Monday, 23 February 2015

Living in the dark, and knitting up a storm!

Not my home, but same feeling!

I was hoping to get some photography done over the weekend, to show you all my recent knits.
Wintertime in Norway is challenging light-wise. It gets dark rather early in the afternoon, even though days are getting longer now. So when getting home from work, I don't always feel like getting dolled up and prance around on my snow covered deck outside. I really wish I had a dress form, and a spot inside with good enough light to snap some photos with my flashless camera. It would make it all a bit easier :)
I'll put that on my "to-get-list"! Along with a new sewing machine!

So even with the weekend off, and SUNSHINE for two whole days, there was no "runway modelling"... I'm bad, I know. On the bright side, I finished knitting my Finessa jumper, the dark navy one. Which was a whale-sized relieve! I have rather poor eyesight to begin with, our livingroom is lit like a cave, and all those tiny stitches in the dark was killing me! And it took forever.

Finessa sleeves ready for action!

I was going to sew it up on saturday, and be done with it. But I got as far as blocking, and left the sewing for another day. Although I am really happy with it, and think it will be fantastic, I just need a *moment* before I finish it up. I don't know about you, but very often I totally loose interest when a project is nearly done, and I start pining for a new "squeeze".

Miss New Squeeze 1945

This time was no different, and I finally got going with the fabulous Victory jumper pattern (follow link for free pattern)! I looooove this one, and there have been some lovely jumpers turning up online, here, here and here for instance :)
The stitch pattern is the classic feather and fan, a really easy and beautiful wavy lace pattern. Fun and interesting to knit , after ages of knit purl knit purl.....!

Although I really like the patriotic colors of navy white and red, which also translates to the Norwegian flag, I went for some different colors. Mostly because I had seven skeins of soft babywool in a dark seafoam that wasn't enough for a whole jumper, so I decided to pair it with cream and light terracotta. I am happy with how those colors look together, it looks quite festive! The look can be totally altered by shuffeling the colors around, since the width of the stripes are different.
The cream and orange yarn is an alpaca/peruvian wool blend and incredibly soft and yummy :)

The pattern is for a 34 inch bust, so I had to do a swatch and some math before casting on. The pattern is repeated over nine stitches, so it is quite easy to just add some more repeats to make a larger size. I am already half way up the front, and I think it will be a good fit in the bust area, but I am a bit worried about the rib section. It seems to be rather slim-fitting, but it is very stretchy after all, so fingers crossed it will be alright. When I have finished the ribbing for the back, I need to pin the pieces on my person to check level of straight-jacket-ness. Wish me luck....!

Have you got any new exciting projects going?

Friday, 13 February 2015

.....and then she decided to reappear!

Hello folks!

Yes, it's me again. Long time no see. I'm not even going to appologize for my hiatus, as we all know sometimes life happens, and blogging, sewing or whatever takes the back seat for a while. Besides, it not like there's too few blogs around and nothing to read, right?
I am sure, most of you never even noticed I was gone :D

In my last post, I promised you all a give-away. Obviously, it will not be in celebration of my 1-year bloggiversery (is that even a word??) which came and went, like last years snow. It will be more or less a "Why-the-hell-not" kind of thing! I really appreciated all of you who made my day, visiting and commenting on here last year, and I still do. This community is valuable on so many levels, even when you're not actively participating. I have still been reading everyone in my feed, and getting inspired, and I hope to give something back again.

I'll be announcing the "party" in the near future, I just need a few posts under my belt, to get back on the radar again! Funny how one gets a little rusty. Heh.

In other news, my sewing machine decided to die on me right before Christmas. Right as I got the urge to sew a x-mas dress. I managed to get half a muslin done, and then the lights went out.... I am still looking for another one, but need to save up a little. A new one will be too expensive, so I am thinking about getting a second hand one in good condition. Should be doable :)

I have been able to get some knitting done over the winter, actually! I'll be doing individual posts on each one shortly, but here are some teasers.

This green one is "Audrey in unst" by Gudrun Johnston. The yarn is Karisma from Drops, in a lovely green shade. I think the first image is pretty true to color. At least on my screen :) I loved making this, It's knit seamlessly all in one piece, bottom up with set-in sleeves. It was finished in a couple of weeks, and I have worn it lots.

