Monday, December 17, 2012

Norwegian Knitting

I bought the book Norwegian Knitting Designs just based on the photograph of the sweater design on the cover.  I was really intrigued by this sweater and had to have the book.  I was not disappointed.  I love the cover design and  several others in the book.

I picked out the following sweater, "Garter Stitch Jacket" as my first sweater design to knit out of this book, because I thought I could use up a bit of my stash on this one.  I am really trying to use up my stash.  And I am, slowly but surely.  However, I do find that I use a little bit of stash, then I have to go back and buy more so that I can knit whatever design I have decided upon.  In this case, I had five colors in the right gauge, but needed fifteen total.  I went to the store and traded some recently bought yarn that I didn't need for three of the ten I needed, but I still had to buy seven colors.  

Here are the fifteen colors I ended up with for this design.  In my case, the turquoise and blues will be the predominate sweater color, and the reds will end up more has highlights.  

But first, I have to finish my button sweater.  I am almost done with one sleeve.  I then discovered I had misinterpreted the directions and had to take off the part above the cuff and the turn the cuff around and graft it back to the sleeve.  I think I am going to make the sleeves longer, so I will knit a few more inches before I knit them to the sweater skirt.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Button Sweater

After finishing a sweater for my daughter, I turned back to my stash and decided what to knit with.  I had bought a Spanish yarn from a sale years ago and had yet to do anything with it.  It is Gedifra's Marokko which is 100 percent cotton.  After looking through loads of books and magazines, I chose a sweater from Classic Elite Yarns' Winter Whimsy 2009 pattern book called the Embroidered Button Jacket.  Although I love the buttons which do make the sweater, I have been a bit lazy in thinking about making the buttons.

I have finished the bottom of the sweater up to the armholes.  I am now working on the sleeves which are then joined to the bottom.  The bottom of the sweater is knit in the round.  I hope to finish in time to wear the sweater in the spring.

I went looking for buttons last week and found some at a local knit shop that I LOVED.  But, when I looked at the price I was really bummed;  they were $216.  There were 3 buttons in a stack and five stacks, supposedly all were vintage buttons.  I came home and got on the internet to search.  I didn't find an exact match, but I did find these great little bakelite buttons for $10.45 for 6.  The are little 1/2 inch buttons in various colors with a rounded surface on top and an interesting shape.  They are the littlest buttons in the pile below.  Next, I decided to see if I could find some others that would work with these little vintage buttons in a stack.  I found some dark reddish brown buttons, and light wood-toned hexagonal buttons.

I haven't decided if I will use them like this.  I like them better in person than in the photo below, but I will keep thinking about it.  I may still embroider the buttons for this sweater and save the ones below for another sweater.  I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Project Reveal Finale

After many months, the Project Reveal runway show was held on November 11 from 7-9.

We arrived early to have hair and makeup done.  Carla, who owns Les Fabriques, had her daughter there to do hair and make up for us all.  It was an unusual hairstyle for me, very puffed up, reminiscent of the hairstyles of the mom's of the 60's, and still existent in some small towns of the deep South.

As in Project Runway, we had a walk down the runway, and then a chat with the judges.  As you can see below, I used my poplar leaves down the back of the coat.  They helped to disguise the uneven dye from one of the pieces on the back, and to add interest.  I pulled the front of the coat back to reveal the lining and add an interesting line to the coat.  At the time I sewed them front back, but I will add snaps that are hidden underneath two of the poplar leaves so that I can snap them back or leave the front hanging down.

The show was hosted by Carla, the owner of Les Fabriques.

I don't really have a good photograph of the skirt, but I cut the shape of the hem using the pattern that I made for the coat.  The skirt is made out of velvet that I bought on a sale table a few years ago.  It is a mock wrap skirt.  I did not have enough fabric to make a full wrap skirt.  It is lined with the same silk fabric that lines the coat, but is dyed a deeper green.

Here I was asked by the judges to show the internal construction of the coat, which I had lined with over dyed silk fabric.  The wool was from an old winter white coat that I had sewn for myself in my twenties.  I added silk bias and cuffs from fabric that I dyed with the coat.  I ran out of time to make a shirt to go with the coat and skirt, so I just wore a t-shirt and a scarf that was given to me by a friend, Nancy Bond, who makes and sells hand dyed scarves and clothing.

