The Random Bloglovin’ Post

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Hi, friends.

Feel free to skip this post if you like.  I use Bloglovin’ as my own RSS feeder, and this post is just helping me to “claim” my blog so I can use their tools for bloggers.  You can follow the blog on whatever platform you like best.  Have a great day and thanks for reading!

As Promised: Butterick 5526 Women’s Button Down Shirt with a Broad Back Adjustment

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As Promised:  Butterick 5526 Women’s Button Down Shirt with a Broad Back Adjustment

Hi, friends!  Here we are today with lots of pictures and words on Butterick 5526, which is a women’s button down shirt.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526

Butterick 5526

After my last button down, which was a little bit tight through the back/shoulder area, I decided to learn about how to do a broad back adjustment and measure things on the pattern before I cut my fabric.  The ever-helpful Maggie from Pintuck & Purl put me on the right track, and I found my final and very detailed answer courtesy of The Perfect Fit volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library.  I cannot recommend these books enough!  One of the best parts is that they are often easy to find used at a very low price!  Mine were a gift, but I have bought one or two volumes that I didn’t have.

Singer Sewing Reference Library

Now is the point where things will get technical.  If you are just here for the pictures and general stuff, feel free to start scrolling at this point.  I’ll let you know when it’s over.

The book instructed me to have someone measure my back between the creases of my arms.

Making a broad back adjustment

I measured about 6″-7″ down from the prominent bone at the base of my neck.  The instructions said to measure 4″-6″ down, but I went a little lower so I could measure at the top of my arm creases.  My back width was 16 3/4″, and the book advised a minimum ease of 1/2″-1″ for a blouse, meaning my garment should measure 17 1/4″-17 3/4″ across the back.  The back width of the pattern was 16 1/2″, so I needed to add 1 1/4″ total or 5/8″ to the pattern piece (since the pattern piece was only half of the back of the shirt).

The book gives you instructions for making a minor adjustment and a major adjustment.

Making a broad back adjustment

Because of the amount I needed to add, I used a major adjustment.  The minor adjustment was appropriate for a total addition of 1/2″ for sizes under 16 and 3/4″ for 16 and larger.  The major adjustment is good for 2″ total in sizes under 16 and 3″ total in sizes 16 and up.  By ‘total’ I mean the amount across a full size back pattern piece.  If you are adding to a pattern piece representing half of the back, as I was, you would cut those ‘total’ amounts in half.  I chose the major adjustment because the amount I needed was more than the amount listed under the minor adjustment instructions.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

One puzzling part that I ran into is that the example shows a pattern piece without princess seams.  My pattern has princess seams.  I was a little worried since this was my first time making this adjustment.  What I ended up doing was taping the pattern pieces for the back and the side back together where they would be sewn together at the underarm and doing the adjustment across both pieces.  Then, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  The good thing was that, although I love the fabric I chose, it was also very inexpensive (it may have been around $3-$5 a yard), so if I really messed up, I wasn’t out too much money.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The above picture probably isn’t the most helpful because I set the pieces together after the fact.  I should have taken in-progress pictures, but I didn’t think of it.  Below are the individual back and side back pieces after the adjustment.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

After making the adjustment to the pattern, I cut everything out, and sewed it all up.  This wasn’t a difficult pattern, but I was really happy that I had my last shirt under my belt.  It helped me to have an idea of how long things were going to take.  Shirts have a lot of little steps, but they are really satisfying to make.  I followed the directions as written, with the exception of going back and zigzagging my seam allowances that hadn’t been topstitched down.  At some point I may use a more polished finish.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

In my initial tracing of the pattern, going by my measurements, I made a 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.  I found this to be very comfortable, and I wore it to the wedding I mentioned in the last post, but I sort of felt like there were little “wings” at the sides.  So, after getting home, I basted the side seams to be a little smaller, guessing how the shirt might have fit had I cut a straight size 16.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I was worried that it would be tight across the middle, but it’s not at all.  It still has plenty of ease, but it removes the “wing” effect.  For my next shirt, I retraced the waist and hip part of the pattern and cut it down to a 16.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The most technical parts are done!  Read on for less detailed information.  :)

