Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sewing with Knits

Swing Tee (cotton knit) with Pencil Pants (ponte)
This is not my first choice for sewing. Knits are simultaneously intimidating and mind-numbing, IMO. I guess that says something about me. I love linen - so predictable, so obedient, just right for little details. But sometimes I find myself sewing with knits.

I subscribe to Sew Confident! which is an annual subscription service from the Sewing Workshop (TSW). As I've said before, I am a Sewing Workshop groupie. I have been since some time back in the 90s when I found this weird pattern called the cocoon coat in my local fabric shop. It was back when I really did have a local fabric shop about 3 miles from my home.

But I digress. It seems that knit garments form a significant portion of the Sew Confident! repertoire for 2018. I have fought this, as in making the Picasso top out of a woven fabric even though knits are recommended. It worked but when I finally made it out of a knit, I loved that one best.

The most recent edition of Sew Confident! includes modifications to the Swing Tee which was introduced in the January 2018 edition. I had skipped over that pattern for a variety of reasons including the fact that I have several basic tee patterns I like OK. When I saw the modifications, I decided I needed to make the original Swing Tee. So here it is.

And, yes, I love it.

My first Swing Tee goes perfectly with my first pair of Pencil Pants, another pattern I ignored initially. I knew I'd make the Pencil Pants eventually. At first I thought they were too similar to the Helix pants which I've used over and over again. However they have a slightly different shape - more narrow at the ankle - and I like the waistband finish much better.

Helix pants: uses wide elastic that is not covered, smooths nicely when worn
The waistband finish on the Helix wears beautifully but it's a bit of a pain to install. The waistband finish on the Pencil Pants is easier to finish, I think, and I like where it sits on my so-called waistline. These are made with a beefy navy blue ponte. I made them a little too large so I'll take them up before I fill them out!

Pencil Pants: elastic enclosed like a yoga pant, also smooths when worn
I have to admit that the Swing Tee is also quite nice. I like the tunic length, as well as the fit at the shoulders. I changed the neckline from a basic crew to a bateau neckline. I used the neckline in the Picasso top to create that. I lengthened the sleeves, one of the changes in the current issue of Sew Confident!

Because I chose a horizontal cotton stripe, I also changed the hemline. It is a lovely curve, but I wanted my stripes to go straight across. I added one pocket near the hem and a patch at the back shoulder. Horizontal stripes may not be my best look, but I've always loved a simple nautical navy and white stripe (*).

I'm happy with this!

* I think I'll open the side seams to create deep vents. Then I can angle the corner at a 45 degree angle which may be more slimming and less jarring than a curved hem. There's always time re-sew.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Two More Picasso Tops

I now have the Picasso Pants and Top pattern from the Sewing Workshop (TSW) out of my system. I've made the top 3 times and the pants once. I don't see any more tops in my immediate future, but who knows? These surprised me. I do definitely see more pants in my future, but possibly not until spring.

In summary, my first version of the top was made from a tablecloth - cotton damask.

And my second one looked like a tablecloth, though made from cotton prints. I have already taken it apart to use in other projects.

My third and favorite one is made with rayon jersey knit, plus some striped accents. This is a bit ironic because I was reluctant to make a knit version even though the pattern envelope requires it. The woven versions are of necessity size Mediums and the knit one is size Small, and I think the size XS might also fit in knits. It is designed as a big boxy top, and I like that a lot!

Above I'm wearing the knit version of the Picasso top with my favorite knit pants (the Helix pattern from TSW). I have made those a number of times just because I like the look. Making them is fast and easy.  Below I'm wearing the Picasso top (in knits) and pants (in rayon crepe), which is a pretty close approximation of the intentions for this pattern.

Now I do think the whole Picasso look is cute. And I will happily wear this ensemble and feel good. And I know the slimmer Helix pants create a more flattering silhouette. Just a little note to self.

I made the same changes to the neckline as in my previous Picasso tops, this time using a bias strip of striped knit. It's not matched at the shoulder seams but the up side is that the shoulder seams are nice and flat. And it was a sweet opportunity for a little sashiko.

Meanwhile there is still a dye pot simmering on the stove, this time with pokeberries. I've printed with pokeberries before but this is my first foray into dyeing with them. I simmered and strained the juice from it. Now a piece of silk noil and another piece of cotton sateen are brewing. I'm realizing I need to be more careful in my handling of this stuff that seems to grow everywhere here in the southern states of the US.

Recent foraging: black walnuts, magnolia pods, pokeberries, queen ann's lace
It is intriguing that pokeweed is both poisonous and edible. The leaves are edible in early spring before the stalk becomes purple. The berries that are growing now can be used to make jelly, once the seeds are removed. That being said, I must be more careful in my handling of the stuff (another note to self). But the color is so seductive. Maybe the dye will be rewarding too.

I'm also ready to do some more avocado dyeing. Here is a shot of them with my new toy - a macro lens for my phone camera.

Some days it feels like there is almost too much fun stuff to do. Does that happen to you?