Monday, June 08, 2015

Outfit Along 2015: Swatching for Vianne

I originally thought I would use Knitpicks Comfy worsted for my Vianne sweater.  I swatched with some leftover Comfy yarn from a previous project and got stitches/inch gauge on my first try (woot!)

However, for either of the fabric options I'm thinking (blue flower gingham with the navy blue or the chambray), my preferred sweater color is navy.  A navy blue sweater would work with most of the clothes I wear on a regular basis.  Guess which color is not available for Knitpicks Comfy?

I tried to convince myself that I could use one of the blues available and be very happy with it, but realistically, I knew I would not be.  My next choice of yarn was Cascade 220 superwash.  I've used this yarn before and it's very nice to work with.  The only downside is that it's 100% wool and I was hoping to use a cotton blend for this sweater since it is a summer sweater.  I do think that a wool sweater will still get plenty of wear in the summer since it is often quite cool in the mornings and evenings here in the bay area.  And, of course a warm sweater is useful indoors this time of year since most public buildings seem to think that it's necessary to make their buildings resemble the arctic.

I'm already behind in the knitting portion of the outfit along (the sewing portion hasn't started yet), so I was determined to get my yarn ASAP and make a gauge swatch (or two) so that I could get started.  Fortunately, one of my LYSs, Uncommon Threads, had several skeins of Cascade 220 super wash in navy blue.  I would have hated driving around to every store in the area trying to find the yarn I wanted (especially since I was towing my daughter along with me.

Unfortunately, Cascade 220 super wash is a somewhat lighter weight yarn than Comfy and I didn't get stitch gauge or row gauge in size 8 or size 9 needles. I don't want to increase the needle size more than 9 because even with the size 9s I wasn't completely happy with the resulting fabric.  The stitch gauge isn't so much of a problem.  It's about 4.9 stitches/inch and it ought to be 4.75 st/in.  However, my bust measurement is 41" and the finished measurements nearest that are 37" and 41".  I wanted some negative ease but not 4" worth.  If I knit the 41" model with a somewhat tighter st/in, then the resulting garment should be slightly smaller than 41", giving me some negative ease.

The row gauge is a problem because of the lace pattern.  I need to do a bit more research and fiddling to see how I can make that work.  I'm confident I can do it, I just need to spend some time sorting it out.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Colette Pastille: WTF

When last we spoke about my Pastille dress, I was doing a mommy-tummy adjustment on the skirt.  The plan was that if that went okay, I would then make one final muslin of the bodice that incorporated all of the changes, sew them together and make one last check for fit.

I made this skirt and tried it without the bodice:
The old, stand-on-a-stool-so-you-can-see-your-skirt-in-the-
bathroom-mirror trick.  I really need a full-length mirror
in the living room where my sewing machine lives.
As you can see, it looks pretty good.  The side seam looks straight although it might be a tiny bit forward right at the waist.

So, I attached bodice muslin 3 to it to see how it looked:

Please excuse whatever was on the bathroom mirror.
Toothpaste maybe?  I dunno, I live with a 3 year old, it
could be anything.
Also not bad.  Actually, pretty good!

At this point, I got really excited and made up the bodice in the same red fabric as the skirt and sewed them together.


First, I thought I would use bias tape for the neckline instead of a facing because facings annoy me and that was a hot mess that I won't be repeating.  But, I figured it was fine, because I didn't really care about this fabric so I could throw it all away if I wanted.  But then, I looked in the mirror and I got so disgusted, I couldn't even take a picture.  The bodice felt funny.  Maybe from the mess at the neckline?  I dunno.  Worse there were diagonal pull lines in the front skirt.  Ugh!

I tried it on again today and this time I took pictures in order to share the horror:
Ignore my hair, I hadn't gotten ready for the day, yet.

I spent a lot of time trying to stand in the mirror in a way
that most obscures the mess on the floor behind me.

It looked like maybe the bodice was pulling the skirt up in the front so I let out the bodice seam in the front.  I overcast the seam allowances together so it's essentially got a 1/4" seam at the waistline:

Better, but I don't get why the bodice is suddenly too short.  I need to take it apart and compare it to the previous bodice muslin and the pattern piece.  At any rate, it looks like I need to add half and inch to the front bodice and front skirt.