This second one is from a vintage pattern, Bestway 1320 from the 1940s. The yarn is also Karisma, from Drops, but I think it was a bad choice for this pattern. I might make another one in a lighter yarn, as I love the general look of it. I screwed up the blocking and it came out too big, but I'll fix that (hopefully).
I got this pattern from Lucy at 1940s Style for You. I can't quite recall if it was a free download (of which she has many!!!) or if I bought it at her Etsy shop. Either way, check out both if you're into 40s knitwear. She makes the most stunning knits, and if you don't knit, she can do it for you ;)

This last one is currently on the needles. Just the sleeves and collar to go.
Also a vintage pattern, the "Finessa" jumper from the 1950s.
The yarn is some kind of  soft baby wool, bought long time ago for some other project. This is an old UFO that I found in a bag, and decided to finish. Yes, I am a good girl! Excited to see this one made up, I just hope the size is right...........!

So there you are, lots of stuff to come, provided we get some decent light for photography around here in Norway-land!


Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Birthday dress, a pattern mash-up

Hello everybody!

This Sunday marks the end of my summer holidays of 2014. A grey and gloomy day, after weeks of sun and heat. Actually, it feels quite nice, and the air is fresh after the showers.

Since August is the Big Birthday month here at Pinhouse, what is more appropriate than dresses?
My own birthday is the 5th, a tuesday and I'll be at work all evening, so no dress wearing that day.
So let's celebrate it today with this new creation of mine :)

This is a pattern mash up of Simplicity #5780, which I used for my Floral frock, and the bottom half of Simplicity #3422.

I am sooo gonna make that #3422 (view 2) one day!

I made this dress mostly to try out some techniques new to me. This is my first lined dress bodice, my first time pleating a skirt, and first time making a dirndl skirt. I was unsure if I would like the silhouette, but I think I can honestly say "Me luuurvs it!!" The fabric is some sort of cotton blend satin thingy, a remnant bin find, so I figured I could afford to mess it up. Only I didn't!

A narrow red belt would be rockin'!

The #5780 bodice was cut with no alterations this time. I was so surprised last time that it came out big, despite being a size smaller than I am, so I took a gamble. I faced it this time around, and lined it too. The armscyes could be a bit deeper, I see some bunching/pulling in the back. But it is not uncomfortable at all, just not the perfect fit.

Little bit of pulling, but I can live with that :)
The pattern matching went out the window aswell.
Also ok :)

The skirt didn't really need a pattern as it's just a big rectangle (actually three...) that is gathered at the waist. I had to piece together some fabric to make this skirt happen, as the remnant fabric came in two pieces of nearly 1.5 yards each. I think it came out great, you can hardly see the seams. I opted for pleats around the waist, instead of gathers, as I think it looks tidier. It took some doing and redoing to get it right, but it was well worth the practise:)

Pouf-less pouch!

I made a flat section in front, to not add any poof to my stomach, and next time I do this I will have more pleats at the sides/on the hips, because I can see this is a perfect way to give me some shape (having a narrow hip and a flat bum). This is what is so great with making ones own clothes, instead of letting "bodily shortcomings" get you down, you can add design elements that helps you create the shape you want, and make you feel good in your own skin.

So, who else has a birthday at Pinhouse, you ask? Well, the blog it self!! Yes, my humble corner of the web is soon to be one year old! I can hardly believe it! I must say I had my doubts as to whether I would keep it up, but it has been so rewarding and fun, not to mention you lovely people who bother with coming over to see what I've been up to. I appreciate every single one of your pageviews and comments, they make my day! And I also love to visit your small corners too, and be inspired! Keep it up!

In the event of the Blogaversary, I will host a little give-away to say thank you! So stay tuned for that :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Floral Frock (Simplicity #5780)

I finally got to photograph this dress I mentioned a few posts ago. So without further ado... Here it is; The 60s Floral Frock!

The 'I need to wee' pose.
Oh well.

This is a pattern from 1964 for a simple sleeveless, unlined dress with gathers at the waist and in the back. It has a back zipper closure. Meet Simplicity #5780!


The pattern is a size 16, for a 36" bust, 28" waist. As I am neither of those two measurements, and have a high bust measurement of 37" and a 30" waist, I redrafted the bodice, adding some wiggle-room by slash'n'spread. I also added 1.5" in lenght. I had a piece of brushed cotton sateen in my stash, just barely enough to eek out a dress, so no more for extra pieces should there be cock-ups! I made an effort to get the print to match in the back, and it went quite well. There was not enough for matching in the skirt pieces, but I am not very bothered by that.

