Thursday, November 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Rollin, Rollin, Rollin ...

Well, it's been one of those weeks where you have lots going on and you just can't get your blogging done, lol. I had a bad day for the record books on Monday (I felt like a character in a children's book - it was that ridiculous), so I decided a knitted animal project was in order. Is it a gift for anyone? Nope. I just needed something cute and frivolous to occupy my mind. So I finally cast on Roland :)
My sister bought me Huge and Huggable Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec a few months ago. The book is filled with her usual fun and quirky creatures, but this time they are designed with super bulky sized yarn. I've had a bunch of skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA in my stash for years from a rather epic Walmart clearance sale (they were $1 to $1.50 per skein!), and it just so happened I had almost the exact color ways to make my own Rollie poly :) I've actually done very little work with such big yarn before - never in knitting. It's been a bit if a challenge, but it's simple once you get it going (starting up was definitely the hardest part). Over this week I've finished the body and now I'm onto the shell. It's definitely huge! I think he will be a fun pillow to have around when he's done.

So that's all I can show from this weeks work. I'm still plugging away at gifts, but it's nice to switch it up for morale's sake once in a while, lol. Ever had to do that before?

Monday, November 24, 2014

FO: Slugbert the Garden Slug

In all my gift making frenzy of the past few weeks, I found myself with all my current gifts finished and a free evening of movie watching with my husband. I didn't really feel like working on my Emelie sweater, and I also didn't feel like spending who knows how long picking patterns and pulling out yarn for my next batch of gifts. I needed something quick and fun - luckily the Indie Gift-a-Long put an idea in my head that filled the gap perfectly :)
I've always wanted to make the Garden Slug by cheezombie, but never got around to it. When I saw it was one of the eligible patterns for the GAL and that I had the Garden Slug (Flat Version) pattern in my stash, it was the perfect excuse to finally show some slug love :) Meet Slugbert!
As the pattern title suggest, this pattern is knit flat and seamed together - honestly not my favorite construction method (I would have preferred in the round), but the pattern was given to me and I do not look a gift horse in the mouth :) It came out great even with the seams. Also this pattern comes out bigger than I thought it would from the pictures - mine is 6.5" long, 5" tall and 3" wide.
I made my slug using Vanna's Choice in kelly green, cranberry, white and black - all from my stash. The pattern suggests you use poly-pellets in the body to make him stand up - I had never thought of it, but I'm really glad the pattern mentioned it as I'm sure it would just flop over without them. As usual, I put the poly pellets in knee high panty hose and tied the nylon off to make a tight sack, then put the whole thing in as one piece. I'm always paranoid that a baby may get their hands on this sometime and I don't want to be responsible for any choking hazards. The panty hose solves this worry and keeps them all at the bottom so they don't redistribute themselves over time. The rest of the body is stuffed with poly-fill. The pattern has you use size 3 needles, which makes for a very tight fabric. Honestly you would be ok with slightly larger, but for my first go I just followed the instructions.
Here's his seam - not bad, right? The only place you can see it is in the angled area - I used a mattress stitch so the top part is invisible. I love his little tail, lol.
So, there you have it: Slugbert :) It's a really fun pattern, and the face is so expressive! I can definitely see a small army of slugs in my future...

Friday, November 21, 2014

FO: Monsieur Splat Cat

In all my gift making the last month or so, my husband reminded me of his grandma's birthday just a few days before hand. Yeah, lol. I had something already made for her for Christmas and I think he just figured I'd give her that earlier, but I really didn't want to change my Christmas plan, so I started looking through my patterns to see if anything struck me as to what I should make her for this occasion.