There's still some pooling and wrinkling of fabric in the upper back of the bodice while the lower back is now looking a bit too tight (maybe?).  I need to pinch out the excess at the top and maybe fix the swayback adjustment, I think.

Whatever it needs, it's going into time-out for awhile to think about what it's done while I work on the Outfit Along (Bad, bad, bad Pastille!  Mommy is not happy with you!).  I'll pull it out once I've finished the dress for the Outfit Along (so, the end of July?).

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Outfit Along

Lauren of Lladybird and Andi of Untangling Knots have organized an Outfit Along--a sew along and knit along combo so that you have a complete outfit by the end.  Sewing + knitting?  Yes, please!

While you are welcome to sew and knit any pattern you like, the official patterns for the Outfit Along are McCall's 6887 and Vianne (designed by Andi).  From the McCall's website:  "Lined dresses have princess seams, fitted bodice, skirt variations, and back zipper."

Lauren has already made view A in an adorable pineapple print and it looks fabulous on her.  I'm going to follow her example and make view A even though I suspect many people would say that 41 year olds should not be wearing dresses with cutout backs.  They'd probably also say that 41 year olds  are not supposed to go around in pigtails, either, and I do that all the time so screw convention.  You only live once and it's not my fault a sew along for a dress with a cute cutout back didn't come along when I was in my 20s and 30s.  Besides, that age-guesser thingie on Facebook said I look 34, so there!  

The outfit along officially started on June 1 but Ms. Lauren will be in Peru (lucky lady!) the beginning of June so no sewing posts until the 22nd.  That's alright because it will give me plenty of time to make a muslin of the bodice.  I'm probably going to need an FBA and I want to be sure there is good coverage of my bra in the back.  No swayback adjustment to the bodice though because that part of the back is missing--yay!

The official knitting pattern is Vianne, a short cardigan--the pattern can be purchased on Ravelry.  From the Ravelry description:
This cardigan features a fun set of mirrored lace panels that run along the front neckline and frame a large mesh panel on the back. The natural bias of the mesh stitch pattern causes the back neckline to dip down slightly and creates an attractive curve out at the waist. Vianne is knit using DK weight yarn at a loose gauge to create a lighter weight fabric and is worked seamlessly from the top down.
 I need to choose my yarn and get swatching but first I need to decide on the fabric for the dress (I'd rather try to match the yarn to the fabric than vice versa).  I have a few options.

Options 1 and 2:  Floral gingham/plaid with navy blue linen/cotton blend or with chambray:

Option 3:  Teal twill with white flowers:

I didn't want to try to match the print from 1 and 2 across the princess seams in the dress, so I thought I could use two different fabrics like the pattern suggests in view D.  The gingham would be front and center and then the navy blue or chambray on the sides.  The chambray would give it a nice casual feel to the dress while I feel like the navy blue would make it look slightly less casual.  Both would be good for everyday.

I love the color of the fabric in option 3, but I would be stuck trying to match the print across the princess seams again which I really, really (really!) don't want to have to do.  I was thinking if I used piping in the seams it would be less critical to pattern match?  Maybe?  Or am I fooling myself?

Right now, I'm leaning toward the flowered gingham + chambray.  I could even make Cate a cute dress to match!

Or maybe not.

For yarn, I would like to get a cotton blend since I'll be wearing it during the summer.  I'm considering Knitpicks Comfy Worsted.  I made a sweater for Cate with this yarn and I really liked how it worked up and it wore well.*  The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn, but I've found that Knitpicks yarn usually works up to a slightly lighter weight than advertised.  It may be simply that I prefer a denser knitted fabric than whoever decides these things at Knitpicks.  Whatever the reason, I suspect the weight of this yarn will go well with this pattern.  Actually, I still have a little yarn leftover from Cate's sweater, so I can do a test swatch with it to make sure I like the resulting fabric before buying the yarn.**

*Sadly, it was lost in a cab on the way to the airport last year.  Somebody left it in the cab (*cough*DH*cough*). I'm still mourning its loss.  

**I'll still have to do a swatch when the yarn arrives because the dye can affect the yarn slightly and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make this in deep purple yarn.