3 Lakesides + 2 Fens = 1 new wardrobe [2016 FOs No.14-18]

3 Lakesides + 2 Fens = 1 new wardrobe

If you’re thinking it’s late for me to be getting serious about summer clothes, I would just like to let you know it’s approaching 7pm as I’m typing this and the heat index is still 100°. Summer here has decided to get much worse before it gets better. And besides, I’ve realized these are great summer-into-fall pieces! They’re two of the five items from my master summer sewing plan, plus clones thereof: 3 modified Lakeside Pajamas camisole tops and 2 Fen tops. And between them, I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe!

I sewed the first of the camisoles — the light indigo one — on the last Saturday of July, and for the next week all I could think about was making a whole pile of them. One in every fabric on my shelf! Not only are they quick and simple and fun to make, but it dawned on me how great they’ll be hanging out from under all my sweaters this winter. It was a one-week addiction, seriously. I would find myself, late at night before heading for bed, bent over my worktable cutting out another one. I started calling them “my bonbons.” It was true love. By the end of the week there were three, and I decided that might be enough for the moment.

Regarding my major modification on this, I replaced the crescent criss-cross pajama back (which is darling) with a regular back. Jen mentioned to me that, on that pattern piece, the grainline marking is at the center back, so I used that as the fold line and fudged the bottom and side lines based on the front piece (with the dart folded closed). Thankfully it occurred to me that most of the width of this top is in that swingy back — if I were making it as per the original pattern, I’d probably make a 6. But with my mod removing that back panel and its swinginess, I started from the size 10 in tracing/making my pattern pieces. And it worked out perfectly.

The other thing I did is to vary the side and hem treatment on each one. Indigo has a split hem and slightly lower back. Ikat has a longer, curved hem which I just freehanded and wish I had traced to repeat! And greenie has a plain hem because I was sewing in public and forgot to leave the split at the sides. And the fabric is too fussy for ripping and redoing anything. For ikat and greenie, I also cut the back with the pattern piece an inch or two from the fold line, adding inches of width to the back, which I then gathered back down to size. I completely adore all three of them.

. . . . .

Then last weekend I wanted to make the intended blue-striped Fen but felt really unsure about the size and fit, given the shape of this pattern versus my shoulders. So I cut a straight 8 out of a hunk of natural linen I had left over from my dress. Now, the thing about my sewing a Fen (or two) is it was me having a whole big discussion with myself about how it’s ok for there to be some clothes that only work in summer — that aren’t suitable for layering over or under, due to their width and length — and that it’s a good thing. Not wearing the same clothes all year means having some variety to look forward to! But it turns out I love it layered over the Lakesides!  The 8 is really cute on me but pulls a little across the shoulders. So I went up to a 12 for the blue stripe, and also modified the hemline — I lowered the front and raised the back so the difference between them is not quite so severe. I love them both, but I think the 10 is probably the ideal size for me. And it will be no hardship to make another.

The only other mod I made on the Fens is the neck. I freehanded a round neck and then finished it with bias instead of the prescribed neckband. I love the band from Fen (and have used it repeatedly on other garments since first trying it) but felt like if I was going to do it here, I’d want to give it the full double-needle treatment, which I wasn’t in the mood for on the linen one! When it came to the blue one, I didn’t want to use any of my remaining yardage cutting bands on the bias, so I used a strip of bias left from my striped sleeveless top and turned it to the inside, so it’s a tiny bit of hidden contrast.

Fen has proven to be the perfect shape for wearing with the Seneca skirt, so I’m more eager than ever to make the black ikat version of that — along with the rest of my summer list.

