Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Category: sewing

My First Successful Sewing Experience: Part 1 of 3

Pattern: Dress from Butterick B4712, diaper cover from McCall’s M2213
Modifications: My armhole seams were pretty ugly so I added some bias tape to clean them up a bit.

While I made some nice newborn diapers and a great (and well used) baby sling when I was pregnant, my sewing track record is pretty ugly. Let’s just say I wasted lots of time and money and leave it at that. Enter a live-in babysitter who can sew and who works at a fabric store… Emily gave me some great pointers on patterns, cutting and construction. For any other beginner sewers out there, this is what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. If you do not 1) use pins and/or 2) iron your pieces after each seam, you would be better off wadding up the cash you dropped on fabric and notions and torching it. It would be better to indulge your inner pyro than suffer the anger and frustration of a failed project. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but this was actually my greatest sewing challenge.

2. Transfer all of the markings from the pattern to the fabric. Of course you would do that. Why would you try to wing it? Trust me on this, I’ve tried and failed.

3. Follow the pattern instructions. When the pattern says to do something that you think sounds a bit too much, just do it. You will be grateful five steps later when you realize that you should have done what the pattern said to do way back at the beginning.

I like how the bias tape looks except in one spot. Do you see it here? I’m not going to rip it out and redo it but I’ll never like that corner.

Check out the zipper! Not bad for my second one, I think. It’s a little wonky at the bottom but you can’t see it unless you’re looking for it.
I’ll have two more FOs in the next few days along with some notes on why knitting is better than sewing…

The Sewing Machine Ate My Knitting Mojo

Perhaps for lack of inspired knitting, perhaps because of the heat but whatever the reason, my sewing machine has lured me with its promise of quickly finished objects – near instant gratification compared to knitting. I say “finished” but the truth of the matter is that all of my sewn items need buttonholes or trim added so you won’t see actual FOs for a few more days. You know what I mean by “finished”…

Here are some previews:

I’ve also been working on a pair of Anastasias with the Claudia’s Handpainted (in Blue Sky colorway) that I won in Minty’s blog contest a few months ago.

I think once I clear my knitting plate of second socks and gift knitting, my knitting mojo will come back. Until then, I slog along!

FO: Grapefruit Socks

Pattern: Basic Stockinette with short-row heel and wedge toe (CO 64 sts)
Yarn: Woolarina Superwash Sock yarn in Grapefruit colorway

These socks will be packed up this evening and shipped off to Ann, who graciously traded me some beautiful Sea Wool and Lang Jacquard for them! So much for a stash buster project! Ann, I hope these fit!!!

For weeks, I’ve been meaning to blog about the beautiful stitch markers that my sister-in-law, Xan, made for me. Aren’t they pretty? Jewelry for my knitting needles!!! She’s so talented. She can knit, crochet, sew, quilt, tile a bathroom floor… I just checked out some good baby knits books from the library so I plan on using these in a baby project that will debut soon. I must finish my socks first!

Speaking of socks, I’ve finished the first of my mom’s Regia cotton socks, although I had to rip and reknit the toe once because I measured incorrectly. These socks are just OK in my book. Their overwhelming comfort makes up for the white ply (I assume that’s the cotton part of the Regia blend) that makes them look a bit funny!

I do like how the striping worked out at the toe, don’t you?

The crochet project is coming along quite well. I’m adding about one color strip a day so at this rate, it will take me all summer but that’s just fine with me. Afghans aren’t very portable projects anyway so this will be my at-home project.

After my last post, Maryse reminded me that there’s no reason to apologize for crochet. She’s right, of course. I know I’ll get some heat for saying it but I strongly associate crochet with tacky, acrylic (insert household item here) covers that one sees at local craft fairs. It’s because my grandmother used to have crocheted toilet paper roll covers in all of her vacation rentals. As if covering a roll of TP makes it look like anything other than what it is… So if I’m down on crochet, it’s because of the toilet paper rolls.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a preview of other crafty projects in the queue this summer:

Baby Sewing – No New Knitting

While there’s not much knitting getting done here, I have made a little progress on a project that’s been sitting around for a few months. As I’ve mentioned before, we use cloth diapers. Lots of cloth diapers.
When I was pregnant, I made about 200 flannel wipes by sewing two 9″x9″ squares of flannel together. The wipes were by far the most useful thing I made in preparation for baby Beatrix.
When Beatrix was a few weeks old, I realized that we could certainly use more wipes (you can never have too many). And they make great gifts. Unfortunately, they’re only quick to make if you make a ton at once. Otherwise, they’re fairly labor intensive. At the time, I bought more fabric, cut the squares out, matched fronts and backs up, and sewed. I never got around to turning them right-side out, ironing them, and topstitching them closed. Yes, I realize I could cut a few of those steps out if I had a serger but I don’t have one and I’m not sure I’m willing to spend the money on one. So, to make a long story short, I turned them out and ironed them. I’ll stitch another day and maybe we’ll have more wipes before Beatrix leaves for college.

Don’t you just love the colors?
I know, I know. Their intended purpose is to wipe a baby’s butt. You needn’t remind me. I still think they’re cute.