Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream Job

New Look 6917 and 6808

New Look 6917 and 6808

How do you get your dream job?  Make the perfect interview outfit!  Okay, I don't know if it was prefect, but I did make this skirt and blouse combo and I did wear it to an interview for my dream nursing job, and I did get the job, so draw your own conclusions.

The skirt is pattern # 6917, version E.  It is a mix between a size 12 (waist) and a size 16 (hip), with about 2 inches taken off of the length to accommodate my shortness.   I found the fabric on the remnant table at Pacific Fabrics in Everett and, hence, got a killer deal on a very nice piece of purple plaid wool.  The only thing I would do differently in the future is I would underline the whole garment.  Having never worked with this sort of fabric, I didn't realize how much it would stretch.  Underlining would help the skirt hold its shape.

The blouse was a last minute thing because my perfect black sweater was dirty.  This is New Look pattern # 6808, version C, size 12, in black stretch poplin.  No alterations, if you can believe it.  The collar was a pain to figure out, but that is because I am a collar novice.  Fun little blouse.  Love the bow.  I will make more of these.

Patterns: New Look 6917 and 6808

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Knitting needle roll-up

I needed a pick-me-up project after hearing that my kitty had been hit by a car yesterday.  It was a very sad day, and I deal with grief by keeping busy and trying to ignore it (healthy, no?!).  My insane box of kitting needles had been driving me batty for a while, so I decided to make a roll-up organizer patterned after a few I had seen on the internet.  I chose bright fabric to boost my spirits. I think it is pretty happy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Knit this up for Ruby Jane, who was born about a month ago.  The pattern is from Itty Bitty Toys, by Susan B. Anderson, one of my favorite books.  The only change I made was that I used worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles (small for the yarn) instead of using two strands of sock yarn together. Now, I know that knitty folks get all obsessed with expensive yarns, but I am really liking simple, natural, washable fibers these days.  This 100% cotton yarn is super cheap, but knits up very cleanly (is that a word?) and feels surprisingly soft and squishable.  I love it.

The hippo was fun and easy to knit, and the final product is extremely snuggly.

Pattern: "Hippo" from Itty Bitty Toys
Yarn: Sugar 'n' Cream, 100% cotton, various colors

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding Dress

Vogue V1094

Vogue V1094
No, it wasn't MY wedding.  I made this for my step-brother's wedding.  It is a Vintage Vogue 1955, fully lined pattern and I just love it!  Notice how the skirt attaches below the waist.  Love that.

Of course, I cut about 2 sizes smaller than the pattern said to (why so much ease in your patterns, people?!!!)  The bands on the neckline gave me a little trouble, but I think that was do to my skill, rather than the pattern.  The pattern has a few interesting features.  #1, it has this "belt" of ribbon on the inside at the waist.  There is a lot of weight hanging off of this bodice, and the belt helps keep the waist in place and give it a little structure.  #2, the pattern uses a horsehair braid in the hem of the lining.  I went to the fabric store and they didn't even know what this was.  Well, here you go: it is plastic, not horsehair, and is a sort of loosely woven mesh that gives a very soft hoop effect to a skirt...really poofs out the bottom.  (I am also wearing a petticoat in this picture).  It is made by Dritz and comes in different widths and colors. 

People just loved this dress.  I highly recommend making this pattern if you like this sort of thing.

Pattern: Vintage Vogue V1094
Fabric: Some sort of printed polyester from JoAnn Fabric


Yes, this is a uterus, compete with cervix, fallopian tubes, and fimbriae (the little loops at the ends of the tubes).  We studied labor and delivery nursing in my last quarter of school and I needed a laugh.  Easy pattern, no problems, a total hoot.

Pattern: "Womb" from
Yarn: Cotton Ease by Lion Brand

Jacqueline sweater

Made this sweater this summer as a stress release from my last quarter of nursing school...which was intense.  I was drawn to the interesting collar.  Since the lapels have button holes, you can button them to any button you like, making it a somewhat versatile piece.  

