Fulton Sweater Blazer

Do you remember the Blackwood cardigan I made and how much I loved the way the heavy knit gave it a kind of casual blazer look? I wear that cardigan constantly and have been wanting to make something similar ever since. Well, my dreams came true when Alina released the Fulton Sweater Blazer and Needlework got this awesome wool double knit around the same time last Fall. And then they both had sales! The sewing stars were aligned. The fabric is called Moon Dust, after all. 

2019 Sewing Plans

I'm not really one for making new year's resolutions, but I do enjoy looking back at the year, everything I did and everything I made. 2018 is especially interesting, because I started a new job in January and shifted from part-time to full-time hours, which obviously had an effect on the time and energy I could devote to sewing. Work habits are super interesting to me, so I was genuinely excited to compare tallies at the end of the year.

In 2017  I made 41 garments (33 for myself); last year I made 26 (22 for myself).

Now, some of those makes were intense, like four pairs of jeans and four button-ups (including a men's shirt), and I counted five pairs of underwear as one make. I also didn't include all the baby quilts, bags, bibs and teethers I made as gifts because I was counting just clothing, for some arbitrary reason.

Still, that's a significant difference considering I worked only a day and half more than I did when I was part-time. But more than the actual time lost, I think it was the energy level that affected me the most. The new job had a steep learning curve and required a lot more brain power than my previous position, so I was usually too tapped-out in the evenings, and when summer came, I was much more interested in relaxing outside on my weekends. You will likely have noticed that my blog suffered as well. If I had the time and energy to do something, I didn't want to spend it back on my computer — I wanted to sew! You understand.

The best part is that I can use this information to plan for the year ahead. Knowing I can only manage about two garments a month will help me keep the ambitious sewing lists shorter. That's the hope, anyways. Haha! I'm also hoping that a couple of sewing "challenges" will help in the same way.

I was pretty sure I wasn't going to participate in the Make 9 challenge again this year. I was moderately successful last year, completing five and starting three.

Honestly, I pretty much forgot about it for half the year. I think I learned that I am a much more seasonal sewist, motivated by making fresh lists a few times a year. This is why when I heard about the Seasonal Sew 3 challenge (created by the Sew Altered Style ladies), I knew it would be perfect for me. I divided up my notebook into four boxes and started filling them in... and it felt so right. I felt organized, calm and overwhelmed-free. 

Then a funny thing happened. I realized I already had nine garments picked out for the year. Haha! I can do two challenges at once, right? It actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. Macro and micro. One big picture goal and a bunch of bite-sized lists to keep me checking in and adjusting if necessary. I'm into it.

1. True Bias Roscoe Blouse
2. True Bias Lander Pant
3. True Bias Nikko Top *
4. Wiksten Haori *
5. Deer and Doe Magnolia Dress (or similar)
6. Papercut Patterns Palisade Pants
7. Seamwork Dani
8. Helen's Closet Winslow Cullotes (shorts)
9. Alina Sewing + Design Co. Fulton Sweater Blazer *

* Seasonal Sew 3 picks for rest of the Winter.

Two Scarves and a Blanket

The casual crocheter is back for another season's roundup of projects. I was really feeling the yarn crafts this year and managed to complete four projects! Definitely a record for me. On top of the baby cardigan I made my niece, I also made two scarves and a blanket for myself. And after you hear the roller coaster ride I went through in the process, you'll understand why I'm happy to tuck my hooks away for another year. 

Blackwood Cardigan

This Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet is one of my favourite and most worn makes from this Fall. Unfortunately, I don't think my pictures do it justice. Dark colours are darn hard to photograph indoors in the winter. I tried three separate times (and threatened to quit blogging every one of those times). This is going to have to do.

It's kind of fitting, actually — determination was the name of the game with this cardigan from the very start. I was blinded by the cozy factor when I saw this fantastic green cotton ribbing at Needlework and scooped it up without considering at all how a thick ribbing would behave with my pattern. I should know better. Of course I started to panic once I read through the pattern: folded bands around the neck and hem meant there would be three layers of thick, stretchy knit at those seams. And ribbing? Ribbing is apparently notoriously hard to sew with because it is super stretchy and often ripples. Fun times.

I must have been having a good mental health day, because I decided to persevere, stick to my original plan and see what happens. I'm so glad I did! The thicker knit gives it a chic, structured style, kind of a casual blazer vibe, which I love. I was comfortable wearing it both working from home and out for dinner. And, hey, something that is dressy enough for a night out and warm enough for the -20° walk to the restaurant gets a big Canadian high-five!

So what about those construction issues I was worried about? As you can probably tell from the photos, there were some problems, namely wavy seams and stretching. The right side is noticeably longer than the left. Haha! I'm sure stay tape would have helped, and I totally intended to use it, I just forgot when it came time to sew. Them's the breaks. It was virtually impossible to unpick black stitches from this knit too, so I chose to live with it. I don't think it's very obvious when I'm moving around anyway.

I tried to combat the bulky seams by serging the pieces seperately and pressing the seams apart, but I don't know if it really made that much difference. Not worth the trouble, in my opinion.

Something else to note: I didn't care for the way the front neck band wasn't enclosed by the bottom band, you just serge off both ends. Maybe this was another ribbing issue, but I found it hard to get that to look nice and neat. I'll try to change that on my next one.

Other mods... I shortened it by 3". (I'm 5'4", in case you didn't know that already.) I like the look, but it pokes out from under my Fall jacket, which annoys me, so next time I will lop off another inch. I also left off the sleeve cuffs because I'm digging the rolled sleeve look these days, especially with this reversible knit. I changed the pocket design too, cutting them a bit longer and then turning down the top once, rather than adding to the bulk with another band.

That's it!

It's a great pattern, quick and easy to put together and a great, versatile piece to add to my wardrobe. I'm excited to make a few more next Fall in something drapier. Merino, perhaps?

Handmade Christmas

This is very unCanadian of me, but I'm trying this new thing where I don't apologize as much, especially for ridiculous things like blogging. This is a happy place to share and document my hobbies, and if that happens two months after I made something, so be it. No need to stress, no need to explain. Who knows, with practice maybe it will spill into other parts of my life. I encourage you to do the same. #noapologies

On that note... let me show you all of the super cute things I made for Christmas! Ho ho ho! :)