Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a wiksten spring

Seeing all the Wiksten tops in the Spring Top Sewalong pool inspired me to run out, buy both patterns and whip up one of each in a matter of days. To my family it may seem a tad impulsive, but I'd like to think that's exactly what a sewalong is for - to feed a collective sewing obsession.   

So the Tova pattern is great. I used Robert Kaufman's linen/cotton which is a bit heavy so although I had added the sleeves, they were too stiff and I took them off. But I quite liked wearing it with a shirt underneath and having playful bias tape around the inside edges is just plain fun. I've never been crazy about the collar when I've seen other Tovas so I left it out and used bias tape there too. I just think it makes a nice shape. Overall a great pattern and well suited to my, er, flattish chest.

Next up, the Wiksten tank. Again, super easy pattern and this time no adjustments at all other than how I attached the bias edges (I pressed the strips in half, stitched them to the wrong side with raw edges lined up and then pressed to the front and topstitched down). Since the inside seams are clean - which I love even though I have a serger and could have simply serged them - the whole garment just feels so "finished". The fabric is some cotton shirting and I love seeing the diagonal version of the checks, which is why pressing the bias trim to the front seemed necessary, even at the hem. It might not be a very flattering neckline for me but this will be very wearable with a cardigan.

So Wiksten officially tried and loved. More in the future for sure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

spring, sort of

While I try to avoid facing another paint colour mishap, sewing has been a decent distraction. I've had this shirt pattern for years - Vogue 7998 - and I finally gave it a try. It's a kimono/wrap style and it turned out much better than I was expecting. Given it's "Very Easy" distinction there are one or two construction details I'm not a fan of but overall I think the seams will hold and the collar does a good job of hiding the questionable bits. I used Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer fabric which holds its shape and is very wearable. I quite like the tie at the back but it would be great to leave the ties off so you could wrap any belt or scarf around the middle. Overall, a great, somewhat-dressy shirt.

If you're looking for some spring sewing inspiration - and not the all black, full length sleeve sewing that I'm indulging in - visit the Spring Top Sewalong Flickr poolThis top is especially awesome and could persuade me to sew something gray.

And then I remember the gray paint mishap. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

all things charcoal

As a break from moving supplies, I thought I'd actually sew something (plus I took some time off this week to do just that.  Sewing is very restorative as much as my co-workers tease me for it.)  And instead of making something for the house I put the time into making something for a friend (double restorative, it turns out). A while back I spotted Meet Me at Mike's fox quilt, but didn't until this week think about adapting it to make a  foxy pillow. To better suit a square pillow form I made the fox block out of 12 squares, each being  3.5" high x 4.5" wide. I also inset the eyes so that they were part of these squares instead of appliquing them on top. The fabrics are white linen, salmon raw silk and then my current favourite, Robert Kaufman's Essex Yarn-Dyed cotton/linen blend. It's such a great design and I think it makes for a nice gift. Maybe someday I'll get around to making a wall quilt version - I know a certain basement with bare walls that's just aching for foxes.

Over the holidays I made a scarf for my dad that turned out soft, squishy and quite manly. So it only made sense that Jay should get a similar scarf. I used Berroco Vintage to contend with Jay's rough beard, but he's not one for modelling so the shot above is the best I could do. He seems pleased with the dark gray and he's not a yarn snob, so the blend suits him fine. The pattern is really great - easy to memorize (a center marker is a lifesaver) and it makes a warm, dense fabric. 

Next to the scarf is one of the nicest book covers I've ever seen (at one point I thought the whole cover would be my palette inspiration for the basement). Ru by Kim Thuy was recommended to me my a complete stranger in the line at Indigo a while back. The line was long and we managed to trade a few suggestions while we waited - it was like an impromptu Book Club. Luckily this novel counts for my Canadian challenge and even better, it was a beautiful read. Rather than being a linear story it was more a meditation on Thuy's life told in lyrical and petite chapters. It's been translated from French but somehow I imagine the rolling prose was there to begin with and it's just that fantastic a translation. I was swept up by Thuy's writing and was a little heartbroken when it ended. Thank you dear stranger!

For more knitting and reading stories, visit today's Yarnalong.