For others interested in making this pattern, I would say that this still has a fair amount of ease.  If you like your shirts to fit more closely, you may want to measure the pattern pieces and decide if you want to size down further.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The less technical details of the shirt include pink topstitching.  I got some nice Gutermann thread for this.  I also found some crystal buttons at a nearby quilt store, Loom ‘N Shuttle.  I like the fanciness it gives the shirt.  ;)

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I also cut the cuffs, collar, collar stand, and plackets on the bias.  I was hoping it would work out ok since I was going to interface those parts with a fusible interfacing, and it worked out great.  You can see that  a little bit in the picture below.  I really like the effect.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I found out about this pattern by reading Lauren’s blog, Lladybird.  She has the power to make me want to try out just about any pattern, and she wasn’t wrong on this one.  I’ve got another one in progress with more of the fabric I bought last summer, and I’m contemplating future versions in basic white and black.  This pattern is a winner.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Now I just have to go back and try the broad back adjustment on Simplicity 1538.  I think that one needs a larger adjustment, though, so I put it on the back burner while I work on a few other projects.

One last thing before I go…I love getting recommendations, sewing and otherwise, from other bloggers.  If you’ve ever listened to the While She Naps podcast, you’ll notice Abby and her guests sharing recommendations at the end of the show.  I love that.  So, when I have something fun that I am really enjoying, sewing or otherwise, I’m going to put it at the end of the post in case you want to try it, too.  This isn’t advertising.  No one is paying me to write this blog.  It’s just stuff that is fun for me right now or a really great reference that I like.  That’s why I’m going to call it:  This is fun now…at least until I think of a better title.  Feel free to suggest titles–I’m listening.

This is fun now:  Today’s recommendation (other than the Singer Sewing Reference Library) is an etsy jewelry shop called Adam Rabbit.  I’ve been a fan for a few years now and my family has been nice enough to get me some of the jewelry in the shop the last few Christmases.  If you like chunky, rough gemstones and a style you might find in Free People or Urban Outfitters, you may enjoy this one.  The owner occasionally has deals for Instagram followers, too.  Enjoy!

Field Trip: Denver, Colorado

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My latest field trip is way outside my normal stomping grounds!  Earlier this month, my husband and I took a trip to Denver, Colorado for a wedding.  We almost never get away just the two of us, and definitely not to far-away places, so this was a pretty big deal!  We had such a great time at the wedding and a lot of fun exploring Denver and the surrounding area.

Of course there was sewing involved.  I used the wedding as a chance to challenge myself to come up with a creative outfit.  In the end, I took apart a bridesmaid dress that I had in storage and turned it into a skirt (which involved a lot more work that I thought it would!).  I also made a button down shirt with a pattern that I had been planning to try out (Butterick 5526).  This included making a broad back adjustment to the pattern before I cut it out (hopefully more on that in a future blog post).  After that, it was all about finding great colors to finish things off.  Here’s my final ensemble:

Fancy Wedding Clothes!

Wedding clothes!

I found the sweater on sale at J.Crew, and the earrings and bobby pin (which are harder so see, but they had gorgeous Swarovski crystals) on clearance at TJ Maxx.  I already had the tights, which was a good thing because white tights for women are harder to find that I thought!

Also…check out these shoes!

Fancy Wedding Clothes!

Thank you, Boden sale (and Christmas money!).  I had been saving up for some black heels, but in the end, the fancy shoes won out.

All of the colors together just made me so happy!  I love color!  This wasn’t anywhere near my original outfit ideas, but I’m so happy with how it all turned out.  It was so comfortable, and I know I’ll wear all the pieces again, both together and separately (actually, I’m wearing the shirt and earrings as I type).

The wedding and reception took place in a really cute barn outside of Denver.  The bride was gorgeous and everything was so beautiful.  Lots of our friends were there, and we all had a great time.

