Saturday 25 February 2012

Renfrew: The first wearable muslin

Totally inspired and fired up by Lauren's awesome post on sewing with knits, I decided to tackle the Sewaholic Renfrew Pattern and managed to get a wearable muslin in no time at all. It is not perfect but it helped me figure out any potential fitting adjustments and any challenging bits to sew. I wore it today to go out to the garden to cut a shrub and replenish the wild bird feeder.
I used remnants of a knit fabric I had on my stash since I don't know when. The fabric wasn't quite enough so I omitted the waistband. I figured to assess fit I really don't need it. I found it a challenge to knit in corners (or at the edge of fabric) as the fabric kept bunching up underneath. Lauren suggests using a walking foot and I'll be putting in a order today. Other than that it was really easy and quick to do. I still cannot warrant buying an overlocker so used my normal machine with a zigzag stitch.
I really shouldn't stick my belly out, especially after eating!
I definitely want to sew up a few more versions of the Renfrew, especially the 3/4 sleeved with a cowl. Not sure when though, as I have quite a few things going on at the moment. Saying that, you could easily do one of these in an evening so might make a few more in preparation for Spring.

Do you sew with knits? Do you use a normal sewing machine or an overlocker?

Thursday 16 February 2012

What's next and life goes on

Let me start by saying thank you so much to everyone for the outpour of support I received, following my announcement last Saturday. I was close to tears when I realised my announcement post held as many views in two days as some of my most popular posts. Your comments and emails really brighten up my day and gave my plans a different and awesome perspective. Thank you, thank you so much everyone!
I am now just finalising the last details on the pattern so I can finally make it available for testers. Every time I come to the conclusion it's ready to go, I find something else that needs adding/doing/improving. It will be ready at the weekend, so for those of you who have offered to test, an email with information will be sent out early next week. Once the email goes out with all the info, you can then make a decision, whether you want to test or not. Do remember that once I am more certain size charts and grading were done correctly, this pattern will be made available for free. I'm aiming for a official launch with a new website at beginning of April.
In the meantime, life goes on. I am still sewing and knitting here and there. I'm currently working on the Minoru Jacket  and about to start Susan Khalje The Couture Dress from Craftsy. I'm hoping that techniques learned here will help me construct my wedding dress. Gertie has also announced a new class which I strongly suspect I will buy in the very imminent future. Not sure when I'll be taking it though.

What are you working on at the moment? And have you fell for any of Craftsy fantastic classes?

And not forgetting today is knitting day, I'll leave you with a couple of scans from Vogue Knitting from late 1955.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Secret Project S revealed

Presenting to you the elusive and secret Project S I have occasionally alluded to in the last year or so.
Suzy Patterns are the result of a mishmash inspiration pool mainly from Victorian and Edwardian eras to the gorgeous 1940s and 1950s. They are developed with the petite women in mind however with some alterations, everyone can sew a Suzy!

That is right, I decided to design sewing patterns. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am. But it is also scary!
This little venture of mine (as it remains for now a small venture) has started pretty much around the same time I started sewing. When that happened I knew I wanted to do a bit more with all the design ideas floating in my head. Whilst the idea of launching a small line of clothing was briefly thought of, I wanted something that would allow me to stay involved with and connected to the fantastic sewing community. I have benefited in many more ways than I can possibly describe from this fantastic community and have met many wonderful people I call friends, both personally and online. 

Suzy Patterns is, like I have said, a small venture and I plan to take it slowly but steadily. Whilst I am taking this very seriously I'm also planning on relaxing and enjoying it. Coming to this stage has taken a long time researching, learning, practising, asking questions, etc. I fell out of my comfortable zone when I had to rely on someone else to do something (I am a control freak) and now need your help:
After I drafted and tested the current pattern I'm working on I had to research pattern grading companies that would digitise my pattern and grade it in different sizes. Pattern making and grading software is very, very expensive and grading by hand a true art which I do not fully have. I found a company and sent them my size chart and pattern pieces and they have done it for me, which is fantastic. However, I want to be sure that a) I have made my size charts right and b) the company that graded did it correctly with specified ease, etc. Initially I thought about sewing all sizes myself but then I decided to announce this and ask for your help!

If you would be interested in testing this pattern for me, please leave me a comment with your email address. I already have a few people who expressed interest on my Twitter account and plan to email everyone next week with some details.

Please do not feel obliged to do this, I can say now that a decision was made from the start to make this pattern available for free to mark the beginning of this venture, so if you don't want to risk sewing something that might have wrong sizing on, it's fine. 

That's it then, the cat is out of the bag!

Thursday 9 February 2012

Another thursday...

...another knitting day! This time, 33 fashion wise knitting designs from early 1956!
Especially in love with the fan yoke blouse above. Gorgeous!!

And thank you so much to everyone regarding your lovely comments on my knitted cardigan. I am very happy and pleased with it, especially as I never thought I would ever have patience to finish a whole piece. I am very inpatient and sewing is so much more quick and rewarding (even if it takes long to get a perfect garment).

And those of you who follow me on twitter might have caught glimpse of an announcement I'm due to make soon but for those who don't, that announcement will be on my blog this Saturday (no issues arising). I'm a bit nervous and anxious but also excited!

Thursday 2 February 2012

Knitted Navy Beauty

Here it is, my first ever hand knitted garment (excluding scarves) completed and being modelled! Mind you, it's too cold to wear this now but I couldn't wait for Spring to take some photos and share with you! Isn't it a beauty? It's not perfect but I love it. According to my Ravelry project page, it took me less than a year which is a surprise for me. I am a slow knitter! This project benefited from a week off sick in December where all I could do was lie in sofa and knit.
This cardigan is from the gorgeous book "A Stitch in Time Vol 1" and it's called To Set Off your Summer Frocks" It was chosen as it was the easiest for a beginner. It's all stockinette stitch, so quite straight forward. This book is full of gorgeous designs and I blogged about it here. In fact, my blog post sparked the knitting bug in a certain fantastic person so strongly that she took up knitting straight away (in addition to being a fantastic sewist) and has already finished many more gorgeous knitted garments than me. You know who you are ;)
As I said, knitting this was straight forward! Blocking and finding the right gauge was a bit of a nightmare though. I tend to knit loosely so had to go down and down in needle size to get there. But I did get there! Once finished I blocked all the pieces and found out that it had grew, which worried me as I like a snug fit. It's not too bad though! Seaming was a bit tricky. Sewing with fabric and thread is way different from sewing with yarn and knitwear.
I have already started my next project, this time an also easy, for beginners sweater from Kim Hargreaves. I'll let you know how I get on.
And you, are you on the knitting bandwagon?


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