Saturday, 18 May 2013

Purple stripe jumper

Or: how I learnt that it's sometimes best to show restraint when making things

This is my new favourite jumper. I adore the colour, neckline and fit. I made it in an absolute frenzy after spending a few successive weekends with some amazingly creative people. I came back to the cutting table ready to be slow and methodical, but must've caught something because this is the result of some frantic design, pattern cutting and stitching.

 The top is broadly based on a traced t-shirt pattern, which has been the base for a lot of my knit tops. The original has cap sleeves that I had traced out, but I sort of improvised full length sleeves based on my wrist measurement and arm length from shoulder. I changed the shape of the sleeve head to be a bit more narrow. Not sure why.

The original tee

The neckline is based on a favourite boat neck t-shirt where the band overlaps and also forms part of the bodice and the armscye. I tried to recreate that with this top and think it turned out okay. The front was a little wide which causes the back to dip further than the original. Something to be corrected in the next version. I also thought it would be great to recreate a twisted neckline effect, but it looks a bit sloppy with the stripes. It's still wearable but next time I'll stick to fewer design details.

My version
The fabric was earmarked for my brother's Christmas present, but when it arrived we saw how sheer it actually was, there was no way  he would wear it. It's also far too sheer on its own for me, so I underlined it twice. Once with self fabric and once with some black jersey lying around in the stash. The result is a top that's warm enough to wear on its own in the british spring (always good), comfy for lounging and also able to survive a few washes. I think the underlining also adds a bit of oomph to the colouring, instead of it getting washed out in the light.

 So there you go!

In other news, I've been trying to work out a plan to use up some of the fabric pilfered from the epic swap, but am so far lost. There are plans for jackets, tops, skirts and a funky dress sewing dare. No clue hot to carry it all out. A little overwhelmed...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Barenaked Collection: One Week

This will be the first in a sporadic range of projects that called the Barenaked Collection. With each project I'll try and crowbar as many Barenaked Ladies references into the project as physically possible.

You may have noticed my earlier panicked post about an upcoming social event for which I needed to complete two projects in one week, and the appropriate reaction would be to throw your arms in the air and say you're crazy. But hey, this year's event would be different in terms of projects: for the first time I knew what to do...though it was a case of the worst timing I ever knew.

So this is the Pinch Me bag.

I'm happy enough with the final product. I feel fine enough, I guess, considering everything's a mess on the inside*. Still, I don't yet see any problems with the bag. It holds stuff, it's solid and it's waterproof. If it breaks, there's plenty of supplies to fix it.

I drafted the pattern based on the dimensions backpacks and some of the Cath Kitson line to get a gauge for good sizes. It turns out that they varied a lot in capacity.I think mine ends up holding about 35L.

It got towards the end of the make and things weren't matching up. I'm not sure of the geometry involved but the length of the two rectangles didn't equal the perimeter of the bag front. I had to do come serious fudging and take some pleats in the pattern because of time pressure, and I'm hoping it doesn't make the bag look too amateurish.

The lining is also quite messy. I'm not sure why things matched up even less in the lining than they did on the outside, but it's a distinct possibility that I might rip it out and start again. I had high hopes for pockets, loops and things on the inside.

A lot of attention has been paid to the structure of the bag though and at some points I was going through about 8 layers of thick fabric. I'm planning on dragging this bag on flights and trips so it must support <=15kg, plus shocks. The outer is underlined in waterproof/ripstop and then some sort of burlap/sacking fabric. It's very sturdy and will hopefully take some of the stress off the textiles and seams. I had hoped to make the shoulder strap removable, but after looking at the rings and clips available I worry they'd break quite easily.

*I'm sick of the Barenaked puns now.

The second item in the Barenaked Collection will appear all in good time...

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