Machine knitting update

Picture heavy post to follow! ….. I’ve been on a steep learning curve with my knitting machine, and it’s all starting to click. I can cast on and do various things like ribbing or fairisle swatches without having to take out the manual every time!

First machine knit jumper!

The machine knit community had a month where we converted a hand knit pattern to machine and I used a pattern from Amy Milller, it has a fitted sleeve and a slight flare to the shape.

My handknit version from a few years ago is below, I didn’t go with the longer hem this time.

Hand knit Sweet Jane by Amy Miller.

I was able to match the stitch gauge of the pattern but had to make some calculations for the row gauge. Which wasn’t too difficult. First I counted the rows between increases, worked out how many cm it should measure and then figured out how many machine rows would give me the same cm measurement.

I made the back and used it to check my calculations. Then I made some mockup designs on my phone for the front intarsia:

I didn’t draw a chart for the design as it was simple angled lines. I took note of the rows where I would begin and end, and then hoped for the best.

Intarsia on my knit master uses a special carriage, the yarn is laid across the open needles by hand and the carriage passed across as you hold the yarn underneath to give it tension.

I then joined the pieces at the shoulders:

The yellow yarn is waste knitting which gets unravelled once the panels are joined.

Without changing the construction of the handknit pattern, I was able to short row the sleevecap straight into the armhole.

With a machine, all the stitches are placed onto the needles, then the outer needles are held in a non-working position until they are needed.

Short row sleeve cap, the needles on right are in non-working position.

All the needles at work for the rest of the sleeve.

After that I was able to rehang the sides and knit one loosely tensioned row to seam them. Followed by casting off.

I wasn’t confident in hems or ribbing yet so the roll neckline was finished with some loosely knitted rows of stockinette.

I was very pleased to finally get this far..!

The Finished jumper!

Made in Ireland (Again!)

McCalls 7694

Sometimes sewing plans take a while to come together. I was given a long wool coat by my Aunt over 2 years ago, she knew I’d appreciate the pure wool fabric, and would put it to good use.

William Lett Wool Coat (1985)

It was Made in Ireland by the label ‘William Lett’ approx 35 yrs ago, and despite being worn in the 80’s to Weddings and Funerals alike – other than the lining and foam shoulder pads coming apart – it was in almost perfect condition.

I had thought about altering the shoulders and trying to change the collar etc, but I knew it still wouldn’t be my style, so I put it away for a while.

Then this pattern caught my eye:

Mccalls 7694

So in November I took the coat apart at the seams and tried to fit as many of the pattern pieces as possible.

Disassembled coat!
Pattern tetris….

Despite the length of the original coat, I was left with only small scraps once I had cut and pieced some of the panels.

The front panels have an extra vertical seam, the sleeves have a longer cuff panel than on the pattern and the inside facings are also pieced together.

I added a seam parallel to the zip line so that it would look intentional!
Sleeve panels, longer cuff panel than the original pattern
The back pleat is a pieced panel and not as deep as the pattern, due to fabric shortages!
The paisley lining and snaps were the only things I bought to complete the jacket.

It’s a great pattern and I seem to fit Mccalls size 10 quite well – despite my measurements matching up with the size 12 on the envelope. (my measurements are approx 34-29-36)

I did take the shoulders in a little, they are cut to be a dropped style, but this doesn’t suit my straight shoulders so I took them in about 1.5 cm to sit on my shoulder.

Before altering.. Comparing shoulder fit to the original

Below after altering. I also love the lower curved hem detail:

The zip came from an old RTW Cardigan!
Final bit of posing I promise! It’s lightweight but so warm!

Other than a few swear words while attaching the snaps (they kept popping off as soon as I tested them – I was being too gentle with the hammer 😂), I loved making this.

It’s nice to prolong the life of this fabric, and good to show alternatives to buying new fabric!

Buttoned skirt – Rtw skirt copy

I made this skirt by taking a pattern from a cord skirt that I love to wear… It buttons down the front and is unlined so I knew it would be a good option to make a copy.

In making a pattern from clothing there are a few ways to approach it – it can be cut apart and used as a pattern Or it can be traced without damaging the original. I want to keep wearing this skirt, so tracing it is…

Grey striped fabric and original cord skirt.

I pinned the skirt onto brown paper and added the seam allowance for the button placket:

I took some photos and a video as I was tracing it and have it saved on Instagram.. The link below should bring you straight to it… (If I’ve done this right!)

I cut the new skirt from a lovely grey suiting fabric with a pink stripe, which I got from the recent fabric swap.

Cutting the pockets at an angle
Pockets have been lined and are topstitched on

I underlined each skirt piece with some thin habotai lining, before folding and sewing the facings.

Front facing folded and front waistband attached
Skirt fronts finished
Interior.. Side seams sewn
Bias strips of lining to finish the side seams
Seams bound and waist facings attached
Testing out pink buttons

I had some pink buttons that were the perfect size and made the buttonholes using the embroidery unit on my Pfaff machine. I took alot of photos of that process and will post about it soon.

In the meantime since the pattern worked out – I have cut and almost finished a 2nd version.

Burda 10/2016 104 (fancy pocket dress!)

This is a rarity for me – actually using a Burda Style Magazine in the same month as it was purchased.  I attempted the Burda Challenge in 2015, where you make something from each months issue, but I abandoned it early in the year.  It didn’t suit the way I make things.  I don’t shop for fabric regularly – I tend to pick fabric up as I see it, and then let it gather dust until the perfect pattern shows up.

The pattern is described on the Burdastyle site as the “Fancy Pocket Dress” !

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I’ve had the fabric more than two years – I got it from an Op shop in Australia. That makes me sounds like a globetrotter (I wish!)- I’d happily pack my bags and get on a plane to anywhere, but circumstances don’t usually allow for travel!  So that was my first time abroad in years, and I loved it! I saw lots of Melbourne and a little of Sydney. Anyway, on one of the days I took a bus tour to the Grampians and during a rest break, while everyone was getting tea – I popped into an Op shop and picked up a few bits, this fabric being one of them.

It’s a light stretch cotton, and I had 1.5 metres – which is less than the pattern calls for, but I had enough. I should say that the dress pattern is longer than it looks in the magazine- I cut 3 inches off the hem before sewing it.

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Despite the complicated shape of the pockets, this dress came together pretty quickly. I made it on a Friday evening and wore it to dinner on the Saturday evening! It isn’t lined – just overlocked and I made narrow facings for the necklines.

Because of the stretch in the fabric, I used iron-on interfacing strips at the neckline, shoulders and centre back at the zipper.

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The instructions for the pockets were as clear as usual with Burda…! So I took a few pictures as I went along which might help if anyone plans to make this.

This is how the skirt looked from the wrong side – I interfaced at the base of the pockets before snipping into the fabric. ( the centre pleats are tacked in place)

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You then need to pivot the pockets upwards at the point where it was snipped:

 

The pocket folds back on itself – you then stitch the pocket seam ,from the point at the base to the top edge- seen below at the left of the pocket piece.

(my pocket shape is a little uneven as I had to cut into the plain selvedge to get it to fit)

 

The baste the top edges to hold in place, before joining the skirt front to the bodice front.

The picture below is of the front right of the skirt – the triangle on the left is where the pocket was pivoted. You need to make sure to catch this fully when sewing the skirt side seams.

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Other than that, the dress was straight forward to make – once I had inserted the zip and joined the front and back at the shoulders, I tried it on and pinned the bodice sides to fit, continuing down to the skirt. Because of the triangle cutout at the pocket on the skirt, it would be difficult to let this out on the hips, unless you adjusted the width of the pleats.

When I tried it on, I didn’t like how much the pockets stuck out. My fabric wasn’t quite as drapey as suggested.  So I improvised by pushing the pocket in towards the centre front, and topstitching it down – it looks like an extra pleat on the skirt, and means the pocket is still roomy enough to use, but doesn’t stick out as much.

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That’s about it really – I’ll be keeping the pattern handy, as I would love this in a lighter fabric for the summer – and it looked great without the sleeves, so a sleeeveless version will have to go on the to-do list.