Cornsilk wip* and rip

It was a strategic decision to knit the sleeves first.  I know from experience that my swatches lie – my decent sized (six inch wide) swatches tend to be tighter compared to larger pieces as I my tension loosens up as my knitting progresses.

I knit both sleeves up to the beginnings of sleeve cap shaping then measured (why, why did I do both?), looked some more and pinched it together to see how it fit at the upper arm- surprise (not) it’s too wide. Looked up Ormond sleeve width measurements as I like how they fit. Then I wet blocked one sleeve, remeasured and ripped back the other one to the ribbing.

cornsilk sleeve 1 and 2

First time sleeve at top, wet blocked; 16 inch width at start of sleeve cap shaping. Second time sleeve at bottom; desired width of about 12 inches.

I’ve been thinking about the neckline shape. I wore one of my favourite warm weather dresses as spring-like weather finally came this week – I really like the shape and depth of the neckline and might use the measurements to replicate it on the pullover. This old RTW sweater has a similar, slightly more open shape.

front view (2).JPG

DSCF4346 - Copy









Okay, on self reflection I was blithely knitting away, as the soothing, repetitive and meditative quality of knitting is good therapy after a long work day. My work life has become much more complicated.  I’m co-leading a very important, more than year long, project with a smart but very green, new to management colleague. It’s going to get progressively more intense as we move towards the end date.

*wip: work in progress; knitter’s slang





Hams, rolls and mitts

This isn’t a late post about my Easter dinner or about my wardrobe.  After reading about pressing tools on Stitcher’s Guild and Threads, I decided it was time to make some better and new pressing tools.

I used this article as a guide to make a skinny sleeve roll, pressing ham and pressing mitt.

The wool side is a wool flannel remnant from a skirt originally made for me by my mother close to thirty years ago. The original skirt was a mid-calf length skirt with a T-shaped yoke and pleated side panels.  It was warm and heavy. When I didn’t want to wear it any more  it was stored away as it was high quality wool flannel.  There was enough fabric to make another skirt when I deconstructed it about 10 years ago – I made view B of Vogue 7939, still in the catalog.  The second version continues to be part of my winter wardrobe, though it would get more wear if I had better matching tops to wear with it. That’s the problem with using old fabric. Fashionable colours and tone changes – it’s an odd greyish green – so new items don’t match well.  It’s a good thing that matching colours and tones isn’t critical for pressing tools. The opposite side of each is a remnant of cotton percale sheeting.

Ham roll mitt.jpg

Before being filled

For the mitt filling,  I dug out an old hand-knitted wool/camel hair cardigan that I fulled once it was too hole-y to wear. The cardigan was a boxy oversized, early 1990s Vogue Knitting design made from very expensive yarn. I had nothing to lose by fulling it with a trip or two in a hot wash in the washing machine.  The first trip shrank it substantially. The second trip shrunk it to a dense, misshapen sweater that a small child could wear.  The fabric is a quarter inch thick. I cut three layers to the shape of the mitt pocket with the outer layers slightly smaller than the middle layer.

Marokko ball band

ball band reverse


garter ridge cardigan

Pre-washing machine

post felting

Post washing machine; pockets below, sleeves on right

filling, mitt

Fulled knit cut to fill mitt pocket


stuffed with wood shavings

stuffed with wood shavings

Cornsilk progress

I made many swatches in December to figure out how to reuse the yarn for another pullover.

The body was started a few months ago but after a few rounds I realized my calculations for centering the pattern were wrong. I put it aside.  Last weekend I pulled it out again, redid the math and started the sleeves – so far so good!

Cornsilk sleeve


cornsilk sleeve schematics

All those numbers at the bottom are my (re)calculations for stitch numbers and centering and I was still off on the first go at recalculating.

cornsilk body schematic

Still need to decide on the neckline depth and width … and then calculate the numbers.

Looking at the sleeve photo now, it’s just dawned on me that I could have done it in the round as I now have two 4mm circular needles –  with my recent yarn purchase I also splurged on a 4 mm Addi Turbo Rocket circular as I hate the stiff cable on my old 4 mm circular. I don’t like doing sleeves on double pointed needles and I would much rather knit in the round – much more even and faster –  than knit and purl flat to do stocking stitch. Argghhh.

