Monday, December 21, 2015

Fixing a Sweater Snag

So, It's been a while since I've posted anything. The reasons are kind of three-fold, 1) I've mostly been working on gifts, and I can't really post about them until the intended recipient gets them. 2) I've been really busy with work and 3) Fiance and I are in the process of moving so most of my crafting materials are packed up and not accessible to me. Moving is all kinds of not fun, but Fiance and I are trying to find a two-bedroom so with luck I will shortly have my very own room for crafting in, instead of taking over the table in the living/dining room and that will be awesome.

I've only got three post topics that are available right now, and of those only one has photos on my computer, so by default today, you get a tutorial on fixing a sweater snag.

Last year for Christmas I made Fiance a sweater (ha ha, boyfriend sweater curse be damned). It's a nice gray wool, worsted weight sweater. It looks very handsome on him, but it's fairly unsuitable for work because it snags easily. I've just picked out a new sweater pattern in a fingering weight that I'm hoping will snag less because it will be a tighter gauge. In the meantime, I keep fixing the snags on his sweater. It's really not too difficult and it saves the sweater from being "ruined."

For small snags sometimes just tugging on the fabric around the snag and/or tossing it in the wash will even out the tension, but sometimes you get a doozy of a snag, and for that you need a smallish knitting needle (I used a size 2 double point because I had one laying next time me)

As you can see in the picture Fiance managed to pull a long snag and it created a ridge along the collar line. 

Step one in order to fix this to use your knitting needle to pull on the stitch next to the snag. This will pull the snagged yarn and help you create two snag loops. Basically, what you have to do to fix a snag is redistribute the yarn across the row that has been pulled tight. It's important to split your snag and distribute the yarn to the right and left of the snag in order to fix the whole row. 

And then you are going to go along the right row and just keep pulling at the stitches, leaving them looser and shortening the snag loop as you move.

You can see in this shot and although we started with roughly equal loops now the left one is shorter than the right as I've moved to the left.

And eventually, you will run out of loop altogether.

If you find it easier you can move your loop to the front of the sweater (for normal human being it will probably start out on the front, as close as I can figure Fiance must have put his sweater on inside out). 

And with a little bit of patience, your sweater will be healed! It took be about twenty minutes to fix the snag, and that was with a lot of stopping to take pictures.

Fiance is nervous about wearing the sweater while working now because he doesn't want to ruin it, but in this case, it was an easy fix. I'm just going to have to make him another sweater though because all his others are too short and they look silly. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Bird Shirt

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I meant to keep posting over the long weekend, but I forgot to take my computer with me when Fiance and I went to visit his parents. Oops. I've spent the last week busily working on Christmas gifts. I want to show you what I've made, but I have no idea who reads my blog and I don't want to show pictures of finished gifts before the intended recipients get them. Instead, I guess I'll show you a shirt I recently finished. 

I had a really hard time getting a decent picture of me wearing it. Anyway, I'm pleased with how the shirt turned out. The pattern is McCall's 7193 view B, and the fabric is a polyester crepe from I found the crepe to be super slinky and difficult to cut out and work with. I actually hand basted every seam rather then just pin them when I was sewing it because pinning alone didn't keep it still enough. I normally don't like polyester but before sewing the shirt in a silk that would be three times as expensive I wanted to make sure that I liked the way it fit. I'm really glad that I made that choice.

I like the way the pattern fits, but after wearing the shirt for a day I would say I need to tack the top shut, it has a tendency to slid open a bit more than I want it to when I am sitting down (or maybe more accurately when I slump my shoulders). This will be a great date shirt, but it's far too low cut for work. I love the gathering at the sides, though, it's super forgiving across the tummy. Although I think it is a great shirt I don't think I like it well enough to make a silk version. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dumbledore's Christmas Socks

Holy Wow! Two knitting posts in a row! I am on a role. Plus, I'm too broke to buy fabric, but I have plenty of stashed yarn, which may also be a contributing factor. :)

So, in my last sock post I said it might be a while before I did any more socks because it took me so long to finish that last pair. Yeah, I totally cast on another pair of socks, like, that same night. I was re-reading Harry Potter for the millionth time and Dumbledore's line about a good pair of wool socks being a great Christmas present got me wanting more socks, and I already had the pattern Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings by Erica Lueder all qued up, and I had some left over Madelintosh yarn from a sweater I made years ago. I was reasonably sure I didn't have enough in either color to make two socks, but between the two leftover bits I could get some nicely coordinated but not matching socks.

