Monday, 19 June 2017

Shorty short Brooklyn Coat

Let me tell you a sad sad story, that does have a happy ending. Of sorts. 

I bought THIS BEAUTIFUL fabric for the Berlin Coat (and also for the Kyoto Vest which is why it looks familiar).  I had attempted the Berlin Coat the same weekend as this but it didn't go well for me (fabric s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out terribly) so there was NO WAY I was risking this remaining 1.5m on that pattern. 

After much pattern tetris (and going down a size from the L-XL I previously made) I fit the Brooklyn Coat on to the fabric...except for I forgot you need TWO one is cut from a short scrap piece and against the grain. Thus the sleeves are quite short to ensure that the "spare" would fit on the scrap...I think designers call that "wristlet length".  But wait there's more! I didn't realise that the back pattern piece was folded up more than I intended (needed to shorten the coat to fit in my fabric) so the back was 14cm SHORTER THAN THE front which I discovered when sewing! 

So that is how I've ended up with a hip length, wristlet sleeved Brooklyn Coat!

I have to admit that it doesn't look too bad - but it's not what I set out to make (another 2" on the length would've been nice...or perhaps another 4cm) and I'm SO mad at myself as I feel like I have wasted this fabric despite all endeavors not to.

Apart form the unintentionally short coat and short sleeves, I cut the size S-M but added 1" to the fold of the back piece (so 2" in total) and thus added they same to the collar piece that joints on to the back. I felt the S-M would be too small and it would've been - the extra 2" across the back makes it wearable.


PatternBrooklyn Coat by Tessuti
Size: S-M
Modifications:  as per the above blog post
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: sigh...I don't even know where to start! 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Crochet scarf

After my GIANT granny square blanket (still not finished, but almost....) got too big to commute to work with me I decided I need a smaller project that could come with me on the train each day, and also with me on my trip to Vietnam. It was great to have this on the plane with me - the flight went so fast, and it also kept me occupied in my hotel room at night.

Enter my first EVER crocheted scarf! It's a bit wonky as my tension is TIGHT then LOOSE then somewhere in the middle, but when it's around my neck you cannot tell! Plus it feels so nice to wear - so nice and soft!

The wool is from the Granny Square in Newtown and is an 8ply 100% Australian Merino. This colour is called Beluga Twist and whilst I really needed a plain black scarf I got distracted by this. I used five balls for this scarf (from memory) and at $10.90/ball it's not a cheap scarf; but for the entertainment value of making it I think it's a bargain.  In hindsight though I probably needed a wool that "split" less as I was using it -- something more beginner friendly. 

The pattern came from here (it's called the Straight Up Scarf) and was a very simple beginners pattern. The whole scarf is made using a double crochet - which is "the" stitch used for making granny squares...simple!


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Kyoto Vest by Tessuti (and me!)

This is a new pattern from Tessuti - a vest that can be made out of either boiled or non-boiled wool. I saw a sample of this in their Chatswood store last year and was really excited when it was released last month. I love the simple style of it and it is something I would definitely wear.

I had initially cut out some of my very precious non-boiled wool, bought in Kyoto, for this vest. Despite TWO attempts I could NOT get the yoke and neckpiece to fit together at the corner pivot point - the pieces just do not fit for me. At first I thought it was me - and that my printing/cutting out of the A4 PDF was off. Thus I went to Officeworks, had the pattern printed in A0, cut out a new lot of fabric and tried again -- only to have the exact same problem (I was super accurate in all of my cutting just FYI). Both of those pieces of fabric are now balled up in a box -- I'm so angry that I've ruined/wasted good fabric that I can't bring myself to look at it all again.

Anyway - always a sucker for punishment I wanted to try one last time in a boiled wool as the way it is put together is different that for non-boiled wool. I did get the pieces together, but it wasn't as easy as the Sydney Jacket (where the same sort of collar/yoke/pivot point thing is happening) - but I got there in the end. My stitching was pretty wonky from torturing the fabric, and there were a few rows of it and it looked BAD. I decided to try a fancy stitch on my sewing machine to try and hide it...and below is what we have. I actually quite like it - more than the a simple straight stitch.

The pattern is just one piece, and once you've got the collar attached to the shoulders all that is left to do is add 5m of wool binding to it. You could leave the boiled wool unbound and I think, for the cost of wool binding, this is what I might do if I ever make this again (I'm tempted by the short version, to wear with dresses). The in-store samples at Tessuti show some pretty neat, close to the edge stitching of their binding. Mine isn't quite as neat or tidy, but it's doing the job and looks OK (from afar). 

