Sunday, January 26, 2014
Stretch knit shirts, variations
I made view B, but with the sleeves of view C, since I wanted a shorter sleeve look.
I used this great thin knit that I’d picked up on some insane clearance at Hancock Fabrics (I think), and bought out the rest of the bolt, which wasn’t much, I had 1 1/2 yards of 56” wide fabric to work with. And I ended up with some leftover.
Previous reviewers mention that this pattern runs large, that must be why they put such sizes like XS and XXS in this envelope. So I cut an XS for the top’s neck and sleeves, and switched to S at the “waistline” marking.
I like that the sleeves are attached to the shirt front and back, because I really didn’t want to have to fight with the gathers again so soon after my last shirt project. I didn’t like the neck band instructions. My oh my I had to fight with stretching that collar! At this point I am not at all sure I followed the instructions on this, but I did manage to get it on. I stitched the raw edges together (which was the hardest part) on the inside of the shirt, but then pressed the neck band up and over to encase the raw edges and topstitched the finished edge to the shirt outside. (Confused yet? I’m not great at conveying this!) This was so that the weight of the layers would fall forward on the neck line and not turn or twist inward—an occurrence that causes me some irritation for sure. I also skipped the interfacing step for the neckband, after reading other reviewers experience with this, I found it was not worthwhile to interface anything.
The only other change I made was to put the elastic on the side seams last. I wasn’t sure if I’d want it, and honestly, the shirt looked fine without it, but I slept on the idea, and decided to go ahead. But, instead of sewing the elastic directly onto the shirt at the side seams, I decided my thread would show through too much, and not wanting that, I sewed the elastic to the front facing side of the French side seams instead. It seems to have worked OK, and the gathering effect is there.
I did like the few pattern pieces, the simple instructions, and it is a pretty quick sew. Just watch out for that danged neck piece that requires a crazy amount of stretching to fit. I might sew it again, not sure, for some reason printed knits (in my price range, especially) are hard to find around here. I like the look of view F, with the open shoulders, but would like a wider set neckline with that….we’ll see.
Misses Jacket in two lengths with collar variations
I made view A in size 8 out of some fleece blankets I picked up before Christmas at Walmart, 2/$5.
It seemed like this project had a lot of steps, though the pieces went together quickly, until I got stuck. The first half of the instructions were fine, but I remember reading and re-reading one step of the collar, for some reason I just wasn’t getting it. Then on step 34 I figured enough of this basting nonsense, I’m stitching (because they never go back and stitch it!). But the most confusing part to me was that of the sleeves. Step 40 doesn’t even look like it goes with the drawing, and doesn’t make sense. And after reading the paragraph of step 42 time and time again, I had to step away for a while. Then come back, ignore the directions and work out the following so that it was reasonable (to me): sleeve cuff--on outside of sleeve, place cuff right sides together so raw edges meet, stitch at 5/8” and again at 1/4” from seam. Turn. Trim inside cuff seam along stitching, press seam up, turn outside again, top stitch 1/2” from seam on sleeve (not cuff). This was so that I can catch the seam in the top stitching.
The only actual change I made to the pattern was to shorten it, I used a length about halfway between the cut lines for the shorter jackets and the longer ones; about 29 inches from base of neck to bottom hem in back.
Oh, I also learned that the type of fleece I used had a bit of stretch to it after all, and it really was a good idea to practice the button holes before putting them on the jacket itself-they would have been way too big! I made a few on scrap and threw out the measuring rules of thumb on button size vs. button hole, because the holes would just stretch out, and figured it by trial and error.
I really like the finished product though! It’s the best jacket I’ve ever sewn, (including that one other one I did) and I might make another version of this again some time. Maybe a shorter version of the same jacket, or maybe even the shawl collar one.
For now it is just too cold to wear it, but I have something nice to look forward to when the weather starts to warm a little, for now, it's parka time!
New Look A6891
Flow-y shirts with sleeve variations from long sleeved to sleeveless.
