archives: sewing

adelaide dress

adelaide dress | pepperknit.com

Right before heading to the TNNA summer tradeshow, I finished sewing my first Adelaide Dress from Seamwork Magazine, and I wore it on the first day of the show! I proudly marched over to the Knitter’s Pride booth to show it off, because I purchased this fabric while on the trip to India to see Knitter’s Pride’s factory.

The fabric is a thin lightweight cotton, so this dress was perfect for the 94° day in DC, though it is so thin that I needed to buy a new white slip to wear under. I aligned the pattern so that the same lighter band goes up the very middle of the back, too. The directions for the dress and the sewing of it were incredibly straightforward—not once did I have to run to Google for help with terminology! Could be that I’ve gotten better at this, could just be that the directions were so clear. I cut a size 12 because I wanted some extra room in the bust and waist, and I’m happy with the result because there is no pulling across the bust at all.

Hammering on the snaps was by far my favorite part. I went to Snap Source‘s site and ordered 20 size 14 snaps along with the Snap Setter for that size, and they arrived very quickly. I’d been concerned when reading the website that size 14 snaps (“Suggested uses: Infant wear, doll clothing”) would be flimsy, but that’s what the pattern called for so I didn’t question it. Plus that size has a lot more color options, and if I were committing to the setter in that size I figured it was more versatile. I shouldn’t have been concerned: the snaps are so solid I find it hard to snap and unsnap them! (Luckily I can just pull the dress over my head.) I got white snaps, which you can just barely make out—sorry, no close-ups because Caro, Pam, and I were hot and I was in a rush—and only messed up one of them! I accidentally put the connection piece upside down on one. That snap was ruined in the process but the fabric wasn’t, so it was easy to just affix a new one.

I made the bias binding for inside the neck and armholes from white cotton batiste in my stash, and I made a TON of it so hopefully future garments will go more quickly than this one! The Seamwork estimated time for this is 3 hours. It took me far longer with that long break to make bias binding! But I don’t mind one bit, and I feel certain future versions (there will be future versions) will not take me nearly as long.

Big thanks to Caro for taking these pictures for me.

adelaide dress | pepperknit.com

This was a discouraging post to write, because it marks the last garment I sewed before my sewing machine crapped out on me. It had been fussing at me for a while, giving an error for phantom reasons. I could often clear the glitch with a few hand-cranks and it would work for a short while more before beeping madly at me again. But while topstitching the belt—the longest continuous seam in the entire garment!—it got angrier than ever before, and I honestly doubted I’d be able to get through it without hand-cranking the entire thing. I took the machine into a repair shop, and I was told the day we took these pictures that the motherboard was shot and not worth replacing in my inexpensive machine (the Brother CS-6000i; it was about 6 years old with moderate use). So I’m sewing machine shopping! I have my eye on a few machines but still need to get somewhere to try them out. Suggestions?

two hats: “one for now, one for later”

My backlog of finished things is out of control right now, and I plan to get them documented ASAP! now that we’ve tackled the hacking of the site and corrected the outdated “pointing” information, I think we’re back in business. First up, a combined knitting and sewing gift for a wee one!

purl soho hats | pepperknit

When I sent these two hats back in March, I told the mom it was “one for now, one for later.” Because she lives in a cold climate, I figured she’d still get some use out of a knit hat, and the bonnet was sized to be a few months older so that the little one could wear it over the summer. Of course, I know nothing about baby head sizes, and the weather stayed iffy well into late spring this year, so it seems the knit hat got a lot of wear–it wasn’t as small as it had seemed to me! And the bonnet is in full summer rotation already.

purl soho garter earflap hat | pepperknit

The knit hat is the Garter Earflap Hat from Purl Soho. I think this is such a cute pattern, and it knits up very fast. I used Malabrigo Rastita, which is DK weight, so I needed to knit one of the larger sizes in order to end up with a baby-sized hat. I used the final measurements for the baby size and coordinated that with my gauge to determine which size to me. (I now cannot remember the stitch count I used.) I did garter in the round (working a wrap and turn at every end of row) rather than alternating knit and purl rows in order to make it even faster. I ended up knitting a few extra rows because it looked impossibly stumpy to me; after seeing pics of the baby in the hat it seems that was unnecessary!

purl soho baby sunbonnet | pepperknit

The sewn bonnet is also from Purl Soho (they design such consistently great basics): the Baby Sunbonnet. A friend had made several for her baby, and I was eager to try the pattern. It was very simple and straightforward and I had no issues, other than picking two fabrics to work together! I used very lightweight interfacing for the brim, because it’s what I had handiest, and two quilting cottons, and I sort of wish I’d had a slightly heavier interfacing to give the brim slightly more body, but it’s fine. It was done in one evening.

