A Soft Stripey Chemo Hat in Aran

I know far too many people who are battling cancer right now, and recently offered to make some chemo hats. I expected this to be an easy project, but it was a challenge instead. When I found a yarn I liked (soft and squishy), I couldn’t find a pattern for it (or even its gauge) that I also liked. In the end, I merged some patterns together and came up with my own.

Here’s one, for an aran weight yarn.

Chemo Hat in Aran weight yarn by Deborah Cooke, knit in Lion Brand Landscapes by Deborah Cooke

This yarn is Lionbrand Landscapes, a 100% acrylic yarn that comes in wonderful graduated colours. (That link will take you to the Lionbrand website product page.) I used a colourway called Blue Lagoon for this first one, and bought the yarn at Michaels. One thing with this yarn is that it’s a loosely spun single ply, so be careful not to split the strand when knitting. I ended up making more of a scoop motion than usual to catch the entire ply and that worked really well.

This hat is knit from the top down. Many of the ones that were knit cuff-up ended up having too tight of a cast-on edge, so I preferred this method. You might prefer it inside out as the knit side of the stockinette is smoother. Check with the recipient before you sew in the ends as you’ll want them on the wrong side, whichever side that’s going to be.

You’ll need:
• one skein of Lionbrand Landscape yarn (I used .7 of a ball in Blue Lagoon for the hat with the ribbed cuff, and .85 of a ball in Wildflower for the version with the rolled hem.)
• 6.0mm needles, a set of DPNs and (if you prefer) a 40cm circular
• 5.5mm needles, either a set of DPNs or a 40cm circular (for the ribbing)
• stitch markers (optional) You’ll need one to mark the beginning of the row, and five more (in a different colour) to mark the repeats.
• a needle to sew in the ends.

Gauge: 18 stitches and 22 rows = 4 inches, in stockinette on 6.0mm needles

There are instructions for two sizes for the finished hat is 21″ (regular) and 23″ (large) around. If the recipient has a much smaller head (or you aren’t sure) the version with the ribbed cuff is more likely to stay put.

Instructions:
Cast on 6 stitches on a 6.0mm DPN and arrange them over three needles (2 stitches on each). Join in the round and place a marker at the beginning of the round.

Round 1: KFB in each stitch (12)
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *K1, KFB, place marker. Repeat from * to end of round. (18)
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: *K to one stitch before marker, KFB. Repeat from * to end of round. (24)

Repeat rows 4 and 5 until you have 78 (for regular) or 90 (for large) stitches. Change to the circular needle when you have enough stitches, if that’s what you prefer.

Knit the next round, removing the markers after each wedge and leaving only the marker at the end of the round. Continue to knit for 3″ after the last increase.

Work next row in K1 P1 ribbing, changing to 5.5mm needles as you work the row. Continue in ribbing on the smaller needles for 2.5″ (In my case, that was 13 rows.) Cast off in ribbing.

Sew in ends and you’re done!

Variations:
• I wanted 2/2 ribbing on the blue hat, so I knit two stitches together halfway through the first row of ribbing and again at the end of the round. That gave me 88 stitches instead of 90, which is divisible by 4.
• you can also make a variation with a rolled brim. I made one with the colourway Wildflower but forgot to take a picture before sending it away. Instead of changing to ribbing, just keep knitting in stockinette to at least 8″ from the cast-on edge. I made mine with 6″ of stockinette after the last increase, then cast off loosely. This used more of the ball but had a nice rolled cuff.

Abbreviations:
K: Knit
P: Purl
KFB: Knit front and back. This increases one stitch, making one stitch into two. You could substitute any other increase you prefer, like M1 (make one) or YO (yarn over).

A Furry Sophie Bucket Hat

I don’t much like hats, but I live in Canada and need one for several months out of the year. As a result, I’m always knitting hats, in search of The One. I finally found it!

The Sophie Bucket Hat pattern is writting for Lionbrand Go for Faux, a yarn I love to bits. It’s so soft and squishy, and it knits into the most amazing fabric. The stitches disappear so it could be a length of faux fur cloth. That makes knitting it a bit of a challenge as you can’t read your knitting at all. (When I make a mistake, I just rip it all out and start over again.)

