Art and Needlework by Rebekah

Art and Needlework by Rebekah: February 2013

Feb 26, 2013

2/26/13: Finished Knit - My Sweet Pea Coat

Never been too fond of bulky yarn sweaters. That was until I started knitting my Sweet Pea Coat. You know, this jacket:

Now I'm a big fan. Especially when wearing my finished Sweet Pea Coat!


I finished it about a week ago but didn't take photos until late afternoon yesterday. The angled sun and the many trees were making quite the shadow show, but my sister (master of the camera), prevailed! :) 

As with many knitting projects I do, I followed the instructions for a size larger than I wanted and used my own gauge which was smaller than the original. I've done this with my Veste Everest vest, Acorns sweater, Liesl sweater, etc. etc. It always seems to work for me and this Sweet Pea Coat was no exception. It fits perfectly and I'm planning on lining it in the near future. I just need to see if I will have any leftover lining after I'm done with the 101 sewing projects I'm doing right now. I feel like I shouldn't tell you all the projects I'm doing. . . It will make your head spin! 

Speaking of sewing, I joined a fascinating sew-along this month and will be talking to you about that in the upcoming days. If you read sewing blogs at all you probably know all about this sew-along already, BUT come back anyway to see what plans I have!

Jump to this Sweet Pea Coat post to learn how to knit the pocket:

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Feb 11, 2013

2/11/13: Let's Roll It!

I need some help here. Do you guys have an idea for a future crafting video I can film? Could be a how-to or a project about knitting and crochet or sewing and quilting. Please leave a comment here on the blog or watch the video below:


Feb 4, 2013

2/4/13: Finished: Simple Tee

To put it simply, I made this. . .

I spent last Saturday drafting the pattern and yesterday I sewed it up. Did all of this happen in just two days? It doesn't feel like it.

Let me walk you through the details. . .

The T-shirt's Features: This tee has a comfortable, round neckline, short sleeves, and a long torso. Just the way I like it!

The Fabric: This gray jersey knit has an interesting fiber content. It is 70% modal and 30% acrylic. Modal has been a very popular fiber as of late (according to fellow bloggers and I've been seeing it included by big name brands like JCP). Modal is a subset of rayon and as I gather from different sources, it is smooth, extremely absorbent, resists pills, shrinkage, and fading, and most important to me, it is breathable. Sounds like the perfect fiber, doesn't it? We'll see if it lives up to the hipe. I bought this jersey from and it went by the name "Modal Blend Jersey." Sadly, they are not selling it at the moment which is a real shame; it feels so soft and lightweight! I did order the same jersey in a light pink color, thankfully!

The Pattern: If you have been reading Sunni's blog, A Fashionable Stitch, you would be acquainted with the term "rub off" by now. That is what I did to make this t-shirt pattern. For those not in the know, a rub off is a pattern making technique where you copy an existing ready-to-wear garment by laying the garment flat on a padded surface lined with paper and pinning through the seams and along hems. "Rub off" is the term Sunni uses; I'm unsure if she coined it or if it has been a circulating term for the masses. If anyone knows some background information on this, please let me know! When I told my brother about this rub off technique he said, "You could also call it reverse engineering." That's a pretty cool way of looking at it!

The garment that I rubbed off from was a t-shirt I bought from JCP:

[ the JCP tee ]
I like almost everything about this tee--length to neckline--except I'm not real fond of the sleeves. So I copied a different shirt of mine for that part. I used my blocking board, packing paper, and loads of pins to make the rub off. And this is what I made:
[ my tee ]
The Construction Process: Figuring out how to put a t-shirt together is a no-brainer. But figuring out those little things, like serger tension and hem and neckline finishes, is what causes the trouble. Especially the neckline. Haven't done much knits before so I had to figure out how to make and insert binding for the neckline. To figure out the width of the binding piece to cut I followed Dixie's tutorial on how to make a v-neck tee, and I watched this video to figure out how to insert it.

[ the neckline ]
I used a very narrow zigzag stitch (known as a wobble stitch), to do all the topstitching. I believe it was 3.0 stitch length and 1.0 stitch width.

[ the hem ]
 I used a four-thread overlock stitch on my serger. Used black thread for the loopers and gray thread for the needles; makes it easier for me to remove stitches if need be. Which I eventually did!

