Friday, 15 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015: Days 11-15

This has been a busy week for me! I've spent a lot of time packing up (including packing my sewing machine and my fabric stash) to leave home again. I'll be spending the rest of the summer in Canmore, Alberta! It's near Banff, but a little closer to Calgary. I left Vancouver midday today (Friday), and I'll be busy getting settled in tomorrow, so I'm posting a little bit early this week. So much for my original plan to post on Saturdays - I don't think I've done that once yet!

Monday, May 11

Top: Me-made (Sewaholic Pendrell, modified for a knit)
Cardigan: Thrifted (Nicole Bridger)
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

I wear this top quite a bit more than I used to - although it's not particularly well made and getting a little worn out, it's quite cute and very easy to wear. 

Tuesday, May 12

Cardigan: Me-made (Marion Cardigan by Andi Satterlund)
Camisole: Mom-made (self-drafted)
Skirt: Vintage
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

In the spring, I spent an afternoon in Montreal exploring some vintage stores, and found this great skirt! I figure it's from the early 60's based on the style and the construction. There's a metal zipper, knife pleats, and a deep (4") hem, although the hem is done by a blindstitch machine rather than by hand. I'm not sure exactly when these machines were used commercially, but I know that metal zippers were gradually replaced by nylon ones in the 60's. Anyways, it fits me well and the colours go really nicely with this cardigan!

Wednesday, May 13

Blouse: Me-made, pre-blog (Sewaholic Pendrell)
Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Shoes: Consignment (Hego's)

This is one of those tops that I remember how much I like every time I wear, but still don't wear very often! It is vintage rayon that wrinkles like crazy, so that's part of the reason why not. It also has ruffles at the shoulders (View B), which I like, but aren't the most practical. I've considered trying to take them out, but the fabric is pretty delicate so I don't know if it would survive. In any case, I still love the top, and really should wear it more often! 

Thursday, May 14

Shorts: Me-made (Simplicity 7148)
Top: Thrifted (Dynamite)
Cami: RTW
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

These shorts are like the top I wore on Wednesday - every time I wear them, I love them, but they're not something I reach for when I'm getting dressed. Part of it is that it's not quite weather for linen shorts yet, but even in the summer, I should wear these way more. I'm always a little hesitant to wear linen because of the wrinkling, but oddly enough, I think I like the way these look better when they're a little wrinkled! I realized that as soon as I ironed them right before taking pictures, of course...

Friday, May 15

Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)
Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

So far this May, I've actually made an effort to not wear my Moneta dresses too much, just for variety! Today I needed to be cool and comfortable though, because I spent most of the day in the car. I started off the day with my driver's test (which I passed, hooray!), and then spent the rest of the day driving halfway to Canmore! I really should have taken a picture before sitting in a car all day, but didn't... so here's a picture of me standing in front of our motel door.

That's it for this week! Next week will be another busy one as I get settled in to the place I'm staying in Canmore. The weather there is also pretty different than Vancouver so my outfits will probably change quite a a bit! It's often below freezing overnight, and not as warm as Vancouver (and definitely not as warm as Montreal!) during the day. Canmore is a beautiful little town in the Rocky Mountains, but that means cool mountain weather! It can get quite hot in the summer, but it's obviously not there yet!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015: Days 4-10

Oops, I'm behind on my Me-Made-May posts again! I meant to post yesterday, but forgot that it was Mother's Day so I was busy all day. Here's last week's outfits:

Monday, May 4

Shirt: Me-made (Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren)
Cardigan: Me-made (Marion Cardigan by Andi Satterlund)
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Belt: bought from a market
Shoes: Second-hand from the McGill clothing exchange (Sperry)

I wear both of these pieces so much - I'm so proud of the cardigan, and I love the print of the top! I hadn't actually realized how well they go together until wearing this outfit. The cardigan is the same colour as the darker dots on the top!

These shoes were the other pair that I bought of the McGill clothing exchange, along with my other pair of Sperries that I wore in my first MMM post.

Tuesday, May 5

Cardigan: Me-made (Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi)
Cami (not shown): RTW
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Shoes: Consignment (Hego's)

This was supposed to be a rainy day, so I felt like I needed a cozy cardigan! I haven't yet blogged about this one, but it's my second version of the Jenna Cardi by Muse Patterns (first version here). This one is made in a wool double knit that I bought in Montreal, and fits much better than the first!

As you might have noticed, I got a haircut this day! My hair was getting a little too long to deal with, especially for summer. It was very fluffy for a few days after salon products, but now that it's calmed down a bit, I'm much happier with it.

