Sunday, January 17, 2021

Petal Pink


If you are a knitter, you have probably come across this wonderfully whimsical design.  Kate Davies Designs published the pattern in 2010, and I suspect I found it soon thereafter.  I remember being very excited about casting on, but I didn't have the proper circular needles, and I am not usually a fan of bulky yarn so I had nothing in the stash that was suitable.

And then there was a decision to be made about color.  Should I go for something neutral and in a palette that is owl appropriate?  

I will say that I almost never use suggested yarns for knitting patterns.  In my early knitting days, it was a lack of access, I suppose, and with vintage patterns, the yarn is often no longer produced and/or very difficult to find.  For the vast majority of my knit projects, I simply find a similar weighted yarn in a color that I like, and make it work.

But for some reason, with this pattern, I went looking for one of the suggested yarns: in this case, Rowan Cocoon.  I found it for a great price, and I decided that pink owls would be lovely, whether or not they exist in nature!

I had my needles and my yarn, but for whatever reason, I never got started on the project until November 2019.

After finally casting on, the sweater was completed very quickly.  It's amazing how little time it takes to knit up a bulky weight yarn!

I definitely prefer working with lighter weight wool, but how could I resist these little owls!

There was always a question of whether or not I would add buttons for eyes.  In the end, I decided against it, preferring that the little creatures be a little more challenging to find.

And that just left weaving in a few ends.

Here are the little guys prior to a wash/blocking.

And after a gentle bath . . .

Here is the completed sweater.

I finally wore the sweater and took some pictures.  The only real issue is the yarn.  I paired this with a black wool skirt, and boy does that mohair fuzz get everywhere!!  I am used to having Tino fur hang around my wool clothing, but this is a whole new level of fuzz transfer.  I may just have to find a tweedy wool to make a skirt that won't show the pink mohair quite so well!


Friday, January 15, 2021

Bright Pink Dye

This is another one of those projects that I pulled out when Covid first shut everything down and I thought I should put some effort into working with what I had on hand (and also finishing things that were abandoned somewhere along the way).

Back in 2016, I was a tester for the Ivy Pinafore from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.  I got around to finishing and taking photos of the flared version, and I also tested the fit on the slimmer version, but never actually completed the garment.  I got close, but it needed buttonholes and a hem before the garment was wearable.

When I first saw the pattern and went looking for fabric, this high contrast print caught my eye.  I was in the middle of a dyeing frenzy that year, and I remembered this blouse.  I was curious to see how overdyeing a print would work, and so I used the same bright pink fiber reactive dye on my print.  The color did darken the blue more than expected, but I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out.  [I loved the fabric so much I went back and purchased more, which I used in its original state for one of my favorite Donna Karan patterns.]

The pattern went together easily, but as I mentioned, the jumper still needed buttonholes.  But first, I had to find a pair of buttons that I liked.  And miraculously, I found a perfect match in my button stash!

The dress also needed a hem, which was a quick thing to accomplish.

And that's another UFO completed!

Which means I need to find a matching pair of tights, and she's ready to wear.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2020, A Year in Review

I am tempted to say good riddance to the whole of 2020, but looking back, it wasn't a terrible year as far as my creativity goes.  And this includes plenty of moments when I thought I was being incredibly unproductive and feeling rather down about it.  And yes, I have seen all of the memes out there letting people know that they shouldn't be hard on themselves because the year was difficult for everyone.  But I require creativity in my life in some form; it is directly related to how I am feeling.  And if I am being productive in my creative pursuits, there is a really good chance that I am doing just fine.

Claire McCardell / Vogue 2475
Simplicity 3846 / Vogue 8685

Some of these projects were technically completed in another calendar year, and I did finish other projects in 2020 that were never photographed.  But for these purposes, I don't consider a project well and truly finished until it's posted to the blog.  Those are my rules!

Ronne Blouse / McCalls 7974
1940s Style Sweater & Simplicity 8019 / Butterick 6637

One of my intentions once the plague hit was that I would finish in progress projects that I had stashed away, and do my best to use what I had on hand.  The County I live in was pretty closed down for a few months, with retail shops shuttered.  And I actually managed to finish quite a few abandoned items that lived in pieces for years, and rediscover bits of haberdashery that I had forgotten all about.  Which is excellent!

McCalls 7929 & Simplicity 1166 / McCalls 5593 & McCalls 7974
Vogue 1696 / Simplicity 8248

I also went back to basics and rediscovered cross stitch.  I learned how to sew stitching cross stitch kits when I was four or five years old, and for many years it was my favorite type of hand sewing, but I hadn't touched the craft at all for almost twenty years.  I also finished two quilt tops, and even managed to start quilting on one of them!  I feel like an amateur, which is humbling, but I am determined that this form of hand sewing will become as enjoyable as the others are for me.

