Week 16 – Akita and… spinning?!


007This was a super busy sewing week! I picked up some knit cotton last weekend when I was buying material for my next project, in order to make more underwear. I don’t have pics of the final underwear, because I forgot to take pictures while I was making them and now I’m wearing them. SORRY. But it’s this awesome material, and I modified the pattern so it hits just above the hip and I made the gusset about two inches longer in the front, so you can use your imagination. They are awesome. I love my last pair too, but the material is swimsuit material and feels like it, haha.

I haven’t mastered installing elastic, so it’s still wavy. And it still looks fine when it’s on, so I still don’t really care – but it’s something to work on for the next pair, which will probably be sooner rather than later.

Next, I got the Akita pattern all taped up and did some measuring, and that’s where things started to get a little concerning. Because I did some pattern measuring and discovered that to fit over my hips I needed to make the size 22. My waist was closer to the 16-18. Normally I’d just grade the pattern down at the waist, but the whole point of the pattern is that it’s a rectangle?

Then I actually read through the rest of the instructions and realized that the whole thing was bound in bias tape. This, right after my fight with the bias-bound neckline on York last week. If it had been 1/4″ double fold I would probably have given up and bought some, but it was 1/2″ and I decided to give it a chance. I really want to be able to make and use my own bias tape for the sake of using up scraps that are too small for anything else, but damn learning to make/use it has been painful.

So three variables changed with this week’s bias tape:

  • I had to cut 2-inch strips instead of 1-inch (for 1/2″ double-fold tape)
  • I used the bias tape folder upside down, as per a tip from one of Beverly Johnson’s bra-making Craftsy classes (so the fold of the fabric is upside down and the flat side is up)
  • The fabric I’m using this week is a light cotton blend (I’m pretty sure – it’s Goodwill fabric and I didn’t burn test it), and it takes a crease really well

I’m not sure which one was ultimately the biggest help, but my bias tape turned out SO WELL:

003 cc004 cc

Look at that! It looks like real bias tape! More importantly, it works like real bias tape! I mean it took as long to make the bias tape as to do most of the rest of the shirt, but I am so pleased with it that the effort was worth it.

(That is all the bias tape I have left from this project. I made just over four yards, so I would have been cutting it pretty dang close with a four-yard pack from the store.)

Here’s the bias-bound neckline:

As you can see from the wrinkles, this fabric creases really well.

I learned my lesson on the York, and stitched it down from the right side this time to make sure the part people will actually see doesn’t look like crap. (This bit me in the ass on the side seams, where I am going to need to do a little hand-stitching to secure some spots that didn’t quite get caught, but it’s much preferable to a wandering seam line being visible.) So my bias tape adventures on this project were pretty great. That was the good.

The bad is in the fit – the 22 is definitely too big. I moved the whole side seam up about an inch and a half to close up the armhole a little and to improve the slit for the hips (because OF COURSE it still barely passes my hips). The neck is overly wide on me, and there’s not really anything I can do about that now. I’m holding off on hemming the bottom until I decide if I want to take in the side seams around the waist. Normally I’d just say “DO IT” but because of this fabric I’m worried it will look funny. And of course the seams are already finished because of the bias binding, so it will just have enormous seam allowances left on the inside.

This is not to say that it isn’t comfortable, because it definitely is. The extra ease is nice. I just feel a little like I’m swimming in it. And actually the pattern itself has been super fun and quick to work up – I think it’s just not a great fit for my body type, which sucks. The fact that I noticed something was up while I was measuring the pattern is an indicator I should actually pay attention to in the future.


The light shining through makes it look far more sheer than it is when it’s on. The pattern does a good job of keeping anything from showing through.

Also hey, there’s that York I said I was going to finish up! It is… I mean technically right now it is all sewn up. I could wear it like that. But while I was trying it on last week I realized that I really don’t like the way that color looks right against my skin – it’s sort of a cold off-white, and my skin is pretty much a warm off-white, and it just makes me look kind of sickly. I feel like I want a band of some other color between me and that fabric around the neck. So my plan is to buy 1/4″ bias tape in brown to match the little flowers, and use that instead of the self fabric binding. All that bias tape suffering for naught, haha.


005I did not finish the socks like I’d wanted. I was planning on just going until I ran out of yarn, but to be honest I’m getting kind of bored of them – of socks in general, I think.

Also, I had to frog about 12 rows because I went to try on the sock and couldn’t get it over my heel! I was trying to keep those carries in the pattern loose, but apparently I didn’t succeed well enough. Since I wasn’t keen to repeat that again, I decided to add columns of 1×1 ribbing (4 stitches of it) on either side instead. This avoids the whole annoying carrying across the split problem that was going to annoy me for the rest of the sock, and makes it stretchier. I progressed enough to try it on again, and it fits gloriously well now. It’s snug and perfect. I’m just not sure how much further I want to continue with it. I feel like it’s in a weird in-between state right now, where it’s not really short enough to be an ankle sock, but not long enough to be a full height sock? So it’s been a little bit in limbo.

Meanwhile, I started daydreaming about a project that isn’t socks, which lead to this:

Because I’ve never met a fiber craft I didn’t like.

I went through a phase where I was going to reclaim all my yarn from Goodwill sweaters, and bought two 100% cotton sweaters. I successfully picked one entirely apart and rolled it up into balls, but it was splitting terribly, and really needed to be re-plyed so it would be fun to knit with. Also it was kinked up from being a sweater for years.

My spinning experience is like a grand total of 2 oz of fiber, so obviously that means I should commit to plying a sweater’s worth of yarn on a drop spindle. Obviously.

No, this devolved into me searching for the perfect spinning wheel once I’d spent an hour and a half plying 112 yards of that cream cotton yarn. (Even worse, as you can see, it’s still kinked up from being a sweater for years. Washing and hanging it dry, even with a little weight in the form of an extra hanger, didn’t help that.)

Of course, plying that and watching spinning videos made me want to spin more fiber, so I got sucked into that a little, which is why there’s green and pink yarn now, too.

So clearly the cotton sweater isn’t going to happen anytime soon, because I’m trying to be good and not impulse buy a spinning wheel, and there’s no way I have the stamina to ply that much reclaimed yarn on a drop spindle.

I do have three skeins of this gorgeous yarn, which I’m dearly hoping is enough to make like a bolero or something, if I can just find a pattern I like.

Goals for next week:

Well I don’t think I can keep up the momentum I’ve had for very long, but I’m going to embrace it while I can!

  • Finish off Akita
  • Buy bias tape for York and pick out the existing neckline
  • Assemble pattern/cut out fabric for Manila, which is the next project!
  • Finish off the socks, one way or another.



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