Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sew Fitting

When the last sewing project I did was a huge disappointment because the fit was so poor I decided enough was enough and invested in the Sure Fit Designs system for fitting, designing, and sewing. 

I'm happy to say that my first project using the Sure Fit Designs system has been a huge success! My fleece lined vest fits beautifully. 

Over 15 years ago I took Fashion Design courses in college for a couple of years. I did well designing and developing patterns but I never did catch on well to the nuances of custom fitting. Fitting, though covered, really was not an emphasis in the program.

Cozy comfortable vest that FITS!

When I received my Sure Fit Designs package I went straight to work drawing out a sloper using my own personal measurements. Of course due to variances in individual body shapes even with the correct measurements there were adjustments to be made. In my case there were several. 

I had to move the shoulder seams forward by a 1/2", and make an adjustment that adds additional length to the upper back to allow for the rounding of my shoulders. Those are the two body variances that cause me the most grief when it comes to ready to wear purchased clothing or unaltered sewing patterns. Store bought shirts and jackets have a tendency to slide back, choking me in front and yet gaping behind my neck and bunching up at the back waist. 

Very happy with 1st project using Sure Fit Designs.

I also added some length to the centre front, but could clearly add a little more yet as it still rises a bit in that spot. Not as noticeable in person as it appears from the next picture. 

Could lengthen the front a little.

The back fits really well. Plenty of room for movement and ease in my hip area without the shoulders being overly large. 

Fits incredibly well.

It took quite some time to develop the pattern to make this vest. First I had to take measurements, draw the custom sloper (fitting pattern), sew it up and fit it once, making note of necessary changes, redraw the pattern with those changes, and then sew the sloper again. Both fittings required a series of photos be taken so that I could receive input from Glenda Sparling of Sure Fit Designs. For me, that consultation process with Glenda is the most valuable part of the system. Without her input I would have been at a loss! 

After that second fitting I was good to go and started on the actual development of a garment pattern. I chose a vest pattern that is available as a "how to". I felt for the first item developed from my personal sloper I would like the additional guidance of taking it step by step through the pattern development process. I made individual changes beyond just fit though. For one thing I added a yoke section to the back. I did this because my rounded shoulders necessitated shoulder darts which I wanted to eliminate in the vest. I moved them to the yoke seamline. I also lengthened the vest by 2".

When it was time to test my pattern I used fleece that I had an ample supply of. Once I was sure I had the fit right I decided the fleece "test" could serve as the lining to the "real" vest which I chose to sew from some very nice, leftover fine wale corduroy. The vest could have been reversible if I could have found a reversible zipper. No such luck here in my neck of the woods though! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cabernet Infinity Scarf

This one has been a long time in the making simply because I only picked it up occasionally. I've been doing more sewing and weaving lately than I have knitting.

This is the Cabernet Infinity Scarf from the pattern by Monika Sirna  I started it way back in January.

Knitted Cowl

The fact that it matches the Saori hat was unintentional and just a bonus.

Saori hat and knitted cowl

I just have to say that I'm not all that impressed with the yarn I used. In the skein it was deliciously soft and a bright royal blue that I was in love with -- BUT --

Bleeding dye
  • It split like crazy while being knit.
  • The high silk content meant that wisps of it clung to, and snagged on, the dry spots on my fingers while I was knitting.
  • The dye tinted my hands blue while I was knitting.
  • And a LOT of dye came out of the finished article when I did it's wet finishing!
  • The colour was visibly duller after wet finishing.
The yarn was Knitpicks Diadem Solid in the Sapphire colourway. Interesting that that particular colourway is no longer available. Maybe the dye problem was limited to only that colour? I still won't be buying any more though. The splitting and fuzzing was annoying enough alone, without the additional annoyance of the blue dye bleeding.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Late for Saint Patty

Okay, this is more than a little late for St. Patrick's Day, but inspired by Gene Black's example I had to try spinning up a little of the green and gold.

Shamrock green and a touch o' the gold

And no, that little tag that says $7 does not mean this skein is for sale. Whenever I can I reattach the fibre vendor's tag to the skein so that I can remember the fibre content and the source. It's incredible how fast I can forget such things otherwise! This was 2oz of "local wool" hand dyed by HummingBeeFarm. It blows my mind how far this spinning technique can take 2oz of yarn! This is a large and lofty yet lightweight skein.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Side Fringe

Played around a bit with using clasped weft paired with thrums to create a side fringing effect.

Clasped weft side fringes.

The weft yarn has now gradually worked its way toward orange. I have kept the colour progression of the Kauni Rainbow yarn in the main weft by labelling the bobbins and then winding them onto one bobbin then rewinding them onto another so the colour is reversed and lines up with the bobbins that come before and after. Clear as mud? Sorry, it's hard to explain, but easy to actually do.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sunshine On a Rainy Day

It's gloomy and rainy here today but I'm working on my own little patch of sunshine.

This part brings to mind sea creatures dancing in a rainbow ocean.

Sea creatures?