Rather happy with that print matching on the bodice :)

The dress sewed up quickly. As I have no dress form, I had to sew the whole thing together (including the zipper) before trying it on for fit, and I was really surprised to find it was too big overall.
I unpicked everything, and made adjustments. I actually took away more than I added to begin with, so I guess ease is different in 60s patterns compared to the 40s ones. I did even measure the pattern pieces for a rough guide, but something has obviously happened underway. Maybe I am not as big as I think? Huh?!

The dress ended up not super fitted, but I really don't mind that much. It is better to have some breathing (and eating)room, than to look like a stuffed sausage, anyway!
The biggest problem with trying to grade down the bodice, was to preserve my stellar print matching! It would have been easy taking some out at center back, but now I had to shave off the armscyes and side seams instead. I don't think the fit around the arms is perfect, I could have taken more away. But I tried to calculate the bit that would go away with the binding of the edges, but obviously it was not enough.

The pattern instructed to make a self belt,
but as I didn't have a belt kit
it is currently sans belt.

The pattern said to use facings for the armholes, but after all that snipping and trimming , the precut facing pieces didn't fit anymore, so I bias bound them instead. I found a great tutorial that taught me how to insert bias binding to an armhole without getting a bulky seam where the ends meet. This was news to me, and worked wonderfully! If you don't already know this trick, I highly recommend it. Yay for new skills!

So, new dress AND a new trick in my sewing bag! That's a double win :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Stripey Beach outfit!

Hi all!
Summer holiday this year has been delightful! The weather has been sunny and HOT for weeks and weeks, totally novel for Norway but great non the less!
I went up north for a week to visit my parents, always nice to see them since we live so far apart.
The rest of my three weeks off work, I've spent at home. So this is the final week of freedom before it's back to factory life again. But let's not talk about that!

I have some new makes to show you!
It all started with reading this blog post, and then totally falling in love with the stripey 50s sun top made from Mrs Depew's pattern. I just had to make one for myself, and I had the perfect fabric in my stash too!

It was such a quick and easy make, and I finally got to try stripe matching. It went rather well, if my eyes are not deceiving me. When the top was done, I realized I had nothing that matched it, other than black jeans. And that's just out of the question in this heat. So, I had to make shorts too!

I used the Wearing History Sailor girl short pattern I used to make my lobster shorts. It is a great pattern, but now that they are made up, I don't know if it was the best choice. The stripes make me look bigger somehow, and I am not sure I am loving that! It is also maybe a bit costumy for everyday wear, but they do look fun in the pictures. That being said, I enjoyed making these, and I even lined them with white cotton voile! Another new skill.

Fully lined, oh yes!

Found some blingy buttons too!

I think I will try to find a pattern for "normal" shorts to go with this sun top, and make it in black fabric. Or maybe a pair of white capris?

I know I will wear this top to death, I love love LOVE how it looks! I already got new ones planned...
But the shorts....meh.

I only show you this to boast my stripe matching.

My rear looks just sad in these shorts, the lobster ones looks so much better... So let's just look at the top again, shall we?? ;)

I am a bit proud of the matching on the front.
I am allowed, right?

So there you have it! A Mrs Depew top and a WH Sailor Girl short.
Have you been getting any sunny sewing done? Or are you suffering in the heat?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Psychedelia Dress (Vogue#8852)

For those of you waiting for the announced 60s dress... Well you just have to wait a bit!
I sewed another dress! Wow, I really am on a roll here. I've made three dresses in a week, and that never happens!

This is also my very first go at knit fabric. Oh boy!!

This is the Vogue #8852 (very easy) halter dress from 1974, which I got from Retro Monkeys on Etsy (if you have left over money bothering you, go check it out).  It has princess darts in the front and regular fisheye ones in the back. The pattern called for a center back zipper, but I figured my fabric had so much stretch that I could omit that. So I did :) It was indeed very easy and I made the dress in an afternoon.

