Sunday, March 15, 2009


January 2010 edit: I've decided to close the comments on this blog - I've been getting is a bunch of spam. If you want to comment on something here, all of these posts have been imported into the Wordpress blog (link below) with open commenting!

Last notice folks - come join me over at and update your feed readers!  There may be a SWAP to see... (ok, not by the end of April, but definitely soon! :D)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vintage Pattern Eye Candy

NOTICE: I have moved this blog over to - please update your bookmarks and RSS feed readers. I'm finding posting the same thing in both blogs to be a lot more work than I thought, so I may only do this once more before I quit updating this one.

Life has gotten in the way this week - sadly I've got nothing of my own projects to show, so I'm bringing back the "3 random vintage patterns in my stash" post! Like I need an excuse to play with them ;).

McCall's 3988, size 14, bust 34, 1956. I really like the collar on this one (sans lace).  The skirt is actually 3 rectangles, pleated into the bodice - surprisingly the dress only calls for 3 7/8 to 4 5/8 yards of fabric depending on view and width (the latter being the sleeved version with 35" wide fabric) - I was expecting > 5 with that poof!  The bodice has both underarm darts and pleats at the waist - which I guess would be why they are recommending really light weight fabrics (cotton shears, printed silk or cotton, linen, broadcloth, etc) - the unstitched pleats would pop out in a heavier weight fabric.  But couldn't you see view B in a medium weight wool?

Butterick 1879, size 15, bust 33 (why yes, we did just go up a size and down a measurement! could be because it's labelled a "Junior Miss Wedding Gown and Veil"), no date, unprinted pattern priced at 25 cents on the instruction sheet, but 50 cents on the pattern envelope!  It came in an envelope hand addressed to "Mrs. John C. Crouse" with the only address as "Town".  At least I think that's what it says.  Return address "Education Department, Women's Missionary Society of the United Lutheran Church in America, 723 Muhlenberg Bldg. (1228 Spruce St.), Philadelphia, PA" - I wonder if the Society actually sold Butterick patterns, or if someone was using office stationary to give something to a friend ;).
Butterick 4366, size small (12-14, bust 30-32), no date, unprinted pattern, also listed as 50 cents on the envelope, but the style of both the envelope and instruction sheet is different from the wedding dress.  Could be different "lines", but I'm thinking different years as well.  Described as "(A)Long cape for evening wear has a deep V yoke in back.  Attached hood has a face-framing cuff effect. (B)Shorter length cape for daytime wear. (C)This version is suitable for rainwear in a plastic fabric.  All are "Quick and Easy" to sew." Ah, I missed the little sketch of the woman in her plastic raincoat and rubber boots!   Can you imagine trying to get plastic through a Singer sewing machine?

This might actually have been a bad idea - who wants to make boring wool pants now?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

SWAP #4, and New Blog


I've been playing around over at, and I really like some of the features there - so I've imported this blog to! I'll continue to update both blogs for the rest of the month to hopefully catch everybody who reads, so if you have an RSS feeder (like Bloglines or Google Reader), you'll want to take this one off when you add the wordpress version, or you'll end up with double posts for a little while.

So back to our regularly scheduled horrible winter light pics (actually it turned out to be horrible winter twilight pics, because I was just that slow with the hand stitching!)...

SWAP Item #4 is done!! No, don't revise your impression of my sewing speed, this piece was cut out prior to this week, and as an unlined skirt, it's probably the simplest piece of the whole plan! (I may have to revise that plan...).

I was very happy to be able to squeeze an ankle length skirt out of the same brown wool as a pair of pants (also cut out, next on the list) - in the storyboard I had this drawn as a knee length half-circle skirt because I didn't think it was possible. I definitely wear ankle-length skirts more. This is an 8-gore flared skirt I drafted long ago - I made a 6-gore version of it about 4 years ago now. This will replace a tan poly skirt I bought at Le Chateau even longer ago!

Since the SWAP theme is heavy on the practicality, it was important to me that all my bottoms at least had pockets. This time I used the same in-seam waistband pocket that worked out so well in the skorts I made for the June Capsule Contest:

Similar style shot as it would look with the tops and vest I have planned for the SWAP:

And - SHOCK - there was no drama with this one!! Yeah, the yoke seams had to be taken in, and the length was too long (things that really shouldn't happen when you've drafted it for you specifically ;) ), but there's no problem fixing that. Just a nice skirt that went together almost without complaint. YEAH! Fingers crossed for the next 7!!

