Holiday weekend update

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend –   We’ve had a very eventful time!  First of all, we’ve been painting and tiling in our laundry closet, preparing for a new washer and dryer on Wednesday.  I’ve been suffering with a truly awful model from the 70s, so I am very excited!

I did manage to make it out to the memorial day sales and Joann and Hancock’s.  I picked up a few Simplicity and Vogue patterns that I’ve been waiting to go on sale, and I got this pretty charmeuse fabric to make a blouse.  I think it will go nicely with my yellow Beignet skirt.

I mostly resisted the online memorial days sales, but I did order two gorgeous cotton satin prints from Elliot Bermann.

The pink roses will become a sheath dress (I am thinking of Vogue 1137) and the one on the right (which is from JCrew) I am going to save for fall… I am thinking of something with a full skirt and 3/4 length sleeves, like Vogue 8615.

I also was able to work up a muslin of Simplicity 2497.  The sizing on this one is really strange – I looked at the finished measurements, and decided on a 6 in the bodice, 10 in the waist, and 8 for the skirt.  Here is the first result, minus the neck ruffles (excuse the mess… the big mirror hangs on the door of the laundry room, so you get to see our painting debris!

A few things:  the neckline is quite low, but I think I am going to leave it.  I don’t want the ruffles too close to my face, and for a formal dress I don’t mind a low neck.  The bodice is too big – I need it to be 2-3 inches smaller.  I’ll go down to the 4, and perhaps take slightly deeper side seams.  The shoulders will be better in the size 4 too.   The waistband could be a little smaller, again by about 2 inches.  The skirt is fine, though it could perhaps be slightly smaller in the back.  I also plan to shorten the skirt by about 3 inches.  Luckily, with no darts etc this dress is very easy to alter. Here I am with the waist and bodice clipped:

Much better I think!  I know the style is supposed to be blousy, but the proportions don’t work on me with that much ease.  I think with a smaller top and the ruffles it will be super cute!  I’ll go ahead and do another muslin of the top only, since I need to remove so much ease, and when I’m satisfied I will cut my fabric.  This is the fabric I am using, which is actually a synthetic shantung – not usually my thing, but the color is pretty.

Oh, and I forgot the other bit of excitement in our holiday!

You may know that we live in an old Victorian neighborhood.  It’s a mixed bag, with extensively renovated mansions sitting next to converted apartments that haven’t seen paint in decades, and we love it!  One of the main reasons we were probably able to afford our house, which was larger and nicer than we thought we could get, was because there was a particularly nasty example of the latter type of building a few doors down.  It was abandoned, and the city was very slow to figure out who owned it so they could auction the property.  Well, they finally did, and work started on the house in January.  We were very excited first, as the house had been a constant source of worry.  It quickly became apparent that the new owners had no clue what they were getting into, and they proceeded to gut the house (including many of the exterior walls) and then left it sitting that way.  Last week it started to develop a noticeable list.  We contacted the city and our alderman, to no avail – it seemed it would have to actually fall down before anyone would do anything.  And last night?  It did.  We heard a terrible crashing noise that went on forever.  I turned to my husband and said “the house fell down” and immediately called 911.  Luckily, no one in the surrounding buildings was injured, and we have one house between us and the collapsed house (our neighbors were not home.)  It makes me so sad to see that beautiful, once proud Victorian home, destroyed by years of benign and a few months of willful neglect.  I am involved with the local historic preservation organizations, and this is why!

It’s back to work tomorrow for a shortened week – I am looking forward to June!

FO: Jenny skirt

Pattern: Jenny from Burdastyle

Size made: 36

Fabric: 1.5 yds of cotton print jacquard from Joann’s, beige bemberg rayon to line.

Notes: This is the first time I’ve used a Burdastyle pattern, and it was a bit of a mixed bag – great skirt, lousy instructions!  Let’s start with the good: this pattern fit very well in a 36, which is the size I am instructed to make by the size chart (I’m a 36 below and a 34 on top.)  On the final skirt I did take smaller size seams on the hips, as this fabric doesn’t stretch even a little, and I was worried it might be snug.  I think that was probably a good choice.  The waistband fits fine, though my waist is not quite as small as the size 36 calls for.  I did cut the waistband on the bias, as the pattern asked.