When we weren’t at the wedding, we explored the cute mountain town of Evergreen.  I have to recommend The Muddy Buck coffee shop if you are ever there.  I didn’t get any good pictures of it, but here are a few of Evergreen:

Evergreen, Colorado

Evergreen, Colorado

Evergreen, Colorado

My friend and I kept saying we couldn’t believe it was a real town.  It was so cute.  We felt like we were at a theme park or something.  The only thing I didn’t like was the curvy mountain roads!  They were good highways, but they are so curvy and very dark when the sun is down.

I also got a good (luckily not first-hand) education while in Colorado:

Colorado

Colorado

After spending some time in more mountainous areas, we took a day to head into Denver and explore there.  The bride’s parents had given us a bunch of fun recommendations of things to try in the area, and one of them was the Denver Biscuit Co.  I highly recommend this one.

Denver Biscuit Co.

I ordered the DBC Club.  Delicious.

We also spent a little lot of time in Fancy Tiger Crafts!!!!

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

When I got there, it was even bigger better than I had imagined!

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

And, I must say, their sales staff is just lovely!  I admitted to one of the ladies that I was kind of freaking out inside with excitement.  She said she felt the same way for the first month when she started working there.  :)  Everyone was very friendly and really helpful.

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

During this next paragraph, you should read between the lines that MY HUSBAND IS AWESOME.  I was in Fancy Tiger Crafts for 2.5 hours.  Yes.  It’s true.  There was JUST. SO. MUCH.  I couldn’t make a decision.  I knew I wanted a few crafty badges (like Girl Scout badges for crafters), and I decided to get Deer and Doe’s Datura Blouse pattern…but then I got stuck.  I had fabric money, but what to spend it on?  They say that beggars can’t be choosers, but I say that when you are on a budget, every purchase has to count.  I didn’t want to buy something I wouldn’t use or wear.  Choice overload.

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

It was at this point that my husband gently suggested that we might want to go over to the Denver Biscuit Co. (before they closed), get some lunch, and come back afterward.

It was just what I needed.  Food and a little time to think.  When we went back, I found four fabrics to make up two Datura Blouses and with some help on the yardage calculations from the lovely Jaime herself, I was out of there in 15 minutes.

Lesson learned.  Sometimes you need to take a step back when you get overwhelmed to give yourself time to think.

Want to see what I got?

Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, Colorado

I also picked up two knitting badges for some friends.  I’m hoping this loot will serve me well when summer sewing fever hits.

Believe it or not, we even had time to do a little more exploring after that!

Denver, Colorado

Other fun highlights from the trip included pizza at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs and Evergreen, Tattered Cover Book Store, Revampt, and the mountains!

Colorado

Colorado

These pictures don’t even begin to do them justice.

It was a great trip and a real blessing to be at such a special wedding with so many friends.

Next time (hopefully):  the nitty gritty on sewing Butterick 5526.

A Vest from a Men’s Shirt, Secret Christmas Pillowcases Revealed, and Sewing Ideas for 2016!

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Nothing like a long title, right?  ;)  There are plenty of projects and ideas for projects floating around my head these days, so I think it’s time to power-share!  (There’s another word for the dictionary.  Makin’ up new words all the time over here!)

When I think about new projects to share, I keep forgetting to post this vest that I made.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

My original plan for it was to be an additional entry in the Refashioners Contest last year, just to pad out my entry, but I’m glad now that I took it off my list.  It wasn’t too hard to make, but it isn’t anywhere near the quality of the jacket I made as my one and only entry.

When the cooler weather sets in, I start thinking of polar fleece and really anything warm, so when I found this oversized men’s fleece-lined flannel shirt at the thrift store, originally by L.L. Bean, I knew I wanted to use it (similar shirt here).  I found this pattern:

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

After reading the reviews on Patternreview, I convinced myself that I could create a J.Crew-esque style vest.  Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but it’s cozy!

The good and bad part of getting better at sewing, is that now I am less satisfied when my own sewing is of a lower quality.  What a problem to have, right?  I know I am “supposed” to match up plaids and make things look pretty inside, etc., etc., maybe make sure my pockets are on the same level, but you can’t have it all.  I made this out of a shirt.  That’s cool!  I’ll learn to match plaids another day.

