Lauren of Lladybird fame and knitwear designer Andi from untangling knots have been hosting a knit/sew along with a difference, to make a dress and knit a cardigan thereby creating a whole outfit. I signed up straight away, having already knitted two Miettes and a Marion of Andi’s designs. I love her patterns, they have a vintage feel and seem to go with everything, they are also perfect to wear over dresses. Andi’s new pattern released for the outfit along was Myrna and the dress pattern suggested was Simplicity Project Runway 1803. You could use any patterns you wanted but I decided to give these ago as they were new to me and looked kinda cute.
Here’s the Myrna description which explains everything far better than I could!:
‘This sassy cardigan is the perfect layer to keep on hand for breezy summer nights and cold movie theaters. Its full short sleeves keep it from being too warm, and the cropped length is perfect to go with airy dresses and full skirts. Eyelets surround the edges of the cardigan, and a keyhole on the back adds a fun extra detail. The sweater is knit seamlessly from the top down. The upper back is knit first and then put on hold. Stitches are picked up and knit for the upper fronts, and the pieces of the body are joined together when the underarms are cast on. The cardigan has waist shaping to give it a fitted look, and once the body is complete, stitches for the sleeves are picked up from the armholes and shaped using short rows. The cardigan fits best with 0-3 inches of negative ease.’
I used Cascade 220 yarn in 813 Blue Velvet, a worsted weight yarn. The ball band suggested 4.5mm needles but the pattern stated 5mm so I went with the 5mm. Based on my measurements I opted to knit a large, bearing in mind the pattern has 2 inches of negative ease. I must admit that I didn’t knit a gauge swatch but just dived straight in and cast on. This is the knitting equivalent of not making a muslin and all my mother in laws fault! I used to knit a swatch to check my gauge but she never has, she just picks up her needles and starts knitting. Out of laziness and a sense of living dangerously I have since done the same! There was a mistake on the gauge stated on the pattern, it was given at 18 x 24 stitches but should have been 18 x 28. It was only when this problem was flagged up on Ravelry that I began to have a quick panic as I was well into the body by then. I tentatively reached for the ruler and began to count, the knitting fairies must have been looking on me favourably as by some fluke I was spot on the 28 stitches that the pattern had been written for!
Myrna was, in theory, a quick knit but I must admit that it took me a lot longer than it should to finish. I seem to have difficulty doing things when I have to, it kind of feels like homework! I have this problem with our bookclub and am always frantically skim reading the set book the night before the next meeting! If I had knitted a couple of hours each night I would probably have had it finished in a fortnight. As it was there were considerable periods of neglect and I only really got a spurt on as the deadline began to loom!
The dress on the other hand came together very quickly. I used 2 metres of the blue cotton with gold flowers that I had been saving since I bought it two years ago (still have two metres left!) I decided to go for bodice C with the notched neckline and the pleated cap sleeves. I cut a size 12 after Laurens warning that Simplicity add 4 inches of ease in their patterns! I also shortened the bodice by an inch which I do to everything now because I am on the short side. It was quite an easy pattern but had a large facing which spanned the whole of the shoulder and was stitched to the top of the sleeve cap. I’d used medium weight interfacing for it as I wanted to try and add a bit of structure to the notch but it flopped anyway! I’ve not made anything with a facing for a while and I’ve decided that I just don’t like them! I think if I made this dress again I would try and figure out a way to line the bodice. The only change I made was to move the inseam pockets to the side seams instead of either side of the centre front panel as the pattern called for. I put my hands in my pockets a lot and they of course naturally fall to the side, I thought it would be a bit weird having pockets up front like some kind of kangaroo pouch! I used an invisible zip which was an absolute pig to get in! I wrestled with it and ended up unpicking it three times before it finally went in at the fourth try. It’s still a bit sticky, goes up OK but doesn’t want to come down again. I was on my own when I first tried it on and couldn’t get back out, was desperately trying to contort myself around, having a claustrophobic panic attack in the process, was on the verge of taking the scissors to it when it finally succumbed. Must remember I need help to unzip in the future! I also made the tie belt as I thought it needed something around the waist (and I wanted a bow!)
I spent ages looking for buttons for Myrna, I wanted gold daisy flower ones to pick out the flowers on the dress. I tried Ebay, Etsy, online button stores as well as my local haberdashery but couldn’t find the right ones. After a few weeks I half-heartedly searched Ebay again and found the perfect ones which had just been listed! I’m not happy unless I find the right buttons and I have in the past spent more on the buttons than I did on the fabric for a dress!
some a lot of pictures:
I’m quite pleased with how the outfit has turned out and loved the concept of combining sewing and knitting. I think if I knit Myrna again I would size down, she fits perfectly over the boobs but is just a tiny bit too big under the arms and back. Maybe this is due to my lack of gauge swatch or using slightly bigger needles or maybe I just need to figure out how to do a full bust adjustment in knitting! I think she will get a lot of wear anyway!
Doing a complete outfit has made me realise that I tend to make things without thinking of how they will combine with my wardrobe. I think in future I will try and get some kind of coherence with my makes and highlight what colours are missing. I need to get past the ‘oohh pretty colours’ thinking I am prone to when choosing yarn and fabric. At the moment I’m craving a Mustard Miette but will have to have a good look at what I have in the wardrobe to wear with it!
Do you have a plan with your makes or are you seduced like a magpie to bright and shiny things?