Let’s talk about the fabric first: it was really great to work with!  I was worried it would fray, but that action was really minimal.  I was careful with my print placement – I knew I wanted the largest pink part of the print to be off center in the front.  I didn’t try to match any seams, which I think is totally fine in this print.  I was attempting to make my own version of the J.Crew Impressionist skirt, and luckily I like mine even better – take that, J.Crew and your hundred dollar skirts!

The directions were not great.   So I made them up, which was probably good experience for me anyway!

I  made a few changes from the way the skirt was intended.  I interfaced the waistband facing rather than the waistband, and I hung the lining off that facing instead of attaching it to the skirt.  I did not topstitch the waistband together as the pattern instructed – to do so caused the bias band to stretch, but not the interfaced facing.  I hemmed the lining with the serger because I’m lazy, but I did the skirt hem by hand.  I slip stitched the lining to the zipper tape and to the slit, which gave me quite the aching pain in my hands – apparently my hand sewing technique is not so ergonomic!  I need to go back and tack the lining to the skirt, as occasionally it shifts down so that you can see it just a tad.   My skirt is about an inch longer than the pattern – I just took a more shallow hem.  I like it mid-knee, because it doesn’t feel short, but the proportions look better than just below the knee on me.

Oh, and I’ve decided that I love invisible zippers – they go on like a dream with no basting or pinning!  I think I may use them in the future whenever I can.

I do love this skirt, and I’m interested in making the other 2 versions it came with (a suspender skirt and a dress.)  I might also make a black version, as I have several extra pieces of black fabric lying around, and who couldn’t use a black skirt?   It’s more comfortable than I expected – I wouldn’t try to run or anything, but the slit is sufficient for walking.  It was very quick – I cut the fabric on Wednesday and sewed it up on Thursday.  Highly recommended, but be sure you won’t need hand holding from the instructions!

Dear pattern companies…

I made up a muslin of the Jenny skirt from Burdastyle.  I can usually make a skirt without a muslin, but I’ve never made a European sized pattern before.  I made a size 36, which is the size the chart says I should, based on hip measurement (35.5″) And guess what?

Yes, that’s right… it totally fits!  And I didn’t have to go down 3 sizes from the recommendation.  I may remove just a smidge from the waistband, but other than that it’s just as I want it (it is not hemmed, so it will be a bit shorter.)  I used my leftover gingham for the muslin, and my actual fabric is a bit stiffer.  I hope to finish the actual skirt by the weekend – it’s a super quick sew, even with a lining.

The instructions are… um… strange, but I can sew a skirt without them.  I hope it works out, because there are some other Burdastyle items I would really like to sew (I’d like a Heidi dress and a few others.)

My new Kim Hargreaves book has finally arrived from the UK, and I’ve decided that Petal will be my first knit from the book.

Interestingly, this sweater was first released as a kit on her website a few years ago, and at the time I rejected it for being beaded.  This version has a texture pattern instead of beads.  I adore the little decorative buttons!  I bought the yarn it calls for, Rowan Fine Milk Cotton.  I bought lagoon, a pretty blue-green.  I do love Rowan’s yarns, which I find to be very high quality, but I wish they had better colors sometimes… there are too many wishy-washy pastels for my taste!  This was one of only a few acceptable colors for me in this yarn.

I’m interested in the milk cotton because I find that fingering weight cotton tends to knit unevenly for me, and I hear that the milk yarn is softer.  I ordered it from the UK because I got a good deal – about 7 dollars a ball including shipping, as opposed to 13 in the US… imported yarn is pricey!  So that probably won’t be here for a week or two, but when it arrives I will get started.

That’s all for today – thanks for the get-well wishes!  I pulled off a miraculous recovery and was able to sing my two solos in the concert on Sunday, thank goodness!  The concert was wonderful, and my season with that group is over, though I have others ongoing.  I’m thinking it might be time for me to see an allergist, as this is the 3rd allergy-related problem I’ve had this year, but I am horrible about going to the doctor… we will see!

Sniffle

Since last Thursday I’ve been sidelined with an icky sinus infection, which I get every May like clockwork because of my allergies (I love my city, but we’re the #1 worst place for spring allergies… go us!)  I sing with a number of groups that have concerts in May, so it’s always a struggle to be well for them.  I have a concert Sunday that I have to be well for… luckily, after days of mainlining zinc, sudafed,  and throat coat tea, I am feeling better, and I do have some hope that I will be reasonably well by Sunday.

