Vintage Apron Sewing Project
I received the last of my new sewing machine feet, this one a binding foot. I have been completely terrible at sewing double fold binding in the past. Even when I try to sew the back side by hand it still looks lousy. I know that sandwiching the fabric between the binding layers is 'cheating', but I think the end result will be better than anything I can produce using the old-fashioned method.
My project is an apron from the book "Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion and Fun". I had been eyeballing this book for a few years, and was more than thrilled when I happened to see it in a used bookstore. The book is a collection of essays by Mary Brooks Picken, who founded a domestic arts school in the early 20th century. I found all the articles really interesting; some of the advice still holds true for today. The sewing projects look fun too, and instructions are given for how to draft the patterns yourself. The book is divided up by month;, this apron is part of March, and in an article called 'The Slip-Over Apron'.
The apron I made used 1 yard of a cotton print. As you can see, the original pattern had a scoop neck and rounded hem; I modified the pattern to have a sweetheart neck and scallops at the hem. If I hadn't done that, I probably would have had an easier time with the binding, but of course I'm never happy with anything that would be easy. The ties are quite long, so I ended up wrapping them around to the front and tying at the waist.
Sharee Cardigan from In Bloom
I have a new pattern to share, the Sharee Cardigan from Knit Picks collection "In Bloom". The Sharee Cardigan is a light and feminine sweater for the warming days of spring. The body and sleeves are knit in stockinette stitch, while the peplum and cuffs are worked in lace. This cardigan features an open v-neck and bust darts for a flattering fit. Garter stitch bands finish the edges and divide the waistband from the body. Sharee Cardigan is worked in Stroll, a fingering weight sock yarn.
The cardigan in the above photos was made by a sample knitter. I'd like to also share the photos of the cardigan that I knit, in the color Deep Waters. I've already worn it a few times, and love how lightweight it is. I wore it in cold weather layered over a long-sleeved shirt, and in warm weather over a tank top. I am in love with the peplum style; I find it flattering on someone like me that doesn't have much waist definition.
You can see the whole In Bloom Collection here on the Knit Picks website. The whole collection can be purchased for $14.99, or each pattern individually for $4.99.
It is almost time for planting! So excited to be growing vegetables again. Last winter wasn't too cold and my spinach and kale survived until spring, but this year has been much colder and my garden has been empty for quite some time. My trellis system for the tomatoes last summer was a dismal failure, so this year I am trying something new.
Bought four fence pieces and made two pairs with hinges at the top. Put one set on each end of the garden and strung twine at 3" intervals across. I am still debating if I should weave in cross pieces to make a grid. Nothing is planted yet, so I still have time to decide.
All of the vining plants will grow up both sides of the A-frame. It will save space and keep the vegetables clean and, hopefully, less likely to rot. I will be growing tomatoes, snap peas, and cucumbers. Underneath the A-frame I am planning to plant basil and spinach. Hopefully the vines will keep those plants cool and give me a bit more growing time before they bolt.
This was my Valentine's Day present. I think most women would ask for flowers or jewelry, but I asked for a trash can. But not just any trash can; I asked for a trash can with holes drilled into it that I could turn into a compost bin. My previous compost pile that I started over a year ago never did anything, so I needed to try something a little more practical. I found photos of trash can compost bins on Pinterest, and thought it was a much cheaper alternative than the fancy compost bins. Everything seems to be breaking down nicely, and it is a bit fun to roll this around my yard every other day. My neighbors seem to be very intrigued by my garden, and I can't imagine what they're thinking when they look out the window and see the crazy lady next door rolling around a trash bin while wearing her pjs. I'll just chalk it up to my eccentricity.
This beautiful tree is in my front yard. I have no idea what kind it is, but they are all over my neighborhood. I tried to photograph a new shawl I made hanging off the branches, but I just couldn't get the right angle. But I did notice a birdhouse way up near the top.
I hope the birdies are enjoying the flowers as much as I am.
On another note, I'll be spending the next several days away from the computer. My husband and I have various appointments at the hospital, so if you send me an email I promise I'll answer, it might just be a couple days.
Until next time, enjoy the spring flowers!
Colorful Peasant Skirt
It seems that I can't satisfy the urge to sew ruffles! I made another peasant skirt, this time using multiple fabrics and the gathering foot instead of the ruffler.
I used three quilting cottons. Yes, I know, you're not supposed to use quilting fabric for garments but I couldn't resist. In fact, long before I'd ever even heard about that controversial topic I had bought tons of quilting fabric for the sole purpose of making clothes. Those colorful prints were just too tempting! So we'll see how it holds up to wearing and washing.
I cut 1 yard of each fabric into 6" strips and joined the strips together. Here is a closeup of the different prints. I just love paisley!