All the contestant lined up for the results of the judging.  Below on the far right you can see a bodice designed in the style of Thomas Jeffersons era with old lace appliquéd across the front.  Second from the right is an Alabama Chanin inspired corset and floor length skirt and small train with 118 silk butterflies appliquéd across the top and around the skirt representing the 118 slaves held by Mr. Jefferson.  This ensemble was made from recycled t-shirts.  There is my ensemble inspired by coats of the 18th century.  The next dress was inspired by Jefferson's clocks.  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the back of the dress which is where the most interest is.  It had a round cutout echoing the clock face, and a small bustle reminiscent of the 18th century.  Finally, the outfit on the far left was made from recycled clothing by a local artist.  It had a detachable bustle.

The winner was the clock dress, and I came in second and won a $150 gift certificate at the fabric store. I did not enter for the prize, but only for the challenge of learning something new, which I did.  I learned a bit about draping and making my own patterns.  I am an engineer not a professional clothing designer, although I was competing against one.  The winner was a man named Ampy Smith, who has a degree in Art and Design.

In addition to learning some new skills, I was able to spend time with a friend who joined me in the classes, which was fabulous.  Finally,  I got to take that old coat which has been hanging unused in my closet for more than 20 years and gave it a fabulous new life!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Project Reveal Part V: Skirt and binding

This week has been filled with things other than sewing.  But, on Monday I did get some time to do a bit more to my coat.

I finished sewing the skirt of the coat and I attached it to the bodice.  I knew that I needed some kind of finish for the edge, but did not have enough fabric for a facing, so I had dyed some silk at the same time that matched the coat, so I cut this into bias.  I sewed bias all around the edge of the coat.  Here is a close-up for the binding.

Here is a photo of the front of the coat with the binding in place.  I was originally thinking of putting a sculptural collar of leaves around the front, but I think it would really detract from the pleating in the bodice.  So, I am holding the leaves in reserve for now to see if they will go someplace else.  The next piece I need to get done on the coat is to find some kind of button closure.

Here is a side view of the coat.  As you can see there are a couple of things going on.  The jacket needs some padding in the shoulders, not much, but just a bit for shaping.  The arm in the photo below looks a bit collapsed, but it looks much better on me.  My dressmaker form has narrow shoulders compared to me.  Finally, I need to put on a cuff.  I will use the silk to make a turned back cuff on the arms to hid a stitching line that was over dyed and turned a bit blue.  Plus, the cuff will add to the styling of the jacket.

I included one of my inspiration photos below.  I think my coat is reflecting the times without being a copy, and shows a cleaner more modern line.  We will see how it all goes in the judging.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flower Sweater Finished

I finally finished my flower sweater that I designed and knitted for my daughter.  I had bought this yarn years ago and hadn't gotten around to using it.  I started the sweater at the end of last October or beginning of November.  I had grand visions of finishing it for Christmas.  Well, things didn't quite turn out that way.  I don't knit much during the day.  I knit an hour or two at night if I can, and then I knit when I can during the day sitting in line at the school, at piano lessons, at half time at soccer and basketball games, waiting at the doctor's or dentist's office.  So, things are not as fast as I would like sometimes, but I do get pieces finished.

Here is Linden playing on the swing in her sweater.

For this design, I wanted a fitted bodice with a fuller skirt.  I used a floral motif in the bodice in an orange with the red background of the sweater.  My daughter loves color, so I used lots of different colors for the flowers in the skirt.  I scattered them all around the bottom using intarsia.  I ran out of red, so the sleeves are purple, but put in a red stitch to tie in the sleeves.  You see this technique in many Scandinavian sweaters.  I finished the sweater with orange attached I-cord all around.  The sweater is knitted in cotton dk from Debbie Bliss.  I knitted the sweater on a size 7 needle.  It is a lovely yarn to knit with and the stitches come out nice and even.  

I love this little sweater.  I am tempted to knit a version for myself.  I think I would change the colors, and I would not put flowers in the skirt, maybe another design but much more subtle.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Project Reveal Part IV: Sleeves

Besides making the muslin and getting it fitted, I have finished what I consider to be the most challenging part of the jacket: setting in the sleeves.  I never feel that my sleeves go in easily.  It almost always seems a real struggle.  This time, it wasn't too bad.  I used the sleeves from the original coat making some small modifications, but otherwise keeping them the same.  They are not perfect, but they are in.  I did add some flannel in the sleeve cap to help it keeps its shape.

