A 2-for-1 quickie post

Answering a few questions via the comments on my last post::

Christina— I used this tutorial to make the outlines for the croquis, though with Oona’s modifications of using Photoshop instead since that’s what I had. (I found the tutorial via her blog.) Hope that helps!

Hana— my bust is pretty full. I think it’s more that my waist is kind of surprisingly small in comparison to my hips, and I’ve learned over the years that if I wear things that aren’t fitted or cinched in one way or the other, it just gets completely lost. Thus the reason that most empire-waist stuff just doesn’t seem to do it for me, unless it does the fit-and-flare thing underneath.

Thanks for the other comments, ladies!

After spending basically 2 months sewing nothing but complicated, fully-lined jackets, not to mention the shrug that I’m still knitting, I just wanted to make something simple and fast. So I’ve actually managed to knock out two projects over the course of two days, which is what I’m sharing today.
The first project wasn’t one that I found on my Pinterest, but I did have it saved there, so that counts as Pinterest being useful, right? Anyway, I found this tutorial for a simple roll-up knitting needle case on Design*Sponge, and figured it would be perfect for my small collection of non-circular needles. I slightly adapted it a bit– instead of canvas, I used this thick textured cotton stuff that my mom had leftover from some project of hers, and instead of the twill tape, I made double-fold bias tape from a fat quarter I’d had sitting in my scrap bin from ages.

Making bias tape is a pain, even with that little tool thingy. It wouldn’t be, except that anywhere I’d seamed it together, it wouldn’t go through. But I’m seriously considering taking some more of those scraps and turning it into bias tape, just to give me a way to use some of it up. It’s so handy. And I can’t close the lid on my scrap bin. But I digress.

When I said small collection, I wasn’t joking. I did leave one pack of my double-pointed out, but that’s because I accidentally bought a second pack of size 11s after I forgot that I already had one. Thus the need to see what I have. You can tell that I prefer to use the circulars whenever possible, can’t you?

I actually did something smart, and decided to stitch the bias tape on with one of the machine’s decorative stitches. Bias tape is really a pain to line up, and I figured that this particular stitch would catch the edge on both sides, no problem. It worked like a charm, and I didn’t mind this particular project having more of that “homemade” look, since the channels for the needles weren’t exactly going to be in matching thread, either. I knocked this one out in its entirety on Friday night, including making the bias tape (aside from pre-cutting the strips during my cutout binge day I had last week), while helping my friend Nicole figure out the best way to take in a vintage dress that she was working on, and introducing her to Downton Abbey.  And I’m quite happy with the results, especially since I tend to procrastinate a lot on that more utilitarian sewing!

The second project, which I cut out later last week, was the newest Sewaholic pattern–the Renfrew top! I decided to go for the 3/4 cowlneck, with this knit print that I was given for Christmas about 2 years ago. (Please ignore the sideways picture– apparently I forgot to save it after turning it in Picasa, and I didn’t want to bother with uploading it again.)

This fabric print is kind of interesting– when I look at it close-up, the somewhat Celtic knot-like is what stands out to me more. When I look at it from further away, the X’s stand out more. And closeup, the X’s look more like V’s. It’s like an optical illusion!

And here’s my finished top! As seen with my corset-laced pants, because it’s always fun to find something new to wear with those, and the weather is warm enough today that I’m feeling good about breaking out the linen pants after their winter hiatus. I think the stripe-ish bits lined up pretty well, overall. And this pattern sewed together like a dream– I got it stitched together in its entirety within the few hours I had to sew on Monday, and that was with going back over nearly every seam with my sewing machine after serging it. (As per my Check The Technique, I did work on playing with the tension on here. It looks great on one side, but not so much on the other side, and everything I’ve done to fix it so far looks terrible on both sides. So I didn’t trust it to not pull apart. I did learn, however, that if I serge it first, machine-sewing it doesn’t make the fabric ripple. So I guess that’s something.

Anyway, back to the pattern. As I said, it was super-quick to sew together, and I’m really happy with the fit. On a hunch, I actually did some grading before I cut it, from the size 8 for the chest and hips down to the size 4 for the waist, and it worked great! I didn’t have to take it in at all. The length is perfect to be able to raise my arms without my stomach showing, which is a must when you play an instrument that pretty much requires that movement at all times. And I wasn’t sure how the neckline would cut, thus the cowl neck for this version, but it seems like it wouldn’t be too low-cut at all. So I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be going back to this pattern again–it’s pretty much the perfect basic knit top! Thanks, Tasia!

The one thing I would have changed was the cowl– I love the look of it, but I had to piece one side of it together due to the way I had to lay it out with the stripes. Before I sewed it on, I went back and forth multiple times as to which way I should flip it in hopes that the un-seamed side would end up on the outside. And I guessed wrong. So there is a seam running down the front of the cowl, though I don’t think it’s very visible unless you’re really close-up. I didn’t want to re-do it and risk stretching the neckline out irreparably (ah, the joys of ripping out serger thread), and think this particular print needed the cowl to balance out the grid-like nature of it. So I just left it.

2 more things:
1. With this top, and factoring in those couple of fabrics that I got for my birthday, that takes my stash down to about 216 yards. This is down 57 yards from where I started at the beginning of last year, which I don’t think is bad at all! The count will be even lower soon, since I already have 3 pieces chopped up for the next couple of projects, but I have that information written down elsewhere so I’m not counting it yet.

2. Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones did an interesting post yesterday where she did more of a monthly roundup/goals for her sewing, and kindly said that I could borrow the concept. I’m definitely one who gets too many ideas for things I want to make, and therefore I stress myself out. So I’m hoping to use this as a way to focus a little more, and maybe even work in some of those mending and utilitarian projects that I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I can pretty much sum up February and January with the browncoat-fest post that I already did, so instead, I’m just going to share my goals for the rest of March. (Since the top I’m wearing today was goal #1.)

#2: Finish knitting that shrug, since I need it by the 31st. I’m getting close– about 30ish rows left on the sleeve, then blocking, then seaming and adding the final ribbing around the back and neck. I can do this!

#3: Reconstruct a skirt that I took apart late last week. That will be this afternoon’s project, at least in part.

#4: Get the next step of my mini-knitalong going. It’s only about 30 rows, I can do this too!

#4: Sew that blue corduroy jacket that I cut out last week. I may be able to start this later this week, depending on how said reconstruction goes.

#5: If I get 2 and 4 done and still have some time left, I have a short-sleeved top in my Ravelry queue that I’d like to get the swatching done up for. I’m hoping this one will be fairly simple, since for once in my life, the yarn was one that was both wool-free and still affordable, and therefore I’m actually using what the pattern calls for. So I guess this will be the big test to see just how ridiculously tight my knitting tension is…

I’m trying not to go too overboard and stress myself out, since I’ll be getting back to a more normal work schedule probably next week, and will have less time. So hopefully this is a realistic list!


3 thoughts on “A 2-for-1 quickie post

  1. Your Renfrew looks great! I found th cowl totally confusing when I did it– I ended up sewing it on upside down, which I didn't notice until I'd already trimmed the seam allowance… ugh! I had tons of seam ripping to do then and had to guesstimate when I re-sewed. Yuck!


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