As far as any other details the sewing people among you might be interested in…I made View A, minus the quilting.  I cut a size 16 and graded out to an 18 in the waist and hips.  This may not have been necessary.  It’s fairly boxy and loose, but I wanted to be able to wear it over sweaters.  Instead of putting in the zipper, I left the buttons from the original shirt.  I also took off the original chest pockets.  In the process, I may have made a few holes, but that was an opportunity to return to my old standby of running over any sewing problems with my machine, and I just sewed over them until they blended in.  Problem solved!

The other problem I ran into was that I ended up with “wings” at the front of the armholes.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

I did actually go back and take off the bias binding and try to take the princess seams in a little bit.  It worked better on one side than another, and I’m a lot happier having tried.  It definitely fits better now.

Learning to do a sway-back adjustment is on my mental list of things to learn, but I’m trying not to tackle too many new techniques at once, so that one is for the future.  Dealing with the armholes was my fitting experiment for this pattern.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Overall, I think the pattern is good.  This isn’t my favorite thing that I have ever made, but I like it and I’ve worn it and will wear it again.  I don’t know that I will keep it in my closet for the ages and pass it down to my children, but I guess you never know.  More fleece is always better than less fleece in the winter, so it may survive longer than I think.  I would try the pattern again if I decide I want another vest.

On another topic, I wanted to give you a quick look at a few pillowcases I made as Christmas presents.  I used a tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew blog that is actually an excerpt from a book by Shea Henderson called School of Sewing.

Pillowcases

Pillowcases

I bought the border print for the first pillowcase as well as the panda seersucker in Michigan over the summer at The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI.  The coordinating fabric on each pillowcase is from Joann’s.  These really were easy to sew and I’m sure I could use the tutorial to make fancier ones in the future as well.  I keep telling myself that if I would just make a billion pillowcases and cloth napkins, I could use up my stash and replace my worn pillowcases and napkins, but so far clothes are too much fun.  Except for these two pillowcases, clothes have won out every time.

Lastly, do you have sewing plans for 2016?  I have ideas.  I’m not calling them plans because my ideas of what I want to make often change throughout the year, but here is what I have so far.  I saw the #2016makenine challenge on Instagram, and decided to jump in…except I ended up with ten.  This makes me sound like a total overachiever but, like I said, these plans will flex and change throughout the year, and I doubt everything will get made.

#2016makenine

Top row, left to right:  Butterick 5526, Megan Nielsen Briar Sweater and Tee, Simplicity 1538

Middle row, left to right:  Jalie 3134, Megan Nielsen’s Mini Briar, Jalie 3023

Bottom row, left to right:  Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory, Coco by Tilly and the Buttons, Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

(most links to these patterns are below)

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#2016makenine

Ginger Skinny Jeans Pattern by Closet Case Patterns

 I’ve already cut out some Jutland Pants by Thread Theory for my husband (I’m actually doing a muslin/test garment for this one), and I’ve traced out the Strathcona Henley for him, too.  Lest you start to think I’m abandoning my really good streak of selfish sewing, you should probably know that I LOVE henleys, so once I make him one, I plan to adapt the pattern into one for me as well.  (And how about a girl version of some fleece-lined Jutlands?  Sounds like wintry heaven to me!  I’m saving that idea for the future!)

In the top row are some shirts I’ve tried before, and I still have fabric from the summer to do additional renditions of those.  My first version of the princess seam button down on the top left (Butterick 5526) should make an appearance on the blog soon since I made it to wear to a wedding.  I already whipped up a quick Briar fleece shirt (still to be blogged) to wear for travelling to the wedding, and I need to make a broad back adjustment to the pattern for the button-down on the right (Simplicity 1538) before remaking that one.

You can see I still have bathing suits on my list, maybe some kids’ Briars, and a shirt version of the Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

AND…JEANS!  I think it’s time to start learning to sew more fitted bottoms, so jeans are on the list.  I’ll keep you posted on that!

Do you have any sewing or other project ideas for this year?  I’d love to hear about them!

