Thursday, June 22, 2017

Let's Talk: Linings

Normally, once I blog about a finished item, you don't see it again on the blog unless it is paired with an even newer garment. But today I thought we'd do something a little different and revisit the trousers that I sewed back at Thanksgiving and finally blogged about in March. 

I loved lining them in in a poly charmeuse print from Janky Store that was in my stash. I had sewn a top with it way back in 2011. The top is still going strong, by the way.  

Anyway, I wore these trousers yesterday. They get worn almost weekly.  When I took them off, however,  I noticed that there was some damage to the lining on the inseam at the high thigh area. So, I turned them inside out and this is what I found. 

The seam was totally shredded. Now, I think of this as an area of high stress on my trousers.  It's not the first time I've seen a lining fail in that area, albeit never one that I have sewn myself.  However, my second discovery was surprising.

This is the outseam. And not at a spot that you would think places any stress on the seams. It's also not on the side where I carry my purse or anything, so it's not like there would be friction. Anyway, the long and short is that this is a complete and utter fabric fail. The poly completely shredded.  

So, while I re-line these trousers, let's talk about linings. This definitely was not a fabric designed to be a lining, but I thought in both weight and feel it would be a good choice. It certainly felt nice on, helped my trousers glide on and off, and smoothed over any lumps and bumps. It was also heavier than Bemberg, which has always been my go-to for bottoms, and therefore warmer on those cold winter days (it was a bit warm to be wearing yesterday.)

So, how do you choose linings and what to you generally use?  

After my very first lining experience, in which the poly or rayon lining I was using was so thin and slithery that - novice that I was at the time - I found it challenging to cut and impossible to sew, I used only Bemberg linings for the longest time. I still like Bemberg, but I have branched out too. 

I've used silk charmeuse for things like my leather jacket (two thumbs up)... 

My Magnum Opus Jacket with silk lining

And china silk to line chiffon, like this top...

Cotton batiste for summer linen and seersucker trousers...

And even cotton lawn to line a jacket, which was not my best idea,  to be honest. It makes it hard to pull on over a top, lovely though the print is. 

Recently, I've tried some poly linings, too, like these gold wool trousers. 

And here is where the verdict is out for me. I've never had a natural fiber disintegrate the way poly has occasionally done for me. 

So, what are your experiences with linings?  Do you have a strong preference or a range of purpose or weather-specific preferences? Do tell.  And seriously, what the heck... 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Found! Dark Chocolate Meringue Drops

Waaaaay back in 2009, I blogged about these Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies.  I made them several times - they were wonderful!  But as happens, I moved on to new recipes and they fell out of my regular rotation.  They were not, however, forgotten.  But when I tried to go back and make them some time in the last year, the website had undergone an upgrade and much of the old content disappeared, including my cookie recipe.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Phin was flipping through a cookbook.  Out fell a copy of the recipe that I must have printed out at some point. Anyway, so as not to lose it again, here it is: 

Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies
5 oz dark/bittersweet chocolate (60-75% cacao) divided
2 TBSP cocoa (dutch processed, sifted after measuring)
3 TBSP cocoa nibs (optional - I don't use)
1/3 c (about 3 large) egg whites at room temp
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c sugar (minus 1 1/2 tsp if not using nibs)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 oz of chocolate in microwave. Set aside to cool. Chop remaining 2 oz into mini-morsel size pieces. Add tartar to egg whites in bowl of a mixer.  Beat until soft peaks start to form. Add 2 TBSP sugar and beat for 1 min. Slowly add remaining sugar one tbsp at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Keep beating until the meringue turns thick, smooth, opaque and glossy - about 2 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for additional 30 seconds. Turn off mixer.  Fold in chocolate (melted and chopped) and cocoa, until no streaks remain. Do not overmix. Scoop onto 2 cookie sheets lined with silpat or lightly greased parchment paper by the rounded tsp.  Bake for 8-12 minutes until just set, rotating pans and switching positions half way thru.  Cool on pans for 1-2 minutes and then lift parchment/silpat off the pans to a cooling rack and leave until completely cool - 15 min. Cookies should have a crisp crust that shatters but be soft inside. Makes apprx 40 cookies.

By the way, these cookies freeze really well.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monkey Pants!

Oh look! It's Taco in monkey pants.

Taco is a slim little dude. By the time he grows into pants at the waist, they are too short. So, I suppose it was just a matter of time before I sewed some up for him.  

Taco has one pair of knit pants that do fit very well. So I did a very quick rub off of them, added seam, waist and hem allowances and called it a pattern.  When I went to cut fabric, I realized that the side seams of the pants were straight and on grain, so I decided to overlap the two pattern pieces and cut the pants as a one seam pant.

With only one seam and my serger, the pants sewed up in no time. I used a twin needle for the hems. But when we went to try them on, the pants were really rather large.  Either I was sloppy with my tracing or I added seam allowances more than once. I'm not sure which.

So, I added what I will call a design feature for toddler-wear - a 1/2 inch fake seam (really it is a tuck) down the sides of pants where the outseams would be.  Now, when Taco grows, I can simply let out these fake seams and have a wider pant.

Taco really seemed to like these pants. Throughout the day he intermittently would point at the monkeys and laugh. The fabric is a cotton jersey that I bought online at  Of all the things that I can find in the NY Garment District, novelty, kid-friendly knits is often not one of them. 

Ipad - The only time he is ever still. 

An additional reason I'm happy to sew these for Taco is that little boy clothing is very gendered (girls' too). Sports, vehicles, sharks and dinosaurs are just about the only motifs available in mainstream childrenswear retailers for boys.  Oh, and licenced gear (Disney, superheros, etc.) It's limiting and I can do better starting from scratch.

Anyway, Taco usually likes to put on his pajamas at bedtime, but he was reluctant to take these off. So, I'll call that a win for monkey pants.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Super in my Socks!

Look! I knit Wonder Woman socks!

Don't they look like comic book superhero boots?

I think so. I had a tough time with the color - they are more of a fire engine red than these pictures suggest. But this was the best I could do with indoor photography.

The pattern is Virrat, by Tiina Kuu. I understand that virrat means stream, but from the start they looked like superhero boots to me. I'm not sure why. Maybe they just look fast.

And they were fast to knit! The pattern call for sport weight yarn, and I used Cascade 220 Sport. This is more of the yarn that I bought to knit an op art baby blanket that I ended up frogging. The red was supposed to be a pop of color in an otherwise black and white blanket. I knit Taco's Teddy Sweater and a pair of Baby Duck Booties with some of this little stash. This yarn just keeps on giving.

Since I was using a thicker gauge yarn for these socks, I decided it was time to practice cabling without a cable needle. There are a few methods, but I settled into a groove with the one described by Knitty here. I also could have, I suppose, used right and left-twist stitches.  Reader LinB reminded me of them recently, and I used them with success on this baby blanket a few years ago. But it was worth learning to cable without a needle. I think my cables will go much faster in the future.


One feature that was a little different is that the heel gusset increases are done in the center of the sole rather than at the sides, creating this neat diamond shaped gusset on the heel.

Anyway, I shall feel like Wonder Woman in her down time as I lounge in these socks.