Sewing for Spring

Up until late last year, I really only stitched up costumes I could wear at cons, building character wardrobes and the like- for fun. Then, I started sewing for every day and not in a costumey way. This week I wore my denim Hummingbird skirt and my Maggie London BCT top with a store bought cardigan and my friends’ shock at hearing that it was handmade made my day.

During Me-Made-May this year, I tried to follow along and wear as many handmade clothes as I could and I did fairly well. I’ve never had a ton of clothes to wear so repeats were bound to happen. What I did realize is that I don’t have transitional wear. I’m sorely lacking cardigans, long sleeves and in general, layers.

I have summer wear and some winter wear but nothing in between. Here are some ideas for transitional weather.

Cardigans from Simplicity 2560

The Karen Cardigan from BurdaStyle

McCalls Jacket 6519

For cardigans, I could also trace one I own and make a pattern. Changing the drape of the fabric (and print, if you’re into that) would change the look of the cardigan.

The French Seam here in town has St. John Knits and I’m getting some to make cardigans. They’re so lovely.

I’m also getting ready to knit a couple of cardigans. I knit a cardigan last Fall and it gets a lot of use. This year I’d like to make these two:

Marion will be in purple- thanks to SewBusyLizzy for the inspiration.

Click on the image to go to the pattern on Ravelry

Dahlia … I’m thinking in white. I have an old creme colored cardigan and I always need a white one but don’t own one.

click the image to go to the pattern on Ravelry

I also want to make more pants. I like loungey pants but not exercise/yoga pants. I wore them all thru college while getting my dance degree. I’ve done my time. I would like a drapey pant. Any patterns stand out that I should check out? Any of you seeing a cardigan gap in your wardrobe? 

25 thoughts on “Sewing for Spring

  1. cjgal says:

    Oh fun! Love your sewing plans, I’m looking forward to seeing how your jacket turns out. And I’m loving that little pocket tshirt on mccalls 6519, I may need to hollar at that

  2. Annie Bee says:

    I can’t comment so much on the sewing patterns, but I sure can comment on the knitting ones!

    I love the dahlia cardigan and have been smitten with it ever since it came out, BUT… I’ve seen a bunch of problematic FOs from it. The main issue is that, because of the construction, there are no seams or stable edges to help it hold its shape at the shoulder/back neckline. When that section gets all stretched out of shape, the whole garment looks schlumpy.

    I *highly* recommend making a faux seam with single crochet, running across the shoulders, to lend that much-needed stability. I would actually make the seam on the right side of the sweater, since the collar section then folds back over and would hide it. I am also considering (when I finally make my own) actually knitting a column of purls (i.e., a rib) where I want the collar to flip over — which would nicely mark the location for the crochet seam.

    Also, make sure you use a yarn that has some bounce and structure to it — or even a linen or cotton that you can toss in the dryer to spring it back into shape. I saw a beautiful version knit in alpaca, but it grew and grew, and that only exaggerated the issue of the shapelessness.

    • Leila says:

      Thanks for taking the time to detail this for me. You are THE best. I went back to Rav to check out the FOs and found this one and I realized what I really like is the back so as long as I have the back lace panel I’m groovy. So, either I follow Vro’s notes or just insert the panel into a seamed cardigan or something. Yeah, I don’t know why they used alpaca… yipes!

      • Annie Bee says:

        Oooh, that is SO gorgeous. Yes, it’s the back lace that I like most, too. The construction intrigues me, but like I said, it’s also problematic. Inserting the lace panel into a different design might be a whole lot more flattering, in the end.

  3. Tia Dia says:

    I don’t know how you define “drapey” in a trouser pattern, but Clio over at fivemuses.blogspot has made a great pair in linen from Burda 6/2011-114. You may want to check it out. I use Vogue 7881 if I want a dressier trouser.

    • Leila says:

      I do like the Burda trouser. I like both a linen drape (less drape) as well as more drape like this pair of velveteen wide leg pant my mom made me in high school or college or something. I still wear them. They’re super nice.

  4. EmSewCrazy says:

    Absolutely!! I’ll look forward to seeing your experiences with St John knits goes. Several of us hinted that Sewing Cake’s next Riff should be a cardigan pattern. The Simplicity pattern looks like it has several great options though.

    I’ve used Simplicity 2562 for pants. It is a great wide/straight leg style with lots of fitting options and explanations. Just watch the fly. It could be really nice if done in a lightweight fabric I think. So far I’ve just made heaver weight winter pants from it.

  5. Brooke says:

    Considering the fact that I don’t know how to knit, I’ve done pretty well collecting a decent number of jackets and cardigans just because I like layers that I can easily shed when I get too hot.

    I have noticed a huge gap in my wardrobe though – I don’t own much in-between dressy and t-shirt casual. And now I really need it for my part-time retail job. (I think I stopped looking at that in-between stuff after a stupid high school dresscode was left behind.) I will probably be making myself some fun print buttondowns soon.

    • Leila says:

      I love layering and summer is the perfect time for light layers since everything gets over airconditioned. I freeze in winter outdoors and freeze indoors in summer. I can’t win. 🙂

      Oh, yeah, the void between dressy and t-shirt stuff. I hear ya. I know you could just draft a buttondown but I love Grainline Studio’s Archer buttondown. Very cool.

      • Brooke says:

        Yeah, the icy AC in the summer is usually when I get the most use out of my jackets too.

        I will keep that pattern in mind if I need to hunt for another pattern – thanks! I got frustrated with the fit of all the buttondown patterns I’ve tried because they are all too big proportionally (I fit juniors best) and decided to trace a RTW shirt I like that fits well. I just have to test my trace now…

      • Leila says:

        I don’t remember what the size range is at the moment but you’re probably better off tracing your RTW shirt. Looking forward to seeing it. I really do enjoy watching your work.

  6. Suzy says:

    I love my McCalls 6408 for cardigans, its a tie one (just go down by a couple of sizes as the ease included is heaps!), I added a centre back seam too for a bit of extra shaping.
    I’ve made the Burda Karen cardigan and it really does need the belt, It is very loose and flowy, I recon I had to go in size in that pattern too because of all the ease included.
    I can’t wait till you make up the Simplicity cardigan, it looks very promising!
    Depending on how drapey you want your trousers my favourites at the moment are Maria Denmarks Winnie trousers for a proper trouser and I have been wearing to death my StyleArc palazzo pants, they are a pull on pant and are unbelievably comfortable! I’ve made them from Bengalene and ponte knit now and will be making them again!

    • Leila says:

      I like that McCalls cardigan. Totally my scene. Thanks and I’ll need that center back seam, too.

      Thanks also for the Karen cardigan tips. It’s so helpful to know.

      I think I am going for a palazzo pant. I’ll check out the Style Arc ones. I do love a loose fitting knit pant.

  7. sewbusylizzy says:

    I can’t wait to see what wool you knit Marion in.I’m loving knitting mine… nearly finished the first sleeve 🙂 I knitted whole Wheat earlier this year and like you I’ve been amazed how much I wear my me-knitted cardigans. I love them.

      • chuleenan says:

        How did you interpret the fabric recommendation on the Jalie pattern – “40% stretch across grain and 20% lengthwise.” Is that just a fancy way of saying two-way stretch?

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