Ginger Made: Jungle-icious Plantain T-Shirt!

Hey, there, preening pumas!  Hope you are all well!  After finishing my coat project, I was in the mood for a simple sew, and I also wanted to get in on the Jungle January fun.  I’ve been LOVING all the fun animal-print projects populating my blogroll these days– keep up the good work, duders!

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger MakesThis leopard-print sweater knit has been hanging out in my stash for a while, and I knew as soon as Jungle January 2 was announced that I wanted to bring it fabric to life!  I bought it at Fabrics for Less for some crazy low price, but this is reallllly similar, if you fancy a gaudy garment as well.  The pattern was an obvious choice, too.  It’s the new (and FREE!) Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt— go and download it, if you haven’t already!

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “Ginger, this is pretty deplorably tacky, but, somehow, I expected you to bring it a little harder during Jungle January”.  I’m sorry, guys, but I decided to exercise a little restraint and keep things classy.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt by Ginger Makes

JUST KIDDING, I DOUBLED DOWN ON THE HOT PINK ANIMAL PRINT.  Look at these truckerlovin’ elbow patches!!!!!  Hot pink tiger!!!!!!!  This fabric came from Girl Charlee (here’s a similar fabric, although I’m sure the one I ordered two years ago is long gone) and was part of a failed garment a while back (tried to make up a woven pattern in a slouchy knit, ended up with Sharpie all over the fabric, tears were shed, etc.).  When the inspiration struck to work this into the top, I tried to calm myself and use basic black for the elbow patches, but I thought to myself, “What would Anne and Heather do?” and then I forged ahead with my unholy animal-print union.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt by Ginger Makes

Just casually scratching my head and not at all showing off my ELBOW PATCH OF JOY!

Let’s talk about the pattern for a second.  It’s basically the quickest thing in the world to sew, everything matches up nicely, and, again, it’s FREE!  It’s a departure from my usual style (not sure I’ve ever worn anything with a scoop-neck), so I don’t need a whole closet full of these or anything, but it looks like something my mom and sister would wear all the time, so I’m planning several versions for them.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Luckily I overcame my fear of twin-needling when I was making the Romy Anorak, so it was a breeze to hem.  The only difference was that I needed to lower my tension allllll the way down to avoid tunneling between the stitch lines when I sewed on this sweater knit.  That’s it!  I used my walking foot and a ballpoint needle for the bulk of construction, which worked well.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Obligatory wild kitty face!

I get really happy whenever I look at these silly elbow patches and I feel like a sort of human nacho dip when I have this on– I’M BRINGING THE PARTY, PEOPLE!  Also, my hubsy-wubsy HATES this, so it will be fun to wear in a sort of gleefully antagonistic way.  Anyway, thanks again to Anne for unleashing the Jungle January beasts, and to Eléonore for the pattern!  Now, what are you guys sewing?  Have you made this pattern?  Are you playing along with Jungle January 2?

I See Maddie’s Underpants + Sew Grateful Week Giveaway Winner!

Dudes.  I’m pretty sure you’ve already found her blog, but if not, get thee hence to Madalynne!  She’s released a brand-new, FREE, adorable pattern for undies that I’m dying to try out (arrgh, couldn’t find the right elastic in my stash to make them this weekend!)!

Are these not the cutest EVER?

Next item of news: I know you’re anxiously awaiting it, but the winner of my Sew Grateful Week giveaway is…

Amy of Almond Rock!

Hmmm, I’m loving the sound of a royal blue Anise!  Happy sewing, girl!

What are you guys up to this week?  Sewing outerwear?  Underwear?  Something in between?  C’mon, dish!

Ginger Made: Sister Kniturday!

First of all, I hope that all of you guys in the eastern U.S. survived Hurricane Sandy without any damage or harm.  We’re just fine– some damage to our neighborhood, but none to our house or car, and our power (and more importantly, cable!) stayed on the whole time (just not the internet at home, so I’m a bit behind on my blogroll).  I feel so grateful and blessed, and my thoughts are with the folks who weren’t so lucky (and the millions of people who still don’t have power and probably won’t for several days).  And thank you so much to everyone who emailed to check in and make sure we were OK– that really meant the world to me.  THANK YOU!

I spent this weekend, before the hurricane struck (gosh, it feels like a month ago!), with my sister, who came up from Baltimore.  She has recently started sewing garments, in no small part due to my heavy peer pressure gentle encouragement, and has been really interested in, but afraid of, sewing with knits.  So I was pretty excited to sit down with her this weekend and have a little jersey sewing bootcamp (a Sister Kniturday, if you will)!