[ close up of serger stitches ]
I know a lot of sewers reach for that clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams, and yes, I do own some, but for the life of me I can't get it to work. I tried and tried to stitch the elastic in while I'm making my seam, but all it ever does is make gathers. It just never lies flat. Don't have a clue on what I'm doing wrong, any suggestions?

I went on to use seam binding and it is actually doing the job well!

So can you believe the great results of this rub off? I sure can't! Now I have two ideas spiraling around in my head: make a pink shirt that has jersey flower embellishments, similar to designs of DownEast Basics, and a long-sleeved tee that has a generous cowl neckline similar to Tasia's Renfrew Top. Ah, ideas never seem to stop!


Feb 1, 2013

2/1/13: Finished Project - Jeans

Let me take you back to April of last year. According to a post then, I was going to go all out and make jeans and t-shirts. I quote: "I'm envisioning a pair of jeans that are made of denim that is tough as nails (so they won't get snagged by nails), and t-shirts that are breathable and don't fade in the sun in a couple weeks." 

I haven't gotten to the t-shirts yet but may I introduce you to my very first pair of jeans. . .

These jeans had a long journey to the finish line. If I remember right, they were cut out in May, partially sewn in June, and then thrown into a heap and left untouched for the next six months. Pitiful. As soon as January rolled around it dawned on me that if I don't get these jeans done by the end of February, I might not get them done at all. I'm starting a new job at a camp at the end of this month (very exciting!), and I'm guessing this is going to cut down on crafting time. So it was time to get things rolling again! 

So let me run you through the details.

The Jeans' Features: These mid-rise jeans, with their boot cut shaping, have deep hip pockets, two back pockets, belt loops, and a turn-under waistband.

The Fabric: The fabric came from an Ebay seller. It is a 12 oz. denim and 100% cotton. I tried to avoid buying stretch denim because I've heard from other sewers that it tends to stretch out after wearing it for a short time. So I stuck with all cotton and hope that will makes things less baggy after multiple wearings.

The Pattern: I used my perfected Simplicity 2860 pants pattern. I used it once before with really great results. However, I did change things in the pattern's style and fit. I added hip pockets, added back pockets, shortened the belt loops, and dropped the waist, (because I wanted mid-rise jeans). Strangely enough, I had a hard time finding information on how to make a hip pocket. The only real good hip pocket source I could find was from the Reader's Digest Book of Sewing. I thought there would be more information on how to do hip pockets on the internet, but I guess its just a topic that's overlooked. Need to make another pair of jeans so maybe I'll blog about this. What do you think?

The Construction Process: The jeans were put together the same way as my first pair of pants. It went something like this: sew in the fly zipper, hip pockets, sew the waist band pieces on top of each pant piece, and sew side seams and crotch. I actually basted all of these seams as I was going to do some fitting. At this time I tried the jeans on. They turned out baggy, especially the legs and below the seat. Also noticed some horizontal fold lines (which means too much length), at the hollow of my back.

So I spent the next two days taking in the seams and perfecting the fit. Strongly believe this is thee worst part about sewing! Fitting is time consuming and it is such a critical moment. After all this intensive fitting time I needed a break. I took a short, two-day jean vacation and when I returned I found myself analyzing with a clearer mind. Definitely recommend fitting vacations!

Once the fit was achieved I had my sister help me pin the back pockets on when I was wearing the jeans. I tried doing this by myself and the right pocket ended up being an inch too high. Ugh! Lot of seam ripping was involved with those pockets.

 Let me show you what's on the inside. Here you can see the front of the jeans with the fly zipper and hip pockets. I used white sheeting for the pocket lining because it has a dense weave.

For the jeans' closure I chose the same hook and button method as I did with my first pants.

Jumping down to the hem. I serged the raw edge, turned it up 1/2" and sewed it down using navy blue thread so it blends into the denim.

Now about the side seams. I love to make sure I can alter my clothes if I ever have to so I left a 1" seam allowance in the waist area and graded it down to a 5/8" seam allowance at the leg.

 The waistband is comprised of waistband and facing pieces. The facing is turned to the inside, understitched, and then finally I stitch-in-the-ditch from the public side. Just to make sure everything aligns in the end, I basted the facing before I stitched. Worked out really well!

They turned out much better than I anticipated. I had a chance to wear them a couple times when the family was doing firewood and they felt comfortable even with all the bending and stooping. I have a lot more yardage to use so I'm going to make another one this month so I'll ba all set for spring. Hopefully, t-shirts will be included in the upcoming months as well!

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