Monday, January 26, 2015

This week in crafting

Recovered post, originally posted 2 November 2014
Here is the rest of the week's daily crafting.

Wednesday 29th
I received some fabric from Croft Mill, and pre-washed it all.
From top to bottom:
Brown cotton corduroy, because I need more brown trousers.
Black jersey to make teeshirts for DH.
Black cotton 'linen look', also for trousers, this may wait for spring.
An exceedingly ugly ponte roma print, very cheap, to use for toiles probably, though it may be rescued by overpainting.
Thursday 30th
I made another square for my Teal Crayons jacket.
Friday 31st
I returned to the striped Noro waistcoat I started quite a while ago. The stripes had become undefined as the two balls of yarn I was using had begun to have the same colour order, so I ripped out a few rows and broke one of the strands, reversing the end I was knitting from. I then started knitting again and got back to the length I had previously reached. I need to do another 5 or 6 inches before making the 2nd armhole.

Angel dress draft

Rescued post, originally posted 11 August 2012

I have posted a new tutorial on the Free Tutorials section of my website. It contains instructions for drafting and sewing what I call my Angel Dress. The drafting instructions are for either using Garment Designer, or for drawing a pattern based on an A-line dress pattern with set in sleeves.

The finished dress looks like this:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Me Made Monday

Originally posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Today's Me Made Monday (#mmmproutfit is not exciting, but it is cozy and comfortable. It is an animal print fleece top from a self drafted pattern, and another pair of my self drafted trousers in black corduroy.

The top is copied from a favourite garment. I have made 4 in fleece and one in boiled wool, and two full length fleece versions to use as winter caftans (instead of dressing gowns).

The trousers unfortunately shrank in the wash, despite pre-washing the fabric.When I let them down, even with the full width of the hem they were still too short, so I used an old plastic toothed zip as an edging.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two cowl necked top designs

Rescued post - originally posted 3 November 2011

Here are two interpretations of the term 'cowl neck top' using Garment Designer

Cowl Neck Top – Type A, a bias draped cowl at the front.

I decided to use a contoured top with cap sleeves, so I picked these options. The semi-fitted Top Style is the least fitted of the contoured options. 

Top Group: Contoured Top Style: Semi-Fitted Shoulder: Sloped Neck Group: Boat Neck Style: Modified Darts: None Sleeve Group: Cap Cap Style: Angled

As I consider the waist and hip still a little too fitted, I selected those segments and moved them to a more pleasing position. I also made the cap not so wide, and the armhole shallower. I also raised the shoulder point slightly.

To make the cowl, I selected the centre front neck point and dragged it outwards to make the neckline longer. (Not forgetting to turn off F/B symmetry before doing this.) I also used the curve control points on the neck to straighten it out. Then I selected the centre hem point and dragged it slightly out, and downwards to increase the centre front length. I used the hem curve control points to make the hemline a better shape.

To complete the pattern piece, I created a facing for the neckline. When printing the pattern, print the pages with the facing a second time and cut it out separately, then flip it over and attach it to the neck edge so it forms an extension to the pattern piece. It will make a V shape at the shoulder. You may want to cut this out so it is wider at the centre front rather than parallel to the neckline for its whole length, as the inside of the neckline may show when worn.

When you cut out the fabric, the centre front should be cut so it is on the bias, NOT the straight grain, or the cowl will not drape correctly. (Unless of course you are using a knit fabric)

(Unfortunately, this pattern adaptation only works for sewing. I think you should be able to knit something with the front in one piece, but as the centre front is not at 45 degrees to the vertical, it is not possible to generate shaping instructions for this pattern piece with the centre front as a vertical line. There may be a way of doing this by moving the points for the shoulder and side seam instead, but I have not worked this out. )

It is the dragging of the neck point out and down, then cutting it on the bias, that creates the cowl, so here is a picture of an alternative cowl neck garment to give you the idea.

Cowl Neck Top – Type B, an exaggerated roll collar.

For this, I am going to look at the neckline only. For this reason I am not displaying the sleeve, but of course you will want to include it if you are creating a sleeved garment.

