Stretch jeans, camisole tops and moving to Seattle!

What does the post-partum woman need? Stretch jeans that fit! I whipped up these super quick stretch denim pants (are they jeans without a fly or yoke? I can’t quite commit to the idea) using the StyleArc Linda stretch pant pattern that I knew already fit (picture is here and pattern review is here).. I had a denim-coloured stretch bengaline pair that I wore to death after Julian was born, so another pair after Tessa’s birth seemed like a good idea. This time I widened the leg, as I much prefer wide legs to skinny (anti-fashion, I know!), raised the back waist and lengthened the hem. I added two rectangular patch pockets to the back, which are useful, and serve to break up the back view.

20140608-155942-57582638.jpg

20140608-155941-57581894.jpg
I wear them pretty much every day so they must be a success! (Let’s not dwell on the fact that there are not too many other choices in the closet right now). The denim is reasonably thick but has a good amount of stretch. Annoying it gets baggy after the first day of wear, but the pants are quite tight on the first day, so I wouldn’t take them in. I did discover while running alongside my two year old on a flying fox that elastic stretch pants are not really made for running, not that I do much of that right now.

Another immediate need in my post partum wardrobe was some camisoles for breastfeeding. I find that a cami pulled down and a top pulled up gives the kind of coverage I prefer for feeding in public.

20140608-161010-58210983.jpg
I have found it impossible to find breastfeeding camis that do not have foam bra cups in them (annoying when wearing a real bra underneath), that are suitable for a larger cup size, with a nice long length, and cotton. The best thing I have are these City Chic camis which are cotton-Lycra jersey, great long length, and I can pull the neckline down under my bust to feed. Sadly they now only sell them in vile polyester so I figured I would try making my own. I traced the pattern from an existing cami and used Fold over elastic (FOE) for the binding and straps. This is my first time using FOE and it was easy to use – I applied it with a simple zig-zag stitch.

20140608-161124-58284564.jpg

20140608-161125-58285397.jpg
Unfortunately the first cami I made I cut out on the crosswise grain (I really am sleep deprived), and it’s too tight and the straps too short. The second one is a bit tight too, especially in this beefy jersey. I used 2 yards of FOE on each one, which was the full length I had. These are useful but I think I still need to make a few more tweaks until I have exactly the cami I want.

20140608-161457-58497855.jpg

Big news! Our family of five is relocating to a Seattle! Yup, just half a globe away from where we currently live in lovely Melbourne. The process of moving is taking up all my time and energy that isn’t being used on my tiny baby and two older kids, so this blog will probably have big gaps between posts for a while.

I’m not taking my sewing machine or overlocker, I’m not willing to risk them on 60Hz 110V power. My sister will have them. The sewing machine was my Mums so I have no more claim to it than my sisters. I have spent a lot servicing it over the years and am very sentimentally attached to my awesome Elna TSP. It’s a fabulous machine, but I had been thinking of upgrading, so now I’m being forced to. I’ve been thinking for a few years about what to get but am still undecided. Modern computerized machines are very different to what I’m used to.

Still, I’m very excited about the chance to buy a new sewing machine and about moving to Seattle in general. I hope that I will be able to connect in to the local sewing and knitting communities. The only Seattle sewing blogger I know of so far is Michelle of happilycaffienated. Anyone know of any other Seattle sewing or knitting bloggers, or sewing meet ups, retreats etc the happen in the area? I’d love to know!

P.S. I made this entire blog post on my phone – what a technical feat!

P.P.S. Here is Tessa in the outfit I made her before she was born.

20140608-162702-59222722.jpg

Nighties for Althea – fairy and granny

I would be perfectly happy for my daughter to wear pyjamas as nightwear but unfortunately she was gifted a totally hideous 100% polyester Barbie (shudder) nightie. This became her favourite thing ever and had to actively confiscated to get it washed. So when it became too small I hid it (mean Mummy that I am) and the requests for more nighties started. Crazily enough I discovered that they are not easily available – I mean Target don’t sell any in her size! It’s onesies, pyjamas or nothing.

IMG_5089

I had been gifted this fairy printed interlock and matching ribbing by my aunt, who had intended it for a nightie for Althea but had never got around to making it. While heavily pregnant I thought this this might be a quick and easy project, scoured my Ottobre magazines for a suitable pattern and ta da! fairy nightie (much preferable to Barbie, and the fabric feels like it has at some cotton content).

IMG_5085

The pattern is Ottobre 3/2012 – 34 Jungle Stripes, a knit dress for older girls. I made the size 134 and added 3cm to the length. It is still very short, mid thigh, the photos don’t really show the true length. It’s also quite a snug fit through the shoulders, so although it fits she’s not going to get very much wear out of it, especially as the weather has cooled down so much now.

IMG_5084

I got Althea to help me trace and cut the pattern, after which she lost interest in this being a mummy-daughter project. The pattern has raglan sleeves, cute pleats at the front and back neck and elastic casings around the neckline and sleeves. I hemmed it with a multistep zigzag.

IMG_5040

Unfortunately my Ottobre collection did not contain a suitable winter nightie pattern, I was unable to find a downloadable pattern larger than a girls size 8, and so I had to purchase a big 4 pattern from Spotlight. Enter Simplicity 1569. Even though daggy granny nightwear is a Big 4 speciality there is not a lot of choice past a size 8 there either. The fabric was also from Spotlight and is of an abysmal quality. I felt terribly annoyed sewing with it knowing that it is not going to last long, but sadly Spotlight and Lincraft are the ONLY purveyors of printed flannelette in Australia. The smaller , better quality online and bricks and mortar stores don’t stock such a pedestrian stuff.  I felt sick when I discovered 1499 items listed for cotton flannel fabric at fabric.com. But I’m not paying for transPacific postage for printed flannelette!

IMG_5308

You can see the loose weave.

IMG_5314

So the nightie was pretty quick and easy to sew (good as I have a newborn) and Althea is super pleased with it. However….this pattern is everything I hate about big 4 patterns:

* the stupid fragile tissue paper. So annoying. Requires ironing flat. So hard to trace. I ended up cutting out her size because I really couldn’t be bothered which is such a waste of a multisize pattern that I will probably want to use again.

*Crazy amounts of wearing ease, and too much ease in the sleeve cap.

* Stupidly bad fit. I made the size 8 which is for a child 132cm tall, Althea is 135cm tall and it is FLOOR LENGTH. (The pattern envelope illustration is also misleading as the view C nightie is shown as mid calf length -it’s not).  The sleeves and yoke seem to be right for her size though. I was planning to make the 10 but once I saw the pattern pieces I sized down.

*Terrible instructions – I mean who would pin, baste and then sew, and then NOT finish the seam.  Needless to say I sewed the sleeves in flat, not in the round as instructed, I used 12mm bias binding to finish the neckline not 25mm, and closed the neckline with a press stud not a button and loop.

Anyway Althea’s very happy and I might even sew her another winter nightie soon. And I feel better having ranted at the interwebs!

Midwinter antelope hat

I was so happy with my Nymphalidlea shawl in the midwinter colourway that I ordered a ball of Knitpicks Chroma midwinter in the worsted weight so that I could make a coordinating hat. And here it is!

IMG_5135

Please excuse the sleep deprived, no make up selfies, complete with Ergoed newborn!  Glamorous photo shoots are not really my top priority at the moment.  I’m typing this post one handed while breastfeeding – it’s about as annoying and difficult as you would expect!

IMG_5136

The pattern is Antelope Hat by Kelly McClure. I made the beanie rather than the slouch version and as you can see it fits quite snugly (but I do have a much larger than average head). If I make this pattern again I’d definitely try the slouch.

I started this project three times, it was quite infuriating. I ended up constructing the picot brim differently to the pattern instructions, I used a provisional cast on – details are on my Ravelry project here. The picot edge flips up too, despite wet blocking on a size 3 soccer ball, and i don’t think that there’s much i can do about that.

IMG_4918

I am pleased with how the colours worked out with the deep blue (my favourite shade in this colourway) framing the face.

IMG_5146 IMG_5147

The use of yarn overs in the decreases at the crown is a lovely touch too.

IMG_5148

This hat was completed before Tessa was born and since she arrived I haven’t knit a single stitch, but have been desperate to dash off to my sewing sewing if I ever get any spare minutes. I suspect it’s probably because I spend so much time sitting and breastfeeding that I want to do something more active, and faster, when I get the chance. Swings and roundabouts though, I’m still dreaming of all the lovely things I’d like to knit!

