Today we have some actual FOs! Yay!!! First up, there’s sewing in which my self-drafted shirt pattern came out eggzakly the way I wanted it. I’m so happy! Can you tell?
Completed: October 19, 2011
Fabric: Hoffman Bali Batik, 100% .rayon, 45” wide/2 yards, purchased at Fabric Depot in Portland, OR. (Still have 1 yard remaining out of the 3-yard piece.)
Notions: very lightweight gray non-woven fusible interfacing, 7 – 1.5cm buttons, Gutermann sewing thread: brown.
Pattern: self-drafted v-neck shirt with wide, straight hem that hangs in a curve in front/back and points at sides, plus large patch pockets.
Comments: This gorgeous batik called to me in the store after I thought I’d finished loading up the cart with bolts of fabrics. It’s such a lovely colour combination of golds/olive/maroon/black and blends right into my wardrobe. Then on the way home I saw a shirt in Port Townsend that inspired this project.
I washed the fabric in the machine on normal in warm water and dried it in the dryer on regular heat. I didn’t want any surprises in the washing machine later! However I was surprised when it came out of the dryer completely wrinkled but it easily ironed flat again with some gentle steam. A nice heavy rayon plain weave and a little slippery and stretchy on the bias. I used my new smooth rocks collected on our vacation for pattern weights.
I used french seams and lots of topstitching plus a very lightweight interfacing cut in narrow strips to stabilise the neck and pocket edges and a wider width for the front facings. I also used self-made bias binding on the neck edge. It looks very nice on the inside, marred only by the sloppy serging on the armhole edges. Because this fabric takes a good crease it was easy to press all the turned hems and have them stay put while stitching. The buttons were a smooth deep burgundy on top but the underside was more interesting, darker and with pockmarks giving it an earthier look. So of course I used that side up.
This shirt fits me absolutely perfectly! I think I’m getting the hang of this fitting thing at last. The only drawback is that there isn’t room under it for more than an undershirt so it will be best for warmer weather or with a sweater over top. I’ve already discovered a few good layering options in my collection. It does crease a little when I’m sitting but it’s not bad at all for rayon.
Further laundering will be much more cautious than its initial treatment. I plan to wash my new shirt on gentle and hang to dry, pressing while still damp. This should help it last longer. I’m certainly not going to take it to the dry-cleaner! Ick. There’s a good reason why I wash everything before I sew it – so I can continue to wash it without worry. I’m always amazed at how many garments are labelled dry-clean only when if the fabric (and trims) were properly pre-shrunk in the first place, it would handle a gentle washing just fine. I even machine-wash wool and silk. But then I’m brave.
Speaking of wool, next up is the sweetheart sweater that I’ve been working on since August:
For: a very lucky and appreciative T-Man
Begun: August 15, 2011
Completed: October 22, 2011
Pattern: Brownstone by Brooklyn Tweed (aka Jared Flood), size men’s medium.
Yarn: my handspun NZ Corriedale yarn, natural black, worsted weight 2-ply, approximately 100g skeins (full bobbin), 125-150 yds each, 7.5 skeins or around 1000 yds. Wool was teased, carded on Pat Green Deb’s Deluxe drum carder with production drum, spun on Louet S-90 wheel, with middle whorl (8.5:1 ratio?), plied same.
Needles: Denise interchangeables, Addi Lace circulars, Clover bamboo dpns. Sizes 4.5mm (main), 3.75mm (ribbing).
Notions: 2 – brown wooden toggles, brown sewing thread.
Comments: This was a major undertaking! Not only a man-sized long-sleeved pullover sweater but knit completely out of handspun yarn too. I originally bought this lovely black fleece (really a very dark brown) from Penelope Fibres for the class with Anne Field but changed my mind because I wanted to use Canadian-sourced fleece for that instead. (Oh darn! The black fleece was coming to live at my house instead! Awww…) It was quite pricey as these things go but very uniform in colour and texture. Unfortunately it also had quite a number of grass seeds which I had to pick out in the teasing. Otherwise it was a clean perfect fleece. I was surprised at how easy it was to keep a fairly even yarn – although it’s much heavier than I’m used to spinning. (Good thing too because there’s another sweater out of this in the works! For me this time.) I tried valiantly to keep it soft but durable. Hope I’ve succeeded! Although I had washed the fleece carefully, the yarn needed a good hot wash in Power Scour after it was spun to get out some remaining grease. This treatment also set the yarn nicely and fulled it just a teeny bit.
The pattern was wonderfully clear and only needed a tiny tweak (slightly longer sleeves) to make it fit T perfectly. I love the short rows that extend the back and shoulders to keep it from riding up plus the back of the collar to make it snug the neck. So elegant. Swoon. And it’s all knitted in one piece so there’s only a tiny bit of seaming to do. Jared is a genius designer. I used a spit-splice to join on new yarn and you absolutely can’t tell where these joins are. Of course the slight unevenness of handspun hides a multitude of sins. Heh.
The gauge seemed to work out just right. I needed smaller needles than the suggested sizes. It was obviously worth knitting swatches before beginning! Apart from smoothing the stitches and softening it up a little, there was no change in measurements after wet-blocking. T says it’s nice and warm and he plans to get a lot of use out of his new sweater this winter.