I made view C, size 10
View C in that size calls for 1 5/8 yards of 45” fabric, however, I completed this project with 1 1/2 yards of 38” fabric and had some pieces left over. The caveat is that I didn’t use all of the pieces, I omitted #6, the neck binding/tie piece.
Yes, it was fairly easy to sew, only 3 pieces to cut out (4 if you included the one I didn’t), and like other reviewers, I cut the front on a fold to avoid a front seam. I had planned to do this for the back as well, but ended up cutting the side seam on a fold (too many distractions I think) and had to remedy that (oops). So my back does have that annoying center seam, made even more obvious by the fact that my material was see through.
But that aside, I didn’t really follow the directions, because it was so easy to see how it would all go together. This was my second try at French seams, and I’m loving them. Can’t figure out if they are safe for sleeves though, or in this case, sleeves with those gathers in them, so I did the old press seam open, fold each side half way in, press together and stitch enclosing raw edges. This was the most annoying step because getting all of the gathers to cooperate was an exercise in patience.
Instead of using the neck binding strip, I simply made a rolled seam at the neckline. I did put in the basting stitch at the beginning so that I could gather, and made sure those ends were still accessible after sewing the neckline, then pulled them to gather and tied them off. Not sure if this was a smart way to do it, but time will tell.
I like it OK. It’s nice and flow-y, and a light-weight shirt to help keep the sun off my shoulders when warm weather returns. Thank goodness for the front gathers, though, otherwise it would have been a total bag. Glad to have found a use for this fabric that I’ve had for a long while, and to have tried out this pattern, which has had my curiosity for some time. I’d say it’s about a 50/50 shot that I’d sew it again. Well, maybe 40/60.
Easy to sew
Tunic length top, I made view A in a straight 10.
I wanted something to wear with my new black knit pants, that are sort of like leggings.
It was an easy pattern, at least it should be and should have been, but that is my own fault. I chose this opportunity to try out French seams. I looked it up, got directions, wrote it down and had them by my side. Somewhere along the way, things got muddled, and I ended up sewing the wrong sides of several pieces together. Sooo….pick pick pick out those stitches. Lesson learned. From there it was smooth sailing…almost. I got to the point of putting on the neck facing. I had already decided that my cotton was sturdy enough to skip the interfacing and attached the piece. It looked dreadful. I couldn’t get it to lay flat. So, I top stitched it down. Still, it irritated me. Tauntingly poking up here and there, and even showing from underneath (especially those bunchy curved edges on the un-attached side). I couldn’t take it anymore, and once again, befriended my seam ripper. Whew, that felt better already. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I finished the neck line with a rolled seam, and am done with *all* neck facing pieces for the entire foreseeable future.
|Evil neck facing piece, after being ripped out.|
|Neckline w/o stupid facing piece.|
I also finished the slits in the bottom by ignoring the directions and just doing what made sense. Not real wild about the placement of the darts in the front, I think I’d like them more if they were at an angle instead of seemingly straight across. It seems it would be more flattering this way.
Overall, I think I’m going to like this piece alright. The fabric is still a bit stiff, but more washings will help that I’m sure. I might try view C, with the cowl neck, since that is what I originally got this pattern for, but for now I have some other projects waiting.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
After meaning to make some coffee cake for months I finally got a recipe and had at it. This is based on the one online from King Arthur Flour's website, and is pretty good for a basic coffee cake recipe. Though I am hoping to get some inspiration from you folks in terms of ways to jazz it up! Something with fruit or jam? If you have a recipe, please share it!
Basic Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
This coffee cake is broken down into three components, the cake, the topping, and the filling.
3/4 C margarine, softened
1 t salt
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
2 t vanilla
3/4 C yogurt
1 1/2 C milk
3 3/4 C flour
In a large bowl, cream the margarine and the sugars
Add vanilla and eggs
Add baking powder and salt
Add the milk and flour alternating
(1 cup flour, 1/2 C milk...)
