The Perfect Sci-Fi Cap

Never before have I worn a hat that made me feel like so many things at once.

It’s probably the green color, but it feels more turban-like than the vaguely 20’s cloche it’s supposed to be. This disappointed me when I first tried it on. Then I realized it was the most awesome, perfect sci-fi cap.

While you’re supposed to wear the ruched part off to the side, I think if you put it to the front it gives off more of a Worf vibe- if his mother had been one of those green aliens.

And of course, because it is green, it makes me think of Yoda.

I don’t think Yoda appreciates my impression of him. See, my hands are supposed to be his ears.

The pattern is the Corrugated Cloche by Sara Morris from knit.wear spring 2012. It’s a fast & easy knit that can be finished in a day. The ruching- achieved by picking up stitches from rows below- helps keep things interesting. Just be sure to make the smaller size. Everyone on Ravelry is correct- the size small for a 20″ heads fits loosely on a 22″ head like mine.

I’m usually an overly cautious person, but it was so pretty on this freak 60F January day the I had to go play on the ice floes like a penguin.
Of course one of my feet went through the ice, but I was purposefully walking in a really shallow area so I was fine. Still, that seemed like a good excuse to stop pretending like I had flippers & insulating feathers.

Roositud Knitting for Punks

Fear not beloved, I have not abandoned thee. It’s just, you’re a little fat… I mean bulky. You know, awkwardly obtuse.

This I tell my sewing machine in regards to why I have abandoned it in favor of knitting during my move. Small knitting projects are much more portable. But I promise, I’m getting back to sewing real soon. My baby won’t go bored for long. In the meantime, I’ve finished another knitting project.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
Yeah that’s me standing here. I’m super tough.

Roositud knitting is cool. It’s a traditional Estonian color knitting method where you don’t actually knit the colored yarn you’re adding. It’s as if you take the floats you’d normally find in color work & put them to the front. This makes it look like embroidery, but no awkward plastic knitting embroidery needle.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
What are you lookin at punk? Best be careful before I bring it.

The pattern, Forest Flower Mitts by Nancy Bush, comes from ColorKnits, a cool digital magazine put out by Interweave Press on color knitting (although my favorite of their digital magazines is Sockupied, obviously for the sock obsessed). It has patterns, tips, tutorials & videos.

Roositud, knitting, mitts
One look at my polka dots should have scared you off. Watch out, here I come. Get ready for a beating!

I’m pretty new to knitting with patterns & this one was very easy to follow. Plus, the mitts knit up super fast. Well, things would have gone much faster if I hadn’t done some nap knitting on the second mitt- fall asleep, groggily wake up & knit only to realize you’ve really cocked things up & need to rip out a bunch of rows. So let me restate that, the first mitt was super fast & easy to knit; the second made me want to throw the project, needles & all, against the wall. Plus my tension somehow became a lot looser on the second mitt. Consequently, it’s bigger & I’m even more frustrated. Do you think blocking will help? I’ve never actually blocked before, which I know deserves a good finger waggle from experienced knitters.

And before I forget, look at that green sneaking its way in again! Some of those flower petals are even lime green (same yarn as my seaweed socks). I wanted to knit these from stash & naturally the most of a single color way (in fingering weight yarn) I could find was green. But they are all a little different in loft & thickness & even pliability. The dark green is hemp, so it’s harder & doesn’t like to cooperate as well as the others, which is why I had a hard time getting it to lie exactly where I wanted it. The rest are wool blends that lie on the knitting pretty easily.

The best thing about this project was that I gave myself the latitude to not be perfect. Yarn not lying right? Oh well, looks good enough. It let me focus on enjoying the knitting instead of obsessing over tiny details that only another knitter would notice.

Roositud, kitting, mitts

Wait, isn’t starting your new colors an entire row too soon a big mistake? Yes. I’m still mad about it & considering taking out that bit of color work & redoing it with an actual embroidery needle. And that’s the beauty of roositud. You can do that without having to rip out everything you’ve knit because the color is wrapped around your knitting.

That’s why I’m ready for more roositud, but a quick glance around the intarwebs reveals few patterns, so I may have to make my own, an exciting prospect.

For some technical details, chek out my ravelry page.

This picture is the closest I could get to the actual colors of the greens (& one yellow) I used.

Make It Monday: my first pair of socks

Seaweed Socks

Years ago I made a single sock. I’ve been using it as a camera case.

Recently I purchased the Toe Up Sock Knitting class from Craftsy. It was the perfect kick in the butt to get me to finish a pair- & it was fun! Surprisingly, the pair took less than a week to finish.