Wednesday, May 6

Blouse: Me-made (Sewaholic Pendrell)
Cardigan: Thrifted (Jacob)
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

My first *almost* outfit repeat... I wanted to try vary my outfits a little more, but I was in a hurry this morning and this was the only thing that didn't need ironing. This cardigan is one of my favourites! I usually look for brands that are higher quality and more expensive at thrift stores, but this Jacob cardigan is actually really nice wool! I think it must be a bit older judging by the label and the Woolmark logo. I think it probably shrunk in the wash at some point in its life, but it's my favourite length now and fits really well. 

I think I need to find a new pose for all these daily photos... I'm only realizing now how repetitive my photos are!

Thursday, May 7

Top: Me-made (unblogged, self-drafted)
Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

I keep telling myself that I will get rid of this top... and then don't. I even hide it from myself, and then find it months later and start wearing it again. I don't know why - it's really nothing that special. I guess I like the colour, and it's comfortable, but I did a horrible job making it and it's getting so worn out and stained.

Can you tell I like these jeans? I bought them in the fall when I wasn't allowed to wear skirts to any of my labs, and my other pair of jeans were falling apart. They fit surprisingly well for RTW - usually it's hard to find jeans small enough to fit me. The waistband is a little big, but they're the closest that I've found in a while. 

I've been wearing these jeans quite a bit more than usual lately, but mostly because it's been just a little too cold to wear skirts without tights, and I didn't bring any shoes back with me that look good with tights (silly, I know!).

On my to-sew list are the Ginger Jeans, but I just need to find some stretch denim! 

Friday, May 8

Dress: Me-made (Sewaholic Cambie)
Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

Finally, warm enough weather in Vancouver for dresses! It's so nice to be able to wear some of my favourite pieces again. I love this dress! 

Saturday, May 9

(shown - my evening outfit)
Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)
Purse: Mom-made (not sure of the pattern)
Shoes: Thrifted, possibly vintage (La VallĂ©e Allegro)

(not shown - my day outfit)
Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)
Cardigan: Thrifted (Nicole Bridger)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

I was so busy that I forgot to take a picture of what I wore during the day! It was pretty much the same as what I wore on May 3, but with a cardigan while I was inside. I spent the day volunteering at Our Social Fabric's sale with my mom. It was my first time going to one of their sales, since all the previous ones happened while I was in Montreal. What a great organization! They're a non-profit group that re-sells fabric that would otherwise be thrown out. Almost everything is sold as pre-cut pieces, but they have some bolts that they sell (or give away), and they can also cut you pieces. Almost everything is $2 a metre! They only have sales every couple of weeks, and when they have them, they're completely volunteer-run. It was so much fun to meet the group and help out.

In the evening, we went to Ballet BC's performance of Rite, two short contemporary ballets inspired by The Rite of Spring. I changed into a different Moneta dress, some jewelry, and some heels for the occasion. I love these shoes - I found them at a thrift store when I was home for Christmas. They're all leather and made in France, and had never been worn when I bought them. I'm not sure how old they are, but the brand doesn't seem to exist anymore. I found a pair by the same brand labeled as "vintage" on Ebay, but the logo looked older than the one on this pair. In any case, I love them!

Sunday, May 10

Cardigan: Consignment (Jackpot)
Shoes: Second-hand (Sperry)

This was Mother's Day, which we spent at the Vancouver Art Gallery and in Stanley Park for a barbeque dinner. Unfortunately the photos with the water in the background didn't turn out, but we had a beautiful view of the water from where we ate.

Despite how much I wear my many Moneta dresses, this remains one of my favourite dresses. I just love the print!

That's it for this week! I'm enjoying seeing everyone's photos on the flickr group and the Pinterest board (now, I just have to figure out how to pin my own the the board!)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Me-Made-May 2015: My Pledge and Days 1-3

Last year, I really loved participating in Me-Made-May for my first time! I took the pledge to wear one me-made (or mom-made) item per day, which was challenging at the time, but I had fun with it and discovered some new ways to wear old pieces. Here are some of my favourite outfits!

Since then, I've really expanded my me-made wardrobe, especially since I've been sewing with knits more, and I'd like to challenge myself a little more. So...

I, Shannon of Adventures of a Young Seamstress, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2015, preferably as the main part of my outfit. In addition, I will try to wear every seasonally appropriate item I've made at least once during the month. If I don't wear it, I either have to modify it or give it away.

