Friday, 13 March 2015

First Successful bra . . and few failures

One of my sewing goals for this year was sewing a bra for myself.  I signed up for the Bra-Making class on Craftsy with Beverley Johnson.  The class is wonderful.  Very detailed but fast paced enough to be interesting to watch each segment.  The recommended pattern to use is one of Beverley's own patterns called the Classic Bra. 

I'm not posting pictures of me wearing this on the internet but trust me it's really bad!  I'm sure with anyone with a larger cup size than me the pattern is wonderful and great and you can tweak it to make it fit nicely.  For me, every change I made just made it worse.

Version 1 disappeared into the garbage. The beige one is version 2 with an A cup and longer band.  It makes me look like a 10 year old.

The spotted fabric is version 3.  I started to realize that cutting into my actual bra fabrics wasn't going to very economical and started pulling out scraps of jersey from my stash.  For this one I made a AA cup and the same size band as the second one.  There is so much excess fabric at the top of the cup it's ridiculous.

I gave up for a few weeks. Then I saw a few versions of the Watson bra, on someone with a smaller bust.  I decided to spend the $15 for the pattern.  I made a 34 AA for the front and 36 band for the back.  And it fits perfectly! I cut out 2 cups and layered them together for a bit more thickness.

I was so excited I immediately cut out another one.  For this one I used an old longsleeve shirt for the bra fabric. For the lining I used a lingerie fabric found at my local Fabricland.  It was the closest thing I could find to the suggested materials.

Then I took apart an old bra and used the foam cups in between the 2 cup layers, as well I used the straps, back clasp and channeling. I tried putting the wires back in but they were too long.  But with the foam and channeling I get wonderful support.

And then because everything turned out so well I cut out a matching pair of underwear!  Instead of using elastic like suggested in the pattern I just used a double layer of fabric trim for the waist and leg openings.

I don't think I've ever owned a matching bra and panty set before.
 So my first succesful bra make.

Pattern:  Watson Bra by Amy of Cloth Habit

 To any other new bra makers out there:  Things of I've learned

- sewing bras is not like sewing clothes, you can't try them on as you go and adjust the fit.  You have to make the bra entirely to get an accurate fit.

- don't buy any bra kits to start because until you have pattern that works for you you're wasting your money on fabric.

- hack apart old bras and steal the findings rather than buying them. 

- Find a cheap source of elastic because you use a lot of it

- this article on boob shapes was so helpful, I found it while reading Sew Pretty in Pink's post about   cloning a Bra

If you are interested in bra making at all many very talented people are participating in Emerald Erin's Bra- A - Week Sew along.  There are pictures of many beautiful bras.

Beverley Johnson offers 2 day bra sewing at her store in Hamilton.  Since I'm only about 1 1/2 from Hamilton I'm hoping maybe this summer to go and actually take a class with her.  As I said the online class is great for learning how to make a bra . . . . but I need a lot more help adapting the pattern to me.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Snow and Rainbows Toque

Snow and Rainbow toque for my daughter!!  She loves it.  It's perfect for this cold Canadian Winter we are having.

Pattern: Frosted Alpine Hat by Tanis Lavalee

I love this pattern.  My son already has one.  I will be knitting this in different colour combinations for my kids each year.

The yarn is the rainbow yarn I dyed for my daughter's sweater.  I love how the striping showed up so well in the toque.

What's your favourite hat pattern?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Magic with Sticks

Today my cousin and her husband and their dog came over for lunch.  I haven't seen them since their wedding in August so it was so nice to catch up with them.  My kids were enthralled with Chewie, their dog.

The conversation turned to knitting as my cousin is just learning how to knit.  She has knit a headband for herself and is now working on a baby blanket for a friend.  What a great way to start!

Her husband said he is fascinated by knitting that is just seems like "magic with sticks!" I loved it.  It is magic.
You take a ball of string . . . or yarn and use 2 needles and with the right manipulation you end up with something wearable, something to keep you warm and cozy and beautiful too!

  It is magic.  Enjoy your magic knitting time tonight.  I know I will!

P.S. Yarn pictured above is Mythic Yarn - available on Etsy

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Chuck Sweater

Pattern:  Chuck by Andi Satterlund
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios

I knit this along with the Selfish Sweater KAL hosted in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry.

I made this sweater not quite sure about how often I would wear it but I think I may become a convert to having some cropped sweaters in my collection.  I made this corduroy skirt to go with it.  The skirt is high-waisted  and works really well with the cropped length of the sweater. 

Modifications:  The armhole was really huge.  I followed the pattern directions exactly.  I should have joined the front and back panel together when the measurement was 9 1/2 inches but instead I joined it later when the first cable pattern ended.  I didn't want to rip back and fix it so instead I just seamed the side closed a bit more under the arm before picking up the armhole stitches.  When I'm wearing the sweater you can't tell that I did that quick fix.