And it seems to be well enjoyed by its recipient. I mean look at that face!!

purl soho baby sunbonnet | pepperknit

dog days of summer

pepperknit | purl soho pub

Earlier this summer, I had a series of garment sewing disasters (that serger came out of nowhere!), so I decided I needed a satisfying sewing win. Dogs are known for their healing properties, right?

pepperknit | purl soho pub

I’m lucky this came together decently well because it honestly wasn’t the easiest! Getting all the ares with three seams properly aligned was somewhat tricky, but in the end I have the cutest little pup! I used the Purl Soho Pup pattern (free if you subscribe to their newsletter—look at the top of the page), truncating the wiener dog’s length by arbitrarily taking out a few inches in the middle of the pattern pieces.

pepperknit | purl soho pub

For the main fabric I used a gray flannel that I once used as a baby quilt back, and for the accents a fun quilting cotton. She enjoys walks, feeling the breeze in her ears, and generally staying quiet!

pepperknit | purl soho pub

“beach ball” for Jack

Though I knit baby Jack a sweater, since I was getting to meet my first cousin once removed (I’m pretty sure that’s our relation—he’s my cousin’s son) at Beach Week, I had to make him something, right? The little stinker (on the verge of walking unassisted!) just turned one, and he took to the ball immediately. Success!

pepperknit | purl bee fabric beach ball

In fact, during a naptime session on the beach I watched him in the Pack-n-Play struggling with his FOMO but also distracted by his new best toy: he hugged, pet, and babbled to the ball. I dared not take a photo lest I distract him from napping, which was what he was supposed to be doing. But rest assured it was heart-burstingly cute.

pepperknit | purl bee fabric beach ball

The crab fabric was bought at Makers’ Mercantile when I visited in March. I knew I’d use it to make Jack-Jack something, but I wasn’t sure what until I spied the Purl Bee Fabric Ball pattern. I made the medium size, which was perfect for his little arms to wrap around. All the solids are Kona cotton, and I just used heat n bond to affix the red circles—I meant to stitch them down a little but didn’t, and that was probably a mistake. I’ll know for the future. Also I used the cardboard-and-foil trick for making the circles, with middling success. It’s still pretty hinky. But it works!

pepperknit | purl bee fabric ball

plantain tee

Maggie told me to make it, so I did. She’s never led me astray before, and I’m so pleased with the results of letting her boss me around!

pepperknit | plantain tee

She specifically said to make a Plantain Tee (free with newsletter sign up!) in a bamboo jersey. When I was at Mood shopping for fabric for a dress to wear to a wedding, I stumbled upon the bamboo jersey section. When I got a staff member to cut the dress fabric for me I spontaneously said, “and let’s add a yard of something from over here… how about that one,” picking a color somewhat blindly. Yes, it’s in the teal family—what else? I gravitate to that color when I’m looking for color, what can I say.

Turns out to make the Plantain in any sleeve length but short you actually need more than a yard, but I didn’t know that, so I’m glad I only wanted short sleeves anyway right now! I cut the pieces out using the pattern pieces for the size 40 in the bust and the 42 for the hips, just grading it out as smoothly and evenly as I could. The bamboo was kind of slippery and quite stretchy, so getting the fabric set for cutting was somewhat stressful, but it seems to have gone well enough.

I used my serger to sew all the seams, and that went very smoothly. I didn’t topstitch the collar because the seam sat flat, and I don’t really have the best tools for topstitching. That’s why I had major issues with the hemming: turns out I am kind of terrible at hemming. When I made my Union St. Tee, I did a zigzag for the hems, and it came out great with no effort at all. So I guess I thought it would always be that simple. I secured all the hems on this Plantain with the zigzag, and wow it looked like utter crap. I sent Maggie a photo and she suggested it might “block out,” to use a knitter’s parlance, but I really thought I just did a bad job. So I picked out all of the hems and redid them, using just a long straight stitch, my walking foot, and extra care to not stretch the fabric AT ALL. The extra time to pick out the stitching was frustrating but definitely worth it, because the hems are drastically improved.

pepperknit | plantain tee

In the end, it’s pretty successful! It’s amazingly comfy, I think the deep scoop is flattering but not too revealing, and I definitely will want ones in other sleeve lengths. (I’m not sure about the elbow patches—looks cute, yes, but I fear my skills in sewing them down will just make them look like I hurriedly covered actual holes or something.) I don’t exactly know what’s happening on the back in that photo—it looks like it’s pulling in odd ways? But then, we’d just gone up and down a ton of stairs and were sweaty and maybe that was affecting it. Jason says it looked pretty normal when not frozen in a photo.

I wore it today as we explored the Sutro Baths and Land’s End in San Francisco. I’m a loyal (obsessed?) listener of 99% Invisible, so I’d heard the episode about the Sutro Baths. I honestly thought, from the podcast, that they would be remote, requiring some effort to find, and you’d not really be able to walk all over them—but I was very wrong. They’re part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (“Sutro District”), so there’s an info center and free bathrooms, and paths all around. Sure, it’s on the far western edge of the city, but we just hopped on the 38 R bus down Geary and it took us right to them! The ruins are on the edge of Land’s End, which has paths leading to amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a fun place to visit on our first day of a trip to SF.

pepperknit | sutro baths

pepperknit | seal rocks

pepperknit | land's end

pepperknit | plantain tee