I made no changes to the pattern other than make the armholes a bit bigger - I could tell from my two x bodged versions that I needed more room - so I guess something good came out of it.

Now the fabric...isn't it great. It's from LOOM in Bowral and I ordered it over the phone when I saw them post it on their Instagram account. It's quite...scratchy, but the sort of thing I can wear in cooler weather without too much bother. It's totally reversible too - and the way the jacket is constructed means you can wear it either way.

The photos of me in the vest is how I wore it to work's held closed with a kilt pin to stop it flapping about.

Will I make this pattern again? Maybe. I quite fancy a shorter version and as that only takes 90cm of fabric it's not a big cost investment. Mentally I up for it? 
Pattern: Kyoto Vest by Tessuti
Size: XL, longer version
Modifications:  made the arm holes bigger
Fabric: boiled wool from LOOM
Changes for next time: none...except for the armhole modification

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Amigurumi critters - a workshop at Sew Make Create

Whilst I was at my beginner's crochet class at Sew Make Create earlier in the year I spied these uber kawaii little Amigurumi critters in the workshop. Of course I HAD to learn how to make them - despite having no need for them, no children in my life to give them to and no cats for them to play with. The heart wants what the heart wants!

Amigurumi (for those not "in the know") is a Japanese craft of crocheting (or knitting) little, stuffed creatures.  The good thing about this craft is it's cute, it's portable, it doesn't take up much room, it's fun, and you can pretty much make anything you want - there are no rules. I like that I can take this on the train with me and crochet on my way to and from work...

The class is taught over two Sunday's by the very patient and bubbly Amanda, and by the end of the second class you should walk away with a completed Amigurumi (unless something goes terribly wrong along the way).

It was a little difficult at first as the stitches need to be TIGHT so it's hard getting your hook into them to make the next rows. Getting started with the "magic circle" takes a bit of wrangling, and counting the (tiny) stitches did my head in (concentration abilities are LOW here). I did have to rip rows back as I wasn't concentrating and couldn't remember how many stiches I was up to - but I've bought myself a few stitch makers which is making things much easier.

I did a bit of home(crochet)work so I ended up with one finished Amigurumi in class (this green little birdie) and one "almost" finished orange monster that I finished up that night at home! I've already started on my next Amigurumi monster in slightly thicker yarn than the orange one (as I want him to be a bit bigger). I'm also going along to the next Amigurumi crochet social at Sew Make Create and will get some tips from our teacher, Amanda, on how to embroider faces and stitch on the monster eyes properly.

And of course, the best thing about a class at Sew Make Create is Pepper the shop dog -- so cute and fluffy. Actually, she'd make a VERY kawaii Amigurumi wouldn't she?

I'm now busy thinking about other Amigurumi I can make, and looking for free and easy patterns on line.

Me May May 2017 wrap up

Today is the 1st June (Captain Obvious here) and Me Made May is over. I enjoyed participating, but I was well and truly over it by the middle of the month. Not quite sure why though - perhaps selfie fatigue has set it (big thanks to Dave for so many of these photos as I rushed out of the house each morning)? Or perhaps outfit fatigue had set in?

My challenge to myself was two-fold, and I knocked the first part of the challenge (to wear/use me-made each time I leave the house) out of the park. Last year I padded out my me-made efforts with lots of me-made accessories to cover me when I didn't have a garment to wear. This year I didn't need to do that at all and easily wore at least one me-made garment every day, sometimes two (or more). I also had my trusty me-made Genoa Tote with me at all times -- so that was a bit of a cheat.

Many of my items were worn more than once (though not all) - and many of my me-made items didn't get worn at all as the weather was just not right for them. There were also a few tops that I could've worn, but just was not feeling the love for (aka my Ebony Tees have basically killed me love for the Our Fave Top who's fit is not quite right on me). May is a tricky time of month in Sydney. Is it hot, is it cold, is it somewhere in between? Who knows.

Funnily enough, this Ebony Tee (which is a save from an epic dress fail) was my most worn piece - and possibly one of my favourite makes this month!

The second part of my self-challenge was to finally make that darn Berlin Coat that is in my pile...meh. I did cut it out and it's ready to sew but I really am just not feeling it. There are too many other things that keep jumping in front of it. I will get to day!

A lot of people are using Me Made May this year to identify gaps in their wardrobe (for me it was just to wear what I've been making). As I still buy a lot of ready to wear garments I feel like I have a pretty comprehensive wardrobe already. I don't buy tops and dresses like I used to - and I am lacking in winter dresses so perhaps a new Ebony Tee Dress will happen soon. I don't really "need" anything - but I do enjoy sewing, ergo the conundrum.

How about you? Did you participate in Me Made May this year? How did you go?