Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year! (and Christmas Catch-Up)

Hoping you all had a lovely Christmas! We had a wonderful Christmas year, and count ourselves lucky to have been able to spend it with so many of our family and friends. I enjoyed all the great conversation and catching up with everyone. The kids are having a wonderful time enjoying their vacation, and aside from a sledding incident resulting in a split lip and two stitches (healing very nicely!), are healthy and happy.

First, it was busy during Christmas, and then my husband upgraded the computer over the course of several days (something was not quite up to snuff the first time, so he fixed it the next try), so I am just now posting to say Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and that I finished the mittens on time.

I finished weaving-in ends on Christmas Eve, shortly before Children's Mass (you have to arrive early to get parking and to find somewhere to sit), and tucked them away in my purse before it was time for Mass to start. I forgot to take a photo until gifts were being unwrapped, so here they are being worn!

I had a few other last minute things to finish up for my husband's gift that I hadn't mentionned until now (since he sometimes does read the blog), so I'll share them now. I had been working on knitting socks (Cable Clock Socks by Ann Budd), and thought, since I was using Sport Weight yarn that I'd get them done in a jiffy. It was going along at a good pace; until I realized that two balls of yarn would not be enough. I've ordered more, but had to settle for knitting one sock for now. I started the second one last night.

I also made up some Mochi on the morning of the 24th, with help from my eldest. I used this recipe from Canadian Living, only with coconut milk for the liquid, and stuffed with a blend of Caramel and Chocolate. I had intended Red Bean Paste, but bought the wrong kind. These were quicker and easier to make than I had thought, so they were done quickly! I forgot to take a picture, but will try to remember next time I make them.

The other thing I was busy with on the morning of Christmas Eve was sewing buttons onto his new shirt. I was so excited about this project that it was hard not to write about it on the blog or shout about it to all around me.

I decided this year to challenge myself by sewing a dress shirt. Never one to shrink from a challenge, for a first-time sewing of a man's dress shirt, I went with Vogue v8889. It was not simple, but I felt confident through most of the pattern. A helpful website for men's shirts is Male Pattern Boldness, which I found by searching the pattern number, and enjoyed reading.

The shirt has side shaping to give it a more fitted look, which is what recommended the pattern to me, as my husband needs his shirts longer, but finds the shirts that fit in length and collar to be too wide elsewhere. I used the full size for the length, and an in-between size for the sides, folding the pattern pieces to just where I thought would be needed.

It was all I could do to not come up to dinner from sewing shouting that I had successfully sewn: A Collar! Cuff Plackets! Cuffs! Buttonholes! I had done these before by hand, but never with the buttonhole attachment.

As it turns out, the buttonhole foot is pretty simple to use, though the cuffs gave me a bit of bother when I tried to sew the buttonhole there. I was starting to wonder how the machine knew that I had switched from practice fabric (easy perfect buttonhole) to the actual cuff (disaster!) each time, when I realized that the curve on the cuff was catching the back of the foot. Turning it to work from the other side solved that problem.

I found the "under-collar button band" confusing, until I determined it is a hidden button-down collar, which my husband doesn't really want anyway, so I was right in my thinking that it was essentially an unneeded spare part in this case. I had tacked it on under the collar, but will likely remove it later.

Despite taking thorough measurements (so as not to give away what I was making I took every measurement I could think of including foot, head circumference, etc.), I had no idea until Christmas morning if the shirt would actually fit.

Happily, it did! The collar is a bit snug, but I may yet be able to adjust that by the better part of a centimetre, which I am assured, would be plenty. Certainly there are a few minor errors, and some areas where a bit of practice would improve how the fabric sits in a few spots. Also, there's a few spots where I hope the chalk will wash out with the next washing!  All-in-all, I'm very pleased, and am confident I will be able to sew another some time.

Here's my husband, wearing the shirt on Christmas, and holding our daughter's new doll. I'm so glad he is happy with his new shirt!

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