Monday, January 30, 2017

Heather Gray Basics: Oslo Cardigan, Jane Tee and Hemlock Tee

January in Seattle is gray and cold, so it was fitting that the garments I made this month were gray, too! A while ago, I purchased 5 yards of Robert Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit in Heather Pepper. It's a lovely fabric that has a little bit of a pattern, but reads as a solid. The plan was to make an Oslo Cardigan and a Hemlock Tee. Before I found time to cut out the pattern pieces, the January 2017 issue of Seamwork dropped. I loved both patterns, and decided to make the Jane Tee immediately. After playing a little pattern piece Tetris, I realized I had almost enough yardage to make all three items out of the yardage I had on hand. I dug through my apparel scraps and found a big enough scrap of Heather Pepper for the Hemlock Tee sleeve. (I used it previously for a Wembley Cardigan.) Thus, I made three things from the yardage I had planned to use for two garments. It felt like finding a free shirt! Here are more details about each garment. 

Pattern: Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork 
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit in Heather Pepper 
Alterations: Reduced the cuff length by 50%

Thoughts: When I first made this pattern back in 2015, I considered it a failure. Part of the reason why was the color (When I ordered it online, I thought that Royal would be a deeper, truer blue than it was), part of it was that I choose the wrong size, and part of it was that the cuffs were way too long for my taste. This time I chose a fabric I had used successfully in the past, sized down by one size, and reduced the cuff length by 50%. I am much happier with this version. The sleeves are still a little long, but they are not too bulky when folded back. I'm tempted to make another in more challenging fabric, like a sweater knit, now that I have a serger. I've worn this cardigan once or twice a week since making it, so now I consider the pattern a success!

Pattern: Jane Tee from Seamwork 
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit in Heather Pepper 
Alterations: Graded the pattern up at the hip by adding 1.25 inches at the bottom edge on both the front and back pattern piece

Thoughts: I'm always on the lookout for good, repeatable basics. I know from experience that my measurements mean that I usually have to grade out the waist/hips 1-2 sizes with Seamwork patterns. Since this is a simple pattern, I just added 1.25 inches at the bottom edge of each torso piece and drew a straight line from there to the arm scythe. While I'm really happy with the fit around the waist/hips, the loose sleeves and high crew neck aren't my favorite. I'm still happy that I tried this pattern. It's a wearable basic that taught me that I like tighter sleeves and lower necklines, at least for my tees.


Pattern: Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studio  
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit in Heather Pepper 
Alterations: Added 1.5 inches to the sleeve 

Thoughts: The Hemlock Tee is one of my current favorite patterns. It's free, it fits and it's quick. Last November, I whipped up four Hemlock Tees and they have been in constant rotation ever since. For this version, I extended the sleeves by 1.5 inches. I really like the extra length for winter. This shirt is a definite wardrobe workhorse.

While making three plain gray items in a short period of time may seem boring, it's very satisfying to make basics that you know will be worn often. It's also super satisfying that I've already made two of the patterns from my #2017MakeNine collage! I've ordered fabric for a few more basics, but after that I may start reaching for prints over solids. We'll see.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Earlier this week, I wrote about my 2017 creative goals. Today I want to drill down into my garment sewing goals. The #2017MakeNine exercise, created by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille, is a fun way of honing in on what I want to sew this year. Here are the top nine patterns that I'm most excited about making: 

Top row (Cardigans and Sweatshirts) 
#1: Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio: I'd like a sweatshirt/sweater to wear over button down shirts, and I've read only good things about this pattern. 
#2: Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Magazine: My first attempt at the Oslo Cardigan was a bit of a disappointment. I think it was because I chose the wrong size. I'm ready to try this pattern again and have already started working on it, in a different size. 
#3: Driftless Cardigan from Grainline Studio: I absolutely love this pattern and think it will go together quickly on my serger. Looking forward to wearing a cardigan with pockets! 

Middle row (Dresses and Shirts) 
#4: Kenedy Dress from Seamwork Magazine: I've loved this dress ever since it came out. I just need to find the right fabric. 
#5: Neenah Dress from Seamwork Magazine: I'm planning on hacking this pattern into a mock turtleneck shirt. Looks cozy. 
#6: Jane Tee from Seamwork Magazine: I'd love to find a knit shirt pattern that I can make repeatedly. I've already started making this one. We'll see how it goes. 