When I first wrote this post sock number one was done and number two I had gotten as far as the heel turn, but before this reached it's scheduled post date I finished the second sock. 

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The sock pattern has two different charts that you can mix and match. I used chart A for sock one and chart B for sock two. They were a fun knit, and the yarn was great to work with. Merry Christmas to me! And now I really need to get started on other people's gifts. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Knotty Gloves

Having finally finished that second sock of doom I managed to wip through another knitting project. I really should be working on Christmas knitting. We exchange gifts with Fiance's family at Thanksgiving because that is when we go out to see them, with Christmas being spent with my family, and I haven't even started making gifts yet. For the first time in five years I think I might just buy presents. * gasp *

Probably not though. Fiance is going to head over to see them early (I have to work Wednesday to get my holiday pay) I think I can manage to finish everyone's gifts while he is out of town. It's amazing how much knitting I get done when I am bored and lonely.

That was probably how I got through these gloves so quickly, Fiance was out of town for work when I made the first one.

I was really pleased with how it came out. That cable design was the perfect mix of interesting and easy, providing a fun break to the ribbing without making it into a long drawn out knit. I do wish I had make the fingers longer though. They always seem long enough when I am working on them and then too short when the glove is totally finished and on my hand. Oh well.

The first glove was so much fun that I finished the second one in fairly short order. I don't make gloves often because I hate weaving in all the left over ends from doing the fingers, but this pattern was just so pretty, I didn't own any gloves, and I had plenty of yarn left over from my lace cardigan. Don't be surprised if you see a matching hat soon too. If I get bored enough it might even be in time for Thanksgiving seeing as it is already snowing at my future in-laws house. I need to be prepared for the cold!

The pattern is Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller, the yarn is Knit Picks Palette in the colorway Hazelnut.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Welt Pockets and Wool Vests

Anyone else ever have one of those weeks that just totally slips by you? I really have no idea what happened, I blinked and I missed it. Well, I have plenty of projects to tell you about, so hopefully I will do a better job posting this week.

My biggest project has been a fully lined wool vest with three welt pockets for Fiance. I had never sewn welt pockets before and I looked up a bunch of tutorials, decided none of them made sense and just made stuff up until I got a reasonable pocket.

It took me three tries before I got one I liked. I'm really glad that I decided to practise on cheap cotton first because the part where you cut a hole in your fabric is a bit scary.

The first one the welt didn't cover the pocket entirely, the second one I somehow managed to sew the pocket shut, but the third one come out okay and with a decent looking welt. I felt a bit like Goldilocks.

I'm pleased with how the vest turned out. It fits Fiance well too, but he didn't want to model it for photos. I made a size down from the pattern recommendations. Yes, vests are meant to button over layers of clothing, but I thought three inches of positive ease was a bit excessive. This size gave him an inch. It fits in the arm holes, but is a big snug across his stomach, so I might try grading the pattern a bit when I make it again.

I will definitely make this pattern again because it's the same one I will use for his wedding vest, but I'm going to make it out of linen for a summer weight. 

The only thing I'm not happy with is one of the side seams. I think I managed to catch some extra fabric when I was sewing it up because it tucks in at the very bottom. When I look at the inside of the seam though it looks fine. I used a ladder stitch to close the lining which is so quick and easy that one of these days I might just take it out and try and fix that tuck.

All in all, both Fiance and I are happy with the vest. The welt pockets were fun to learn how to do and the vest itself was pretty quick and easy. It took me two days only because I started it at a friend's house who has such dim lighting that I couldn't see what I was doing with the black fabric so I had to stop and finish it when I got home instead. 

