Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Salme playsuit #113


I'm back with a new make, this time it's the 113 Playsuit by Salme patterns.
I bought this pattern a long time ago, after seeing some promising versions of it by other stitchers.
Playsuits/rompers haven't been my thing, but they seemed like perfect casual summer wear, and has had a bit of a revival this season. So I thought why not have a go?

I decided to make mine in a plain navy blue viscose, the same stuff my red blouse was made of. The quality is not stellar, but ok for day wear. Most importantly, it's comfy to wear.
I cut a size 10, which is a UK 12 and a EUR 40. The measurements given are a tad smaller than my actual measurements, but I've heard this pattern had plenty of ease so I was confident it would be ok.

I used the PDF version of this pattern, The pattern does not include seam allowances, and I hate that. I know this was pretty standard back in the day, and still is for some pattern companies, but still; I hate it.
The second thing I also didn't care for, was that the waist band was not included in the pattern pieces. So you need to draft that one yourself. In the instructions, lining fabric is listed in the notions, more specifically 28x35 cm. This will not cover your lining needs for the waistband, so not reliable as a shopping list. Also not included, was pattern pieces for belt loops. So there was a significant back and forth action, before all was in order. In the cutting diagram, the pocket pieces are not drawn in for some reason, so I had to rearrange my pieces to make everything fit.

Sewing up the playsuit, went swimmingly, up until the pockets. They are unnecassarily complicated, with their 4-piece construction, and the instructions aren't very good. By the time I had spent hours trying to get the first pocket right and also taking the bother to at least try and finish it to some standard, I totally dropped the ball on the second one and just stitched it like it said in the instructions (still not succeeding, btw). I don't like zig-zag-finishing, it looks untidy, and especially so on fray-prone viscose. If you are considering this pattern, and happen to have the Carolyn pajama-pattern from Closet Case Files, use those pockets instead (or some other normal pockets)!

The facings around the neck was also meant to be finished with a zig-zag edge, and was not interfaced. Far to unstable in my opinion. Needless to say, I slapped some fusable interfacing on there, and finished the edges neatly. All other seams I did the french way. I also finished the armholes with self bias binding.

This pattern is nice if you have sewing experience, and can plan for better finishing than stated in the instructions. If I had made this garment as a beginner, I fear the finished product would not look very tidy. But with additional interfacing and some decorative top stitching, it looks rather good.

After all is said and done, I think the playsuit itself is a good addition to the summer wardrobe, and I am very happy with it. It's easy to wear, and is a good style. I can't quite decide where I like the waist to sit, I left the elastic quite loose, so I can wear it low on the hips, but it might look better with the waistband drawn up nearer to the natural waist. In the end, I didn't use the belt loop pieces, but when photographing, I tried it with a belt. It suddenly looked more dressy, so I might stitch on some loops now. I am not that long in the torso, so I found the length in the back is good. It is always an issue when top and bottoms are joined, you do want to be able to bend forward without getting that dreaded wedgie!!

(Excuse the wrinkles. I sat down...)

The front is closed with snaps, so no visible buttons. During wear, the front gets pulled over to the side, exposing the snaps.  So even if it looks very clean without any visible closure, it doesn't quite work. I tried to pin it on the inside, but then you get pull-lines... If I make another, I'll just use buttons, or maybe small hooks and eyes right on the edge there.

I declare a sewing success, and feel my sew-jo is being rekindled!

Monday, 20 June 2016

I'm spinning around, move out of my way!

No not dancing with Kylie, but I have been spinning!

As some of you may recall, I was very lucky to inherit my late Grans spinning wheel this spring, but due to life and stuff I haven't really done much with it. Until now, that is!

Spinning on a wheel seemed a bit daunting at first, but I had lots of wool and nothing to loose, so it was just a case of getting started. I had a small batch of wool that I had experimented with, dying it with food coloring. I quickly found out that it didn't hold up to sunlight, so it was perfect for practice.

My first bobbin full!
This is one single thread, which will then be plied,
to make yarn.

The interest for spinning is on the rise where I live, so small spin groups are popping up here and there. I attended one, and had a lovely time with six other ladies, chatting, having coffee and playing with fibre. It's a great way to socialise, get inspiration, and also help should you need it.

