It has been a couple of weeks since I started my “All Tied Up Dress”. I needed to have a big stash clear-out and although a little dress like this doesn’t go far to use up fabric I managed to use some of the fab pieces of fabric I have lying around particularly a great piece of vintage star wars sheets which I used for the back skirt and some of the back ties! At the front I used a red white and blue starry fabric that I bought as a remnant on Etsy a while back (I think maybe this was also from some old sheets). All the bits for which I didn’t have fancy fabrics I filled in with plain pure cotton fabrics that I had lying around (mostly because I always err on the side of caution when buying fabric for shop bought patterns and end up with metres and metres too much).
I didn’t line any of the dress apart from the tie back and front facing to keep it nice and cool for summer and I made it a slightly long mini so it is always easy to wear without tights!
Once I managed to find time to sew, it was quick to make up and I will definitely use the pattern again! The only downside to this dress is it is almost impossible (without acrobat-like flexibility) to reach to tie up all the back yourself!
So, I haven’t posted in a little while so I am going to tell you a little bit about my current favourite piece of clothing. I don’t know how best to describe what kind of clothes it is but I guess I mostly wear it as a vest. The pattern is from a great designer and it is free on ravelry!
It was really quick to knit up and super-easy (only knit,purl,cast on and cast off are used) so if you are just starting out knitting and want to make something to wow your friends I would definitely recommend this pattern. It is in DK so no trouble finding an awesome suitable yarn: I chose Debbie Bliss Rialto DK which is lovely and soft and I used 6 balls.
I could add a million photos of all the different outfits that I wear this with but here is one of my favourites:
I am wearing a purple copy of my bio-hacker top that I made as a test for the real thing and my favourite shoes, Yellow Doc Martens with smiley faces. I love the colour combination of purple and yellow (even if my mum says it looks rhubarb and custard).
The crochet dress is coming along nicely but I can never stray too far from my sewing machine so I have been designing a nice simple dress. I love the idea of backless dresses but often feel a bit exposed whilst wearing them. I wanted to make a dress that was almost backless to show off a bit of skin between a row of straps down the back. To make these adjustable I decided to make them fabric ties.
Like most sewing aficionados I have a rather large stash of left over and excess fabric (I always always err heavily on the side of caution when buying fabric particularly if it has a nap). I decided to make this dress completely out of things from my stash. The star (no pun intended) attraction of this dress will be the back skirt which I am making out of a leftover piece of vintage star wars fabric that I bought of Etsy months ago and have only used snippets from!
This is the back of the skirt:
For the front of the dress I matched some Captain America-esque starry fabric and some red cotton fabric:
This is just the cutting process, it has been in my stash box too long and is in good need of an iron! For the back bodice I extended it into long strips to form the ties:
I wanted to go for a patchwork mish-mash look and use up fabric I had lying around. With the tie at the back of the bodice I am just going to add some elastic at the back of the waist instead of a zip opening. Now to start sewing…….
Since the weather has been lovely here and I have been wanting to sit outside I decided to take a break from the old sewing machine and pick up my hook and start crocheting again! Previously my crocheting efforts have only extended to Granny squares and doilies (the latter when I was going through a 1950s vintage loving stage). This time I wanted to make a dress!
I started browsing the free patterns on Ravelry but didn’t come up with anything too inspiring so I decided to look on Etsy. I found this great shop called “Wonky Zebra” it has loads of lovely Vintage patterns for PDF download and the owner is super helpful with any questions you have!
I chose this pattern:
I love the mini-mini-skirts of the 60s and I wanted a crochet pattern that would be a bit of a challenge without being impossible. It helps that this is also multi-sized so I won’t need to do too much alteration!
I decided to move away from the 1960s vibe with my choice of yarn (cotton rather than nylon!) and got 10 balls of Freedom Sincere DK from The Wooly Brew in Pittenweem. Here is a picture of the yarn, I am almost finished the bottom edging now!
I sense this will be the beginning of a long crocheting journey……………
In the latest issue of Sew Today (my favourite sewing magazine). There was a lovely suggestion of an organza shift dress made from a simple tunic pattern. Immediately I thought “this is something for me”. I loved the idea of a great 1960’s space age minidress that is stiff as well as sheer with the seams forming art deco lines! Although the shift looks fabulous there is something vaguely sleepwear-ish about it (maybe thats why it seems so alluring). In my mind it would be worn by a beautiful girl travelling through the stars in a cryostasis pod.