Here’s Go for Faux on the Lionbrand site. Be aware that they also make a heavier version of this yarn called Go for Faux Thick & Quick. That’s way too thick to use for this pattern, but on online vendor sites, it’s easy to miss the weight distinction. (Go on. Ask me how I know.)

Sophie Bucket Hat knit in Lionbrand Go for Faux by Deborah Cooke

And here’s the pattern for the Sophie Bucket Hat on Ravelry. This is a free pattern if you visit her website and print the blog post. If you want to download a PDF, she has one for sale on her site and on Ravelry.

I used one and half balls of Go for Faux in Mink for this one. I found the Go for Faux at Len’s Mills as well as online stores:

The strange thing about the Go for Faux (because I’ve bought a lot of colours of it) is that the black colourway, called Black Panther, feels very different from the other colours. It’s not nearly as soft, which is a shame because black fur would be awesome. I have no idea why this would be.

I used 1.4 balls of another fake fur yarn called Buttersoft, from Spindle Yarns. (That’s a Ravelry link.) This yarn was available at Fabricland and is apparently their own label. The colourway is Wineberry.

Sophie Bucket Hat knit in Spindles Buttersoft by Deborah Cooke

I wanted a colour other than greys and browns, even though I’m not much for dirty pinks. I also didn’t find this yarn as squishy-soft as the Go for Faux. Here’s how the hats look flat.

Sophie Bucket Hats knit by Deborah Cooke

There is a tiny colour change where I switched to the second ball on each hat. On the grey one, the end of the first ball was a bit whiter, so there’s a stripe there (ha – like a halo!) while the second ball of the dusty pink was a bit lighter than the first one. I did match dye lots in both cases, but I guess there’s variation over each skein.

Knitpicks also has their own faux fur yarn called Fable Fur. (That’s a KP link.) I have a few balls of it which I bought to knit garments for the girls, but sadly don’t have two balls of a single colour. I ordered more of the Hibou, which is a pretty grey teal, to make myself another Sophie Bucket Hat. There’s also some Go for Faux in Red Panda on its merry way to me. That’s a great pinky burgundy colour. How many hats do I need? Hmm. Canadian winters can be long…and this is the perfect hat. I think a few more can’t hurt!

Have you found your perfect hat pattern yet?

Tights for the Monster High Dolls – and a New DIY Wardrobe

My Monster High and Ever After dolls are mostly thrift-store finds, which means they usualy come to me naked or close to it. I buy shoes for them online, but make clothes for them otherwise. I had written a post about a dress I made for my dolls from a free downloadable pattern – I also made a cloak to go with it that I figured out on my own. – but realized this week that I hadn’t published it. (I sent the dress and cloak to Astro Jen as a gift for her girls and didn’t want her to see them before they arrived – then I forgot to queue up the post. Gah. That’s why it published yesterday.) It’s right here. I need to finish the variations of that dress and cloak that I’d cut out for my own girls, but will show you both when they’re done.

Today, we’ll have a look at some tights I made for the girls last weekend.

Leg-cessories pattern from DG Requiem for MH and EA doll stockings and tights

The pattern is Leg-cessories from DGRequiem – here’s the pattern on Etsy. It’s a PDF download that you print out.

Here’s the designer’s Etsy store, and here’s her website and store. She offers a lot (a lot, a LOT!) of cute patterns for different dolls.

So, yes, this is a paid pattern, but it offers many options. There are socks and stockings/pantihose, plus tights in four lengths. (I want to make knee socks with lace tops still. They’ll look great with those little knitted dresses.) Even better, the instructions are really good and filled with tips for getting good results. It includes instructions for both machine and hand-sewing, and also there’s a sizing chart for the dolls. I only made tights so far, but I think this pattern is a good deal.

These two pair are my favorites.

tights for MOnster High Dolls sewn by Deborah Cooke using DGRequiem's Leg-cessories pattern

The girls seem to like them, too.