My Imperfectly Awesome Briar Sweater

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This wasn’t the post I had planned to write to accompany these pictures.  This, my first attempt at Megan Nielsen’s Briar pattern, didn’t turn out exactly right.  I was going to fix it and then show you my before and after pictures.  But I didn’t fix it.  I might, but I haven’t yet, and I decided it was better to show you the shirt as it is and update you if I ever do alter it.  Because I actually love it how it is even though it didn’t turn out the way that I planned.

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

So here are the details.  I got this super-cool fabric at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH a few months back.  It’s a double layer combination of a wool knit (or it may be a wool-blend; I can’t remember) and a cotton jersey layer.  It was originally smooth on both sides, but I took a small bit and threw it in the washer and dryer to see what would happen.  It shrunk, but the wool layer didn’t completely felt, and the jersey scrunched up in a cool way due to the shrinkage of the wool.

Double layer fabric from Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH

You can imagine that this made for a pretty stretchy fabric, and I knew I was taking a risk with it, not only because of the stretch factor, but because the shrinking had really thrown the grain off.  It just seemed like the perfect fabric for a super cozy Briar, though, so it had to happen.

The Briar pattern has been my favorite Megan Nielsen pattern since I discovered that company, and when I heard it was coming out in paper form, I bought a copy as soon as it was available.  That’s pretty rare for me.  I don’t have a ton of “sewing money”, so I tend to window shop for ever and buy very carefully.  I knew I wanted this pattern, though.

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

 I thought that a Briar in this fabric had a lot of potential for a relaxed, rough look with some exposed seams and unhemmed edges.

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

I really love knits and I sew with them pretty frequently, but despite that, I’m not really awesome with them yet.  This is a pretty well-explained, straightforward pattern, but I ran into some problems with the neckline very quickly because of my fabric and what I thought I wanted to do with it.  I didn’t stabilize the shoulders although I see now that I should have.  I also tried to simply sew a strip of fabric cut on the cross-grain around the neckline so it would have a raw-edged look.  The neckline seemed to sort of get wavy, though, and grow.  That’s when the frantic internet-answer-searching began.  I finally left a blog comment for Lauren (of the blog Lladybird) to ask about the wavy neckline, and she gave me some great tips, but it was already a little too late for this shirt.  The waviness was there (because by that time, I had taken off the strip of fabric and just zig-zagged the edge) and I was afraid to mess with it any more.  I do have to thank Lauren, though.  I don’t know her at all.  I just follow her blog, but whenever I have needed an answer (how to use Flickr for my blog photos; how to fix my knit fabric disasters), she has always gotten back to me.  Thanks, Lauren!

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

At that point, I decided to leave the neckline alone and just finish.  I thought about putting a sparkly zipper (also from Pintuck & Purl) in the back, but once I got to the point of adding it, it didn’t look right, so I skipped it.  This is a really quick and easy pattern, so I just resigned myself to wearing the sweater with a tank top underneath until I could figure out how to fix the neckline.  I bought twill tape to sew into the shoulders and around the back of the neckline after the fact to sort of hold things in place…but I haven’t done it yet……and I just love the sweater.  It’s a little chilly around the neck when it gets cold out, but that’s a great opportunity to wear the cowl my friend knitted for me (thanks, Audrey!).

All in all, even with its “imperfections”, I love this sweater.  I’ve already made a second one (still to be worn, photographed, and blogged), and this time I made sure to stabilize the shoulders.  Gotta learn the lessons, right?  I think more Briars (and mini-Briars) are in my sewing future.

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

My imperfect but awesome Briar sweater

Outside in December…and Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you have a lovely holiday.  I wanted to share a few photos from this month with you.  It’ll be no surprise that these are more beach photos.  This little beach is a great place to look for sea glass or just go to stare out at the water when you need a little silence and beauty.

The beach in December

The beach in December

The beach in December

The beach in December

The beach in December

The beach in December

The beach in December

And that’s it from me for this year.  I’ll see you in the new year.  May it be one of peace and blessing.