3 Lakesides + 2 Fens = 1 new wardrobe

Pattern: Lakeside Pajamas by Grainline Studio (used less than 1 yard fabric)

1. Indigo
Fabric: Hand-dyed linen-hemp given to me by a friend
Cost: $18 pattern + gift fabric = $18

2. Ikat
Fabric: Black and white ikat purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts for $13.50/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $13.50 fabric = $13.50

3. Greenie
Fabric: “Seedlings” India-loomed cotton by my friend Anna Maria Horner, purchased at Craft South for $14/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $14 fabric = $14

Pattern: Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts (used approx 1.5 yards fabric)

1. Linen
Fabric: Bought half-price last year at JoAnn, I’m guessing about $6/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $9 fabric = $9

2. Blue stripe
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: reuse pattern + $7.50 fabric = $7.50

So that’s a grand total of $62 these five tops cost me! (Including one new pattern I’ll get lots more use out of.) The natural denim jeans are Willies from Nashville’s Imogene+Willie (made in LA from Japanese denim), bought on clearance. The Salma sandals were the deal of the century from Jane Sews. Feeling pretty good about all of this!


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

KTFO-2016.12 and 13: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

FOs: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

Having sworn to document all Finished Objects on the blog this year, as well as elaborating on how they fit into my overall wardrobe, I’m posting about these two aforementioned finishes today—

No.12: My first me-made t-shirt — and the first of many Adventure Tanks to come. As I mentioned in my summer sewing plan, this is a Medium and I love it but will make the next one (striped!) in size Small. This looks great with jeans and such on its own, but you can see above it’s a little big to be worn with the skirt and would look better scaled down in comparison, which would also be better for layering under other things. The only change I made was to lengthen it by 1.5″, and then I didn’t hem it (I’m liking it raw) so it wound up 2.5″ longer than the pattern calls for. I couldn’t love this hemp jersey any more than I do — it’s amazing.

No.13: My test sew of Seamwork’s Seneca skirt (designed for jersey), using the leftovers from my blue striped top to see if I would like it in a woven. The verdict: Eh, almost. I don’t think it’s outstanding in this particular fabric (I’ll like it better in something darker) and as previously noted, my plan for the next pass at it is to go up a size for the skirt front/back and gather them to fit the Medium waistband. This one is a straight Medium — only modification I made was to omit the side-seam insert panels and just seam the front and back together.

As with most every garment on earth, I like the skirt best with layers and boots. The question still remains whether I’ll ever really be a skirt person, but becoming a summer-clothes person seems beyond my capacities.

FOs : Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

Pattern: Adventure Tank (view B) from Fancy Tiger Crafts
Fabric: Black hemp jersey from Fancy Tiger Crafts bought for $20/yard
Cost: Free download from my CreativeBug account + $6 to print + $20 fabric = $26

Pattern: Seneca from Seamwork Magazine
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: $12 pattern + $7 to print + $7 fabric + $2 elastic + $1 grommets = $29

Also pictured:  black lopi raglan and off-black chunky turtleneck

NOTE: For those of you who were wishing for a pattern for my striped top, above, and its black precursor, I had mentioned that Amber’s Adventure Tank (muscle tank variation, view B) looked like it might prove to be the thing. And I think it’s safe to say it is — just look at the top two photos up there to see how similar they are! To make Adventure in a woven, you might need to go up a size — definitely make sure the neckhole goes over your head — and cut your bands on the bias. For the hi/low split hem, just straighten out the lower sides and hemline, making the front and back panels as long as you want them, and leave a split in the side seam to your liking. Add pockets if you want. Let me know if you try it!


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Gathered Skirt, take two

KTFO-2016.11 : Gathered Skirt, take two

FO: Purl Soho Gathered Skirt, take two

Remember that black skirt I sewed last spring that was a bit of a fail? It was Purl Soho’s Gathered Skirt for All Ages pattern, and it was a perfectly cute skirt — I just didn’t like it on me. However, I continue to think it’s an adorable pattern for a little girl, so I offered to make one for my niece. We picked out the fabric when she was here last summer — this sweet cotton double-gauze, don’t know who makes it — and I just finally got around to sewing it up! (Bad aunt. Very bad aunt.)

Of course, there were mods:

– Niece was at camp at the time, but my sister measured the waist of a skirt in her closet which matched the largest of the pattern sizes (“12 years”, 25-inch elastic), but given that I still think it’s too much fabric, I cut the “8 to 9-year” size, with a 30″ waistband, to go with the 25″ elastic from the larger one.