Mirri dress from Wardrobe by Me knit by Deborah Cooke

They’re both cut from scraps of a cotton knit with a really large-scale pattern and repeat, but lots of teensy detail. The repeat is about 45″ in length. Here’s the Mirri dress I made from this print (it’s also at left) and here’s the link to the product page of the online shop where I bought it. The product page is still live, even though the fabric is sold out. You can see better detail of the fabric there.

I did some strategic cutting from my scraps, to end up with two legs from the same area of the print. They don’t even look like they’re from the same fabric, and I could make a dozen more unique pair. (And, yes, I just might.) This was also the easiest fabric to sew. It’s a cotton with lycra and a bit thicker than the others.

Did you notice that the girls have cardigans, too? I’m writing out that pattern to share it with you as a free download. Frankie also has one of the purses from a 5-Surprise Mini Fashion by Zuru (That’s a Chapters link.) because yes, after Astro Jen sent me the two pink purses, I surrendered to temptation and bought a pair of surprises myself. This green bag was in one of them, and the homage Louis Vuitton tote that I was coveting was in the other, so that worked out well.

But back to those tights. Here are a few more pair that I made last weekend:

tights for MOnster High Dolls sewn by Deborah Cooke using DGRequiem's Leg-cessories pattern

These are like potato chips: I can always go for one more pair. I could have fitted them tighter (there are instructions for that) but the girls like to share and the EverAfter High girls aren’t quite as thin as the Monster High ones. The pair on the left were fussy-cut from a knit with wide bands of patterned stripes. The repeat on it is about 18″ so it was possible to cut several (many!) pair, all of which came out differently. (My naked Skeleta is coveting these.) The purple pair were also fussy-cut from a large scale paisley print. (Clawdeen wants those.) The next two were the obvious choices, cut from small-scale prints that are closer to being in scale for the girls. (Although, again, the brown print has areas that are predominantly teal, which would give a different look.) The last pair were also fussy-cut – that starry pattern has a lot of variation over the repeat and some “suns” that could fill half a piece. I chose places with smaller stars and similarly coloured background. Lots of tights for the girls!

And they have a space to keep them, too. Look at those empty clothes racks.

DIY wardrobe for Monster High and Ever After High dolls made by Deborah Cooke

This is another of my DIY wardrobes for dolls. (That link is to my first one, for Barbie.) I used a paper box with magnets on the lid flap, and stood it on end. The back wall of the wardrobe should be the bottom, and the box top lifts. Now it drops down to be the dressing room floor. This box has a floral print on the outside and gold foil on the inside, which I like a lot. For this one, I made a U-shaped insert of bookbinders’ board and “wallpapered” it with a pretty print paper. It’s held in the U shape by the two clothing rods, which are bamboo skewers glued in place. They have bamboo beads at each end as escutcheons and all the bamboo was coloured black with a Sharpie marker. There are some hooks on the right wall, too, made of bent headpins. The mirror is a bevelled one from Michaels, framed with beads and backed with gold paper. The dresser is a make-up organizer from the dollar store. The rugs are screenshots of carpets printed on cardstock and cut out. (The front one is glued down.) I didn’t make a handle for this one and might not bother. (I’ll be busy sewing more clothes.)

Back to the leggings pattern review – this is a good pattern with lots of customizable options, clearly written with great instructions. I’ve bought several more patterns from this designer and will show you the results soon. (The girls are excited.)

Dressing an Ever After High Doll

My friend, Astro-Jen, collects EverAfter High and Monster High dolls (as well as others), so last winter, I made a dress for her doll. I started with this free pattern from ChellyWood.com called Small Doll A-Line Dress pattern. She offers a TON of free pattern downloads on her site, right here, sorted by doll height. The directory for 10″ dolls (like EAH and MH) is right here. I started with the green dress pattern at the bottom.

I cut the fuller skirt of View C and added a crinoline with a lace edge, much like McCalls 5770 for Barbie. The biggest challenge for making this dress is how tiny it is. The bodice is lined, just like the McCalls pattern, so all the ends are tucked inside. I used fusible interfacing (cut in a 1/4″ strip) to finish both the hem and the center back edges. I turned the hem just once and stitched it with twin needles, instead of trying to fold it twice.