I used short rows for making the toe & the heel, which turned out to be pretty easy. For the foot & leg I used the seaweed stitch pattern, for which there was an accompanying pattern for a whole sock. I didn’t really look at the sock pattern, so my stitches probably aren’t as perfectly centered, but I’m still pleased with the outcome. The purpose of the course wasn’t to follow a pattern anyways- it was to learn the basics of toe up sock construction so you can design your own. With that in mind I didn’t add a regular ribbed cuff & instead added a single row of crochet mesh stitches. Although the crocheted stitches are a bit too tight to see the holes.

A short row toe.

I think this might be the fourth lime green thing I’ve made this year, but the colors seemed perfect for a stitch called seaweed- a few shades of green, hints of yellow & brown.

All this knitting has been a lot of fun & I’m itching to do more. However, I’m really missing sewing. My sewing area is in shambles though because of moving. Thank goodness knitting is portable enough that I don’t have to be tacked down to a specific area or machine.

I think my next sock will have to use a moccasin toe. It’s so great that just one course can teach me three different methods each for toe & heel construction. I’ll be busy sock knitting for awhile.

A Modern Wrap From a 1912 Corset Cover

Modern wrap top from the modified 1912 pattern
Corset cover as following the original Pattern, with minor alterations


Original 1912 pattern



Months ago when I made my wearable muslin for the corset cover I also toyed around with the idea of making the top in a knit fabric. I even made that knit fabric mock up back then. But I didn’t get around to actually making the real top up until the other week.

As you can see from the comparison of the original & altered patterns, I changed a lot of the lines in the pattern while preserving the basic shape. Note that the wax paper pattern I drafted has seam allowances included (sewing lines in blue) & on the original pattern I cut off the seam allowances. I had made arbitrary seam allowances when I cut out my muslin, yet drafted my new pattern directly from that muslin I made months ago. I’m guessing that’s why the armscye on the front pattern piece is so different. Also, it would probably explain why my sleeves don’t hang as perfectly as I’d like. It’s a shame I didn’t compare the patterns before I cut into my fabric.

Original pattern without seam allowances over the modified pattern with seam allowances.

McCall’s 5890, the pattern from which I stole my sleeves.

Speaking of the sleeves, I stole them from a modern knit pattern (McCall’s 5890) since I’ve never drafted my own before. According to my measurements, I should have used a size 14. While the picture on the envelope showed a sleeve with some ease, it didn’t look ginormous. I ended up needing to cut a size 6 to get the tighter look I wanted. And it still has plenty of ease even at the smaller size!

Aside from lengthening both pattern pieces, I widened the shoulders & slightly raised the neckline. The front bodice piece was extended past the center front in a slightly curving swoop not just for looks. On the version I did in woven fabric, my center front was actually a diagonal pointing towards the armscye. Otherwise, I would have had much too much loose fabric at the bust. For this knit top I just moved my center front over, maintaining the diagonal, & shaped it a little.

Click for larger & easier to see image.

As is evident in the picture above, the darts changed a fair amount. I completely got rid of the right one that was on the original pattern. Instead, I added a double pointed (not sure of the technical term) dart where you would normally find a side seam. The other dart I kept the same, except it no longer ended with the end of the fabric. It now ends in the middle of the fabric to form a soft & sort of blown out box pleat. I really like how the folded fabric looks & sort of bumps out on the sides.

Overall I’m pretty happy with my top. The only thing is that it’s not the easiest wrap to put on. Instead of having the strap come out through a side seam which I don’t have, it comes out through the princess-like seam on the back of the bodice. It’s not a big deal, but it means extra reaching around on the sides to thread the strap through the top. The strap I used is actually carpet binding. My dad used to be a carpenter, which surprisingly can involve hand binding a carpet’s edge. The old binding he gave me is like an overly wide, soft, cotton twill tape.

Check out a previous post about this top to read more about my first impressions of the finished top & the moisture-wicking fabric I used.


Make It Monday: A Modern Wrap Top

A lime green background on my Flying Foxes Twirl Skirt.
A lime green polka dotted hoodie.

Let’s play a game. Can you guess which pattern I used to make the bodice of this top? Hint, it’s a 1912 pattern. I used a modern pattern for the sleeves but they’re so generic I won’t ask you to guess about them.

I think I have a thing for lime green. This is the third thing I’ve made this year that prominently features the color. Recent lime green projects include a skirt & a hoodie. Now I have a top I could make an entire outfit out of the color if I really wanted to be garish. I promise I won’t make lime green pants. And I swear I’ll stay away from lime green sequins & glitter.  I may be garish but I’m not trashy! 😉

The top also reminds me of the other green wrap I made this summer. While the other one is mint green, both are green wrap tops featuring geometric cuts. I’m sensing patterns here.

My lime green 1940’s wrap top.

