Some experimental knitting

eveli-sinivalge-2Usually, when I start knitting, I always calculate all my stitches, increases and decreases and plan quite precisely. I just don’t like to rip too much. But this cardigan was an exception. I started this a year ago and the main reason was to use up this yarn that took too much room in my stash.

eveli-sinivalge-7I did knit a swatch to test the stripes but that was it. I just started knitting from first sleeve and stopped in the middle of back. I then knitted the second half.

Then autumn came and I packed the wip and started some winter knitting. But this spring I decided to finish this wip, because stashed wip is even more disturbing than stashed yarn.

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But then came a lot of knitting and ripping – the lower part of the cardigan, the front and bottom garter stitch band, the pockets, adjusting the sleeve length and knitting garter stitch bands etc. I did every part at least twice – but that is the price of experimenting. It is fun but you shouldn’t mind ripping :) It was quite refreshing to experiment this way, but next time I will plan better (I have done it already, my next cardigan is blocking right now).

Can you see a little sashiko I made with my jeans?

Can you see a little sashiko I made with my jeans?

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And then, when I thought that it is finally completed I found out, that with the first breeze the fronts of my cardigan fly inside out. So I had to sew in some weights. I used some heavy metal balls that I sewed in using some cotton bias tape. I hope that now it is completed :)

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Linden blossom double mittens

I started my new year with mitten knitting. It is becoming a tradition to start the new year this way.

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First, I decided to knit fair isle mittens, but my daughter wished to have solid colour ones, so I casted on new ones. When my daughter saw the knitting motif, she immediately named this “linden blossom” :) In the Encyclopedia of Knitting, the motif is called “bouquet”.

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Yarn: Hjertegarn Alpaca Silk (100 g)

Needles: 2 mm dpns

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As we live in quite cold climate and it is often windy, I decided to knit the mittens with lining. So I picked up sts from the rib (which I already had knitted double the length with folding line), decreased 2 sts and knitted the lining. My daughter likes her new mittens a lot!

Ravelry link.

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Nightgown dress

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I made a quick dress for myself. It started with the fabric – I found a piece of rayon that matched my cardigan that I was wearing at the moment and home it came with me. I didn’t have a lot of this fabric so I went for sleeveless dress and I also cut the lower part of the dress crosswise.

Helsingi 2016-58The pattern is from Burda Style Magazine 3/2012. I lengthened the skirt, rose the neckline and also gave 1 cm to the armhole (i.e. I cut 1 cm seam allowance but later finished it with bias binding, therefore it didn’t change). I also skipped these quite bizarre pleats at the back and my dress has no zipper as I can easily pull it over my head.

Burda Style Magazine 3/2012

Burda Style Magazine 3/2012

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So there it is – simple as nightgown :)

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#haulternative

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As you have probably heard, this week is Fashion Revolution week. If you haven’t, then long story short – it is a movement to rise the awareness of the problems that fast fashion brings along and through this awareness make the fashion industry and consumers act consciously and ethically. They also encourage people to get involved too, for example ask “who made my clothes” or for example, make an #haulternative as an antidote to the YouTube hauls. I don’t make videos, but I would love to share some items that I have purchased from thrift stores and altered (or not).

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I bought this cashmere sweater from thrift store and it was bright green and grey striped and with two moth holes. So I dyed the sweater black, mended the holes and now I have a super-soft versatile black sweater in my wardrobe :)

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I bought this white silk shirt from thrift store years ago and it was in my box of upcycleable silk. As the fashion has changed a bit, I didn’t have to change it anymore and now I have a lovely 100% silk shirt. I couldn’t be happier!

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These jeans were originally from Zara, I also thrifted them and didn’t change anything. I had grey jeans in my list for long time and I was quite happy when I finally found them.

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This Nine West leather rucksack had and cracked handle and maybe it was donated because of that. I cut the handle and the bag looks quite new again!

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And finally, this leather jacket was long and belted when I found it from thrift store. It looked quite mumsy that way. But it was in very good condition and the leather is so soft. So I unpicked the zipper, cut the jacket shorter, sewed the shortened zip back and hemmed the jacket. I looks quite ok now. I plan to add ribbed cuffs as the sleeves are ever so slightly short and wide for my taste. But I have to find matching ribbing first.