I quickly got the hang of the wheel, and before long my first bobbin was full. One of the spinning ladies showed me a technique for making 3-ply yarn with one thread on a spindle (Navajo plying), and I decided to have a go at that on my wheel. On a wheel it's called chain plying, and it is brilliant!

To put it short, true 3ply yarn is three individually spun threads plied together, while chain plying takes only one thread which you make large loops into as you go, and then twisting them to form yarn. So it saves you a lot of time, and the result is very similar to true 3-ply. Hard to explain, but if you are curious, here is a short Youtube video showing the moves.

The biggest difference when using a wheel over a spindle (I find), is to control the amount of twist. The wheel has two different settings, that gives more or less twist. The speed of which you are feeding the wool into the bobbin is also going to affect the twist, so I was very curious to see if my thread had enough, or even too much twist. When you are doing things for the first time, it is trial and error, until you get the feel for what is "just right". You cannot be told, you have to experience. Besides, the right amount of twist differs depending upon what you want to do with the spun thread, and how you want your finished yarn to look and feel.

The half on the left was the first half of the bobbin, and it's quite
unevenly plied. I got it better on the right half, even though the single thread
had way too much twist.

So I had my full bobbin with unknown amount of twist. I found a Youtube video, on how to chain ply on a wheel, and got going. I probably used half the bobbin, just to get hands, feet, wool and brain to work together, but after that something clicked and the plying went great. I soon found that my thread  actually had too much twist in it, so my yarn is quite firm. I got some kinks and loops in there, and it is not balanced, but it is my first skein and I am quite proud of it.

One chain plied skein of yarn. 90grams.

The lovely thing about spinning yarn, is that there is no right or wrong! Nobody can tell you your yarn isn't right. It may not be what you envisioned in your mind, and it may not be perfect but it IS your own handspun yarn. A nice lady told me; -Perfect yarn, you can by in the store. Handmade is unique. And if it gets wonky, it's called art-yarn!

New fibre, ready to spin!

More spinning to come............ :)

Friday, 17 June 2016

"New" addition to Pinhouse (and a new blouse)!

Hello, stitchers!

I have exciting news :) I have finally got hold of a dress form (of sorts)!
I've been wanting one for as long as I've been sewing, but never found one that I liked the price tag of.
Then suddenly, an old beat up gal from the late 50s showed up, and I couldn't just leave her out in the cold. Yes, she is stained and a bit crumpled, and in desperate need a new stand and some TLC, but I think she is just lovely and charming!

The only story I have on her is that she used to belong to a seamstress working professionally.
The date 28.11.1959 is written on the dress form stand, so she is a mature lady of nearly 60. I cannot find a size on her, but she is stamped 4 in the neck. She is quite curvy, with a 39" severely pointed bust and a 26" waist, and the shoulders of an Olympic swimmer! She is made from some strange kind of lightweight material. If cardboard and felt had a lovechild, this would be it!

She matches my bust size, but I will have to pad out her trim waist, sadly (or start wearing a corset myself). She is somewhat adjustable, she is assembled with some kind of metal rivets, and there are punched holes at regular intervals on the waist and hips for different size settings. I've never seen this type of dress form, and found it quite interesting.

So what better way of introducing her, than to give her her first modelling assignment? (I've decided she will be my bad-hair-day-stand-in. Oh man, is she going to be busy!)

This is my latest version of the Style #3410 pattern I  first made last summer. Although I loved the finished blouse, it was too short in the body, and the polyester fabric was VERY static and clingy and drove me nuts. I wanted to make a new one with the long sleeves option and with some adjustments to the body for a better fit. I cut the pattern before Christmas, hoping to wear it over the holidays, hence the color. Obviously, that didn't happen but instead ended up in a bag. I finished it just in time for Constitution day 17th of May. The fabric is flowy viscose. A pain to cut, ok-ish to sew, but a pure joy to wear. (I do apologise for the photos, red is not easy on my camera, apparently.)

I think the curved seam on both front and back is a nice detail.

I am really happy with this one, but I am wondering if it would be even better with fish eye darts in the front. It is a bit boxy, but then again it is meant to be tucked in. The style is soft and feminine with the gathered details, and I love the longer, slightly "bishopy" sleeves. They reach just below the elbows, perfect for me, cause I'm always rolling up my sleeves without even noticing.

