As I get more into knitting, it’s interesting to draw comparisons between my habits as a seamstress and my habits as a knitter. When I first started sewing, I would begin projects with a pattern I found intriguing, and then try to find the right fabric to match. As I have grown more in my sewing, I’ve learned that, more often than not, my most successful projects begin with the fabric first. I spend some time draping it over my dress form, studying its texture and weight, until it “tells” me what pattern I should use for it. As a still-beginning knitter, I usually start with the pattern, but occasionally I begin projects with a really unique yarn find.

And that’s how today’s project came about. During one of my weekly visits to Twill, I noticed a gorgeous new yarn that had just been stocked – the Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock Yarn. Yes, that’s a real mouthful! The yarn, though, is a gorgeous, delicate variegated yarn with delicious color gradations and striping. I knew I wanted a simple project so that I could show off the yarn’s inherent beauty, and after some hemming and hawing, I settled on the Hitchhiker shawl pattern that has been making the rounds at Twill. It’s a very simple pattern – you begin by casting on two stitches, and then just increase from there, with occasional cast-off sections to create the ridges – but it was so fun to make in this yarn. It was almost like reading a mystery novel – I was never quite sure what the next color would be, and was delighted to see the colors unfold before my eyes.

I made this at the beginning of September, which was the great “month of weddings” – my grad school roommate and my younger sister both got married within a week of each other, so I had quite a bit of traveling to do! This project was perfect for those on-the-go days since it took only one skein to knit the entire shawl, which made it very compact to shove onto purses or bags for the next train/bus/car ride. The pattern was also simple enough that I could put it down and pick it back up again quickly, which was definitely a plus!

I’m so pleased with how the project turned out, but I’m still trying to figure out how best to wear it! I’m not used to this whole shawl accessory thing – do any of you have tips for how best to pair it with outfits? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Photography by Viktoryia Batsevich 

What’s Black and White and Wrapped All Over

I’m so excited to finally share a finished sewn garment for you all! It seems like a million years since I actually sewed something for *myself,* so it feels especially good to have a new make “hot off the press” to show you all. I loved the Colette Wren Dress ever since it was released over a year ago, and snapped up the pattern almost immediately. I didn’t think it would take me so long to finally make it, but better late than never!

This version is my “wearable muslin,” and although it’s certainly wearable, I definitely have some quirks to work out of the pattern next time. I’m already working on a second version, which will include detailed notes about fit/pattern alterations. For this version, I sewed it up pretty much straight out of the envelope, grading from an XS at the bust to a small at the waist (my usual for Colette patterns). I did notice that there’s a strange bit of gaping in the center front between the two front wrap points (I have a sneaking suspicion this may actually be due to a pattern error), which is difficult to see on this version due to the busy print. Rest assured, though, my second version of the Wren will go into great detail about that!

I did make one change to the pattern in this version, which was to finish the neckline using a neckband (like with a regular knit top) instead of turning under a hem. I was afraid that the front might gape open, as is often the problem with wrap dresses, but I think I overcompensated, as this dress isn’t even close to being revealing as-is. To sew the neckband on, I attached the front and back at the shoulder seams before finishing the neckband, instead of turning under and hemming each piece individually before sewing the shoulder seams. For my next version, I’m using the same neckband concept, but turning it under as a facing instead of having it show on the outside. It’s a more stable finish than just a hem, which I’m hoping will extend the life of the dress.

The fabric I used for this version is a lightweight ITY. I’m not sure of the fiber content, but I’m assuming it’s mostly polyester, maybe with a bit of nylon thrown in. It’s getting a bit cold for the dress at this point, but I’ve already worn it a ton, and come spring, I’m sure it’ll be in heavy rotation once more! I really love this design, and plan to continue tweaking it until I get the perfect dress!

Photography by Viktoryia Batsevich