bags for the bride

Not only was I lucky enough to attend a beautiful wedding this weekend and watch a good friend begin a beautiful marriage, I had my first commissioned "job" for this very wedding! Someone liked my "bucket bag" enough to ask me to make three as gifts for her bridal party, and it was such an exciting project!

A close-up of the fabrics:
The pattern was the same as the one I used for the Great Little Bag, with some new fabrics added in, all of which I purchased in the remnants at Osgood's and G Street. On the inside, the initials of each bridesmaid are embroidered, which was a 2-hour project per bag alone.

The bride and her bridal party seemed really happy with the results, and a lot of people have suggested I sell them. I'm not sure if it makes sense, particularly because I'm still pretty slow and each bag takes about 6 hours without the embroidery. I also don't know if they stand out enough to make someone actually purchase one; I mean I think they are a cool gift, but would you buy one? And how much would you pay for a bag like this?
(I haven't figured out the best way to photograph the inside besides turning them completely inside out).


demi is finally here

It's done! And I think I like it. I realize that yet another Demi sweater in undyed Fisherman's Wool is the least interesting thing on Ravelry now, but I'm excited to have made it, AND this is the first time ever that once I finished knitting something, I missed knitting it. Usually I want to throw it out the window when I'm done. This was fun and always kept my attention.

  • I added length to the hem and the overall length of the body.
  • And I added like 4 inches or something to the arms because I have long arms and I like the sleeves extra-long.
  • I did a 3-stitch bobble instead of 5-stitch.
Things I Learned:
  • I love cabling without a cable needle! I am unlikely to use a cable needle again.
  • Definitely preferred working in the round, and using dpn's on the sleeves, if for nothing else but to be able to try on repeatedly.

Finally, I found these deep cherry-red buttons at What Cheer? (DAMN I love this store) and was psyched because cream and deep cherry-red is one of my favorite color combinations.
This is why I can't model:


a Great Little Bag

As a thank you gift for a good friend who helped me out this summer, I made a smaller version of the Great Big Bag, using the same outer fabric and a different lining.

The bag is "bucket" shaped, with a rectangular bottom, widening to the top. There is a small (I think 6"x6"?) pocket with a bright contrasting zipper, and this time I attached the straps to the outside of the bag, I guess to be more bucket-like?!

"Memoirs" from this project:
  • Trim the corners and press the seams before turning the bag rightside out. Duh. This one would have come more naturally if I had made this bag after Ben's shirt.
  • Stitch the corners of the lining to the corners of the bag, and then baste the lining at the top. Hopefully then it will sit nicer - this lining did not sit as well as I would have liked it.
  • I've taken to fabric glue. My Great Big Bag is falling apart at certain parts of the pocket, and is the pocket is also filled with stray threads - on the Little Bag I painted fabric glue on the edges of the seams and I hope this did the trick.

Overall, I was happy with it and very excited because I've been commissioned to make three more similar ones as the bridesmaids' gifts for a friend's wedding!


happy birthday ben!

It's done! I gave Ben his birthday present yesterday and I think he liked it...

I had so much fun making this. I learned a lot. A few things:

  • I don't like interfacing. The pattern instructed me to use interfacing in the button band, collar, cuffs, and pocket flaps. Uh, I'm not making a tuxedo shirt here, so I made it without interfacing.

  • This pattern was somewhat of a 90's Zach Morris-style shirt (you know, kind of bloused and baggy - blech. Although, I imagine the hipsters might start rocking this style now that we've evolved to a 90's revival - which other than Zach Morris, I love. I'm psyched about the rebirth of flannel shirts and Doc Martens.) Anyways, so I narrowed the body (front pieces 12" wide w/seam allowances, and the back was 23.5" w/seam allowances). I made the pockets smaller, and placed them higher and closer together, and changed the shape of the front yoke and made it smaller. I also narrowed the sleeves a lot and took out the pleats.

  • For some reason, the size M collar did not seem to fit. I used a S collar and collar stand and that seemed to work.

  • I shortened the hem about 1.5"
If I made this again (which I think I will), I would cut the S pattern pieces for a M, I would make the back yoke from one single piece, and I would sew the tag in before stitching the collar on:
More pictures! What a handsome model.

I have to say, I truly cannot stand blogspot and how difficult it is to adjust the layout of text and pictures. I have to investigate other options.


a birthday present & the biggest project yet

So, I've been avoiding posting this on the off-chance Ben might read my blog. I'm working on his birthday present, and let's face it, he's probably not going to read my blog before then. So honey, if for some crazy reason you're reading this, stop.

OK, here goes. I'm working on a plaid button-down cowboy-style shirt for him, like the ones he always wears. This is quite ambitious for my level of amateur sewing. I swiped one of his shirts to use as an example, which has served me well; however, it is short-sleeved, the shirt I am making is long-sleeved, and now that I'm AT the sleeves, I've reached a sort of crossroads. It just got a lot harder.

