NEW: Snowflake Shawl

 

 

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As promised yesterday, I just released this new shawl/cape pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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Last year, I really wanted to design a cool cape design that still embodies the inspiration I got from Downton Abbey. Plus, California was uncharacteristically cold and wet; perhaps I was up earlier than most people going to work at 3 am.

I sketched and drafted this pattern on the metrolink, while commuting to work. I knitted a prototype/test sample in aran weight yarn but was not happy with the yarn choice or the finished product. I knew I wanted the general design to be still feminine and romantic but wanted the fabric to be slightly more dense and heavier.

Up close and personal:

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C’mon. I know that you have this yarn somewhere in your stash!

It’s none other than Bernat Natural Alpaca Blend in Natural. I know, an acrylic blend? I knew that if I wore this outside, I would get it dirty somehow. I also wanted it to be easily washed in the washing machine. Then I added a laceweight mohair/acrylic blend yarn from Universal Yarns, and held the two yarns together for this marled effect.

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I also re-did the collar 3 times in the first prototype to get it right. At first, I wanted it to be asymmetric and with a button closure. It didn’t fit right.

So I frogged and did it in 1×1 rib but it didn’t look right either. It was kind of soft and drapey, which didn’t look right with the look I was going for in my head.

I made the collar in double thickness, so that it will stand right and hold the overall heavy/dense look.

Now, I didn’t really know what to call this. I had a choice between a CAPE and a Shawl, and went with a Shawl since I wanted it to be something you just grab and throw on for a quick walk with your doggies or a lunch date. SHAWL with a COLLAR. =)

So there you go people. I published this pattern on Ravelry as well as Craftsy.

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Craftsy, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

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Ravelry, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

Preview: Snowflake Shawl

I just finished the draft of my first pattern of 2014!

I’m very excited, and this is something I designed a year ago but finding the right yarns and gauge took some time. Then it got too warm to publish it so just this month, I finally finished the draft of the pattern.

I’ll be publishing it on Monday morning, but here is a PREVIEW.

Snowflake Shawl

Snowflake Shawl

 

 

Knitting? What Knitting?

Seriously.

I haven’t had a chance to blog about knitting… because I haven’t been knitting.

*GASPS!!!*

How could that be? I’m a knitter. Is there a knitting who doesn’t knit?! WHAT’S HAPPENING TO MEEEEEEE~~

It all started since I came back from Korea. I didn’t even knit on the plane ride back from Korea. I just got all tired, didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to eat anything — > I think I was super depressed.

Since I got back to work, I think it has gotten a bit better, but nothing much has happened in terms of knitting. I am designing a sweater right now so maybe I’ll have more to talk about!

But I didn’t want to leave my blog so cold without no new updates.

So here are some photos to show you that I’m still alive and well:

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Husband’s parents came to visit for a week, so we ate out every single night and had very awesome brunches both Saturday and Sunday. This one is at Larchmont Bungalow in LA.

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After the brunch, we took our parents to the Farmer’s Market at The Grove.

 

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Which isn’t really “farmer’s market” anymore, but still cute and has awesome snacks and food.

 

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On Sunday, we took them to  Orange Hill Restaurant, which is like 10 minutes away from home but is up on the hill so you get a nice view of Orange County and LA. Not much to see, but it’s very cozy and fun (I mean unlimited champagne with your buffet breakfast?).

They left just this week, early on Monday and the doggies were sad. Even Candy, who just met my mother in law for the first time!

Maybe it just takes time. TIME. to recover from a long trip and such a fulfilling experience with family.

 

Wellmade clothing

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This top was a gift from my aunt about 7 years ago. I wore this at least 200 times since then and I still wear it almost once every week. It’s lace, has ribbons and sparkles. And it is holding up. Still looks like I bought it last week.

Well-made clothing is hard to find these days. Even expensive labels, when you actually look closely, their seams and fit aren’t like they used to be.

Trust me, I just spent a lot of money on my new work clothes and shoes last week. At least I was satisfied with the quality of the things I bought.

But it’s true, when there are shops in every corner that advertise “blouse for $15! Denim $30!” it’s hard to resist deals like that.

I’ve been guilty of buying clothes from those type of shops too. Quantify over quality, eh?

Every time I wear this top, or other things I bought over the years that I came to treasure, I am reminded of how, as a person who loves fashion, I should be more mindful of shopping habits. And be an advocate of fine clothing. :)

I’m not trying to sound snobbish or look down on those shops. If anything, I think most of their practices are unethical. But aside from their business practices, just looking at fashion alone, if you truly love fashion (and not just trends), you have to see that that $10 top with stitch ends still hanging out and off-grain tshirts (not on purpose) don’t have any “fashion value.”

I think fashion walks a fine line between art and function. That’s why when I design my knitwear, I don’t automatically turn to the most expensive yarn available or sacrifice wearability over interesting fashion details. You have to find that balance. I could make a really interesting pullover with 3 headholes and 4 armholes, but who’s gonna put in the time to KNIT it and then WEAR it in public? I could also make a really well-fitted sweater with all over St st but who’s gonna be able to finish that piece without getting bored?

