Monday, July 30, 2012

Love Story: How a Knitter Fell for Hand Sewing

I'm still kicking myself for not discovering Alabama Chanin sooner. Seriously? Where have I been? Why did I not know about this? I remember when the first book was released and how I was drawn to the name and the cover but because it was sewing by hand promptly put it back on the self.  To think I was so close to meeting my new love.

The title could also read "Sewing For Knitters" because I have found a true companion to complement my deep deep adoration for knitting. Don't get me wrong there will be nothing that can replace the soothing sounds of needle tips clicking together as mere wisps of string are looped and caught to magically transform into a garment (highly romanticised but true.) I am always in awe of knitting. I look down to watch my piece grow and marvel at how amazing it is every time.

What does this have to do with sewing and how is it that someone who will avoid seams in a knit garment at all costs as to avoid sewing can now be so in love with it?

The idea of crafting a garment completely by hand, at first, terrified me. All the steps before you get to the actual sewing are very much the same as for machine sewing, although as I went to sleep last night I realized that cutting out the fabric is very much akin to winding a skein of yarn. The similarities to knitting keep coming. Once your fabric is cut out in pattern the project is totally portable, just like knitting. There might be a little set up such as testing what embroidery stitch to use, like swatching a knit. Pinning items together and "loving" your thread are like casting on.

Are you still with me?

The Low Down
Pattern: Alabama Chanin tank top from Alabama studio Sewing + Design size XS
Fabric: A thrifted XXL mens t-shirt

I used a thrifted shirt so that I could just dive in. I have a terrible tendency to hoard fabric and find it too precious to cut. Not so with some dudes giant purple t-shirt. The shirt turned out to be a super awesome find. It's a really lovely thin 100% cotton that's soft and has tiny purple and light purple stripes.

Let's talk about the sewing, oh the sewing. I love how it feels to be hand stitching the seams together. Felling them is my preferred look and I really love the whole embroidery bit. I even like testing it out to decided what would look best.  I went with the feather stitch because it was one I could actually figure out and make look good. I have a lot to learn about embroidery stitches.

One of my littles was about to sneak in the shot

Overall I'm really pleased with how it turned out but I did have to make some modifications. After I was all done sewing the binding in place I tried it on only to find that I really should have done so BEFORE I worked so hard on the embroidery (hand to forehead, doh.) The armholes gaped something fierce and there was no way to remedy the problem without taking off some portion of the binding. 

I only had to remove the slightest bit near the shoulder seams. I seam ripped and took in the shoulders quite a bit. I'm still left with a bit off a gap but nothing that screams "redo" or at least not to me.

More to come! I already stared another tank with thrifted shirts but this time with applique and I've order actual Alabama Chanin fabric to make a dress . Yippee! Hurray for Hand Sewing!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Obsession and Love

Just buzzing by with a quick peek at what I've got in my hands and on my mind.

Thanks Alabama Chanin for a new way to spend my evenings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Dye!

This week it has been HOT here in the mitten and we spent most of our time either getting wet outside or staying dry and cool in the AC.

By the end of the week I was all swum out and it really was too hot to just play outside (we're talking over 100 degrees!) but we were starting to feeling cooped up in our house. What did we do to beat the heat? Well naturally it's tie dye time!

Loki got a tie dye kit for his birthday and I figured what better way to spend our time outside but to strip down to undies (the boys, not me) and dye some things crazy bright colors. Unfortunately I have no pictures from the actual dye session because my hands got messy fast and corralling squeeze bottle toting tots with a camera was out of the question. Much fun was had and we all ending up with very colorful shirts and hands and even feet.

The ends results are quite wonderful and even more so because both kids really did all the dyeing of their shirts on their own with no help. I only stepped in to keep Astas from emptying the entire contents of every bottle of color onto one shirt. We also made shirts for their cousins and me, by we I mean me, can you tell which ones I did?

The hardest part for the kids was waiting. After the shirts where all colored they had to be wrapped up in plastic and left alone for 24hrs. Twenty Four hours!! A day in kid time feels like a year. It was as if we were on a long trip except for "Are we there yet?" was replaced with "Are they done yet?"  I didn't wait the exact amount of time recommended to rinse and wash them because there is only so much a Mama can do to keep anxious kids at bay. I did all the rinsing, washing and drying so I could surprise the kids after siesta time.  They were so happy and proud that they wore the shirts to bed and are still wearing them as I write this.
Proud Artists

 Goofy artists

 Firetruck sighting

 Closer view of the firetruck.

Trying to keep an eye on the firetruck parked across the street.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And She Sews in to the Wee Hours

My little guy turned 3, THREE, this past week.  We have been talking about birthdays with him for a while because it's kinda been a birthday season that started in March . We asked what he wanted for his birthday and he said "Strawberry cake and presents."  I had the cake covered thanks to pinterest.

This was the best picture I could get because he kept dancing around (and my camera is crummy)

The "and presents" not so much. I was racking my brain and remembered "oh, yeah...the quilt....." I bought the fabric for it waaaay back in 2009 and even posted about it to keep me motivated. Clearly that didn't work. The day before his birthday, or that night before, I set out to finish the stinkin quilt. All I had left was to bind it all up. Piece of cake, right?

Somehow my brain was so fried that I could not wrap my head around how to do those mitered edges and I think I spent about a 1/2 hour struggling with the logistics. Luckily my brain kicked it into high gear and I got the machine sewing done. I then spent the better part of the evening hand stitching the miters into place with the injured thumb to prove it. The end result isn't perfect but when he went to bed after his birthday dinner he said "I need a blanket." I covered him with a gauze one he has been using since it got hot. "NO" he said "my new blanket, it's my favorite." Heart melting and gleeful smiling on the part of this Mama.

Frolic by Wendy Slotbloom with some other randoms to round it out.

Seriously could not have asked for a better end to the day or project.