The sweater is in bulky yarn.  I wouldn't say it knit up quickly, but it could have been worse.  The gauge on the pattern was WAY off (too small), despite many corrections having already been made on the website.  So, I cast on per the pattern and knit about 3-4 inches, then wrapped it around my hips to check gauge.  I got it on the third try.  I like long sleeves, so I lengthened those.  The body of the sweater was too long on accident, but I liked the sort of "coat" feel and decided to keep it. 

To stabilize the button placket, I sewed in a piece of purple ribbon before I sewed them on. This has really added some strength and keeps the placket in shape. Next time, I’ll do this to the button hole side as well.

All in all, the gauge in this pattern made it a bit of a pain, but if you are willing to do some math and redesign it somewhat, it knits into a nice piece.

Pattern: "Jacqueline" from
Yarn: Cadena by (wool/alpaca)

"Crepe" wrap dress

Colette Crepe

Colette Crepe back

I was at a fabric store in Ashland, OR (Fabric of Vision...visit if you can)  and they had this great little dress on a dress form.  The pattern is by Collette Patterns, a little company out of Portland.  It feels great to buy support a small business.
The dress is a wrap dress, but it overlaps in the back, which is interesting.  It comes in scoop or sweetheart necklines, and has adorable cap sleeves that are cut in one piece with the bodice.

The pattern says it will have less ease than regular patterns.  I believed it and cut a size 8.  I tried it on and realized it was WAY too big.  So much for trying to do a dress with no futzing.  I ended up making a size 2 that fit me beautifully.

Size aside, this is a great pattern.  All of the pieces, including some very oddly shaped facings, go together beautifully.  It was a joy to make.  My one alteration was that I cut the ties for a size 18.  I love how I can wrap them around a few times and get a cumberbund effect.  I will totally make this again.

Pattern: "Crepe" by Collette Patterns
Fabric: Cotton toile from Keepsake Cottage Fabrics in Bothell, WA (so much fun!)

Mad Men dress

Butterick 6582B

Butterick 6582B back

I have been watching a lot of the AMC show Mad Men lately.  So many beautiful clothes.  Sigh.

This dress is from the same pattern as the Ballet dress shown in the last post.  I altered it to get the asymmetric neck line.  I also lowered the point at the back to just above the bra strap, which makes it a little sexier, and reshaped the darts to fit a little closer to the body.  The dress is cut to fall almost straight from the hip, I took it in by several inches at each side to get that tapered, slightly Morticia Adams look.  I LOVE wearing this dress. 

Pattern: Butterick 6582
Fabric: fake dupioni

Ballet dress

Butterick 6582

Butterick 6582

Butterick 6582
This was my birthday present to myself this year.  I wore it to a performance of Giselle at Pacific Northwest Ballet, hence the dress's name.

A Retro Butterick pattern from 1960, I was drawn to the neck line.  I had a heck of the time getting the neck pieces to meet in the middle, though.  I also had a devil of a time with the neck and arm facings...they just didn't fit.  So, it was a "make it work moment" for those of you Project Runway fans.  The darts also had to be reshaped to really fit close to the body.

I had to order the supplies to make the covered belt (then I found out the Pacific Fabrics carries that stuff), but it was so worth it.  I just love having a matching belt.  Again, this dress has a petticoat under it.  If you are going to go vintage, you simply must invest in the proper undergarments.

Pattern: Butterick 6582
Fabric: Shiny polyester from JoAnne fabric

Orange sun dress

New Look 6557
I love this pattern!  Sure, I measured a size 14 and cut a size 10 (as usual), but I am getting used to that.  This is a great little sun dress.  The bust is lined, and it comes in several neck lines/strap designs all in the same pattern.  Zips up the back.  I found this silly orange fabric at Pacific Fabrics and couldn't resist having a little fun.