Other than the armhole problem it's a great pattern and so quick to knit with the cropped body and cropped sleeves. I would definitely make another one of these.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Evergreen Socks

What a quick, fun sock pattern!  This is the fastest I have ever knit a pair of socks.  I found knitting the lace pattern absolutely addicting and kept wanting to knit  more.  This was the #EvergreensockKal on Instagram.  It  was fun seeing everyone's progress on their socks and all the finished versions.

Pattern: Evergreen Socks by Madeline Gannon of Little Mount Yarn Co

Yarn: Tough Love Sock by Sweet Georgia Yarns

Modifications:  Did 2 rounds of lace repeat and added a tree lace on the top of the foot.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel, just because it's faster for me.

As much as I love my purple evergreen socks I think I need to make some in a greenish yarn that reflects the name of the pattern! 

What's your favourite sock pattern?

Monday, 26 January 2015

January Kid Sweaters (and some sewing!)

 So this is what happens when I get out my button box to find buttons to put on sweaters. My daughter wants to learn how to sew buttons and my son throws them everywhere!
 After the kids were in bed I managed to get the buttons sewn on.
 Baby Sunnyside Sweater adapted to a pre-school size by using a worsted weight yarn instead of a sport weight yarn. I did a test swatch and some math and figured out if I knit the 6 month size and added length I would have sweater that is big enough.
 Perfect fit!!  I used a Knit Picks Swish yarn and dyed it myself with food colouring.
 My daughter has gotten taller recently.  All of a sudden all her t-shirts looked like crop tops . . . not a look I like for little girls. She mostly wears t-shirts as undershirts right now but she needed some new ones. I bought this pattern, Zee'sTee by the Tie Dye Diva in a pattern bundle.  I love it.  Its got 12 month to 12 years.  It has two t-shirt versions.  This yoke version here and a pocket tee.  It has short or long-sleeves.  The yoke version is great for using up off-cuts from other projects.
For my son's sweater I made the Latte Baby Coat By Lisa Chemery a.k.a Froginnette
I made the 12 month size and made the arms and sleeves longer.  For the buttonbands at the front he pattern calls for a lattice stitch.  This time I used a seed stitch.  I only did one row of buttonholes but I think I might need to  rip it back and add the second row because it is gaping a bit.
Still warm enough to layer under winter jackets.  So far this is my favourite baby knit.  What is your favourite knits for kids?

Friday, 23 January 2015

10 Sweaters - 10 months

 I started out the year with just 2 handknit sweaters in my closet that I actually wore.

I had several sweaters knitted that I didn't wear because they weren't quite right so I frogged all of those ones and started out to rebuild my handknit sweater wardrobe.  I didn't intend to knit 10 sweaters in 10 months but somehow it happened that I averaged a sweater a month.  Some took longer than that and others less time but here I am in a new year  with 12 new or re-knit sweaters that I love.  I'll link to my Ravelry Project page if you want to see more details and I'll list the yarn if I remember what it was.  I wasn't very good at keeping yarn labels.


En Pointe Pullover, a fingering weight yarn I bought several years ago.


Icy Blue Cardigan , Swish Bulky Yarn, dyed with Kool-Aid
Spoked Cardigan



Long Sleeve Grey Cardigan  Americo, copeto medeo


Grey Star   Knit Picks swish worsted


Regatta Tee , ** cotton/wool blend worsted weight


Gathered Front Tank: pattern from Interweave Knits - hand dyed yarn bought at my LYS 

(This one I only fixed the straps on, I didn't re-knit the whole thing)


 Sweet Tee, ** Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino



Coral Rose Cardigan, Sweet Georgia Yarns DK

This is my third favourite sweater.


I Heart Purple  Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label

This is tied for my most favourite sweater. 


Grey and Sunnyside  Tanis Fiber Arts Yarn Green Label

And my other most favourite sweater.  I wear this all the time!

And that's when I lost steam.  I still can't believe I knit 10 sweaters in 10 months for myself.  My last 3 sweaters are my favourites.  I've learned that I like v-neck cardigans or shawl collar, rather than round-neck cardigans.  I like cardigans.  I like mostly seamless designs.  I like patterns with some detail, but not too much detail.  I am more motivated to knit when I have a pattern to keep track of and rows to check off.

I will be going back to work full-time as a kindergarten teacher in March so my knitting time will decrease drastically.  I'm going to knit some sweaters next year.  A really warm brown one, a lighter brown one, a white one and a blue one.  I have the yarn for all but the white one.  Knitting in those colours will let me mix and match with most of my wardrobe I wear for work or home.

And I will be then only knitting much smaller things, socks, scarves, hats . .  .and sweaters for my kids as they grow.

If you are reading this thank you for following along and if you are a knitter I hope you sneak in a few rows each day.