The spring was a tough time for my knitting. I’ve always claimed to be an all-seasons knitter but sewing projects have increased exponentially for me over the last two months. But it’s such a good sign. When the seasons change, I can’t help but want to build my wardrobe. Who doesn’t want to add a summer top or dress when the weather warms up? But I’ve spent so much time here talking about my goals of making more instead of buying, I really wanted to stay true to that. So the more I wanted new clothes, the more I’ve set about making them!
After finishing my first two tops, I thought that I was ready for a challenge. I think I dove in a little too deep, trying a Wiksten Tova top with some fabric that I wasn’t so attached to. I’m not sure if it was my lack of patience or my novice skills but it started getting ugly pretty quickly. I decided to scrap it and go back to basics.
While I urge new knitters to go immediately out of their comfort zones, I couldn’t follow my own advice on sewing. I know knitting is something I could do blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back (try me) so it’s easy for me to say, “Just try a sweater if that interests you! It’s easy!” but there’s just two stitches. You don’t have to know much to get started knitting your heart out. Sewing, I’ve found, has a lot more specifics. There are many secrets I’ve yet to uncover. So I really wanted to get comfortable with the things that I’d already tried before I started adding on.
I’d bought this yellow and white fabric a while ago in an online sale. It’s some kind of cotton blend that has this dimple texture all over it. Luckily, both fabrics are the same just different colors. So it seemed right to pair them together. I’ve seen so many cute variations on simple pieces that are just a contrasting sleeve or bias tape. Little details really make something different so this shirt doesn’t really resemble my first Scout too heavily.
One of the things that I was really trying to master here was the set in sleeve. I won’t say it was done perfectly but it seemed to go much easier and I built so much confidence. The first sleeve was set in excellently and I was so excited. I was wearing my one-sleeved shirt all over the apartment, just feeling proud and admiring my work in the mirror. That’s when I realized I’d done it inside out. Got some more practice, so there’s a silver lining.
I also wanted to up the challenge since the top is relatively simple so I did French seams everywhere but where I set in the sleeve. I do not have the mojo for that just yet. And I really made myself do things right. If it wasn’t perfect, I unpicked and re-stitched. I started this top right after finishing the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee so I was kind of imagining May and Patrick going over my work. I would hate to disappoint them.
I like this top. I’m definitely going to be one of those crazy sewists with 500 Scout tees in her wardrobe. It’s just so breezy to make and it’s great to wear. I know my wardrobe and, while I’d love to make hundreds of different sundresses, my uniform (for work especially) is jeans with a cute tee.
I’m really hoping to make another scout in a knit. I find the shape of the shirt a little boxy and I think a nice medium or light weight knit would be more flattering. I’ve never worked with knits before but I’m told it’s not as challenging as everyone makes it sound. So I’m sure that will go terribly.
Don’t worry, I’m still knitting up a storm! But I’m so pleased to be building my own wardrobe! (I actually stopped myself from buying a cheap shirt the other day. I took a photo so I can try to reproduce it on my own. It felt great to have that power and to say no to something that wasn’t sustainable.)
Do you get bit the sewing bug sometimes? How many Scout tees have you sewn?
It’s no secret. I’ve been bitten by the sewing bug. I say it every time the seasons change, I’m a year-round knitter. But seeing so many gorgeous Me Made May outfits really got me inspired to enhance my wardrobe. While I always have this secret (unjustified) feeling that knitting is far superior to any other craft (I’m a craftist, I admit it), the warm weather and near instant gratification of sewing is really putting me on a roll.
That being said, it took just about forever for this top to come into being. When I invested in my sewing machine TWO YEARS AGO, I decided that the Wiksten tank would be a really easy beginner pattern to tackle. I’d already made a skirt and infant-sized jacket so this was a piece of cake. While I was trying to start out (and still am) using discount fabrics in case of failure, I treated myself to some beautiful Liberty London fabric. I figured I was safe in using it here. How bad could I screw up a tank?
For once, those weren’t famous last words. I actually think I did pretty swell on it. The thing is, I got the shoulder and side seams all worked out and then threw the top into a box, pins still holding up the hem. I didn’t forget about the top, somehow that impulse that had lead me to purchase the machine and get through my first few projects had left me and I was back to knitting 24/7. I mean, in my defense, I have been getting some pretty serious knitting done since I started sewing.
But when I was once again ready to start sewing, I got it done. I think that it’s not so fantastic in some respects. I didn’t have that much patience when I started the tank and I think I’ve got more of a hang of the process now. In spite of its imperfections, it’s a really great top that’s casual but can easily be dressed up. And that fabric is just great. I’m so happy I splurged on it because it really takes this simple garment up to the next level.