The plan is to sew a skirt to go with it. Skirts are hard for me, but it needs to be done. Do you have a favorite style of skirt or a favorite pattern?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Feminine frippery!

Although this blog has been silent as a tomb lately, I have actually been making stuff.
I had a serious bout of tatting during most of May, after ordering heaps of lovely tatting thread in various colours and thicknesses.

I really wanted to make some of those old fashioned handkerchiefs, with tatted lace edging, but wasn't really sure about what size of thread to use, and what size the handkerchief itself should be. I asked around online, and got answers from some nice ladies who owned antique ones. I wasn't even sure if the edging should be tatted directly onto the fabric. I opted for making the edging first, and then making a customised piece of fabric. That way, it is easier to get the corners to sit right.
The fabric is cotton batiste, densly woven, lovely and feathery light!
All edges are hemmed by hand.

Dainty little flowers, they look complex
but they were rather quick once you got going.

The thread most commonly used are size 80 to 100, which are very fine threads, and you get very dainty lace. It is also a pain to see in a poorly lit living room, and if you loose concentration, and make mistakes, they are harder to correct than thicker thread tatting. But the end result is stunningly beautiful!

Tatting has been around since the beginning of the 19th century, and it was very popular in the Victorian era. I would imagine every Victorian lady would have loads of these delicate embellishments on their undergarments, in their living rooms on small tables, tatted bookmarks and small beaded doilies over their milk jugs to keep flies off. And they surely had handkerchiefs!

This border pattern is free online, and is called "Iris". Designed by Joelle Paulson.
You can find it here, along with other lovely patterns on Le Blog De Frivole.

After making the edging, my shuttles were still half filled with thread, so I tried my hand once again on the Frauberger doily I made earlier. It is such fun to see the differece in size just by sizing down the thread!

The first Frauberger doily on the left measures 6.5".
The small one is only just over 3" across.
Stitch count is the same.

Have a lovely creative week!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Tatting bonanza!

After the sheeply vest project, I needed to do something else for a while. All the washing, carding and spinning + knitting was rather intense there for a while, but I am proud to have finished my plan!
But, it was time to swap crafts :)

I was going up north, and it is always a good idea to bring some handywork. My parents live in a quite remote area, with not much to do. I really don't mind that, but I need to keep my hands busy. I hadn't been tatting for some time, so I brought my shuttles and thread.

There are lots of great tatting blogs online, and a generous lot of them offer some free patterns. Great for us newbies to get some practise. Tatting by the Bay is one very good one, and there I found this lovely square pattern, named Priscilla. Very lovely, but filled with joins that are so easy to forget, and varying stitch count in the different rings. I have a monkey mind (very prone to wandering) and am used to knitting, which you can do while watching/listening to the telly. None of that with this one, so I quickly learned to concentrate. I probably tatted this pattern as much backwards (to pick up the faulty tatting) as I did forwards. Ooopsie!

It said on the pattern that it should take 6 hours, but lets just say I have a long way to go on my speed..... Nevermind, I got it finished, and gave it to my mum as a little gift before I left :)

The Priscilla square, in crochet cotton.

I also like Le blog de Frivole, a tatting and crochet blog. I found a really nice border that I wanted to try, based on a vintage tatting pattern from Tina Fraubergers books from 1919, and 1921. The old books are available as scans online, a great resource for us who like to dig into history. Luckily for me, Frivole has kindly reworked the  border pattern a bit. The originals are in German, and I am not very good at that....

The border is made up of small crowns, and I just used my trusty crochet yarn to test it. The thread is quite thick in comparison with tatting thread, and not as nice, but it is cheap and will do for practise. As I got going, I quite liked it, so I decided to finish it as a small tablecloth/napkin thing. I have plans for future hankerchiefs, so this was an excellent opportunity to try both the border and tiny hand rolled hems.

Tina Frauberger crowns edging.

I was quite happy with the result, but the corners on the border was not described in the pattern, so I had to make them up as I went. The border is tatted separate from the cloth, so when I sewed it on, they wouldn't lay flat. Need to work on that next time around. Happy with the hem on the cloth though! Not as fiddly as I feared.