Pattern: New Look 6557
Fabric: printed cotton

1957 halter dress

Vogue V2962

Vogue V2962
I made this little number for a gig I sang this year for the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society (they are great, go see their shows).  Anyway, I was very excited to use a Vintage Vogue pattern (circa 1957) that looked just gorgeous.  We went up to Vancouver, Canada to the Indian Market and bought this sari fabric (not silk).  It cost something like $11.00 for 6.5 yards.  A steal.  BUT, it frays like crazy, so I serged every edge.

The pattern was tricky.  I measured a size 14, but again, it was way too big.  I also thought the bodice was too full and bunchy.  (You see, I am a little, ehem, robust in the bust and chest enhancing blousiness just makes me look sloppy.)  So, I made the dress from the waist up in muslin and futzed and recut until I came up with something I liked.  It was a pain, but I think it worked out alright.  The buttons and loops up the back of this dress are my favorite feature.  Very elegant, and much easier to sew than I'd imagined.

Please note, this is being worn with a petticoat.  The dress on its own is not that full.

All in all, I don't think I will make this one again, because it required so much altering, and halter tops hurt my neck.

Pattern: Vintage Vogue V2962
Fabric: Indian sari fabric, polyester or some such fake fiber

Men's vest

New Look 6659
I made these vests for my hubby, who is a dress up sort of guy.  The vest is fully lined and the side pockets are just welts, not functional.  Tailored the fit a little bit, but I think the pattern was pretty true to size, and not too complicated.  Be sure to wash your lining fabric before you sew with it!  Also, sew in interfacing tends to lie and wear better than fusible.  Just my preference.

Pattern: New Look 6659
Fabric: Wool suiting and lining fabric

Ballet flats

Pleated Ballet Flats

Pleated Ballet Flats
This past Christmas, all of the women in my family got a pair of slippers.  These are wonderful for throwing in your suitcase so you don't have to walk on questionable hotel carpeting.  Make them out of something washable and you can just throw them in the laundry when you get home.  Voila!  I applied some puffy paint to the balls and heels of these so they have a little traction...learned that from the sticky socks at the hospital.

The pattern is easy to follow, true to size, and knits up very quickly.  I made about 6 pair last year and had a delightful time.

Pattern: "Pleated Ballet Flats" by Coco Knits
Yarn: Mostly used Worsted Cotton by Blue Sky Alpacas

Pink blouse and skirt

New Look 6755
Butterick B4461
 I really liked this fabric...a stretch polyester, I think.  It has a cool Frenchy/paisley print that you can't see very well in the pictures.  Sewing these pieces was generally uneventful.  The blouse was my first attempt at a collar and took some fanagling.  The only thing I'd do differently is give it a longer tie so I could tie it on the side.

Blouse: New Look 6755
Skirt: Butterick B4461

Fabric: Stretch polysester

Circle skirt

McCall's M5811
This is one of my favorite skirts.  Simple circle skirt finished with a rolled hem.  Love it!

Pattern: McCall's M5811
Fabric: Printed linen

Road trip sweater

Que Sera

I don't typically like making sweaters, but I was on a long road trip to California and needed a substantial project.  It took a lot of knitting and frogging to get the gauge right on this thing, but in the end it turned out very well.  It is knit in acrylic because I couldn't afford anything else, but I have to say that Berroco Comfort is a great acrylic yarn.  I really enjoy wearing this sweater and get tons of compliments on it.

Pattern: "Que Sera" from
Yarn: Berroco Comfort

My first dress

Simplicity 3823

Simplicity 3823
I learned to sew on my summer off from nursing school last year.  This little dress was my first project.  I quickly learned that patterns never fit.  I measured at about a 14 and ended up with something more like a 10.  I didn't like the blousiness of the bodice, so my husband and I scrapped it and drew a new one in muslin.  I think it is a little on the low-cut side, but he thinks it is swell ;-) Also, the halter design of the straps wasn't working for me, so we just attached them as shown.  So much for a simple first project, eh?