That was my original pledge, but it's now been slightly modified to say that I'll wear every me-made item that I brought back from Montreal with me, since I'm back in Vancouver now and left lots behind. I tried to pack efficiently, so unfortunately some things that I've made got left behind because they weren't versatile enough (or because they took up too much space in my suitcase!). Even if they would be great to wear during May, I had to pack for the entire summer!

I also wanted to include something about not repeating any outfits too many times, but then I realized that a dress counts as an outfit! Since I plan on repeating my dresses, that wouldn't really work. I'll just try to switch it up and find new ways to wear things as much as possible - even though I haven't really put that into words in my pledge!

I'll also try to be a little better this year about posting regularly - I'm a little behind on this post because I was traveling on Saturday, but from now on, I'll post every Saturday with the week's outfits. Since May started on a Friday, I'll include the weekend's pictures in this one, so that I have more than one outfit to show.

Friday, May 1

Jeans: RTW (Guess)
Belt: bought at a market
Shoes: Second-hand from the McGill clothing exchange (Sperry)

This blouse, which I made from a thrifted muumuu, has gotten so much wear over the year! It's so flattering and easy to wear. The modification to the sleeves that I made (using the Alma Blouse sleeves instead of the Pendrell's) makes it much more wearable. As much as I love the sleeve variations included with the Pendrell, they're difficult to layer over. I've learned that for me to wear something a lot, I need to be able to layer over it!

I'll also point out that this photo was taken inside my new apartment in Montreal! I made it through exams, finished my first year, and moved out of residence and into my own place with a roommate. Unfortunately, I left for Vancouver only a couple days after moving in, so I didn't get to enjoy it much. I couldn't be happier with it though - it's in a century-old triplex in a great area of Montreal. I'm really looking forward to living there in the fall!

Saturday, May 2

Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta)
Shoes: Second-hand from the McGill clothing exchange (Sperry)

Excuse the over-exposed picture! I guess outdoor photos on sunny days taken with phones aren't a great idea. It was so nice out this day - unfortunately it was the day that I left Montreal! Knit dresses are so perfect for traveling though. I needed to be comfortable on the plane home!

I just remembered when I went to link to my post about this dress, that I never did post about it! This was my third Moneta dress, which I made last summer. I really should blog about it soon!

These shoes are my new favourites - I bought them off the McGill clothing exchange, which is a Facebook group that people use to sell their old clothes. I joined the group when I was looking for a second-hand down coat, but don't usually look through it. These just popped up on my news feed one day and I went for it! It's difficult to find summer shoes that fit the orthotics that I wear, but these did so I bought both pairs that the girl was selling.

Sunday, May 3

Shoes: Second-hand from the McGill clothing exchange (Sperry)

These shoes are my new favourites, which you can probably tell! I bought them off the McGill clothing exchange, which is a Facebook group that people use to sell their old clothes. I joined the group when I was looking for a second-hand down coat, but don't usually look through it. These just popped up on my news feed one day and I went for it! It's difficult to find summer shoes that fit the orthotics that I wear, but these did so I bought both pairs that the girl was selling.

This dress is also quite possibly one of my favourites. It's definitely my favourite Moneta so far - I love the collar, the sleeves and the colour, and the jersey is the perfect weight for the skirt.

I'm back in my backyard in Vancouver for this photo, and it probably wasn't quite warm enough to be wearing this without a sweater or tights! I was used to the Montreal weather, which was beautiful before I left. 

That's it for now! I'll post again on the weekend - it won't actually be on Saturday though because I'm volunteering with my mom at Our Social Fabric's sale. If you're in the Vancouver area, come by and say hi, and pick up some fabric! My mom has been volunteering with them for a while now, and I'm excited to go and see what it's like. It sounds like a really great organization - they resell fabric that would otherwise be thrown away, and for great prices!

If you're participating in Me-Made-May this year, how's your challenge going?

Friday, 17 April 2015

Completed: Muse Patterns Natalie Top

After loving my Jenna Cardigan by Muse Patterns, I really couldn't wait to try another one of their patterns! This is the Natalie Top and Dress, a pattern for knits with gorgeous 40's-inspired gathering, which I made when I was home for Christmas. 

I promise I'll have some more spring-appropriate stuff on the blog soon! I went home for reading week and made a couple things for spring while I was there, but don't have pictures yet. It definitely feels like the wrong weather to be posting about a black long-sleeved top now, since I've been wearing short sleeves and skirts without tights for the past week here in Montreal! My only complaint is that the gorgeous weather makes it difficult to force yourself to study for exams. Only three more to go...