Lastly, I've tatted my first little doily. The pattern is also from Tatting by the Bay, and is free here.
It is called the Frauberger doily, and was actually a quick tat. I finished it in two evening sessions, not bad for me, I think. I will make this again, in proper thread, I still find it nice to test tat the patterns first, as I am still learning and making mistakes. Better do that with cheap thread.

Frauberger doily, in chrochet cotton.

Speaking of thread, I feel my tatting is coming along now, so I treated myself with said proper thread. These are all Lizbeth balls (apart from the white one), and this thread is something else, I tell ya!! And the candy :)

This is real cotton candy!

Wow, the difference! I am in the middle of a new project now that is meant for gifts, but as a sneak peek I can show you these ear rings that I made from scrap thread left on my shuttle. Cute, huh?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Turning 40 (in a while) isn't all that bad!!

Wow, time has really flown by these past weeks since Easter.
I think it's the longer brighter days, my energy is up and we've had some glorious spring weather here in the south of Norway lately. Windy, but still nice :) So ideal for gardening and running.

I took a road trip up north to visit my parents some weeks ago now, to cheer myself up. It totally worked, and it is always so nice to  be "home". Even though I've had my own home for many years, home is still with my mum and dad. I'll never be too old for that :) It is a very long drive, just over 2000 km there and back, but all that is forgotten as soon as I set foot on their doorstep.

This visit also had a special agenda, as I have been so fortunate to inherit my Grandmothers spinning wheel! There was no way we would risk sending it in the mail, so I had to go get it.

I can still hardly believe it!
I didn't even know it excisted in our family, but luckily, my father hung on to it after she passed. I knew my grandmother was a very thrifty and crafty woman, but I never saw her using a spinning wheel. We lived some distance apart, and didn't see eachother as much as I wish we did. I was always very fond of going to see my grandma when I was little, and have many good memories.

As I turn 40 later this summer (sigh), I got the spinning wheel as a present in advance, complete with carders and everything! Isn't it beautiful? I just love the thought of getting to use and love something that used to belong to my gran. It really means alot to me.

As you all  may know, my spinning knowledge is limited to the drop spindle, but I did try the wheel out up north, and I actually managed to spin something yarn-like. Operating a spinning wheel is a bit like patting your head with one hand, and circling your other hand over your tummy, but once you crack the code it becomes second nature.

I have not been spinning since I got home, there has instead been some great progress on my new sewing space (yay!!) and some tatting, but I plan to sit myself down soon with my lovely wheel :) My big box of wool is just waiting for me to get spinning!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Therapeutic crafting pt.2 - result!

After spinning an amount of wool of both colors, it was time to put it to good use.
I had 138 grams of grey yarn, and 110 grams of white. Total yardage was somewhat of a mystery, but I figured it would be enough for a decent project (not a headband....heh).

I have always loved the look of those fair isle knitted vests or pullovers from the 1940s, and decided that it would be a good project to test my yarn. It should be fairly quick to knit, and easy too, since there is minimal making up/ piecing together.

I wanted the design to be all my own, and pulled out my grid sketch book and dabbled away.
I ended up with this stylized sheep pattern, and then knit a test square for gauge and needle size.
Based on this test square, I could then calculate the amount of stitches for my size, and also how the armhole and neck opening would be. I opted for a V-neck, as I think it looks smart paired with a collared shirt.

I used a 3mm round needle for the whole vest, I could probably have used a 2.5mm for the ribbing, but I had no suitable round needle in that size. I knit in the round up to the armholes, and then the rest back and forth. It was very quick, and in about a week of evening knitting I was weaving in the last ends.

I am delighted with the end result! The vest is light and soft, but surprisingly snuggly and warm. It is the perfect Land girl-look that I wanted, and the sheep pattern works well as a whole. If I were to change anything, I would have made the pattern smaller. But I can always make another version later:)

It has been a fun process, and it really makes you appreciate the work that women put into knitted garments in the olden days. Spinning yarn by hand on a spindle is slow work, and any sane person uses a spinning wheel for bigger projects. But sometimes it is not about getting the object finished, it is about the process.
My spinning is still just in its infancy, and I suspect there will be lots more spinning and other woolly shenanigans in the future.