I am now working on the skirt of the coat, which is a lot of fun, and much easier.  I am a bit worried, as the deadline is fast approaching and I still have to finish the coat, line both the coat and the skirt, dyeing the fabric for both, and making and embroidering the top.  Back to work...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Project Reveal III: Finally Sewing

I finally started sewing last week.  I had a bit more than a yard of silk/rayon velvet which I decided to use for my skirt.  I kept trying different designs but realized 1 1/8 yards is not really a lot to do things with, so I ended up with a mock wrap skirt.

Here are the gory details if you want to read, if not, see the photo and continue on! Originally it was to be a wrap skirt, then I realized I didn't have enough coverage when I walked so I decided to add a silk dupioni addition, which took me three hours and still looked horrific.  I then went out and rode my horse to clear my mind.  In that time I decided to make a mock wrap skirt.  So, I purchased a zipper, then sewed the inside wrap down, and unfortunately, I sewed it a bit crooked.  I sewed the other side down.  Then decided I had to fix the crooked seam.  If you have sewn velvet you know that if you take out  a seam you are left with a trail of bad decisions.  So, I covered it up with an added piece of velvet.  I finished the zipper, tried it on, asked my son's opinion, who immediately said, "Isn't this a sewing contest?"  Yes, I replied.  "Well, you aren't going to win.  That zipper thing on the front looks really bad."  Out of the mouth of babes....  I took off the added velvet piece in the front that was supposed to hide my crooked seam, and was left with a trail.  I straightened my original seam, then decided to toss it into the wash.  What have I got to lose?  You should know that I did wash and dry this fabric before I started cutting it.  Well, happily, the traces of the seam disappeared, but horrifyingly, the seams puckered.  So here I was at 9 pm panicking over the seams.  I tried steaming out the puckers, but they were stubborn.   Happily, the bottom seam looked much better.  I went to bed...

Happily, the next morning, the puckers had miraculously disappeared!  Hurray.  So, now I have the velvet skirt sewn except for the lining.  (another long story for another post)  You can't tell from the photo, but the skirt hem is cut and sewn as a curve to match the curve designed into the coat.  The velvet is so dark you can't see the details, but the judging starts with the clothes and a portfolio, so that the judges can really look at the sewing.  Hopefully, lining will cover many of my sins!

Now that the skirt is out of the way, I can start sewing my coat, Yea!   Sewing the wool coat is a piece of cake compared to the velvet.  I love velvet, but hate sewing it.  No matter how hard you work, the stuff slips.  The best solution has been that spray glue for sewing seams that just lasts a bit.  It really works!  However, the chemicals in  it are mind altering.  I try  not to use it very much.  

Now for the trials and tribulations of the coat.  The coat took some real work to figure out how to cut it out, from all the pieces of the previous coat.  I was originally going to have a pretty long coat, but the pattern had other ideas.  So, it will be  a 3/4 length more or less.  Then, I didn't have enough fabric for the back pieces, so I had to take the back and cut it into four pieces instead of two.  I messed with the pattern so that the shoulder piece would not be cut, and that the bottom of the back would not be affected.  So, what happens is that the pieces come to a point at the very back, and then the back pieces line up with the bottom skirt pieces of the coat.  I really like how the pattern came out now.

As for the front, we took an existing piece and draped it so that it came just under the bust.  Kimberly from Les Fabriques helped me and was teaching me to drape.  (I need a lot more practice at draping, maybe a class would help!).  We ended up deciding to put in those pleats for the bustline.  I think it is a fun look.  It looks like a  lot of gaping at the front, but on my body, that big gape is not there.  I am still trying to get this dressmaker's form to fit me a bit better.  She is still too hippy, and lumpy in all the wrong places.  

Today, I am going to try and put on the sleeves.  I will leave the easy part, the skirt pieces for last.  I am still trying to figure out what to do about the collar.  You can see my inspiration photo below from Selvedge.  I want to use the poplar leaves that I cut out to make the collar, but I have no wool left for facing.   I may use silk bias for finishing all the seams, but we will see...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Project Reveal: Part II More dyeing

Yesterday, my husband took the kids for the day to his office.  I thought about cleaning the bathrooms, but of course what I did was work on my outfit for Project Reveal.  Originally, I had planned on a velvet skirt, the wool coat and some kind of green bodice.  But when I put all that green together I had visions of the Jolly Green Giant.  So.....with a friend, we walked around the fabric store looking at colors and fabrics and decided bright pink was the thing I needed for the bodice.  The pink silk they had was a dupioni and a bit bluer than I wanted, so I bought a beige silk broadcloth at a lower price and decided that once again dyeing was an option.

