Wow you guys! It feels like it has been FOR. EV. ER. since my last post! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! So much belated happiness! My holidays were lovely, with a nice long visit with family on the East coast. Since coming back to Texas (and real life) I've been a bit slow to find my groove. If you follow me on instagram I've been trying to give little peeks at what I've been up to, but honestly my life feels pretty boring right now! I started a new knitting project (the Riptide pullover from Brooklyn Tweed's new Winter 16 collection - and I'm in luuuuurve with it). And I also joined a local gym which feels like a big step since my last post on my fitness journey. I decided I really wanted to lift heavier weights, which just isn't feasible in my apartment. So far it's been good! I've never been so sore, or hungry! Seriously, I'm like an eating machine... I also got a new lens for my camera (Christmas present from Nick, he's good to me) - a Nikkor 35mm. I love having my camera back in action, but I'm still getting used to the new lens, so forgive me if some of my pictures are a little out of focus. But when the focus is right - oh it's good!
And now we're all caught up! You will note that I didn't mention too much about my sewing plans in the above paragraph. That's because my sewing room has felt a bit stagnant as of late. Perhaps it's the winter blahs and the fact that they really promote couch time and knitting, or that I feel like I'm constantly schlepping from home to gym to work (a choice I willingly made) but I've been feeling a bit uninspired in that department. It's happened before and I know I just need to ride it out and it'll pass, but it's always disconcerting when the sewjo plummets, ya know?
However I did manage to pull these two pieces out for my latest Mood Sewing Network make (I can always count on those MSN posts to get me into my sewing room!). They're not going to set the world on fire or anything, but they are comfy, cozy, adaptable to my wardrobe, and together look quite chic.
The sweater jacket uses Mood's Italian Black and White Double Cloth Blended Wool Slubbed Knit (phew! that's a mouthful...). I bought a yard and a half of this stuff back in the fall with the intention of making just such a garment. It's really lovely and thick and because of the wool content it's very warm, however since it's a blend it's not scratchy at all. Basically an ideal snuggly layer. After seeing Sarai's Oslo cardigan hack over on the Coletterie I knew that I wanted to use this fabric to make my own. However for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to cut the pattern pieces out of my yard and half! I'm actually still scratching my head about how Lauren managed to do it. Granted she did not do the kimono sleeve variation but still... clearly she's a wizard. Anywho. Long story short I had to order another yard. It was worth it. Even if it did mean that this garment got pushed back into the new year.
The Oslo cardigan is from Seamwork magazine. The variation that I did involved a little bit of pattern manipulation to create the cut-on kimono sleeve, but nothing too difficult. And rather than the buttons in the front I added belt loops and a tie. The only thing that I'm slightly bummed about is that I forgot to add width to the sleeves to get that cool kimono look that Sarai's has. I thought the kimono sleeve looked kind of dumb at the regular slim sleeve width so I chopped them off at the elbows. I say this was a happy accident as the shorter sleeve is kind of cool and makes for an interesting layering option.
Construction wise this was pretty straightforward. I used my serger for all the seams and my sewing machine's 3-step stretch stitch for the hems. The only place where I got a bit creative was in attaching the collar. The way the instructions have you do it would have involved me running three layers of fabric through my serger. Since this fabric is quite thick I didn't think that would be the best idea so instead I used my sewing machine to sew the right side down, then attach the underside by stitching in the ditch. Which was really a breeze on this fabric because the stitches just sank right in! No one can tell how accurate (or, ahem, inaccurate) I was.
The dress I'm wearing is a Closet Case Files Nettie dress made up in Mood's Black Cotton-Viscose Jersey. I used this same fabric previously to make leggings and I love it. It’s very stretchy and soft. This dress feels a bit revealing when I wear it alone because of the negative ease (I’m not comfortable in skin-tight dresses) but I love it as a layering piece. I added length to the sleeves to make them nice and long so they bunch up at the wrists. Construction wise, this was the same as for the sweater jacket – serger for the majority of the seams and a 3-step stretch stitch for the cuffs and hem.
I love that stitch for stretch fabrics. It's really the only conventional machine stitch I’ve found for knits that doesn’t pop with wear. For some reason my machine’s zig-zag stitch never really seems to have any give, but the 3-step straight stitch does. Plus it looks super clean and professional. I highly recommend you give this stitch a try for knits if your machine has it. I'm sure most do. I have a very rudimentary machine.
As a whole, this outfit works pretty well as secret pajamas. Especially because they're like pajamas and a robe! And when the winter blues come a-knocking it's really all I can do to not wear my bathrobe to work (I wish I had my life together enough to own actual pajamas but...) This is a decent second best in my opinion. And both pieces work really well with the rest of my wardrobe. So even if I'm not blowing anyone's mind with these makes, I give them an A+ for wearability and the kind of thing I'll reach for again and again.
And there you have it! My first post of 2016. Feels good to dust off the cobwebs. I missed you guys. Anyone else in the midst of the January blues? Let's all hang out on the couch underneath a heating pad and commiserate...