Too many ideas

I went to the fabric store looking for fabric for the Anne Klein dress, but I only came home with this, but it will work for my inbetween wardrobe as a simple but stunning jacket or dress.

blue and white jacquard

polyester cotton blend; Kafta tweed

I started flipping through my stash of Burda magazines looking for a simple jacket pattern – the pattern has to have minimal seams.

This is the only jacket pattern I found that might work by omitting the welt pockets and inverted box pleat.  Like that it has three quarter length sleeves but maybe it’s too boxy.

#129 August 2011; image from

#129 August 2011; image from

If it becomes a dress, the Clean Lines dress could work by eliminating the horizontal seams and centre front seam.

I came upon this.  I love the lines of this dress, but it’s plus size and the smallest size is 3-4 sizes too large.



#137 August 2009; images from


dolman sleeve dress with bubble skirt




But looking at the line drawing, I realized can still use the skirt portion and make a lagenlook skirt a la Kaliyana or Oska. The skirt can be made either knee length or two inches longer. I can add a separate casing for an elasticated waistband. Maybe I’ll make a facing for the hem and stitch it to the right side? The centre back seam has an invisible zipper for the vent.

Summer sewing and knitting plans

Although, I have plenty of summer dresses, I can’t help but make one more. It’s Vogue 1382, Anne Klein sleeveless dress.


Image from

The pattern has been in my stash for about three years so better make it up while it’s in style.  Looking at the very curved front middle panel seams I was quite sure I would need a SBA. I made a muslin to check the bust fit and yes! I won’t need to do a SBA. Now it’s finding the fabric and colours for it.

How about:

  • navy and kelly green?
  • red and  deep pink?

I don’t want high contrast colours like the black (it looks black on my computer) and white because of the invisible zipper that goes in the centre back seam and the potential for colour bleeding with machine or hand washing – no dry clean only dress for me.

The low armhole will be raised by about 1/4 inch.

New yarn stashed:

  1. sport /DK weight cotton and merino wool blend – this will become a vest for my inbetween wardrobe.
  2. tweedy wool blend yarn, an, ahem, unplanned purchase – I was lured by the colours and texture- the yellow looked more chartreuse in the store – for this I may be brave enough to knit a skirt, mostly likely the simple straight skirt. There are several great versions of it on Ravelry in the same yarn.


mc120 trinity lace rib swatch

Merino Extrafine Cotton 120; Schachenmayr

Debbie Bliss Milano

Milano swatch

Blue, white and red portfolio

The dress was started late last summer and then put away unfinished when I couldn’t decide what to do about the contrast bands.

This week I took off the bright orange-red contrast bands, then drafted a new neckband piece based on the fabric pieces since I misplaced the paper neckband pattern piece. New bands were cut out from a cherry red cotton linen blend remnant.

portfolio fabric

close up front

I have another house dress.  It’s a bit twee or childish for work.

front portfolio

Green Field

Finished with pre-made bias tape found in my supplies. If I make this again I would lower the very high armholes by 1/4 inch. —I’ve been smart and lowered the armholes before putting the pieces away.


An action shot courtesy the timer. I tried on the Harrow scarf with the top. Saw a sharp look in recent fashion magazine: deep green sweater, white pants, accessorized with orange purse.


wearing with favourite pants but see awful fit in the back- need to shorten between knee and butt?


Summer green and green field

I liked the Art Teacher dress so much that I had to make something similar, but a bit more shapely for spring and summer.  I came upon Burdastyle 7203.  It has intriguing darts in the back for some shaping and design. I always love three quarter length sleeves and pockets on a dress. Though after more time comparing the line drawing to the Art Teacher, maybe the only big difference is  the kimono sleeves.

I should have listened to the niggling concerns rolling around my brain: don’t like boat necklines (not a very compatible design feature for square shoulders and flat chests), the pattern description says boxy, (atypically descriptive for the often strange Burda pattern descriptions), but I moved ahead fooled by the envelope photographs.