The outer layer is 100% wool, the lining is Bemberg rayon, the pattern was originally Simplicity 2346 but I changed the pockets, and left of that tie in the back. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Finally Finished Socks

At the beginning of this year I made a list of sewing and knitting goals. I wanted (and still want) to create a wardrobe of handmade items right down to basics like socks and underwear. I told myself I was going to knit a pair of socks a month.

Yeah, that totally didn't happen. So far in 2015 I have successfully finished two pairs of socks. It's November. Somehow I don't think I'm going to knit 10 more pairs of socks in two months.

But I am happy to say that I finished the pair I talked about in Block Sock Block back in August, the pair that I originally cast on in February.

As I mentioned in that post, I think the biggest problem I was running into was that I didn't like the yarn. I still have another skein of it somewhere, but I think I'm just going to throw it into the stash and forget about it for a while.

I'm not sure you can really tell in these photos, but I changed the pattern of blocks for the second sock. The original pattern is Patchwork Weasely Socks by Erica Lueder. I adore her sock patterns, but I also wanted to honor the spirit of Dobby with my Harry Potter inspired socks so I decided to not make them a perfect match, but still have them go together like Harry's socks with broomsticks on one and snitches on the other.

The really funny thing about finally finishing these socks was that I was immediately inspired to cast on a new pair. So now I'm working on Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings, also by Erica Lueder, and they are going much more quickly. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Normally I am super into Halloween. It is my absolute favorite holiday, I've always decorated and I've usually spent three months making a costume. I generally know what I want to dress as by November 1st for the following year.

But this year I just wasn't feeling it. I didn't even start to think about costumes until the week before, and then it was only to think that I wasn't in the mood to make anything. So rather then make anything new I pulled old costumes out of storage and tried to figure out what might still fit.

There is nothing like looking at projects that are around 5 years old to make you realize how much better at sewing you are now.

I ended up wearing an old black dress. It used to have long purple sleeves, but they were too tight. I honestly cannot believe it fit because I weight 40 lbs more than I did when I was in college, so I'm thinking it must have just been huge on me when I first made it. And taking off the sleeves made me realize that 1) I didn't do a great job sewing in a straight line and 2) I had no idea how to attach a lining/finish my seams. The inside of the dress looked horrible.

But the outside looked okay, so I wore it.

It was cold and rainy so I threw this felt cloak on and said I was Queen of the Night.

It took some digging around my facebook page, and the picture isn't great, but I found the night I originally wore the costume in 2010.

You can't see much of the dress because it was really only visible around the hem, the neckline, and the sleeves, but I can tell from the gaping at the neckline that it was way too big for me then. I was so proud of that costume 5 years ago. Now it's making me cringe a bit. I'm glad to see that I have come a long way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Learning to Use the Serger

When my Grandma passed away a year and a half ago I inherited her sewing machine and her serger. I have been using the sewing machine nearly daily since then, but the serger just sort of sat, forlorn and forgotten because I didn't know how to use it. I told myself it was because I wanted to get really good at more traditional clean seam finishes before learning to use the serger because it seems like cheating a little bit, but in reality I was also afraid to try and use it. I had used a serger on only one prior occasion and when I did I managed to cut a large hole in the fabric when I caught some excess fabric in the seam and I had to start all over again. It made me swear off machines that can so easily ruin projects.

Last weekend I finally screwed up my courage and pulled out the serger. I am a much better sewer now than I was a decade ago the last time I tried to use one so I was hopeful that this time it would go better.

The first thing I did was read the manual cover to cover. It had some very helpful tips on using the machine.

The second thing I did was clean it thoroughly. Check out the nice big ball of lint I got out of it. I'm guessing that Grandma's last project was green and white.

Then I surged the edges of a couple of fabrics that I needed to launder. I also took the opportunity to play with the tension so I could get a better idea of what was right or wrong and how to correct it. Much to my surprise adjusting the tension on the serger was actually easier than my sewing machine because everything is clearly labeled. 

And finally I actually made a couple of pairs of flannel pajama pants. (Did you know pajamas keep you even warmer if they have pictures of sweaters, mittens, socks, and hats? True story.)

I'm pleased with how well I lined up the pattern on the seams here.

And look at that nice, clean, serged seam.

I also made a pair with cupcakes and snowflakes, although I don't think you can actually see the snowflakes in the picture because they are white on very pale blue. 

The pattern I used is Butterick 5432 view G. I did have to make a few changes. If I had folded the waistband where they indicated the pajamas would have come up nearly to my nipples, so I folded nearly 4 inches down for the waistband. In the future I think I will just cut that part off. I also had to hem the pants higher than the pattern thought I would. Either I have really short legs, or Butterick was working on the assumption that the person making these pajama pants is 6 feet tall and nothing but leg. 

All in all, I am very happy with my new pajama pants and even happier that I finally conquered my fear of the serger. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tree Tunic

I know I've had a busy weekend when it is 8:30 on Sunday and I am only just sitting down to write my blog post. I've also nearly got the blog caught up with my projects. Clearly I need some extra time to spend crafting!

Today's project was one that I made last weekend. A couple of months ago I ordered some polyester crepe online. Shipping was nearly the same cost as a full yard of fabric so I ordered a second fabric to get free shipping. The second fabric was one that was cute, but I honestly wouldn't have ordered it just on its own. It was a fun Cotton + Steel print and I had heard three positive reviews of the brand from three separate sources within a week. Based on the picture online I thought it was a gray fabric with trees and dresses on it. It was fun and funky. I got two yards thinking it would make a cute, novel, skirt. Well, a week later I got an email saying the main fabric that I wanted as actually out of stock and unless I responded within 24 hours I would be refunded the price for it and just shipped the Cotton + Steel fabric. I read that email at hour 25, too late to cancel the order, which is what I would have done.

Fast forward another week and my single fabric arrived, and much to my horror it was not gray, it was more of an olivey-gray-green color. It also had white blobby ghosts on it that I hadn't noticed in the picture online. It was in no way shape or form a neutral and I think it would have made an awful skirt because I would never have found a top that looked cute with it. So, greatly disappointed, I put it in the stash and moved on.

Last weekend I pulled it back out. Maybe it's because Halloween is so close, but I felt like it was time to do something with the slightly creepy fabric. I decided on a tunic and pulled out the Simplicity pattern from Sailboats Galore Again and got to work. This time I left off the pockets and used grosgrain ribbon for the ties. I used single fold bias tape to hem to hem the arm and neck openings, but I did a simple narrow hem for the bottom of the tunic.

And here it is from the front:

And a view of the back. 

I really like this tunic pattern. I think it made the most of the slightly odd pattern of the fabric. I should have taken a picture of just the fabric because you can't really see the details of it in either of these pictures. 

And I will say this for the weird color: I think it makes my hazel eyes look a bit greener.

I might by Cotton + Steel again because it was a nice quality cotton, but I will not be buying it online again.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sweaters: the Good and the Bad

So, remember back in August when I wrote this post about my orange cardigan and how much I liked it? Remember how at the end of the post I said I was a bit bummed that the yarn was handwash only, but it wasn't that big a deal? Yeah...I totally felted that sweater. I didn't even realize that it had ended up in the wash.

That face is the one that Fiance calls my "Muppet Face" because apparently only puppets should be able to frown that deeply. He thinks it's a creepy face, but I think it's appropriate for felting a sweater. Obviously the sweater didn't shrink too much, and it is still wearable, but it doesn't hang right anymore. I think it shrank more in length than width and the seams are oddly stiff now making the hips flair in odd ways. 

Not totally ruined, but not wonderful anymore either. 

In better news I finished a new sweater this week. 

This one is also made with knit picks yarn, this time it's Palette. This one is also not superwash, so again I'll need to be careful (a bit more careful this time) when washing. I like the Palette line of yarns because it comes in so many wonderful colors, and it is inexpensive. It's got a little bit of that wool itch, but not enough to keep me from wearing it next to my skin. I used the color Hazelnut for this sweater, and it is a wonderful rich brown.  It's a bit lighter than it looks in the pictures. We've entered the rainy season here in Washington so I'm having problems getting good lighting for pictures again. 

