Cashmerette Concord Tee – sewing win!

Cashmerette Concord Tee – sewing win!

I was soooo excited when this pattern was released (link here). A t-shirt drafted on a curvy block, with cupsizes- awesome! I had actually had disappointing results from the Cashmerette Washington dress (unblogged) but was determined to make this work. My end aim was to make my own graphic printed tees that fitted perfectly by refashioning commercial tees, and this has totally worked out!

Iteration 1
I used an old t-shirt of my husbands for this – is is 100% cotton jersey with not much stretch, the neck and sleeve bands are stash fabric.

I emailed Jenny for a sizing suggestion and she got back to me quickly – such good service. This is a straight 20 C/D. My measurements are 45-40-52 (with cup size much larger than C/D but it works). I went for a size that gave me zero ease at the bust rather than negative ease as the knits I was planning to use are not very stretchy.

Iteration 2

This is cotton-elastane jersey from the stash, and the V-neck option. Wearing this around convinced me that I needed a smaller size in the shoulders and a full bicep adjustment. I also added an inch of length at the waist.

Iteration 3

This is a refashion of a mens 3XL short sleeve shirt from threadless on clearance. Sadly these lovely designs are printed on a 45% polyester shirt – ugh.

I feel that the fit is getting very good by this tee. It is an 18 C/D down to the underarm and then 20C/D on down, with 1″ full bicep adjustment and 1″ added length at waist. You can see I reused the sleeve hems from the original tee.

My only regret is that I straight stitched the neckband seam allowance down. I did stretch as I sewed, but is has still caused unsightly gathers and pulling in. I have worn this shirt a lot though.

Iteration 4

This is my favorite, another threadless mens 3XL.

You can see I had to cut off the top of the design to get my pattern piece on, but I still think it looks ok. I zigzagged around the neckline this time. This version gets worn straight from the wash – I love it!

Iteration 5 – a tangent.

Well actually this threadless mens 2XL long sleeve was too narrow in the hips to fit my Concord pattern piece so I refashioned it for my 8 year old. Lucky girl! I love this print. This tee is also 100% cotton.

The pattern is Ottobre 3/2010-31 Funky Sisters. This is size 152 with 3cm added to each side seam. I compared the pattern pieces to some of her current tees and this pattern is super-super slim fit as drafted.

So I’m now in search of some more awesome graphic tees to refashion. unfortunately I’m going to have to use a raglan pattern to get long sleeves, but I’m ok with that. And the Cashmerette Concord tee pattern – 100% thumbs up from me, it’s a super curve flattering draft with great instructions. Thanks Jenny!

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Granny’s Favourite cardigan for Tessa

Granny’s Favourite cardigan for Tessa

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We recently returned home to Australia for a month, and while we were there I finished off this little cotton cardigan for Tessa. This was a good thing since summer was definitely not over yet, and there were some rather blistering temperatures, to which, it seems, I am no longer accustomed.

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The pattern is Granny’s Favourite by Georgie Hallam (now Georgie Nicolson) and it is indeed a big favourite, having over 1000 Ravelry projects. In fact I made this for Tessa before:

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Here she is at 7 days old wearing the 15″ chest size, knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply which I hand dyed. The hat was a lovely gift.

This time I made the 21″ chest and the 24 month full length sleeves and body, and the fit is good. This is a well designed pattern and includes nice finishing details, I would definitely recommend it if you like this classic style.

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The buttons are from my Mother-in-law’s button tin and I love them. The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8ply in parchment. It’s very smooth and pleasant to knit.

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The neck has stretched out a bit with wearing. Such is the nature of cotton yarn. I was pleased to have finished this so Tessa could wear it in Australia, and I’m sure that it will still fit through the coming US summer as well.

Here is my little girl who has just turned two in the dress that I made for her big sister’s 2nd birthday.

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I’m really happy that it’s getting a second life. Happy birthday Tessa!

