Tuesday, November 30, 2021

About that Sweater...

It was nearly a year ago, but it seems much longer. I knit a new popular free design, one inspired by a photo of someone wearing a pair of mittens on a cold day. That is all I say about the person or the day. This blog is only about sewing or knitting or weaving. However, the sweater is still relatively new and deserves some attention. It is a really nice, albiet a bit strange, sweater, in that it is patterned after a pair of mittens.

The pattern by one of my favorite knitwear designers, Caitlyn Hunter, is Feel the Bern. I actually ordered yarn for it rather than trying to use something I had or something on sale, in my usual frugal manner. I even ordered more black yarn when I ran short, needing additional yarn when I modified the sleeves to full length. I also changed the bottom edging to just black to de-emphasize the original design's emphasis on the hips. I finished the sleeves with black from mid-forearm to the cuffs, but only because I had the additional black and did not know if I had enough of the other shades.

The yarn is Canapa, a wool/hemp blend by Lana Grossa. Other than it being superwash, it is a lovely and comfortable yarn. (I am not crazy about the stretchiness and chemical-ness of superwash.) The Ravelry project page has a few more details and the link to the pattern. In case you are not a Ravelry member, here is the link to the pattern. Although it is free, the designer asks that you donate to an organization that supports ending hunger. That I have done, repeatedly, and I hope you do too.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

McCalls 7981, Front-buttoned Skirts

This is View A, with an additional 6" in length. That makes it between View A and B. It will be size XL, even though L would be large enough. Those are the only two sizes in the size block I purchased. It makes sense to use the larger size for this wearable toile since the fabric is a very soft and light flannel that will drape well. It could even be considered "limp". This length used the full complement of 7 buttons, plain off white ones that are leftover from a sweater project.

The fabric was purchased at JoAnn and is 3 1/4 yard of cotton flannel in a printed plaid, 44" wide, $11.90. After machine washing and drying, it shrank to 40" wide and 3 yards long. There is at least a yard left over, so the actual cost is nearer $8. The contrast fabric is a brown Buffalo plaid flannel remnant from JoAnn (161008103, 3/4 yard, 86 cents).

All pieces were cut out with the fabric flat, except for the back which was cut on the fold, folded along a vertical stripe. Nonetheless, the plaid matching was difficult and is not as good as it should be. Matching the pockets to the exterior fabric, which meant cutting two of each fabric, did work well, since the side seams sit at an angle and the pocket and side plaid pattern can not be matched the full length of the seam. Front button bands must be matched to the front panels and to each other. It was difficult and did not work well, but is close--the horizontal lines of the plaid match and the vertical lines would match if I were happy with leaving the seam of the band that the buttons are sewn to exposed. I am not, so the plaid misses matching vertically by 3/8".

The hem method is simple, blind hemmed with a 1 1/4" hem (adjusted to 1 1/2" for easier machine hemming) in the skirt and sewing the button band around it. There are tailor tacks in the button bands to mark button and buttonhole placement. However, the 1 1/4" buttonholes were adjusted to the button size to 1 1/8" by the machine and the placement is 3" apart. The tailor tacks, which took some time, might not be necessary, especially in a small plaid like this one, where the buttons can be placed along the lines of the plaid.

There is a little extra fabric in back waistband that is taken up by 14" of elastic which is sewn down at the sides (where a side seam would be). The elastic could have been a little shorter, but not any longer than that. It is a 32" waistband.
The buttonholes were very quick and easy on the Janome. I will be looking for more patterns with buttonholes now. The buttonholes in the beige thread that I used for the skirt are quite obvious on the plaid. Black would have been a better choice since they run down the black/gray stripe. It is a relief that they are even and tidy, since uneven buttonholes would have been noticeable.


Even with the difficulty of plaid matching and button bands, it is very likely that I will make this pattern again. I have just the right amount of tan linen to make View D, no matching required.