slightly unravelled

Thursday, March 27, 2008


bargello pillow

Mostly this bargello pillow was a cinch to make. It replaced knitting as my portable project for a couple of months. Once the needlepoint was completed, making it into a pillow would have been simple...were it not for that adorable-but-finicky piping around the edge. Overall, that upped the frustration factor and probably added 2 hours to the total work time, but it was worth it.

The pillow was originally inspired by the Jonathan Adler bargello pillows. At first I was shocked by the price tags on his, but now I have to say that his prices are reasonable -- a bargain, even. His 22" pillows are $145, with the smaller pillows for slightly less. I made a 14" pillow, and it took me 2.5 months. I probably spent around $12 on the pillow insert + fabric and cording, and if I had actually purchased the yarn and canvas (instead of getting them from the needlepoint supply stash in my parents' basement), that might have been another $40 or so. Add the $52 in supplies to the price I would have to charge for my labor, and I think I would have to value the pillow at about $2,052.

The Jonathan Adler website says that the needlepoint is done by hand. I do really have to wonder what tiny price the stitchers are receiving for their work if the pillows are selling for only $145....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I made this simple spring/summer dress using Butterick pattern B4443 and a Japanese cotton print.

Dress from Japanese frog print cotton

It was very easy to make, and I'm pleased with the results. If I make the pattern again, I'll make it smaller -- it's definitely too wide across the shoulders. The version on the cover looks like the skirt is not that full, so I had made a size larger than I normally would to have a fuller skirt, but it wasn't necessary.

Japanese cotton -- frog print

I LOVE this fabric. It's a Japanese cotton ( I ordered from Fabrictales -- despite the fact that the fabric actually ships from Japan, their shipping rates are very reasonable) with a cute frog print. I love that it's whimsical but manages to be subtle at the same time.

Finally, just a note -- it's much more flattering than it looks in the picture. You really need to see it in action, even slightly so, to really get a good sense of the shape. I was unable to capture it well in a photo. I think I need a photographer for these types of things...propping my camera on a surface, setting the timer, and trying to place myself in the picture just didn't work today. I guess my stiff arms and tense shoulders don't help either...

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

I completed the Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All. I think it's very cool, but it was a little frustrating to make, largely because of:
  1. The many layers of fabric / interfacing / fleece that were hard to sew through;
  2. The combo of the piping and the rounded shape: either one would have been fine on it's own, but trying to sew the piping on while keeping the curve even is very hard; and
  3. Attaching the bottom to the sides -- three walls and piping all meeting together is just asking for bad things to happen.
There really are a lot of flaws on my bag, most of which you have to inspect closely to see, so they aren't showing up in the photos. It was fun to make, and I am enjoying a feeling of accomplishment. Although it's imperfect in many respects, I'm happy with the results.

About the pattern:

Overall I think the pattern was written pretty well and gave good details and accompanying diagrams. However, I was very disappointed to find a couple of errors in the pattern. When I paid $12 for the pattern (a substantial price, I think), I was paying for the creativity of the designer and the expertise of the pattern writer. The errors in the pattern should have been caught by careful proof-reading, and I think the pattern producer had an obligation to do that. I noticed the errors on my first read-through.

I did email the Amy Butler company about the errors, and they were responsive and sent me several free patterns (which I think was the right thing to do). They have posted a correction of the most substantial error on their website -- BUT, the correction is not the right one, or at least not the most practical way to correct the error.*

Anyway, like I said, I like my bag a lot (although....not as much as I like this version). I'm looking forward to using it in Spring / Summer, although I am kind of regretting choosing white's going to be hard to remember never to set the bag down on the floor. I added a bit of the exterior fabric to the inside as a trim at the top of the pockets to make the inside more interesting. I love the fact that it has 4 pockets -- those will be very useful!

Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

*The error in the pattern is that it calls for 1/8 yard of timtex ( 1/8 yd = 4.5 inches), then expects you to cut the bottom panel out, which is 5.5 inches wide. The correction on the Amy Butler website says to get 1/4 yard of timtex instead. You don't actually need 1/4 yard -- 1/8 yard is enough. Since the 5.5 inch bottom panel includes 1 inch of seam allowance, you can subtract a little more than an inch from the width (and length) of the bottom panel timtex piece, so the 1/8 yard is wide enough.