Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Getting back on the horse (in a cardigan I made)

I last posted on the 4th of November and at the time I was all I am hopeful I am will feel better this month (compared to October, which was rubbish) and will be able to get on with things!

Alas, I didn't feel better and didn't get on with things, a situation compounded by dire world events, rotten personal news, rubbish weather and a side order of I'm Just Not Feeling It Right Now glumness. I didn't even do the the many, many miles of curtain hemming that my mum is patiently waiting for me to finish in advance of the arrival of Hordes Of Houseguests (a.k.a. my brother and his family, visiting from Australia) who are coming for an extended Christmas visit.

At some point early in the month, I did work up the energy/enthusiasm to cut out a very simple knit project. Although the pieces I cut out then lurked about untouched for about three weeks, when I suddenly felt more enthusiastic this weekend I was therefore able to start sewing something straight away.
Burda Easy 02-2015-4D Coat with neckline darts - images from Burdastyle magazine.
This pattern is from Burda Easy A/W 2015, pattern 4D. I own a half dozen issues of Burda Easy but this was my first use of the patterns. As the name of the magazine suggests, the designs tend to be very straightforward with few pattern pieces, plus they come with real actual pattern sheets (no tracing! though you still have to add seam allowances) and much more comprehensive instructions than usual for Burda.

Burda Easy A/W 2015 Pattern 4D in blue floral ponte knit

This particular pattern is actually intended to be a woven coat, but my version is a cardigan or "coatigan" as I made it out of a mid-weight ponte knit. I do own quite a few patterns for cardigans actually made for knits, but once the idea to make this coat was in my head I couldn't persuade myself to find something else. Partly this was because I had a problem with the wrong side of this fabric as it's a really bright white. Obviously anything like a waterfall design where the wrong side is on show was therefore out of the question, but also it seemed like a lot of cardigan patterns I had didn't go a great job of concealing the wrong side. I also wanted very few style lines as I didn't want to break up the giant print too much. This very simple coat pattern ticked all those boxes and since the fabric was pretty but ultimately inexpensive I decided to run with it.

Back view. Giant floral print is giant

This garment was ultra easy to sew, as you would expect. With making it out of ponte knit I just overlocked about 90% of the construction so I didn't even need to do any extra seam finishing or anything. As always, however, facings are the bane of my existence. On the one hand, the wide facings do a good job of keeping the wrong side of the fabric hidden. On the other hand, despite me spending a while hand-sewing the facings into place along every seam and hidden area I could think of, they do tend to open up a little still. I'll have to see if this annoys me when I wear it for real or if I forget about it.

Innards, including the annoying front facings

Size and fit wise, I made a size 44 with my usual small square shoulder adjustment. It's a rather shapeless and voluminous garment -- for sure you'd have room to layer even if you made it in a woven. It has no fastenings, which is what I wanted, although the pattern could easily be made up differently since the other versions (A-C) all fasten various ways. On me, the fit is maybe a little wide at the shoulder, but not enough that I am too bothered about it.

Overall, I think I like this cardigan. It was certainly a nice easy way to get sewing again. However, I am a bit dubious about the print. I really loved the print as a piece of fabric, but I'm not sure it 100% translated the way I expected into a garment. The colours are perfect for my wardrobe but I don't know, sometimes I think florals skew very frumpy on me. I guess I'll see how it goes wearing it.

Next up: This week is curtain-hemming-apalooza on behalf of my long-suffering mum, who has waited quite long enough. After that I've got a pile of Christmas and holiday related sewing and knitting to do, plus I want to finish the blue jumper I stalled out on at the beginning of the autumn by the end of the year if I can. So I'll be busy busy busy, or at least I will be if I can just stay well enough and motivated enough to keep going this time!

Friday, 4 November 2016

A black tunic and top

As mentioned at the end of my last post, I cut out another tunic to wear with black leggings at the beginning of October. Then I was forced into a lengthy sewing hiatus for the rest of the month. Happily, I am now sewing again, and my first task was therefore to sew up the two things I'd already cut out.

Ottobre 05-2014-05 New Boheme tunic in black cotton/lycra

Ottobre 05-2014-05 technical drawing
First up was the tunic. The pattern is Ottobre 05-2014-05, which is called the "New Boheme" tunic.

Since I made it in black, the line drawing no doubt tells you more than the actual finished garment photos do in terms of the features of the tunic. As usual for Ottobre, the pattern has some nice little details -- I like the pleated front neckline a lot and also the way the pockets are constructed is very neat. The pockets do sag open a little bit, but I was prepared for that this time since one of the two sample images in the magazine also has slightly saggy pockets.

I made a size 44 straight from the pattern envelope with only one minor change, which was making the sleeves elbow length. (This is the problem with there being a gap between cutting out and sewing: I can't remember why I wanted shorter sleeves. I just did, apparently.)

I really like how the pockets are assembled on this tunic

This turned out to be a very generously sized tunic except for the sleeves, which are more typical of Ottobre's knit pattern fit on me. I think if you're between sizes I would go for the smaller of the two sizes and just check the sleeve width is going to work for you. That said, I am very happy with how this turned out overall and pleased with how it looks in an outfit with black leggings.

I had one big 3m piece of this black cotton lycra knit, and my experience has always been that if you're planning to cut two things out it's often better to do both at once. In theory, the tunic above required 2.2m of fabric and even my most economical basic knit top pattern with elbow-length sleeves usually requires at least 1.2m of fabric. Somehow, however, by shortening the sleeves of the tunic and playing pattern Tetris I managed to get both the tunic AND a turtleneck top out of my 3m piece of fabric and still had 0.5m left over. Witchcraft!

Burda 09-2010-121 top (original version)
The outcome from making this top is a total hack job on my part. I started with a popular older Burda pattern (09-2010-121, which has a ton of reviews on PR). I traced out a size 44, and then basically over-wrote everything from the shoulder point down with my usual basic knit top pattern. I also totally ignored the (extra long, extra skinny) sleeves in the Burda pattern in favour of my preferred elbow length knit sleeve. So really, I only used maybe 10% of the Burda pattern.

I actually quite liked how the neckline turned out. I had been bit dubious because, as it's a one piece bodice/neckline, you sew the collar and collar facing as one and then flip the facing inside and sew the seam allowances together to hold it in place, leaving the rest of the facing unsecured. This does mean that it's a tiny bit awkward to put on (the facing tends to open up at centre front and back) and you definitely have to futz with the collar once it's on to get it to lie correctly, but once you've done that, it looks good. However, I admit I only wore it for a short period, so I can't say if it would stay put through a whole day of wear. 

Finished top with altered neckline
The reason for not wearing it for long is that since turtlenecks haven't been in fashion for a while, I had actually forgotten why I've never owned many: I hate the feeling of the fabric clinging to my neck! I wouldn't say, from a pattern perspective, that the neckline is designed to be tight at all, but I am just really bothered by the sensation of even a moderately close-fitting neckline like this. I wasn't at all excited to wear this top and in the end I decided to cut off the neckline to a crew neck as I will certainly wear that more often. Overall, this was really a lot of effort to go through for the end result, but eh, at least I ended up with something I'll wear!

Next up: Is there a compound word in any language for "the feeling of regret when you remember you promised a loved one that you would re-hem approximately six miles of curtains for them"? If there is, that is what I'm feeling right now. So many miles of curtains. So very much regret. However, once the curtains are done (will the curtains EVER be done?) I've got some cardigan plans I want to get started on, or maybe a shirt, or maybe something else entirely. Definitely nothing with a lot of hems!