Sunday, April 24, 2016

My First Knitted Jumper!!

After knitting a beanie and a cowl, I was up for serious action and I decided to knit a jumper. It took me 1.5 years to finish it, but I do not knit as often as I sew, not by far. The think hooked me though, and I can't wait to knit me another one.
I used Katia's Merino 100% grey and black wool and 4.5 mm straight and circular needles.
For the pattern, I copied an old jumper of mine, and I'd like to record here all the measures and process. 
First, I knitted a 10 square cm swatch to get the measurements. I knitted the back and the front till the armpits where they were to be attached to the sleeves. Then I knitted both sleeves to the armpit, all of it with straight needles, garter stitch (knit all the rows) at the base and stockinette stitch (knit even rows, purl odd rows).
Using 4.5 mm straight needles, I knitted the back and then the front till the armpits. I drew the star at the computer and printed it. I then drew the star in a gridded paper that resembles my gauche, and followed the pattern row by row).I knitted then the two sleeves, using also straight needles.
At this point The Knitters Handy Book for Sweater Patterns became really handy! With the help of my knitting teacher, we came up with a scheme for the raglan sleeves.
For the star, we follow the pattern in the grid, only this time we have to drag both yarns to the other side of the triangle. This part of the star has a different texture, becoming a little bit bulky, but I like this!
When I arrrvied at the neck opening, I also followed the instructions form the Handy book.
At this point I realized my neck opening was too big, so I knitted a couple of rows more decreasing the raglans and closing more points. The neck was still a bit too big, so I closed all the points working with my yarn really tight. 
I knitted the neck band apart to squeeze as much neck opening as possible when I hand sewed it to the jumper with a back stitch. It worked. Next time, I have to have more control on that neck opening though.
For my first jumper, I am super happy with the result, and I will wear it a lot, I find it super cool!

You can see the exact pattern instrucitons in my Ravelry.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Linton Wool Couture Jacket

This is my second cardigan couture jacket, Chanel style. 
I just wanted a black one to go with everything. And it does, I would wear it everyday.
I used the same pattern and method of construction than for my first one, which was a total success. Let's review some of the steps
Patterns do no include seam allowances and are transferred to the fabric (folded, so we get two of each) by tailor tucks.
We interline the front panels and sleeve bottoms (I use fusible interlining to make my life easier).The lining pieces are quilted into the fabric pieces of bodice and sleeves with the machine.
We assemble the pieces together basting them first. 
Then we machine stitch all the seams, we remove the basting thread and press seams open. I applied some silk strips in the shoulder seams to hold their shape.
Sleeves are sewn to the bodice by hand, using a backstitch, after gathering the cap tops with basting thread, ironing them round and basting them to the bodice.
 Bottom hems are handsewn to the jacket.
The lining pieces are handsewn together, I use a ruler under the sewing to avoid catching the fabric underneath. 

I even copied the trimmings, this time using some velvet ribbon in the middle of a wool unpicked strip. This is made by cutting a strip of the same fabric as the jacket and removing the woven threads all along it, leaving only a solid cm at the middle, on top of which we sew the ribbon. It is then applied to the jacket by hand.
I applied a plastic silvel zipper at the front and two at the sleeves bottoms, surrounded also by trimming.
This time I used real wool from Linton (1.5m), which I selected from some swatches they sent me. It is absolutely perfect, soft, heavy, with great structure. I used black silk for the lining.
Pockets are lined also in silk, and handsewn to the front of the jacket. They are so practical for keys, card, some change... to rush out and survive, as Coco herlself imagined.
And that is a perfect Chanel jacket!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fabric Shopping in London

Last spring holidays we traveled to London for five days, mainly to concerts and fabric hunting. With the excuse of fabric shopping, we toured the British capital under its typical bad weather (it even hailed!) and we enjoyed it big time! In the above picture you can see the whole bounty, 10 fabrics in total.

Our first stop was at Liberty's. It was a very nice feeling to be able to touch all that tana lawn I knew by heart from the internet! Carlos was the sweetest of husbands and he not only came with me to ALL the shops, but he took pictures, helped me choose, carried the heavy backpack, and even paid for some of my fabrics as a present. LOVE!

After Liberty we hit the Soho and its multiple shops. I found luxurious silks, brocades, wool suiting, shirting, organic. I fell into expensive temptation and bought silk fabric for a dress I had not planned, I could not resist the silk allure! I also bought gorgeous black silk jersey, one of the few reasons I think I could play the lottery one day.

Next day it was saturday, so we travelled to Walthamstow market. I found the famous MAN OUTSIDE SAINBURY'S, and he did not let me down! He has a wonderful stall full of treasures. He was very busy taking care of his customers, to whom he knew by name. He was honest and helpful with me, telling me the real composition of fabrics, even though their touch had tricked my senses. "It seems wool -he said- but it is 100% polyester" Very very nice shop! If I lived in London, he would be one of my main sources of fabric! Finally I bought almost 4 m of black thick cotton (3 pounds the metre) and two metres of wonderful blue silk for a dress. 

In the street of the market there are a handful of fabric shops, some specialized in African, Indian textiles. It was wonderful only to see. Saeed's might be the biggest and better provided shop. Here I bought some pink cotton stretch jersey for a summer dress. Carlos picked that one. 

I regret not taking pictures of Ray Stitch in Islington, but I took some pictures of the neighbourhood I liked best in this visit. It is a hipster place packed with interesting restaurants, shops and bars. I bought some organic cotton sweat jersey and some stretch cotton. Prices there are too expensive, tough. I saw how they were sewing downstairs, 90 pounds for a course of t-shirt making, it is a thriving business and I am glad.
Pity we could not make it to The Village Haberdashery, I kept it for the last day, and I quited when we found our tube station closed. We'd rather do not risk it, and thanks to that sensitive decision we did not loose our plane in the most difficult trip to an airport ever. London transport system is not reliable at all, I am afraid, as it is its weather. But fabric shops... WOW! After such a productive journey and we leave with more places to visit in the future. That is a good sign. London and the UK are heading the sewing hobby, it is popular and fashionable over there. Good for them!