I selected a round neckline, and opted for the Wide Deep style. From the Extras menu I selected to have collars Joined At Back. This activates the Collar Group selection boxes. I changed the Collar Group to Full Roll.

The bottom edge of this collar will fit the neckline. I want a much deeper collar, so I selected the neck edge and moved it downwards until I got the collar depth I wanted. (You should display dimensions to help with this, but I have left them off to make the pictures easier to see.)

To make the outer edge looser, drag the outer points outwards.

For sewing, I would cut this double with the outer edge along a bias fold. Although the Full Roll collar is not available in a ‘joined at the front version, I would use a back seam for the collar. Do not make the outer edge too large or the collar will look strange.

For knitting, I wouldn’t use the shaping instructions as generated, as this will produce a strange neckline shape. Instead, I would look at the number of stitches to be increased from the neck to the outer edge, and the number of rows deep. I’d then decide how many increase points around the circumference of the neck, and divide the number of stitches to be increased by this, to determine how many increase rows I would need. For example, if I need to increase 36 stitches, and I decide to have 6 increase points, I would need to increase 6 stitches evenly around the row 6 times. With 30 rows, my increases would need to be every 5 rows (probably starting on row 2 or 3 then every 5th row 5 more times, then straight to row 30.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A me-made outfit - faux sheepskin waistcoat etc.

Rescued post - originally posted 30 October 2014

Those days when I don't achieve much are rather boring so maybe a weekly roundup would be better.
On another note I have decided to include some of the things I have made in the hiatus.
This picture shows me wearing a frankentee made from a plain and a striped blue teeshirt, a pair of elastic waist corduroy trousers, and a faux sheepskin waistcoat.
The waistcoat uses the Sewing Workshop E-shrug pattern. I needed to increase the size of the pattern to fit me, and since I was using left-over fabric, I divided the pattern to give it side seams and a back yoke.
I used a horn button on the 'skin' side, and a wooden one on the pile side. The loops are strips of the fabric folded pile side in and top stitched. I trimmed the pile shorter to get it to lie flatter.
The seams are sewn with the 'skin' sides together, then folded back, top stitched open, and trimmed close to the stitching. I found this looked better than having the pile exposed in the seams, as the backing showed. The hems are simply turned and topstitched to match the seams. I trimmed the pile on the corners to make them less bulky.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chiffon Jacket With Dramatic Shawl Collar

Recovered Post - Originally posted 14 November 2011

Someone recently asked me about this chiffon draped jacket, so I thought I would put together a tutorial on how to create a similar garment using Garment Designer. 
I started with a Standard Top, using the Oversized style with Sloped shoulders. The neck is Shawl Collar, Basic Shawl. I used sloped shoulders. The sleeves are Attached, Kimono 2. 
I first adjusted the curve of the kimono sleeve to get a smoother line where the sleeve joins the body by nudging the curve control points. 
Before going any further, I switched off F/B symmetry. I also checked my dimension units in the Project Options – I will be using Inches, Decimal for this project. 
To make a deep inverted box pleat at the centre back, I selected the centre back seam and added an Extension of 3 inches. 
I then switched my attention to the centre front, moving the centre front seam outwards to make a very wide collar. I displayed dimensions so I could watch how wide I was making it, adding 15in to the width of the hem. The shawl collar became a very strange shape but I ignored this for the moment. 
I checked the seam length of the back neckline and the collar, then made the neckline vertical by moving the point at the top of the collar, keeping the seam length the same. (I got a warning message during this operation to remind me that the two seamlines needed to be the same.) 
I then adjusted the collar itself to give me a straight front edge and a right angle at the top. This involved moving both ends and both control points for the shawl collar. 

I decided I wanted the length of the jacket a little lower than my hipline so I adjusted the Top Length to 32. I dragged the bottom point of the centre front down to get the dramatic point at the bottom of the collar. 
I added seam allowances all round both pattern pieces – I will make a folded and topstitched edge around the edges. As the pattern pieces are so wide, there will need to be a centre back seam. Before trimming the back neckline from the printed pattern, remember to fold the box pleat in place behind the neckline and trim all 3 layers together 

I used French seams on my chiffon, though this isn’t suitable for the back neck/collar seam. This can be clipped then bound with a bias strip instead. 
Sew in this order: 

  • Two fronts at the centre back of the collar.