The pattern is Casual Lace by Justyna Lorkowska. I know you can't really see the lace pattern in these pictures (grrrrr bad lighting) but it is a pretty pattern. It's a top down knit, I modified the sleeve length to be 3/4 because I have a habit of pushing my sleeves up and ruining them getting them all stretched out that way. One of the things I particularly liked about this pattern was the twisted rib used at cuffs, collar and bottom/button bands. I meant to take a close up picture of it and compare it to regular rib so you could see the difference, but I forgot. Oops. 

So, one messed up sweater, but one that turned out well. And maybe someday I'll even finish that darn sock...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wedding Dress Ideas

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I spent last week at my future in-laws house (oh gosh, can I just say that I love calling them that?) so I didn't get a lot done in the way of crafting, but I did spend the week looking at silk swatches (and sometimes fondling, and sometimes rubbing them on my face like the weirdo that I am (I can't help it, they feel so nice)) for my wedding dress. I'm, like, 95% sure that I don't want to wear a white dress, but just in case I did get some white swatches. This one is my favorite of the shades of white:

And below is the one that I'm pretty sure will be the main fabric for my wedding dress. I didn't want white, but I didn't really want to depart too far from white either, and blue is sort of my signature color. I guess teal is really my signature color, but Fiance asked that I not wear teal, so blue it is. I like this shade because it is blue, but sort of just barely.

And this is the color I want to use for a sash around my waist. It's a teensy bit lighter in real life, and it is almost the same color of my favorite invitations. Plus I think it would look great as a pocket square for Fiance (I've already decided that he gets a gray linen vest for his wedding outfit). I'm not into matching outfits, but I do like the idea of subtle continuity between our outfits. 

I was thinking about a sweetheart corset top and a floor-length full but limp skirt, but when I expressed that to Fiance he said "What? Don't do that. That would be horrible." While I'm not going to bend over backward to accommodate his wishes I also want to wear something he will think is pretty, so I think I will make a corset to wear under the dress, but do a retro feeling, maybe tea-length, dress. I love 50s style poofy dresses, and my wedding is sort of the perfect occasion to wear one. Plus I have a just below knee-length organza petticoat already in my closet waiting for the perfect occasion. I'm not giving up my sweetheart neckline though. 

I've still got 10 months to finalize ideas, but I'm having a lot of fun thinking about it right now.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Burlap Curtains

As I've said before Fiance and I had an anniversary party in August. I am not a fan of single use items so when Mom insisted that we had table coverings I said we absolutely could not use those nasty plastic ones from Party City, they are far too wasteful. If that's what you are into fine, but I like natural materials and I like reusing and repurposing. I wanted natural burlap, but Mom insisted on red as it matched our decor better. So red burlap it was. Fine with me, I will use the natural burlap that I wanted at our wedding instead.

I repurposed that red burlap into new curtains to cover our closet. Fiance got home from work, walked into the bedroom and said "Wow. That is very red." He is not wrong.

I do think they would look cuter if they were natural colored. On the upside, the fabric was cheap and it took no time at all to make them. I used the selvedge edges, but I did fold them over and sew them down, then I hemmed the bottom and finally I folded about 4 inches of the top down to make a channel for the curtain rod. I didn't bother to measure the length for the curtains I just held it up and roughly cut it at the bottom. I also did not bothering tugging everything on grain. They are pretty sloppy, all things considered, but it only took half an hour and they cover up our clothes so I say mission accomplished.

The same day I made the curtains I also cleaned my sewing machine. It was making a slightly funny sound, and I realized that I had been neglecting to do some important maintenance. I clean lint out every time I change bobbin thread, but I rarely remove the needle plate.

I took the needle plate off so I could clean the hook race and feed dogs. 

I meant to take a picture of the ball of lint I got out (it was about the size of my pinky nail), but I got distracted. When I finished cleaning everything I sewed the curtains and got little red threads all over everything and I had to take it all apart and clean it again. Oh well. Lesson learned: sew with burlap, then clean your machine. Order of operation sometimes matters. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Linen Pencil Skirt

Last post I talked about my linen pleated skirt that didn't go according to plan, this post I want to share with you a linen skirt that worked out just fine.