Here’s the finished dress I sent to Jen, made in a rayon woven print. Of course, there’s a ribbon for a belt and a satin rose sewn to the front. 🙂

dress and cloak for Ever After High doll, sewn by Deborah Cooke

I also made a cape for her doll. I kind of winged the pattern, drafting an oval with the neck opening at one side. The fronts are curved so there’s a short flutter at the front and I made the hood big enough to go around the doll’s head. I cut it of black velvet, lined it with sand-washed silk (which is a special kind of hell to work with) and added two ribbon tabs at the neck. They have a snap on them, and a “jewel” on the front, which is a gemstone charm without the jump ring.

I’ll try this again for my own dolls.

Rogue Ninja Coffee Cozy

About ten years ago, I designed a cozy for our French press coffee pot called Java Ninja. It’s a free download from Ravelry. The original Ninja looked like this:

Java Ninja by Deborah Cooke knit in Patons Classic Wool by Deborah Cooke
Java Ninja by Deborah Cooke knit in Patons Classic Wool by Deborah Cooke

I knit this one in two colours of Patons Classic Wool Tweed. It’s knit top-down, then I added to contrasting I-cord at the top and the flap to go under the handle for the buttons.

Here’s a link to my original project on Ravelry and to the free pattern download there. Ha. I finished that in September 2011!

Over the years, coffee dribbled, the wool soaked it up, the wool felted when washed and we broke that French press. Our current one is a bit taller. Mr. Math also was not a fan of the buttons – since he makes the coffee, his opinion rules.

I made a new coffee cozy recently. I called it Rogue Ninja because I simplified the pattern. There’s only one colour of yarn, there’s no flap or buttons and no contrasting I-cord at the top. I also used a heavier yarn and knit it more tightly. Red Heart Gemstone is an acrylic yarn with a slow gradation. It won’t felt. It’s also a bulky weight instead of a worsted, so I knit it on bigger needles and increased the top to fewer stitches all around.

Here’s the result:

Rogue Java Ninja knit by Deborah Cooke in Red Heart Gemstone
Rogue Java Ninja knit by Deborah Cooke in Red Heart Gemstone

This used 55 grams which is just over a quarter of a ball. I’m quite pleased with how it came out. It’s very sturdy and will actually stand up by itself, which makes it look like a medieval knight’s tent.

Here’s my Ravelry project page with details. Maybe this one will last ten years, too!

Another Charlotte’s Web

Things have been quiet here because I’ve been busily knitting away. The sad fact is that I know too many people right now who are battling cancer. I’ve been trying to knit a bit of comfort.

Here’s one project, now complete, for a friend. The pattern is Charlotte’s Web and it’s knit in Koigu KPPPM. The recipient asked for something red and I had four skeins of this colourway. This shawl is usually knit in multiple colours, but I quite like how it came out in just one:

Charlotte's Web knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

Bonus! You get to see the left toe of my kitchen clogs. 🙂 It’s a crappy day for pictures – we’re having wet snow and rain, and the skies are overcast – but I need to get this on its way. I took this quickly so the shawl wouldn’t get wet, thus my left toe. The colour isn’t quite right despite the dull skies – the shawl is more red than pink.

You can see that the last skein was a bit darker. Even though all four skeins were the same colourway and dye lot, I sorted them from light to dark as there was obviously some variation. This way, the changes are subtle. I only did a graduated change for the transition from the third skein to the fourth.

Here’s a detail shot:

Charlotte's Web knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

I love how airy this lace pattern is, plus it’s pretty easy to memorize. The pictures really don’t do justice to this yarn, which has so many flicks and gradations, as well as rich saturated colour. I hope Koigu has their tent sale this year, as I’m due to stock up on more pretty yarn.

I had thought the shawl might end up too small with just the four skeins, but it’s 70″ across the long edge and 35″ deep. That’s plenty big enough!

Here’s the first shawl I knit of this pattern, also in Koigu KPPPM:

Charlotte's Web Shawl by Maie Landra knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

This one was knit in five different colourways, as the pattern specifies. I shaded them from light to dark. This photo was taken in the snow on a dull day.

Here’s a detail of the lace on that first version – it shows up better against the snow:

Charlotte's Web Shawl by Maie Landra knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

It seems more open on the purple one. Maybe I used a larger needle, or maybe I blocked it harder. Hmm.

