Wednesday, January 29, 2020

1990's Oregon Rain Pullover

Finished The Man's Christmas present. And it's still technically less than a month late, go me!

This is from a 1990's Stretch and Sew pattern that my friend, Jessica, scored at a fabric swap. She's brought home a couple of these vintage beauts and they work very well for my guy.

The pattern is designed for polar fleece, but we have a Great Pyrenees, so that was a non-starter. Her fur sticks to polar fleece like velcro. Instead I used a nice, toasty sweatshirt fabric I got from Cali Fabrics. I think got 3 yards and darn if I didn't use most all of it. I was hoping there would be enough left over to make a little something for me.

The envelope art gives you a hint that this is a true product of the 90's. The back of the envelope notes that it's intended to be worn with 13.5 inches of positive ease. That's a lotta ease.

My guy prefers a trimmer, GQ kind of a fit, so I cut him the size for a 34 chest. He'd normally be more like a 40. Then during the fitting (yes, we did a fitting for a sweatshirt) he suggested it could still be a tad tighter, so I took in the sides about another 1.5 inches.

It's still pretty roomy as modeled by me, but he looks mighty slim when he's wearing it.

He was after a pullover sweatshirt without a hood, and without a bunch of logos or team names or advertising on it. The pullover version of this pattern was a very nice beginning, but I made a few small changes to make it more sweatshirt-y.

I added cuffs and a hem band, and The Man said he'd prefer inseam pockets to the zippered welt pockets. Thank you, sewing gods! I didn't have to try to install a neat welt pocket in sweatshirt fleece.

The pattern would have you finish all of the edges with strips of nylon/lycra fabric. I didn't have anything suitable in stash, so I subbed in some black fold-over elastic. If I make this one again (and I just might) I'll rethink the collar and neckline finish to ditch the edge trim entirely. It was hella hard to apply neatly. I tried a couple of times and, even with some washout stabilizer in the mix, there are still some little wrinkles at the front. Otherwise, I like the pattern a lot. The yoke and sleeves are cut in one piece and there's a cool little cut-on gusset at the underarm. Overall, it's an easy sew and I like the results.

 My pattern review is on here.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Knitted Sebasco Vest

The story of this knitting project is very similar to the story of my Linden sweatshirt. Lately I've found myself wearing a ratty old knit vest that's too big for me. It's one of the first things I made when I took up knitting again after my kid left for college. That vest is pretty ugly and not very comfortable, on account of the yarn has mohair in it so it's scratchy on the neck. But, gee, a vest is a nice thing to wear around the house in those dark, chilly days of winter. Time to up my game.

I had a picture in my head of what I wanted for a new vest: open front, simple, and a collar that comes up the back of your neck. I'm someone who owns years of Interweave Knits magazines, plus a fair few books of knitting patterns. Seems like I'd see something that would fill the bill somewhere in that collection, right? But no. I ended up spending $8.00 for the Sebasco vest pattern, by Amy Herzog. I like Amy Herzog, though, and this pattern was just what I was looking for.

And then I tinkered with it while knitting anyway. But not much.

She uses something called the Daisy Stitch to trim the edges. I did a small swatch and decided that, though it's pretty, it was too much of a pain in the neck to do. So I just used good old seed stitch instead.

She also tells you to knit the vest in pieces and then seam them together before adding the neckband. I have never yet managed to seam a knit so that it doesn't look like a kindergartener did it, so I knit the vest all in one up to the arm holes, then divided for front and back to finish. I still had to seam the shoulders and that looks pretty crappy, but at least it's only a few inches.

It just took a few weeks to knit, even at my usual leisurely pace. I put it on before blocking to check the size and ended up wearing it all evening. The collar comes up at the back just right. It's so cozy warm. I love it.

Just like the Linden sweatshirt, this is a nice basic that's worth the price for the pattern. I can see myself making a couple more in different colors. I have a pretty solid yarn stash hidden away upstairs. I'm guessing I have the materials for another half dozen vests snugged up in my yarn closet already. It's an easy, soothing, straightforward knit with a nice product.

My Ravelry notes are here, if you're interested in a bit of the knitty gritty (ha ha ha).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Linden Sweatshirt

I welcomed in 2020 with a sinus infection and bronchitis. I spent the first two weeks of January slumped on the couch, streaming schlocky TV and maybe knitting a row or two. Yesterday was really the first day I felt frisky enough to haul out my machine to try a little sewing. I needed a project that was gentle, straightforward and cozy.

The day before I had accompanied my friend Jessica to Hart's. I was supposed to be filling an advisory role, but I ended up buying the pattern for the Linden Sweatshirt along with 2 yards of a Telio sweater knit in a color you might call "grape." The perfect low-key sew to get me back in the saddle.

I had been dithering for a little while about buying this pattern. I hoped it might share the space in my wardrobe which is occupied by the Sewaholic Renfrew. I love my Renfrews and I wear them often, but 've been wanting something not quite so curve-hugging. It seems like styles have gotten a little looser over the past 10 years, and my curves have gotten a little looser right along with them.

At $16, the pattern seems a little pricy for what it is and I thought surely I had something almost identical in my years of Burda magazines. Then I flipped through my pattern stash and it looked like I really didn't, so I pulled the trigger.

I made the longer view, which has full-length sleeves, cuffs and a hem band.

The Linden is described as having a "relaxed" fit. As my bust is 35 inches, the size chart would put me in a size 6. The pattern envelope includes the finished garment measurements (thanks, Grainline!), and the size 6 measures 41.5 inches at the bust. That was a bit more relaxed than I was after, so I sized down to a 4. That still gives me a finished bust of 40.5 inches, which is plenty of ease for me.

I wanted my garment to fit more like a slouchy sweater than a sweatshirt, so I lengthened the neckband, the hem band and the cuffs. I didn't want them to pull in like your classic sweatshirt would. Plus, I was using self-fabric for my bands and not that super-stretchy ribbed jersey they make for sweatshirts.

I also shortened the sleeves by about 3 inches. Once I added the two inch cuffs the sleeve length is just about perfect.

It took me three times longer to figure out my sizing tweaks than it did to cut and sew my sweatshirt. I'll be able to knock the next one out in an hour, easy.

Overall, I like it! I can see myself using this pattern again and again, just like my old friend the Renfrew. If I go down one more size, the short-sleeve version will be a handy staple for summer tees. My verdict: the Linden was $16 well spent.

My pattern review is on here.