Vogue 8772 & McCall 8358 / McCalls 7370
Butterick 6412 / Simplicity 8445 & Simplicity 4070

So what are my sewing plans for 2021?  I have no idea.  That quilt project is something I would like to stick with and maybe even finish by next Winter.  And I do miss my super involved dress projects, so maybe I will have to come up with an over the top gown, just for fun.  But for the moment, I am really drawn to knitting.  Maybe it's the weather, or perhaps it's the meditative quality?  But whatever 2021 brings, I am looking forward, and hoping for the best.  Happy New Year, everyone!

Cross Stitch / Crochet / Quilting

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Some Preppy Snowmen


My annual Christmas themed project is always a highlight of the year.  I actually came up with the idea for this one last year, so I had an entire year to think about it!

And as many of you guessed from the construction post, the element missing on my dress was a tie.  (This was one of the main reasons I finally constructed my first collar stand!)  The tie itself belonged to my Grandfather or Uncle; I have quite a few of their ties.  Unfortunately, most of them are 1970s polyester, but I found myself drawn to this one.  It's not in the best of condition, but it works well with my dress print, so I made it work.

I have worn ties before with a regular old fold over collar, and it's manageable, but there is a reason men's dress shirts have one.  The stand allows for the tie to sit properly, while not bunching the actual collar.

I thought about adding a bound buttonhole to the collar stand since all of the other buttonholes are made that way, but honestly, I forgot my intention until I had completely edge-stitched around the whole thing.  Whoops.  I was so busy following instructions on an unfamiliar technique that I missed the change I wanted to make. 

But maybe my subconscious was onto something.  The buttons that I used for the dress have a built in shank and are rather large to use under a tie.  But they worked so perfectly with the snowman print, I had to use them.

In the end, I used a hook and stitched a thread loop on the opposite side to keep the collar shut.  That hook did come undone as I was knotting the tie around my neck.  That could be that I don't have a lot of experience with tying a tie, but it's probably more likely that I should have used a snap.  This is certainly an easy fix, although I am terrible at completing alterations to already finished garments.  Someday I will go back and change the closure.  Maybe.

I knew that I wanted a belt for this dress.  The only question was, do I use a contrast or not?


I decided that with a contrasting tie, a contrasting belt might be too much.  And, I might as well make the matching belt to have on hand.  I can alway use a different one, but if I don't make myself a belt while I am making the dress, it's never going to happen.

Looking at the photos, I think the self-fabric belt works quite nicely.

I was reminded that snowmen are not specifically Christmas themed, more of a Winter Wonderland sort of thing.  So theoretically, this frock could be worn outside of December, although I will probably always think of it as a Christmas project.  Or perhaps those sleeves will haunt me, and the dress will get another wear in the month of January!  (Did I mention how much I love the sleeves?!?)


Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Vogue 8772/McCall 8358
Tie:  Vintage
Shoes: Remix "
Babydoll"
Earrings:  Gift

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Living Pop Art

Getting back to that crazy printed dress I made in October . . .

You see, I had this brilliant idea for a Halloween costume.  After sorting through my stash of holiday novelty prints (only to realize that I did not have any Halloween themed options) it flashed on me - this crazy comic strip fabric would make a fabulous dress!  And I could wear a blue wig and put some exaggerated makeup on and become one of the characters in the comic strip that I was wearing.   Very meta, right?!

I finished the dress in time, and even found a wig that I thought might work for my purposes.  Alas, it was not very well made which was not all that surprising from the low price, and I couldn't manipulate the front into the 1940s rolls like I wanted (no lace front, see the comment about price).

Once the wig was out of the picture, I lost some of my motivation to figure out how to make my face resemble the dotted images in the cartoon.  Believe it or not, there are tutorials for this.  But without a wig, I didn't think the look would work.

Although I was still pretty darn excited about the dress.

I think I will do the full costume at some point in the future if I can find a suitable wig.  There's alway next year, right?!

But other than the missing parts to the "costume," I really love the dress.  

The Butterick 6412 bodice fits great with my standard adjustments, and the pleated skirt that I drafted works nicely with the print.  The skirt actually turned out even better then I was expecting with the bold graphic lines of the print!  I am very glad I didn't try to fight the print and make it work with a shaped skirt.

So this one is a definite success.  I've already worn the dress twice, and have been getting a lot of wear out of my matching face mask.

This also makes me want to get my hands on the original "Home Sewing is Easy" print and make myself another wacky dress.

So I guess I will add that project to the ever growing list!


Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Butterick 6412 (with modifications)
Petticoat:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Earrings:  Vintage
Ring:  Grandfather's school ring
Shoes:  Nine West