Wrapped in Colour by Maie Landra and Taiu Landra

Now for some links. I have the book, Wrapped in Colour, which includes the pattern for Charlotte’s Web. (Those are Ravelry links. This pattern has also appeared in some other publications.) As designed, it takes five skeins of Koigu KPPPM and has a fringe. I’m not much for fringes, which means I can knit it bigger.

Here’s my project page for the red one on Ravelry, here’s my blog post about the purple one, and here’s the Koigu website in case you need some of this yarn.

Now I need to work out these chemo caps. I’m deeply unhappy with the pattern and yarn combinations I’ve tried so far, but am hoping to sort it out soon. I’ll show you when I do.

Modern Day Goddess Dresses

Sometimes you need a quick project. I’ve been pushing dragon alphabets around the floor and needed some close-to-instant gratification. My go-to in these situations is making for Barbie and friends. Modern Day Goddess is a fantastic little pattern for a slip-on sleeveless dress for 11.5″ fashion dolls – and it’s free! (That’s a Ravelry link.) It requires a bit of sock yarn and is knit in the round from the top-down. There are just two ends to sew in and it’s ready to wear.

Modern Day Goddess dress for fashion dolls knit by Deborah Cooke

I knit the first in leftover sock yarn with a slow gradation and a tweedy flick. I followed the directions as written, then noticed that the pictures all showed Barbies with the Model Muse body sculpt. I have one (rescued from the thrift store) so here she is in her first dress. (She was naked at the thrift store and has since been washed and had her hair redone.)

This dress is the same front and back, which makes it easier to pull on right. It fits like a dream and was really a quick project.

This Ms. B. is Top Model Resort Barbie from 2007, and originally looked like the image below:

Top Model Resort Barbie 2007

Hmm. I need to steam down her bangs. But that hat! I see a listing for her on ebay NIB for $299US today, so I’ll stick with my thrift store girl and find a different hat.

The pink purse is a new acquisition – it seems to be hers now – which AstroJen sent me. It’s from a 5-Surprise Mini Fashion by Zuru. (That’s an Indigo listing. Amazon.ca doesn’t stock them. This company makes a lot of different miniature bundles, so check the fine print and make sure you’re getting the fashion bags if you want the purses.) Each one contains a mini purse and four other things (one might be a sticker. Hmm.) Jen sent me her duplicates, which was sweet. The purses are just the right size for the girls and are quite well made. (I succumbed and ordered a few myself now that I’ve seen them.) There’s a third one in kind of a silvery purple, but the Monster High girls made off with that one. (They made a quick getaway on the Vespa.)

purses from 5-surprise mini fasion from zulu

My only concern with the dress was that vintage B isn’t the same size front and back. The blue one stretched tight over the front and the armholes gapes. I made some modifications on my second version to give her a little more fabric over the girls. This one is knit in Koigu KPPPM. Ms. B. is also rocking a purse from those surprise packs.

Modern Day Goddess dress for fashion dolls with variations for vintage Barbie, knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPM

You wouldn’t know it from her expression but she’s happy about the better fit.

What did I change?

• In the original pattern, the top decreases are at the sides. I moved the decreases to be below the bust, like darts, because there are more of them. The pattern has this nice 6-st panel running down the front and back of the skirt, so I lined up the bodice decreases with that.

• I cast on 4 more stitches.

• I also knit 2 more rows before splitting for the sleeves. That makes the neckline a bit wider and less like straps.

• I cast off fewer stitches for the sleeves. The armhole gaped on vintage B, probably because the fabric was stretching across the front.

• I positioned the sleeves so there would be more stitches on the front than the back. (That’s where my extra 4 stitches went, in front.)

• I added 2 rows to the bodice length. From that point on, I knit following the original instructions.

I really like how both versions came out. I still need to block them both, and that will uncurl the necklines a little bit.

This process inevitably gave me More Ideas, so I’ll have another variation to share later. I also found paper boxes in the stores again (yay!) so will be creating two more carriers, one for the Barbies and one for the Monster High and EverAfter High girls. We need more closet space!

