Saturday, 29 October 2016

So much for October

In a nutshell, October has been dreadful. I shan't even bother to recap the reasons why it was so dreadful, just take my word for it: it was just grim and I am glad it is nearly over.

Due to the dreadfulness I have sewed very little since my last entry in this blog.  Right back at the beginning of the month I did continue my Almost But Not Quite Pyjama sewing and made one knit tunic/short dress in black and white:

The Tree Bark Twig Dress; or Ottobre 05-2015-01, in a print so busy that you can make out literally zero details

Ottobre 05-2015-01 Twig Dress

This is Ottobre 05-2015-01, which Ottobre call the "Twig" dress, a simple A-line knit dress. This name was baffling until I realized that the sample dress was made in a print reminiscent of twigs. It amused me far too much that the fabric I used was described by the vendor as a "bark" print. Can't escape the trees with this dress!

The fabric was a 1.75m remnant of a slightly woolly textured sweater knit in a poly/viscose/lycra blend. It was the perfect amount of fabric for this dress -- I had nothing more than some skinny strips and one small square left at the end. I made no attempt any kind of pattern matching, but it turns out the print is so busy and random that I think the seams, even the centre back seam, blend in pretty well anyway.

If you squint REALLY HARD you can probably just about make out the semi-circular pocket here. Maybe.
I made a size 44 straight off the pattern sheet with just my usual square shoulder adjustment. If I make it again, I'll shave just 0.5-1cm or so off the shoulder -- making it more like a 42 through the neckline -- because the shoulder point is just a tad too wide. Really, I should just use the size 42 neckline but I was being lazy about blending sizes when I traced this one.

On me, sorry for the camera phone shot.
One reason I like Ottobre patterns so much is that even though this is really an ultra-simple dress it just seems really well thought out. The pockets at the front are just a little bit different, with bound edges, there is a nicely shaped centre back seam, and overall it seems really well drafted. My version went together extremely smoothly and quickly. My only tiny sewing problem was that the fabric was quite bulky and the bindings at the neckline are therefore quite thick. You're meant to sew in a little dart at the centre front to create the v-neck, but that was just not going to work out. My dress is therefore a sort of pointy scoop rather than a V neck. That aside, in conclusion: A++, would sew again.

Since making that (and that first wear that I took a mirror selfie of was back on October 4th, so, a while ago now) I have also cut out a second tunic pattern to wear with black leggings. However, that's still languishing in pieces on my sewing table right now awaiting my return to sewing productivity. As the dreadfulness is receding I imagine I'll get started sewing again imminently, but as usual I have a backlog of more urgent but much less fun things (housework I cannot continue to neglect, etc) that I need to catch up on in my more productive hours before I can start using them for sewing purposes. I still have high hopes for November, in terms of making interesting things and getting stuff done!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Under the wire

As usual I am keeping track of my goals for the year as each month goes by, but really the less said about my "achievements" in September compared to those goals, the better! For various reasons, September was really stressful and I coped with this in two ways: EAT ALL THE THINGS! and BUY ALL THE FABRIC! The result of this is (a) a lot of stomach ache; (b) my fabric shelves overfloweth; and (c) my budget and stash busting plans are in severe disarray. Ah well, I am sure there are worse coping mechanisms!

Luckily for the structural integrity of my fabric shelves, I did also made a bunch of things. Some of them even turned out really well. My cobalt blue Jalie jeans were by far the best thing I made in September, and possibly even the best thing I've made all year so far despite the sewing flaws. I absolutely LOVE them and have worn them a lot this month already. I also really like my Grainline Linden sweater with the lace overlay  and I'm glad I thought to make it.

However, I was definitely protesting too much in my last entry about the wearability as it stood of my Butterick 6388 sweater dress. In the end I took scissors to it and trimmed the size. I took about 8cm out of the width from just below the bust and then, because I was being lazy and didn't want to re-do the hem, I tapered back out to the original width at the hem. This makes it rather A-line, but I'm OK with that. The moral of this story is: I should definitely have bought the smaller sized pattern envelope, alas. I want to use this pattern again, but I am going to have to grade it down in order to do so, or else suck it up and buy a second copy in the right size.

Before and after of B6388 as modelled by me
I also started and finished making a super easy StyleArc Estelle yesterday. This is a pattern I made twice in September 2015. I really like and still wear both of the versions I made then and so the possibility of making it again came to mind when I wanted to add a draped/open cardigan in black to my wardrobe this month. As usual I sort of dithered about repeating a pattern rather than trying something new: on the one hand, novelty! On the other the certainty of knowing a pattern really works and goes together easily! This time, easy repeat won. I do love the Estelle pattern: just three pattern pieces, four if you use the optional pocket (which I never do), and it all just fits together so nicely and looks great when finished. The fabric in this case is a textured black ponte knit. I could maybe wish it weren't quite so polyester-y but it'll be fine.

StyleArc Estelle in black textured ponte knit
So that was September! As far as October goes, I've got big big plans, as always. Three things I definitely want to do: (a) finish my current knitting project, which has stalled, as usual, at the sleeve stage. Why am I so reluctant to knit sleeves?!; (b) work on my twisty sleeve/shoulder width fitting problems and see if I can make a bit of progress there; and (c) outerwear! outerwear! outerwear! We're having an unusually mild autumn, but I really am going to need a jacket at some point!