I choose a deep green 55% rayon/ 45% linen blend. It shed like crazy during a brief dryer trip after pre-shrinking in a warm water wash even though both ends had been torn and zigzagged. There was more lint on my hands when I was smoothing it out before cutting out the pieces. I cleaned lint balls out of my sewing machine several times while making it. I wonder how the fabric will wear. It doesn’t wrinkle much.

7203 side front

should have done a SBA to remove some of the volume

sack dress sleeve


sack dress back close up

It looks slightly better when belted.


7203 back belted

Hand sewing the hem will be tonight’s TV sewing

There was enough leftover fabric for a sleeveless top so I traced out the Grainfield top from Ottobre Woman (#1 –2-2015). It’s a square neck hip length top with a shaped centre back seam and flared front.  The invisible zipper in the back seam isn’t necessary!

With the flared front, I lengthened the pieces by 12 cm, the most I could given what was left to make it tunic-like and minimize the potential for a maternity top look with the flaring. I divided the width at the bottom hem into thirds, making an asymmetrical triangular hem in the front. I made a short back neck slit and will add a button and thread loop for a little detail.

Grainfield modified pattern pieces

modified pattern pieces

GF front 2

Bias binding of neck and armholes to be done

GF back close up

Back neck slit is decorative

GF front

The sack dress will end up as a house dress and the unplanned top will get lots of wear.

Decisions, decisions

I’ve been sewing  the darts, seams and seam finishes for the past week. I’m at the point where I need to make critical decisions on techniques and finishing to proceed.

I’ve basted in one sleeve and shoulder seam and sleeve dart  to try it on.  With the semi-raglan sleeve, the sleeves are stitched to the body and then the narrow shoulder seam and raglan sleeve dart are stitched .

Decided to make side slits so  the sides will be open to about 9 inches above the bottom edge.

  • I have drafted and cut a facing for the front opening and neckline – use this or turn under and top stitch the front opening a la  Adri? – I have done this on all vertical seams. If I use the facing the inside edge will be finished with bias tape
  • Collar finishing: use back neck facing or turn under and slip stitch the back collar seam allowance in place?
  • Front closure options: hooks and eyes or bias loops and buttons or add a placket like on  Vogue 1356? Thinking hooks could catch on the loosely woven fabric.  Loops must be put on before the front opening is finished. Placket would only work well with facing. Or no closure?
  • Hem finishing: having side slits affects this and order of it.  With slits should do narrow hem…. which affects front opening finish.


B7114 upper back

Stay taped armhole

B7114 front

Sleeve and shoulders basted, shoulder dart basted.  Sleeve is very slim.


sleeve 7114

Right side of fabric has much more texture than wrong side


french dart and sleeve

Better view of french dart and sleeve


B7114 back wip

Back view; side slit- should have made it higher?

bias loop

Messy bias tube

Putting it aside for a few days to think it over.

But I will be sewing other things: a tailor’s ham – found perfect wool flannel remnant and sturdy plain weave cotton remnant to make it; start work on a new  Bohemian tunic – the pieces have been cut out since last week and waiting to be marked at stitched.


Coral pop top

Here is my first spring 2016 wardrobe item, ready and waiting for vaguely warm and spring-like weather (ie May),  Burda 6633, a pullover top/tunic.  I used the lovely smooth and silky satin weave cotton stashed last fall.  The first photo seems be the most accurate colour representation of the fabric.

B6633 view A


The fabric has, perhaps, a bit too much body for this look and length; from the side it has a vaguely maternity top look.

B633 top side.jpg

Back view  shows some drag lines originating from the underarms – is this due to the extended shoulder and sleeve design or my wide upper back?

B6633 back

“Upgrading” to Windows 10 has eliminated or confounded some of my photo-edting abilities, so you will have to try to ignore the overexposure that I can’t modify in the next photo. Here you get a close up of the neckband and plackets.  It was tricky and required precise marking, basting and sewing to get the top of the plackets to line up with the neckband

close up front B6633

I tacked the neckband facing to the outer piece in several places and omitted the stitch in the ditch to secure.

Looking forward to wearing this in late spring and summer.