Training Wheels-the Sewing Edition

As previously discussed, I want to make ALL the things.  I take great delight in making something with my own hands be it socks, jam, or clothes.  A few years have passed since I decided to take a really deep dive into knitting.  Now that I can see some real progress in my knitting journey and have gained confidence that I can continue to add to my skills and proficiency, I’m ready to apply that to sewing.

In much the same way as I began my knitting quest, I have already dabbled with sewing.  When my kids were little there were capris and shorts, then after a loooooooooong pause in sewing, I began to take it up again and started with very simple things like eye pillows and zippered sewing bags.  This tutorial by Noodlehead has been my go-to for small makeup style bags that I have made for Christmas gifts and for making larger project bags for my knitting.   I have made super simple baby quilts just to dip my toes in.

But THIS year, I want to really want to get serious.

As an avid podcast listener, my favorite sewing-related podcasts is Love to Sew. Helen and Caroline are amazing.  They are full of very useful information but they are also incredible at demystifying and dialing down the anxiety of tackling this particular skill. I’ve been doing quite a lot of binge listening to them over the past several months and it is really building my desire to begin working on my own handmade wardrobe.

I have chosen to do some fairly basic, confidence building sewing (besides bags) to get myself rolling.

I began with a very forgiving project to give to some very forgiving recipients.bathrobepattern

My eldest daughter had mentioned that her boys would each like a bathrobe.  She was thinking more in the lines of my buying one for Christmas for them, but that seemed like a very good beginning project. So instead I picked a basic bathrobe pattern on sale.

 

Although I didn’t get these done for Christmas (they received other gifts, no worries), I was able to get both done fairly quickly once I got started.  I was very happy with how they turned out and both boys were delighted with them.

Noble’s was completed first:

noblerobe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then Justice’s (who has a flair for the dramatic) was completed shortly after:

 

 

I consider those a win.

Next.

I’m a big fan of Taproot Magazine and with the purchase of their Grain issue was a printable pattern for a Forager Vest. I happen to know a young couple who are quite knowledgeable of edible plants that grow locally and who take frequent hikes and foragerforaging walks.  So I’ll be making one for each of them for my next project.  I’ve printed the pattern, but still need to cut it out and assemble the pieces.  I have purchased the fabric for one and once completed I’ll get the fabric for the next one.

I have a few other ideas rolling around in my head.  A crossback apron for myself, for example.  I have also purchased a pattern for a pajama set.  I’ll get to learn a lot of skills with that: setting sleeves, collars, buttons, and buttonholes.  AND if my first attempt is less than stellar, well, it’s sleepwear, hardly anyone else is going to see it, soooooo…

Another project I want to tackle is a pair of yoga pants.  The ladies on Love to Sew have mentioned more than once that sewing stretch/yoga type pants is far easier than most people realize, as is working with knit fabric.  I happen to have in my stash some yards of black knit fabric, so this seems another good choice for my journey.

I’ll be doing all these over the course of the next several months, but I hope to have some actual wear-out-in-public clothes made by the end of the year and to begin to build my own handmade wardrobe in earnest.


An update on my last post regarding my knitting goals.

In order to continue forward with the baby sweater I mentioned, I now have to work out how to do stranded knitting.  I was practicing on a swatch using two colors and not doing well at all.  I realized I was trying to add too many new techniques at once.  So I decided to break it down.

Since I really want to work my colors on two hands I really had to get down the “flicking” method of working for my right hand.  So I have been knitting a very long scarf just using this method.  Learning to do this brings back all the issues I had when I began learning to knit Continental, but since I am now very comfortable with that method I know I’ll get it.  In fact, I would say, I’m almost there now.  The one issue I’m still working on is getting my tension right.  When I do a purl sight the tension is just where I want it, but for some reason, when I do knit stitches in this method they are very tight and I am having to really focus on relaxing the tension when I’m on the knit side.

Since I feel I’m getting close I went ahead and added in a second color to try and work a swatch with both hands.  Here again, it’s going to be the tension that needs to be evened out.  There is a slight pucker to the sections with colorwork.  I wonder if blocking will help alleviate that, but I want to work a little longer on trying to get a consistent tension on both hands.  I have a Plan B if that doesn’t happen, but not just yet.

After that, I will do some practice rows that will help me learn to “catch floats” on the back of the work.  I think working in the round might have been easier, but since the sweater I am making is worked flat, it will be necessary to do this.  In any case, I’ll be glad to know how to do it when all is said and done.


I think that is a reasonably well thought out set of goals and I’m already seeing some progress in the areas I’m working on.

Till next time

Bright blessings,

Jamye

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