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So that is my #haulternative. I enjoy that thrifting thing so much! :) Also check out Erin from My Green Closet Youtube channel and FB!  She is my favourite :)

A coat, the Merchant&Mills Factory Dress and Camber Dress

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I like to sew dresses. Dresses always inspire me and they are fun to make. But somehow I wear dresses only at summertime. Because  when it is winter, you have to find matching coat and boots to your dress and if you haven’t planned properly, nothing in your wardrobe matches. That is often the case in my house. So I finally understood that I desperately need a good coat in my wardrobe so I could wear all the dresses I make and give my jeans a rest.

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Burda Style magazine 08/2014

After a long deliberation I decided to use the pattern from the Burda Style Magazine 08/2014. This pattern is for tall women and I am not tall. Maybe that was causing some fitting issues I had to fix. My mother is my “sewing buddy” but she lives far so my husband had to manage to do the fitting. It was not the smoothest but together we managed to raise the shoulder in strategic spots and this helped to fix the crossing fronts.

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I also managed to burn the front with the iron although the material is wool. So I had to make a seam to the fronts (to replace the burnt shoulder) and because I already had the seams, I also made the in seam pockets too.

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I also lengthened the coat, because my dresses are usually knee-height.  The fabric is two layered – the outer layer is wool and inner layer is cotton. I have worn the coat for a month now and it pills a bit. I hope the pilling stops soon :) But all in all I am content with my new coat and I have worn dresses a lot lately. I also bought my first Dr. Martens (shoes AND boots) to complete the look so I am a really happy camper!

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I also made two dresses. I fell in love with Merchant&Mills and ordered some patterns and their book. I love this company to pieces and I cannot imagine a better looking sewing company. I have watched their video twenty times at least! Their shop in Rye, East Sussex is my dream destination now :)

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First I made the famous Factory Dress. I used a nice yarn-dyed linen from my stash. I decided to cut the smallest size available although not all my measurements fall to this column. I didn’t change anything except the length and I think it came out beautifully. I have worn this dress a lot and I just cannot get over how much I love how a linen fabric creases. This is just beautiful :)

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Then I made the Camber dress. I liked the plaid dress on their website so much that I decided to make mine out of plaid wool. I was lucky to find exactly the fabric I was looking for (Kangastuudio in Tallinn, Estonia). I did struggle with the sleeves because I lengthened them but the original pattern was not good for long sleeves (the cap was too shallow). So I used a sleeve pattern I already had and recut the sleeve. I managed to set the sleeve about seven times before I was satisfied with the result.

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I also lined the body of the dress. I didn’t see that the lining was showing until I saw these pictures. So I have to fix it. I will also make short slits to the sides as I narrowed the dress a bit and it is a bit uncomfortable to walk (the dress tends to rise when I walk). Other than that I am happy with my dress and I have already worn it to a concert and two birthday parties. Eveli 0326-10

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Some knitting for my daughter

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This photo is taken eight years ago when I was attempting knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan (link to  the original post in Estonian). But in the process of knitting a swatch and counting stitches something went wrong and I ended up with an extremely snug cardigan. I was planning to unravel it and knit it again, but it took me eight years. Clearly, unravelling is not my favourite thing :)

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But actually it was a good thing as now I had to unravel only the yoke and some of the sleeve length. Because now it fits my daughter. First I planned to knit it for  my son, but it was too snug for him and therefore my daughter got it for herself. I wasn’t feeling like knitting the fair isle yoke again, so it came out really boring and plain, yet practical,  pullover. But I am so happy that I got this thing out of my stash!

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Then I knitted mittens for Maibrit as she really needed a pair. I am not a huge fan of knitting mittens nor fair isle knitting, but when I finally get going I quite like it. I chose Rowan “Felted Tweed” (purple) and “Fine Tweed” (mustard “leyburn” and petrol Nidd) from my stash and I really really love those yarns! I haven’t knitted mittens for a while and therefore I made a mistake by knitting the space between the cuff and thumb too short. Next time I will do better. But these mittens are warm and that is the most important thing (you see our weather from the photos). Ravelry link.

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Maibrit also needed a new hat to go with her new jacket. I chose my favourite cable pattern from my Manti cardigan pattern (or from my Elfi hat pattern) and used leftover yarn (Katia Peru). I casted on 70 sts using tubular cast-on and knitted 1×1 rib for 4 rows. Then I increased the stitches to 92 to be able to knit 4 repeat of the pattern. After I had worked first half of the second diamond, I started to decrease the purled stitches. Easy. I like yarn pom-pom, but Maibrit chose a fur one for her hat. I also  lined the hat with cotton jersey as we live in quite windy and cold climate. Ravely link.

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Wool Coat

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This wool coat was born because I had free time in town and I decided to spend in a fabric store. One of my favourite fabric stores in Tallinn, Kangastuudio, had 40% off discount day and so I arrived home with two fabrics in my bag.

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Usually I don’t gravitate towards this kind of fabric, I tend to like simple and “boring” fabrics. But this one felt so luxurious, heavy wool with a stretch, that I just couldn’t resist.

First I planned to sew a robe style coat that could be finished quickly. After some consideration and discussion with my mom, who is the best tailor I know, I decided to go for a more sophisticated yet very simple style. I wanted my coat to be without visual pockets, without collar and buttons. I also wished for a straight silhouette.

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I combined two patterns. For the back and sleeves I chose the same pattern as for my summer jacket, Burda Style 3/2015. For the front I chose a pattern from Burda Style 12/2012, but didn’t do the waist seam.

Burda Style 3/2015 #105 Asymmetrical Jacket

Burda Style 3/2015 #105 Asymmetrical Jacket

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Burda Sytle 12/2012 #104 Long Wool Coat

I was afraid that combining two different pattern is too risky,  but for my surprise I didn’t have to do any changes in the fitting.

For fastening I opted for snap fastening and for the right front I attached the snaps only to the facing. I topstitched the right front close to the snaps to secure it. I like this clean look without buttons!

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The only downside of the fabric is that it is so easy to pull the yarns out – I mean the clasp of the handbag or engagement ring – everything gets stuck in the fabric and pulls out the yarn. This is annoying.

But the coat is very warm. For the back and sleeves I added a layer of cotton flannel to protect me from the wind. But it seems that the fabric itself is quite warm as well.

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All in all I am pleased with my new coat. I really like the fabric and also because it is a bit out of my comfort zone.

Summer jacket

Eveli_jakk-4Although I write this post in October, I completed this jacket already in June. Lazy blogger :)

The jacket was born out of necessity. Our summer here in Estonia is often called “bad skiing weather” meaning that when going out for a day you can almost never count on your short-sleeved top or dress. But I didn’t have a summer jacket and I am not always into cardigans. So I brought out a fabric thathad been waiting in my stash for years. I had some trouble finding the right silhouette and pattern for this jacket. I didn’t want itto be blazer kind of jacket. When I tried on my 10-year old daughters trench (out of frustration to cheer me up) I shouted “eureka!”. So here is how it looked (I will not try it on again though):

My daughters trench that inspired me.

My daughters trench that inspired me.

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Burda Style 3/2015 #105 Asymmetrical Jacket

Burda Style 3/2015 #105 Asymmetrical Jacket

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The pattern is from Burda Style 3/2015, but I changed it a bit. I added back yoke, back pleat, different pockets, epaulettes, half cuff straps, collar with stand (it probably has a different name, but I cannot remember at the moment). I also omitted the asymmetrical front.

I like the fabric and the colour, but I wish it had a bit stretch in it. The lining is rayon and striped.  All in all, I think this jacket has a bit of a Burberry vibe going on and I like it :) I also like how this colour suits with light blue and makes it pop. Light blue is sometimes hard to style as it has a tendency to make some colours look muddy in my opinion.

I have to say that I do not like the trousers I am wearing. They were ok when I left home, but after several hours of sitting in the car and in the cinema they stretched out and look like old lady pants. I have already donated them (I bought them second-hand as well).

But I have been loving my jacket – we had an extra cold summer this year, so I wore it a lot.

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New dress from Mekkotehdas book

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I am a big fan of Finnish blog Mekkotehdas. Few years ago they published their first sewing book of dresses for girls to 128 cm tall. I loved this book! This spring they came out with a new book, Mekkotehdas Aikuisille (Dress factory for grown ups). I met Sunna and Kirsi, the girls behind the blog and a photographer Krista Keltanen in Tallinn, Estonia this week and we had a lovely afternoon wandering around Tallinn Old Town. They also gave me their new book which I was so happy about! Next day, after closing the book I jumped right into sewing. The book was just so inspiring that I had to sew something from it right this moment :)

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I chose the dress Inger from the book and a soft rayon from my stash. Actually, I bought this fabric from Helsinki, Finland, where the authors live :)

According to the measurements given in the book, I should have taken the pattern for size 36 but as usual, I went for a size smaller. This is what I usually do, after measuring the pattern and comparing it with my existing garment, of course.