 

2016 reflections

2016 reflections

I’m sitting here with coffee and sourdough toast, and it’s 6am on the first of January – I guess it’s time for reflections. After 2014’s year of massive change (having a third baby, moving across the world), I consider 2015 a year of consolidation. In 2015 Althea became much happier at school and has some lovely friends, Julian started at a new, friendly co-op preschool, and Tessa turned into a talking, walking toddler. My Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is finally under control and stable, and I guess I’ve settled into, and accepted, my role as a stay at home parent of three children at this time.

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We managed to get our entire family able to bike ride together – Althea on her own bike with gears and the younger two in a trailer, which is really, really heavy to pull especially since it’s so hilly here, but for someone who used to love her daily cycle commute, being able to take a family Sunday morning bike ride is a big achievement.

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I managed to get into a great lap swimming routine, two evening a week, then it fell apart. I joined a great choir, then it fell apart. That’s ok. I’m starting with a new choir next week, and I’m going to try to set up a home yoga routine, starting with a 30 day yoga camp.

My sewing mojo just disappeared this year, but my knitting mojo fired, probably partly because of my awesome Sunday knitting group. Such an interesting group of women – I’m so lucky to have found them. I did manage to sew a few things including a pieced duvet cover for Althea’s birthday in September. Since Santa brought me an automatic buttonhole foot for Christmas it might actually get it’s button closures some time soon.

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This dress/skirt for Althea is my favorite piece of sewn clothing for the year.

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This skirt is one of the few useful bits of clothing I made for myself this year. I made a lot of duds.

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I made my first Customfit sweater this year which I am very, very happy with. It’s a bit short but is still a great fit improvement on every other sweater I’ve ever knit. I have almost finished my second Customfit, it’s an alpaca Foyle’s cardigan. I am so determined to have it finished while winter is still in full swing – it’s going to be warm.

A wearable sweater – huzzah!

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I’m pretty proud of this Welcome to the Flock set I made for Tessa.

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Baa-able hat for Julian

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The lace required a lot of concentration but I’m so proud of this alpaca Rosewater hat.

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We had three lots of Australian visitors in 2015, my mother-in-law in March, my dear friend in August and my sisters in December. This was just so wonderful and I’m so grateful that they all gave up so my of their time and money to cross the vast Pacific Ocean to see us.

The beautiful rose garden in Portland, Oregon, that I visited with my friend Kate.

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I also survived the three month summer school vacation which was, well, pretty challenging. Our house was very hot, with no cooling and we had quite a few nights when it was too hot to sleep. Three months of being the sole source of entertainment for three children was tough, even with a few activities (holiday programs/day camps) thrown in. I also eventually calmed down when taking taking my three little drowning hazards swimming in the lake. We only took a two day/one night weekend away to Mt Rainier. Next summer we’ll definitely try for more.

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I’m looking forward to 2016. We are taking out first trip back to Australia since we moved here, and it’s going to be timed for sunshine and Womadelaide! It’s going to be bittersweet seeing all our dear friends again and then leaving though. Hopefully summer will be less exhausting.  Julian is starting school in September and Althea is changing schools. I’m going to try Tessa out with a few hours of preschool. Hopefully full nights of sleep will materialize. I’m not going to make crafting goals, as that is too much pressure for me. Crafting fits around the other non-negoitatable things in my life. I make things as the mood takes me, catching the sparks of joy.

A baby in January, a toddler in December 2015.

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Wishing you all the very best in 2016. Another year, another adventure.

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Malibu skipping skirt

Malibu skipping skirt

This is my favorite make for a long time – I am insanely pleased with it. I have loved this pattern, Malibu skipping skirt by Studio Tantrum, ever since it was released. Althea has only recently become old enough for it, as it is an older girls style. Here is the blog post that Nancy Langdon, the designer, wrote when she released this pattern two years ago, with lots of beautiful versions of the design.   She describes it as an eight-gore wasp waist suspender skirt reminiscent of the 1950s.

