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Finished Knit: Deep-Vee Custom Fit Sweater

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Have you heard of “custom fit“? It’s a website by Amy Herzog that you plug your measurements into and swatch your knitted fabric and enter the gauge, then you choose a pattern and select some options, and out the other end comes a pattern customised for you, your particular measurements and your choice of pattern. I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while now, so decided to use it for a pattern for this gorgeous charcoal coloured Merino yarn that I picked up at the beginning of the year.

Custom Fit Sweater

I chose to build my own from the basic pattern options, choosing a high-hip pullover, with full length sleeves, basic 1×1 ribbing and a deep V neckline. I deliberately made the neckline quite low as I have a few RTW sweaters (that are wearing out) that have this depth neckline and I find it a really versatile style to wear with layers underneath.

IMG_6408 The standard for the custom fit patterns is to knit the garment in pieces, and then seam the pieces together. Most of the garments I’ve made so far have been seamless garments, and although the pattern came with instructions of how to convert it into a seamless/knit in the round garment, I decided to go with the recommendation of the instructions and do the seams. I figure I can’t say that I don’t like something if I haven’t tried it.

I definitely prefer seamless knitting.

I know the finished garment is supposed to be more stable and stuff when seamed, but I haven’t really experienced this as a problem in any of the other garments I’ve made.

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I also struggled a bit with the instructions provided by Custom fit. They are certainly not for the beginner knitter, I think you’d want to have a few other garments under your belt before trying one of these patterns, as it doesn’t hold your hand in any way.

The biggest issue I had was the way the shaping components (waist shaping, armhole shaping, neckline shaping etc) were all separate, so when multiple components were happening at once the instructions are all over the place and I found it very confronting.

I haven’t done that many knitting projects before (see them all here), and while Untangling Knots patterns have featured heavily I have knit from a reasonable range of pattern designers. However, so far (by it coincidence or because it’s more common, I don’t actually know) all of other patterns have given me the instructions line by line. So having the different shaping components separately was a bit of a shock. I ended up having to write out the instructions line by line for some parts to even work out what I was supposed to do, let alone keep track of it.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t too hard to write out the lines to work out what I was doing, but it came as a surprise as I’ve never had to do it before, and I felt a bit cheated. I mean, all the other patterns I’ve used combined it for me, it felt like I was doing a lot of work that would normally be included in the price of the pattern.

However, I get that because of this one being custom generated there may be limitations as to how difficult it would be to code it to combine the information vs provide it the way it is. But it has got me wondering whether this is a peculiarity of this method of creating a pattern or if it’s a common way of presenting patterns. Does anybody know?

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Another disappointment I had due to the lack of ‘hand holding’ was the lack of instructions surrounding the V at the centre front of the v-neck. I didn’t really know what to do with the stitches surrounding and between the double decreases, and my V is a little untidy (ie when to purl and when to knit). I will need to get some more information on this before doing anything similar again. Does anybody have know any particularly good resources?

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The fit is fairly good. The fit through the shoulders is bang on and it’s great through the bust. The ease through the waist is fine, but the hips actually have slight negative ease, which I don’t really like. I think I would prefer no ease through the hips.

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The only real issue with the fit is that the sleeves are too long. It’s probably my fault, and I need to check whether it was caused by me selecting the wrong sleeve length, or me entering the gauge wrong from my swatch. If the sweater had been knit in the round I could unravel the sleeves a bit and reknit the cuffs just that little bit shorter, but with the seams it’s a lot more complicated; I’d have to undo the seam before unravelling and then reknit and re-seam, which I know isn’t really that much harder but is that much harder that I’m not going to bother. Another down side is that if I fold the cuffs back to shorten the sleeve I’ve got the unsightly seam running down the cuff, whereas this wouldn’t occur with a seamless sweater.

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The yarn I used is 8ply Grignasco Merinogold and it’s divine both to knit with and to wear. It is the same yarn in a different colourway to what I used for my Parcel sweater, and that one is lasting really well, so I’m optimistic this one will last well too. The colour is a charcoal grey colour, with some lighter grey specks in the really dark/black giving it some interest.
IMG_6430 Overall, I’m pretty happy with this garment, and it’ll certainly replace the well-worn black RTW sweater with a similar neckline that got left behind in Australia.

Find this project on ravelry here.

Amazing Fit Jacket – Further Fitting

Amazing Fit Blazer

I haven’t forgotten about my jacket plans, they’ve just been put on the backburner slightly. After posting about my issues with the Simplicity 2446 pattern I did go ahead and make a muslin.