Even though I really like the company that I work for, I was trying to make a nice outfit for job interviews because Fiance and I wanted to move back down south of Seattle to be close to our friends again and it didn't look like I could move and keep my current job. But I totally lucked out because a position within my company opened up in Tacoma, so now I don't have to find a new job. Hurray!

However, having a nice professional outfit ready to go is not a bad idea, so I decided to continue with the project anyway. I had some black linen left over from the pleated skirt, and pencil skirts don't really require a lot in the way of fabric. I used the McCall's pattern 5523 view d. It was a super simple pattern to make. I used french seams to make sure everything was nice and clean and neat on the inside.

I am pretty happy with the way the skirt came out, but holy smokes that thing about linen wrinkling is totally true. I had the skirt all nice and pressed when I finished sewing it, but it was too dark for pictures at that point, so I hung it up. When I took it out to take pictures less than a week later this is what it looked like.

I can live with the wrinkling, I'll just have to allot extra time for ironing whenever I wear this skirt. I should have pressed it before I took pictures, but I was in a hurry, so we are pretending that I did it this way to show the wrinkle factor. 

And the back is so cute. I love the little ruffle details. It is professional and fun at the same time. 

All in all I am happy with the way it turned out. It fits me well, the length is good, and I can totally wear it to interviews or to the once a year meeting that requires more professional attire. Or any other semi-nice occasion. I will need to make a black slip to wear underneath it though. The skirt isn't lined and I feel like the fabrics got just a hair too loose a weave to risk not having a slip. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How Not to Make a Pleated Skirt

I swear this is my last post about the weekend at the Wooden Boat Festival. I wanted to keep my boat themed outfits going so I wore my t-shirt with anchors on it. I made the t-shirt ages ago, but the skirt was one I had only recently finished.

When I started the skirt I had intended to make a tutorial on how to make a pleated skirt, but I pretty much did absolutely everything wrong, so instead I'm calling this how not to make a pleated skirt. 

 First: fabric choice. I used a mid-weight linen from I chose linen for a couple of reasons:
 1) I thought because it wrinkles easily it would hold a crease for the pleats. WRONG. The pleats were totally invisible, like, 30 minutes after I pressed them in. The wrinkles stayed just fine though.
2) There is a dress I want to make that incorporates pleats and before I used up four yards of linen on it I wanted to know if my finished object (FO) would look any good. I've now learned not to use linen for that dress.
3) I figured even if the linen didn't hold the pleats I would still end up with a cute, dirndl looking skirt, so it as a fairly low-risk experiment.

I will say that this linen is absolutely scrumptious. I love it. And I was at least right that even though the skirt didn't come out the way I envisioned I do still like the FO. Next time though I will skip the pleating and just gather the waistband like I did for my pink skirt.

So, I cut out a rectangle of fabric, carefully making sure that it was on grain and started marking my pleats at the top. Those white lines are 1/2 inch apart.

And here I'm about half way through gathering all the pleats. There ended up being 52 pleats. I pressed them all down once they were pinned. And this is where I stopped taking pictures because things started going wrong. 

My fabric managed the slip off grain, so when I sewed in my pleats they looked crooked. Bummer. I also sewed them down four inches and then realized that it looked ridiculous and unflattering, 2 inches would have been plenty. I solved that my nixing the waistband. Instead, I just folded over my pleated section. The pleats made the fabric plenty stiff and stable, so I didn't bother with interfacing or anything. That part actually went rather well. 

A note on zipper installation: linen unravels like crazy, so I gave myself a full inch of seam allowance for the zipper and did a clean seam finish before installing the zipper.

I had wanted the skirt to sit a couple inches below my waist and come to my knees. But it ended up too small to sit that low. I tried adding fabric, but I added too much, then realized the couple inches I needed to add looked ridiculous so I took it back off and just decided to wear it at my waist. That's the fashion now anyway. It's also shorter than I wanted because I'm wearing it high, and I lost two inches doing the waistband. My butt isn't hanging out though, so I can live with it. In fact, I think it's still longer than similar skirts I've seen in stores, and again this makes it more in keeping with current fashion. 