– Still felt like those main panels were alarmingly wide, and remembered I had wanted to lengthen it (oops), so I turned the main panels on their sides, and the original height became the width — a drastic reduction in the measurement there, from 26 wide to 16 wide for each, or a total of 20″ of circumference removed. Then I cut them to about 18″ long.

– Since I wasn’t doing anything contrasty with the pockets, I just cut the side panels as one long piece and folded for the pocket, rather than seaming two pieces together.

– To reinforce the top (folded) edge of the pockets, I pressed a strip of fusible interfacing between the layers, and top-stitched across it.

– I remembered last time, in the end, my elastic didn’t fit into the casing. So this time I cut it 3.5″ wide instead of 3″ — worked out perfectly.

– And I also French seamed everything (and top-stitched it down) so it looks as nice on the inside as the outside.

It’s super cute, although I think I may have slightly overdone it on volume elimination — we’ll see whether she can walk in it! But seeing this one makes me want to try it again in my size, with the volume somewhere between this and the original.


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Sleeveless top redux, this time with pockets!

KTFO-2016.10 : Sleeveless top redux, this time with pockets!

FO : Blue stripe sleeveless, this time with pockets!

Monday’s Idea Log post was written last week before I left for DC for the weekend, for the trade show, and in the meantime I finished sewing the second version of my sleeveless top, which I alluded to in that post. This one uses the same pattern pieces I had drafted for the black top, but with three key differences:

1.) I fixed the back neck to the way it was originally meant to be — just a crewneck, thank you. Several people have asked, with regard to this and its predecessor and the sketch of the dress version — whether this neck hole goes over my head. As you can see, it does!

2.) I added pockets! As noted in Monday’s post, they’re based on my beloved linen tunic’s pockets. I’m mad about these, and also pretty damn pleased with my pattern matching.

3.) This has the same split hem as the black one, but because I’m lazy and this fabric is a bit shreddy, I French seamed the shoulders and side seams, having done the same thing on my linen Gallery dress. What happens if you try to combine French seams and a side slit is you have to clip the seam allowance right at the bottom of the French seam in order to be able to turn it under to finish the remaining edges. I like how it gives a sort of lapped side seam.

So this one is a major winner. It’s more of the $5/yard Japanese cotton remnant fabric I got from Imogene+Willie last summer (the one on top in this photo), and it’s divinely soft and wonderful to work with and to wear. Factoring in the bias tape, I’m guessing I might have used just over a yard.

These pics were taken at the end of the day on Saturday after hours of trade show meandering and back-to-back meetings and walking and walking and walking. It was inhumanly hot in downtown DC, so right after this, I changed into my aforementioned Earthen Slip with this top over it, and that’s officially my new favorite outfit — but alas I have no photos of that! Suffice to say, it’s a versatile little dream of a garment.

Next up: the dress version!

Pattern: self-drafted*
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: no pattern + $6 fabric = $6

FO : Blue stripe sleeveless, this time with pockets!

*Fancy Tiger has a muscle tank pattern publishing very, very soon with which you could no doubt sew a facsimile of this

KTFO-2016.9 : Hemp-silk muscle tank (with bonus mending)

FO : Hemp-silk muscle tee

Back in March when Jen Beeman was in Nashville and we taught the Stowe Bag class at Craft South, I organized a little Saturday night sewing party with Anna Maria and a few of our mutual friends. I’d had plans to have something picked out and cut out ahead of time so I could just drink and chat and sew, but it didn’t work out that way. So instead I brought a piece of fabric I had little attachment to and a lot of, and an idea for a simple sleeveless top. When we all got there, I set about cutting out that top as quickly as possible, with Jen and Alexia both weighing in on my so-called pattern drafting as I did it. Somehow, even with adult supervision, I managed to draw the front neckline on both the front and back pieces of my pattern. At which point Lauren yelled out, “Just make it a V in the back!” which seemed like an excellent and time-saving solution. Having hurried through the drafting and cutting, I managed to nearly finish this in the few hours we were hanging out — all that was left at the end of the night was the hem and fixing the bias at the V where I’d botched it by paying more attention to the general hilarity than to what I was doing. So it’s been hanging around for about 10 weeks waiting for me to have 30 minutes to finish it, which I finally did on Monday night.