Are you finishing up any UFOs? Are you sewing this season or knitting?
Welcome, I’m glad you could all join us for this week’s meeting. Who’d like to share first?
Hi, I’m Sarah. I have Startitis.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the fact that I read two issues of Molly Makes and the new Martha Stewart Living while I was off on Wednesday. I want to do everything. I want to renovate an old house and start a garden and build furniture. I just want to make stuff.
I’m so frustrated because I haven’t had any FOs to share in such a long time. I’m working on everything at once so nothing’s done. I’m just wanting to do it all, I’m exploding with inspiration, I’m running in every direction.
Some of this craft mania is due to the fact the weather is changing. I want to be sewing some summer pieces. I want to get rid of everything in my closet and start fresh which adds this urgency to it. I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to sewing. I started working on the Wiksten Tova top. It’s kind of a mess but I really don’t want to get into that. I’m making something.
I’m still working on that Grettir sweater for Jon. There’s a lot of stockinette. ‘Nuff said. I have plans to make something for my grandma’s birthday. (And thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!) I still don’t know what it will be. I think I’ll end up working around my stash because I just did some spring cleaning and the amount of yarn I have should be illegal.
And if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’ve picked up my Zelda cross stitch again. It was hidden away for a few months. (Okay, I forgot that I was working on it.) This project has been going forever but I’m actually quite pleased with how far it’s come. I think it’s actually nearing the home stretch. And every time I look at it, I get excited because goddamnit it looks like the real thing! It’s funny, although this has been incredibly tedious and time consuming and I hope I never try this again, I always enjoy coming back to this project. Something about the simplicity of it after doing an intense knit is really satisfying. It’s intricate, I won’t pretend it’s easy but it’s methodical to the point that it’s meditative. And, like I said, look at the result.
So I have a bit of Startitis. I just can’t commit to any one thing. Maybe once I finish something I’ll feel relieved. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what’s next. But until then, I’m just going to keep stitching away.
Because it’s all about the process isn’t it?
At the end of 2013 I was setting up my goals for this year and they were a little overwhelming. While much of my plan for 2014 seemed unobtainable, the idea of sewing more seemed pretty simple and tangible. So while I was resting my achey hands, I decided there was no better time to start with that resolution than the present. On New Year’s Eve, I started putting together the Scout Tee and when it was time for champagne toasts, I had most of a garment.
I’ve talked about sewing here before. It’s not something I really excel at. I just hate ironing and I still don’t have a proper space to lay out fabric. But I’ve basically stopped buying clothes (aside from pieces from my favorite reputable source, Everlane, and a bridesmaid dress) since I wrote this post so I think it’s time I get my shit together and make a few pieces for myself. (Side note, I’m really proud that I’ve cut back on shopping here. I thought it would be a really difficult challenge for me but I really feel good about it!) Besides all of this, I’ve met some really amazing ladies that I know I can turn to when I hit a dead end. Seriously, I’ve had so many offers for lessons, I know some really lovely sewists!
But I am a bad student. I want to teach myself everything. I’m learning quickly that I need some advice.
So here is my finished tee! I used a fabric that I picked up at Purl Soho (that I can’t find information for anymore). Seems like I’m on kind of an orange kick. Something must be going on in my second chakra. I can’t wear dresses to work so my summer uniform is jeans with a cute top. Scout is the shape for something casual and simple without looking sloppy. I’ll definitely be making another!
It’s not perfect. I feel like I ought to strive a little harder for perfection at the very least so my garments will hold up well but for now I think I just need to get things made so I’m not so discouraged.
When I see a simple garment like this one, it seems like instant gratification. The problem is, even though it’s not too difficult, there are a lot of steps (read: IRONING!) to make each piece look finished. I mean, of course there is the hem and the seams but then there are things like binding around the neckline. Those little steps that I forget about when I dive into a project. I’m obviously still a novice when it comes to planning.
Setting in the sleeve was quite a challenge. Way harder than setting in a knit sleeve. But I decided to stick with how it came out on my first go-round. There’s definitely some gathering since I didn’t quite know what I was doing. I could probably use a better tutorial. That being said, it’s not terrible all things considered and everything fits where it ought to. Good job, me!
This top was the perfect beginner piece for me. It had just the right amount of difficulty, nothing too complicated but enough that I felt myself learning. And, of course, in the end, I’m left with a beautiful garment that fits and that I’m definitely going to wear the crap out of!
I’m already working on my next sewing project while I wait for yarn to arrive in the mail. What should I make next? Have you sewn a Scout tee?