I’m staying out of the craft room, because something up there is aggravating my allergies (old house dust?  I don’t know, but after an hour I get all sniffley.)  I did cut out my Jenny skirt pattern (I don’t think the taping together is as bad as everyone says,) and I can at least get the pieces cut out for that by bringing the cutting table downstairs, but sewing?  Not so much.  And I’m waiting on my new knitting book, so no knitting either.

You all know about my obsession with planning and organizing.  I’ve mentioned my folder of inspiration garments that I keep on my computer.  Lately I’ve started creating little subfolders in that folder where I match patterns, fabric, and inspiration.  I want to make some idea boards, but I’m not totally sure the best way to do that in digital form.  Suggestions are welcome!

The largest directory is currently “faux-two piece dresses,” which consists of my favorite current trend: the dress that looks like a blouse and skirt combo.  Seriously, this is my idea of a great trend – one that makes it easier, rather than harder, to look pulled together.  I love skirts and blouses, but it drives me crazy how hard it is to keep a blouse tucked in the way I would like.  In addition, I have to have pieces that go together, which often I do not.  Making a dress forces me to fix this!  Here are some shots from my inspirations photos.  Most are from Anthropologie and modcloth, because I stalk those sites the most often.

Kwik Sew has released a pattern that would work great for the last 2 dresses.

I love both versions, and plan to make them up.  It uses a stretch fabric for the top and a woven for the skirt.  It would be easy enough to alter the plain   top to be any number of variations, and it looks like it would work for border prints, though I would have to see the pattern pieces to be sure.

Simplicity has released several of their Project Runway patterns with illustrations showing how they can be combined in this way.  I actually really like the PR patterns, because the variations are nice, and they are sometimes more fashion forward.  I like these:

Of course, this requires coordinating fabrics, and since I have to buy most of my fabric online that can be tough.  Sticking to neturals for 1/2 of the dress should work… we will see.  Which one should I make first?  I’m undecided right now, and I have plans to do other dresses too (after several separates in a row, I want to make a dress!)

More from the inspiration folder:

This Vogue pattern, which has the least inspiring illustration ever,  looks almost exactly like this dress!  I’m actually glad to make it in a fabric that isn’t drawn all over with a spirograph (which is super cute,  but not me.)

These two dresses capitalize on the current trend towards ruffles.  The first looks very much like Butterick 5320.

The second?  Well, the current issue of Sewstylish includes a pattern makeover by Sweet P of Project Runway fame… and the resulting dress is very similar!

It’s missing the neck ruffle, but that might be for the best.  I have been trolling Etsy for vintage patterns (as always) and find myself drawn to 70s era sundresses with bottom ruffles.

I really love this!  The buttons on the straps, the crossed back straps, the buttons in the back… so adorable!  I mean, if you ignore the denim version, which is a wee bit Annie Oakley for my taste, what with the gingham and kerchief.

And… I still love  Simplicity 2497 (again with the ruffles!)  I actually have some  shantung that I might like for this… I mean, with those ruffles it’s pretty much a going out dress, though I could see it looking great in a casual fabric as well.

And… that concludes tonight’s version of “things I like.”  I won’t get to half of them of course, but for me the planning is the fun part (well, and the sewing… it gets me past the cutting, which is the part I hate!)

Outfit of the day

Here is my challenge for today: take something that you might consider too dressy for everyday, and make it a work outfit.  In this case, I wanted to wear my Rooibos dress.  First of all, I absolutely adore this dress.    I’m actually planning to make a summer version out of stretch sateen.   But… this dress reads a little dressy to me (and once again, I insist that it is emerald green!  My camera will not photograph this color accurately.)   The problem with this dress is that it’s sleeveless and slightly low in the back, and I don’t usually show either area to teach (well, I will wear sleeveless sometimes, but not with the lowered back.)  And it’s a wee bit short – I prefer right at the knee or slightly below.  I have skinny legs.

First I did what I do with anything too short: I wear it with flats.  I never do short with heels, because then my legs are even skinnier looking, and I feel like it’s too flashy for work.  I would wear black tights if the weather were colder, but it’s 65 degrees today – perfect for a lightweight wool sheath dress, but not for tights.  Then I had to figure out how to cover the shoulders and back without covering my favorite part of the dress, the pockets.  That calls for a cropped sweater or shrug.  Apparently fashion has moved on to really long sweaters instead, but I still love my short coverups – sometimes I want to see my dress!  This sweaters is dark purple, and I got it at Target several years ago.  I like the ties (I am actually planning to make Buttercup by Kim Hargreaves, which is a similar tie style.)  I like purple with green, but I realize that’s not a combo for everyone.  It helps if the colors are the same intensity, which these are (ie not a light purple with a dark green etc.)