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The pattern is available in sizes 98/104 to 170/176, so right up to teen sizes. I made up the size 146/152 from my 140cm seven year old. This would have looked more like the pattern photo had I made the size down, but given how fast she grows I just couldn’t bring myself to make a size she would potentially be out of in a few months.

The back is fitted with darts, which can be left unsewn for a stockier figure. Because I chose the larger size I actually had to make the darts even deeper, giving the back a corseted look.

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The fabric is a Kaufman Newcastle Indigo denim from fabric.com. It is 7oz per square yard and is actually a linen/cotton blend. The fabric has beautiful drape, perfect for a denim dress. It also crinkles a lot as you can see in these unearned photos. Here it is ironed, but life is too short to iron this for one day of school wear (yes she wears cat ears to school!).

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I am planning to order more of this fabric to make a skirt for myself! I feel a bit sad that Althea got this piece.

This pattern has so many gorgeous details, curved panels the form Vs and centre front and centre back, stand-out lined pockets, lots of topstitching, belt loops, four slot button holes in the back seams, fitting darts, centre back zip, and I added a faced hem using a contrast colour bias binding.

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If you follow the excellent instructions you would get a lovely finish using a facing at the upper edge. Knowing that this skirt would go straight from dryer to body without passing by an iron I could not bring myself to use a facing, I really hate them and knew it would stick up if unironed. Instead I lined/interlined the upper torso pieces.

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I sewed the lining to the top edge, turned and pressed, and then treated it like one piece. This worked fine and means that I can let the darts out easily as she grows. It does mean that the finish along the top edge is less than perfect, but still looks better than a rolling facing in my opinion.

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This skirt has a lot of pieces, it is very involved for a childs skirt! The instructions tell you to label the pieces well and I agree this is essential. Here are the eight gores constructed.

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Althea loves this skirt and so do I! It was such a fun sew. It is great to tree climbing and the playground.

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And twirling of course….

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Mini chic cardigan for Tessa

Mini chic cardigan for Tessa

I finally finished Tessa’s summer cardigan – and now it’s November and pretty chilly around these parts. That’s ok because she can still wear it indoors as everywhere here is well heated. It’s not going to fit for long though, maybe a month or two. I’ve been working on this cardi at my knitting group for the entire three months I’ve been going and someone mentioned that I better have another baby if I don’t finish it soon. I was actually very bored with all that white stockinette, so the comment really gave me the momentum to finish it!

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The yarn is  Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8ply in the colour parchment. It is a very smooth and soft cotton, and seems quite thin for in 8ply/dk weight. I enjoyed knitting with it much more than the other cotton yarn I’ve used, which was Debbie Bliss cotton dk. I think the problem with my previous cotton project was that the gauge and yarn I was working at meant that the knitted fabric was really stiff and knitting at that firm gauge hurt my hands. That cardigan is still really stiff after repeated washing and wearings which is a pity.  The fabric for this little card is really drapy which I much prefer.

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You can see here that my tension in the yoke section is quite different to my tension working the sleeves in the round (I used magic loop). Only a knitter would notice that though and I presume that they’d be too polite to say it to my face!

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I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of this pattern, Mini Chic by Katie White. While the resultant cardigan is cute, the pattern just didn’t have the nice finishing details that I have come to expect. I knit the very similar Granny’s favourite by Georgie Hallam when I was pregnant with Tessa and it had slip stitches to prevent the garter button bands flipping over and instructions for tightening up the loose stitches under the arms which I appreciated. I also think that the Mini Chic cast on instructions give you a very, very tight cast on edge (perhaps in response to complaints it was too loose) which I blocked out as much as possible and it is only just big enough.

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The only changes I made to the pattern was to do some decreases in the first row of the garter wrist cuffs (I trick I picked up from Granny’s favorite) so that I didn’t have sloppy cuffs. The buttons were ones from my button tin, so may have come from one of my grandmothers.

Overall I’m really pleased with it and hope to dress Tessa in it as much as possible for the next month!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!