I chose this pattern kind of spontaneously, because I was planning on using this fabric to make another Bronte top, but then I realized that is was really sheer! I guess I wasn't paying attention when I bought it, because it was expensive for a solid bamboo jersey knit. I bought it from a local fabric store where I bought a remnant of the most amazing bamboo jersey I've ever worked with, and when I saw more bamboo jersey in the store, I assumed it was the same! Turns out it's not - this is much thinner and much flimsier. So disappointing! 

Anyways, I needed a top pattern that was a little more forgiving and didn't have any negative ease over the bust, so that it wouldn't end up too sheer. This was perfect - the gathers meant that it wouldn't be too sheer at all!

I really love the dress variation of this pattern, but since I only had a metre of fabric, I didn't really have a choice. I'll probably make the dress this summer!

I'm not a huge fan of PDF patterns, but this one came together pretty easily and quickly. I cut out a size 30 with long sleeves. Since the Jenna cardigan was a little wide at the shoulders, I took in the shoulder seams by 1/4". I also raised the V-neck by 1", which I reduced to closer to 1/2" or 3/4" when I actually sewed it. I omitted the ties in the back, because as much as I love them, I find them really uncomfortable when you're sitting.

This top took a little big longer than some knit patterns, but still not long at all. You need to interface the triangle in the middle with woven interfacing, and then do all the gathering around the bust and attach it. A note for next time: I sewed one with the gathers on the bottom, and the other side with the gathers on the top, and one side looks way nicer than the other. I just can't remember which! I'll sew some samples before making this again to see. I don't think it's too noticeable though, especially from a distance and in black.

The only thing that I found a little more difficult with this pattern was getting the V-neck to look right! I seem to remember attaching the binding was fine, but the topstitching took me a few tries. It still doesn't look that great, but there's only so many times you can rip out topstitching in jersey before going slightly mad.

I'm really happy with the fit of this top - it's super flattering! In the end, I didn't need to take in the shoulders, and I'll probably add the 1/4" back on next time, but other than that, the fit is great. The triangle in the centre sits a little lower on me than it does in the pictures, but I don't have a problem with that, and I'm not exactly sure of the best way to fix that because of how the pattern pieces go together. I'm happy with it how it is, so I probably won't bother!

Looking at these photos, it does bunch up a little in the back, but I think that's mostly because it's getting caught on the waistband of my jeans, which is too big (I think I need to make myself some Ginger jeans).

Overall, though, this top wasn't my best make, even though the fit is great - mostly because of the fabric. It was so flimsy that it shifted a lot when I was cutting it, and one of my sleeves ended up off grain. I also managed to get a hole in one of the sleeves before I even finished it! I sewed it up and put lots of fray-check on it, and so far it seems to be fine. But seriously...

I also found it really difficult to hem, even with Stitch Witchery, a walking foot, and a twin needle, which is my go-to hemming technique for knits. It stretched out a lot, and ended up a little ripply.

What's a little different about this top from other tops that I've made is that I can't really tuck it in, which I usually do for all my tops. Because of that, I can't really wear it with a skirt, which is too bad. Nonetheless, this top got a lot of wear, especially when it was -20 degrees in Montreal, because I could wear it with jeans and merino base layers underneath - perfect for when I needed a break from all the huge sweaters!

I'll definitely make this pattern again, probably as a dress for summer. I'm really impressed with Muse Patterns - the instructions are great, and the patterns seem to be very well drafted. I also love that their newer patterns come one size smaller than the Jenna cardi did, so I don't have to size down (always a plus!). 

Thanks for reading! You probably won't see much of me until after exams. I have an exciting (but very busy) couple of weeks ahead - in less than two weeks, I'll be done my first week of university, and I'll be moving out my residence and into my first apartment! See you all in (me-made) May!

Top: me-made (Muse Patterns Nathalie Top)
Jeans: Guess

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Completed Knit: Marion Cardigan

Allow me to present my favourite finished project ever: my first handknit cardigan!

Despite learning to knit when I was really young, I never really thought of knitting anything other than accessories. Sweaters just seemed so daunting!

After finishing my Pseudo Shibori Scarf though, knit with 3.5 mm needles and kidsilk, I felt like I was ready to tackle my first sweater. Unfortunately, my tendinitis hit just after finishing the scarf, so I didn't knit at all during my grade 12 year. After I graduated, I slowly got back into it, and found that I was okay so long as I didn't knit too much at once. 

I knew that I wanted to make a cardigan, and I've always loved all of Andi Satterlund's patterns, so it wasn't hard to pick out a pattern. I ended up going with the Marion cardigan, because it was mostly stockinette (aka simple), but had enough shaping and cables that I would learn something new and not get bored. 