I found this wonderful tool that allows you to mix dyes on the computer before you try experimenting with them for real.  It is called Dye Mixer.  What an awesome tool!  I was able to hone in on the color that I wanted pretty quickly and play around with other colors for fun.  The color I ended up with was pretty darn close to what I developed on the computer.  For my wool coat I used 3 teaspoons of lemon yellow Procion Mx and 1/8 teaspoon of Turquoise.  You can see the resulting colors in my little scrap pile.  This scrap pile, by the way, is all that is left of the coat after I cut out the pattern pieces and cut out my other little pieces that I needed for my design.  Pretty small pile for a redesign....

For my bodice, I decided that fuchsia, lemon yellow and cobalt blue were the best combinations.  I ended up with a beautiful piece of cotton knit after I finished, but a washed out purplely silk.  So, I over dyed the silk again in just pure fuchsia, and you can see what I ended up with.   However, the cotton that I dyed to match it no longer matched, but luckily, I had a piece of cotton knit in my stash that just about matches.  The color of the silk is not as intense as the cotton, but that was how it worked out in the dye pot the first time.  You can see the silk broadcloth on top, the cotton knit, and then the green of the coat.  I think this color combination will work out much better than the green on green on green, which was getting a bit boring.

After I dyed these pieces, I had some leftover dye and went crazy dyeing fabric that I didn't like.  I ended up with a bunch of melon colored fabric for my daughter.  She loves orange right now, and the melon will look good with her fair complexion.  I also over dyed a shirt that had gotten bleach on it, and it came out pretty well, it is now wearable, and a jacket that I bought in a moment of weakness.  It is a cotton rayon knit that was beige.  I wanted the black one, but they were out of black so I bought beige in a tent under the sun.  It was a much different color on me in the house in front of my mirror.  A big yuk!  So into the dye pot it went to come out a nice kind of blue jean blue.  But now it needs some interest.  I am going to enlist  a friend, Nancy Bond, to help me get it looking a bit more interesting, more like some of her clothes with the stamped and painted designs.

Finally, for the rest of my day I cut out poplar leaves.

I have a nice pile now for making my collar.  I am not sure how I will get them onto the coat, but I will think on it.  

I don't have enough fabric left to face the jacket front at all, so I am not sure how I am going to close the jacket.  I have 2/3 yard of silk that I dyed in the same color as the coat.  It was originally going to be my corset, but now I have that fabric to use.  I am thinking of making it into bias and edging the coat with it.  Stay tuned.  I am going to finish cutting out all my pattern pieces today, and will get back with an update soon.  The finish date for Project Reveal is November 4, and the runway show is November 11.  Hopefully I can get it all done....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Project Reveal, Part 1

Our local fabric store is having its third annual Project Runway style competition.  I have finally decided to enter this year, along with a friend.  It is a way to get me motivated to get some sewing done, and to revamp a coat I have had for almost 30 years.  Les Fabriques is our local store, and their take on Project Runway is called Project Reveal.  When you sign up for the competition, you have access to four class sessions of the many that are held throughout the summer and fall.

Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the coat before I deconstructed it, but here is a drawing of the pattern for this 1980's coat to give you an idea of what it looked like.

The coat was a winter white wool with ivory lining, and the big shoulder pads of the 80's.  I have not worn this coat in many years and it definitely needed a makeover.

The theme for this competition and the challenge is all things Thomas Jefferson.  We are to find something inspirational in Thomas Jefferson's life and times and then use that as our starting point.  The first night of the class we discussed our ideas, looked through costume books, and looked at the Monticello website.  We were also given a mini-challenge of incorporating a quote from Jefferson into our project.  So, here are the photos that I pulled out as an inspiration to my ensemble.

I really love the men's coats of the 18th century.  I ride horses, and I have always loved the fitted riding jackets, especially the long dressage coats.  So, I chose to use the men's coats as a starting design for my new coat.  I then spent some time looking at the Monticello site and looking for quotes.  The two quotes that have inspired me are:

"Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall plant them for posterity" and in speaking of poplar trees, Mr. Jefferson calls them the "Juno of our groves."  I absolutely love poplar trees, and will be using the shapes of the leaves in my design.  

In addition to the coat, I was encouraged to design two other pieces so that I would have an ensemble for the runway walk.  I have chosen to design a skirt out of a silk rayon velvet that I bought a couple of years ago on sale, and a fitted corset.  The only fabric that I have bought for this project is the heavy silk for the corset.  I bought a cream, double-faced silk.  The corset design will be using the stomacher shown below as an inspiration.