However, I haven’t brought either my muslin or the pattern with me to Canada, so I’ve been trying to decide whether there’s any point in posting this. In the end I have (obviously) decided to, if for no other reason than future reference for myself.

Shown below is the fit straight out of the envelope, and it didn’t come out too badly. The biggest issue I identified was the shoulders; they were far too wide on me. I also need a smidge more ease through the bust, as shown by the drag lines in the side-view picture.

The best option for taking away some of the width in the shoulders seemed to be taking the jacket in at the princess seams at the shoulder. What I mean by this is shown below, with me (or Sarah. my photographer) holding the proposed adjustment in place.

It’s a little frustrating that I can’t continue improving the fit of this, but I’ll get back to it eventually… or get the pattern here and make another muslin with these changes… or try another pattern. Right now this latter option of another pattern seems the most likely; shiny new things are much more exciting. I’m currently getting excited about the prospect of making a winter coat, so the jacket/coat plans aren’t completely out of the window, they’ve just changed slightly.

Fun with Iron on Vinyl

Ingress Burster XMP Iron on vinyl

Before we left Melbourne we discovered that one of our friends had a Silhouette cutter. In case you haven’t heard of them; it’s a machine that can cut, at a specified depth, based on a design from the computer. An ideal use for a cutter like this is to cut out stickers or similar in cool custom shapes. Another great use, and what sparked my interest is the option to cut out iron on vinyl into custom shapes that can then be ironed onto fabric and such.

Silhouette Cutter

So, we ordered some vinyl and my friend was kind enough to cut out some designs for us. You can see the cutter in action above.

Ingress Burster XMP Iron on vinyl

The first design I tried was a birthday gift for my friend Simon (the father of the recipient of this baby quilt). I designed a little motif for him, vectorising an XMP burster from Ingress (one of the weapons used in the game) and adding his name in the game. Once the design is cut out on the Vinyl, you have to ‘weed’ out all the bits you don’t want, ie pull them off. But carefully to make sure that you don’t pull off any of your actual design. The weeding I did for this design is shown above. I actually found my Awl that I’d gotten for pattern drafting a great tool for using for the weeding.

Ingress Burster XMP Iron on vinyl

Once weeded, I ironed the vinyl onto some blue quilting cotton and made it into a little drawstring pouch, just the right size to fit his external battery pack (another Ingress essential!)

Iron on Vinyl Man

The second vinyl design I tried was a lot less complex; both being a more complicated design and also using two colours. Darren had found a picture he particularly liked on the internet, so we converted it to vector for the cutting software to read and cut it out. Weeding this one was incredibly difficult, because of all the tiny pieces of beard to make sure I didn’t pull off too. I lost a few but very experimentally glued them back onto the backing sheet with some glue stick which surprisingly worked. It took lots of time and patience, but I got there in the end, and this design was ironed onto one of the merino t-shirts that I’ve made for Darren.
Iron on Vinyl Man

I really liked the outcome from these projects, I think they were really worth the effort. Darren has been wearing his shirt all the time since I finished it (back in June), so it’s been washed heaps and it’s holding up really well and still looks as good as new. It’s definitely a technique I’ll keep in my arsenal for the future as it makes a really great difference to the items.

A Quilt for Baby Leo

Baby Quilt for Leo

Today I wanted to share a quilt that I made recently for a dear friend and her new baby.

Baby Quilt for LeoIn deciding what design quilt to make, I first selected a “feature” fabric from my stash;  this delightful fabric with hedgehogs and foxes on it (thanks Oanh!). I had a bit over a metre of this fabric, so I decided to use it as a feature fabric on the front, and then as the majority of the back. I  decided to go with a basic layout of squares, throwing in a few larger squares of the feature fabric. I carefully worked out the size of the quilt and the number of feature squares so that I could use all of the fabric on the front and back of the quilt.

IMG_20150404_152359I then selected some coordinating fabrics, by picking out some of the colours in the print; I had a nice selection of green and yellow in my stash, and supplemented these by buying some richer orange and teal fabrics.

Baby Quilt for Leo

As I mentioned, I had saved a large piece of the feature fabric for the back, which I supplemented with a strip of squares made up of the extra fabrics from the front.
Baby Quilt for Leo

In the middle went some of the nice low-loft polyester batting they sell at GJs, and then I quilted the quilt with an all over stipple pattern.

