Frankenpatterning!

Just in time for Halloween, I am going to create my first Frankepattern.

Although the muslin didn’t turn out too bad, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making another pair of trousers with a side zip out of McCalls 6404, with slightly modified legs, I decided to go a different route for my Temperley knock-off.

Felina Jeans – Temperley (for source please click on the picture)

So I pulled out my TNT Jalie jeans pattern, and put it on the table with the leg pieces from the McCalls. At that point it dawned on me that maybe the ballooning in the knees I noticed in the muslin (like here) wasn’t all my fault for combining different fabrics.

In fact, the pattern is much wider in the leg than my Jalie pattern, especially noticeable in the knee area.

So I graded the pattern to fit the Jalie measures in the thigh, and took out ~1.5 inches in the knee area.

Frankenpattern

Now all I got left to do is sew it up.

Do you think I should have stuck with the welt zipper pockets? I quite like the slanted jeans pockets, and I know that I never use zipper pockets (in my mind, they bunch up and create lumps on the outside) – but I’m still not entirely sure if they’re essential for the look?

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The birth of a scarf. With complications.

A while back I knit two shawls for family members, to give to them as birthday presents. I designed these simple shawls myself, if you fancy details you can see them on (publicly, so you don’t need to have an account) Ravelry – the simple Old Shale Triangle, and Nicoletta.

Now, I didn’t design these myself because there wasn’t enough choice out there. On the contrary, the knitting world is brimming with stunning and amazing shawl patterns. I designed them myself because I was in a bit of a triangle shawl frenzy, and also because it was fun to play around with some simple elements. It was very satisfying, and I am led to believe the recipients liked them, too.

A few weeks ago, it was my mother’s husband’s birthday. Obviously he should get a scarf, him not being a twenty-something hipster who’d appreciate a shawl. I did talk to him, so his, contrary to the two first ones, would not be a surprise, but I think that’s alright.

After having established his wish for a nice, soft, black scarf, I started to search for a pattern. And it was devastating. I was looking for something classy, rather conservative, but not boring. Well, yeah. Speaking of the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Serpentello

I eventually settled for Serpentello. It looked promising, and since my chosen yarn, Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply, was a good bit less chunky, I roughly doubled the stitch count.

rowan cashsoft black

That’s where the trouble really started. The yarn knits up rather nicely, it’s soft and squishy. The pattern is great, too – the two together, not so much. Or they would have been lovely for me – I can just see it with my Lady’s Raincoat … but not for Mr. MomsHubby.

One should think a simple ribbed cable would be gender neutral, but it had a very clear vibe of femininity about it.

So off to the frog pond it went. That made things more complicated. Not only did I already know, from my previous search, that good male scarf patterns are as easy to find as hen’s teeth. On top of that did the yarn not take the treatment too well. By that time, I started reading reviews for the yarn, which I probably should have done before I shelled out for it (okay, so it was on sale and required a fast decision …). All the reviewers pretty much agreed that it was a lovely yarn – until you wash it. Or, you know, wear it. It apparently pills like crazy.

And I have to say, it did look rather worse for wear after being frogged. Not unusable, but enough to give me doubts about it’s durability. But, with a shortage of funds and being really behind on my schedule, I knew I had to press on.

So I sat down, made a few drawings, and then came up with a super simple textured diagonal design that I’m happy with.

Unblocked mess

Why are there no great patterns for male scarfs out there, what do you think? Are the ones we actually like and use so simple nobody ever bothers writing them down?

Diagonal textured stripes

Christmas! Well, not quite, but as good …

Just a quick update from me, this week has turned out to be a tad manic.

As you might have seen, I left my previous work place after my contract had run out, and have now started a new job, which is slightly different from what I did before, but still working with video games. I’ll give you some more at a later point, if you’re interested.

Today, however, was an early Christmas for me.

Maybe you remember the swap the lovely Kerri from Kestrel finds and makes organized in summer? I was paired with Silvia, and it soon turned out that we’re getting on like a house on fire.