Now, I have been knitting during all of this. Quite a bit actually. Most of it has to remain secret, and the one thing I have finished, I don't want to show you:

One fair isle sock done!! But if I show it to you, what will be the big deal when I get through the second one? And we all know the second one is harder ;).

Now I have to decide whether to continue with the brown wool pants (pros: already cut out, would get the semi-dreaded last pair of pants out of the way, could always use more wool in this weather!) or dive in to something new - plaid buttoned top with puffed sleeves? The mint and chocolate 3/4 sleeved t-shirt?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

SWAP piece #3 done, dag nabbit

You know those projects that just don't want to co-operate?? Yeah, this was one of those.

Black cotton gaberdine, my pants pattern #2 straight leg, loosely based on a Burda World of Fashion magazine pattern. A little tight at the moment - I need to stop living off of sandwiches and toast!

I had left this length of fabric for a long time, because it was perfect pant material, and I didn't want to make something that didn't fit or I didn't like. So last fall when I made the navy blue pants I set out to cut out a pair in the black gaberdine at the same time. Well, considerably later in the day ;). Whipping along, I cut out the back, then pull up the rest of the fabric for the front, and whoops - so not enough! I cut things out on a piece of cardboard on my bed, so I don't see the whole layout at once. Usually I'm good about pinning everything out first to get the best use of the fabric...

So, needless to say I was disappointed in myself! I packed everything away, thinking I may be able to selvage a skirt out of it later. Well, a member at Stitcher's Guild pointed out that some of the patterns were showing pieced pant fronts - seams along the knee line for example. Couldn't I rescue the fabric that way? With a lot of teasing and jostling, and a pieced inside waistband, look I just might!

Pieced front leg of pants - ended up slightly lower than the knee.

Away to the races! I traced off the scooped pockets from my Jalie jeans pattern, but otherwise used the same pattern as the navy pair. The other not-so-good thing about having cut out the backs in September - turns out the navy pants are too short, and that's what I based these ones on. I did a 5/8" hem, so it's a little better... we'll see how much it's off and whether I have to get more creative than that.

So last night I was down to the buttonholes. That's it.

Ummm. Buttonholes go on the top flap, silly. A quick zig zag over them, and sewing the buttons on top - no one is the wiser, but jeesh - how many errors can you recover from and still have a workable pair of pants???

Fingers crossed these look fine in the end - I really, really need to ditch the old stretch cotton black pants I've been relying on since ~2000 :P.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A little break

because one would be silly to remain indoors with this kind of sunshine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


There have been good reasons to be neglecting the blog. Most of them not great, but reasons nonetheless. One that has potential though... this pic is a sneak peak at my next pattern, which is in the hands of test knitters as we speak!! Very excited about that one. Went nose to the grindstone about a week ago to finish it up and made it just in time before I was felled by the dreaded virus that's been going around (that was the worst reason - I've just started to be able to rub two brain cells together again, so this may be a bit more disjointed than usual :P).

I really, really hope to be able to get back to SWAP this week - I've had a nice pair of black pants almost done since the beginning of the year!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

All the no shows...

... all the "you didn't respond two seconds after it was posted", all the confusing directions, all the chaos, all the frustration

has all been made up for.

I'm back in love with freecycle again:

All fabric. Except the bag that has thread cones in it ;). I'm glad I managed to convince DH to come along, because I certainly wasn't prepared for the mountain of stuff behind that door!! "Some fabric pieces and scraps" indeed :P.

I'll have to go through it pretty quickly, DH wasn't impressed at the full car load right after he put one box in of stuff to give away. I don't think I mind. If anyone is looking for me, I'll be in the living room. If I don't come back for supper, it's because I'm avalanched in - send the dogs ;).

(oh, and irony number one? One of the pieces at the top of one of the bags was more mint knit. I wonder if she shopped at Wazoodle too?! Fingers crossed that I find more contrasting knit to mix it up with, or I'm going to be Flashback To The 80s Girl!)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Giggle... hmmm.

In yet another adventure into my mom's estate sale findings...

