Completed: LMV Indigo sweater – not just for teenagers

I suppose I was 12.... 18 years ago.

I suppose I was 12…. 18 years ago.

Meet my new favourite sweater. The Indigo sweater from the July/August 2015 issue of La Maison Victor, a Flemish sewing magazine. I didn’t know this magazine existed until my co-workers gave me this issue for my birthday. When I saw the shapes of the pattern pieces for this sweater I was sold.

Indigo Sweater pattern pieces.

Indigo sweater pattern pieces.

It is a guest-pattern by Valerie Boone, author of Remi & Cosette for teens, a book with sewing patterns for teenagers. The Indigo sweater pattern is also featured in this book. Since it was designed for teenagers the size range is, unfortunately, rather limited. I made the largest size, 36, which corresponds to a 88 cm bust. This sweater has no side seams, the only shaping comes from the princess seams on the front. The front and back pieces are sewn together in one continuous seam, which even includes the pockets. The sleeve seam is not on the bottom of the sleeve but is sewn continuously with the shoulder seam. I think the whole construction is quite ingenious.

Indigo sweater backI made a muslin and one of the first things I did was to sew the pockets closed. I really like them in theory, but on a person with hips I thought they added too much emphasis on said hips. I moved the shoulder seam forward by 1.5 cm and also shifted this seam on the sleeve since shoulder and sleeve are sewn together. The sweater length was reduced by 2 cm at the waist.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder and sleeve seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

The fashion fabric is a mystery knit that came from the stash of a friend’s mother. She decided that she wasn’t going to sew anymore and wanted to get rid of the fabric she still had, lucky me. I thought it might not be opaque enough on its own and feel scratchy against my skin so I decided to underline it with black laguna jersey. To do this, I cut all pattern pieces twice, layered underlining and fashion fabric on top of each other, pinned so that nothing would shift and then stitched with a wide zigzag stitch around all edges. This basically turns the two layers into one which is much easier during construction later on.

underliningThe seams were stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch using my walking foot. Instead of pressing the seam allowances to one side as instructed, I pressed them open because I found the 4 layers of fabric too bulky otherwise. The neckline and sleeves are finished with black ribbing. The bottom hem should also have been finished with ribbing, but I did an invisible hand sewn hem instead. When I was testing fit during construction I already liked it a lot without the ribbing and I realized that I don’t really like the ribbing on the hoodies that I occasionally wear so decided to skip it. One of my co-workers gave me some tags to use for my handmade items and I sewed one to the interlining of the back.

150826_tagThe downside of the fabric I used is that it completely hides the interesting seam lines, unless I wear it inside out…

Indigo sweater insidesNow all I have to do is wait for cooler weather so I can actually start wearing this sweater…

150826_Indigosweaterside

All outside pictures were taken by my brother who I should probably turn into my official blog photographer because he only took a couple and nearly all of them turned out great.

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F2F: July blocks

This month was Annett’s turn and she chose orange, turquoise and green with a white background. I struggled a bit this time. I tried several ideas but didn’t like how they turned out while it took quite a bit of time to make them. These experiments, unfortunately, also ate up most of my white fabric so I had to throw in some off-white instead because I had no time left to get more. It made me realise that I don’t work with white very often; I only had 1 fat quarter in my stash. This has been remedied now as the next two months also require white.

failed experiments

Some of the things I made and ended up not using. Perhaps they’ll make another appearance later in the year in someone else’s block?

Anyway, eventually I managed to produce 3 blocks that I like and they were sent off only a couple of days late.

The first is a wonky log cabin, the simplicity of this shape and the asymmetry really attracts me.

July1

At least I managed to use two of the diamond strips in the second block that I made. I really love these strips (and the point matching on these turned out pretty awesome if I may say so myself), but when too many of them were put together it just didn’t work for me.

July2

The last block was started by playing with the left-overs from the other two blocks and turning them into narrow strips bordered by white. I quite like the abstract art feeling of this block. The orange border was a happy accident, it was originally not planned but I didn’t have enough white fabric left to make the block 12.5” x 12.5”. I think the block would have had less visual impact without the additional orange.

July3

The blocks made by the other participants can be found on the F2F page.

Completed: BHL Anna dress

Anna dress frontThere seem to be a lot of weddings in my life right now and when you don’t want to buy any new clothes this means some sewing is in order. For the summer weddings this year I chose the Anna dress from By Hand London. I made size 8/12 at the bust grading to size 10/14 at the waist. For the front bodice piece this gave me a bit of a headache because of the way the different sizes are printed for this pattern piece. Getting it right meant I had to move the pattern piece a couple of times while I was tracing it.

150817_dressdetail1The fabric is a Robert Kaufmann cotton chambray; I like how soft it feels against the skin. The dress is unlined and all hems are hand stitched because I prefer how this looks over a topstitched hem. A hand stitched hem is also suppler than one that is topstitched. The seams on the inside are finished with a 3-thread overlock stitch. The dress closes with an invisible zipper and hook and eye in the center back seam.

Anna dress insidesI am pretty happy with the fit at the front, although there does appear to bit of gaping at the front neckline. The shoulder seams were moved forward, a modification I make on nearly every garment.

Anna dress sideThe fit at the back is not so great. The back neckline was way too large (I think it is on everyone who makes this dress) and I used this method to remove the excess. The back waist seam was raised. I also felt the skirt was too wide at the back and it fell in some weird folds. I simply removed it by taking the skirt in at the three seams at the back but I don’t think this was entirely successful. This dress was sewn in the hottest week we’ve had this year at the end of June, start of July and I fear this made me somewhat less meticulous than I otherwise would have been. At some point I was ready to use the half-completed dress to mop up the sweat on my forehead…

150817_dressbackIt’s been years since I wore a dress with a center back zipper and I now realise that I hate them. I am not a contortionist and I really prefer to be able to dress and undress myself without pulling a muscle. From now on I’ll avoid center back zippers like the plague or move the zipper to the side seam if that is possible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

I thought the dress was a bit plain when I first put it on and I think I actually prefer wearing it with a belt.

Anna dress with beltI’ve already worn this dress to two weddings this summer and have another one coming up soon. Since all three have a completely different set of guests I don’t mind wearing the same dress again.

From now on I expect to be able to post more regularly because I turned in my thesis last week. There will be more time for sewing and I’ve already completed two more garments! One I really love and one utter failure. Pictures have already been taken and both will hopefully be featured soon.

Anna dress

Let’s see what happens when I stand on this random piece of concrete…