The Chunky Cable Knit Hat by Lula Louise

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Hi, friends!  Today will be a little different, since I have a knitting project to share!  Like many sewing people, I also like to knit, although after a few sweater disasters (for the most disastrous, click here), I’ve slowed down considerably.  Before I really came to sewing, knitting was my passion, but for the past three years, I haven’t done much of anything in that arena.  I’ve been missing it, though, so the search has been on for a pattern that is fast and easy enough to do while watching TV or chatting with other people, but also interesting.  And I think I found it:  the Chunky Cable Knit Hat, a free pattern by Lula Louise.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 I can’t remember exactly how I found this–it may have been through Google or Pinterest, but it was just right.  I still have some great chunky yarn left from this awesome yarn sale in Vermont, and I wanted a fun, super bulky, chunky hat.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 I’m so thankful to my husband for taking these pictures.  (Thanks, Babe!)  We had just taken the pictures for my button-down shirt, when I realized we could get these done, too.  This explains the funny awesome hairstyle I’ve got going on, but then, once we had taken all our pictures and were ready to run back inside (it was getting cold, and we were hungry), we realized one of our daughters had photo-bombed all of our pictures, and we had to shoot them again.  That really endeared my husband to blog photography.  Now it is his favorite thing!  OK, no.  That’s a lie.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

This picture shall be titled I love taking blog pictures!

Now we’re just getting silly.  Let’s get back to the pattern at hand.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

 We should talk details.  Because I tend to knit all things that are elephant-sized, I made the small.  This was a good choice for me.  I used size 13 needles, and my chunky wool yarn from the Yates Farm Yarn sale (you can see a post from another blog on this sale here).  I have minor cabling skills, and these were just right for me, especially as my knitting skills are pretty rusty.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The pattern is knit flat and then you sew it up at the end.  You may be able to see my seam in the back in the picture above.  This probably took me two shorter nights of knitting.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

After I was done I also remembered one reason I stopped knitting so much.  I’ve gotten into the bad habit of knitting with my shoulders hunched, so I had a huge tension headache the next day.  Time to redevelop good habits!

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The pom-pom on top was really fun to make.  Now I’m on a bit of a pom-pom kick.  I made this one removable by tying it onto the hat with some string in case I ever need to clean the hat and want to protect the pom-pom.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

The only issue I had with the pattern was what I think is a typo in the small size directions on Row 9.  I think that after “p2tog*,” it should say “repeat to end”  rather than just “p2tog*, end”.  As far as fit, I do have to push it onto my head just a little bit.  I don’t know if this is because of the pattern or my knitting, but the ribbed section is a little looser than I would like, so maybe I will run a few rows of elastic thread through it at some point.  Once I push/pull it on, though, it’s nice and cozy.

Chunky Cable Knit Hat

So, my final analysis is that I like the hat a lot and would knit it again.  This is a really fun free pattern because it knits up quickly and would be an easy first cabling project.

Simplicity 1538, The Button-Down Shirt

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One of my current sewing goals is to learn to make button-down shirts.  I’ve tried drafting one before, courtesy of the instructions in Cal Patch’s pattern drafting book, but I wanted to learn how to sew one from a commercial pattern and, hopefully, fit it.

My first long-sleeved attempt is Simplicity 1538, View A, minus the studs they recommend on the front yoke.  I made a size 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Because this is my first attempt at this pattern, I found a bed sheet in my stash that I liked, and used that for fabric.  It seemed like the best way to go before trying out more costly fabric.  Interfacing came from my stash, but I think the time is soon approaching when I’ll actually have to go out and buy more of that!  The buttons (and they are buttons, rather than snaps) were a drama all their own.

These are the same buttons that I used in my orange shirt, and I had one left.  I really loved how it looked on this shirt, so I went to Joann’s to get more.

And they had one package of three buttons.

I needed 10 buttons.