Last week I made a sports top out of moisture wicking fabric. I loved the fabric so much I went back to Vogue & bought more. This new purchase is tissue thin & looks very much like regular cotton jersey.

A modern wrap from a 1912 pattern.

It got into the 100’s today & I walked several city blocks during my lunch break. Unlike with the other top, I did not remain completely dry. But at least the fabric didn’t cling to my sweaty back like regular jersey would. And it was a little more breezy than the gray moisture wicking fabric of last week, but then again it’s about twice as thin.

I’m very happy with the progress I’m making on hemming knits. Last week’s sports top gave me a headache. This week’s turned out much better. I used a twin needle with a long satin stitch. Previous attempts to get knits to lay flat with a twin needle didn’t work so well, I think because I would always use a straight stitch. The goal was to mimic the way a stitch on a cover stitch machine looks, but rippling seams would dash all my hopes of creating something that looked store bought. For now, I’m content to use the better looking double zigzag in favor of the more professional looking straight stitch. Look at those sleeves! They lie flat! No puckering out! Just ignore the slight ruffling on the back hem & minor stretching on the neckline. I’m determined to become proficient at sewing with knits.

Later in the week I’ll post about the construction of the top & reveal which pattern I used. I’m setting myself the goal of at least posting by the weekend, otherwise it might be months until I do. I never did post about that 1912 skirt I made in the spring…

Make It a Monday Dirndl

Blogging has helped me notice some things about myself. I lust after fabric. Usually for months. Then I hungrily snap it up once a good sale comes along.

So it was with this fantastic veggie print. I love vegetables. I love gardening. I had to have this fabric. You understand, right? I didn't have a choice.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I could only afford two yards of this luscious print, well, only two yards if I wanted to get this fabric & other prints I had been lusting after. So instead of making a gloriously grand 50's dress with a full circle skirt I had to use a more thrifty pattern. Enter McCall's 6561. It turned out better than a full vintage repro might have & I was still able to make the skirt fairly full. The pattern is a nifty color block design. All those little pattern pieces are worth the extra sewing for the ease of fitting they allow.

Still, it's been so bloody hot lately I didn't want something that was skin tight. This was another one of those projects where I did the fitting while not realizing I was bloated. The weather deceived me! I didn't realize that I was larger while trying the dress on in my hot & humid apartment. When I wore the dress to the wonderfully air conditioned office today I noticed there was an appreciable amount of added ease. So I started off with some ease & ended up with even more. Ah well, it wasn't so bad that I was swimming in it & I still like how it looks.

I went down a size when cutting out the pattern & took an extra 5/8″ out of each side piece on the back. Curiously, the front didn't need an extra inch taken out. I also lengthened the main fabric to the length that the contrasting fabric (underskirt) was supposed to be & consequently lengthened the underskirt. Long legged ladies beware: I'm shortish & it would have been approaching a miniskirt on me, unaltered you'll really be showing some leg.

For the bodice lining I used the muslin I had made, which was sewn up in the length the pattern called for. For the actual fashion fabric I jumped straight to shortening the bodice without making another muslin. Attaching the fully gathered dirndl skirt to the bodice added a touch of bulk to the waist. Having the bodice lining be longer meant that the underskirt gathers fell further down my torso without adding even more bulk to my waist.

Cookie time, or, it's impossible to not be happy while eating a cookie & dressed in a veggie frock.

The underskirt/lining is a thin crepe that has a sheen to it & was sewn up with French seams since the bottom would be peaking out. I didn't want to color block the panels in the bodice since I love the pattern so much. The underskirt is in white to subtly contrast with the linen color of the main fabric. To match, I made the top edge of the dress in white. The neckline seemed like it would be awfully low if I made the seam 5/8″ down, so I edged it in bias binding instead.

The dress also called for super skinny straps. I did not feel like making those. Luckily, I had an old, white bra that I had been saving for just such an occasion & sewed the straps & cups into the bodice. I cut away the rest of the bra. Now, I won't have to worry about bra straps showing under the dress' straps. I sewed the straps & cups to the dress at the stitch line on the bias tape. To further secure them to the body of the dress, I hand stitched them to the lining so that no stitches would appear on the main fabric.

While the sewn in bra doesn't feel as secure as a whole bra would, it does make getting dressed easier. The dress has a side zip. In future when sewing a bra to a side zip dress, I think I'll cut away the back portion of the bra band & keep the side portions. Then, I'll sew the sides of the bra band into the side seams, but they'll be a little shorter than the sides of the dress so that the bra hugs closer to my body without having to deal with a back clasp. Does that sound like it will work? I'm also hoping this would eliminate any unfortunate back bra fat lines. While I generally don't have a problem with those, I hate how the lines of a bra can almost always at least be seen under a t-shirt. Maybe this will get rid of that. Actually, now I think about it that's just like a built in shelf bra, but using a real bra instead of a pseudo-bra that doesn't support anyone over an A cup.