2/3 C sugar
3/4 C flour
1/2 T cinnamon
4 T softened margarine
In a small bowl, add margarine
With a large fork add remaining ingredients and press together
(Or using your hands, rub the ingredients together)
Until they resemble coarse crumbs or wet sand
Be careful not to over-mix, or you will end up with hunks that are more work to break apart
1 C brown sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon
In a small bowl, combine with a fork until evenly dispersed
Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan (flat cake pan)
Spread one half of the cake mixture over the bottom of the pan, using a butter knife or rubber scrapper to smooth it out
Sprinkle the filling evenly over this
Drizzle the remaining half of the cake over top and gently shake the pan to level it out
Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping on top as evenly as you can, and gently press into the cake batter
Bake at 350 55-60 minutes, mine was done at 56 mins on the center rack.
Topping should have a golden brown color.
Enjoy! But don't forget to let it cool for a few minutes before you dive in :)
Thursday, January 23, 2014
I don't know if I've mentioned it before on this blog, but, we have two cats, who happen to be polar opposites but manage to get along just swimmingly anyhow, and these two cats are spoiled with affection. Now I'm not saying we drip and drool over them all day or all night long, but they are very well taken care of in terms of appreciation and love.
This was the inspiration for a fun Christmas project for them, since their little socks were empty (already have too many toys) and one of them would have gotten a lump of coal anyway. A cat tree! For the climber and for the cuddler. I put this one together for less than $20, with some luck coming my way, that is.
I used 1 x 3 furring strips (2), one OSB sheathing board, a can of mismatched antique white paint from Sherwin Williams, and 4 yards of bamboo cotton soft fabric. Tools: paint brush (included in $20 b/c I needed one), jig saw, sander (it's new, I'm trying it out), drill, hammer, nails-screws-washers*
*for use in keeping the fabric from twisting while I screwed in the top screws into pre-drilled holes, through the fabric. Snip a little hole in the fabric over the screw hole (easiest to feel and mark with a pin), exchange the pin for a screw, slip over the washer (make sure it is big enough to slip off around the head of the screw, we don't want to leave it there) and press down onto the fabric so that it is away from the screw and pressed tight against the board, now drill your screw in, and slip the washer over the head-done.
What do you think? One cat has already staked out the top shelf, but it wasn't the one we thought who would...
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Yes, it may seem suspicious that my last post, months ago, was on Absinthe, well, no I/we did not go 'round the bend or anything, in fact, we haven't gotten around to trying the beverage what with the holidays and everything. So, in order to get back on track, I am posting a new recipe for these amazing giant peanut butter cookies.
I've never cooked cookies this big before, and if feels like a royal victory to have them turn out just right on the first try. They are reminiscent of the traditional criss-cross cookies, but come out nice and chewy, rich and full of peanut butter-y goodness.
Here is my recipe:
2 1/2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
3/4 C margarine
1/4 C shortening
1/4 C molassis
1 1/4 C creamy peanut butter (don't skimp too much on the quality, Jif was great!)
2 t vanilla
1 C packed brown sugar
1 C sugar
First, melt the margarine and shortening and allow to cool for a few minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, place
- Margarine, shortening
- Brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg
- Baking powder
- Peanut butter
- 1 Cup flour, mix then add
- 1 1/2 Cups flour
Use two spoons to scoop out a somewhat heaping tablespoon of dough (one spoon to scoop, other to release the dough from the spoon onto the sheet), placing the dough about 2 inches apart from each other.
Using fingertips round out the edges so there are no hunks jutting out (don't worry, the rustic look is great!)
With a bit of extra sugar and a fork, go to work making the criss-cross on the tops of the dough balls, dipping in sugar after each press.
Press down to flatten gently, until about 1/4 inch thick and mostly even in thickness
Bake in the center of the oven for 13 minutes, or just until set and the bottom is golden brown (at this time the very edges might turn a slightly deeper golden brown too, and then they are done).
Allow to cool on the sheets for 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack, or plate in my case.
Take to work, win high praises from those who eat them!
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen large cookies.