I also took a few minutes that evening to mend my all-time favorite pants, which developed a sizable rip in the crotch about a year ago. I’m all for visible mending, but am not in the habit of calling attention to my crotchular area, so I just used some sewing thread in a camouflage-y color and did a bit of random stitching to fill and bolster the blown-out fabric. And I’m so happy!! How did I live a year of my life without these?!

As full of mishaps and memories as the top is, I love it. When I cut it out, I was debating whether I wanted to split the hem and whether I wanted the back longer, so I just cut it really long and decided I’d figure it out when I went to hem it. But once I put it on, I decided I really like it just the way it is! I can always shorten it later if I want.

The fabric is a hemp-silk blend I bought for $7/yard at one of Elizabeth Suzann’s remnant sales. I think I have four or five yards of it, so plenty left to make a dress, or a skirt to go with this top. For the neck and armholes, I used some linen bias that I had cut once upon a time, thinking a pile of black linen bias tape might be a handy thing to have on hand, so that was a big time-saver. Thanks, me!

Pattern: self-drafted*
Fabric: Unknown hemp-silk remnant
Cost: no pattern + $7 fabric = $7

FO : Hemp-silk muscle tee

*Fancy Tiger has a muscle tank pattern publishing very, very soon with which you could no doubt sew a facsimile of this

KTFO-2016.8 : Not-so-secret Flex tee

FO: Flex tee by Heidi Kirrmaeir

Dear Sister—

If you’re reading this blog post, then the cat’s out of the bag. I’ve been knitting this little Flex tee — started it right under your nose while we were out on your boat a few weeks ago — and what I haven’t been letting on is that it’s for you. Sort of. Happy birthday!

My original idea was I’d knit one for each of us, so we could be matchy, like when we were little and cute and Mom still made our clothes. I thought if I could finish it while we were together, I’d have you try it on — and assuming you liked it, I’d give you the choice between having this one or picking a different color from the offerings, and then I’d knit that up for you. But as it turns out, I really hope you like the off-black one, because I don’t want to knit this pattern again!* Cute as the finished top may be. And it is really cute.

I’ve long wanted to knit you a sweater but you live in Florida, so that’s a bit of a challenge. This one’s linen, which means it should be useful for you year-round — plus you can machine-wash it, throw it in the dryer, iron it if you feel like it. It will get softer and softer, as linen does. I think you’ll love it.

You may recall from seeing the yarn that it’s not quite as black as it looks in these photos. Still, are Floridians allowed to wear black? Near-black? Very very very dark grey? I hope so!

Love you—

p.s. It’s also cute (cuter? I think cuter) worn backwards:

FO: Flex tee by Heidi Kirrmaeir

Pattern: Flex by Heidi Kirrmaeir
Yarn: Quince and Co. Kestrel in Ash
Modifications: None
Tools pictured: leather stitch marker pouch, owl scissors, Bookhou pouch, Fringe Supply Field Bag, tapestry needles

>> More pics and details on Ravelry and Instagram

* I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow 


PREVIOUSLY in KTFOs: The muumuu (and deep-sea knitting tales)

KTFO-2016.7 : The muumuu (and deep-sea knitting tales)

FO : The muumuu

So you know I had this funny fabric from Ikea and the even funnier idea that I wanted to make something caftan-ish out of it for our Florida trip(s). (And for swanning about on my screened porch when it’s finished.) What I didn’t have was the time. It came down to the Tuesday and Wednesday nights before our Thursday crack-of-dawn departure. I knew Wednesday night would be a maelstrom of packing and other prep, and Tuesday was my once-a-month knit night at Craft South. In the past few years, I’ve been learning to sew “the right way,” the patient and meticulous way — tracing off a pattern (with whatever tweaks I might be making), sewing a muslin to make sure it was going to work before cutting into my real fabric, and so on. By the time that Monday rolled around and I hadn’t gotten to it over the weekend, I knew it was too late — there just weren’t enough hours for all of that. Especially since I didn’t even know what I was making! Then I got home from knit night that Tuesday night and I said to myself, “You’ve got two hours, a nice cold beer, and zero attachment to this fabric. How ’bout you just get out your scissors and see what happens.” If it didn’t work out: porch pillows.

So I did, and not only did it work out, I had more fun sewing this thing than I have ever had sewing. And yes, there’s a lesson in that.

As previously discussed, the fabric doesn’t have a lot of drape, so I had been thinking it would be best to do something with a little more structure than a straight caftan — more of a muumuu, with a shoulder slope modeled after my beloved Harper Tunic. So what I did that night was lay the fabric out on my cutting table, folded in half. Then I folded my Harper in half and laid in along the fold. And, eyeballing about a 1/2″ seam allowance, I cut roughly along the shoulder/sleeve line. Then I also eyeballed the curve of the back neck and a deep V for the front neck. I estimated that 60″ might make a nice muumuu-ish circumference (I’m about 38″ in the hips, my widest part) so I just cut the sides perfectly straight up and down at 15″ from the fold, and I think I cut it to about 52″ or 54″ long — something like that — which wound up being determined by the length of the fabric.

Because this had to be quick, I just folded the sleeve edge in twice and stitched it down, then sewed along the shoulder and side seams, stopping somewhere north of my knees, and pinked those seam allowances. At that point I could pull it on and see that it was kind of hilarious and wonderful, and I desperately hoped I’d have time the next night to finish the side slits and hem, as well as the neckline. Of course, I wound up staying up super late to do it the night before leaving, because by that point I couldn’t bear the idea of not having it.

Pattern: None (but you could get much the same result by making an oversized, ankle-length Fen top)
Fabric: Tillfalle from Ikea
Cost: no pattern + $15 fabric = $15

Knitting at sea

The next day we drove to Florida, slept, hopped out of bed, and spent three solid days (and two nights) on my brother-in-law’s boat in Bahamian waters, which are the most incredible, bright turquoise blue imaginable. You’re bouncing along on the dark blue Gulf Stream waters and suddenly, bam!, turquoise. I’m completely fascinated by the sea and sky — a scene that can change every five minutes — and love nothing more than being out there in the middle of the ocean, in my favorite knitting seat on earth (pictured above), with not another boat or human or building or land mass in sight as far as the eye can see. This time I participated in the fishing and stared at the changing bluescape for hours on end. Because it turns out linen is the exact wrong thing for deep-sea knitting. I’ve always taken wool on the boat before and never had any issues. There’s no such thing as humidity out there, and with the constant breeze and my penchant for sticking to the shade, it’s never been too warm to knit with wool. But I decided to take the Kestrel for my Flex tee on this particular boat trip, thinking maybe I could even start and finish it before our return. But what I never imagined was how the linen (plant fiber) would leach salt out of the air, making it literally impossible to slide along the needles. So instead of knitting, I mostly took a lot of photos that looked like this:

deep-sea knitting

On the second day, we dropped anchor near a pretty little sand bar/reef to do some swimming and snorkling. I swam over to the tiny beach and immediately began lamenting to everyone that it was the absolute perfect spot for taking muumuu photos, except there was no way to get it or a camera out to the sand bar. CURSES! A short while later, as I was surveying the array of shells and sea fans with my niece, I glanced back toward the boat and saw my husband and sister swimming toward me. Bob was pulling himself through the water with one hand while holding a ziploc bag aloft with the other (“is that my muumuu?!?!”) and my sister also paddled along with one hand while holding her phone up out of the water. And that’s how those photos up top came to exist — because I have the best loved ones a girl could ever hope for.

So after all that talk of how much knitting I could get done on this trip, in the end what I came home with was a stockinette rectangle, a cooler of fish, and a bunch of great sky photos. Not bad at all.

Deep-sea knitting

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: black Anna Vest