To gather the ruffles I increased the tension from 3 to 4 and used my longest stitch length. I read that the gathering foot works best with lightweight fabrics, and they weren't kidding! The yellow and brown fabrics were thicker than the paisley, and they didn't gather nearly as much. The gathering foot probably works best with very lightweight fabrics like chiffon and lawn.
The top two tiers I left flat, then began joining the ruffles. For the waistband I added two rows of 1/4" elastic that was a couple inches smaller in circumference than my waist. I didn't feel like pressing up the hem, so I decided to finish the bottom with Ric Rac I had leftover from another project. Luckily I had an entire package and just barely had enough to make it all the way around.
This was a very by-the-seat-of-my-pants project, and I think I'm ready to go back to conventional patterns. I put on my favorite pair of shorts (which I haven't worn since last summer) only to find out that they *ahem* magically shrunk in the closet. Ok... maybe I grew. Either way, time for me to make some shorts. I was thinking to make another pair of Iris shorts and add a few modifications. The previous pair I made turned out great, but there are a few things I decided afterwards that I would change next time.
So I think I know what my next sewing project will be! What are you working on?
Return to sewing: Peasant Skirt
Well, hello sewing machine! I haven't seen you since before Christmas!! Now that I'm working at a more relaxed speed I have time to sew again. I bought a few new attachments for my machine, including a ruffling attachment. The written directions were pretty useless, so I had to watch a few YouTube videos in order to figure out how to attach the darn thing and get it to work. Lots of grumbling ensued, and I just about broke my machine before realizing that the ruffler needed some serious oiling. About 3 applications of oil before I could get any of the parts to move smoothly. Once the oil settled in, I was able to make lots of practice ruffles.
Pretty soon I felt comfortable enough to tackle a real project. Out same a navy blue poplin leftover from my Iris shorts. The plan was to make a simple peasant skirt with an elastic waist. I didn't have a pattern, but I felt confident that I could just wing it. The fabric was cut into 7" strips and gathered on the 6 stitch gathers with a 2.5 stitch length. .I had a hard time getting the gathers to be consistent, but I think I still just need to break in the ruffler more and get more practice. The end result turned out pretty well. Now I just need the weather to warm up about 20 degrees and I can wear it!
At my limit
I haven't blogged much lately, and it is because I have been too busy with projects that I can't yet share. In fact, I have taken on far too much work in the these past few months and have definitely learned my limit. I thought I could delegate some of the knitting to other people and it would all turn out alright, but the quality of my patterns still took a hit and that is just not ok with me. So now I find myself working on my final commissioned project, exhausted and ready for a break.
Last night my husband declared, in his firm tone of voice, that I need to take a vacation. I found that a bit hard to believe because, as someone that works from home (and most of that work is done in my pajamas), most people don't take my work seriously and think that my whole life is just one big vacation. I can't even remember how many times people have told me 'Oh you must just sit and knit ALL DAY LONG." Uh huh. Well, husband knows how much I work, and I know how much I work, but it is still hard even for me to think that I still need time off considering that he works very long days, and many of them are out in the cold and wet weather. But like any good husband, he doesn't seeing me frustrated and upset, so he insisted. I know it will be good for me, so I'll take it.
It drives me crazy to sit and not do anything so I will definitely still be creating, but at my own pace instead of a breakneck speed. In fact, I have a series of related projects in mind, so they might just end up being my first e-book. Let's hope the Knitting Gods will be kind and it will all go smoothly (haha- hasn't happened yet, and probably never will).
Also, since spring is approaching I will definitely be spending more time outside in my garden. I have quite a few sprouts already in my seed tray, which before long will (hopefully) turn into a bounty of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and cabbage.
I decided to redo the photos for two of my shawl patterns, so despite the cold and damp weather I spent this morning out in my garage taking advantage of the bright sunlight.
First up is my Rosana Shawl. While I really like the original photos I took down by the lake, I needed some with a cleaner background for my advertisements. This is one of my favorite shawls, but I hardly ever find an occasion to wear it. Maybe I'll just have to wear it to the grocery store one of these days.
Next is my Mariposa Shawl. I've gotten a few emails from people asking, "Doesn't mariposa mean butterfly in Spanish? Why did you name your shawl after a butterfly?" Yes, it does mean butterfly! If you look at her flat, you will see has wings!
I have made this shawl 4 times, and this particular version is made from some of my handspun. I'm not the best spinner, but the lumpy-bumpy laceweight yarn actually worked pretty well for this shawl.
Hopefully by my next post I will be feeling less scatter-brained and will have a new pattern to share.
Until then, Happy Knitting!
Cassie loves to knit, read and cook. She sometimes does all three at the same time.