Recent Posts

Shaping Success!

First the triumphant photo:That right there is my GINORMOUS swatch for Fire Thief, using all the charts, but only working ...

Read More

Lapped Zipper and Waistband

Still working on the Brown Linen pants, at least here in blog land. In the real world I wore them ...

Read More

Brown Linen Pants, continued

I decided to sew up the new pants with “Byron,” my Singer 401a from about 1957, which was named after ...

Read More

Brown Linen Pants

Monday I made another pair of the flutter leg pants, which Hunter insists looks more like gauntlets:  That was my TRIUMPH! ...

Read More


As of about half an hour ago I have reached the end of the center chart for Fire Thief: The chart ...

Read More


Shaping Success!

March 6, 2015 1:38 pm

First the triumphant photo:

2015-03-06 09.51.18.jpg

That right there is my GINORMOUS swatch for Fire Thief, using all the charts, but only working a small part of the circular center motif and a couple repeats of the curl expansion chart. I believed in my geometric intuition about how this would work out, but I needed to test. 

Imagine the glass bowl represents your shoulder. The shawl is designed to hug your shoulder and Curl around your neck. (heh heh. See what I did there?) This is a small scale swatch that would fit a two or three year old, and it doesn’t have any beading, but the shaping will work just the same in the adult size. Phew! It works!

Here’s a pic from the top:

2015-03-06 09.51.10.jpg

It’s a pretty straightforward knit with just a few tricky bits. More or less you make a circular start, work in the round for the circular chart, then knitted cast-on a couple stitches and take off working back and forth Curling in one direction and picking up live stitches off the circular motif in the other. When you have used up all the sts from the motif you just keep working the Curl charts.

If you want a looser, flatter scarf you can use the progressively larger expansion charts as you work outward, or for a tighter spiral stick with the first chart. 

When it’s as large as you like, work the edging chart appropriate for however you ended up working the expansion charts. 

I have all the charts and am just working up final layout and the transition explanations. I should have it all written up soon— possibly later today– and have a version out for anyone who wants to test knit along with me. I’m off to Ravelry right now to set up a pattern page. :-)

Let me know if you’d like to knit a test one! All I ask are nice photos. 

Lapped Zipper and Waistband

February 28, 2015 3:09 pm

Still working on the Brown Linen pants, at least here in blog land. In the real world I wore them out yesterday and they were awesome! 

So! zipper! I like side zippers on pants. I think a fly is distracting and adds lumps where they are not wanted. I always like a refresher on these things, so I went looking for a nice tutorial, and found Gertie’s instructions. They are excellent.

First was cutting 1” strips of interfacing for the seam allowances where the zipper will be installed: 


Then pressing them into the seam allowance. Note that I did this after sewing the side seam to the bottom of where the zipper will start, but it would have been better to apply the interfacing and then seam:


Ad then I got engrossed in the actual installation and completely forgot to take pictures. If you follow Gertie’s tutorial I pretty much did the same thing, until I got to the L shaped seam on the front side of the lap. Here I wanted to merge the zipper nicely into the top of the pocket, so I put in a little bar tack at the top edge of the pocket. You can kind of see it in the pic below parallel with the pin and near the seam: 


After placing the bartack I started sewing down the front side of the zipper tape in the way Gertie recommended, which was, of course, when I ran out of bobbin thread. There may have been bad language at this point.


Once I got to the bottom of the zipper I folded the pocket back over the bartack, and sewed the bottom of the L inside the pocket:


Then closed the pocket, and put another bartack along the pocket seam at the bottom of the zipper. I’m quite pleased with the final result.


Trial fit and front pleat adjustment:

2015-02-23 20.22.26.jpg

On to the waistband! I always cut waistbands a couple inches longer than I want them, and clip off the end once they are set onto the waist of the garment. I cut and interfaced the waistband in the first article in this series. 

First I sew up the end that will be on the inside, where the button will be attached:

2015-02-23 20.33.24.jpg

Then turn the waistband right side out, and pin it up to the top edge, starting at the button end. 