When I first downloaded the pattern and read through it, I almost gave up then and there. I had no idea what so much of it meant - short rows, cables, picking up and knitting, yarn overs... it was pretty overwhelming!

I ended up just looking up videos on every stitch that I wasn't sure about, and practicing until I felt reasonably comfortable with all the stitches. I'm glad I picked a relatively simple pattern, because it still felt like I had so much to learn!

The yarn I picked is Colour Adventures Sweet Aran, in the colourway Midnight Blues, which I bought from Wool and Wicker in Steveston. It's 100% superwash merino, and comes in lots of colours. The yarn itself is a little pricey, but I didn't need very much so it didn't end up being too expensive overall. I don't know if I would buy it again because since then, I've found cheaper yarn of a similar quality, but it is quite nice to work with, and really comfortable to wear!

I also bought a set of interchangeable needles, which is a great investment if you plan on making lots of sweaters (like I do!). It makes it really easy to change the cable length as needed, and you never have to transfer stitches to holders - instead, you just take off the needles and screw on these little stoppers at the ends of the cables. When I was knitting the upper front and back, I used a 24" cable, then switched to 32" when I connected it all. When I knit the button band, I went up to 40" (or possible 47", can't remember). For the sleeves, I bought a second set of 5 mm tips, and used both circular needles with 24" cables. I tried to use the magic loop method first, but I found it really awkward to use for the short rows at the sleeve cap.

Since the yarn is hand-dyed, it recommends alternating skeins, which I did throughout the body. At first, I didn't know the best way to do this, so I just tied a knot and knit with a new strand every 2 rows. About 10 rows in, I realized that I would have way too many ends to weave in if I kept going like that! Instead, I just kept all three skeins attached and just picked up a new one every two rows, similar to the way I imagine you would do colourwork (although I've never done colourwork, so I can't say for sure). I didn't bother alternating skeins when I knit the sleeves because I wasn't sure of the best way, and I honestly don't notice any difference, so I probably didn't need to have alternated skeins for the rest of it. Oh well! 

Over the summer, the knitting went pretty quickly. I made lots of mistakes and had to frog a lot, but I kept going pretty steadily until I finished the main body of the sweater. In September, though, I pretty much stopped working on it altogether. I did actually find some time to knit, but I couldn't figure out the short row shaping at the shoulder. I knew that I needed a solid chunk of time to sit down and figure out what I kept doing wrong, and I just never seemed to have that time. Instead, I worked on a hat in little bits and pieces, and didn't really touch the sweater until I was home for Christmas break.

Once I figured out the short rows, the sleeves went really quickly, and I finished this within a couple weeks of the start of the winter semester. 

The next part that took me forever was, of all things, buying buttons! I really wanted to go to Rubans Boutons to find them, but when I finally found an afternoon free to go to Rue St. Hubert, it was one of the coldest days in February! I literally just ducked into the first store I saw that sold buttons, and found some that matched surprisingly well. They're nothing all that special, but the colour is a perfect match, and I like the simpler buttons because they keep the focus on the cables.

It took me so long to buy the buttons that I actually started wearing it without buttons for a while! I think it looks good unbuttoned as well, but you can see the cables better when it's buttoned up, so that's probably how I'll wear it most of the time.

I am so proud of this cardigan, but it's definitely far from perfect! First of all, it could be just a little bigger. Despite swatching and measuring my gauge, my gauge when I actually knit this was a little tight, and I never checked it along the way. It's still very wearable and comfortable, but if I want to wear anything bulkier than a camisole or thin t-shirt underneath, it's a little snug. 

Second of all, I really need to work on casting off loosely. The cast-off edges at the bottom edges of the body and the sleeves are tighter than they should be, and this makes the sweater ride up a little. You can see that in the photo below.

Another part that I need to keep looser is the part between the two needles that I knit the sleeve on - I was so worried about it being too loose that I overdid it a little, and ended up with a little bit of a ridge going down my arm where they stitches are way too tight. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who notices, but if you look closely you can see it a little in these pictures. 

Overall, though, I'm really, really happy with this cardigan! I love the colour and really suits my style. I've already almost finished my second sweater - hopefully I'll have it finished while it's still cool enough to wear it!

Ravelry notes are here.

Thanks for reading, and happy Easter!

Cardigan: Me-made (Marion Cardigan)
Camisole: Mom-made (self-drafted)
Skirt: upcycled from an old dress