October 31, 2017

Classic Oak Cardigan

Quite possibly, I should have posted about E's Little Grey Cardigan before sharing the cardigan that I made for her daddy - but that's not the way things work around here.  But - you will need a bit of the back story. 

So - when The Princess and The Sports Writer found out they were expecting, well they decided not to find out what they were having!  What's a crafty momma to do?  Well, I knit a grey sweater for the baby - could go either way, gender wise.  But while I was making it - I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I made something for The Sports Writer? So, I found a similar pattern ordered yarn and then moved across the country.  

Once we got settled - I got started knitting this bad boy.  Originally I had hoped to have it done by the baby shower - but that didn't happen - see moved across the country.  I finished this sweater this summer and then held it ransom until the kids came out here and I could get photos.  Ravelry says I started this sweater on November 12, 2016 and finished on August 30, 2017.  This was not my only project during that time.  

 So, as I said, I held this sweater ransom until the kids came out and I could get some pictures of it.  I wanted some of them together and some of them separate - but I'll take what I got.  

I'm so happy with the fit of this sweater - the sleeves are long enough, the length is perfect.  It's not too big - which I was worried about and the shawl collar is perfect.  

Here you can see the back of both sweaters - Daddy's sweater has more cabling than E's - but I love them both.  While the shoulder seams look a little bit dropped - that is the style of the sweater.  

Here you get a glimpse of E's sleeve and the cable panel on the front of Daddy's sweater.  This was a fun project and one I'm glad I took on.  Both sweaters were made with Cascade 220 in shades of gray.  Both of the sweaters close with leather buttons.  And both of them have their cuffs rolled up :)  

Thanks for letting me make these lovely sweaters for the family. 

October 24, 2017

Print Matching

While my wardrobe has become decidedly more casual - JB's has become a bit more dressy - if you will.  See - he helps in the kitchen in the morning, preparing the first course, helping plate & serve the main course and doing the dishes.  So, he's started wearing his bowling shirts with jeans.  Now he had quite a few that we've purchased over the years in Hawaii, Key West and at Disney and I've made him a few.  But he wanted more.  

The more I've made, the more I've wanted to get better at pattern matching over the button placket.  I still haven't figure out how to match the pattern at the side seams as well - but I figure the side seams aren't as noticeable as the button placket.  

So, I have no idea if this is right - but it's what I do and it works for me.  I thought maybe it would help some one else.  So - here goes nothing.  

I use McCalls 4399 mens shirt pattern which is long out of print.  My envelope has a date of 2004 on it.  Also I use view A, short sleeves with the side seams left open for a bit at the bottom.  

I trace 90% of my patterns onto exam table paper and keep the original pattern intact.  No real reason, it's just what I do. And in this case, I'm glad I've done that - I've made other changes to the pattern to add contrast fabrics.  

Anyway - once the fabric has been washed and ironed - I cut the shirt out single layer.  Cutting the left front shirt piece first.  I have to remind myself often that girls are always right and boys are left out.  So, the left front has the buttonholes and goes on top of the right front.  Once the front has been cut out - I then go over to the ironing board and fold the facing back on the center front line.  I know that this is not where the facing will ultimately be folded, but I figure if I can match the pattern at the center front - then it should match coming out of the placket - so far this has worked for me in actual practice.  
folded back on center front
Then, I take the left front back to the yardage and line the print up as close to an exact match as I can get.  Smoothing the left front over the yardage and making sure everything stays matched.   
Lining up the pattern at the center front
Next, I grab my pattern piece with the facing folded back and butt it right up against the left front - making sure I have my pattern piece the right way up.  I carefully lift up the folded facing and start pinning the tissue to the fabric, being careful not to shift anything.  Once the exposed part of the pattern is pinned in place, I remove the left front, fold the facing flat, finish pining and then cut the right front out.  

Tissue being placed next to left front - red line added to show pattern piece on top of yardage
For the pocket - before removing the tissue from the left front, I slip the pocket piece under the left front piece, matching the top of the pocket with the markings on the pattern piece.  Actually - I've found for JB, that the pocket is almost under his armpit when I put it where the pattern has it, so I move it a bit toward the center front.  

Once I have everything lined up the way I want it, I remove the shirt tissue and trace some large identifying designs onto the pocket pattern.  As I was cutting a bunch of shirts - I cut a bunch of pocket blanks.  I then match my really horrible drawings to the fabric, pin & cut.  

Once you've done all this, stack all the pieces together neatly.   Fold and put in a stack on the corner of your sewing table until you feel like assembling a bunch of shirts.  