  • Stay stitch and clip the corners where the collar meets the front shoulder.

  • Make a tuck in the collar at right angles to the centre back seam This is 2in wide, i.e. 1in finished width, and is centred 3 ¼ in from the back neck edge of the collar. (You can use a facing on this line to mark the position if desired). It should extend across the back neck and about 2 in in front of the shoulder.

  • Two backs down the back.

  • Two backs at the centre back to waist level, making the box pleat. The box pleat is sewn together to about waist level, but is supported from the neckline rather than trimmed away.

  • Sleeve/shoulder/back neck, catching the box pleat and the bias strip into the back neck seam.

  • Underarm/side.

  • Sew loops on the front points at the hem, and put buttons on the centre of the shoulders to allow for draping of the fronts.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yesterday's achievements

Recovered post - originally posted 29 October 2014

Additional squares for teal crayon box jacket
I decided that this jacket was too short, and that is why I have hardly worn it in the nearly 2 years since it was finished. Since I have lots of leftover yarn, I have decided to make another row of squares. I looked back at my original plans, and decided which 'outer' colours to use for each square.
Yesterday at knit night in the Global Cafe, I made the first 2 of 12, and relearned how to make them. I used a .5mm larger needle than I used for the rest of the jacket to allow for my hip size.
Here they are against the jacket where they will go on completion.
I also received some new patterns. I admit I'm a pattern addict, so they won't necessarily get used, and even if I do use them it may be some time.

Crafting every day

Rescued post, originally posted 28 October 2014

I have decided to use this blog to record what I do craft wise to hold myself accountable. My target is to do something craft related every day.
Yesterday. I printed and taped together the pattern for the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory Designs.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Craft fair pictures

Rescued post, originally posted 22 November 2011
The New Directions Reading craft fair happened last Saturday, and my friend Carla took some pictures. Here they are:
An overview of my space

The table with sock monsters and upcycled fingerless mittens

The clothes rail with upcycled t-shirts, sweaters and jackets

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New (to me) sweater

I have just finished altering a sweater for me. I originally made it for my husband, but he had not worn it for 4 years so I decided to use it myself, so the work I had put into it would not go to waste. It needed to be shortened in the body and the sleeves.


Pool Cover-up Jumpsuit

Recovered Post - Originally posted 14 November 2011

I am now a dealer for Garment Designer software in the UK. Contact me if you are interested in this software.

In the meantime, here is a tutorial about how you can use this software to make a pattern for a pool cover up strapless jumpsuit.

A client brought a strapless jumpsuit to me for alteration recently. It has shirring at the top and at the waistline. When I mentioned it on the Designer School Yahoo List, someone asked how such a garment could be made using Garment Designer, so I put together this tutorial. I hope it will be useful, or at least interesting for you

Start by selecting the following:
Category: Top Plus Bottom 
Top Group: Basic
Top Style: Semi-Fitted
Sleeve Group: Sleeveless
Armhole: Standard
Darts: None
Shoulder and neckline are not important as they will be cut off.
Subcategory; Pants
Pants Group: Women’s Template
Pants Style: Straight Low Crotch
Waist Treatment: No Treatment
Darts: None

Because there will be shirring at the waistline, I moved the point where the side seam meets the waist on the pants over to the side seam. This will show the point where the shirring will be added.

To add ease I grabbed all the points making up the side seam and moved them over (you could switch dimensions on to see how much ease you are adding, or use the gridlines.)

I also added some ease by moving the crotch point down, and the inseam over 

Because we are making a strapless top, the armhole depth needs to be reduced to match up with the depth on the sloper. I selected the two points forming the underarm part of the armhole and moved them upwards.

Next I added extra length to the body to allow for some blousing. I did this by selecting the whole of both the front and back tops and moving them upwards. I used the Shift key when clicking the 2nd piece to make sure I had them both selected.