Baby Quilt for Leo

And bound the quilt in one of the dark teal fabrics.
Baby Quilt for Leo

A New Machine and New Season Sewing Plans

sewing machine singer 4622

It’s looking like we’re going to be staying here in Vancouver for at least another 3 months, hopefully more if employment prospects work out, so we are starting try and settle in a bit. For me that of course means having access to a sewing machine! I did discover that Spool of Thread hires out its machines by the hour, which would be fantastic if we weren’t planning on staying here very long, but the prospect of only being able to sew during their opening hours wasn’t all that great to me.
sewing machine singer 4622

So instead I have scored (what seems like) a great little machine on craigslist! My new (to me) machine is a Singer 4622, I have no idea how old it is, but the little test I’ve done on it so far it’s worked really well and I’m excited to test out its functionality some more. The lady that was selling it also threw in the pictured  box of sewing supplies, which contains needles, pins, scissors, tape measures, seam gauges, thread, binding, you name it! Basically an entire sewing kit!

I couldn’t test it out too much when I first got it because I didn’t have any scrap fabric to use for testing. So, that of course meant that I needed to go buy some fabric!  So, this afternoon I popped into the city to go to dressew, to get something to use for testing and also some project fabric. I came out with the following:

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Left: Some incredibly impractical but awesomely soft white sweatshirt fabric to make a Paprika Patterns Jasper Sweater.
Middle: Lining for the last piece…
Right: Some greeny-grey wool suiting to make another Hollyburn Skirt

And of course I completely forgot to get the testing-fabric, so had to go back for some calico!

 

I thought this might be a good opportunity to share some of the thoughts I’ve been having about my sewing for the next few months. While the weather is absolutely beautiful here in Vancouver at the moment, I’m sure it’s going to start cooling down sooner or later, and I could definitely use some cooler weather clothes, so that’s what I’m going to try and focus on.

jasper sweaterJasper Dress

I have absolutely fallen in love with the Jasper Sweater pattern. As you’ve probably guessed from my fabric purchases above, one of my first projects is going to be the hoodie sweater version of the pattern. Then, assuming that the pattern works out I’d also really like to do the collared dress view of the pattern.

And obviously, given my fabric purchase, I’m planning another hollyburn skirt. My hollyburns were in very frequent rotation in Melbourne, and since I got rid of my first hollyburn before moving, I figure I can’t go wrong adding a new one into my wardrobe. I’m quite excited by the fabric that I have, since it’s paler than I would normally choose so it’ll be nice to branch out with the colours of my colder weather clothes a bit.

granville archer

Another project I’m contemplating is revisiting the Granville Shirt. Learning from the fit of my first try and this time picking a smaller size and doing a FBA. I’m a little nervous of this since I don’t know how well my new machine will handle buttonholes, but I’ll investigate that soon so I can decide.

Another one I’m contemplating is the Archer shirt. I’m not sure why as I’ve not been that interested in it in the past, but for some reason I can just imagine myself making one out of flannel wearing it around the house and being nice and cosy as the weather cools down. Some of my friends will attest that I’ve wanted a red and black plaid shirt for a really long time (like 4+ years long time), in pretty much exactly the same print as the sample picture above, so I may have a hunt around online and see if I can find a suitable fabric. If anyone has any suggestions of stores to try, please do let me know; I’ve not done garment fabric shopping online before.
(I don’t have the problem of buttonholes with this project, as the lovely ladies on instagram pointed out it would look great with snaps!!)

craftsyclass

Another project I have planned is that I’m going to try the Vogue 9040 coat. I have purchased the “Inside Vogue Patterns: Coatmaking Techniques V9040” craftsy class and am going to sew along with the class with the pattern once it arrives. I had a peek at the coating options at both dressew and atex fabrics today, and wow the selection is overwhelming for this sewer who is used to the selection of coatings available in Melbourne (which is generally slim pickings and very seasonal). I’ll watch through at least the first few classes and wait for the pattern to arrive before I go and buy fabric for this coat, but I’m excited about it!

(A big thanks must go to the Social Sewing crew, who very generously gifted me with some craftsy class vouchers as a leaving gift, this is the first class that I’ve bought with the vouchers. Thanks ladies!)

 

Anyway, that’s what I’m currently thinking of with regards to upcoming sewing projects. Hopefully writing it down will help guide my thoughts a bit. Although it does feel like something is ‘missing’. I need to spend some time trawling the blogosphere for a while, there are so many new patterns around that I don’t even know about! Do you have any recommendations of great new patterns that would be suitable for cooler weather and might suit me?