Sunday, 5 July 2015

Handmade Wardrobe Project 2 - Weekend Tunic

Last weekend I took some yarn which had been in the cupboard for a couple of years, and cast on. I didn't have a pattern, but I did have a need and an idea. As my Handmade Wardrobe Project is all about filling clothing 'gaps' this was all it took to start a new garment. 
Untitled
The Need: There are lots of vest tops in my wardrobe. In the cooler months I use them for layering. But in the warmer weather - when they would be very useful - I don't really wear them. The reality of a post-Caesarian tummy pouch (no matter what my size - only surgery would remove it and I'm not that vain) is something I am not vexed about, but neither do I want to flaunt it. So there was a gap for a light-weight loose-fitting top which could be thrown on over my vests. 

The Inspiration:  I love the cowl on my sewn improv dress, and since trying out the "booty-licious" heel on my Whiz Bang socks, have been thinking about trying a similar way of increasing for a neckline ("booby-licious"?).
Handmade wardrobe inspiration - Crafts from the Cwtch
The Project: Using King Cole Opium (in Glacier) and 6mm needles I got a nice fabric/ gauge in my swatch and cast on. I preferred the 'wrong' side so decided it would be a 'reverse stocking stitch' garment. As the yarn doesn't knit up the same each time, I started both the front and back on separate needles to see how each would turn out. It was easy to decide which piece should be the front before adding the shaping.
Experimenting. Handmade wardrobe project - Crafts from the Cwtch
With the shaping complete, I attempted to graft the shoulders closed to work the neck in the round. This turned out to be a huge mistake. The yarn was a nightmare to graft due to the thick and thin sections and I ended up painstakingly removing the grafting and having to perform sweater surgery. It was just too hard to work out which stitches were which... but I got there in the end.

Called the "Weekend Tunic" it took just one weekend to make, and is great for throwing on with jeans at the weekend. These are not the greatest photos (I'm not up to modelling at the moment) but I think it's worked out ok. It's certainly wearable and fills that gap. 
Weekend Tunic, project 2 from The Handmade Wardrobe Project - Crafts from the Cwtch
As you can see above, I had some random fabric in the same colour. There isn't much, but maybe enough for a matchy-something. In the meantime, those vests (and a few strappy dresses) are back in use and I like that it can be worn on or off the shoulder (or back to front). I didn't love working with the yarn but it is very soft and easy care, and there's enough left to make something else too.

The Lessons: There are a few things I'd change if I were to make it again. I'd probably...
- reverse the stitches on the neck section,
- use invisible joins so it could be worn inside or out  (in a different yarn I'd knit in the round up to the arm holes and then graft the shoulders but those are not good options for this yarn),
- try it with short sleeves (this is still an option as there is a lot of yarn left)
- It has been a while since I did any 'improv' knitting and I'd forgotten just how enjoyable it is. I have kept lots of notes incase this ever gets written up, but that wasn't my intention when the knitting began, and it felt very liberating.

Traditionally I don't make many garments, but two in as many weeks has put me on a bit of a roll and the third is already well on it's way to being finished before next weekend. I'll keep you posted and you can also follow my progress by clicking here for other posts, or searching #cftchandmadewardrobe on Instagram

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