Autumn sewing plans

I haven’t been doing much sewing recently, since the completion of the Six Napoleon dress. I wore it out, but it wore me out. I love it, but to honest I wanted a little break once that was finished. I have had a holiday, tidied up my sewing area, tried to finish my YSL halter neck dress. Unfortunately and unaccountably I have lost the pattern I made. This is so annoying. I was really interested in trying the boning on it. It may turn up, or I may make another one. But right now I enjoying the hiatus and making sewing plans.

Six Nap dress
Six Napoleon

This year I want to make a nice casual wardrobe. My daughter, Esme, who I see most days told “You do workwear really well – you need to work on your casual wardrobe”. And I agree with her. I don’t really know how to do causal so it is beautiful and comfortable, flattering and practical. I have given this some thought but I need to work on it some more. As a result of working out that I wear quite a few jumpers and cardigans at the weekend – for warmth and comfort – I have started learning to knit. And, with the best amount of support and advice from you, and some nice vintage knitting books, I have made a start. But knitting is so slow compared to sewing, and progress shots are fairly tedious, I haven’t got a lot to tell you. Other than the grey Purl Alpaca jumper has stalled as I don’t know how to do the yoke. I have a date with Nat who is going to help me.

So for now I am mainly planning, and knitting in spare moments (I have started on this pattern). My tension square was too big (mainly because the only needles I had were .25mm too big) so I bought some new needles (in the right size). This pattern will be interesting for me as it is knitted in pieces rather than in the round and I will have to sew it together. This scares me…. But it is much easier (for me) to get a lovely tension with the long needles, tucked under my arm. I also have the opportunity to use double ended needles. So lots of learning. I was going to do a fair isle type pattern, but in the end I stuck to stripes. Easier to do something simple as I learn.

Last night we had another cling film party, working on trousers this time. I will give you a full update soon. Since my holiday, where we did rafting on the river,  I have been thinking about making a wet suit. Our new home is on the lake and we are planning to do lots of boating (canoeing), lake swimming, and maybe waterskiing. So I had been thinking about making a wet suit. Something retro, 1960s style. Certainly using light colours, and influenced by 1960s styling. I had envisaged using my skin-tight, perfectly fitting cling film blocks to make a unique wet suit. This might have been the high point of my 2017 SWAP.

But then, as it often does, reality set in. I started to look up scuba fabrics (actually proper scuba is not what you are using to make your stand out skirts and dresses from, oh no. It’s completely different). And I began to investigate how to create waterproof seams. Big challenge. And how to manage the construction process on an ordinary machine. Then, like you do, I began to look at eBay and found I could buy one, worn twice, in my size for £50. The first picture shows my holiday, step-in wetsuit with frayed knees (fine in warm weather) and my new purchase which is just the job for freezing UK waters as it fits snuggly. You put in on through the head opening and then pull the neckpeice over from the back and zip it closed across the upper chest. It is not the easiest garment to put on.

So what are the plans now.

I managed to create an overall list of what casual garments I wanted to make. And I appreciated your useful feedback.

  1. loose-fitting trousers 1
  2. loose-fitting trousers 2
  3. loose-fitting trousers 3
  4. jeans
  5. sweat shirt
  6. long-sleeved T shirt 1
  7. long-sleeved T shirt 2
  8. pullover jumper
  9. unstructured jacket
  10. loose-fitting pinafore dress (or a skirt)
  11. jumpsuit/boiler suit

I had already illustrated possible casual trouser styles I prefer. Thinking about the tops I had planned one knitted item and three T shirt type tops made from jersey But now I am wondering if I might try to knit more than one garments for my SWAP. What if items 5, 6 and 7 were knitted, instead of sewn? And if I managed the following four items?

  • Short sleeved T-shirt
  • Long sleeved inside jersey
  • Cardigan/jacket
  • Chunky outside jersey

These four items would allow me to improve my knitting technique no end. I am practicing a T shaped/short sleeve jumper already (see above). I could make one of these with stranded colour work, possibly the inside jersey to wear with trousers or the pinafore dress. The chunky outside sweater could use an Aran weight wool and could be a Scandinavian type sweater or maybe a cabled pattern. The cardigan is the most challenging, so I would leave that until the last and if I ran out of time I could make a further sewn garment.

Anyway, my plans are coming together. The SWAP rules are usually out in October so it is not too long to wait to see if this plan can fit (it has plenty of flex).

19 Responses

  1. Go for it, Kate. Knitting is slow, even though I’m a relatively quick knitter. I planned at least three garments for each of my last two SWAPs and only knitted two each year in the end. That said, it’s a worthy goal. I also wear a lot of sweaters and cardigans. PS Seaming knitted garments well is quite easy. I can point you to tips or videos when the time comes if you like. A good start involves blocking or steaming your pieces well and then simply taking your time as you seam. I love the process and I like the structure that seams add, rather than the “tube” aspect of circular knits.

