Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lace Camiknickers

It was so nice to see the knitted vest take shape and create something from one of my knitting books I decided to go ahead and knit these lace camiknickers too. I am using the gauge given in the pattern, and added 2 pattern repeats total. I am knitting it in the round, as I'd rather not have any seams in the garment. The yarn I'm using is a lace weight alpaca/silk mix, and it makes a wonderfully soft fabric.

I am not really used to having to learn by doing. Normally I can read my way to most things, but with knitting it's really different. In the beginning it frustrated me, but now I'm starting to enjoy the process. So far I think the biggest surprise is the amount of negative ease I can calculate in. With the alpaca vest I thought it might end up a tight fit, but not at all. It's amazingly elastic. I'm looking forward too see what new things I'll learn on this project :)

Sorry about the quality of the pictures. I decided to use my camera, as the scanner is awkwardly placed and a pain to get to.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Knitted Undies Part 2

I've finished the knitted vest :) Just in time for the below 20's, I suspect. At the moment it's not very cold at all, it varies between -2 to -7 degrees, but this can surely not last.

I had my breast reduction approved, and will have the surgery some time after new years, so I padded the dress form with what I think (hope) my new measurements will be.

For anyone interested in the notes I made while knitting this you can have a look at my project at ravelry.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Knitted Undies

Oddly enough winter still hasn't fully arrived here in Lillehammer. I'd expect to be freezing my bum off by now, but currently the temperature seems to fluctuate between -4 to +6 Celsius. With luck I'll be able to knit up the woollen undies below before we hit the below 20's.

A little about vintage knitting patterns and sizing. The needle sizes in the pattern are old UK sizes. I am making my vest in a fine 3 ply alpaca yarn (Drops Alpaca), using 3.5 and 3 mm needles, to fit my current measurements of 43-33-41. The fabric really is very elastic, and I think you could use this yarn and needle sizes to comfortably fit 3 inches smaller or larger than mine. I am hoping to be approved for a breast reduction myself, so I figured if the top gets a little loose afterwards, I'll just undo the lacy bit and reknit it using a smaller needle. I'm knitting the vest in the round so I won't have to contend with seams if this should prove necessary. The original vest is also very long, 22 inches seams. Mine will be around 16 inches from underarm to bottom.

Enjoy :)

Click on the images to enlarge. This is intended for personal use only. Please do not copy and sell.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Knitted Bra Pattern

I have been drooling over this knitted bra I found on Ravelry for the longest time, unfortunately the pattern is in German, and although I did one year of German in school, my German is sadly lacking. But, I decided to give a go at translating the text, and you'll find it below. Please keep in mind that I cannot guarantee that I got it 100% right.


The brassier is made with white CMS Perlgarn Nr. 5. on US 0 - 2.0 mm needles. Garter stitch pattern. Bust size 112 cm.

You start at the lower end of the bra casting on 224 stitches. Continue in rib knit of k. 2 p. 2 for 16 rows,  (or as long as you'd like) slipping the first stitch of every row. Cast off 22 stitches at the beginning of the following row, knit 60, place on a string or a stitch holder, knit another 60 and place these too on a stitch holder. This leaves 82 stitches. Knit till the end of the row. The next row: cast off 22 stitches at the beginning of the row and knit the remaining 60. Then knit the last two stitches of each row together until there are no stitches left.

The middle triangle is worked the same way as the first until there are 10 stitches left on the needle. Knit another five rows and then cast off stitches.

The last triangle is made the same way as the first.

The cup part:

cast on 30 stitches, * knit until end of row, knit two stitches together, turn and knit next row*. Repeat these two rows until there are 5 stitches left on the needle. Pick up 25 stitches along the cast off edge and repeat the above instructions. Repeat until you have 7 triangles, cast off the last 5 stitches and stitch the cup closed.

Repeat for the second cup.

Stitch the cups onto the lower edge by fitting four triangles into the v opening of the lower edge of the bra. Crochet a picot edge over the upper edge.

Straps: Cast on 110 stitches, knit garter stitch for 10 rows, cast off.
Row 5: Cast off stitches 5-7 and 11-13 for buttonholes.
Row 6: Knit until buttonhole, make 3 stitches, continue, repeat.

Stitch the straps towards the back of the side triangle with the buttonholes facing the front. Stitch a button to the top of the breast cup.

Stitch press stud buttons to the back of the bra to fasten it.


