Competing Priorities

Dudes, I am having a week. You all know the kind: Too much stress. Few breaks. Lots of overtime. Little sleep.  To say that I’ve been looking forward to the weekend is to understate my feelings by a factor of 1000.

So, anyway, here we are. The weekend! For the next two days the world is my oyster, and let me tell you, I am excited. I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’m looking forward to digging back into, and the only problem I have now is deciding how to focus my attention. So, without further ado, here’s my list of works in progress:

  1. Ishnana Cardigan

Once upon a time, I was a super speedy sweater knitter–I have even been know to churn out a complete garment, including all finishing, in a week or less–but there’s something about Ishnana that has forced me to slow right down. I cast on this cardigan in late August after a great deal of hemming and hawing about what my first fall 2016 project should be, as well as a couple false starts with other patterns and yarns. In the end, I’m really glad I went with Ishnana for a few of reasons: 1) it’s been in my queue for more than a year; 2) it’s the perfect excuse to put my beloved Montreal Vacation yarn to good use; and 3)  the pattern is beautiful and awesome and so much fun to knit! I have much more to say about this cardigan but I’ll save it for when I’m finished the project, which could be soon. I cast on the second sleeve last night–the last missing piece–so the knitting could be completed as soon as the end of the weekend. I’m going to take my time with the finishing, though… this sweater still needs a perfect set of buttons (I’m thinking grey mother of pearl), and I will definitely be reinforcing these button bands somehow.

2. Mosaic blanket

Anyone who’s followed my ramblings since the start will be familiar with my struggles to finish a blanket. There’s just something about a project of this size that causes me to seize up and become paralyzed at the thought of spending so long working on a single project before it’s finished. But I can say with absolute confidence that this blanket is definitely going to be finished.

In an attempt to brighten my winter days, I’ve elected to knit up a bunch of different colours into my blanket–6 in total–and the effect so far is pretty fucking rad. At the K-man’s insistence, I’ve added two more stripes to the original five, which means that the blanket is taking longer to finish than I originally planned. But I’m now over the 50% mark and, if I put my mind to it, I could probably finish the 5th stripe this weekend.

3. Sewaholic Granville shirt

The observant among you will notice that there is no picture for this project, and the reason for that is because I haven’t taken a picture. Right now, my shirt is in the muslin stage and, despite my big talk about showing you my flawed projects, I’m really not ready to share this one with the world yet. I actually think this project is going well for such a complicated garment and one I’m attempting for the first time ever. But dudes, progress is slow. So, so slow. Last weekend, I forced myself to finish the collar, a component that has taken weeks to figure out and has caused a lot of tears of frustration. To be perfectly frank, it doesn’t look great, but the one thing it does look like is an actual shirt collar. So, that’s some progress! If I can tear myself away from the cozy pile of knits I’ve already talked about, I’d like to take a stab at making a sleeve placket and setting the sleeves.

Knitters and sewers: Do you agree with my weekend priorities? How would you reshuffle the order? And, what are your top creative priorities for the next two days?

 

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Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse: SOS Edition

Dudes, I love the start of September. It always reminds me of the beginning of the school year and everything associated with it: starting the next step up on the educational ladder, whether you wanted to or not. A new set of surroundings shared with familiar people and, often, brand new people. The air starts to cool down in the mornings, causing what I like to call the “wardrobe fake-out”, or the fact that it becomes a real challenge to dress properly for the weather without carrying around a lot more stuff (coats, umbrellas, sunglasses) with you as you go about your business. Back to school shopping means that you begin fall with a lot of new stuff, which did much to raise your credibility in the jungle that is the school yard. Anyway, early fall has a lot of positive associations for me, so I’m totally fucking excited to have the next few days off from work to enjoy this time!

Of course, not everyone feels the same way I do:

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Sorry, kid. Hopefully you’ll see one day how great September can be.

Anyway, DAYS OFF!! My favorite time to start new sewing projects is during long weekends, which I think is because I don’t enjoy sewing in short spurts–It’s not as easy to pick up and put down a sewing project as it is with a knitting project, so extra days off give me a chance to make real progress on a project that I begin from scratch. Because my version of a hedonistic pleasure-filled long weekend is all about makin’ shit, I’ve got several projects on the go already (a cardigan, a blanket, a loaf of bread, a fancy dinner), and I promise to let you in on all of them eventually (maybe not the dinner, though. Those tend to get lost in the heat of the moment). But today I need help with my sewing project, the Belcarra Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns. In keeping with my promise from last time to start showing my projects at their less-than-perfect stages, here are some poor quality shots of my muslin, starting with the front:

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And the back:

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Okay. Here’s what I’ve done with this pattern:

  • Size: 10
  • Modifications: 1 inch FBA using the seam method of alteration from Fitting and Pattern Alteration (non-affiliate link… I just really like this book!). This was a way quicker method for doing the FBA than the traditional FBA and it gave the perfect amount of ease I was looking for without distorting the pattern or giving me an unwanted dart.
  • Fabric: Plain muslin. Pressed but not washed.

Here’s what I already know:

  • It’s quite long, but I’ve decided that I like the idea of a wide hem on this one, and the waist shaping hits in just the right spot, so I’m going to keep the length as is.
  • I need a sizeable swayback adjustment… it looks to be about 1 inch or so, as you can see (or, I hope you can see) from the second picture and all the fabric pooling / bunching in the small of my back.

I mostly like the fit of this so far. I’ve chosen to make a version with less ease than the designer recommends, mainly because over-sized silhouettes tend to swamp my small-ish frame due to my large bust, which turns shapeless garments into tents on me. Even with less ease, though,  I can get this on and off easily and have no need for a closure (zipper or buttons).

Okay, so far, so good. But where I need help is in deciding what to do with the front. To me, it seems like there is far too much fabric blousing up over my bust and just under my shoulders. See? No wrinkles at all, but it just looks like too much extra. Now, watch what happens when I pinch out the excess, starting from my apex:

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The fit, as you can see, is way better with the excess pinned out all the way to the shoulders. But, there are a few issues:

  • I have no idea how to approach making this adjustment on a raglan sleeve top. Fitting and Pattern Alteration doesn’t provide any guidance here either.
  • If I do end up making this alteration in conjunction with the swayback, the top becomes more of a challenge to get on and off as-is and will almost certainly need an invisible zipper down the side or center back.
  • In looking at other examples of the Belcarra Blouse on the internet, it seems that everyone else’s versions of the top look pretty blousy in the exact same location, but the blousy-ness is not exactly unattractive. Perhaps the stiff muslin is making this part of the top look worse than, say, a navy silk twill with  excellent drape might, and no adjustment is needed in this area after all?

Sewers of the Internet, I hope you can help me! Here are my questions to you:

  • Should I take out the excess fabric from the upper chest to the shoulder? If yes, how do I go about making this alteration?  Bear in mind that the shirt front AND the sleeve front need to be adjusted here.
  • Does anyone have any recommendations for how to do a swayback adjustment of about 1 inch without completely distorting the pattern?

OR

  • Should I call it a day on this pattern and save my good fabric for a t-shirt that will look better on me?

Your advice is most gratefully appreciated!!