So we stayed loosely in contact, and recently she offered to go pattern shopping for me. Now, for you in the U.S., this might sound weird, but we don’t have JoAnn’s. More specifically, we don’t have 99p pattern sales. Best offers over here are usually 50% off, which still sets you back ~5 GBP per pattern. Of course I was all over it!

And today, her tightly stuffed envelope arrived. This is what I got:

Christmas!

So, if you want to judge me for stuffing a couple of costumes and a PJ in there, go ahead 😛 All I say is – 99p!!

Read you next week, have a lovely weekend!

A few bits’n bobs

Last weekend I mostly cooked, including a horribly failed gluten free lasagne (the pasta sheets had turned to mush during the cooking, and it was all a hot mess). It was rather sad, as the vision I had was great, and the pasta behaved okay as long as it was thrown into boiling water … and yet another lesson learned. Pre-cook gluten free lasagne sheets.

I also worked a bit on a crochet shawl I’m making – it’s rather simple, but I really like how it’s turning out:

Crochet granny square shawl

Mostly it’s just granny squares, with a few double rows of shell pattern (which will also be the edging, unless I find something I like better by the time I get there). The yarns are  Plumstreetfiberarts (see their etsy shop) and Malabrigo lace. They’re a bit different, but I like the contrast and think it works well.

In other news, I tried the fix for my jeans (suggested by Almond Rock), and so far it’s looking good. Haven’t washed it yet, so it remains to be seen how well it’ll hold up in the washing machine.

Barely visible: The Hole

I also fixed my jacket, and it was a lot easier than I thought – I just ironed the seam again, with a little more give on the inside. It’s still a tad wonky, but I think that’s a more fundamental construction issue and can’t be fixed unless I want to take the lining all out and put it in again, and I have no intentions of doing so 😀

Happy Monday, all!

McCall’s M6404 – muslin for the Temperley knock-off

Remember when I rambled on about this pair of jeans from Alice Temperley? And how I mused if I could make something similar?

Well, I did eventually find a stretchy cotton sateen:

Cotton sateen leopard print

This was from fabric.com, which means it was initially reasonably priced, shipping and customs, however, made this probably the most expensive fabric I’ve purchased so far. That’s the global market for you 😉

I used the patter mentioned in the previous post, McCall’s M6404:

McCall’s M6404

I thought view C (that’s to the far right) is pretty close, with the leg insets.

Since this pattern is put together from various pieces, you only need a relatively short length of fabric, and I had quite a bit left over from the last Jalie jeans, and a full 3 yards of the leopard print, so I decided to make a half-cat muslin, so to speak.

I knew I needed to make a muslin, as leggins and I have issues. There, I said it. My particular body shape means that anything high-waisted usually comes to rest where I’m widest, which is neither comfortable nor a good look.

That, in combination with my sway back, results in all sorts of weird fit and fabric excess where you don’t need it (the waistband tends to travel down), and not enough coverage where you do want it (the back often tends to turn wedgie, if you know what I mean).

So I decided to swap the elastic for a side zip, and lower the waistband (are these technically still leggins, with a zip instead of elastic?). By a full 3 inches. If I had an angel on my shoulder, it would have stopped whispering and started the full yelling attack at that point. I wouldn’t have listened, tho, I had measured the crotch length and was pretty confident in this hack.

Cutting went smoothly, and I started to put the leg pieces together. Can I just use this moment and rant a bit about seam allowances? Why in the name of science is 5/8 inches considered a good seam allowance? I strongly prefer much less, maybe half of that … however, so I noticed that a few things didn’t line up straight, which was because I had ignored the seam allowance. I went back and re-did the seams with the full 5/8.

Seam allowance. Twice.

Now things lined up nicely. I top stitched all seams as directed. It was at that point that I really noticed that my two fabrics didn’t go as well together as I had imagined.

While pretty light weight, the denim was still a good bit sturdier than the cotton sateen.

Not very similar …

Not being fazed, and keeping in mind this was mostly a muslin, I proceeded. The big surprise came when I did my first try on. Mostly, the fit wasn’t too bad, really.

The knees looked rather baggy, because of the different properties of the two fabrics. That wasn’t too bad, though.

