Saturday, 18 October 2014

Easy knits (part one)

Here are the three latest additions to my wardrobe. Please excuse the photo of the turquoise top. I took the photo this morning, because I was already wearing it for the day. I realized, belatedly, that I apparently hadn't made any effort to, you know, straighten anything I was wearing, roll down the sleeves or make any effort at all to look sane in the photo. (Alternative interpretation: This is a very HONEST action shot of what it looks like for real on me on a normal day.) At any rate, I then went to have lunch, planning on re-taking a photo later of the top on Flossie... and promptly poured half a bowl of soup down myself. Right now it looks the "before" shot in a laundry detergent ad, so this is the best shot I'm going to get!
My Image M1152, Grainline Linden 1 and 2
All of these tops took a couple of hours each, and I made one a night on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I love how productive making knit garments makes me feel, although it's only because I overlock every seam and have (finally!) figured out how to zip through all my bindings and hems with my coverstitcher in no time at all.

MyImage M1152  Cowl Neck top
This is my second attempt at this cowl neck top pattern. Way back in 2012, the second knit garment I ever made was M1152 from My Image A/W 2011. To be honest, the first one I made was a mess, although apparently I was oblivious to this when I made it. I wore it maybe twice but then all the stitching at the neckline fell apart. More importantly: past!self, that size was ENTIRELY too small for you. I made the same size (44) again this week and I am about a size and a half smaller right now than I was when I made that top. This time it does actually fit.

This version turned out much better, especially the cowl neck as I abandoned the back facing in the pattern in favour of a binding, and finished the cowl edge with my coverstitcher.

You can't really tell from this shot on Flossie, but the pattern has dropped shoulders, which I don't find enormously flattering on me. If I made this again I think I might re-do the armholes using my knit sloper. Meanwhile, this is my last piece of this blue figured polyester knit, bought for £2/m in 2012. I got three tops and a wadder out of my piece of it and I still have a decent size scrap left.

Grainline Linden sweatshirt
My other two garments this week were made using the brand new Grainline Linden sweatshirt. My acquisition of this pattern is a sad tale of why you shouldn't make snap retail decisions at 6am when you've just woken up.

I bought 2m of this very light weight sparkly, stripy knit for £2/m in order to get free postage on a larger order I was making a few weeks ago (I'd have more shame about this, but no, really, I don't know anyone who orders online who hasn't done this at some point!). I decided I wanted to use it straight away, and spent an hour one evening going through my patterns looking for something I could use to make a very lightweight sweater-type layering top. There were a few in Burda, but nothing that really grabbed me. Then the next day I woke up (at 6am) and the Linden had been released, and in my early morning bleariness I went: Just the thing! and bought it. Note to self: you will always regret retail decisions made in this way.

Having irrevocably bought an e-pattern, and subsequently experienced shopper's remorse, I decided that logically (spoiler: no logic was involved) I decided that the thing to do was to IMMEDIATELY make up the pattern to assuage my retail guilt. So I did, twice, in View A each time (with the minor alteration of not using the cuff piece).

I am sure there is a way to get stripes to line up on at the shoulder seem of a raglan pattern, but as is abundantly evident from the shot above, I don't know what it is, and I therefore totally failed at it (actually, I didn't TOTALLY fail, in so far as SOME stripes match, but I failed MORE THAN ENOUGH). I did get the side-seams to match at least. And I do really like my hem band and neck band, although the neck-band, having been cut on the cross-grain of a 2 way stretch fabric, caused me buckets of drama (because of course I totally forgot it HAD NO STRETCH, sewed it on, panicked when it was 20cm too short, cut it off, flailed about desperately trying to find a scrap long enough to go round in one piece, etc etc). I originally used the cuff piece as well but the sleeves are LOOOONG and it looked stupid, so I cut them off again and hemmed it. Making the pattern the second time was even easier, mainly because I didn't repeat my user error with the binding and already knew not to bother with the cuffs.

I've another few easy knit projects, and one more complicated knit project, in the pipeline for next week as well, and then I will be finished the knit part of my Autumn sewing and have to contemplate what to do next. I'm keen to make a couple more woven tops, but I also have some non-garment sewing I want to start, and of course I am mad keen to try out my skills on making a coat before the year ends.


  1. Cute new tops! FWIW, and I don't know if this is the "correct" way, my old sewing teacher (when I used to take classes at my local community college) used to stress that we should only worry about matching stripes from the armscye notches on down--that's enough to make the stripes line up when you're arms are down. I think that the way some patterns are drafted with their cap heights, it's impossible to make the stripes match up above that.

    1. Ah! That makes sense. I did manage to get the sleeves and body to line up pretty much, but I actually could not work out from pure geometry how to get to to line up at the shoulder, unless you cut off grain. I feel vindicated if there isn't actually any way to do it at all.

  2. As Michelle says above, I don't think you can make all the stripes line up, it's just a matter of deciding which ones you want to line up and trying to make both sides match each other too. I'm fairly certain it's impossible to make them all line up, though of course I don't care too much about that sort of thing so I've never tried very hard.

    Out of curiosity, why all the remorse about the sweatshirt pattern? It seems to have worked out pretty well and the problems you did have, have been resolved. Both tops look lovely to me - and the one you're modeling is a really nice fit!

    1. No, I think you're right. I looked around all over for instructions and it seems like it's impossible to get the stripes to line up.

      I do really like my sweatshirt, I am just aware that it's really basic and I really do have at least half a dozen versions of a similar raglan top in my various magazines already. I just kind of went oo! sweatshirt! without really thinking that it would be just as easy to get the same result without spending £8.