I had a German friend look over the original pattern, and it seems I got it right :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spice Cake with Raisins

I have collected books from Odhams Publishing for years, mostly the knitting and dressmaking books, but I also have this huge book called Cookery Illustrated and Household Management. The book has an enormous amount of recipes, and there is one I have wanted to try out for a long time; Spiced Raisin Cake. When I lived in Dublin I used to get these snacks called Nutrigrains, which basically was a small square of spiced raisin cake, and I have missed them terribly since moving back to Norway. They are so handy, you can just pop a few in your handbag, and have an easy fix for those pesky low blood sugar incidents. When I saw this recipe I thought that this seemed like it could be a close match. It's actually not. I think the Nutrigrains have oats in them, whereas this is a traditional spice cake. But it was delicious, albeit a little too sweet for my liking. Next time I will halve the sugar and syrup. I would not recommend adding more spices, as the cake has a very pleasant aromatic taste as it is.

3/4 cup of sour milk (I used buttermilk)
1 lb. flour
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup syrup or treacle (I used dark syrup)
3/4 cup of margarine or butter (I used margarine)
2 cups of chopped raisins
1/2 ts of ground cloves
1/2 ts salt
2 ts ground cinnamon
1/2 ts of ground mace (I used nutmeg)
1 ts of baking soda

Beat the butter or margarine until creamy. Stir in the sugar and the syrup or treacle. Beat well, then add the beaten eggs, and when well mixed, stir in the sour milk in which the soda has been dissolved. Add the chopped raisins to the flour sifted with the salt and spices, and then mix all the ingredients together. Turn the mixture into a shallow, buttered baking tin, and bake in a moderate oven (160 degrees celcius in a fan oven, 180 in a traditional oven) for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, stand for a minute or two, then turn out and cool on a cake rack. Serve cut into squares.

Edited for update October 31st:

This cake tastes best the day after it was made, somehow the tastes seem to refine, and it no longer tastes too sweet. So, perfect as it is on day two :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Humerus Fracture

The recent long silence is due to a broken humerus. I broke my arm first week of August after a nasty fall, and although it most certainly has been a learning experience it has mostly been of a "ouch that hurts" nature, and of limited interest to others, I think.

I am now quite a lot better, the arm has started healing properly (as I understand it a healing time of 15 weeks is not uncommon), and I am now able to knit a little and do a bit of cooking, which I enjoy. I am thinking of testing a cake recipe this weekend, an English spiced cake, should be yummy.

I have started knitting this jacket here:
I found this picture online and decided to try recreating the pattern. If anyone wants to follow the attempt you can check the progress on Ravelry. If the jacket turns out OK I'll post the pattern here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Home Made Cold Cream

I made a batch of home made cold cream yesterday, and discovered quite by chance how to get a fluffy, creamy result. When I made cold cream previously I used the instructions and recipe from The Vintage Style Files, and the cold cream was nice, but the consistency of it was more like a slightly grainy body butter than cold cream. The instructions says to beat the cream until it goes white, glossy and slightly thick, but when I use the stick blender it gets like this almost immediately. I would usually spend some 10 minutes at it with the stick blender, which gives the consistency I described above.

For some time now I have wondered how it would turn out if I beat it for a couple of minutes only, and yesterday I decided to give it a go. I used the blender for a few minutes and then poured the cream into containers. This was a very bad idea. I ended up with  the wax and oil slightly congealed, whereas the rose water had separated. I then decided to try mixing it all together again using the stick blender and see if this would help, and boy did it! Have a look:
The picture might be a little bright, but hopefully you'll see how light and creamy it got. I then tested with an older batch to see if I could get it to be like this even though it was made a week ago, and it turned out just as well. It feels similar to Pond's, albeit a little richer. It's smooth, silky and wonderfully creamy, and I'm just so proud :D

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Perfumes and Pliers

Today I thought I'd share a little tutorial on how to decant designer perfumes into vintage splash bottles. I own quite a few perfumes, some of them more than a decade old. These old perfumes are by no means spoiled, but they have grown quite powerful, and using an atomizer is out of the question as it dispenses too much scent. So I've bought vintage splash perfume bottles which I've cleaned and filled with the designer perfumes.

To do this you'll need the following: A clean splash perfume bottle, the perfume you wish to decant, a set of cutting pliers, a funnel and latex gloves.

