Outfit Along, Part 2: Une Vianne Verte

And now for the knitted portion of the Outfit Along! For my pattern, I chose Andi Satterlund’s Vianne cardigan, which was the “official” knit garment of the OAL. I usually make a size S in her patterns, but I’ve been noticing lately that the armholes and bust have seemed a little baggy, so I sized down and made an XS. I’m so glad I made the change – the fit is much better, and I think this might be my new favorite cardigan!

For my yarn, I used Cascade 220, and I have to say, using this higher quality yarn made all the difference in the world. In the past, I’ve used either Knit Picks or Lion Brand yarn to save money, and while both do the job just fine, the Cascade feels sooooo much more luxurious. It also blocked like a dream, and my stitches really evened out nicely. I guess I just have to invest more in my knitting projects… It’s worth it, though, since knitting takes so much longer than sewing, so you really want your final product to turn out well!

A quick note on tension – you may be wondering why I used the Cascade 220, a worsted weight yarn, when the pattern calls for DK. I’ve discovered that, since I tend to knit with a fairly tight tension (I think this is due to my personality….oops…), I need to go up a yarn size to get the correct gauge for the needle size. I know you’re supposed to change needle sizes to attain the correct gauge, but I’ve had a lot of trouble with that in the past, and have discovered that I get the best results when I size up the yarn. So there you go.

And now, pictures!

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I just love the back mesh detail in this pattern! Since I carry a lot of music books around in a backpack during my commute to work, my back tends to get reaaaaaally grossly sweaty (tmi, I know, sorry), so the extra ventilation is really nice. I added petersham ribbon to reinforce the button bands, which really helps everything stay in place. The buttons were on sale at Britex – as soon as I saw them, I knew they were the ones! (of course, in spite of that, I made the guy at the button counter take out a ton of other choices just to be sure…)

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And a few more shots, for good measure:

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So, that’s my contribution to the OAL! A big thank you to Lauren and Andi for hosting it – it’s a great tradition, and I look forward to next year!

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Outfit Along, Part 1: Indonesian Anna

What’s this? Two posts in one week?? Crazy times, I know! I’ve finally gotten my sew-jo back in full swing, thanks to my impending vacation to the east coast (i.e. time *not sewing*), and have been churning out garments like nuts. Today’s outfit is the first of two posts about the Outfit Along currently being hosted by Andi Satterlund and Lauren Taylor, which is a combination sew-along/knit-along designed to help participants create an entire outfit instead of just “orphan” pieces. Last year, I used my anniversary dress and shrug as my “cheater entry,” (it just so happened to satisfy the guidelines, which I realized after the fact!) but this year I wanted to really stay true to the challenge and create coordinating everyday garments. This was made more difficult by the fact that I didn’t want to have to purchase any new fabric or yarn, but I managed to put together an ensemble that I’m quite pleased with!

For the sewing portion, I chose to make another By Hand London Anna dress, using a gathered skirt instead of the six-panel skirt included in the pattern. My fabric was something truly special – a hand made wax print from Indonesia. A good friend of the family did some missionary work several years back in Indonesia, and she brought back several yards of gorgeous fabric for my mom. The fabric was eventually entrusted to me, provided I “make something really special with it.” So the fabric sat in my stash for about nine months before I had the courage to finally cut into it.

The fabric provided some interesting challenges – it was a border print, but the border was printed perpendicular to the selvage instead of parallel. Also, the flowers were printed along the lengthwise grain, so I had to get creative with my layout. First, I carefully cut the border panel off of the sides of the fabric, including seam allowances, so that I could attach them to the skirt later on. Next, I added 1/4″ to the side seams of the bodice, since the ease you typically get from cutting with the crosswise grain wouldn’t work with the print. I also took my time decided on the print placement – since the flowers are quite large, I knew their placement would make the dress either really stunning or really awkward! After much deliberation, I finally threw caution to the wind, cut it all out, and whipped it up in about two afternoons.

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Since I wanted to make the dress extra special, I took my time with the details. I was careful to try to match the pattern across the back (it didn’t completely work, but I think it’s good enough!), and I even managed to include the “made in Indonesia” label that was printed into the fabric itself. I also used some stiff satin lining for the hem, since I wanted to give the skirt a little extra body. I like the little element of luxury it adds, too! (not to mention that it won’t stick to tights/leggings – a major pet peeve of mine!)

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All in all, I’m really happy with how it came out! Next up, my knitted portion of the Outfit Along. Stay tuned! 🙂

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