All in all, even though everything went wrong I'm still happy with the FO. It'll look cute in the fall/winter with tights, or in the spring/summer without which was part of my hope. I probably won't make a skirt this way again, but at least this one worked out alright.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sailboats Galore Again!

Yesterday I posted about Fiance and his friends building a boat. Today I'm going to talk about what I wore while they built.

Their competition started on Friday, but I couldn't join them until Saturday because I had to work. So rather than sit at home and just pout that I wasn't with the boys I decided to make myself a new nautical themed dress.

Normally I avoid Simplicity patterns because I always end up swimming in them if I make the size indicated on the package, but they were on sale and I didn't want to spend a lot so I was leafing through the lookbook and I found Simplicity 1080 (I made view A). They called it a "Granny Chic" tunic. I don't really understand why. Maybe because they posed the model holding some yarn? (Let's all try not be offended at yet another implication that knitting/crocheting as a thing only old people do) It certainly doesn't look like anything my grandmother would wear.

So I was looking at the pattern and I spotted something I had never noticed before (probably because it's been so many years since I made a simplicity pattern and when last I looked at them I didn't really understand ease). At the bottom of the envelope was a list of finished garment measurements. And no wonder I always ended up swimming in my finished garments because they give, like, four inches of positive ease. I mean, it's a pull over in a woven fabric, so you need some ease, but four inches seemed truly excessive to me, so instead of making the large the pattern said I needed to accommodate my bust, I went with a medium, and low and behold the fit was perfect!

Here I am in Port Townsend wearing the dress. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day with tons of adorable sailboats in the water behind me all day, but I couldn't pull Fiance away from his build long enough to take pictures then. So instead you get a gloomy twilight shot with my sweater on because it was cold and windy by that point. (Also, do you recognize the bag? It's the one I talked about in this post. I brought it with me because it was all I had big enough to carry two meals worth of food for four hungry men)

And here is a badly lit shot of the whole dress so you can actually see what it looked like. Isn't that nautical fabric adorable!

The pockets were a huge reason that I picked out this pattern. Normally I'm not a big one for patch pockets, but these were cute and big enough to actually be functional. And most importantly not right over my breasts. I don't understand why designers seem to insist of putting pockets on nipples like I need to be drawing any extra attention to my boobs. Anyway, I'm a sucker for a dress with functional pockets. 

The dress had some interesting construction details. The neck, shoulder, arms and hem were finished with single fold bias tape. I've never used it to finish a hem like this, but I rather liked it for the neck and arms. Next time I think I will skip it in favor of a narrow hem on the bottom because the dress is just wide enough that you need a second package of tape for the last four inches of hem. 

This is also the first pattern I've seen that includes instructions for finished seams. In this case, it called for french seams on the sides. Even if it hadn't I would have done them anyway because I like my clothes nice and neat and finished on the inside, but I liked seeing a pattern that agrees with me.

Another note of interest on the pattern, the pieces were not nested so you had to hunt out the size that you needed for each piece. It certainly made it easier to cut out, but it also makes for a very thick envelope when you are trying to put all the tissue away. 

And last but not least, this dress illustrated the importance of back-tacking. I was tired and in a hurry and I somehow completely forgot to back tack the tucks on the front of the dress, so by the end of the day they had pulled completely out. It's a good thing the back ties were attached first and then hidden by the tuck instead of doing it all in one seam or I would have lost the ties on the dress too. 

If you look closely in the picture you can see the needle holes where the tuck used to be.

I followed those holes to quickly fix the tucks before I washed the dress. It was a bit fiddly to do the second time since the back was attached to the dress now, but I got it and now it is fixed, and back-tacked so it won't be going anywhere a second time. 

Overall I am super pleased with this dress. It's comfy, it fits well and it was really easy to make. I think it only took a couple hours Friday night. Oh, and don't let the thought of turning those long skinny ties turn you off, they are folded lie bias tape and top-stitched, so no turning required! I am totally going to make this pattern again. Next time I think I'll do it in the tunic length.