Sunday, 17 September 2017

Felting Sweaters, the Extreme Edition

 I have in the past intentionally shrunk (fulled, felted) wool sweaters to make them smaller or more dense. The results have always been positive.

Until today.

Bahahah! This is too small for even my youngest nephew. Maybe I can make it into a hat.

I haven't posted for ages and while I haven't sewn anything new (except a plaid wool skirt in May that I haven't worn yet because, well, summer) I have been working on the list of items I wanted to fix last summer and have made progress there. One of these days I'll blog about it.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Modified - Marbelized Jumper

Note to Self: Slow sewing is fine, but if you focused on the task at hand, it wouldn't be silly sewing.

Briefly: A picture -before I get all rumpled!! And I may have to do something about those bust 'darts'.

Awhile ago I purchased some forest green fine wale corduroy with which I planned to make some slim trousers.
After I washed it, some weird things happened to the fabric-a marble-like texture came with it out of the dryer- and I decided to use it for something else, tho' it took awhile to sort out what that would be.
Forest green, not grey -trust me.
Since I am still off work while my foot heals, I have time to experiment.

Many moons ago I made dress from OOP Simplicity 4991, circa 2004. Since it fit well, I wanted to make a sleeved dress and thought the corduroy would be fine for the test.

To increase back coverage and add sleeves I combined the Simplicity pattern with Sewaholic Oakridge blouse (I really like the ease of sleeve insertion in that blouse.) I also added a dart to the back shoulder to increase the fit, and, I just like shoulder darts.

Definitely more winter-appropriate coverage.

As you will have noticed, this is a jumper, not a dress. I did not have enough fabric for long sleeves and short sleeves on what would be a winter dress would not be sensible in this climate. I would either have to put a sweater over top (imagine trying to stuff corduroy sleeves into a cardigan) or a long sleeved sweater underneath, which would look a little odd.

At time, I choose to ignore things I have preciously learned. In this instance when I shortened the bust darts I did not make it into two narrower darts but left it as one short wide dart. The result was as expected -rather pointy.

The 'eyes' are the very pointy darts.
I managed to fix this somewhat by releasing the darts and making them tucks instead. They can't be that bad because The Geek, self appointed Chief Constable of the Fashion Police did not make any pointed comments (please stifle your groans at the weak pun).

Still a little obvious but not as bad as before.

If you can get past the glare of my winter-white legs and clashing socks, we can evaluate my experiment.
Considering this dress was supposed to have sleeves, but doesn't, there is no pesky gaping at the armholes.

There is a bit of strange rippling at the base of the zipper, but since I can't see it when I am not wearing the dress, I don't think I can fix it.

I think a large part of the 'ripple' seen here is the the marbeling of the fabric.


I attached the pocket bags and moved them to the right side when I serged the sides of the skirts. Unfortunately, I also sewed the side seams without moving them back inside. I suppose if I could have figured out how to still use them as pockets I could have left them as they were and felt they suited the 'edgy' fabric. HAH! Grab the stitch ripper and put them back inside.

In my desperate attempt to have an un-rumpled outfit, I even photographed it one morning over my gym clothes.

Up Next?
I'm still trying trousers and I'm auditioning a kimono-sleeved bodice for a (summer) dress I'd like to make. And one of my mom's patterns. I like the neckline and the shoulder dart but there will likely have to be some modifications. My mom is 5'2" and was a wisp of a thing when she made this dress. I am...neither.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Nordic Formal

Note to Self: At some point you should plan to take pictures before you become rumpled, not after wearing said items for 10 hours.
Briefly: There are very few occasions where one can be both warm and dressy.

I attended a friends birthday at the end of January. The theme of the party was Nordic Formal, with a Prairie twist, and no hints as to what that meant. Thankfully I received my invitation the day after my foot surgery so while I couldn't actually do any sewing, I had about 10 weeks to do some plotting about what to make as well as time to make them.

Winnipeg at the end of January can be a chilly place. I hate being cold so I wanted to be warm while still filling what I thought was the 'formal' part of the theme. I'd made the Suffragette skirt (link) this summer and thought it would fill the warm and formal requirement nicely, especially if it was made of wool. The top is New Look 6901 (review seen here, picture here) designed for knits but made here in a loosely woven silk.

I think undergarments back in the time of this skirt would have been somewhat different. I suspect women would have worn a corset with garters for their stockings and not have the indent at their waist from tights, as you can see happening above.

While the skirt pattern did not include pockets I prefer to have them for convenience sake. I used a rather stiff lining that would slide well inside the skirt.

The lining was grey but I added brown stripes in fabric marker.

It seemed to make the pockets blend in well enough.

I was probably the most formally dressed person at the party. The other guests were wearing anything from sequin-enhanced party dresses to jeans and shirts. I was also happily surprised to find the walking boot was relatively easy to dance in, even in the rather impromptu conga line that snaked through the room. And I was warm enough, definitely a win!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Keeping the Toes Warm and the Boot Clean

Note to Self; See? I didn't have to buy a thing! I can now justify my HUGE stash of stuff. (Cue the celebratory fireworks!)

Briefly: Not happening. Maybe I should give this part up.

In mid-November I had corrective surgery on my foot. I had time to make a couple of cast/walking boot covers to keep my foot warm outside and to keep me the cast/boot from scratching me at night.