Most modern perfume bottles have a collar around the neck of the perfume bottles which serves as a rest for the topper, and hides the seal. You'll need a sharp cutter to remove it. I like the one in the picture. It cuts though metal like a knife though butter, the tips are slim and get into tight spots, and it's very solid, so I can use it to bend the metal as I go. Once the collar is off I gently bend the bottom part of the seal away from the bottle. Once it's loosened it looks like this:
Lift the seal off the bottle, place the funnel in the splash perfume bottle, and pour slowly.
I'd recommend doing this bit over the sink. Keep the tap running, this way if you spill perfume (and I almost always do) it's less likely your kitchen will smell like a tarts boudoir afterwards.

Now you can use as little or much perfume as you wish; no more trying to aim the atomiser spray to hit the very edge of your arm in an attempt to get just the right amount :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Boning the Bra

After having tested the bra and worn it for a day I noticed tension pains in the left trapezius muscle (from the neck down towards the shoulder), and I think the weight of the bra is the culprit. I have therefore decided to bone the cups and see if this helps. I have looked at boned bras from the era, and they have bones at the sides of the cups, as well as two bones in a reversed v placed in the cup, like this one from Etsy:
I'm still not sure what kind of boning would be best. I'm leaning towards spiral boning, as plastic tends to loose its shape. I still have a few coils of spiral boning left from my corset making days, as well as artificial whalebone, and I think I'll probably try the whalebone first, as it's easier to change if it doesn't work. Spiral boning is a pain to remove. Has anyone else tried this? What did you use, and did it work well?

Update November 14th:
I ended up using artificial whalebone (sturdy plastic), and it worked very well. I lined the bottom of the bra front with a velvet ribbon to protect the skin from poking. This is rather important as the bone ends will dig in pretty bed without the velvet ribbon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

1940's bra

I finished the 1940's bra late last night. I was unsure of how to get the balance right between sturdy cups and band, and comfort, and after having done a bit of research found that using elastic at the back, between the closure and the band seems to have been rather common, and one would have to assume that it worked well. So yesterday I went shopping for elastic and bra closure. I found both, but the first bra closure I found was both expensive and unattractive. I then found a 3 pack of bra extenders, which is easy enough to convert to a closure. But in black, white and nude. I don't wear white and nude, so I decided to make the closure myself, using scraps of the cotton satin I used for the bra. If anyone is interested in knowing how I put the closure together please leave a comment, and I will do a quick tutorial.

I used black cotton satin for the outer shell, a corset twill for lining, the straps are non elastic, and made of the cotton satin. I also placed the straps towards the front of the bra, not angling towards the back, apparently this should help keep the straps on the shoulders. And what I found when trying the bra on, is that it seems to be kinder to the shoulders. Somehow the weight carried by the straps gets distributed to the back of the shoulders. Also it will not pull the back of the bra upwards, as sometimes happens when the straps are placed towards the back.

Lo and behold, my first ever home made bra:

Friday, April 06, 2012

Beach Bra Frustrations

It seems no matter how I tweak the pattern I cannot seem to get it right. It gets baggy at the sides where the fabric is gathered, and although it holds the bust it cannot be said to be flattering. I am trying to find a way to get the back to carry the weight of the bust, but alas, no luck. I think I'll have to give the beach bra pattern a rest and come back to it later. For now I'll see if I can turn the bra pattern from the sew along into a beach bra. I think I have some iron on interfacing I can use to stiffen the cups in the stash, and I am thinking perhaps a shirred back panel. It should keep the bra in place and hopefully also look good.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Beach Bra and Knickers

Sorry about the long silence, guys. Now I'm back and I'll try to blog on a more regular basis.

At the moment I am working on a beach bra I bought from PamoolaVintage. The pattern is quite straightforward, and it was easy enough to enlarge to fit my 40-inch bust. Unfortunately the fitting was not quite as easy. I have made 2 mock ups already, and I believe I will have to make one more. The pattern calls for one dart. For a 32G UK sizing bust, this will just not do. So I have added 2 more. I also found that cutting it on the bias might work for small busted ladies who doesn't need much support, but as I do, I cut the second mock up on the straight of the grain. In the next mock up I will add a curve at the centre front. A bra pattern I'm also working on from Mrs Depew has a curved centre front, and it fits very well (Please check out her sew along, it's full of useful information on lingerie sewing).

Here's a picture of the beach bra:

Once I've finished the (hopefully) final mock up of this beauty, I will start working on the matching knickers. The pattern for the knickers weren't supplied, so I'll have to wing it. I think the knickers will be easier than the bra though, as I can adapt a pattern I made for a 1930's-40's style pair of trousers for them.