Wednesday, October 22, 2014

E-shakti outfit review

I've heard a lot about Eshakti over the years, I knew all their clothes came in sizes 0-26, and I'd heard they'd had great customer service. When I recently learned that they pay a living wage to their employees and had safe working conditions (unlike the sweatshops in Bangladesh or Cambodia that collapsed in 2013) I knew I had to try them out. I got the Truly A Wrap polka-dot top. I chose custom sleeve and length options and went with a straight size 18. It does take about 3 weeks to get to you, but considering it's made-to-order, that's understandable. I love this top. It fits great and it's super cute. It's also nice to have a fair trade option where I can buy business-casual clothes. Most fair trade clothing looks like something I might get at an Indian market. Which is awesome, but not necessarily work appropriate. I've already ordered a two moe tops that should be here in a few weeks. (Also, they hand out coupons left and right, so far I've ordered 3 tops and not paid full price for any of them.) I also plan to get a winter coat from them too. (A fair trade winter coat I didn't have to make myself? - yes please!)  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Intermission for small knits.

I have a lot of big knits in my queue right now - another Fireside Sweater for a friend, and then gift-knit sweaters for my mom & sister. I love knitting gifts, and chunky knits go fast, but the prospect of nothing but yards and yards of the same chunky knit for the next two months and my brain snapped a little. I pulled out two balls of tiny little sock yarn, and whipped up two pairs of socks this week. I'm not a particularly experienced sock knitter, so I used the Vanilla Latte Socks pattern, which is top down and super easy. I did size medium, but I may take a couple stitches off next time, and try a little more negative ease. But now I'm looking forward to some fast, bulky knitting now, so mission accomplished!

Friday, October 3, 2014

FOs and Instagram updates.

If you follow me on instagram, you know I added a shawl collar to my Firestone Sweater (last alteration, I promise), and finished my Ombre Vest. I sewed in a zipper which was new for me. I also sewed up a chevron tshirt dress. At this point, practically everything I own is a shade of grey, which is pretty fine with me, but I may add some nice oranges and creams for fall. (I really love fall colorways.) 

I got some fleece lined legging at Meijer, and I love them so much. I want to never take them off. (They aren't fair trade/hand made, but if you hear of fair trade leggings, let me know!)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Holy holes in donughts Batman, what a break!

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Its been two months, oops.

I've been drop spinning yarn recently, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I finished my Fireside Cardigan, and started one for a friend. I modded the original pattern, details here.

Also I cut my hair.

I've got all sorts of fall knits on the needles, right now, and I'm excited to share them once they're done. I think my knitting really picks up in fall and winter, because they are the perfect seasons to knit & wear cozy stuff. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I've been wanting to make a maxi skirt for a while. They seem so casual and comfy, and they're pretty straightforward. I wanted to make a Gabriola skirt, because it seems so glam, and it is a big hit among the sewist blogs I follow. It uses a lot of fabric though, (over 5 yards!) and I'd have to grade it up at least a size, and that's a lot of effort I'm a) not interested in, and b) I don't have the skills for anyway. I got 4 yards of this dark grey knit fabric from Yerdle (so, free!) and I wanted to make sure I had enough for whatever skirt pattern. I went with this one. I made the very flared version, and I'm glad I did, because any smaller and I'd feel like I was just wearing a tube of fabric. (It depends, I have a very wide stride, so I need lots of space.)

I learned a lot about needle types and sizes trying to sew this, but I only got through one side seam before the machine really started eating the fabric with a vengeance. I ended up hand stitching the other side seam and the elastic casing at the top. I read about different stitches, stitching techniques, and stitching knits. It actually ended up being really interesting and I think I'm going to look in to hand stitching garments more. I got Couture Sewing Techniques and have been browsing through it. Hand sewing would take longer, but I like the tiny, meticulous work (hello, knitting), and it might make sewing more portable. I never liked that sewing always seems to require all these little bits and notions and a machine, it always seemed to take forever to just set up.

I think my machine may be on its way out. I love it, but its a $60 machine I got 8 years ago. It's been through endless moves, and I honestly haven't taken very good care of it. I can really justify buying a new one, though. 

I don't know what's up with my bangs, ignore them.  I also set my camera at a new angle and apparently it makes me look 2 feet tall, so I'll be adjusting that in the future. I would have taken a new picture, but Olivia was determined to pull the tripod down on herself, so I had to cut the photos short.

I want to sew a button down shirt next, to go with the vest I'm knitting. I think this maxi will look great with them. Sweaters and button downs are a style I've always loved, and they seem perfectly autumn, so I figure if I start now I'll be done by fall. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Summer outfits

When its not in the 80s this past week, its been pouring rain. Sometimes both. Not that I'm complaining, I'll take hot over cold any day. So this has been my uniform the past week:

I finished my Brush Creek Shawl and drafted a pair of broadcloth shorts. It's the first time I've drafted pants of any kind, and they aren't stretchy, so I had to redo the muslin twice. I based them on a pair of jean shorts I own that I love. I lined them with white muslin, and the band at the top I reinforced with really stiff interfacing. I didn't put any elastic in them, so I'm thinking of adding belt loops so they'll be a tad more fitted. I did add a zipper on the side. Next time I think I'll add the zipper to the front though, because the broadcloth is very wrinkly and I think it looks a little weird. 

With my shirt tucked in. Not the most flattering, but you can see the waistband better. 

And the zipper. 

The Brush Creek Shawl I'm not as sure about it. I like it as a summer scarf, but its a little thicker than I think I like. Its bulkier around my neck then I like.  Next time I will stick to DK or even fingering weight cotton yarn. The pattern is great though, and I just adore this color scheme. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Everyday Loafers

I found this awesome shoe pattern over at Shoeology. I've been looking around for some shoes that are fair-trade, but they're not easy to find. I mean, there are fair-trade shoes all over the place. But I wear roughly a 12 wide -13 in womens, and it's hard to find those sizes in shoes in general. I can wear mens shoes, but I don't always want to wear mens shoes, sometimes womens shoes are nice. Plus I love wearing heels. But since I wasn't finding anything in the fair-trade section I wanted, I decided to to go the hand-made route. I stumbled upon shoeology, which is pretty much exactly what I was looking for.
This pattern only goes up to 11 in womens, but they do have patterns that go up to 15 in women and 13 in men. I figured this pattern would be pretty easy to manipulate to fit my feet. I started by printing out the size 11 pattern and then wrapping it around my feet to estimate how much larger I would have to make the pattern and got this:

My big feet.

I cut out inner lining in white muslin, and then did a second layer of muslin in the middle to substitute for interfacing since I didn't have any on me. 

First try - Sole is *way* too narrow. Ripping seams and adjusting.

Second try - Sole is still to narrow. Trying again.

Third try - OK, now the sole is too wide, but a minor adjustment and its perfect. Although the top is a little bit too long. Took about a 1/2 inch of length off at the heel, and its great.

Where there is white thread there will eventually be elastic.

I really like how this turned out. When I do actual shoes, I'm going to get some really thick canvas and thick interfacing so that they aren't so floppy. This is duck cloth I had on hand from a different project. Shoeology also has some American made soling material on their site which I want to order as well. Once I get this pattern down I can definitely see making a bunch of these shoes in different colors.