I thought that Cindy’s Dolman Sleeve Top pattern would be a nice pattern to start with, since you don’t need to set in any sleeves (AND IT’S A FREE DOWNLOAD, PEOPLE!).  I made a version first to test the fit on my sister and give her a chance to see how it goes together before cutting into her own fabric.  I used an organic bamboo/rayon knit that I picked up at Mood about a year ago with a Renfrew top in mind, but had set aside thinking it was too slinky and stretchy.

And hey, look, it IS too slinky and stretchy!  It was OK to sew with, but it’s so very drapey that anything you’re wearing underneath the top is outlined clearly.  Hello, bra!  Definitely didn’t realize how bad it was until I looked at these photos– I should wear a tank top underneath!  But hey, stash-bustin’ feels good even if the results aren’t picture-perfect, amirite?

Damage on the block courtesy of Hurricane Sandy… (sidenote: do you like my giant phone case?  safety first!)

The shirt is really comfy and easy to wear, so that’s a plus, and the pattern is BEYOND simple to put together (AND DID I MENTION IT’S A FREE DOWNLOAD?!?!  Thanks, Cindy!!!!!).  I flew through it!  I also really like the green color– it’s slightly more vibrant than a hunter green without veering into primary color territory (which is only OK if you’re dressed up like a crayon for Halloween).  [EDIT: I forgot to mention that I lengthened the sleeves by 6″, so yours will be much shorter if you make it without alterations.  I also found it a bit too long, and the band a bit wider than I liked, so I just serged the waistband seam at 5/8″ a second time and it was the perfect length.  My sister has a longer torso than I do, so we kept hers the original length.]

My sister made a version in a cotton jersey blend (also from Mood, picked out Saturday in what can only be described as a merciless raid on the Garment District).  Doesn’t it look cute on her?

Isn’t she cuuuuuute?

It’s kind of a perfect top for her– dressier than a tee, but still really easy to wear, perfect for her job as an elementary school teacher.  You have to be comfortable when you chase little kids around all day!

A side effect of a sister Kniturday is that now my sis reallllly wants a serger!  A second side effect is that now I wish (even more than usual!) that she lived in NYC so we could hole up like a couple of nerds and sew away every weekend!  😦  Well, Baltimore isn’t THAT far away, but we are popular, busy, lazy people who don’t get it together to see each other often enough.  But now that’s she succumbed to the siren song of my little Brother, I bet she’ll be tempted to Bolt Bus her way to NYC more often!

Side effect of dolman tees: instant mega-biceps! Raaaaawwwwwrrrr!

Ginger Made: Aidez (seriously, aidez-moi, s’il vous plait!)

I give up.  Here’s my Aidez sweater.  I started this thing last May, and finally finished it at the end of January.  In the land of perpetual darkness, I just couldn’t find the time to take pictures, and I wasn’t that happy with it, so that’s why you’re only seeing it now.  I’m kind of sad, because I loved this pattern when it came out, and it seemed like the perfect thing for me to throw on in the winter, but alas, it’s only so-so.

Maybe if I just casually stretch this thing all the time, it'll fit eventually!

It’s too small, even though I sized up (this is supposed to fit a 36″ bust, which I have…  in my dreams!!) to make sure that this would be nice and slouchy.  The armpits are too snug, which is really annoying.  It’s stretched a little bit since I started wearing it, but the armpit thing is pretty noticeable. Also, the arms run WAY small in this pattern– I had read that they are small, but I ignored this because I have skinny arms (I should probably buy a set of dumb bells before I turn into one of those noodle-armed old ladies that has to call a neighbor to open a jar of pickles for her).  They were SKIN TIGHT.  I can’t imagine how tight these would be if you actually worked out and had a little muscle tone!  Gals, what’s cozier than skin-tight scratchy wool?  AMIRITE???  I made them wearable by un-seaming the sleeves (harder than you would think) and picking up 8 stitches at the underarm.  I knit those 8 stitches into a panel the length of the sleeve and seamed either side of it to the existing sleeve to add some width.  That was time-consuming, but at least now they’re wearable.

What's that? You want to see photos of the back? Oh, we took them, and somehow they disappeared from the camera/computer, and I was too annoyed to do another photo shoot, so here's a second photo of me awkwardly trying to hold the sweater closed. Yay!

I knit this from the bottom up in one piece, then had to divide it when I got to the armpits.  The seaming actually wasn’t too bad– I generally avoid anything that needs seaming because I find it a bit tedious, but I could deal with this alright.  I used Cascade Eco Wool, which I’m finding too scratchy to wear next to my skin, so I can’t wear this with just a t-shirt underneath (which is how I would actually get use out of it).  I probably won’t get much wear out of this since I only have two long-sleeved t-shirts, and you can only wear a long sleeve tee AND a wool sweater on the coldest of days.  So yeah.  This project gets a “whatever” in my book… it’s not an abject failure, but it’s far from a win, which is sad.  I was really excited about this project!  If it wasn’t so irritating to re-knit something, I might make this again sometime in a larger size with modified sleeves in a softer yarn.  If it wasn’t so irritating.

