Thursday, March 28, 2019

Racerback Adventure Tank

This afternoon, right before a gigantic thunderstorm, I asked my girl to do a photo shoot. I know. My timing sucks. The sky was dark and all the photos came out dark. No worries - photoshop to the rescue.

Last year I was on a sewing high and I planned to sew a lot of stuff but sadly I ran out of steam. One of the projects I never got to work on was this: I had already printed out and assembled the pattern for Racerback Adventure Tank by Fancy Tiger. This is not a free pattern so you'll have to google for a free one yourself. Recently I got a little sewing mojo back and I decided to once and for all get the Racerback Adventure Tank done. And I have the fabric. I had bought this jersey knit fabric which I found in the bargain bin at Spotlight ages ago. I don't know why I keep going to fish around the bargain bin thinking I'll find some treasure. Honestly, it's just remnants nobody wants. Still I bought this very soft jersey knit - less than 1 meter's worth because it's 50% off and jersey knit is expensive as hell.

What I like about this pattern is you only need the front and back plus 2 arm bands and 1 neck band. I mean how easy is this pattern? The fabric on the other hand is fabric from hell. It is so hard to work with. And it keeps curling. I think for my sanity, I need to buy some stay tape or whatever it's called the next time I work with difficult jersey knit.

The result? It is wearable but I made the biggest mistake. I had cut the wrong size for myself. I don't remember why I cut size S. I checked the sizing instructions, measured my body and yup, I had cut 2 sizes too small. I'm between M and L which makes my size a L. Surely 2018 Jane wasn't that much smaller than 2019 Jane. I'm aware that my upper body has become slightly larger this year because when I wear clothes I had made before, it feels a little tight around the chest. But to have grown 2 sizes larger - I can't accept that. So I'm going to put it down to human error. Maybe I was distracted.

So I gave the Racerback to my girl and it fits her! And she said she'll wear it.

I struggled quite a bit with the band. Firstly, you need to serge it together with the neck/arm. My serging skills are still hit and miss. I couldn't get the seam allowance even. For once, I really hate the grey thread on my serger. Don't even ask me to change thread - I'm that lazy. Yes, I know the easy way to change thread - tie old thread to new thread etc. But 4 cones of thread is too much work.

I don't have a cover stitch machine so I used a twin needle for top stitching. Not a regular twin needle but a stretch twin needle. It works but can you see the tunneling? Around the neck and arm, I think I can get away with tunneling.

When it came to the hem, no matter how I tried, I could not get the top stitch to look nice. The tunneling was awful. So I gave up the twin needle and switched to a stretch zigzag. This seems to work but looking at the curling edges on the wrong side just makes my blood boil. I should have serged the edges!

After I had completed sewing everything, I remembered that I have a stretch stitch balance dial on my sewing machine. I adjusted the dial towards "+" and tried hemming with some scrap jersey and yup, the tunneling is lessened a tiny bit but not completely gone.

I tried on the Racerback and if I hold my breath, I can get away with it. It looks a lot worse in person...

From the back you can see how small it is on me.

Will I make the Racerback again? Actually I might. I'll make size L and lengthen it. This Racerback has a slight flared bottom which I dislike. I hope I'll remember to take out the flare.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Skywalker Knitted Lace Shawl

The Skywalker Shawl is done. I repeat. The Skywalker Shawl is done. How long did it take me? Thousands and thousands of hours. And I may have permanently damaged one of my fingers. It's the finger next to the little finger. Is that one important?

So I learnt to knit Skywalker Shawl from a Craftsy class by Laura Nelkin which I bought during a sale a long long time ago, back when Craftsy and I were friends. It's not a bad class and easy to follow along. I usually don't like to listen to the chit-chat that teachers tend to indulge in... But other than that, not that torturous.

I finished the shawl in February and I even blocked it. Well, when I said I blocked it, I meant I blocked the necessary parts - the top and the bottom. In between, I decided was too much of a hassle. After the shawl had dried, I wore it to show off to my family and my daughter informed me that I looked like an old lady. I forgot what hubs said, probably something similar. So it seems, this thing I had slaved over will make me look a few decades older. Hmm...

The yarn I used is a Anette Eriksson eco cotton 85% recycled cotton 15% polyester. I know it was a dumb move to choose a dark colour but all the other colours available looked horrible.

Did I do a swatch? Nope. I still haven't got into the habit of swatching. I had to repeat some of the patterns to get it human size. Other than that I think I did a pretty good job. At first I relied a lot on lifelines. But the minute I hit 448 stitches on a row, I told myself it's insane to rip back. So I stopped using lifelines and I managed to survive a few dropped stitches here and there.

The pattern is divided into fancy stitches like Star Stitch, Galaxy Stitch, Nebula Stitch and Plasma Stitch. The Plasma Stitch was the worst! Sometimes you have to wrap the yarn twice or thrice over and over again and that's not the hard part. The hard part comes when you purl back and all the yarn gets soooooo tight you can't move them. And so you use all your strength and that's how I damaged my finger. The Plasma Stitch is so stupid to execute but the effect is nice though. The Nova edging is no fun either. It takes forever to knit all the edging and it really took all the fun out of knitting.

But... it's done. All the anger, frustration and hardship is behind me now. Would be nice if I could wear it out. If only I don't look like an old lady.

Here's me modelling the shawl. Sorry if I appear under-dressed (it's my tan line).

I learnt quite a bit about knitting lace working on this shawl. I'm pretty good at reading the charts as well. I feel I can go to the next level of lace knitting - whatever that is. But I still have 2 beginner lace #wip. And I don't want to start a new thing until they're completed. Once the weather gets cooler in April, I'll try to finish them up.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Easy Zipper Handbag Pattern

Some folks asked for a easy zipper bag, particularly for people terrified of sewing with zippers and here it is. I made the size small so you don't need much fabric to get going. My Easy Zipper Hangbag Pattern is now available in my Etsy shop. Click here.

You're probably wondering where in the world I got the gorgeous fabric, right? It's a Ikea fabric. Nope you won't find it in the shop. I bought it years and years ago. I found a small remnant in the storeroom and used it to make the bag. Usually when I make a bag for a pattern, I would make sure I have at least 2 yards of fabric because sometimes you need to retake some photos and you have to make another sample and another sample... So I was living dangerously.

I love the fabric print as it is but I couldn't help adding some embroidery to it. Some knots and running stitch. Can you tell which is the fabric print and which is my embroidery?

If you need more information about the pattern, please go and check it out in my Etsy shop here. Please heart it while you're there. It helps my shop! Thanks.

To buy this pattern directly from me here on my blog (it's an instant download digital PDF), click on "Buy Now" button below but please read my F.A.Q. (if it's your first time) before you do so.

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My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns