Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Building My Bra Wardrobe

I'm plugging away towards my long-term goal of never buying another RTW bra again in life. For some reason, bra shopping is my most hated retail excursion. I don't have fun trying them on, I sure don't have fun paying for them and I usually don't have fun wearing them. I've never found an underwire that doesn't stab me in the ribs and the hook-and-eye fasteners always poke me when I lean back in my chair.

The latest entry in my library of bra patterns is the Florence, by Seamwork. They call it a lounge bra, but for me it works great as an all-day, every day bra. They also say you can stitch one up in three hours and I think that's accurate. Or less, probably, once you get the elastic techniques under your belt.

Florence fits a wide range of sizes, from a 33 inch bust up to a 54 inch bust. I cut a small for my 35 inch bust and I think the fit is pretty good. Florence is supportive enough for me; but then, I don't have much to support. The larger busted lady might find this bra too flimsy to do much good.

Front view on mini me
Florence is a pull-on bra, which I love. I generally pull my bras off and on over my head anyway, even when they do have closures. I'm either very lazy or very efficient, I guess.

back view
I made myself two, one in a plum bamboo knit and one in a periwinkle mesh. The pattern is actually designed to work with stretch lace. I might need to give that a try. I think I have some squirreled away  upstairs in my fabric closet.

Florence is the third addition to my stable of bra patterns. Between the Josephine (Ohhh Lulu), the Watson (Cloth Habit) and the Florence, my bra needs will be well taken care of. 

My pattern review is on here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Some Baby Knitting

Baby crafting continues apace here in Surf City. Although the little guy will be growing up in Orange County, I figure every kid needs a baby blanket. This here is the Shadow Study Throw from Purl Soho, miniaturized to baby blanket size.

My version

Purl Soho's version is about 40 inches by 50 inches.

Purl Soho's version
And look at those lovely, soft colors. I fell in love with this blanket when I saw these pictures. I'd love to recreate it, but I'm way too cheap to buy the kit. Plus I don't have the chutzpah to knit an entire adult size throw.

But a baby blanket - maybe. I did a little poking around on Ravelry and it looked like most baby blankets are more in the 28 by 32 inch range. Due to my inability to do simple arithmetic (plus my failure to produce a competent gauge swatch) my version ended up more like 31 by 38. Eh, the kid can grow into it.

This pattern uses intarsia. I once knit a pair of intarsia argyle socks in high school. It was a nightmare; I had about 30 little bobbins of yarn tangling around each other, trying to strangle me. I swore I'd never do intarsia again.

This intarsia project was surprisingly fun! Purl Soho offers the pattern for free, bless them, along with a bunch of very clear tutorials on knitting intarsia with garter stitch. The blocks of color are pretty big, and you're never using more than four yarns at a time. If you think you might want to give intarsia a go, this pattern would be a nice introduction. Fair warning, though: it is a bunch of garter stitch. Like, a bunch. Good for TV knitting.

I took my friend, Jessica, with me to help with color combinations. I'm totally useless at combining colors. I was after a blanket that said baby boy without screaming Baby Boy. I couldn't find quite the color combo I had in mind, but, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, you knit a baby blanket with the yarn you have, not the yarn you might want or wish to have at a later time. I wish the yellow-green were a bit more lime. But they were fun colors to work with and I think I like how they came out.

I used Encore worsted, purchased at The Swift Stitch here in Santa Cruz. Encore is a wool/acrylic blend that is supposed to be machine washable and dryable. Plus it's affordable. Can't beat that for a baby blanket. The blanket feels nice and soft, and it's light weight enough not to give the kid a heat rash.

My sketchy Revelry notes are here. Next up, some sewing for me!

Froggy Coco

I'm taking a sewing class through Watsonville Aptos Adult Education. Strictly speaking, it's a sewing workshop. We meet for 3 hours every Thursday evening and sew our hearts out. Our teacher, Sara, is a total doll, and one of the most patient people I've ever met. She teaches sewing to middle schoolers; something few of us could manage without a rum and coke at the ready. She's Thread Monster Studio on Facebook. She has a bunch of handy-dandy sewing links on her page.

One of the other students in our class made up a french terry version of Coco which was so cute I decided I should give the pattern a try.

I made this top as a Christmas present for my friend, Carol. She likes tops that are a bit on the long side and not too tight fitting, so I thought Coco might be her cup of tea. Plus, she's got a thing about frogs, and look at the fabric I found at Hart's:

two frogs chillin' on a lily pad
 Not sure you can tell from this photo, but those are little frogs sitting on lily pads. You don't often find a frog themed fabric that someone who isn't a toddler can get a way with, so I figured it was meant.

side view
Carol is about my size. I cut a size 3 based on my 35ish inch bust and I think it should work out OK for her.

back view - wings!
If I were making it for myself, I'd narrow down the bottom hem. You can see from the back view that  there's more fabric down there than I can use. The size 3 is expecting a 37 inch hip, which I sure don't have. Carol tends to prefer a loose fit though, so I think it will serve.

The neckline is a tad wide on me; almost into bra-strap territory. Next time I make this up, I'll narrow the neck just a bit.

I used a new-to-me neckband technique that I found on a tutorial for kid tees. I think I kind of like it.

close-up of neckband technique
You cut your band (I usually cut 2 inches) and sew to the neck edge with right sides together. Trim your seam a bit and then fold the neckband to the inside and stitch in the ditch on the front. Or in the general area of the ditch if you're like me and not too accurate with these things. Then just trim off any extra neckband on the inside close to the stitching. It feels a little less bulky than other methods I've used.

My pattern review is on here.