How do you guys deal with frustrations when you’re making things?  Do you cut out a new size and start from scratch?  Do you try to salvage the project?  Or set it aside?  Give it away?  I’m interested to hear!  Sadly, my Honey cardigan isn’t turning out well, either– it looks way too small!  I can’t decide if I should block what I already have (it’s about halfway done) to see if it grows a ton, or if I should just go ahead and frog it and start over.  😦  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!  I always swatch, and up until now, everything I’ve made has fit perfectly (even for other people!).  I noticed with the Honey cardigan that my gauge is tighter than it was in my swatch (and I do oversized swatches to make sure they’re pretty accurate!)… what’s going on with that?  UGH!!

Ginger Made: Textured Shawl

Hi, everyone!  I wanted to share with you this shawl that I made for my mother-in-law for Christmas.  I’m really excited about this one– if you knit, you should really consider this pattern!  It’s very simple and easy to do, but yields lovely results (in my humble opinion).  It’s one of those things that looks way more complicated than it really is (or maybe I’m just easily impressed by simple, simple things… sigh)!

So soft and glorious!

This is the textured shawl recipe from orlane– it’s another free Ravelry download (love ’em!)!  The photo above is an accurate representation of the color– it was kinda tough to photograph!  It’s folded a bit here… how do you guys usually photograph shawls?

As the author states, this isn’t really a pattern, so to speak, but a set of notes about how she made her scarf.  If you’re new to knitting, you may want to read over a few of the other users’ project notes for clarification.  I had never knit a shawl before (or anything else triangular), so I was a bit confused about how to start off (the notes just instruct you to use your favorite set-up for a triangular shawl).  I referenced yorkiegirl’s notes— she just tells you to CO 7 stitches and then increase as instructed on every RS row.  So yeah, not complicated at all… I just get nervous that I’m going to screw something up!

I used the Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino yarn, just like the example (I even used the same colorway, the sort of smoky lavender color).  An unimaginative choice, I know, but it was just too pretty to pass up and that color is perfect for my m-i-l.  It’s soft as can be and really looks up lovely, but it is a bit sheddy (I kept finding purple fuzz on everything– yuck!).

What’s on your to-make list these days?  I was a little bit bad and used Sunni’s 15% discount code at Victory Patterns to buy the Chloe dress (I know, I don’t have any willpower!  Although I really wanted them ALL, so maybe I have a LITTLE willpower).  It’s so cute!  I really want to make it, but I don’t have any fabric that works in my stash, so I’ll have to hold off.  There was a little issue with the code not working at the pattern website, but the owner, Kristiann, couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating.  Yay indie pattern designers!  [edit: The discount code is valid through Jan. 19th!  Get it here!]

I'm not hoarding patterns-- I'm supporting small businesses! (The Chloe dress; image courtesy of Victory Patterns)

In other blogiverse news, I found this great 7-part series, Never Fear Knits, on Dixie DIY– check it out!  It’s so nice to read advice for working with stretch fabrics from a fellow sewist.  Thanks, Dixie!  And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out this gorgeous red jacket on sallieoh!  She has been working on this for quite a while and it’s truly amazing!  That girl’s got what we call in the business world “mad skillz”!

How about you guys?  What’s inspiring you these days?

Ginger Made: Vancouver Fog Scarf

Hi, friends!  Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  I hope you have a moment today to reflect on Dr. King’s life and legacy… I’m so glad we have a day designated to do just that.  Sadly, I’m not just celebrating today– I headed back to work for the first time in over two weeks (I can’t complain… but I really want to).  So, to brighten up my day, I’ll share another me-made Christmas gift!

Here’s the backstory for this guy– I gave my mom a ball of yarn for Christmas (the insanely soft and lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Merino in Cove) with the idea that she could choose an accessory for me to make her.  She asked for a narrow scarf that she could wear inside and out, and liked the idea of cables.  So I decided to use the cable pattern from the Vancouver Fog Mitts on Ravelry (a free download, btw!) and sandwich it between garter edges to make a cute little scarf!

I cast on 20 stitches and knit 4 rows of garter stitch, then I knit a 3-stitch garter tab, worked the 14-stitch cable pattern, and knit another 3 stitches in garter.  I basically knit until I ran out of yarn, knit another 4 rows of garter, and cast off.  Easy as could be!  It was super satisfying to knit, because with only 20 stitches in a row, it seems to leap magically off your needles!