To draw the line for the top of the garment, I needed to see how long the side seam is, so I turned on Dimensions. I selected the hemline of the top and used the Additions menu to add a facing, setting the width to the same as the side seam length.

I then added a 2nd facing this width plus the amount I wanted to turn down as a hem at the top, and also a global seam allowance.

The final step is to turn off the dimensions and sloper and display the final pattern.

When printing this, ignore the portion above the ‘facing’ lines. Appy shirring above the pant waistline and at the top edge after sewing the garment together using your favorite pant construction sequence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The story of a cardigan

Rescued Post - Originally posted Monday, August 29, 2011
On holiday a couple of years ago, I wandered into a yarn shop and fell in love with a colourway of Noro Blossom. I bought up what the shop had in stock, even though it was not enough for a complete garment, then sourced some more from a couple of online sites. I felt with such a variety of colours in the yarn, a mismatch of dyelots would not notice too much.

After researching the available patterns, I did not like any enough, so I looked at pictures of other garments, and finally decided on a sidew
ays knit cardigan with an asymmetric front opening.

Since the yarn is self-striping, I decided I would need to ke
ep the widths of the pattern pieces fairly even to reduce the amount the stripe widths varied. This led to my choosing to design a pattern with separate sleeves, and a separate front and back. To make the garment fit together easily with the stripes, I decided on square shoulders, and for such a garment I felt darts would be unnecessary.

With such a basic garment shape I was able to use a Simple Fit sloper.

So the choices were:

Top Group: Basic
Top Style: Average
Shoulder: Straight
Neck Group: Round
Neck Style: Standard
Darts: None
Sleeve Group: Separate
Sleeve Type: Drop Shoulder
Combo: None
Armhole: Standard
Sleeve Shape: Tapered
Sleeve Length: Long

Looking at the on-screen pattern, my first thought was that the sleeve was too wide at the top, so I changed the armhole depth by selecting the underarm point and nudging it upwards using the up arrow key.

Next I worked on the front opening. Changing the L/R Symmetry to Give/Take, and switching off F/B Symmetry so I didn't affect the back neckline.

I selected the centre front segment and moved it to the right using the right arrow key. When I had moved it so the left neckline was almost straight, I changed the Display to Actual Size and was able to nudge the line using the arrow kes until I completely got rid of any jagged sections of the neckline. (I often change the display scale to get an exact measurement or straight line.)

I then turned L/R symmetry off completely, made sure I only had the right frontís centre front segment selected, and moved it further over to obtain an overlap for closure. 

My cardigan was now ready for the yarn information. I hand knitted a test swatch on the needles recommended on the ball band, measured it, and recorded the information: 

Next came the conversion to sideways knitting. I generated my Pattern Pixel-Per-Stitch Graphics.

Selecting each front piece in turn, I pressed 'Z' once to rotate them clockwise.I then selected the back piece and pressed 'Z' 3 times to rotate it to the same position as going anticlockwise. The sleeve did not need rotating as I planned to knit it in the conventional direction. 

I now changed from displaying Dimensions to displaying Stitch Counts. 

Because I was planning to knit by hand from the left side, I set the cast on points to be the bottom left of the fronts and the top left of the back, by clicking on the numbers at these points. I also decided to work the sleeves top-down to allow for easy length adjustment, so I set the cast on point at the top right of the sleeve.

The shaping instructions were fairly straightforward. In order to work a moss stitch edge, I needed to manually add instructions to start and finish a moss stitch portion around the neckline as well as the opening edges at the fronts and the bottom edges of all pieces. I also needed to manually add the buttonhole. 

I started knitting with the left front, so I could check my tension, and also weighthe finished piece to determine the stitch count by weight to determine if I had enough yarn.
I finished the cardigan with a large button at the top of the asymmetric opening, and press studs down the rest of the opening to prevent it flapping open.

I recently wrote a guest blog for Cochenille Design Studio detailing how I used the software to design one of my cardigans. They graciously allowed me to repost the blog entry here.

To see the Cochenille Design Studio blog, visit