My fabric is something I found in a remnant bin for 70 NOK, that's about £6.7 or $11. So not alot.
The piece was 1.40m x 1.40m, just enough for the dress (and a wee bit left for a top). It is a "viscose mix" jersey, VERY stretchy and drapey. I thought the print was kinda funky, and I knew I had to try this knit-business eventually. So it was perfect for something that might or might not be ruined!

I do appologize for the weird exposure in these photos.
My camera was acting up in the cloudy conditions,
I was too pms'y and hissy to argue.

I think it went pretty well. The pattern is actually for a 34" bust (I'm a 37"), but I just cut it anyway. Someone once tipped me on sizing down for knits, and had I graded the pattern up to my size, I would've ended up with a tent! So good tip! I think the dress fit me rather perfectly. I also got to try new settings on my machine. Helpfully, I found I had misplaced the manual, so I just had to try every knob-combo until it produced something stretchy. It was good experience, and I now know my Singer even better!

The only issue I had with the fit was the back. It ended up a bit saggy, so it is low backed, and nothing that looks remotely elegant with any kind of underwear... I guess the seventies was the era of no bras, so it wouldn't have been an issue. I tried fixing it by attaching a drawstring to the side seams and running them through a "corridor" made by sewing the facing to the back piece itself. I dunno. It didn't work as planned, and the spaghetti-strap I made is stretchy too, so the tightening effect is virtually non-existent. So I now just call it a decorative touch, and artistic freedom!

Hard to see, but here's my drawstring back!

Even though my first experience with knits went fairly well, I obviously still have lots to learn. The facing pieces do not behave as they do on stable fabrics, and I suspect it would look better if I had stabilized the seams around the top area with something. Or added interfacing to facings. Also, when making buttonholes in something stretchy, it needs something stable underneath. I attempted  it on plain jersey, and the result was my Singer eating the neck strap to the point where I had to disassemble half of my machine to get it out. Needless to say, there was no buttonhole, and I just sewed the straps together at the neck and stuck a button on there for eye appeal.

Eye candy button :)

So there it is! My first knit garment! It might not be my best work, but it will do for a simple sun dress to wear around the house. It was not worth all the procrastination, knits are totally okay, even without a serger!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Camodress (Simplicity #2406)

Hi all!

All the while I was working on the fiddly playsuit, I was longing to start something else... I know, not a sign of focus or determination. But then again, doing something else, make you come back stronger and with fresh eyes :)


This is Cynthia Rowley's design for Simplicity #2406.
I made view B in a size 12. Following the size guide, I was supposed to make a 14. But when checking the finished garment measurement on the pattern pieces, I noticed it allowed for 6" of ease and then promptly cut a size down. This dress is sack-like enough as is, thank you.

The dress has cutout sleeves, side seam pockets, and a self sash. It also has gathering at the front and back neck line. Zipper in the back is optional, but I decided against it... You know, to add some oooh la la :)

Practical pockets!

Sewing instructions were straight forward, and I really enjoyed making this. It is not fitted, so no need for nail biting and hairpulling during the process, which was nice!

Everytime I make something, I try to learn a new skill, or perfect one I have already tried. This time I learned how to make a lovely thread loop for the button closing in the neck, using this tutorial. It came out just the way I wanted it to, and is such a lovely handmade touch.

Thread loop.

The fabric is a flowy printed viscose.  The tag stated army camo print, hence the name for my dress. I am not exactly sure what you could possibly camoflague yourself amongst in this print, but nevermind! I like it!!
It was very nice to work with, although it wanted to shift around a bit. It is also nice to wear, and has such lovely drape.

Inside front.

Constructing the self faced sleeves was the most fun part, it is a clever design, and looks really good both outside and in. There is also a neck and back facing that gives the dress an easy clean finish.

Inside back.

The casual look :)

The self sash disappears a bit in my print, but is nice for casual wear. I dressed it up a bit with a wide purchased belt, but it is also nice without any belt at all. It all depends on what you like :)

Open back.
Underwear might be an issue here...

Looks cool without sash too, I think!

If I am to be critical of my dress, I would have wanted it to be a tad longer. When cinched, it is a bit short for my liking. It also billows terribly in the back when I wear a belt with it, and it looks weird sometimes from the side. The hem is also sometimes uneven because of the belt, so a check in the mirror is a good idea if one is picky :)

So that's my instant gratification project! I think I should do more of these.
Oh wait; I have! I also made a 60s dress! More on that later ;)