7 months ago I got a brand new sewing machine with all the bells and whistles, I was ready for SWAP 2016, when sloth took over. I was pregnant, tired and at the end of the day I only had enough energy to move from the sofa to the bed. I took a break until spring when after a couple of maternity sewing failures I stocked up on maternity patterns.
I started with a Burda 7105 skirt which, to my surprise, was a great success.
When I saw it I thought the belly band at least would be cut out of something with some stretch. But no, they instruct you to cut the band from the same fabric as the rest of the skirt and the pattern recommends ‘light wools’ and stretch fabric for the trousers only. I was worried the skirt won’t fit for long with a rigid interfaced (!) yoke but 3 months later it still does.
March vs June
After making the skirt I took another long break until the last couple of weeks. I started with a soft bra which is cut and patiently awaiting to be sewn. I made a pair of Burda mag pyjama shorts (documented on Instagram) and a cardigan. Noting maternity specific, I plan to wear all of them for a long time.
The cardigan is McCalls 6996. It looked pretty relaxed, not in a slouchy way and I thought there’s not much that could go wrong with it. I cut an M and didn’t make any alterations to the pattern. Looking at the pictures, I shouldn’t have skipped moving the shoulder seam forwards.
the sleeve cap screams to be rotated!
The hem is curved so I carefully marked, pressed and hand basted it before sewing. When I saw the picture on the left I couldn’t believe it’s so ripply. But then I realised I forgot to press it after sewing (LOL). Problem solved, now I have a perfectly flat hem!
BUT I might need to do the hemming again. I think the combination of colour, length and slightly baggy shoulders make this cardigan look very outdated (me being in desperate need of a haircut doesn’t help either). So my next project is to shorten it by 6 inches, that would suit me a lot better.
There’s a month to go until baby arrives and I think I will at least finish the bra until then AND make a summer dress. I will have a couple of weeks off work so I might do even more!
I wanted to take part in the OAL this year and I actually managed to finish the cardigan on time but not the dress, which is surprising considering the amount of time needed for each.
My gauge was spot on for the cardigan, but I made a mistake I no longer make when sewing – I knit it in size M, based on my bust measurement. Therefore the cardigan is big at the shoulders and the sleeves are too wide.
For the dress I used Simplicity 1873 on top and 1610 on the bottom. I’ve made the 1610 dress before and I love that skirt – perfect pockets that stay in place and are better located than in-seam pockets (they look better too imo), plus the width of the skirt feels just right for me.
I don’t love the top though. I tried Nancy Zieman’s pivot an slide method (see video at the end) and started with size 10 based on my front shoulder measurement. I had to add quite a lot of width at the bust and waist and I’m afraid that distorted the overall shape. The top has a lot of ease above and below the bust at the sides, but at least the armhole doesn’t gape. I made a muslin and made a few other changes to the pattern after that – moved the front waist dart a few cm to the side, lowered the bust dart and removed a 1.5cm wedge for sway back. One other alteration I meant to do but somehow forgot was to add length at center front. This is not mentioned in the video but it makes sense to add some space vertically too. I did squeeze a little bit of length by reducing the seam allowance, but that was not enough and I think the proportions are off because of the bodice length. It is just too short.
Modified pattern before muslin
Front view – the too short and boxy bodice is obvious here. And notice the green on green – this is why my other pictures are inside even though it was a beautiful sunny day.
Even though I moaned all through this post, I don’t dislike and the dress and I will continue to wear it. It’s not perfect and I hope all my future projects turn out better than this, but sometimes less than perfect is enough. At least from some angles.
Since I made this I bought Nancy Zieman’s pattern fitting book, I’m not giving up on her method yet. It looks easier than other I’ve seen/tried, I hope I can make it work.
Old Romance was released in March and as soon as I saw it I wanted to make it. I bought the pattern, but as it usually happens, it got stuck in my knitting queue. Then at the end of July a Joji Fall knit along was announced and I decided to join. The cast on date was August 1st and we had 3 months to finish. That seamed reasonable and indeed I was able to finish on time.
Ignore the squinty eyes here
I bought the yarn on eBay, it’s a lambswool/silk mix, a little scratchy but not too bad. I can wear this cardigan a whole day without any problem. And it was a bargain at £3/100g. I recently bought some merino from the same shop and it’s very soft and nice.
Following the knit along, I discovered/remembered a few techniques. The first one is one that I used before, but forgot about it – twin stitch short rows, aka shadow wraps – they are invisible. I always had little holes when I used the wrap and turn method.
Next one is Russian grafting technique – joining live stitches with a crochet hook. It’s not invisible like kitchener, it looks like a lovely braid.
And the last one is this extra stretchy, no flare bind off for ribbing, continental (Lori’s twisty bind off). I knit continental, but a different variation than Lori – it’s called Eastern uncrossed. In this variation some stitches sit differently on the needle, like they are twisted. Long story short, I didn’t used this bind off because I was to lazy to “translate” the method from standard continental to Eastern uncrossed, and using it as it was resulted in a very un-stretchy ribbing. But I would like to try it at some point.
And since I was in the knitting fever, I also made two hats – one for me and one for the boy.
no pattern – drops merino baby