Twirlable skirts are a requirement for most projects I make.


Make It Monday Week 12

This week I made a wrap top from the 40’s.

Isn’t this such a simple yet great idea?

For a more thorough tutorial, check out Whitney’s beautiful white top on the Freshly Given Blog.

For awhile I’ve had this great abstract voile in my stash, but hadn’t been able to figure out what to do with it- I only had a yard. This seemed like the perfect project. 

I cut my yard down to size & added snaps to the front bodice which wraps around & ties in the back. I also lined it since I was using voile & finished the neck with bias binding. Ooof- three different angles of corners & an uncooperative sewing machine made it take much longer than it should have. 

Obviously mine looks a little different from both tutorials. Perhaps shorter sleeves would have been better? I wish the neck hole were a little less wide (I didn’t realize that cutting out a rectangle with a tipped point would make the fabric shift so that it looked more lik e a regular v-neck) & that the bodice were longer. I’m not a big fan of middrift baring tops & I haven’t been since middle school, but the retro look sort of redeems it for me. Let’s be honest- the fact that I made it & love the fabric are what really redeem it for me. Plus, it’s so bloody hot out I can actually see it being both comfortable & useful.

So, I think I’ve made a beach top. Too bad I’m not a big fan of the beach. Ah well, at least it should be good for riding my bike- & hopefully I’ll find/make a highwaisted skirt that goes well with it. All the ones I currently have just don’t look right with it.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot. I cut my hair. This is the shortest it’s ever been (in high school it was down to the bottom of my butt) & I’m loving it. Much more summer weather friendly than the long & lanky locks I was sporting before. I gave the stylist free reign after giving him some basic guidelines & he came up with this retro/Pulp Fiction-esque look. It goes perfect with my retro wardrobe. Maybe the 1960’s frock I was wearing tipped him off as to what style to pick.

Make It Monday Week 11

This weekend I made an outfit.

The reversible swirl skirt white side up.

I took another stab at Simplicity 2185, what I refer to as the swirl skirt. A previous attempt came out too big, so I made it a little smaller, but didn’t realize it was too tight until months later when I saw the photos from Me Made May. This time I still cut out the too large size 14, but made it a reversible skirt with two different fabrics & hoped that the extra layer would help- I also figured it was better to start too big so as to avoid to too tight look. It did help marginally. I’m still thinking of tightening up the waistline a little.

One side is a lovely to touch hemp rayon jersey in white. The only problem is it’s so thin you can see the impression from the seams on the other side of the skirt. That other side is also visibly poking down at the bottom.

The other side of the skirt is made from a equally lovely but regular rayon jersey. It’s a nice hazelnut shade of brown. I also used this fabric in the t-shirt I made for last week’s Make It Monday. While I was finishing up the skirt I realized I had another brown skirt trimmed in white. Ah well! At least that one is a woven A-line. That makes it different, right? Oh my gosh! I just realized I’ve got another brown skirt with white at the bottom- although this one has white lace at the bottom. I’ve got a problem.

The reversible swirl skirt brown side up.

Have you taken a look at the t-shirt I’m wearing? Yes, two weeks in a row with finished t-shirts! This one is from McCall’s 6288. It’s the first t-shirt, actually it’s the first top of any kind, that I’ve muslined first. I’m so glad I did! The pattern is a part of their “Next Generation” series, aka made for skinny teeny bopper bodies. I had to grade out from a 16 bust to a 12 waist & a 14 hipline to get the tight fitting look on the pattern envelope. It’s the most grading I’ve ever done. The front actually came out pretty perfectly on the first try. The back was a mess. If you’ve got t-shirt fitting problems on your backside I HIGHLY recommend this tutorial from Threads. It saved me. There was a mound of fabric wrinkled up around my waist. And now I’ve got the perfect fitting t-shirt. Sure, it took a few muslins, but it was soooo rewarding getting the fit just right. I now have a go-to pattern. Yes! I also had to take a little bit out of the sleeves- the early muslined versions was a mass of wrinkles. After doing about four different sleeve fittings I took a look at the pattern envelope & realized those sleeves were wrinkled too & I wasn’t going to get rid of them all. I don’t normally wear raglan t-shirts; I didn’t realize some of them are just supposed to look wrinkled. It’s weird I’ve made two different raglans these past two weeks.

Detail of the green trim on the scoop neck t-shirt.

P.S. Some brief half nudity in the alley was required to take these pictures of the reversible skirt . I really don’t think anyone saw me! OK, it’s a city, people live closely together. Someone probably saw me. Ah well!

Sometimes you just have to dance.