Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spiffy Raglan Sweater

I finally have the time to post about my latest knitting project, a lovely raglan sweater that I created.

I wanted a sweater that would be stylish and classic. At the same time I wanted the fit to be just right. I turned to sweater calculators for help, but they weren't exactly what I was looking for. So, I ended up building an Excel calculator to create raglan sleeve sweater patterns.


The Spiffy Raglan Sweater Calculator (by me!)

I plan to post the calculator on Ravelry for download, so more on that to follow.

With my calculator, I was able to input my body measurements, pick the amount of ease I wanted, and set my gauge and *tada* my very custom pattern was born.

Here is what my settings were in the calculator:

I went with a simple boatneck for the version I made, but I've also allowed for crew neck and V-neck collars. I love the clean lines of my boatneck version.


The yarn I used for this sweater was Cascades Heritage 150 Solid in Plum. It was a dream to work with and the overall sweater is just the right weight to layer over a shirt if I want or just to wear it by itself.

I used about 1.75 skeins of yarn. There is a yarn estimator that is part of the calculator and it estimates 2 skeins, which would work.

Overall, I'm very happy with my sweater and my calculator and my yarn. I think this is my best sweater yet. I wear it at least once a week and it is very comfortable.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Minoru Progress

I've been working away on a Minoru for spring. I wanted a jacket for spring and fall that was a bit warmer than my field jacket, cooler than my winter jacket, and with a better fit than my first Minoru jacket. I used my experience from my other Sewaholic patterns to alter the pattern for a better fit.

At first, I was planning to make a cotton twill jacket with some sort of plaid flannel lining. I bought my fabrics online, but then changed my mind. I wasn't that happy with the plaid, but I couldn't find anything nicer for the lining. I decided to use some of my Liberty lawn from my stash.

To make it warmer, I bought some thin batting and quilted it together. I then bought some navy lining fabric and basted that to the batting for the sleeves. I love how it looks so far.

I then cut out my cotton twill for the outer jacket. I had all my pieces cut out and was ready to add front pockets when I started to go "hmmm...". I picked up my lining and my outer jacket pieces and held them in my hands - I realized that it was going to be one heavy jacket.

I changed my mind and decided to find something lighter for the outer jacket material. So, I purchased some Supplex online and I'm waiting for it to arrive. I feel a bit silly for having spent money on twill and flannel and then using neither. But, at least I can use the twill pieces for bags and other small projects and the flannel can be pjs. If I'm going to make a new jacket, I want to actually wear it.

I just hope that I can finish this jacket before summer is here!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spring Projects

I've got a lot of big projects on the go! I thought I would share some of my progress with you.

I'm working on a special sweater calculator and making a sweater with it! It's taking a lot of math and excel tricks. But, once I'm finished it I plan on uploading my work on ravelry for others to use.

I'm also knitting the Kaffe Fasset Mystery Knit-a-long Afghan for my living room. It's not so much a mystery to me (since many other knitters are now finished), but it's still a lot of fun. It's also a great way to use up some of my stash. Here are my squares so far:

I have enough yarn for about 1/3 of the afghan. The rest I bought from Art of Yarn online. The yarn arrive very quickly and with a lovely thank you note.

I love all of the colours so much! Once I'm done the afghan, I plan on doing a cross-stitch pillow. I got this lovely Futurama cross-stitch kit for my birthday.

Besides that, I'm also making a spring jacket (a new and improved Sewaholic Minoru) and teaching myself guitar. Whew!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Doggie Raglan Sleeve Top

Although the snow is gone here, it's still a little chilly and my little doggie needs a new outfit. I decided make a copy of a bright orange hoodie that she wears often.

Using my brown packing paper, I traced the sweater and added 1/4" seams allowances. I used a flexible ruler to make sure my seams matched up. Here is what the final pattern looked like:

I used some grey knit fabric from my stash. It was really quick to cut out and sew. Sewing when the pieces are so small and having the perfect fit isn't an issue.

I decided to make a shawl collar instead of a hoodie. It was a bit tricky figuring it out, but it worked.

My doggie loves her new sweater. She looks pretty dignified in her shawl collar.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pin-Up Girls Linda Bra #3 and Undies

I finally got to making another bra. The first two bras I made weren't perfect. But, they are still so comfortable, that I don't wear any of my other bras any more. Which means that they will quickly wear out if I don't  move along with more bra production.


Pin-Up Girls Linda Partial Bra Band

I made a size 38B with alterations. I may actually be a 40A, but the pattern stops at 38A, which uses a size down underwire.


The main alterations I made with this bra were to use a narrower bridge and to take about 1/2" out of the top of the lower cup. I also added 1/2" length to the bra bands.

The fit is almost perfect. It's now a little snug, but that may be because I figured out these changes by pinning out my second Linda bra. I've worn that bra quite a bit and the fabric may now be relaxing out a bit. I'm going to wear my new bra a bit to see if the fit improves after a few wears. If not, I may have to add back some depth on the lower cup.

I re-read the Bra Makers Manual and finally noticed the importance it placed on finding the right size bridge before you sew. It suggests to cut little templates and try it them. My previous bras had bridges that are too wide, which means that the bridge gapes and doesn't lay flat against my chest.

If you are about to sew a bra, I would suggest:
  1. Find the right underwire size by placing test ones (or make a template out of cardboard)
  2. Find the right bridge size by making little templates out of thin cardboard
  3. Measure your breast or a bra that fits to find the right lower cup depth
Just those three steps will probably save lots of time in fitting.

For Christmas, I got a few fabric sets from Bra Makers Supplies to make more bras (yay!). This one is the Black Cherry with Rose/Black Lace. A black findings kit had to be purchased separately.

wrong side
The black findings worked really well with the red-ish 'black cherry' fabric. The band fabric was a double knit instead of the power net I used with the earlier bras. It is much thicker, so I did have some trouble sewing near some of the seams. I think I prefer the power net.

The lace placement was probably the hardest thing! I spent about an hour trying to figure it out. Overall, I'm really happy with my placement. And, although I usually don't use the little bows, the bra looked like it wanted it. The bra is almost too pretty!

Once again, I'm really impressed with the pattern and resulting bra.

But wait! There's more! I had leftover fabric and lace, as well as some extra picot elastic that I had bought, so I decided to make matching panties.

The pattern is the Free Lacey Thong by Fehr Trade.

wrong side
The pattern was super simple and it was a quick sew. I had some scrap jersey left over to use for the crotch lining.

I made a size large, since that is the size that is supposed to fit someone who fits a Burda size 40 (which I do). The fit is perfect and I can't believe how comfortable they are. I'm not sure how often I'll wear them, but they will come in handy when I'm wearing a dress or skirt that I don't want weird underwear lines with.

Who new making underwear and lingerie could be so fun and easy?!