Yes, the lace coat is finished! Knitted, blocked, and be-buttoned. It doesn't seem like such a big piece of work now that it is behind me. I think it helped that it is constructed in many little sections.
I'll give you a couple overall shots, and then we'll review the sections of the garment in the order they were made.
First the hem band along the very bottom was knit sideways. It has two parts which were done at the same time: the horizontal leaf band (on top) and the diagonal leaf ruffles underneath. The beginning edge starts with a funny extra half leaf on the ruffle:
which hangs awkwardly and I don't like it. I didn't know that was how it was going to turn out or I would have tried to do something about it. But I don't know what because it may be unavoidable with the way that the ruffly leaves are knit.
The ending edge is much nicer:
From the top of the that band, I picked up stitches and knit the skirt in the "day lilies" lace pattern:
I added one extra repeat of the lace pattern to make sure it was long enough. Before blocking I was worried that I should have added two or three more repeats, but after blocking, I think it is perfect. The skirt hangs open in the front as it's not really full enough to cover all around.
Next, the waist band was knit horizontally, and the stitches from the top of the skirt were knit together with the rows as I went:
The band repeats the pattern from the top of the lower hem band. I sewed the buttons on at the inner ridge, but I think I may have to move them to the outer ridge. They look a little off-balance here. (I'll wait til after Squam, however, since I'll be looking for better buttons. Depending on whether I find any, I can sew them on in the new position or move these. The eyelet trim along the front is used for buttonholes, so that's no problem.)
Once the hem is done, the piece is set aside and two sleeves are knit from the cuff to the underarm in a "daisy" lace stitch. I knit them two at a time so that I would only have to keep track of the chart one time. That worked well. When they are knit to the underarm, you put them aside and pick up stitches along the top of the waistband to knit the bodice. When the bodice reaches the underarm, the bodice and sleeves are put together on one (long) needle and the top is continued with raglan decreases for shaping.
I think it may have been better to switch to the smaller size for the bodice because it and the sleeves feel a little loose, but that's better than too tight. I debated on the size for a while. It's hard to know if this was the best choice, but it's definitely better than being too small.
I could have also added a few repeats of the lace pattern on the bodice to make it longer. When I thought of that (too late), I was surprised it would occur to me for the skirt but not the bodice, because I could use a little extra length there too. Oh well, lesson learned (I hope) for next time.
The front has a deep V neck and it's all edged with a thin eyelet trim. I did a loose bind off of the trim (with a yarn-over every two stitches to keep it very loose). It matches the stretchiness of the lace, which is what I was going for. But now I am wondering if it shouldn't have been a little tighter to give more structure to the bias V-neck edge. As it is, both halves of the bodice like to pull toward the arms, and a tighter bind off may prevent that. Maybe sometime when I am up to it, I will retry the bind off and see if it supports the shape of the front better when it is a little firmer.
The same eyelet trim is used on the hem of the sleeves, but it's so thin as to not be very noticeable. The sleeves are loose and are not holding the blocking very well. (The elbows are already stretched out after two wearings.) When I blocked the garment, I did not pin and stretch the sleeves (you may recall I did a rush job before work one day). I may re-wet just the sleeves and try blocking them again with pins to set the shape better. The trim could definitely be improved and I think blocking them longer (thus pulling in the width) will help with the fit. But it may all be for naught because alpaca and silk do not hold their shape like a good wool will do.
Time for a couple more overall shots for review?
I also make pretty shadows when I wear this!
And for a final word, let me add that I did not come near to running out of yarn on this project!! I used about one fifth of the third skein (out of four), which means I have about 1,575 yards of this lace to use up!! Maybe a matching shawl is in order...
Started: 05 Jan '13 Finished: 16 May '13 Pattern: Lace Coat by Brooke Nico (Vogue Early Fall 2012, pattern #1) Materials: Garnstudio DROPS Lace, Light Camel Mix, 2.2 skeins ($29.85)