I’m a teacher, and a musician, neither of which are super conservative.  I can totally get away with jeans to teach, but I feel like it makes me seem young, which I am trying to avoid (I know I look younger than my age, and I don’t like to be questioned about my qualifications because of that… it’s also why I think this skirt is too short.)

When I make this dress again I’m going to make it 2 or 3 inches longer.  But that’s good news for petite ladies – this dress is too short for me in the smallest size, and I’m not crazy tall (I’m about 5’7″.)

Do you have any items you never wear because you feel they might be too dressy for daytime?  Any suggestions for dressing them down?  I know I am guilty of making lots of dressy dresses and then having to figure out how to wear them everyday.  I’m not going to stop with the dresses, so I might as well get some tips!

FO: Simplicity 2614

Pattern: Simplicity 2614, view d

Fabric: Green mini-gingham pima cotton from Denver Fabrics

Notes: This is another item in my wardrobe that started with an inspiration garment.  I saw the Swathed Gingham blouse (below) at Anthropologie, and fell in love with the green gingham.

Realistically though, I don’t look good in things that wrap around the side, so I knew I wouldn’t be making a true copy.  Fashion advice always says “Everyone looks fabulous in a wrap top or dress!”  Well, I must be weird, because I don’t.  Having something tied at the side emphasizes the lack of difference  between my waist and bust, and makes me look like a big rectangle.  I do love the DKNY dress I made last month, but it’s a mock wrap with an empire waist, and ties in the front anyway.

I chose this pattern because I liked the versatility of it – I would make almost all of the views.  I also like how feminine the gathers and little puff sleeves are.  It wasn’t until I went to cut the pattern that I realized the back and lower front are cut on the bias.  This is to enable it to go over your head without a zipper.  It does work, but as I have mentioned before I am not a fan of bias cuts.  In this case it causes weird wrinkles in the back, which you can see above, though the front looks fine.  It looks like I need a swayback alteration, but I do not have a swayback (and I never get these wrinkles!)   If I made it again I would not cut it on the bias and add an underarm zip.   This is a very tiny gingham, so I didn’t bother to match up the print – I would have gone blind, and you can’t tell in this fabric anyway.  I did cut the top front piece on the fold, as I think a seam there would be unattractive (and made it harder to sew the v neckline!)

I am a B cup, and made the B cup pattern, but it is a little short in the bust – you can see in the pictures that the underbust seam is maybe half an inch too high.  Something to consider if you are making this pattern up – I am rather short from shoulder to waist, so it’s unusual for something to be short there.

All the reviews of this pattern said that the v neck was the most challenging part.  I’ve never sewn one before, so I looked up tutorials (of course!  I need photos!)  I used the method outlined here, and it was excellent.  I did sew with the 5/8″ seam allowance, and then cut it down to 1/4 inch with pinking shears afterward.  I clipped all the way to the stitching on the v.  It was hard, because I am still terrified of disaster every time I clip!  It looks really good I think, though there is a slight bobble where I didn’t overlap the stitching exactly on one side.  Not noticeable on this fabric.

I did a few things to simplify construction.  First, I did all the gathering with crochet thread and a wide zigzag stitch, and can I just say how I love this method?  Then I sewed the shirt together at the shoulders and sewed in the sleeves flat, before sewing the side seams.  I am a big fan of sewing in sleeves flat, especially with a gathered sleeve cap, where it will not be noticeable. I also did the facings (for which I used self fabric interfacing) before sewing the side seams, so that I could move the fabric around more.

There is an article in this month’s Threads magazine about weighting down narrow hems with thread, which made me happy because that’s what I’ve been doing (only with a serger instead.)  I serged the hem edges, then folded over once and topstitched down.  It looks very nice and neat from both sides.  I did the same on the sleeve hems and the bottom.

And of course I love my buttons!   I made a straight size 6, which as usual is smaller than they recommend, and it fits fine.  I could have maybe traced a size larger in the shoulders (this is a common alteration for me) but it doesn’t feel tight – I can just see that it would look a little better with another half inch in the shoulders.