What was really bad was the back … barely covering my arse. So, Little Angel, make yourself heard next time, don’t feel shy about it. I pondered how I could save the trousers, and decided to put a back yoke in. Which would be good anyways, as it could be used to deal with the sway back.

McCalls M6404 back yoke

As you can see, I tapered the yoke to nothing at the sides, as the height of the front piece was good. And what can I say? This solved the problem rather neatly. After I had taken the back seam in another 2 inches (I fiddled with this a bit more, but only have this photo from early on in the process):

McCalls M6404 muslin back seam
McCalls M6404 muslin back seam

Behold – the back of my new jeggins:

McCall’s M6404 muslin back

The front isn’t too bad, either:

McCall's M6404 muslin front
McCall’s M6404 muslin front

And yes, they are a tad short. That’s highly fashionable, and called “cropped trousers”, the fashion pages of the Guardian say. Might have to get some ankle boots now.

However, after having hacked most of it, I now think that my actual leopard trousers will be a frankenpattern: the top from my beloved Jalie jeans, and the legs including the piecing from this McCall’s pattern.

What says you, dear Readers?

Jalie 2908 – the jeans saga continues

This is pair #4 I’ve made from this pattern – technically speaking. The black corduroy version never really saw the light of day, tho, so I’ll call it #3.

This time, however, I had to trace a new pattern, since I’ve lost something in the vicinity of 30 pounds since I made the first one, so those earlier iterations are a tad saggy now.

On the bright side, I already knew that the pattern fits me like a glove once I’ve hacked out an inch of the back yoke to accommodate my sway back.

Jalie Jeans – black stretch back

As you can see, the fit is great. No sway back wrinkling – yay!

The back pockets turned out great, too:

Jalie Jeans – back pocket detail

Other things, however, didn’t go so well.

For some reason, the very first zip fly I did for this pattern came out great, as you can see here. All following are messed up, including this one:

Jalie Jeans black stretch denim fly

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I do think I finally actually understood the construction of the fly, so I’m hopeful for the next one – oh yes, there will be a next one!

In the above picture, you can also see the biggest and most disheartening issue: The Hole.

When I put in the zip, I went horribly wrong and had to take it out again. And then it happened – I slipped with my scissors, and hacked a hole into the leg part of my jeans. About 3 inches away from my crotch. Where you can’t even put a patch or something without drawing a whole lot more attention to an area that really doesn’t need any extra attention. If you get my gist.

Here it is in all it’s horrid glory:

Jalie Jeans – the hole

Ah well. I guess this will be a “fit for home wear” muslin, then …

On the bright side – I think the Jalie 2908 now has reached the truly TNT status for me. Yay!

Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: finished

This post was in the making for a while, mainly because my camera has been super uncooperative, and won’t give me any good photos at all 😦 In the interest of science (so to speak), though, I’ll give you what I have. Please do accept my apologies for the appalling quality of the shots – these are the best out of several dozens I took. I kid you not.

After all of the fiddling with the muslin, the final finish of the jacket went pretty smooth.

The arms fit a lot better:

P45 arm detail

The back turned out pretty good:

P45 back

But:

P45 front tension wrinkles

It’s alright as long as I keep my mitts out of the pockets, but as you can see, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the tension on the right front panel (left in the photo). I suspect that the lining is a tad too short (which would make sense, as this side of the jacket is also a teensy bit longer than the other side) and that causes those weird wrinkles.

Clearly the way forward is to take it apart and sew the lining back in, shortening the outer roughly an inch, and hope that will solve the issue.

Which is a bit painful, as this was my first hand-picked bias finished seam:

Hand picked bias hem finish

On the other hand, it also means that unpicking it will be a lot less painful 😀

Overall, a good pattern with a few quirks – I still can’t get over the fact that it turned into a short-ish coat despite the fact that I cut the jacket length (according to the pattern). And the armscye/sleeve cap mismatch … but I learned a few things, and I totally came away with a wearable fall/spring jacket. A quick test run seems to indicate I still need a proper winter jacket, but that’s for another post 😀