Happy New Year! This is the only bit of sewing I could get done in the last few months of 2017. I bought this sweater several years ago in the men’s section. I liked that is was $7 on clearance, super warm, and the dark green color. The only problem is that after wearing it for a few hours the sleeves would stretch out like crazy!
So I decided to do a little altering! I could have removed the knit textured cuff and moved it up to make it shorter, but I actually like the length. I love long sleeves that cover my fingers! It’s like having build in mittens!
It’s finally sweater weather in Missouri! Hurray! I’m not nearly ready to knit a sweater, but I decided to make a sweater dress.
I happened across Mimi G’s Vogue 9111 Sweater Dress Sew Along where she takes view B and turns it into a mini dress. If you just like the top there is a beautiful version by TipStitched. When I first started sewing I bought a lot of clearance fabric, and while that can be fun I quickly learned that sometimes it is better to pay more for a better fabric. I haves some things that pilled after a few washes or that unraveled very quickly.
My Mom wanted to wear a maxi dress to my rehearsal dinner and of course she could not find one that was a true maxi. When did maxi dresses start landing at your shins when you are 5′ 4″? So I pulled together all of my maxi or “could be” maxi dress patterns and we went through them together. She chose the Cashmerette Appleton wrap dress.
We then went on a search for fabric and ended up with this double knit with beautiful red flowers on a blue background from Fabric.com. I’m pretty excited that I overbought and now there is enough leftover for a top for me too!
I promised her there would be enough cleavage coverage, so I cut the bodice out in a 22D and graded the front crossover out to a 28.
This dress came out of nowhere! Honestly, I stumbled across the pattern on sale and then turned around and bought some green spandex knit jersey. It wasn’t on my list of things to make at all. 3 hours later I had a dress I am madly in love with. I have had it for 2 weeks and have worn it 3 times.
Oh yeah, and when I put this bolt of fabric on the counter to be cut I said something like, “I just love that color!” The lady cutting it replied, “Well, I hate it. I think green is hideous.” Hahaha! What do you even say to that? I love it when things like that happen. You know what’s great about sewing is that it has boosted my self-confidence enough that I didn’t care that she thought I was making something hideous. Who cares? Not me!
Oh man, all through November and December I had a cough that I could not shake! I have been looking at all the cozy coats and sweaters that people have been making and I decided I needed one of my own. I have had my eye on the Toaster Sweater #1 from Sew House Seven for a while. I finally decided to take the plunge and bought the pattern. It looks like the warmest sweater and it is a little edgy with that neck piece!
Of course I knew that the model would have a MUCH longer neck than I do, but it’s been so cold I took a chance on it anyway. Let me tell you, this sweater went through about 3 weeks of tweaking and altering to get it to fit! I think it works on me and most importantly it is very warm!
I worked at Lane Bryant for many, many years so I have a lot of their clothes that were really made to last. Every winter they used to sell 4 or 5 colors of ponte knit pants that fit so amazingly! I am down to my last pair and I decided I would try to recreate them by making a pattern from them without taking them apart. They are a really simple shaped pant with a thick elastic waist band that doesn’t look frumpy! Sadly, they do not have pockets, but I think I can fix that!
So first I traced the pants on both sides with a front leg and a back leg.
In late May I will be a “grooms maid” in an old friend’s wedding. He and his fiance are perfect for each other, especially in that they are both very thoughtful people. They decided that the wedding party dresses could be any black dress. Since I’ve bought my fair share of David’s Bridal “one-time wearables”, and then donated them, I think this is an extremely thoughtful move! No strapless, flouncy, or “bridesmaidsy” requirements! Plus, If you are a weekend sewist like me, a black dress will hide a lot of sewing sins! (Argh! Why didn’t I name this blog, “Sewing Sins?” What an amazing name!)
I looked for a pattern with a similar fit as some of my favorite RTW dresses and I finally settled on McCall’s M7313 flared, pull-over dress. Admittedly, I am not ready to face zippers. Instead, I am going to bank heavily on my black, neoprene “scuba” fabric and stretch lace to allow me to pull it on over my head. The pattern is really good for a knit beginner. There are only 4 simple pattern pieces and 6 pieces of fabric to put together the dress. If you want more shape you are going to have to add it. This should be a pretty easy-to-alter little pattern! My vision is a simple black lace overlay dress with the sleeves as sheer black lace only. I chose the D versions with a lower neckline and 3/4 sleeves. That should work for a May wedding in St. Louis!
While I was looking for the least-intimidating, first time knit project to start I stumbled across Fancy Tiger Craft’s One Hour Top. It’s a free, two-piece pattern so I thought it would be worth a shot. It was! I can see how this pattern will be super handy in the future! It has larger, dolman-style sleeves and simple twin needle finishes on the neck and sleeves.
I did do some rogue pattern altering because my hips were outside of the XL/XXL finished size of 47 inches. I just cut down the middle line on the pattern and worked it until there were 14 inches across at the bottom of both the front and the back pieces. That way the hips would end up at about 55 inches after sewing. I had already purchased some black ITY knit with a 40% stretch in one direction and 20% stretch in the other. I made sure to set my pattern pieces where the 40% stretch went across the hips. In hindsight I could have made the sleeves a little larger for the dolman look.
I'll write about my adventures in sewing, pattern design, fabrics, notions, sewing books, magazines and the lessons I've learned from my Mother along the way. I'll be adding Knitting as well now that I have my own knitting buisness.