I will embroider the middle section of the corset with flowers from Mr. Jefferson's Monticello garden.  If you haven't visited, it is a beautiful place to spend some time. I knew that the fabric needed to be brightened up, so I dyed the silk and the wool to a bright spring green.  I decided that I did not like the bright side of the silk and that the creamier green on the reverse side was a better tie in to the velvet for the skirt.  

As I looked through all my sewing  and craft magazines, I came across this beautiful image from Selvedge.  This is a Bruce Oldfield design of a boucle wool coat with a floral collar.  This is a stunning coat, and I love the sculptural element of the collar.  I may try to design something like this collar for my coat using the leftover pieces of wool after I have cut out my coat pieces.

Using the pieces of the coat, Kimberly with Les Fabriques helped me drape a muslin for the coat.  Here is a shot of the top of the coat.  The piece underneath is a shape in the coat, and the new shape is the one on the top with two pleats below the bust.  I am still trying to get a good fit on my muslin, but I will show it as I progress.  I have finished the lower skirt of the coat and it fits quite well.  I will also use it as a skirt pattern.  I had to shorten the coat quite a bit to be able to use the dyed wool that I have.  So, it will be more of a 3/4 length coat than below the knee, but I think it will work well, especially if I design the skirt to be an echo of the design of the coat.  To be continued...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Flower sweater update

I am on my second sleeve now.  I finally finished the body of the sweater, and the first sleeve.  It took me a while to get it right.  I tend to design as I knit, which sometimes leads to ripping out.  Here is a peak at the first finished sleeve.  I hope to have the second finished soon, and will post the finished sweater in all its colorful glory!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Time for Scones and Tea

Usually I make scones in the winter when the kids are home and it is a cold rainy day.  This morning it was grey, and luckily the heat wave broke Sunday night, so I was in the mood for tea and scones.  I certainly couldn't consider that it was cold outside, but 76 degrees feels downright cool compared to 105.  So, scones it was....

The recipe that I use is one that I found in Organic Living Magazine (now no longer published).  I use a local stone ground flour, and organic butter and milk, and top it off with local honey. 

Scones ( makes 6 smallish scones)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup or 4 T. organic salted butter
1 T. baking powder

I preheat the oven to 425 or 400 on my convection oven.  Put flour in a bowl.  Take a stick of butter right out of the refrigerator or freezer and a cheese grater and grate the butter into the flour.  (I use this technique for pie crusts now too.)  Mix up the butter and flour, then add the baking powder, and stir.  I then add milk 1 T. at a time until the dough just holds together.  I turn it out onto a floured piece of parchment paper and pat the dough into a big circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut the circle into 6 pieces, spread out on the paper.  Slide the paper onto a baking sheet and put in the oven and bake until golden brown.  

We usually eat these right away.  Now that my son is 11 and eating tons, I have to scramble to get two of these.  The rest seem to disappear.  

I really like to enjoy these warm with a good cup of Tazo Zen tea.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Linen Dress Take 2

I made a dress out of this beautiful linen, a watermelon colored linen a couple of years ago.  My sister had gotten me a gift certificate for Sawyers.  However, when I had gotten about 75% of the dress completed, and tried it on, I hated it.  It looked like a maternity dress.  It was high waisted, and had a full skirt.  So, the dress and all of its scraps have been sitting in my stash ever since.

Then, I recently found a lovely book called The Party Dress Book: How to Sew the Best Dress in the Room by Mary Adams.  What a fun book.   There are so many lovely dresses in the book.  In any case, I took my disaster of a dress, and started working on it.  I didn't have enough fabric to make another bodice, so I used a complimentary fabric, but didn't like the disconnected look between the two fabrics, so then I used a technique she suggests in which you sew strips of bias to the bodice.  It really helped.  It took me 3 days to get to this point in the process.

