Feels like the First Time


Remember that shirt I was going to make for Mr. Penney? Well, I finished it last week. Here is the result:

New knit shirt

And here is the review that appears on Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:
Men’s button front knit shirt based on this Banana Republic shirt

Original Banana Republic knit shirt

Pattern Sizing:
A men’s medium, with an addition inch added to the chest

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
It looks pretty close to the shirt that it is based on.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
To get the pattern, I followed the instructions in David Page Coffin’s book on shirtmaking. This was pretty easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I wish I had used a straight edge and a french curve to make the final pattern. I freehanded it the whole way, mainly due to lack of patience.

Fabric Used:
A red cotton/lycra knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
After making the initial patterns following the method in DPC’s book, I added an inch to the chest at my other half’s request. I cut the front and the back pattern pieces and redrew them with a quarter inch gap where the cut was made.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would use DPC’s method of copying a garment again, but it will be a while before I make this particular shirt again. This was my first time sewing with knits. The problem I ran into was sewing interfaced areas with non-interfaced areas, like the buttonbands on the front. The non-interfaced fabric would not feed evenly because of the drag of that fabric against the surface of the sewing cabinet. I eventually corrected this problem by sandwiching what was being sewn between two pieces of wax paper. I don’t know if there is a better way. I sure hope so.

It turned out ok. It was definitely a learning experience, mostly with sewing knits. I need to go back to taking baby steps.

I will eventually post a pic of Mr. Penney wearing the shirt. He has tried it on and it fits, but I did have a camera around at the time.

Copyright 2008 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Waiting Game


Well, I am sitting here right now, waiting for the air conditioning repairman to call me to let me know when he will be here. Fortunately, today is not supposed to be a scorcher; but I have never been a fan of these unscheduled times off work. I don’t have a lot of vacation time to begin with, so taking time off just to be chained to the house waiting for an appointment leaves something to be desired.

I figured, in the meantime, that I would update you on what is going on in textile land.

One STR Carbon sock is done.

STR Carbon sock 1 done

My impressions so far? At least with the mediumweight, the yarn is ok; but I wouldn’t stand in line to get it. I think STR’s colorways are what causes the big fanbase. The yarn itself doesn’t seem to have much in the way of properties that I expect from merino: elasticity and softness. Would I buy it again? Probably, but it isn’t my first choice.

As far as the diamond brocade sock,

Diamond Brocade stuck

I am kind of in a quandary about that. I am still trying to figure out how I am going to do the foot. Karen is right that the stranding pinstripe is not ideal. I ripped out what you saw previously and tried knitting into the round below to create the pinstriping, but I am not sure about how to go about the decreases for the gusset with this method. Of course, if I rip out the heel and just go with a short row heel, my life would get a lot easier, as there would be no decreasing in the colorwork; but I kind of like the look of the decreasing in the pinstripe.

As for the spinning, I am halfway there.

Woodland progress

To give you an idea of how fine the single is, here it is in comparison to Colinette Jitterbug.

Woodland against Jitterbug

I admit, I am a slow spinner, especially with fine yarns. Hey, at least it makes the experience last longer, right?

And there is a new sewing project on the horizon.

Cotton/Lycra jersey

I got these jersey knits from Gorgeous Fabrics to try my hand at copying a favorite shirt of Mr. Penney’s. We can’t find a knit shirt that buttons all the way up the front anywhere, so I came up with the brilliant idea of making one. I report later on how successful the whole thing turns out. Continue reading

Be My Baby


Well, I finished the second dress this past weekend; and yesterday, both dresses were taken to the post office to make their way to Ken and Uma.

Green sundress with short pants

Here is my review that will somehow manage to get on PatternReview.

Pattern Description:

Sundress with short pants from Sewing for Baby.

Pattern Sizing:

In the book, it goes from small (0-3 months) up to xl (9-12 months.) I made the medium (3-6 months.)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

The results match the drawings inside the book pretty well.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions were pretty easy to follow. There is really only one instance where I wish there was a bit more detail, and that was for the hemming of the skirt of the dress. All it says is to hem the dress, but not by how much. While this may differ from child to child, a ballpark figure would have been nice for when making these things as gifts for a child sight unseen.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern?

I like that this pattern has a lot of possibilities and is pretty easy to put together, despite my being a novice. The results are pretty cute.

I was surprised that the casings for the short pants weren’t turned under more, rather than just zig-zagged and sewn down. I guess since the child will only be in the things for a few months, the thought is that this will be enough for the task.

Short pants casing

Fabric Used:

The green is a Robert Kaufman cotton and the pink is a Debbie Mumms cotton, both from Joann’s.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

I did a rolled hem on the skirt, for lack of instruction and needing to practice that anyway when I start making shirts.

Rolled hem for skirt 

To attach the skirt to the bodice, I sewed the skirt to the outside layer of the bodice, and then topstitched the bodice around the skirt to catch the bodice facing (not always successfully. I went back and handstitched the inside of the bodice to keep the thing from fraying as it gets washed.)

