That new chestnut!

My unofficial knit month continues, this time with an incredibly comfortable “frankendress”! The top half is KnipMode April 2008 #13 (still available to buy from Naaipatronen, fyi), which you should remember from when I made it before in blue for myself and then again for my mom:

I absolutely love my top, and I often find myself in my wardrobe late at night picking out clothes for the next day, holding that shirt and asking myself “wait – did I already wear it this week?”. I just knew I had to turn this pattern into a dress to get even more wear out of it, so I searched my back issues of Burda WOF magazines and found a great knit dress to use for the bottom half: Burda WOF 05/05 #125.

I sat down with the two patterns and sketched out a combined technical drawing and then started thinking about my plan of attack to serge this all together, keeping in mind that it’s a lot easier to construct flat seams than in the round… I didn’t follow my plan exactly, but I did stick to the basic idea, and I’d definitely do it this way again.

Double take!

Fashion has always been cyclical – we reinvent ideas from decades past and give them a new twist. But with everyone playing off similar influences, sometimes two designers independently come up with very similar ideas. So it’s really not a surprise that you can sometimes find very similar pattern designs across companies, too.

As I found out, once you start looking for “pattern twins”, suddenly you start seeing them everywhere!

Patrones vs Knip tops

It all started when reader Hilde pointed out in my Patrones 289 review that this Plus top looks an awful lot like an older KnipMode design, so I decided to investigate further by comparing the shapes of the pattern pieces side-by-side:

(This KnipMode top was previously neglected because it was in the same issue as the fabulous swimsuit pattern…)

While the tech drawings look different, when you look at the pattern pieces you can see that most of that is just down to artistic interpretation and the pieces are very similar indeed!

Knip vs Burda blouses

Then I noticed in my review of the March 2010 KnipMode that their ruffle-collared blouse was incredibly similar to one Burda released last year!

Purple KnipMode Twist Top

If this top looks familiar, then it’s because this is the fourth time I’ve sewn this pattern!

First, I made it in blue ribbed knit over the summer, then again in the same fabric for my mom. Then I transformed it into a dress. And this time, well, it looks an awful lot like the Plus size version that was reprinted in the October edition! Combine those with Trena’s recent version and you’ve got a strong contender for my Pattern of The Year 2008!

To refresh your memory, here’s the magazine photo, from KnipMode 04/08 (which appears to be sold out everywhere by now, with good reason!):

And here it is, in purple cotton interlock from Pennine Outdoor!

Retail therapy

Ahh, the beginning of the month – when my sewing money comes in, then goes right back out again… I have no problems whatsoever in budgeting in real life, but for sewing funds, it’s gone as soon as it hits my accounts!

First up was a notions restocking from Sew Essential after Laura reminded me that they stock the Vilene bias tape that BWOF is so crazy over for knit seam stabilisation. So I got a bunch of that, plus upholstery thread in grey and also gold for jeans topstitching, and a ginormous spool of Gutermann Sew-All in black as I’m nearly out and hardly anyone seems to stock it in huge quantities anymore. I also picked up a few boring but essential tools like a loop turner (yes, I have survived with a pair of locking tweezers up until now!), and a tracing wheel with a much kinder-to-the-hands wooden handle for tracing patterns. I also got a big ol’ roll of freezer paper for quick stencilling jobs (it’s not available in supermarkets here), and some silver jeans buttons, which were accidentally substituted with the boring brass variety. A quick email later and they’re sending out the silver variety while letting me keep the brass ones – that’s how customer service should be done! My feeling is that everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how they’re dealt with that sets people apart…

With the exception of Pip’s silk, I hadn’t bought fabric in a good, long time, so I suppose I was ripe for falling off the wagon. I’m making a concerted effort to track what I actually wear this month (which you’ll see at some point), and I realised that in cooler weather I definitely gravitate towards trousers and knit tops rather than the dresses and skirts I live in over the spring and summer. So, after a brief tour round the internet, I fell prey to the charms of Crybaby’s Boutique yet again! You may recall that I bought some sturdy denim and chestnut print lycra from them before and was really pleased with the quality, so fingers crossed for this bunch, too.

KnipMode twist top now in Plus sizes!

Plus-sized ladies, you need to stop right now and go buy a lotto ticket, because today is your lucky day!

You may remember earlier in the summer I made a blue twist top from the April 2008 KnipMode magazine, and then my mom fell in love with mine so much I tweaked the sizing and made her one, too. This is probably my favourite pattern of the entire year – I have to restrain myself from wearing it more than once a week, and I even turned it into a dress to get more wear from the pattern.

Well, everywhere that I can see is sold out of April’s issue (it’s proved VERY popular!), so imagine my surprise when I opened up the October issue and saw that they’ve reprinted the same exact top, but in Plus size!!

Summer Sewing

Back in September I laid out my plans for my fall and winter collection, and for the most part, I followed through with the plans (though I did make some midseason changes). This was the first time I attempted to SWAP (sew with a plan), and, while I appreciate the focus it gives me in concentrating on pairing fabrics to patterns and thinking about what my wardrobe needs, I really didn’t enjoy such structured sewing for such a long time. The problem with loving pattern magazines is that you get a constant influx of new patterns that scream “make me now!” and take your attention away from your best laid plans… And if I feel like the sewing is controlling me instead of the other way around, it stops being fun (which is the whole point of all of this!).

So with all those things in mind, I’ve laid out my summer sewing plans. I’m not imposing a strict set of rules on myself, but it’s a way for me to focus a bit more and make the most of some of the fabrics in my stash…

So without further ado, I present, the FehrTrade Summer 08 Collection!

(or click here to open it in a new tab so you can refer back while you read along!)