Now, I am working on :
  • the skirt lining which will include some of the tulle shown on the floor under the dress,   
  • installing the zipper, 
  • adjusting the hem which is very uneven due to modifications on the skirt,
  • adding a fabric to the hem using a technique of sewing on a fabric cut in the same circle as the bottom of the skirt (see details on the "Sewing the Feliz Dress" post),
  • and lining the bodice.
Hopefully, I will like this dress once I finish.  It is a bit different from the style of dress that I usually wear, but I love the color and fabric and I like fitted dresses, and I am working hard to get the fit right on this one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wardrobe Memories

One blog that I follow, 13 Threads, invited readers to search our wardrobes for some memories.  Her ideas was inspired by Ida Taavitsainen's  "The memory of my wardrobe". My memory is a shirt I just altered for myself.  This shirt belonged to my mother who passed away 6 years ago from complications of hepatitis C.  My mother sewed clothing and knitted sweaters for my sister and me.  I love this shirt because of the soft cotton fabric, the beautiful Liberty inspired print and of course for sentimental reasons. This is the shirt my mother wore to brighten up her day.  It has been in my closet for a while.  For most of her life, my mother was a petite lady who was 5 foot 3 inches, and weighed just over a hundred pounds.  She looked particularly petite standing next to my dad who was a 6 foot 4 inch glider pilot when she met and married him back in 1945.  I love this shirt and it was one of the few things of hers that I could wear, I am much taller and a bit bigger.  However, at the end of her life, her disease had caused her body to swell, and she had to go out and buy clothes that were bigger and loose fitting, but she still wanted to look pretty and feminine.  This was a shirt she wore often.

I took it out of my closet this week and altered it to fit me with darts front and back and I took it up under the arms and up the side.  I sewed the cuffs down at the edge and added buttons to the cuffs.  I wore this shirt the other day and my husband said, "Is that a new shirt?"  I laughed and said no, it was very old.  He said it looked great and he loved it, and so do I.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Dress a Year?

I cut out this Alabama Chanin camisole dress sometime last year I believe, but maybe it was more than a year ago.  In any case it has been sitting a very long time.  I decided that I needed to finish it so I could wear it this spring.  I bought the new book, Alabama Studio Sewing and Design,  just a couple of months ago.  I think it is the best of the three.  Once I saw this book, I knew I had to finish my dress.  Nathalie has a lot of lovely photographs and a beautiful section on embellishing.  We have a wonderful bead shop in our town, so I went and bought some beads for embellishing.  
I beaded a Cretan Stitch on the neckline binding.  I am still debating about beading more around the neckline.  There is a lovely T-shirt  she shows in the book and online that is beaded around the neckline.  I am still debating, but may add more beads to have it look like the T-shirt.

I used a plain Cretan stitch on the sleeves.  Because I can only get buttonhole thread in white, black and sometimes red, I have found that if I use a Gutermann silk buttonhole thread I have access to a lot more color choices.  I love the silk thread, and it is fairly easy to sew with.  I find it does twist and tangle just a bit more than the cotton buttonhole, but I love the sheen it has.  I felled all the seams to the inside.  

I really like this dress, however, if I were to sew another one, I think I would sew it again with less flair in the skirt.  Overall, I am very happy with it, and will wear it when it gets nice and hot.

Little Boy's Sweater

I am in a "finish up the UFO" kind of mood.  I finally finished this little sweater that I started before Christmas.  I used the Malabrigo yarn left from another project, and had to add one more skein to have enough for the sweater.  The sweater design is one that I copied and modified from a sweater we bought in California for my son 11 years ago.  It has three buttons at the top, but none at the bottom so that as the baby moves to a sitting and crawling toddler, the sweater doesn't bunch up around his neck if it is buttoned.  I made a few modifications, including using inset sleeves.  Here is the finished sweater just before I packed it up and sent it to Alaska for my niece and her one year old son.

I decided to put a collar on this sweater version, and knit the cuffs and button band out of a contrasting yarn.  I finished the lower part of the front of the cardigan with a row of crochet.  

If anyone is interested, I can send you a pattern.

Insa Skirt

After several weeks of no sewing, I finally finished the Insa skirt from the Sewing Clothes Kids Love book.  It took me longer than I anticipated to finish it.  The skirt is made up of four pieces, with a separate waist band and then a overskirt with 4 shorter pieces.  On these, I decided to make the embellishment that Langdon suggests using two sets of 1/4" elastic sewn down the front of each piece to make them gathered looking.  when I put the whole thing together, I found that the overskirt was too short for the underskirt.  It may have been okay, except that I had used a white underskirt and added eyelet ruffle at the bottom which made the skirt look like it was too short for the petticoat below.   My solution was to add another big ruffle that I sewed to the petticoat and under the over skirt.  It makes for a very fluffy look, but my little clothes horse loves it.  Here she is modeling the look with her cool spy glasses and her Avalon Jacket!