike!

Then on Sunday evening and Monday I participated for the first time in a great sewing challenge, the Sewcial Bee.  I spectated during the first Secial Bee last month and was excited to have a go this time around.  The way it works is a theme is chosen by a group member, and everyone has seven hours of sewing time within a 48 hour wondow to complete a garment inspired by that theme.  Simple!  No prizes, no pressure, just encouragement and inspiration. I gave myself a couple of extra guidelines: I had to make something I actually need, and I wanted something with colour blocking.

The theme this round was set by Gida Studio, to create a garment inspired by food.  So here are my Lemon Meringue Pyjamas!

I aimed to keep it simple for my first round, and then got carried away and decided to add some more meringue in the form of a short robe.

This whole outfit is a mash up of patterns.  The shorts are from a swim wear pattern, McCall's 8234, that I picked up from the op shop for 50 cents.  The top is a modified sleeveless version of style 118 from Burda Style Mag 2/2009 and the robe is another Burda Style pattern, 12/2008 127.  All the fabric and elastic trim were from stash too, just under a metre of yellow ribbed jersey and about half of my massive stash of white jersey, as well as a couple of metres of decorative elastic.  The whole outfit was done within five and a half hours over one evening and the next day!

Check out the Sewcial Bee flickr group to see the all fantastic food inspired creations of the other participants!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Outfit Six: July

It's July!  I know it's actually August, but it's the July end of August, so I'm calling it.  Here is July's outfit!  July has a couple of big, complicated garments.  At least I thought they would be complicated until I started working on them and found, as is usually the case, that they weren't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.

Beatnik.  I love this jumper so very much.  I have loved the pattern since it first appeared in Knitty in 2010.  While it looks quite complicated, the pattern is actually quite straightforward.  Once it is established it is quite easy to read the cables to see where you're up to.  The colour coded chart makes wrapping your brain around it so much easier!

I knitted it in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10ply the colour is Autumn Glow.  I bought the yarn a few years ago.  It was always going to be a jumper of cardigan and I think the colour is perfect for this one.  I extended the length of the body by a couple of centimetres to accommodate my longish torso and it fits just how I wanted it to so I'm very pleased!

I needed a fairly close fitting tee with three quarter sleeves to wear under the Beatnik so in keeping with the sixties vibe I chose a basic boatneck tee.  The anchor fabric was originally destined for a different month's outfit, but was freed up in the re-shuffle and slotted in here very nicely.

The pattern is from Burda Style Magazine 2/2009 108B.  As always, I lengthened the body.  I find that most Burda Style tees are just too short for me, even with some extra length in the waist, this one only just hits where I like tops to sit on my hips.  I predict that this one will be a very versatile top, its first outing was dressed up with jeans, boots and a navy blazer, and it works just as well dressed down with cuffed jeans and chucks.

Speaking of jeans, I made some!  I really wanted to make my own jeans, but had built them up in my mind as an incredibly complicated, fiddly, and difficult garment.  Really jeans are just trousers like any others, the detailing is what makes them.

For my first (I'm already planning a couple more pairs) jeans I used some denim with a bit of stretch that I picked up from the op shop for four dollars.  The pattern was from another Burda Mag, this time 8/2009, 127.  I will definitely use a different pattern next, this one required a bit of work to fit, they swam around the seat and thighs, so took a bit of fitting.  Also, no back pockets!  I drafted my own using a couple of my RTW jeans as a guide.  And finally Burda Style's notoriously vague instructions were not particularly helpful for a first time jeans maker.  All up they're a serviceable pair of trousers, a good starting point I think.

In hindsight I should have set up my vintage machine for the top stitching.  It's sturdy enough to do the job and then I could just skip from the overlocker to straight seams to top stitching at each stage without having to re-thread my machine every step of the way.

Even though the sleeves are short, this outfit is cosy and warm.  Casual and comfortable, just like I planned.  

So that's July, the halfway mark (because I started in February of course) six outfits done. Coming up there are some changes in the 12 outfits line up.  When I started planning my outfits the second half of the year was a vague outline with a few key pieces.  That has been reviewed, and shuffled and fleshed out.  I'll have the plan for the next six months up soon!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Productive Weekend

This past weekend has been a productive one for me.  That is if you disregard housework, study, laundry and numerous other things that might have benefited my household and personal development.  It has been a really productive knitting weekend, so the benefits are to my mental health and my 12 outfits.  Actually, I made a huge batch of awesome beef stroganoff so there is that as well.

First up I finished my Beatnik!  That completes July's outfit, so you're only one daggy photo shoot away from seeing it.  In the meantime here is a little bit of it, first thing in the morning, because it's cosy and warm, and I've worn it every day since I sewed in the last end.

Next I picked up the Maroo mitts I started in June while holidaying in Queensland.  After they sat, unloved, for nearly two months with only onle glove half finished, I finished both in a day.  I'm using them as a starting point to get more confident/familiar/awesome at colour work.  These will be a part of August's outfit.

With those two projects off the needles, I started on the big knit for August's outfit.  It's not a big challenge or a complicated project but as it is a rather large Mara shawl it will probably take some time to finish.  It is off to a great start though, here it is getting some rows at swimming lessons this morning.

I feel like I'm back on track with 12 outfits.  Even though I never really got far off track, especially since the track was so flexible in the first place.  I'm feeling inspired and motivated right now so I'm rolling with it!