Look at her-- she can't hide her dark side! You know she'd cut a man for lookin' at her cross-eyed!

I blocked this the night before I had to drive back to NYC, so snapped these pics of my poor ma modelling it at 6:30am (hence the awesome purple bathrobe).  She wanted to model, though, and was a good sport about it.  I should have shot some closeups, but it was dark and we were running around packing the car like lunatics and just couldn’t spare the time.

What are you guys up to today/this week?  Anything fun on the horizon?  I finally got all my fabric prewashed, rolled, and organized– whew!  I feel SO MUCH BETTER!  I’ll share some photos with you guys when I finally get everything taken care of.

Ginger Made: Camp Out Mitts

Hi, guys!  I hope you’re well!  I’m really glad that you guys are interested in the stuff I’m giving away– I can’t wait to draw names!

OK, so I want to show you a couple of the Christmas gifts I made!  These are Camp Out Fingerless Mitts, and they’re super fun (and a free download, to boot!)!  I made this pair for my sister:

And this one for my brother’s girlfriend:

I used Noro Kureyon, and each pair takes just under one skein.  That makes for a pretty affordable gift!  This was the first time that I’ve used Noro, and I like the vibrant colors, although it’s a little stiffer and scratchier than the yarn I usually use.  It’s also a little uneven to knit with– it would suddenly get thicker or thinner, which was a little annoying.

These are really quick to knit– just a few hours for each mitt!  Construction is super simple– the top of the mitt is knit in garter stitch and seamed to form a tube (I used a provisional cast on so I could just use a three-needle bind-off to join the tube), then you pick up stitches for the stockinette lower portion.  Easy as pie! I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off for the first time, and I really liked it!

Is all this knitting talk boring you guys??  What are you up to these days?  Working on anything fun this weekend?

Ginger Made: Strawberry Sorbetto Top

Voila ici le Sorbetto Top! It’s my first official entry in the 2nd Annual Summer Essentials Sew-Along. I’m vacillating between “Holy cow, I’m in love!” and “Holy crap, how did I screw things up so badly?!”

Here I am with Gus the Bus!

The good: The fabric! Mwah! I love it! It’s lightweight, sheer cotton that’s a perfect pink. I love the rectangular woven dots! Also, it’s just my style– comfortable, cute, and summery (plus it hides my bra straps!).

The bad: Ack!! Sunni’s Seam Finishing Week came one day too late! Stupid me, I didn’t realize that [zigzagging to finish seams] + [sheer, lightweight fabric] = extreme ugliness.  I’m not going to show you the inside of the garment– it’s way too embarrassing! There’s also a slight bit of weird puckering at the bottom of the side seams where it starts to curve out. Not sure what caused that.

The “meh”: The bias tape really forms a nice contrast (Wright’s 1/2″ Double-Fold in “oyster”, an unappealing name for a garment color, but that’s beside the point), but it seems a bit heavy for the lightweight fabric. It sticks out a bit from the garment instead of laying nice and flat, particular under the arms. I’m not really sure how to remedy this. Any thoughts?  Also in the “meh” category– fit issues! This is a seemingly simple top, but the style may not be instantly flattering on many people and may require some tinkering (or, in my case, three muslins!) to be wearable.

Squinting in the summer sun

On that topic, mods: I started out by cutting a straight size 2, which should have fit pretty well according to the chart of finished measurements. But the bust darts hit way too high and too far in, so I traced them on some transparent pattern paper, taped this onto the pattern about where I thought they should fall, and changed the shape of the pattern edge so the triangle thingy that pokes out between the legs of the dart was in the right place. This was my first time trying out bust darts, so I’m happy to have tried my hand at a new skill. Somehow I didn’t have enough ease in the bust, or really, all over (my finished bust measurement was 3″ smaller than estimated), so I added 5/8″ to the edge of both the front and back pieces, which did the trick. The armcyes were also way too tight, so I cut to the size 10 line, which worked. Finally, this top is crazy short. I added 2″ of length between where the 2C and 2D arrows meet on the back and the 6B and 6C arrows meet on the front.  I liked the length after this, so I added an additional 5/8″ to the bottom of the garment to reach this length after hemming it.

Look at the worn spot on my jeans pocket from carrying around my big fat wallet!

This pattern comes together really quickly, so it would have been really fast and satisfying if I hadn’t had all the weird fitting issues. Now that I’ve sorted those out, I’ll probably crank out a few more of these over the summer… and next time maybe I’ll try my hand at French seams or another nicer seam finishing technique.

Anyone else planning to make a Sorbetto?  How are your summer projects coming along?