Bottom row (Pants and Skirts) 
#7: Mabel Skirt from Colette Patterns: I've been eyeing this pattern ever since it came out. As soon as they announced that you can now spend Seamwork credits on Colette Patterns, I grabbed it. I'm planning to hack Version 1 into a much longer skirt. 
#8: Moji Pants from Seamwork Magazine: I've never made pants, and want to try my hand at it this year. This pattern looks easy enough. 
#9: Margo Skirt from Seamwork Magazine: When this pattern came out, I was immediately drawn to it. It's similar to the Mabel Skirt, so I'm interested in seeing which skirt works better for me. 

I tried to pick a variety of patterns that would work well with each other. It's not quite a capsule wardrobe, but I hope to add some variety and interest to my existing handmade wardrobe. Of course, I'm not going to limit myself to only these nine patterns, but it's a great starting point for 2017. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Work In Progress Round Up and 2017 Goals

When the new year starts, I find it incredibly motivating to sit down and review my current WIPs and let them inform my creative goals for the coming year. Between all my different hobbies, I currently have ten unfinished projects: 

Christmas Scrap Quilt: In 2013, I received the book Sunday Morning Quilts as a Christmas gift. On Boxing Day, I grabbed my red and green scraps and started making a Candy Coated quilt from the book. I really love this quilt, but only seem to work on it during Christmas Break. Each year I add more green and red scraps to the project box, so when it's finally finished it will incorporate several years of scraps. I'd like to make more progress this year, but I don't expect to finish it. 

Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month Quilt: Started in 2015, this top was finished in 2016. I hope to complete it in 2017. Next I need to buy batting, backing and binding fabric. While I've really enjoyed working on this quilt, its unfinished state has started to weigh on me. 

Scrap Vortex Quilt: While I love the look of this quilt, I don't love the process of it. I find that I make the most progress on it when I have access to my mom's design wall and room to spread out. In 2016, I finished three of the five planned rows/columns. I hope to finish this in 2016, but it's not at the top of my queue. 

Chaos Quilt: What's at the top of my queue? I have the top of my Chaos Quilt finished, and the backing and batting purchased. My plan is to baste this at my next sewing day at my mom's house. It's small enough I may be able to finish the quilting in January. 

Basic Black Mini Virginia Leggings (not pictured): One of my goals in 2017 is to use up or get rid of my fabric apparel scraps. They are taking up too much space in my sewing nook. I printed off the pattern for Mini Virginia Leggings in my daughter's size and already cut one set out of scrap fabric. Next step is fitting, which depends on my daughter's moods. No rush on this one. 

Bento Bags (not pictured): You can never have too many fabric gift bags. I have a couple started that didn't get finished before Christmas this year, and I cut out a couple more. This year, I'd love to make fabric gift bags throughout the year and not do a marathon gift bag push in November and December. Here's hoping! 

Vintage Kitsch Boneyard Shawl: I started my second Boneyard Shawl in August, then set it aside during the West Knits Mystery Knit Along. It's currently my purse knitting, but will soon become too large for that. I'm still enjoying it, due to the speckles, so there's no rush to finish it. 

Building Blocks Shawl: I was super excited about this shawl while the West Knits Mystery Knit Along was going on, but lost my motivation as soon as it was over. Knitting with fingering weight yarn is so slow! I'm going to try to finish this shawl early in 2017, so I can focus on my other shawls guilt free. 

Smooth Move Shawl: After receiving a set of interchangeable knitting needles for Christmas, I just had to cast on something. You know, to test them out. This is my current favorite knitting project, but it will have to wait so that I can finish my Building Blocks shawl. 

Temperature Blanket (not pictured): I was making great progress on my 2016 Temperature Blanket until summer hit. It was just too hot to sit under an afghan, even to work on it. Now that knitting has taken over from crocheting, I'm not sure when I'll get back to this. 

Wow. That's a lot of WIPs for me! Hopefully I'll have fewer WIPs by the end of 2017. 

2017 Goals 

This year, my goals are less strategic and more tactical. In the next year, I want to accomplish the following: 

Make 6 Quilts 
    Finish Chaos Quilt 
    Finish Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month Quilt 
    Finish Scrap Vortex Quilt 
    Finish and start 3 additional quilts, any size 

Make 18 Garments for myself 
    3 Skirts or Pants 
    3 Cardigans 
    3 Dresses 
    9 Shirts 

Make 3 Shawls 
    Finish Boneyard Shawl 
    Finish Building Blocks Shawl 
    Finish Smooth Move Shawl 

Make 24 Gift Bags 

Use up or throw out fabric apparel scraps