I stumbled on mention of the Indie Gift-A-Long on a blog I follow. A bunch of indie pattern designers on Ravelry all got together and set up this group with awesome prizes and pattern discounts. For this first week of the GAL, certain patterns from certain designers would be 25% off (so only Nov 13-21), and one of the patterns was something I'd always loved but never purchased: Splat Cat by cheezombie.
Isn't it cute?! I've always thought it was really funny, but I just never had cause to make one up. Justin's Grandma is definitely a cat lover, so I thought she might enjoy it too. The pattern is pretty easy to follow, and I made mine up over a few nights (only a few hours total) and had no problems. The appendages were definitely more time consuming than I thought, but I guess that's pretty typical for me :)
Isn't his face great? The body is knitted as one piece, then the legs and eyes are picked up and knit while the tongue and ears are separate pieces you sew on.
The pattern is listed as an amigurumi/coaster, so he cam be nice and useful too :) I doubt Justin's Grandma will use it as a coaster though - I think she said she wanted to hang him up.
As for his name, I added Monsieur to mine since every time I read the title I hear it in the voice of Dutchess from The Aristocats (Eva Gabor) saying "Monsieur Scat Cat," so it stuck.
 And here is the birthday girl herself with the splat cat :) She's 86 years old!
And of course the Gordo had to try the cat on for size :)

I really enjoyed making this little guy! Just so you know, if you want the pattern for yourself it is 25% off but only until midnight tonight - so hurry here! (I'm not being compensated to mention that or anything, just wanted to pass along the great discount.)