Topstitch skirt to bodice

Inside bodice

I also edgestitched all of the openings on the bodice in an effort to stabilize the edges and make it come out better in the wash.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?:

I would definitely sew it again. It went together pretty quickly with good results. Anyone should be able to sew this.


A winner.

Back button closure

Two sundress with short pants

One Step Up

And two steps back. Reference

Well, this is as far as I am with my mother’s sock.

Ribbed lace sock 1

Now, if you saw it last Wednesday night, you might be saying to yourself, “Funny, I thought he was a lot further along with it than that at Meetup.” Well, yes, I was. After finishing the heel flap, turning the heel, and picking up stitches along the heel flap, I noticed a problem. I didn’t have the right number of stitches along the pattern side of the sock. It turns out that I missed a yarn over in the pattern when I started knitting on Wednesday night. Most of my knitting time this weekend was actually spent un-knitting. Grrrr. From now on, I will be taking something that requires a little less thought as my travel projects, no matter what the (self imposed) deadline.

BTW, the pattern is Ribbed Lace from SKS, with the sock yarn from Sheila.

That said, I did get something accomplished this weekend:

Screaming pink sundress with short pants

I got the first of the dresses done. Actually, I still have to do the buttonholes on it, but I have to get the buttons first. I will review it further when I get the other dress done. Let’s just say that at the moment, it is still a learning process for me, but that was not unanticipated. It’s made to fit 3 to 6 months, and as long as you give it too close of an inspection, it looks pretty nice.

Da’ Butt


Here it is, as promised.

I have been asked why I am sewing pants. Well, as far as sewing garments in general, I one day dream of making shirts and jackets out of my own handwoven material. But I am sewing pants for an entirely different reason.

Rear view of burda pants

I have a big ass. And large thighs. I have always had a hard time getting pants that fit because of this. So this that in mind, I have tried making a pair of pants from Burda pattern 7841.

And yes, I know that I need to press the pants. That will happen before the first official wearing.

The following is my review that I have posted on Pattern Review.

Pattern Description: Men’s dress pants with slash front pocket

Pattern Sizing: Men’s sizes: 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 (this is hip measurement in cm)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, for the most part.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Not really. I read through them several times, and it just felt like there were steps missing. I used the Cabrera’s Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Men’s Wear along with the instructions. For the construction of the fly and the pockets, I followed Cabrera. For the rest, I followed the Burda instructions.

It would also be good if the instructions said what interfacing was needed and the pieces that needed to be cut from it at the very beginning of the instructions, rather than mixed within the construction steps.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern? Besides disliking the instructions, I think the waistband and the belt loops need to be wider. My dress belts barely make it through the belt loops. At least I know that the waistband won’t be rolling over.

I would also like deeper pockets. I think the pockets on this pattern are pretty shallow, especially for slant front pockets.

With all of that said, I do like the styling and the fact that they do not look like old man pants.

Fabric Used: I used a Zegna cotton that I got at Michael’s Fabrics for the fashion fabric. The pocketing is Salesia pocketing that I got from B. Black and Sons. I used Pro-Weft interfacing from Sew Exciting for the fly and waistband.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I followed Cabrera’s book for the pockets (modifying the pocket pieces from the pattern) and the fly. I also added a button loop on the rear welt pockets, as shown in Cabrera’s book. In the future, I would make a wider waistband and longer belt loops.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew this again. I have some other pants patterns to try out first. I would recommend this for someone that is on the thinner side (which I don’t include myself in, just to be clear.)

Conclusion:For my first attempt at sewing any garment, I think the pants came out ok. These were to serve as a muslin to try out the pattern before I dive into my wools and wool blends. I may come back to this pattern, depending on how the Kwik Sew and Simplicity patterns turn out.

Ok, all that said, here are some more pics and a confession. Please, try to control yourselves, as you are about to get inside my pants!

Front view of burda pants Side view of burda pants

As you see, the fit isn’t all that bad. There are parts of the seat that need to be let out and other parts that need to be taken in, but for a first time, I think I did ok. There are parts of the Cabrera book that cover fit, and I can make the adjustments based on that.

Fly front closed of burda pants Fly front unzipped of burda pants

Don’t you feel privileged? I am pretty happy with how the fly came out. I will definitely follow the Cabrera’s instructions from now on, as I think it looks more professional than what the Burda instructions would have given me.

Rear welt pocket on burda pants

This was a combination of the Burda instructions for the welt and the Cabrera instructions for the actual pocket. I think I should have just gone with the Cabrera instructions, but I already had the Burda pieces cut out.