In preparation for the TNNA this weekend, I am inspired and also have many thoughts on my designs…

Sewing Sunday: Colette “Clover” pants

Colette “Clover” pants by Jean Chung

Colette “Clover” pants by Jean Chung

 

 

Fabric: Stretch Crepe fabric (97% Wool 3% Spandex) By B. Black & Sons; purchased from M&L Fabrics in Anaheim, CA

Pattern: Colette Patterns “Clover”

Others: Necklace – David Aubrey Jewelry; Top – Mystree; Shoes – Nine West

 

Like many other sewists/tailors, I am a fan of Colette Patterns. I made Marty’s Maui Shirt based on their only men’s pattern, Negroni, and I have other dress patterns as well as The Colette Sewing Handbook. Love the designs! In preparation for the designer and CEO behind Colette Patterns, Sarai Mitnick visiting LA next Friday, I decided to make this pair as well as a Macaron dress.

Colette Patterns coming to LA

I am almost done with the Macaron Dress and will be blogging about it soon! But in the meantime, these pants were really quick. I mean, I cut and sewed through 80% of the pants in one night. I always trace my patterns and then cut really slowly so this means alot. Usually cutting alone takes all of Day 1 for me (I don’t sew full time so this usually means 2~4 hours I have in the evenings).

Then Day 2 was a disaster. I took out the invisible zipper I bought from M&L Fabrics, and noticed that the staple was actually IN the zipper teeth. I didn’t think much of it and just took it out carefully. Then I used my invisible zipper foot for the first time (I usually use a regular zipper foot and just go slow), but it ended up making me sew through the teeth. I had to pick out the thread really carefully since it was black thread against black crepe fabric AND a black zipper and I couldn’t see well. I read someone else’s blog about how she loves to sew with crepe fabric because the thread just melts into the fabric, so nice, etc etc. Well, yah that was exactly the problem. The fabric was ultra nice but it was totally impossible to pick the thread.

It’s okay, I’m a patient person, EXCEPT this happened 4 times.

GRRR. And then, I finally succeeded working with the invisible zipper foot and made sure the thread didn’t get into the teeth. I turned it inside out and tried to zip it up, YOU KNOW, SO I KNOW I PUT IT IN RIGHT AND STUFF?!?!??!?!?!

Well, the zipper pull just came RIGHT out of the zipper. HEAD TO DESK. Three times.

At this point, I hated my zipper and the invisible zipper foot. Both went straight to the trash can.

Instead I grabbed a YELLOW regular zipper from my stash and sewed it into the pants, with a regular zipper foot. There. Who cares about the zipper showing. It’s yellow and cute.

Will I wear them again? YES YES and YES! These fit perfectly. Don’t hate me but I didn’t make a full muslin (I made ONE leg with some flannel with stable stretch to see how it’ll drape and fit around my thighs) and I didn’t make ANY adjustments because I liked the muslin as is. The wool crepe is definitely one of the nicest fabric I’ve ever worked with so that helps and I am  short so the length was perfect and not awkward. I love many of Colette Patterns designs but the pants length in the sample photos looked a bit awkward for me.

Will I make them again? This one is also YES YES YES! I bought enough lightweight corduroy fabric enough for two pairs already. :)

 

Sewing Sunday: Marty’s Maui Shirt

Marty’s Maui Shirt – Made by Jean Chung


I got this polynesian print fabric from Michael Levine, Inc to make my husband a hawaiian shirt. We’re heading off to Maui in less than a month to attend a friend’s destination wedding and because neither of us has ever been to Hawaii, we’re very much excited! I have a lot of dresses to sew in the next 3~4 weeks, but to start off my Hawaiian trip sewing, I finished Marty’s Maui Shirt first.

The pattern I used is “Negroni” from Colette Patterns, an extremely popular men’s shirt pattern in the sewing world. I love Colette Patterns and everything the line offered in the past so I had no doubt in my mind that this pattern will totally fit my husband. Marty usually wears Medium and likes slim-fit in all his clothing, including suits. Some of the work shirts he wears, including his Valentino shirts are really loose and he’s waiting for me to take tailoring or alteration class so I can fix them. But I think I like this pattern enough so I’ll try the long sleeve version next time. I already bought beautiful shirting fabrics including ones from Burberry and Marc Jacobs.

Anyhow, as usual, Colette provided excellent instructions for the pattern and overall, I’m very pleased with the result. Marty really loves how it fits, and has worn this shirt a number of times already.

Marty’s Maui Shirt – Made by Jean Chung

Marty’s Maui Shirt – Made by Jean Chung

I’m looking forward to making this shirt again in those nice Italian shirting fabrics I bought because while this polynesian fabric is pretty good quality for a Hawaiian shirt, I’m not in love with how it feels.

If I make it in small, I think it’ll be also perfect for women’s shirt.