Sorry for the weirdness of the photos  – when you resize a small print it gets wonky!  Anyway, I’m not sure I would make this pattern again.  I like my shirt, but I just don’t like the bias cut on the bottom and back… I feel like it doesn’t fit as well as I would like, and it doesn’t fit in the same way that every bias cut shirt or dress I’ve ever owned doesn’t fit. I can’t explain what it is about bias I don’t like – I think it’s how they are supposed to skim over curves.  Well, I don’t have a lot of curves, and I feel like when things skim I just look straight up and down, which is something I try to avoid.  But maybe I’m being harsh, as I often am when things are newly made!

Deciding what to wear

It has been said that I have a compulsive need to organize.   Pre-ravelry, all of my yarn and patterns were organized in spreadsheets, as my sewing stash is now.  It makes me crazy when some part of my life is messy.  This has been the case with me and my wardrobe for years.  Earlier this year, it became apparent that I had to fix things.  75% of my wardrobe consisted of items I didn’t like because they weren’t flattering or were uncomfortable in some way.  I kept the unflattering items around “just in case,” but even worse… I felt the need to wear the unflattering items sometimes, because I felt guilty owning things I didn’t wear.  Well… I decided there was no room in my wardrobe for items that make me feel bad about myself, so I had a major paring down session.  Anything that I questioned was tried on, judged by a panel consisting of my husband and a supportive friend, and donated.  I got rid of half my closet, and let me tell you it was hard… I felt that I didn’t have enough choices, and yet, oddly, found myself unable to combine the items in my closet in pleasing ways.

I have been inspired by the participants of MeMadeMay, especially those who don’t have a lot of handmade items, yet are managing to combine them in great and fun ways!  I didn’t sign up because I worried I wouldn’t have enough, which is completely insane if  you look in my sweater drawer (which is not so much a drawer as an entire dresser.)  But anyway, these ladies are making it work, no matter how small their wardrobe is, and they look fabulous!

Super Kawaii Mama is doing a series on being glamorous for every occasion, and she specifically asked ” What are your excuses / reasons for not getting glammed up each day?” Now, I’m not going for glamour.  It’s important to decide what your look is.  I want to look elegant.  I like being dressed up, and so I usually am.  I do wear jeans occasionally, but even those are dressy.  My biggest issue was decision paralysis when faced with a closet full of clothes.  So here is what I’ve started doing, in order to simplify getting ready each day.  First of all, I wash and set my hair at night, which is easier, since if I leave it to morning I will wear a ponytail every day.  Then, some days I will take extra time choosing what I’m wearing, and if it’s really successful I take a photo and place it in a folder on my desktop labeled “successful outfits.”  For instance, here is mine from today:

I’m wearing:

Linen dress by Merona from Target a few years ago (I love this dress, and I want to make a pattern from it so I can have other colors!)

DKNY cardigan that used to be my Mom’s – it’s too big for me if I wear it normally, but I love the sleeves.

Belt from Forever 21 (I know, I hate that store, but the belts are really cheap.  I love this one!)

Vintage flats

So now that I have a picture and the details written down (I have a spreadsheet… of course) it’s much easier to get ready in the morning.  I have many of my FO shots of knitting and sewing in there too, as those tend to be my good outfits.  And I don’t feel bad about repeating, because I have the pictures to remind me of why the outfits worked!  Now all I have to do is keep this up – I’ve been doing it for a few weeks and I’m loving it!


My readers are the best!

You guys are awesome – I got 35 opinions on my button choice yesterday!  Red was the clear winner, but many of you suggested finding a different red.  I got off work early today, due to a sickness epidemic in my studio, so I actually had time to go to the fabric store.  Here is what I came back with:

Much better.  These are the same shade of red as the hearts, but are nice and plain.  I do wish the shank was a bit shorter, but hopefully they will work out!  I’m not planning to wear this blouse with casual bottoms, especially not jeans, so I think the touch of whimsy from the red won’t be too young.

I have plans to make a few skirts, including one to go with this blouse.  I have yet to buy fabric for that though… I want a black RPL (rayon, poly, lycra blend,) and can only find either 100& polyester or black sateen here.  I love sateen, but black cotton is a bad idea with three cats.   I want to make a slim skirt, possibly this skirt from the April Burdastyle:

See the cute little flounce and bow?  I liked the whole spread that this skirt came from, so I bought this issue..  I was not impressed with May, and I don’t have a subscription, so I’m not buying it.  June looks pretty good, but I’m undecided as yet.  I have yet to make anything from Burda, but I’ve decided it’s time!

