Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jaime Made Another Sweater!

I love knitting sweaters, I just can't stop myself! This one came about when we had a Brooklyn Tweed trunk show here at Fancy Tiger Crafts and of course I tried everything on. I didn't think I needed this sweater, but as soon as I put the sample on, I knew it would be my next project. 

Pattern: Jules by Julie Hoover for Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2013
Materials: Shelter in Snowbound, 6 skeins
Size made: 42 3/4 and 46 1/2
Alterations: I graded the pattern from the size 46 1/2 on the bottom to size 42 3/4 on top. 

Like all Brooklyn Tweed patterns, this sweater by Julie Hoover was wonderfully written and interesting to knit, keeping my attention the whole way. It is knit bottom up and seamed. The subtle hi-lo hem is achieved with short row shaping. Once the sweater is seamed, the neck, arms, and bottom are picked up and finished with some ribbing. A simple cable pattern runs up either side on the front and back for an interesting touch and the sweater is worked with the reverse stockinette showing on the right side so the cable pattern pops.  

Even though I've made three items out of Loft, this is my first time working with Shelter, Loft's worsted weight big sister. It has the same soft, springy hand as Loft and great stitch definition. I obsessed over neutrals for a long time and finally picked Snowbound, a pale, heathered gray.

I'm not super comfortable with seaming and have only done it a few times, but this was the best seaming I've ever done! While I'd like to take all the credit, I'm pretty sure I owe most of it to Julie Hoover who included a one stitch selvedge edge worked on all seams. This little slipped stitch on the row ends made for easy-peasy and perfect seaming. The sweater is made to have the seams show on the outside so you can show off all that beautiful seaming work.

Look at those seams! 
This sweater is meant to be worn with tons of positive ease in the bust (well over 12"), but I was scared to have so much ease! I decided to combine the first two sizes, starting with size 46 1/2" on the bottom and grading up to the size 42" on the top. While the sweater fits and looks great, I think I could have just knit the size 46 1/2" throughout and been fine with the extra fabric. Overall, I love this sweater and am so glad we had the trunk show to convince me to make it.

Spring is the perfect time for a short-sleeved wool sweater. A cool spring day and this sweater will keep you cozy, but not too hot. Okay, now on to the next one...sweaters forever!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fancy Tiger's Week of Wonder!

Oh boy, do we have a very special week planned for you. You might consider bringing a tent and camping out in front of the shop this week so you can join us for all of them. We are not exaggerating when we say that. Three MAJOR fun events are happening in the next few days at Fancy Tiger and we can't wait to see you there. All of these events are free and open to the public.

Thread Theory Meet n' Greet and Trunk Show
Tuesday, April 22nd, 7 - 9pm

Thread Theory are the duo of Matthew and Morgan Meredith from British Columbia, Canada and they design classic men's sewing patterns. Matthew and Morgan are on a US tour this month and we are thrilled to be a part of their tour! Thread Theory will be bringing sewn samples of their designs to view and patterns will be available for purchase. Come meet the makers, hang out and have some fun!

April Rhodes Meet n' Greet and Trunk Show
Thursday, April 24th, 6 - 8pm

We ♥ April Rhodes and are so excited she will be coming to Denver! Ms. Rhodes' designs include the very popular Staple Dress, Date Night Dress, and Riding Peplum! We love them all. April will be bringing sewn samples of her patterns and we will have plenty of her patterns available for purchase. Stop by to meet this sweet, dynamic, young pattern designer in person at Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Anzula Trunk Show
Friday, April 25th, 3 - 6pm 

Sabrina and the ladies of Anzula will be stopping by Fancy Tiger Crafts to sell you their yarn! They will have their full line of luscious yarns which feature unique blends of fibers like camel, silk, cashmere, linen and merino, all hand-dyed in small batches by their expert team in Fresno, CA. One-off skeins, knit samples, and hundreds of unique yarns mean you won't want to miss this event!
Imbibe some yarn this Friday happy hour. :)

We will see you this week to soak up all the inspiration from these crafty folks from around the world!

Friday, April 18, 2014

We ♥ Colette's New Moneta Jersey Dress!

Miranda and I couldn't wait to make the brand new Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. We both whipped one up straight away, and boy, did they stitch up easy as pie. I can see us wearing these dresses all spring, summer and fall!

Amber's Moneta

Pattern: Moneta Dress version 3 by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Heavyweight Cotton Jersey
Size Made: S - 4/6
Alterations: None!

I made mine out of a beautiful heavyweight cotton knit stripe, making a classic dress that I want to wear every day. I love it so much!