The two covers, basically glorified Christmas stockings with a long tie in front to keep them on, were made of blue cotton flannel (for night time) and polar fleece for outside appointments. The night cover proved to be too short for the boot and the velcro strapping still scratched, so I ended up covering the cast/ boot with an old pillow case tied on with a bit of elastic.

cotton flannel
I also made a toe cover but that item was not photographed. Basically I drew around my winter boot and made a half-moon cover that fit only over my toes.

polar fleece

unintentional pattern matching

I was pleased with the pattern matching across the toe and even more tickled by the way it matched on the bottom.
We were fortunate this year that we didn't have any real snow until early December and since I was non-weight bearing for the first six weeks I didn't have to worry about the durability of the boot.

Near the middle of December I realized I had only about two weeks to get a warmer and more resilient cover ready as I'd start utilizing the 'walking' part of the walking boot just after Christmas.

I opened the bottom of the polar fleece cover and put it on the walking boot, then layered felted wool over the fleece, securing them with the cover straps while I 'quilted' the wool in place. There are five layers of fleece and wool over the toes and three over the rest of my foot.

 I then put the whole shebang on a piece of waxed cotton and cut out external cover.

The wool is from two different sweaters but since it isn't on display I didn't fuss about that too much.

The weatherproof cover didn't have a bottom. I wasn't keen on this (major drafts) but I had fears any fabric I used would just become icy and slippery so I planned to use the treads on the walking boot to provide traction. I zigzagged a piece of taut elastic around the inside of the bottom of the boot to hold all the layers together and to hold it in place.

A zipper and snaps keep it closed in the back. Of course, I didn't have a brass zipper or silver snaps. I kind of expected both to appear just after I finished this -you know that's how these things go.

From the side, the little rascal has a rather pugnacious expression.

And from the front it looked rather like a crabby rhinoceros. I was going to embroider a face on the front but figured it was rather senseless to poke all those holes into waxed fabric...

On Friday I decided I wasn't entirely happy with the open bottom. While it kept my foot warm enough it obviously didn't keep the boot clean. It was bad enough hauling around rags to dry my crutches but I wasn't sure if I could dry the sole of the boot properly. I neither wanted to slip nor track up my friends' floors.

This summer The Geek had re-soled some of her sandals and thankfully remembered she still had some of the crepe-sole material left so I started hatching a plan to close the bottom.

I drew around the base of the walking boot (left) and then around the cover.

The Geek didn't think the crepe would stick to the waxed cotton so I cut out a piece of both waxed cotton and regular cotton,

stitched them, wrong-side together, and then flipped the right side out and stitched again.

I traced around the boot template so I'd know where to apply the Barge cement (bluish tube).

Then used the same template to cut out the crepe soling.

The glue was applied to the crepe and the fabric and allowed to cure for about 10 minutes.

The Barge cement is stinky stuff so we put it on the stove top under the exhaust fan to air out.

The crepe was then positioned on the fabric and covered with a piece of paper so any excess glue would wind up on the paper and not on the bottle.

The cement needs some firm pressure to adhere properly and extra rolling was done around he very edges of the crepe to keep it from peeling up later. The bottle was excellent for this task.

I flipped the boot inside out and positioned the sole with clothes pins.

Then zigzagged it in place.

I made the sole a little big so it would extend past the waxed cotton and keep it from rubbing on the ground. I noticed after wearing them outside that the crepe sole should have been a bit farther back but that would have been hard to figure out beforehand.

A size comparison; the boot cover, my regular winter boot and my hiking boot.

Bicycle pump on the far left.
Today, at -23, both feet were equally warm so I can call this a win. I'll have to see what happens when it gets colder.

And here is my PSA: The Geek added a 'platform' to my indoor shoes so my hips are the same height. Walking boots tend to do a number on your back, hips, and knees because of the difference in height from one leg to the other. Here she used the bottom from an old pair of thongs (or flip-flops if that's what you call them where you are), drilled holes for some loops and used lock-lacing to keep them in place. If I'd had a pair of shoes with thicker soles they would have worked just as well but wouldn't be such a conversation starter.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Year-end Wrap Up. Sort of.

Note to Self: Stop procrastinating.

Briefly: Earlier this year last year I decided I would try to remake some of the clothes I liked but just didn't work the way I preferred. Some of the changes were minor so I don't know why it too so long to do them.

This dress, for starters. All I had to do was shorten the hem about three inches.

For this dress I just had to lower the bust darts by a couple of inches (from the bottom of the [clear] ruler to the pen) and now I have much needed breathing space.

I tightened up the fit of this sweater.

I'm in the process of changing this dress into a top. I cut the sleeve facings for the new top, plus the pockets for the following skirt from the soon-to-be detactched skirt portion

This picture is only included because it now, with the cut-outs,  looks like some kind of designer frock.

I fixed the black trousers, but all that entailed was removing the icky lining and pulling out the elastic from the back then taking the back in by about four inches. They are so much nicer to wear now.

I worked on a fixing a few other things, but they still require some tweaking.

I made one new thing this year (other than my cast and walking boot covers, but that may, or may not be, another post).

I've been wanting to make the suffragette day skirt for awhile now and I finished it in September. I thought I had taken a picture of me in it, but I can't find it, so here it is now in it un-ironed glory

The only picture I do have is the one I took to see if my slip is showing (and a  frightening view into the workings of my mind).

I really like the skirt tho' I feel rather like I am wearing a traffic cone, given its bright colour, but I am fine with that. The more visible I am on my bike, the more I like it.

I have no hard-and-fast plans for this coming year. I"m must going to take it as it comes. I may accomplish more that way.

Happy New Year Everyone!