So, several days later, I drove down to another Joann’s and looked through all their buttons.  I didn’t see a single package.  I was nearly ready to leave with my other supplies, when I decided that, since I had come all the way down here, I should just ask.  And I got the lady who stocks the buttons!  She explained how the buttons were organized and helped me find what I needed.  They actually had four packages that I had managed to overlook.  I know!  Sad on my part.  I only needed two packages…but I bought all four since they were on sale (and I was worried something would happen and I would need/want more).  So that’s my story.  ;)

Now back to the pattern!  The fit is great, except…the shoulders are too narrow for me.  You can see the strain at the edges of the yoke and in the shoulders in the front.  The next time I make this, I’ll try out a broad back adjustment.  I’m tempted to do it on this pattern and try turning it into a popover shirt, which would mean cutting the front piece on the fold, rather than as two pieces, and inserting a partial placket down the front.  I know they are kind of sewing-blog-trendy at the moment (check out Dixie’s and Sallie’s), and I pretty much got sucked in.  Now I want one, and I keep envisioning some of my fabric in popover form.  It doesn’t hurt that Indiesew just posted a tutorial on putting in a partial placket.  Maybe it’s destiny.  ;)

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Despite the shoulder width problem this is a very wearable shirt.  I really like it, and it fits my style.

The one change I might make to the directions is on step 47 (yes, there are A LOT of steps–I will never take a button-down shirt for granted AGAIN!).  It tells you to press under 5/8″ on the neck band facing, but I think next time I’d try just pressing under 1/2″.  When sewing from the outside, I didn’t catch hardly any of the facing in my top-stitching , and I had to go back and sew the facing down by hand.

Despite that, making this shirt was fun and I’d do it again.  It was a billion steps, but skill-wise, it was at my level, and I’m proud of my work.  The inside looks great with a few French seams and a few bound seams (similar to the orange shirt, but just a little better), and I think the topstitching turned out well, too.  Also, the way they have you do the yoke is pretty darn cool.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

I’ve traced out a pattern for a princess seam button-down (I blame Lladybird/Lauren–she makes me want to copy her ALL THE TIME.), and I’ve been looking into the popover option.  These plans may get sidetracked by Christmas and *gasp* sewing for others, but we’ll see if that really happens.

In case you want a look at what is tempting me to sew for someone beside myself, you can check out Thread Theory’s Jutland Pants and their Strathcona Henley.  Maybe I’ll actually sew something for my husband! 

The other big temptation is the new sewing patterns for girls that Megan Nielsen just released.  I was a pattern tester for the Mini Tania Culottes.  Check out what I and others made in this post on Megan’s blog.  She also released patterns for Mini Virginia Leggings and, my favorite, the Mini Briar Sweater and Tee.  I think that Mini Briar pattern is calling to me, especially since Megan gave her testers all three patterns as a thank you.  I love a new pattern!

 

Outside (and Inside) in October and November

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Well, my friends, I have two new sewing projects and one new knitting project waiting in the wings to share with you, but…I’ve been missing photography.  It feels like things are moving quickly…and I want to slow down just a bit.  I’m finally settling in to the fact that it is fall, and I don’t want it to race by without really looking at it.  Being outside always helps me get grounded and I love, love, LOVE taking pictures of things outside (and, in this case, in greenhouses), so here are my best shots from October and November.  There aren’t many, but hopefully they are good.

October

Horses on the beach

Horses on the beach

November

Trees in Autumn

Trees in fall

Mill Building and Dam

Mill building and dam

Trip to a Greenhouse

Plants in the greenhouse

Trip to a Greenhouse

Plants in the greenhouse

Trip to a Greenhouse

Succulents

I think missing photography has been a good thing for me.  A few months ago, a friend introduced me as someone who had a sewing blog.  I was momentarily surprised, until I realized that my nebulous “creativity blog” had morphed into a sewing blog.  I love to sew.  I love making creative things that I can use, but I also love things other than sewing, photography being one of them.  I don’t have the technical knowledge of photography that I do of sewing.  Past photo classes have seeped out of my brain, but living in this beautiful place makes it easy to capture things.  So I think that, for the present, this blog will have a lot of sewing, but also some non-sewing photography.  We all need beauty in our lives, and photography helps me to stop and look.  I hope it brings beauty into your life, too.