My new favorite thing is the clear elastic used to gather the waistband (a product which we carry here at the shop now). It blew my mind and made putting this dress together a breeze.

The neckline confused me for a second as I put this together, because the back is lower than the front neckline, which is unusual. Then I told myself to trust Sarai. Sure enough, she is a genius and it's adorable! The low back shows just a little extra skin in this otherwise modest dress.

Next, I want to make Moneta in some of the organic solid french terry we have. I love the thicker stretch fabrics for an easy to wear, flattering dress. I imagine wearing these with all my favorite knit cardigans well into spring...

Miranda's Moneta

Pattern: Moneta Dress version 2 by Colette Patterns
Fabric: Floral Rayon Jersey
Size Made: L - 12/14
Alterations: None!

Purple, blurple (ultramarine?), red wine, peach, deep leafy greens - all my favorite colors are in this rayon knit fabric that came in! I'd say that it matches at least half the knits I've made, so I expect to have this in heavy rotation year-round. 

Next time, I'll cut a little more deeply in the back to show all of my sewing tattoo. I think it's better either hidden or on display. Either option would be easy to do when cutting the pattern pieces. 

I'm going to make so very many of these. There is even a free additional booklet that Colette Patterns has released with even more options!

We think you'll be seeing a lot more Moneta dresses popping up around here! ♥

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet the Designer: Christine Haynes!

We are pleased to welcome Christine Haynes to Fancy Tiger Crafts! Christine Haynes designs vintage inspired patterns for modern women from her hometown of Los Angeles, where she also manages Sew LA. She will be in town next weekend to teach her ever popular Emery Dress. Her class filled up quick, but don't worry, we do have the pattern in stock if you'd like to make one on your own. Let's meet Christine!

1) How did you get started in the crafting industry? What is your background?
I've been artsy-crafty my whole life, taking painting and ballet classes at a very young age, so I knew the arts were in my future. After high school I earned my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Film, Video, & New Media, but I was always sewing and eventually that took over all of my time. Things really changed when I participated in the second Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago which launched my ready to wear line of clothing. I produced finished garments for boutiques around the world for many years, but that all changed with the collapse of the economy which was perfectly timed with my first book, Chic & Simple Sewing. At that time I closed up my garment district studio and focused on teaching and writing, which has now led to my own line of patterns! It's been a crazy ride and I'm so happy with where it's going!

2) Do you have a  favorite type of project to design? Or, what are you most excited about making right now?
I'm pretty much completely sewing-centric, but of course that can include other elements like fabric design, block printing, dying, embroidery, beading, and loads more embellishments. My favorite type of project to design are dresses, and they are my favorite thing to wear. They are so easy to toss on and go. No fuss at all! Right now I'm really excited about my next pattern which will be coming out in July! And spoiler alert: it's a dress! I'm also really excited about an upcoming long vacation to Paris and have already decided to bring a large embroidery project to keep my hands busy while I'm there. I take that time off of sewing completely, but it's nice to work on a related project.

3) What influences you creatively? What is your creative process for coming up with new ideas? What inspires you?
I am most inspired by real women and how they dress themselves everyday. I have no interest at all to design or make things that are only wearable for special occasions and not for everyday life. For instance, I have no desire to make red carpet gowns or wedding dresses or anything like that, but I love making women feel good on a random Thursday when perhaps they aren't having a good day. Hopefully they can put on the dress they made and make that average day a little bit better.

My creative process really starts with what I feel is missing in my life and in the market. I can't be overly influenced by the others that do the same thing that I do, and yet I also don't want to be redundant. So I'm not going to design something that exists in the same way by another indie designer. I think about what I am longing to wear and how that relates to the big picture. I have 100's of vintage patterns from the 20's-80's and try to pull in vintage elements into my designs to blend the retro with the new. I don't like wearing anything that looks like a costume, but I do love vintage detailing that is missing from most modern patterns. From there, it's a lot of sketching, muslin making, testing, and finally settling on the finished idea.

4) What is your favorite mythological animal?
I've always related to my zodiac animal. I am a Capricorn and most people think it's the goat, all bull headed and practical thinking in nature. But that's not true! The Capricorn is actually the sea goat; goat on the top and fish on the bottom. It's a pretty bad ass and wildly misunderstood animal, which I think works perfectly for Capricorns themselves. We are a misunderstood bunch! The sea goat constellation sits among the water bearers in the night sky and the Greeks associate the animal to be an embodiment of Pan, the god of nature, who was only half submerged in the Nile while helping Zeus fight. The lower half acclimated with the sea and the top half stayed intact. We are strong and resilient but not at all as cold as people think!

5) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Oh, without question it would be teleportation! I'd love to just be beamed up from place to place at a moment's notice! I love traveling, but I hate flying and this would fix everything. Get on that someone!

Thanks Christine, see you soon!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Local Fiber Alert! MJ Yarns is Here

We love finding locally made yarns to carry here at Fancy Tiger! The most recent to join our shop is MJ Yarns, local fiber by dyer Jonathan Berner. Jonathan's passion for yarn naturally led him down this path. He has been unstoppable since learning how to dye fiber in our very own yarn dyeing class here at Fancy Tiger.

Jonathan and his hand dyed goods!

We now carry three of Jonathan's hand-dyed goodies in eight debut colorways.

Jonathan's hand-dyed MJ Roving is a dreamy blend of Merino and tussah silk.

MJ Yarns Rustic Fingering Weight is a 100% Blue Face Leicester wool. It is gently spun and so very lofty, giving handknits made from this yarn a rustic texture that is soft and easy to wear against the skin. Jonathan knit the Grouchy Geisha shawl in his colorway, Purple Dragon, using just one skein of Rustic Fingering.

MJ Sock is a hearty Corriedale wool with the added strength of a bit of nylon, for resilient handknitted socks that you won't be afraid to wear.

We hope you love Jonathan's yarn as much as we do. We can't wait to see what he dyes up next!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jaime's Polly Top

We recently started carrying the beautiful By Hand London sewing patterns. In addition to their line of women's patterns we carry here in print, they also have a free downloadable pattern - the Polly Top! It only takes a couple of 70 degree days and I'm thinking summer. I want to knit linen shirts and sew tank tops. The Polly top is the perfect tank to kick off my summer sewing.

Pattern: Polly Top by By Hand London
Fabric: Liberty of London Betsy Ann print: 28", Robert Kaufman Union Chambray: 5/8 yd
Size Made: 6/10
Alterations: I took in 2" on the shoulder seams to raise the neckline. I also did an invisible bias by pulling it to the inside of the garment.

The Polly top features a cut out front. The pieces are eased together to create bust shaping so no darts are used. This feature means the tank can be made with endless variations: all one fabric, two different fabrics, a hidden bias binding on the neck and armholes or a contrast bias binding. I choose to use a Liberty of London floral with a Union Chambray voile for my contrast fabric. Yes, I did say Chambray voile. These new fabrics from Robert Kaufman come in 4 different chambray-denim hues and are oh-so light and soft. They pair perfectly with the Liberty of London lawn fabric. I made my bias binding out of the chambray voile as well so as not to waste any precious Liberty on a hidden bias.

In general this was a simple pattern to whip up - especially if you are familiar with a bias binding finish on arms and neck. The most difficult part of sewing this top was step one - easing the cut-out into the main part of the top. It takes a lot of easing and I had to go very slow to get it right. Some tips for this part would be to carefully clip into your fabric pieces 1/2" before sewing the seam and pin your seam at 5/8" where you will be sewing. 

When I finished this top, it was too tall in the shoulders so I had to take my shirt in at the shoulder seam a good 2" on each side to make it fit properly. This was an easy alteration to make and now the top fits great. Summer 2014 wardrobe staple: done!

If you need help with your Polly top, you'll be pleased to know we are offering it as a class and there are still spots in the upcoming session on May 4th. Download the Polly top here and get started sewing - summer is right around the corner!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Amber's Muddy Works Tee


I've been coveting Jaime's cute Nani Iro Nuance Tee for a while. When we recently received Tomotake's Muddy Works fabrics I couldn't resist this soft double-gauze, hand drawn polka dot in a pale warm grey.
Pattern: Nani Iro Woman T-shirt
Fabric: Muddy Works Double Gauze 1 1/2 yd
Size Made: One Size
Alterations: None

Double gauze is perfect for this pattern, a loose, easy fitting tee, and it makes a garment that is oh-so-soft and comfortable.

I won't lie, wearing my new tee is kinda like wearing the comfiest pajamas in the world, but with a little bit of sophistication.

The Nani Iro Tee pattern is actually more of a diagram on drafting your pieces (in Japanese!) I lucked out--since Jaime already drafted the pattern, this top just took me an hour or so to make. The simplicity of the pattern, though, should make drafting it easy enough for intermediate or ambitious beginner sewists to tackle. Just remember to use centimeters, not inches, or your shirt will be very big!

Find the free Nani Iro Womens T-Shirt pattern here. There are lots more Nani Iro free patterns there as well!