I'm really happy with how the inlay in this next section worked out. I used a thin strand of handspun that had a lot of variation in colour, and I made four passes with it before each clasped weft pick. I love the way it distorted the weft around it, allowing more of the warp threads to show, and packed in until it was laying diagonally in places. Fun!

Loving this section!

And here's where, at 10:08am, I stopped for the morning. Time to get on with doing some other things with my day!

10:08 am

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Fresh Start

After resleying for a closer sett I finally got this warp retied to the breast beam and ready to go again.

March 18, 2015

Cheerful, bright colours for a garden banner. There will be way more yardage than I need so I'm just going to play and then use my favourite section for the banner and the rest will be set aside to "renew" the banner as it fades and is subject to weather wear and tear. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Second Attempt

I'm happier with the plying on this skein.

Much happier with the plying on this second skein.

I'm using a slightly different approach and it is resulting in more even plying through the thick sections. This time I held the two strands being plied in opposite hands. I originally started off trying to keep the thick and thin strand tensioned while holding the thin thread loosely and allowing it to wrap/ply, but I hadn't gone far when I discovered it worked better for me doing it the other way. So after a bit of experimenting I held the thin black thread fairly taut and let the softly spun thick and thin strand do the wrapping/ply. I found I was better able to control the rate of plying through the thick areas this way.

Now I just need more practice. And that will require more of a resource I seem to be in terribly short supply of lately --- TIME!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fibres West 2015

Friday was my day to attend Fibres West in Cloverdale, BC. 

If you are interested you can click the photo to enlarge it.

If you aren't a "fibre type", it might not seem like much, but each of those booths is jam packed full of fibre goodness that I don't normally have easy access to. I tend to stock up, binge style, once or twice a year.


I could spend hours shopping at such an event, while the whole idea of a day spent browsing fibre arts related booths could bring my husband to tears I think. Loving man that he is though, he drove me down, uncomplaining, only to return a few hours later when I texted to let him know that I had had enough (or had spent enough --- which is the same thing in my books.)

This is the haul I came home with. 10 different colourways of beautiful roving dyed by the folks at the HummingBeeFarms booth, and a large cone of black mercerized 2/8 cotton. It will all eventually make its way into my weaving projects.

FibresWest haul

I wasn't home long before I was trying it out!

Loosely spun thick n thin single

The vendor at HummingBeeFarms booth had some lovely skeins of Thick'n'Thin yarn for sale. She was good enough to explain her technique to me so that I could go home with an armload of her beautiful hand dyed skeins to give the technique a whirl.

Merino plied with viscose thread.

I'm not there yet, hers was more uniformly plied than mine. But I've discussed the issue with a few kind forum members and I have some ideas to try to see if I can't get something closer to what I had been shown in the booth. Don't get me wrong, I DO like this skein, I just think I can do better.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mixed Feelings On This One

I had a collection of scraps left over from sewing my blue Saori jacket. They weren't overly large but there were a number of them. I discovered I could cut all 8 wedges for a hat out of them.

Making use of scraps of handwoven fabric.

I've been needing a hat with a brim for those early morning and late evening walks when the sun is low on the horizon and seems intent on shining right in my eyes! Sunglasses are no good because there are enough long shadows at that time of day that my polarized glasses just seem to blind me.


So I worked at sewing all those scraps together.

Right side

And I added a generous brim to cut the sun's glare.


I fought with the lining a bit because it wanted it roll to the outside, but in the end I have a hat that should have been serviceable but I'm kind of on the fence about how I feel about it.

Left side

I've always felt more than a little self conscious wearing hats and this one is -- well -- "out there" with its bold, bright colour and the wild texture. I did wear it for one walk and while it worked well for the intended purpose I felt silly, a bit like Crazy Aunt Pearl. On a positive note I did have a lady that was parked at the side of the road roll down her window just to tell me how much she loved my hat.

I suppose I just need to walk with the confidence and panache of someone who is wearing a pricey designer original, hey? You know, instead of slinking along like I'm embarrassed?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sunday, March 01, 2015

That About Covers It

I was doing a bit of a clean up in my sewing room and came across some fabric I bought ages ago with the idea of making a dust cover for my (then) new sewing machine. I love that the fabric motifs include many of my hobbies; sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, and embellishing are all represented. There is even some quilting in there, but it's been years since I've done any of that.

I stopped what I was doing, right then and there, and started drafting out a pattern for the cover.

New sewing machine cover.

The machine came with a flimsy, plastic cover that I've been using up until now. The ho-hum plastic cover did fit well so I used the measurements to draft the pattern for the one sewn from novelty fabric.

Opening for the carry handle.

I even included the little flap that covers the carry handle, but allows access should I need to move the machine.

And now with that done I suppose I should really go back into the sewing room and continue the tidying? ---- Nahhh, that can wait. I'd rather get back to drafting a bodice sloper I was working on. The equipment from that is taking up a corner of the kitchen table and I'd like to get it cleared away.

There is also the cowl I've got about 80% knitted, the doll sweater that is half knit, and the wool rainbow warp waiting to be retied on the loom and worked on.

Do you sense a bit of Manic Crafting going on around here?