Another Dragon Quilt

Rainbow Dragons panels from Studio E

I don’t have any knitting to show you this week, although I’m making good progress on two projects. I finished the body on my Spector pullover and tried it on – it fits! That was exciting. Now I’m charging down the first sleeve. The other project I’m trying to finish was stranded on Sleeve Island for a long time. It’s my Audrey cardigan, which had to go into time-out when I realized the sleeves were far too wide and had to be frogged. One sleeve is done and I’m making good progress on the second. I’ll show you both sweaters when they’re done.

In the meantime, I saw some quilting fabric that I just had to buy – because, well, dragons. It’s from Studio E and the collection is called Rainbow Dragons. At right are the dragon panels.

There are two free PDF pattern downloads available using the prints in the collection – you can see them here – but I’d rather make up my own.

This is the alphabet panel I bought, which is just plain fun:

Studio E Rainbow Dragons Alphabet Panel

There are things I love about these panels – yes, dragons! – and things I discovered in cutting that add to the challenge of it all. The letters aren’t all the same size, which makes sense since they have different shapes. The bigger issue is that there isn’t the same amount of space between them – you can’t cut them apart so each letter has 1/2″ all around. Look at C and D, for example. They look spaced out but there isn’t even 1/4″ between the tip of the flourish on the C and the end of the serif on the D. There are also shaded images of dragons in the background – they’re more obvious in this photo than in real life – so adding a little piece of background to square up the letter will always show. Hmm. The designer must not have intended that the letters be cut apart, but that’s what quilters do!

As much as I love the side banner, I can’t figure out how to use it. There are exactly two repeats with no space between them for a seam allowance and no seam allowance at either end. Plus there are two different background gradations on each side, so you can’t piece one good one out of each pair. It’s not available as separate yardage either, which is a shame because it would make a rocking border. Hmm. I don’t actually know what to do with the border hexagons on the other dragon panel either. Inspiration may strike as I work.

The first solution was obviously to dip into the stash and I had a good time with that. I do have a rainbow selvedge-to-selvedge gradation in my stash that goes perfectly with these prints, so that’s been pulled out. I also tugged out a number of orange and yellow prints, including one with flames. (I default to turquoise, purple and pink, so am trying to mix it up a bit.) I’d already bought these flying dragons from the same line to make a brighter dragon tote bag. They’ll going into this quilt instead.

Studio E Rainbow Dragons, Flying Dragons ptint

I don’t have a design wall, so there’s fabric all over the floor. My dog likes to walk across it, or even sleep on it, just adding to the challenge of it all. 🙂 I’m quite excited about this project and will show you my results!

Finished Shawl

I finished my shawl, knit from the Rowan subscribers’ kit! I told you about this in December when I cast it on. Here it is on the blocking needles:

Lace Scarf by Sarah Hatton knit in Rowan Pure Wool 4ply by Deborah Cooke

It’s BIG! It blocked out to 18″ by 83″, with ten repeats. I used up all but 10g of the wool.

Here’s a detail image on the blocking needles:

Lace Scarf by Sarah Hatton knit in Rowan Pure Wool 4ply by Deborah Cooke

The colour of the yarn is a greyed blue, quite pretty. It looks more grey here and more blue in the first post. In reality, it’s in between.

The shawl is supposed to be knit in a circle, with the ends grafted together, but I knew I’d wrestle with wearing that. Instead, I knit 6 rows of garter stitch at the beginning and at the end. I also increased the selvedge stitches from two stitches to three. I would have liked to have done another repeat of the first motif at the end – this second picture actually shows the cast-off end – to make it more symmetrical but there wasn’t enough yarn. I could have added a repeat of the second motif at the beginning if I’d thought of it then, but we’re going to go with asymmetry at this point.

My Ravelry project page is here.

I found this a nice knit, although it got to be quite a pile in my lap by the end. The lace stitches were easy although I didn’t quite memorize them, and the wool showed them off well.

Lace Scarf by Sarah Hatton knit in Rowan Pure Wool 4ply by Deborah Cooke

It’s interesting that the shadow in the snow makes the picture look blurred. The colour is more true in this shot. I’m hoping this will be the last chance for a while to toss a project in the snow for pictures.