I hope this helps someone else who's struggling with pattern matching.  As I said, it might not be proper way - but it works for me.  

October 17, 2017

Finally - A Concord for Me

Long ago in a far away land, I was a pattern tester for the Cashmerette Concord Tee.  At that time, I made a tee for The Musical One.  I loved it, she loved it - but I never made any more.  With this transition to a more casual wardrobe than what I'm used to - the concord has been buzzing around the edges of my mind lately. 

While I was working on something else, I pulled this lovely ITY Print that was a remnant from Carolyn's stash.  I loved it.  Honestly - I took horrible notes while I was making this - but here's what I remember:  I made a tabbed short sleeve, v-neck with the curved, faced hem.  I cut the length between the tee length and the tunic length - because that's what my fabric would allow.  I used a black and white polka dot remnant for the neckband, sleeve tabs and hem facing. 

While I love this top and how fluid it is - there are some things I could change in future versions.  

While I didn't really need the sleeve tabs for the short sleeves, I added them to add more of the polka dots.  I believe in the power of 3s when you are using an accent.  This helped.  Also, I love how the polka dot neckline looks lacey.  

Here - you can see from the side view that the back rides higher than the front - so for future versions, I need to add some length to the back pieces so the hem hangs even.  

And from the back view - I feel like I need a little bit of sway back adjustment.  

I know I graded between sizes, but don't remember which sizes I used.  The bust and sleeves are fine as are the waist, but the hips could use a bit more width.  I have plans to make this curved hem version into a dress - I think it will be fun and comfy and fit right into the kitchen of the B&B.  

October 10, 2017

Pumpkin Placemats

So, just when I think I'm back to blogging - I do something stupid like take photos for the blog then leave the camera in New Jersey when we were visiting the kids.  UGH.  So, I missed a week and my schedule is all off - but here I am again.  This time with a crafty project I just finished for Carriage Corner.  

I decided that pumpkin placemats were in order.  First, I did a search for a pumpkin embroidery design.  See the one I had was too small - but I liked that it had 3 color sections to the pumpkin.  I found a larger design that I could make work.  Then, I dug through the stash of quilting cottons to come up with 3 orange fabrics and 2 greens.  

Next up was creating templates for the applique fabrics. While the design I purchased came with 'cut' files - I don't have a machine for cutting fabric or vinyl so I have to do it myself.  To do this, I unthreaded my embroidery machine, put an old needle in, hooped stabilizer, and then placed regular printer paper on the embroidery hoop, pinning it in the corners.  I stitched out the first couple of colors, then changed the paper - to get templates for everything I needed - fabric 1 - the outer edges, fabric 2, the middle section, fabric 3 was the center of the pumpkin, the leaf & stem.  Because my design was only intended for 1 fabric, I had to get a little bit creative, I stitched the satin stitch that would go around fabric 2 and then traced the template shape.  It worked.  

Templates:  fabric 1 & 2; stem & leaf, fabric 2.
After that, I figured out what size I wanted my finished placemats to be and cut the background fabric to size.  I'm a lazy embroider-er and feel that there is too much room for error when hooping your main fabric.  I tend to hoop my stabilizer and then pin my fabric to it.  So, once I figured out where on the placemat I wanted that pumpkin to land - that's what I did.  The next photo shows my 'official placement.'  I folded the background fabric in half, lining it up with the center markings on my embroidery hoop and had the bottom edge of the fabric just touching the inside of the hoop.  Without moving the design, this positioned it perfectly for the plate to sit right over the embroidery once breakfast was served.  

I will admit - I embroidered a couple of pumpkins that couldn't be used.  And learned a few things in the process.  I had to remember to layer the fabrics all right side up when cutting the templates.  I used fusible basting spray to keep the pieces in position during embroidery.  

Once all the pumpkins were embroidered - a full house around here is 13 - but I made a set of 12.  Honestly, it rare that we have more than 10.  Plus, the only plates these placemats will work with currently are plain white and I only have enough to set a table for 8.  Yes, things can get confusing around here - but I try to always plan for 12 when purchasing or making table linens.  

Anyway - once the embroidery was done, I then cut strips of the green fabric used for the stems and stitched it to the sides of the placemat.  I then squared everything up, layered embroidered top, backing and batting.  Stitched around the outside, leaving an opening for turning.  Turned, pressed and then stitched around the outside a 1/4" from the edge.  

Here's the pumpkin side set this morning - there is a basket of gourd in the center of the table.  I don't like these green napkins with the placemats, but they are what I had this morning that worked.  
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