Here's what I've got so far:

I love this fabric! Very crisp.
There were a lot of pattern pieces to cut! Oh boy. Not to mention the additional ones I had to cut after deciding I didn't want to use the interfacing I had already fused on some of them. And the new sleeve I had to cut. And I'm sure there will be more.

I was very happy at this point - This was the easy part. I've tried to be very meticulous and I've been pressing everything like crazy which really helps.

Now, the pattern is huge and I'm making a bunch of adjustments. I'll have to post a picture of the stud wearing the example shirt on the pattern. Very mid-90's. Even in this picture, I've made the yoke different and smaller, the pockets are smaller, and although I don't have pictures with the sleeves yet because they're only partially done, I've done a lot of finagling to make the shoulders and sleeves more narrow. I scared myself yesterday because I thought I might have screwed up the sleeves so I put it down and ran away and I might try again later today.
I hope this works...
And because no project is complete without me starting a new one halfway through, here's what I was working on last week during So You Can Think You Can Dance during the non-dancing parts. What is it?


knitting needle case.

A good friend had a birthday today, and this good friend happens to share the knitting bug with me - actually, she taught me how to purl! And she taught me that you have to actually wind up the hank of yarn, rather than knit with it in a tangled mess. I really thought it was no problem until she made me sit and wind it up while we were at work one day. Didn't that change my life. Well, for her birthday I wanted to make her something and make it something useful for knitting. I thought I'd organize her needles the way she organized my tangled mess of yarn, so I made her a roll-up holder for needles using this tutorial.

These were, perhaps the straightest lines I've ever sewn, and I was really pleased with the way this turned out. Topstitching is still a little tricky for me, particularly in the corners, and particularly when the corners aren't too sharp, like they were when I turned this right side out. A good, quick project and good practice too.


demi week one

Uh, I'm not exactly going to post a week by week update on Demi, but it has been a week and here's where I'm at:

I'm knitting in the round, which I think is much easier to avoid the Ptbl and I'm psyched to minimize the seaming. I don't think the pictures show it, but some of my knitting looks kind of sloppy, which I'm hoping will block out somewhat. All the cables and twists make it hard for me to be consistent sometimes, so I'm trying to go slow and focus on making it look nice - you focus so hard on just getting the pattern at first that it's hard to pay attention to anything else! I've been pulling the bobbles through on the right rather than the left because I think it makes them sit flatter.

I found an awesome tutorial for cable knitting without a cable needle, because, well, I forgot my cable needle, and I think this has made it a lot faster, and probably helps me avoid stretching the stitches out too much when I'm cabling. I think I'll stop using a cable needle forever. Big words in this knitting dork's world.

I really need to send the previously mentioned gifts out too...


secrets & surprises

I can't quite post anything yet, because everything I've been working on is a gift that I should probably give before I post. One is done and will be given soon, one is 97% done and then I broke my last 3 machine needles trying to finish it last night. Since I'm going to be away from the machine for a week, that's going to be on hold. And the third is going to be started when I get back.

I have started Demi, finally, despite having some carpal tunnel-like symptoms that I'm tring to ignore. And I'm also thinking about this with a great big duvet cover from The Garment District that I'm ready to cut up.

Add it to the list.


inspiration in the family

So lately I've been looking around me for inspiration and ideas, and I'm obsessed with all things vintage, old - anything with a kind of weathered character. I started digging around in old pictures because the clothes in the pictures always make me excited and I lament that my mom didn't carefully preserve all her clothes for her unborn daughter. I love these hotpants and this flower dress!

In the course of digging, I came across these pictures of my mom "modeling" for a photographer friend. I love the clothes, especially the high-waisted pants, and seeing my mom in her youth during this era really moves me. She looks so classy and beautiful.

Now, the digging began because I remembered getting excited seeing the clothes I'm wearing in my childhood pictures, and wanted to find those for inspiration. When I was a kid my mom made most of my clothes - I'm not sure if she made these, but I wish I had these floral blouses now! And maybe even the bowl cut... (My grandmother's top isn't bad either!)


sunshine and bugs

Sunshine is finally done! And I've got some bugs to go with it.

I made some modifications to narrow the sleeves, lengthen the entire sweater, and change the neck to a small ruffle instead of the ribbed collar (see description on Ravelry). I'm pretty happy with it - I pray to the swatch gods now because knitting the swatch is why this fits and not knitting the swatch is why the minimalist cardigan did not.

I've also been dying to try embroidery, so I stitched up a few bugs on these cloth napkins I bought (4 for $2) at The Garment District. I got the idea from a beetle I saw in a Japanese embroidery pattern book online, and then sketched a couple other ugly bugs. This was therapeutic for my bug phobia, because I got a little desensitized after looking at pictures of bugs online to get ideas for drawing. I have a particular problem with centipedes, so that was a helpful stitch.

The beetle is my favorite.