2015-02-23 20.35.12.jpg

 Then sew it up:

2015-02-23 20.36.49.jpg

 stopping about an inch from the end of the pants:

2015-02-23 20.40.20.jpg

 Decide how large of an overlap I want for the button hole, factor in seam allowance, and clip off excess. In this case about an inch:

2015-02-23 20.41.41.jpg

 Then sew up that end, and finish seaming the waistband to the top of the pants: 

2015-02-23 20.43.27.jpg

 Interfaced seams are basically impossible to turn into nice corners without clipping. Just a tiny triangle makes all the difference:

2015-02-23 20.44.43.jpg

 Perfect square corner!

2015-02-23 20.45.24.jpg

 To finish off the buttonhole tab I clipped the inside of the waistband where it would clear the zipper:

2015-02-23 20.46.11.jpg

 then tucked it in and pressed it:

2015-02-23 20.46.43.jpg

 And finally topstitched all around the waistband. Done except for the button, button hole, and hems!

2015-02-23 20.59.53.jpg


Brown Linen Pants, continued

February 27, 2015 6:00 am

I decided to sew up the new pants with “Byron,” my Singer 401a from about 1957, which was named after Lord Byron. I have lots to say about Byron and the Luddites, but that’s not how this machine got its name. When I started collecting vintage machines I decided they would need names, decided the theme would be women in STEM, and my first one was a Singer Rocketeer I named “Ada,” for Ada Lovelace. This machine was the model immediately prior to the Rocketeer I named “Ada,” so naming it “Byron” seemed appropriate, since Byron was Ada’s estranged dad, and this machine looks frumpy and old next to it’s sleek and racy daughter.


That’s “Margaret” in the background, which is a Morse Apollo from the early 70s. Morse named the machine in honor of the moon missions, so it only seemed fitting to name the machine after Margaret Hamilton.  I don’t know why sewing machines from the 50’s to 70’s had names inspired by spaceships, but hey. Who am I to argue?

So, pants! Last post I had gotten through all the cutting and prep, and was ready to start sewing. 

First up was putting the pockets together: 


Here they both are laid out after sewing: 


Except, uhm, there’s a problem. That is two right pockets. I need a right and a left. That’s why the seam ripper is out. This is better: 


Next I needed to transfer marks from the pattern sheets to the cut pieces:


I also write the piece names on each piece. This shouldn’t be necessary, but it really helps me not be stupid and connect the wrong pieces. It also makes it much more clear which is the right and which is the wrong face for fabrics like this one that are hard to distinguish. I honestly chose one face arbitrarily as the face since I couldn’t see a difference, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they looked different under some lights and from some angles. It’s prudent to make sure all pieces are cut with tops facing the same way on the piece, and keep track of inside and outside. This is proof against tears the first time I wear them outdoors in bright sun, which is where different nap and finish tend to show up most blatantly. 

Once the pieces were marked the next task was fixing the edges. I find this easier to do right off the batt before anything is sewn: 


You can see the little zig-zag stitches on the edge in that shot. If you look closely the machine is taking three stitches to the left and then three back to the right as it moves the fabric forward. I find this does a nicer job finishing the edges than a plain zig-zag, which tends to crumple the edge a bit.

I will also note that I hate this part. When I start sewing on a pattern I want to get started with the construction seams right away! but I’ve learned enough patience to zip around the edges. Again it saves me from tears later when trying to zig-zag an edge during finishing that’s tucked deep in a seam, or worse, having the garments start unravelling while I’m wearing it. 

Next I sewed the crotch seam and back darts on the back pieces: 


And then topstitched the back seam, to give it extra strength. I’ve had back seams pop open twice. Not a fun experience!


Next I marked the front pieces: 


Pinned up the pleats on the flutter/gauntlets:


Attached the pockets: 



Next up is inserting the zipper. I used Gertie’s write-up from Coats and Clark. I think I’ll end here for today and write up the zipper in the next post.

%d bloggers like this: