So, years ago, I managed to liberate an office chair from Utrecht University (story is here) which has gone through two more moves and now lives happily in my sewing room. It had accumulated another patch but was again springing a leak. So I decided to take the plunge and figure out how to recover the seat. Adding another patch would not have made it any better I think.
So I got to work, taking out all the visible screws. I couldn’t get to a few so I googled my chair number and actually found a video that shows how to recover it. Thank you, Stof en Steen! So I mostly followed the instructions and managed to recover the seat of my chair in about 2 hours or so? The hardest part was getting the recovered seat back on the chair.
Now, the seat back is still perfectly fine, and I am lazy. It would also have more pattern pieces and harder patterns so I figured, I’ll take the multicolour chair. Red and blue go together, right? RIGHT?! I have found that it is more comfortable now since the hole is no longer there and my feet actually stay on the chair when I pull my legs up. I declare this a success (for now, at least).
So the inspiration for this one was based on these two pins: skirt & dress. The bottom is two half circle skirts, and the top is the always fabulous garden party dress, somewhat hacked. I used a knit fabric that was black on one side and had a diagonal plaid pattern on the other side. The bottom had a kind of odd graffiti border, but I choose not to show that, and it’s now the inside of the outer skirt. There was not a lot of fabric left after cutting two half circle skirts, so I had to make some choices to conserve fabric.
Those little reverse triangles in the shoulder meant I could position the front more economically on the fabric. For the sleeves, I did use the original sleeve width, but the sleeve caps of a t-shirt pattern were substituted. I made the sleeves as long as I could with what fabric remained. However, elbow length sleeves are the devil – cold underarms. So I decided to attempt a kind of bishop sleeve by using another piece of fabric. This worked! It’s just about long enough and has the shallowest hem I could manage.
One of the hardest parts of this dress was figuring out how to do pockets. For events like this, I need to have pockets to put my phone and the schedule etc in. Since there were no side seams, in seam pockets would be hard. Making symmetric welt pockets in a stretchy knit would also not be my idea of fun, also because I did not have a lot of fabric left. In the end I made giant patch pockets. They are not super visible, but did work very well.
I liked this dress, although it was not as successful in keeping out the cold as last year’s outfit was. Still, it performed its duty even if I did change into pants and a sweater halfway through the reception. For next year, I’ll try to find something warmer.
Remember all those sweaters I knit? More Grey, Now a Francis, Accidental Harry Potter Sweater, Frankenpatterned Leaves, Holes and Isis Tailcoat? I had a little yarn left over from all of those and decided to patchwork myself a sweater, using an additional ball of purple. It is fairly reminiscent of the enormous sweaters of the eighties, although this one is slightly more fitted. The base patterns are the Knit Crew Sweater and Patchwork Sweater, which I adapted to my liking to fit. These are the notes I made on Ravelry.
It took me a good few times of cast on and frog to get to where I needed to be. The black yarn is slightly thicker than the others, so I could not use my normal amount of stitches. There are some blocks with eyelets (red) and the sleeves have really random patterns. On the front and back are seams cross-stitched together. This is because the method I chose at the start (knitting in the round) does not work as well when you want to change colours. So I decided to knit about twenty stitches in a loose strip that I would seam later. This worked remarkably well. The rest of the sweater is not actually patch worked, it’s just colour changes.
It has been worn and it wears quite pleasantly. The neck is remarkably high, but it does not bother me. We will see how often it actually sees the light of day, because I’m not 100% sure that it is super work appropriate. On the other hand.. How often do I really care about that?!
Right after finishing this one, I frogged a pair of socks and cast on for a new set. They are now slightly beyond the toes, so who knows. I might just finish socks this year.
So on Friday I finished two more quick projects. The first was another poppy (e.g. here) since there are people in my distant surroundings multiplying, seemingly voluntary. This one was made from a new flannel sheet. I’m debating making another one for myself (or adopting this one, still deciding).
For the first time I actually measured the distance between stitches for the hat, so this one is, I think, the neatest stitched one.
Project 2 is a bag. Well, it was not a bag, it was a top. Friends of mine gave me a top with a flamingo on it since it was an S. However, the arm holes were so deep that I would be uncomfortable wearing it. I decided to remove the neck binding and cut out the back as deep as the front. I then sewed the bottom together and added some corners. I also folded over the neck and stitched it down with a twin needle. This project has been half-finished for weeks. I just needed to get my act together and actually do the stitching, so luckily I managed to do that!