FO: Falling Flowers Skirt

This project has been a seriously long time coming ... over 2 years in fact. Isn't that just ridiculous?
I started out trying to make this skirt back in 2012 when I decided I wanted to sew clothes for myself. I began with a super simple pattern from New Look 6981. I chose this because I really wanted to showcase the flower fabric, but I also wanted to change a bunch of things on my own. The pattern didn't have pockets and it didn't include instructions for a lining, both of which are necessities with me. According to the pattern measurements, the largest size included wasn't big enough for me. Naive little me thought that just increasing the width of all the pieces by 2 inches would fix this - can we say it was enormous that way? I had no idea about built in ease at the time, so I just trusted the pattern envelope and it came out so wide my hips couldn't even hold it up. After all that, I was incredibly frustrated. Not only was it too big, it also was just not a flattering style on me (somehow I decided to convert the 3 box pleats into one large box pleat down the middle - not wise, former Megan), so in my frustration I hung it up in my closet to be dealt with another day. Well, two years have passed. I've even moved and hung it in my new closet, lol, still just never had the desire to unpick the whole thing and try again. A month or so ago I finally bit the bullet, ripped it all out, and re-did it. I'm much happier with these results :)
Ugh, sorry for the crappy flash photo.
Once I had the entire skirt unpicked, I made some new realizations with my much more developed sewing brain. First off, I had cut the flower fabric so that they were "falling up", lol. Luckily I had enough fabric since I had cut it too wide in the first place, so I just turned the fabric the right way and recut the pieces. Glad I know a little more about fabric direction now. I also know more about stitch lengths - I don't know why but I used something like a 1.5 stitch length originally, which made unpicking it all a nightmare. I also had no idea what I was doing on the pocket and zipper, gladly I was able to remedy this now.
Here is my single pocket, lol. Since the pattern had a side zipper, I had absolutely no idea how to add a pocket along with an invisible zipper, so I just decided one would be fine. Nowadays, I would have looked up how to do two pockets, but I wasn't in the mood when I finally fixed this. The pocket actually came out really well :)
Sadly, the other side of my waistband ... not so much. The zipper looks great, but the waistband just wouldn't meet any closer. By the time I put the skirt on and realized this space, all it needed was a hem, so I was not about to rip the entire thing apart yet again. To be honest, I never wear anything tucked in, so no one will even see the waistband at all in real life. I may move the hook and eye eventually, but I just couldn't be bothered at the time.
 The lining did come out quite nice. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but it seemed to work out. I didn't want the pleats to be in the lining, so I constructed the outside of the skirt, then laid the lining on top and cut it to be the right shape without the pleats (hopefully that makes sense). I also hemmed the lining about an inch shorter than the skirt to prevent it peeking out.
Originally, there was a bit more of a difference in the length of the skirt and lining. I would try on the skirt and just hate how the hem just hung there. I wanted a little volume at the hem - I'm a "fit and flare" gal. I wanted to try a hem finish to stiffen it a bit, and I decided to use interfacing. Sadly the only interfacing I had on hand was the cheapy light stuff (that wouldn't have done anything) and super heavy duty (think the stuff you use to make bags hold their shape), so I cut a 5/8" wide strip of the heavy interfacing, sewed it on, turned it under, then did a blind hem. It looked completely ridiculous! I seriously don't know why I thought that would work. This fabric is technically a quilting cotton, but it is much lighter weight than your typical variety. I purchased it at The Quilt Place in Rockledge sometime back in 2012 and I remember it was in their clearance for $5.00 a yard. I don't have the selvage piece anymore, but I'm pretty sure it was an Art Gallery fabric. Anyway, I then unpicked the hem, and cut off the interfacing section, which made me lose about 5/8" of main fabric. Then I just turned 1/4" under, turned another 5/8" under and did a tiny blind hem on my machine.
It all came out really nice looking if I do say so myself :) I did my first ever tiny rolled hem on the lining - it was quite an experience, but it worked out fine. Plus it's the lining, so I don't care if it's perfect. I thought I would need to add tulle to the lining bottom to give me more flare, but when I tried it on after the normal blind hem it looked great - just enough flare - so I left it alone.
I also decided to get really fancy and add tailor's tacks to the skirt and lining to keep it from sliding up. They look pretty dang good imo :) Also, I just pinked the insides to finish them - since there is a lining I wasn't worried about getting fancy.
For the pocket, I just copied a pocket from a skirt I already liked. I had no idea at the time that I had chosen a "complicated pocket" - it wasn't really too hard, but definitely harder than just a normal one made of lining fabric. The pocket has a band of the main fabric along the outside so it looks really professional now it's all finished :) Also the pocket was designed to be caught in the waistband which I really love - it's nice and sturdy!
Ugh - and the dreaded zipper area. The zipper looks good outside, but since the pattern didn't include lining instructions, I just winged it and it doesn't look too pretty. I didn't know how to attach the lining to the zipper at the time, so I just cut that area open in the lining. Even when I recut the pieces, I had cut too far in for me to change that now, so I just left it. I just turned the opening edges under twice and top stitched. I had to hand stitch the ends of the waistband closed inside, which was kind of a pain, but it helped me avoid any visible top stitching on the outside. I seriously hate the hook and eye area though. Oh my gosh, it looks so awful.Really though, because of how I wear my shirts it won't be an issue. The second picture at the top of this post is how it will look when I wear it in real life. I really don't know what I was even thinking about making the waistband a different color since no one will really ever see it, lol. Ah well, early sewing design choices - what can you do?
So, that's my skirt :) Is it perfect? Absolutely not. The important thing is that it is finished and wearable, so it's not hanging in the closet making me feel guilty, lol. Does it go with anything else I usually wear? No - in fact I'm pretty positive this green shirt is the only thing I have I can wear it with, lol. Also, I generally avoid white and cream on the bottom since I'm always afraid I'll stain them. Oh well.
I'm still undecided if wearing it with my favorite sweater looks ok. Is it too matchy matchy? Thoughts?

Anyway, this was definitely a "Make it work" project, and while it wasn't the most fun thing to puzzle through, I am really happy to have it finished and wearable :)

Summary:
Fabric: 2 yards Art Gallery (?) quilting cotton, $10.00; Brown quilting cotton, maybe $2.00(?); White poly acetate lining, $2.50 (?)
Notions: Invisible zipper, $2.00 (?)
Pattern: New Look 6981, pattern pieces only
Hours: About 4 to redo it, but who know how many hours when I first made it years ago...