Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Clare Coat: How I Make a Hanging Loop

Somehow, when I dropped everything to start sewing a Clare Coat, I convinced myself that it would sew up in no time and I'd be all cozy in it by the New Year.

Closet Case Files' Clare Coat

Then I remembered that this is me and I have a hard time not taking my time with big projects. On top of it, as I was coming down the home stretch with just some hand sewing left, I realized that I made a major, major screw up very early on that needs to be fixed. Folks, it's bad. It may actually involve seam ripping the entire coat - lining, topstitching and all - and recutting the front piece.***

What could be so bad that this project may ultimately be a fail? Well, I somehow sewed the darts at different heights. It would be a relatively easy fix if that were all - just move a dart, right? But you see, because of the bulk of the fabric, I cut the darts open in order to press them flat. Yeah.

Anyway, to avoid wallowing, here is a peek at one of my favorite little add on features: a hanging chain. Here's how I add one to my coats and jackets. 

Rather than sewing over chain, I prefer to add ribbon loops to the coat, and then hang the chain on the loops. For this coat, I settled on white twill tape rather than satin ribbon. This was partially because of the weight of the coat and partially because it's what I had on hand. 

Don't worry: the placement marks are from a Frixion pen. 

First, I cut two pieces of twill tape about 2" long and fold them in half, making two 1" loops.  

Next, I sew my loops into the seam allowance of the neck facing positioned about 1 1/2" to either side of the center back. This makes the distance between the loops 3". You could use a basting stitch for this step, but I like the extra reinforcement of sewing regular stitches inside the seam allowance. Plus, the ribbon is narrow enough that you could accidentally skip over it with your basting, thus defeating the purpose.

Then, I go ahead and sew the facing to the inside collar piece and give it a good press so that my loops are sandwiched between the two layers and hang facing downward. The visible part of the loops are about 3/8".  

From here I just keep on sewing my coat. Because there isn't a chain hanging around I don't have to worry about accidentally running over it and breaking needles or it getting hot from my iron. I just carry on sewing.

Finished coat insdes.

Once your coat is all in one piece and you are working on the finishing touches, it's time to hang a chain from your loops using two jump rings and jewelry pliers. You can play around with the length of the chain to decide what looks most attractive to you. 

Different lighting several hours later... 

Voila! You no longer have to hang your coat by the scruff of its neck.

Oh! And if you are wondering about my "Handmade" metal tag, it is from Emmaline Bags' on-line shop. It's meant for a bag, but I would put one on every single thing if I could.

*** I may put my pretty Clare aside for a few days and mull over the options. So, hopefully I'll have a few things to show in the interim. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Look! I Made Duck Boots

Did you know such a thing was possible?

Baby Duck Booties Pattern by Quince & Co.

With the magic of knitting, it is! Here is my version.

Black and White Duck Booties!

I suppose it would be more accurate to say I made Duck Booties and not Boots. I think they are fun and cute. Originally, I knit them for Taco. But my tiny baby actually has rather big, wide feet. So, they have been sent to his younger cousin.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow even though it wasn't entirely intuitive. The only change I made was to make a three stitch I-cord for the laces instead of just using a piece of yarn, as the instructions direct.

I didn't feel like buying new yarn in the more traditional duck boot colors. Instead, my version is knit up in Cascade 220 Sport which I had on hand. I've had some difficulties with this yarn. I initially bought it to knit a baby blanket for Taco. But I just didn't like how it was knitting up. It was not as dense as I would like despite being on gauge. Every time I switched colors it looked sloppy and obvious. So I frogged it.

A photo posted by Clio (@cliophineas) on

Then I tried to use this yarn for a now-in-hibernation sweater for Taco. It looked cute but the gauge was WAY off.

I know what you are thinking: didn't you knit a gauge swatch?  No, I didn't. For the first two years that I was knitting, I did a gauge swatch for each project and all it told me was that my gauge was scarily spot on. Hence, for the last two years I haven't. And this is the first yarn that has thrown me. Too late I realized that the suggested needle size for the pattern was different than what was suggested on the yarn for the exact same gauge. I suppose I should have gone with what was on the yarn.

The booties, too, were knit on a smaller needle than the yarn suggested, which is probably the reason they are small. I may try to knit them again in a larger size so that Taco can have a pair, too. I have plenty of left over yarn since I bought a blanket-size quantity!  And the booties are insanely sweet, aren't they?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I Have Skinny Wrists


Aside from having trouble getting bracelets and watches to fit, my wrists allow great gusts of cold air to go up the sleeves of my coats, even with gloves on. And, since I almost never wear long sleeves, my arms get chilly.

So, when I was looking for a knitting project for the small ball of fingering yarn I bough on our family vacation in Venice, these Frilly and Lacy Wrist Warmers caught my eye. My thinking was that, in addition to being pretty, if I wore them over my gloves, the frilly cuffs would block the wintry wind from going up my sleeves.

A photo posted by Clio (@cliophineas) on

I actually finished knitting them at the end of October while on a business trip. But Autumn in NY seemed to go on and on this year. It was only when old man winter finally arrived with a vengeance this week that I finally put my theory to the test.

Thumbs up! How cheesy am I? 

And they worked! No cold air up the arms. No chilly elbows while waiting for the train or walking to my office. Woo hoo! My arms stayed cosy inside my coat. Plus, I think my cuffs look kinda cute peeking out from my coat. Yes?

Cute little cuffs. 

Other deets: The wrist warmers were easy to knit in this lovely Filatura di Crosa yarn, which is 100% merino wool. It has a soft and almost creamy feel, if that description makes sense. If I were to knit these again to wear without gloves, I would probably want to make them longer. Other than that, I wouldn't make any changes to this easy pattern.

Pretty and functional, what could be better?  Hooray!