  2. OOOH I hadn’t realised SWAP plans come out of the cupboard so early. Exciting, and potentially a great distraction from the misery of work stress!
    I have been noticing a [very] few gaps in my normal wardrobe, and also some in my steampunkery of course. There’s also the wife’s burgeoning wardrobe to expand. Three lists to make and consider. That may get me out of my present sewing doldrums.

  3. Joyce Latham

    Looks like a terrfic plan to me! I like how it is flexible and you can switch out for another idea is time runs short.
    A wet suit! Ouieeee, only you would think to give that a try. I love the one you found on e-bay , it’s terrfic. Can’t wait to see a snap of you in it , on the lake.
    Keep us posted, every step of the way. I’m so excited! Hope the house process is moving along and on time for Christmas ?
    Joyce

  4. Your casual wardrobe plan sounds good.

    As for knitting make sure you block the pieces before seaming- the edges will roll less and the stitches will be evened out a bit – mattress stitch is what you need to do – hold the pieces right side together and seam them together by going into each hole twice- books and videos I’m sure will show what I mean better than my explanation.
    I don’t enjoy seaming knits and avoid it when I can – do three needle bind off for shoulder, knit in the round to the armholes or knit front and back together of a crdigan to the armholes to eliminate the side seam.

    • Thanks Su. I am dreading the blocking and the seaming. I have never done it before. But I am going to take your advice and Stephanie’s and hopefully I can get the sweater to be wearable, even if it is not perfect. I have had “make a wearable knitted garment” on my bucket list for several years.

  5. Love your plans! I’m impressed that you’ve only just taken up knitting and now you’re thinking about making several garments right out of the gate! I’m contemplating a plan of my own and love your approach. Keep us updated so we can enjoy your progress with you. Love the 60’s wetsuit!!

    • Yes the 1960s were so radical and optimistic – I still get lots of fashion inspiration from that time. And I don’t know how brave I am with the knitting Linda. I have yet to make one wearable garment. But I am getting quite excited about the new opportunities it could open up for me.

  6. That 6Nap dress did us all in – I think we deserve a night out…..
    I bet your ‘casual’ wardrobe will be still be extremely stylish, whatever you sew or knit.

  7. Can’t wait to read about your trouser wrap! I was going to rope MR into wrapping tomorrow as I have no faith in the trouser slope I drafted the other day.

    • It would have been even more fun with you Pia. I would be more than happy to help you with your pants wrap if you like. I think it was relatively easy, having done the bodice. I will write it up tomorrow.

  8. I am desperate to give my trousers a go but have no time: still, thank you for hosting another lovely evening with lovely interesting people and stimulating conversation! I love your new wetsuit but say, how about a catsuit first?!

    • Thank you so much for coming and for helping me Marianna. I hope you are feeling a bit better.

      I am planning to put my trouser and bodice blocks together – and yes a cat suit might work. But I would rather have a jump suit, or even a boiler suit. I may need an arm block before tackling that. I hope to cut out my trousers today to test the pattern.

  9. Good idea to work on casual clothes, they’re less fussy and can be quicker to make if one gets the sewing technique right esp. for stretch fabrics. I’ve unsuccessfully tried to source French Terry for tops and am on the lookout for that.

    Swap rules usually allow one previously made item, this could be your grey sweater if you can finish it and it needn’t be perfect, indeed that would quite charming and authentic if you’re going for a casual look.

    • Yes, good plan Annie. That would save a bit of time. I agree that finding the right fabrics for casual wear is challenging. I still have to find a T shirt material better than the ghastly Primark T, which I find just about perfect despite being unpleasant in every other way.

  10. I haven’t got casual right at all. I’m surprised that you feel you have problems as you always look good in the casual photos I’ve seen. I look forward to seeing your plans progress. I’m determined to move forward with trousers this autumn but haven’t looked at a structured plan, though I probably should!

  11. I look forward to seeing a casual wardrobe from you.

  12. Brenda Marks

    I’m approaching retirement and still want to sew clothes for work, but I’ve started to make less formal clothes for work. This has been an interesting challenge, and what has worked for me is to make up work-type silhouettes in less formal fabric (used to be wool crepe, now in double knit wool or a heavier weight knit cotton). I feel like the resulting clothes are a good bridge between work and casual for me.

    There are many interesting t-shirt patterns that have details that you might like. Casual doesn’t have to be boring! : )

  13. Good plans.
    Incidentally, if your wetsuit is easy to get on it’s too big. You should really feel the ‘hug’ or you are going to have too much water flush through which will make you cold. Enjoy using yours in the lake!
    P.s. The water will be warmer now through to about December, it will be cooling progressively, and won’t be warm(ish!) again until about May.

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