Failed attempt at waistband curtain

And here is the confession: I was trying to use pre-made waistband from B. Black and Sons and totally screwed it up, such that I had to cut the waistband pieces all over again. The problem. Once I sewed the pieces together, I didn’t pay attention to how I was trimming the excess away, and wound up making two waistband pieces for left side. I would have look really odd with only a waistband on one side of the pants! I gave up on the pre-made waistband this time and just followed the Burda instructions. Live and learn.

Bogey’s interest in pants

Oh, and Bogey is really interested in my pants. Just look at the admiration that he has for them. Ha!

Something Just Ain’t Right


Thanks for all of the b-day wishes. This past weekend was great. Busy, but great. Saturday, we had a party at our house to celebrate my 40th with friends and family. This involved lots of prep on the part of Mr. Penney and myself (but mostly Mr. Penney.)


We judged the party itself to be a success by the fact that we could not hear the stereo over everyone talking.

Sunday was spent recuperating from the party, and giving the leftovers to the neighbors. (We had enough food to feed twice the people that came.) Monday, Mr. Penney had to go to work, so I had the day to myself, doing laundry and finishing these:

Finished Coriolis socks

Would you suspect that these were the same dyelot? They are. I didn’t really realize how different they were until I took this picture. I am not sure why I did not notice the difference in the depth of shade between the two skeins when I bought the yarn, but I didn’t. This is the second time that this has happened to me, though I have the excuse for the first time being that I bought the yarn off of eBay. I don’t have that excuse this time. I think, for future purchases of hand-dyed sock yarn, I will stick to those sold as single skeins for a pair of socks rather than these smaller put-ups.

As for the pattern, I do like the final sock, though there is a problem with that. The spiral that goes up the leg by virtue of doing a decrease and an increase every round? That spiral reduces the circumference of the sock’s leg. Those 64 stitches, which are fine in the foot, are not enough for the leg when trying to put the sock on. That increase and decrease creates an inelastic area that just happens to fall right above the heel when continuing the spiral up the leg. A couple more stitches in the leg would probably solve this, either by continuing the “gusset” shaping a few more round to allow for extra stitches in the leg, or just not doing a couple of the decreases at the beginning of the leg.

And I did start a new project!

The start of pants

I am going to try to sew a pair of pants for myself. I am using Burda 7841 with some cotton fabric that I got on sale from Michael’s Fabrics. If the whole thing turns out to be a disaster, I won’t cry too much, as this is mostly to see if I can make the whole thing work.

I have all of the pieces of the pattern cut out and have read through the directions. And I have read through the directions, again. And again. And again. I must say, these Burda directions are about as clear as mud. There are just some things that do not make sense after examining RTW pants. For this reason, I believe I will be following directions in the book Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Men’s Wear rather than the Burda instructions. I’ll let you know how it goes.



Well, I must admit, sewing in the zipper for the sweater was my biggest dread for Mr. Penney’s sweater; but two things got me to do it:

  1. It was never going to be done until the zipper was finally in, and
  2. No matter how badly I did it, it could be taken out and done again, with the only thing being lost is time.

Initially, my plan was to use my sewing machine to sew in the zipper. Fortunately, I decided to try my “skill” with a test swatch I made to see how the yarn would wash and an extra zipper I had.

Attempt at using the sewing machine with a knit

Using the sewing machine seemed to stretch out the knit. I blame this on my skill (or lack there of) with the sewing machine, as I have always worked on wovens and not knits with it. This, however, meant I had to find another way.

I did some searching on the Internet and found some good information. What follows is what I did and why I made the decisions I made with this. This doesn’t mean that it is right. It just means that this is what I did. Follow at your own risk. Continue reading

Dress You Up


One sock down, one to go.

Pro Natura sock 1

I was happily knitting away on this sock on Sunday when I decided to take the ball of yarn to the scale to determine how much yarn I had left and when I should switch from doing the double basketweave to ribbing. Good timing, luckily, because I only had 56 grams left of a 100 gram ball; so I pulled out 6 grams and cut the cord. Ribbing commenced.

The bind off is a bit tight on this sock, despite going from 2.5 mm to 3.0 mm needle for the bind off. There is a possibility that I will have to take out the cast off stitches and just do a kitchner stitch bind off instead, which I seem to do ok.

And on Thursday night, I plied.

Mollusc closeup

The larger skein is 161 yards and is most of the 4 ounces of top. The smaller skein is about 20 yards that was left over on one of the bobbins after doing the plying for the larger skein. It will be good for swatching and the like. The yarn is about a sports weight, not the fingering weight that I was hoping for. Right now, I am thinking that I might use it to knit a hat; but I will let it sit on the pile a while until I am sure of what it wants to be.

Mollusc colors with fabrics

And what is the yarn sitting on? Well, that is my accumulating stash of fabrics. Don’t they go great with the Mollusc colorway? All of the fabrics come from Michael’s Fabrics. I have plans on getting deeper into sewing, with the worsted wools going towards dress slacks for me and Mr. Penney and the gray cotton shirting going for a shirt for myself. SQUEEE!