Owl dress for Althea

I’m so happy to have snatched the time to post this – Tessa is actually asleep in the bassinet!!! not on me!! Actually this dress for Althea was sewed entirely in Tessa’s second week of life. Then on day 12 she woke up and, well, I’ve had almost no time to sew since then.

IMG_5165

The pattern is Farbemix Muriel in size 134/140. It is a smidge big as Althea is about 134cm, but I am happy with that as it should last her a while.

IMG_5159 IMG_5161 IMG_5163

I have made this dress for her many times before, it is one of my favourite patterns, and seems to work well from toddlers to older girls. I used bias tape to finish the neckline and arm holes, and did a centred back zip. The fabric was denim from the stash, left over from a skirt I made myself I think. Althea’s getting so tall that it’s hard to get dresses out of remnants for her any more.

IMG_5169 IMG_5170

The owl appliqué is an iron-on transfer from Spotlight, and we chose coordinating ricrac and ribbon. I am quite pleased with the effect, and am super glad that my big six year old is not past such decorative styles yet!

 

Rainbow hats!

Well I’ve finally succumbed to the matching thing and have made my children coordinating rainbow hats!

IMG_4847

The pattern is Luuk by Annis Jones the Woolen Horse, and the yarn is Knit Picks Chroma Worsted in the colourway Prism. I was basically inspired by a Ravelry project I found (here) and copied gluecksfisch’s pattern and yarn combination.

IMG_4845

The smallest hat is the 0-3 month size with the smaller bobble- it looks absolutely tiny! I made Julian (2.5 years, 51cm head) the Child 20″ size and it’s a very snug fit.

IMG_4733

(Two year olds – not the keenest photo models).

For Althea (6.5 years, 54.5cm head) I made the Adult 22″ size and the fit is pretty good. I did the big bobbles on both of the larger hats. Bobbles seem little crazy but I think they really make this style!

IMG_4807 IMG_4809

(She would only model the hat if she got to show off her sticker art – cooperative kiddies aren’t they?)

The pattern was great – the alternating ridges really show off the gradient rainbow colours and it’s a bit more interesting than just a plain hat. This pattern has ‘purl front and back’ which was a new stitch for me and is darn fiddly.

IMG_4812

I’m really pleased with these hats and am planning to make one more in the 6-12 month size as I expect that the tiny hat will fit for about two weeks and may not even get worn as, well, a worsted weight woollen hat is not really what a March/April baby in a temperate climate is really going to need. I wasn’t quite able to cast on four practically identical hats in a row though – I’m attempting to cast on (third attempt now) a hat for me, and after that I’ll be back to fuzzy rainbow goodness!

A cardigan for the upcoming baby

So finally at 37 weeks I have finished a knitted garment for the upcoming bub.

IMG_4768

The pattern is Granny’s favourite by Georgie Hallam. I knit the 16″ chest or 3 month size, with middie length sleeves and approximately dress length body, though in actual fact I just knit until I ran out of yarn. We will see how it fits in due course but it does seem quite short and wide. My gauge after blocking was slightly too loose 22.5 or 23 stitches per 10cm, not the 22 stitches stated so that might be part of the problem.

IMG_4771 IMG_4775

I enjoyed knitting this pattern, and it introduced me to a new technique – make one, using a simple backwards loop. I just googled for a youtube video as per usual.

IMG_4773 IMG_4774

The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply that I dyed myself. This skein was originally intended to be a hat for Althea but I was just never really inspired to knit that. The yarn was dyed twice, once as a multicolour which was awful, then overdyed as a solid (the post about that is here). The result is a semi-solid, and I am quite pleased about how it looks knitted up. I don’t think that the colour changes detract from the lace pattern.

The buttons are plastic ones from Spotlight, I had to use reasonably large ones to keep the cardigan securely closed even though they are only yarn over buttonholes.

I have been gifted several other gorgeous hand kits for this baby – I are so lucky and my knitting friends have been very generous. But I am also pleased to have been able to make something myself. It gives me that good mama feeling, which can be a bit precious and fleeting amid the crazy chaos of family life!