It is so deep that I couldn’t find anything that would stick out the top – seriously. I tried cutting boards, drinks, shoes? That’s why you get the ugly inside shot. Now on to using this cutie.
So somewhere in 2017, I bought a length of black-blue-red plaid to make another set of plaid pants. I reworked my original pattern a little bit – slimming and straightening the legs a little and copying all the pattern pieces onto tracing paper since the original is still the boob-height pattern of the Helena Culottes. Now I have all pattern pieces that fit together well. Apart from one thing, but we’ll get to that.
Cutting out the pieces taking care to pattern match, where possible and sewing it together all went pretty well. I used the blue origami cats for pockets/waistband/zipper guard (I thought it was funny to have more cats behind the zip). The only problem was the waistband. I clearly did not use a well-fitting waistband so I had to make numerous adaptations. This is the one major aspect that I need to improve for the next version (there will probably be a next version).
I had worn it with hooks & eyes and the too wide waistband, but that was not a true success. So I shortened it a little, and replaced the hooks & eyes with a jeans type button – lesson 2: shorter shank next time. I also took more chunks out of the waistband to get it to fit better. Now it works really quite well, I finished it right before Christmas and I enjoy wearing it.
These new plaid pants also allow me to wear my red sweaters with them. My other plaid pants are green, and I don’t want to look like Christmas in July, so that was not an option. This was a large part of the reason for picking up the fabric. Also just because it is plain and I seem to have a fond liking for plaid. I still have a length of red plaid in the stash, but I was planning on making a jacket out of that.. We’ll see whether that ever happens.
One of the first (possibly the first) knitting patterns I bought of Ravelry was the Isis Tailcoat from Kari-Helene Rane (here). This was July 2016 (yes, 2016), and I cast on immediately. You may ask, why are you only now writing about this then? Well… It was in the corner of shame for a long, long time. You see, the body knit up pretty quickly and easily. You basically knit a half circle and then put all stitches on needles and work your way up for the body.
This means that there is basically no way to fit this thing, no seams to take in etc. After I’d finished the body, it did not look good. Because of my sway back, it effectively looked like a potato sack. At some point I added a safety pin to take it in by 10 cm along the centre back. This improved the look, but the thing still ended up on a hanger in the corner of shame. It was quite sad, since I had finished the seaming and most of the finishing on the body, it only needed sleeves.
It took for the Christmas Break to finally get a move on. I cast on those damn sleeves together and knit them up in a few days. Yesterday, I had a pyjama day (hence the dotted pants) and finished knitting the sleeves and put them in. Finished of all the threads and left the collar loose. I stitched the back pleat down so it stays in shape. I do like it now that it is finished, however, I think this is probably a one of a kind thing and I will not be knitting up another tailcoat like it.
In any case, I hope you will end the year well and have a fantastic start to the next one.
So after finishing the dragon shirt, I still had about 25 cm of dragons left over. I’d also been browsing Pinterest for the past few days for those super cool looking triangular scarves. There seem to be two camps: either the large triangle clipped by the corners, or a large rectangle clipped by its corners. In the end, I decided to go for the large rectangle with dragons and a slight nautical feel. All websites with instructions indicate that you need 1.5 meter wide fabric. I ended up having to cut of some bits for it to fit nicely so my scarf is only 1 meter long.
In the end I used:
- about 30 x 100 cm of teal fleece (back)
- two times 13 x 100 cm of dragon fabric
- about 6 x 100 cm of other striped fabric
- about 105 cm of dark blue nautical looking rope
- about 80 cm of white with a black running stitch ribbon
- a closure hook & loop – it’s not really a loop.
I did not want a full dragon scarf, since I’m technically supposed to be an adult (I think?). So I decided to cut the bit of dragon in half lengthwise and use the back of one of the pieces. I wanted an accent in the middle (and didn’t have enough dragon), so I found some striped stretch fabric (also used for shirts before) to put in the centre. I also wanted to emulate this so I cut 4 cm lengths of ribbon and attached those at 5 cm intervals to the dragon that would be backwards. I sewed it all together, adding stitching along the centre stripes and edges to help it keep its shape. Then I affixed the closure with the sewing machine and done!
I’ll test drive it in the next few days, I may melt since I think it could be extremely warm, but we’ll see!