I chose a Kwik Sew pattern to form the basis of the tunic:
I lengthened it to minidress length and added a triangular godet down the front to add flare reminiscent of the space age of the 1960’s (think early Star Trek or the Jetsons). I chose a lovely “pewter” coloured organza and bound the seams with grey thread to reinforce the structure of the seam lines and also provide a stiff skeleton for the dress. I used the same method for the hem round the neck, sleeves and bottom as I did to edge the fabric in my “GoodGirlBadGirl” shorts.
The dress is so light it would make an excellent beach cover-up or over a slip for a smart cocktail dress, however I think it looks best over a crop top and leggings so I can show off some flesh whilst still covering up!
My boyfriend took some great photos of the dress down at the beach:
Last week I posted about my 241 skirt, inspired by the concept of two people inhabiting the same body and the conflicts inside. This got by head spinning with ideas of juxtaposition of styles in one garment. I love the idea of merging casual (verging on scruffy) and formal eveningwear fabrics. This led me to rush down to the nearest charity shop to pick up a pair of second hand jeans….
I cropped them into short-shorts by just cutting the legs off and fraying the edges and doing a slight zig-zig stitch round just to stabilise the raw edge.
Ripped jeans….. this is the “Bad Girl” part of the shorts.
The “good girl” part comes from a piece of orange/pink shimmery organza. I wanted to have a floor length overlay on the shorts that would contrast with the ripped denim but also be a cute summery cover-up!
I bound the edges of the organza by rolling and zig-zagging the hem:
I attached the overlay to the shorts using short handstitches. I had to take care since the denim had a slight stretch to it not to make them too tight but they stand up to most wear I think!
Here are some photos of the finished shorts! They were great fun to make and are a summer staple in my opinion!
So far I have been posting about the clothes I have been making but now I want to pay homage to the pattern cutting book that taught me all I know: Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi.
This book is invaluable to anyone who wants to move on from basic pattern cutting to creating really modern garments that are sure to stand out!
The reviews on Amazon praise this book but most caution against using it if you are not already a competent pattern cutter. I will admit that some things are not included (eg. instructions on how to draw a basic sleeve block) but these things can be found from a simple internet search so I would say this book is suitable for anyone happy with using shop bought patterns!
There are several projects in the book. Some are very complete (like the lovely “hide and seek” dress on page 77) and some are just suggestions of projects (like the bamboo shoot bodice). When I first got this book I spent hours and hours just looking through. It is so inspiring. The English translation is very well done and understandable even with the more technical instructions and the use of diagrams and pictures guides the reader gently through all the necessary steps whilst allowing room to add flare!
The book is separated into two sections although I can’t really see what distinction there is between them: both contain a mixture of techniques and projects. My favourite parts of the book are those dealing with the sculptural aspects of more stiff fabric such as the “drop hole” technique which I used in my Vortex – N -skirt.
If you are starting out you can easily follow the patterns in the book before moving on to designing your own things that are sure to turn heads! I can’t wait to get the rest of these books in this series but I have by no means exhausted all the possibilities I have in mind for the techniques I have learned so far.
Martia and Venetia slept in shifts. This meant the mind was always active although the body still needed to rest. They hid out in abandoned warehouses down by the east river waiting for the moment they could slip onto a cargo hauler that would take them away. Away to one of the libertarian states where pluralism was encouraged.
It had been a tough decision for Martia to make: let Venetia die or condemn both of them to a life on the run. The first days after the procedure had been a haze as the two consciousnesses had begun claiming parts of the brain. Every time Venetia advanced through the neo-cortex Martia was pushed backwards. Her body felt drunk.
This past week I have been taken away from my sewing/designing as I had a workshop to attend in my other life as a Solar Physicist. This means I have not been able to complete this skirt so far but here is a nice little progress report to let you know how things are going!
The skirt is made up of two pieces: the underskirt that goes all the way round and is short (I chose a red pure cotton fabric for this) and the overksirt that is only half a skirt and is long (I chose a navy blue pure cotton fabric).
So far I have only made the red underskirt:
I fitted a red zipper into the side seam and top-stitched round the waist.
It was such a lovely day up in Scotland today I couldn’t help but sit out in the garden to hand stitch the hem….. If only there was a way of using the sewing machine outside as well!