Pattern: Simplicity 3823
Fabric: Printed cotton

The Princess and the Frog

I knit this for a little girl (Vivienne), who was absolutely obsessed with Disney's "The Princess and the Frog."  I pieced it together from sever patterns in one book (listed below).  I made up the hair, added the gloves (a princess MUST wear gloves), and fashioned the little tiara.  If you had the opportunity to knit a tiara, you'd do it, too!

Patterns: "Frog and Turtle" and "Sisters" from Itty-Bitty Toys, by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Berroco Comfort DK

Cupcake pincushion

Cupcake Pincushion
My husband bought me a sewing machine, so naturally I knit something for it.  I saw this cupcake pincushion at my local yarn store and couldn't resist.  There is a store-bought tomato pincushion inside to stabilize the pins.  I think that it really needs more and the pins sometimes go right through the cupcake top and get lost.  Despite that drawback, I am useless as a seamstress without my cupcake.

Pattern: "Cupcake Pincushion" by Spud and Chloe
Yarn: Merino Style by

Crewel embroidery

Crewel embroidery is done with wool.  In this case, it is a mix of wool and embroidery floss.  My mother started this picture when I was a child.  She died when I was 14 and I kept her work in progress for almost 20 years, all the time intending to finish it.  I finally picked it up as a project to do in the evening when my brain was fried from nursing school.  It was wonderful to finally finish it. 

Pattern: Something from Dimensions in the 1980's...they don't make it anymore.

Yoga bag

This was my one of my very first projects, and I've received tons of compliments on it over the years.  The bag and strap are from a pattern.  I added the pocket myself.  Knitting is very stretchy, so I reinforced the bag by running a length of webbing through the handle and attaching it all the way up the inside of the the webbing makes a complete loop.  This makes the bag much sturdier.  It is great to through over your shoulders when you bike to yoga class.

Pattern: "Yoga Mat Bag!" from
Yarn: Noro Kochoran

Fair Isle hat & scarf

I worked on this set during lecture as I was doing my prereq's for nursing school.  My teachers never seemed to mind.  I didn't use a pattern for this.  The scarf is knit in the round with the pattern on both sides.  My husband an I designed the star pattern based on some Scandinavian patterns we had seen.  And I firmly believe that scarves should have fringe...come on, it is the one time when it is classy for a grown person to wear fringe.

Pattern: original design
Yarn: Merino Style from

Cabled hat/scarf/fingerless gloves set

3AM Cable Hat, Cabled Cashmere Scarf 
I made this set for my husband.  Sort of cobbled it together from several patterns that all involved cabling (my new skill at the time).  Naturally, I used yarn that did not match the pattern gauge.  Silly me.  So, I made the hat several times before I got it to fit.  Live and learn.  The teal gloves, I made for me.  It is a nicer picture of the finished product.

Hat:"3AM Cable Hat" from Smariek Knits at
Scarf: "Cabled Cashmere Scarf" from Vogue Knitting Scarves
Gloves: "Fetching" from

Yarn: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran

Christmas Stockings

Snowman at Midnight

Snowman at Midnight

Snowman at Midnight

For a few years there, people were getting knit stockings in their Christmas stockings.  It was a "thing."  These were fun, but more work than you might think.  Lots of pieces to the snowmen.  The snowmen and piping are appliqued on, the names are embroidered.  The basics come from a pattern, but I made up the clothes on the blue stockings myself.  For the reindeer, I used the basic stocking pattern, found a Scandinavian reindeer pattern (I forget where) and fair isle'd it in.  I love seeing these hanging in from of the fireplace each year.

Pattern: "Snowman at Midnight" from Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit
Yarn: Various worsted wools from

Little Pumpkin

No, I didn't actually make this for the cat, but he was a good model.  Made this one twice for babies Sam and Kaylee.  I love hats in the shape of produce...and firmly believe that children should be made to wear such silly things until they are old enough to protest.  After all, how else will we get those pictures to embarrass them in the future?

Pattern: "Patrick's Pumpkin" by Fiber Trends
Yarn: Cascade 220 (washable wool)