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The only thing I changed was the length. Everything else is like the pattern called. The dress has a zipper in the back but it goes on and comes off even without opening the zipper. As the fabric is quite sheer I added a silk lining. The rayon I used is very soft so I didn’t want to ruin the feeling by adding “cold” lining. Silk feels warm! I used up a silk top I had bought from thrift store with future sewing projects in mind. I often by silk garments from thrift store just because the fabric as the new silk fabric is quite expensive.

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This dress reminds me my high school days back in the nineties:) I used to have similar dress then. This dress is a bit out of the box for me though as I usually tend to choose patterns with fitted bodice. This dress has only bust darts, so it hangs loose and is therefore extra comfortable. For me, this fabric print combined with the pattern has definitely  nineties vibe :)

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About the book. I really enjoy Mekkotehdas style and feeling. Sunna and Kirsi together with photographer Krista take you to a fairytale created for people who love creating beautiful dresses, host cute little parties, walk in the woods and by the seaside… The book is not just about the patterns to make the dresses – it is the feeling you get.

There is about ten dress patterns in this book including one for girls up to 140 cm tall. The book also incorporates instructions for making a make-up bag, a beach tote, scarf with tassels and wrist warmers.

 

And after closing the book, you genuinely believe that from now on you will only wear cute dresses!

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Upcycled pullover for my sister

      PulloverI it is a tradition that I make my sister’s birthday present myself. There have been exceptions, but usually I like to make something for her. We are almost the same size so it is easy for me to sew for her.  My sister’s birthday was on last Saturday, so now I can present the pullover I made for her.

Upcycling is something that always excites me. Reet Aus, an Estonian, who made her Ph.D on upcycling, has always been my idol :) Her team is now mass producing upcycled garments in Bangladesh (of garment production leftovers) which is unique in the world.

When I go to the thrift stores, I often pick up items not because I wish to wear them, but because they are made of good quality fabric. I usually pick up all silk items I can find :) I also appreciate (merino) wool, cashmere, linen etc. 

My sister’s pullover is made of men’s merino pullover (with holes) and a silk pillowcase which I once dyed together with some other silks (this is the front piece lining). It used to be just off white. The only new fabric I used is the printed front piece. I decided to line the front piece to make the  pullover warmer. Because when your back and sleeves are covered with merino and your front is covered with thin rayon, your tummy may get cold :)

Keyhole Dress with Ruffled Collar , Burda Style Magazine 02/2014 #126

Can you see the holes in the front?

Can you see the holes in the front?

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As the front is non-stretch fabric, I had to use a pattern for non-stretch fabric as opposed to the pattern for jersey. I opted for the Keyhole Dress from Burda Magazine 02/2014. I changed the pattern a bit too. I narrowed the sleeve pattern, as I had stretch fabric for sleeves and I thought it would make a more flattering silhouette that way. I also wanted the bottom part of the pullover to be more slouchy/blousy. Therefore I lined the centre of front and back pattern piece with the folded edge of the fabric, put my finger on the centre neck point so that this part would not move and tilted the pattern further from the fold at the bottom – that way the bottom part went wider while the neckline stayed the same. I hope it makes sense :)

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But I started with taking the original merino pullover apart. First step was to unravel the neck binding. Usually this kind of bindings are attached to the garment with chain stitch. So you only need to clip one (and the right!) strand of yarn and when pulling it, the binding unravels giving you a nice binding piece with live stitches on both edges. You can use them to stitch the binding to your new garment. It is time-consuming as you can do it only by hand and you have to stitch public side and inside separately (in the garment industry, they have special equipment and technology to stitch the binding through the garment with one go).

I also hand stitched the zipper as I was absolutely sure that when I start machine stitch it, I will mess it up. I don’t mind hand-stitching at all, I find it very relaxing and it gives a little more something to the garment I think.

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I hand stitched the binding using the yarn that I unraveled from the neck binding. I steam-ironed it to ger rid of the curls :) But first I basted the binding in place.

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I also covered the zipper tape with the print fabric tape to give a bit more luxurious feeling :) This is also hand-stitched.

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The front is lined with the silk to give warmth. The silk also feels very nice against the skin.

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I am happy with the result. So is my sister. Today she sent me a message saying that she is wearing the pullover right now and it feels so soft and warm! That makes me happy. And you do not get this kind of happiness when you buy and give something. This is why I like to make the presents for  my special people myself :)