On to the next project waiting to be finished!

A Linen Apron

Everyone’s linen apron journey seems to start in the same place, with this image:

It’s a picture from Pinterest of a Japanese-inspired linen apron, once for sale but no longer available. It looks so simple! It looks so easy to make.

But, um, no.

In my quest to make one of these aprons, I found this post on the Daily Sew blog, with videos. This is an excellent resource and you should definitely check it out. I followed this plan for my first apron. I used a piece of linen I’d bought as a remnant. It was one of those online purchases that left me feeling meh – the colour was called Watermelon, but really, the watermelon is striped with oatmeal and the overall effect is Puce. (Although that wouldn’t have sold as well.)

Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 1

The plan was to cut my piece 120cm (20cm wider than my bust) and 90cm long, because I like really deep hems on linen. (Like old tablecloths.) At each end, I did a narrow hem, at the top, I turned down 1″ twice, and at the hem I turned up 2″ twice. The straps are 55cm long but I cut them wide (almost 8″) so that there are four layers of cloth in each strap. (Fold both long ends to the center, then fold the strap in half and topstitch.) I added a contrast cuff on the top of the pockets because I thought after cutting them that they could be bigger. I learned this tricky and tidy pocket construction making my Butterick 5537 bathrobe.

I loved working with the linen.

Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 1

(Oops, Nellie looks a little drunk in the first picture!)

In the end, though, this is not a flattering garment – and it looks better on Nellie than it does on me, because our measurements have diverged of late. There’s a LOT of extra fabric around the bust which makes it feel frumpy. I’m a pear, so I don’t need extra fabric there or pooling around my waist. Hmm.

Then I recalled a conversation with my friend Terri the tailor. When I first was intrigued by this design, she was skeptical. She said something to the effect that square pieces of fabric on grain don’t drape well on curved bodies. *BING* I decided to try another version with the body of the apron cut on the bias.

I LOVE this version.

Version #2 is cut from a linen and cotton blend (55/45) that was on sale for $4/m at Fabricland because it’s from a previous season. I liked the colour and it’s perfect for this experiment. Because it’s 135cm wide, I couldn’t get the entire 120cm by 90cm on the bias in one piece. I cut for the length of 85cm (sacrificing my fat hem, boo) but only ended up with a width of 105cm. I cut another 20cm by 85cm panel on the bias, and decided to put it down the center front to make a vertical line. I cut the straps and pockets on the straight of grain.

Here’s my second finished apron:

Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 2

Those two seams down the front are felled and actually they make a nice line for the inside edge of the straps and the pockets. These straps are a little closer together than on the first version, which also improves the fit. I didn’t have a green thread in exactly the same colour so I used one that was a bit more lime, and I like how that looks, too.

Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 2

You can see that it hangs in a more flattering way on Nelie than the other one. It also looks better on me. (Bonus!)

But wait. Why is it smaller in the back than the first one?

I did some measuring and realized I made a mistake with the first apron. I pulled a thread to get the straight crosswise grain and cut a piece the right length but the entire width of the cloth. That’s 135cm. I forgot to trim that edge. (Now I remember that I was going to use that strip for the straps, but it wasn’t wide enough, so I cut them out of the rest of the fabric and forgot to trim the piece down.

That’s why there’s so much fabric in the first one – it’s a bigger piece of fabric. (Duh.) But, the bias cut version does hang a lot better.

I played around with the first one because I know I won’t wear it the way it is and figured out a solution. I pinned the back in place so that the width around the bust was about a few inches bigger than my own measurement and tried it on. I fiddled with the pins until it was easy to get the apron on and off even with the back fixed in place, then I sewed it down.

Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 1, back modification
Linen apron sewn by Deborah Cooke, version 1, back modification

It kind of defeats the point of the whole design, but it’s more comfortable (my bum stays covered!) and I like how it looks. I’ll actually wear it this way. I just used a basting stitch right over the topstitching line from the outside of one strap to the outside of the other, so it’ll be easy to pull out if I change my mind.

Here’s (drunk) Nellie to show you that it hangs better with the back like this.

I’m going to try another free apron pattern next and will show you that when it’s done.