ROFL. And yet? If I found one in a second hand shop for $3, I'd snap it up and wear it for giggles. And then probably find out they're the most comfortable thing ever, and embarrass my DH by living in them.

Still, not enough fun to put days into it making it up from scratch. Especially since I'd have to grade it down by quite a bit (40" bust). But if I ever run across a green paisley sheet set... (*snort* again - I'm not a fan of paisley. Really. But it does work well in this...? Can one say anything "works well" with this?!)

Added laugh? See that side label? "A POUNDS-THINNER" PATTERN. Yeah, because having a gathered waisted overskirt over your pants slims ya right down :P.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Year in Review

I've been enjoying other crafty blogger review posts this last week, so I decided to join the fun! A photo retrospective of 2008, chez K&W (in the order and manner that Blogger put them there, because it's too much work to rearrange them...). Not a bad haul - but a very strange mix, if I do say so myself!

Secret Knitting Revealed

aka The Accidental Knitting Spree

Step 1: Decide not to knit Christmas gifts.

Step 2: Have oh so talented sister (OMG, I hadn't looked at her site in a while - isn't that fabulous???) make an oh, so reasonable request.  You see, she gets cold hands.  And she's a flutist.  Which means she needs finger dexterity (which standard "fingerless" mitts tend to hamper), and a colour she can wear in the orchestra pit.  Which would be black.

Enter lambswool & angora fingerless mitts.  No troubles.

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I added my own personal experience - you have fingerless mitts on already, and you are heading outside.  Seems silly to take them off to add regular gloves - and having tried to shove mine into isotoners, I thought  how cute it would be to have mitten toppers for the fingerless mitts.

Aren't they cute?  Obvious difficulties of taking pictures of the side of  your hand notwithstanding.  These were a little more work - one, because they are surprisingly bigger than the fingerless ones (well, not surprising when you see the pics, but they were nicely balanced in my head before I started!), and two because I made up the pattern as I went along.  Well, I had made up the fingerless mitts pattern too, but did that a while ago, so it was a lot smoother sailing.  Except for the making them match bit  - somebody make me count rows on the first one so I can match without pulling back three times, will ya?  Somehow it's really difficult to accurately gauge which row I did the M1 on at the base of the thumb  ;).

So far so good.  (Well, I admit it was already Dec 12th-ish, and a bit late for sending knitwear by post, but still good!)  I was set.  No one else expected anything (ok, even A didn't expect anything - my family is too nice for that), and in fact, my little sister hates clutter and told me long ago not to give her anything unless "it screamed R" to me.

Then I did my weekly perusal of Knitting Pattern Central and what did I see?

Bike Helmet Earmuffs for my serious mountain biker, ecoconscious, also chilly sister.  Reclaimed yarn, free pattern, what's there for her not to  love?  Finished just under the wire ("the wire" being the day we picked her up from the airport - so I guess I did have a couple of days of wriggle room, really!).

And the reason for the delays, besides the lack of planning?  Well flutist sis thought the fingerless mitts might come in handy for other instrumentalists.  And I crunched numbers, and figured that making them up might pay me enough (for now) for my time, so she put the offer out there... and I got a double order!  First pair went swimmingly.  Second pair... well.  After ripping out the second mitt twice for the whole "matching" thing ranted about earlier, I lost my project bag.  Two Harmony needles and that mitt.  Much wailing and gnashing  of teeth later, I pull out a matching second-hand, short aluminium circular needle with angled tips - so not the way to do magic loop.  Which of course induced a pretty big gauge change.  Which means #3 mitt doesn't  resemble #1 mitt.  Which means making  #4 mitt to match #3. 

All worked out in the end.  Then I found the project bag (yes, maddenly frustrating, except that I was so happy to have found the Harmony needles, I didn't care).  So I was back to having 1.5 men's fingerless mitts.  Hmmm.  There's a man in this house.  Who has mentioned the liking of fingerless mitts... Right-o, one pair finished for DH!

And didn't I show him that lovely red angora sweater while we were in VV, suggesting I could make him a hat out of it?  The same reclaimed yarn I just made my sister a pair of mitts out of?  And didn't he just lose track of the two hats he has with earflaps???
Lavish Flap Hat . You see how I get myself into these messes??  And then in the end, how happy I am to have ended up there?