One thing I love about sewing and knitting my own clothes is making my own interpretations of *ahem* overpriced clothes at stores.  One trend I’ve been seeing at stores like Anthropologie and J.Crew is the bold floral pencil skirt.  I’ve been on the lookout for a fabric to make my own.  While I was at Joann’s I browsed the fabric (we are a Joann Superstore, although that seems to translate to more crafty things rather than more fabric) and was surprised to find a fabric that I absolutely needed!

It’s a cotton jacquard.  Here’s a closeup of the texture:

Does it not remind you of the J Crew Impressionist skirt? Only I like this print better, as it has more pink and less of the chartreuse, which is a bit much in J Crew’s version.   I will refrain from posting their picture, because the styling makes me want to die a little inside.  Here it is the way I would wear it:

Impressionist skirt
I think it will be even prettier in this print.  But seriously – $110 for a pencil skirt?  This is why I am glad I sew now.  This fabric cost me 14 dollars total.  I’m thinking of using Jenny from Burdastyle.  Many of my favorite bloggers have had great results with this pattern.
I like the fact that it is shaped with darts rather than princess seams – I do not fancy matching this print!  It also has a really cute variation with suspenders that I could make later.   It is  higher waisted than the JCrew skirt, which is good… lower waisted pencil skirts are unflattering on me because they make my lower half look even shorter than it is (and it’s pretty short.)  With a long torso, the higher waist evens me out.
And what to wear with it?  I like a pleated knit shirt like the one above, but I think if I do that I’ll just buy one… I haven’t run across any patterns I love, and I don’t love sewing with knits anyway… but if anyone has a pattern they can think of, let me know!
Also:  I’m working on the look of the blog.  I changed the theme already, and love the new one (polka dots!)  I cleaned out a bunch of old links and info (I still had non-existant blog-rings listed!)  I’ve been thinking about self-hosted wordpress, but for now I’m staying put with this.  I am going to make my own header though!

Button, button

I am not usually one to fuss about buttons.  Since the sad demise of the button wall at Baer fabric, I don’t have a lot of local options for cool buttons, so I buy my buttons at Joanns and deal (I have noticed that they are getting more interesting buttons though!)  Right now I’m working on my gingham blouse, and I’ve decided to add some decorative buttons at the bustline, as one of the views in the pattern shows.  Without the buttons it’s a bit of an endless sea of gingham, and a little plain, so I want to jazz it up.  But I can’t decide between these two sets of buttons, so I’m soliciting opinions!

First option: these adorable red heart buttons.  I have the other button, it’s just off the card.  I don’t usually use unusually shaped buttons, because they are hard to fit in buttonholes, but here it won’t matter!  I love red buttons, and I like the contrast with the green.  But is it too artsy-crafty?

Option two: pearly flower buttons.  A much sweeter, more traditional option.  But is it too sweet?  I don’t want the gingham to be too “daisy mae” you know.  And I wonder about the buttons getting lost on the busy print.

I’m leaning towards the red, but I’d like opinions!

For reference, here is the blouse:

See what I mean about it needing something?  It fits really well though, and took about 10 minutes to sew.  Really excellent pattern (review coming later, with buttons!)

FO: Dawn

Pattern: Dawn by Kim Hargreaves from Breeze

Yarn: Rowan Handknit cotton in ecru, 5 balls

Needles: US 2 and 3

Notes: I bought the yarn to knit Dawn when I first got the book Breeze.  I swatched the stitch pattern, but I wasn’t feeling up to that many P2tog’s so I put it aside.  I found the yarn during a clean out, and decided it was time to give the pattern a try!

I have mixed feelings about this sweater.  There are a few things I would definitely do differently if I knit it again.   The stitch pattern is very hard to swatch accurately – it stretches, and it also opens up on blocking.  By the time I made it to the back, I felt that it was turning out a little big, so I switched to smaller needles to tighten it up.  That worked pretty well, though it would have been better to start smaller.  The other thing I would do differently involved the neck edging.  I would knit the whole thing separately, slipping the first stitch on the garter stitch to make a neater edge.  It’s partially knit separately and sewed on, but it needs smaller needles than the body the whole way.  Same with the sleeve cuffs – they are looser than I would like, but I do have skinny arms.  Dolman sleeves are not the best for  me, but since they are short they work pretty well.

This is a very useful sweater – can you believe I’ve never made a white sweater before?  I’m sure I will wear it often!  It was super overcast this weekend – I apologize for the lack of great photos!