Monday, May 25, 2020

Lily Pads & Butterflies


As I was cleaning up old folders full of pictures on my computer today, I came across these.  So yes, it is official, I am years behind in posting to this blog.  And I will never ever catch up at this point (or at least, that's the way it feels).  But that's okay.


I made this dress so long ago, it was before I had figured out the sizing employed by Butterick (aka McCalls Pattern Company) patterns.  The copyright on the pattern envelope is 2000, and that seems pretty close to when I made this dress.


It turned out rather large since I blindly trusted the sizing chart and didn't bother with finished measurements.  I don't do that anymore!  


And because of the design, the oversized version of the garment was never very flattering.  But since I loved this whimsical print so much, I did something that I rarely, if ever, do.  I basically took the whole thing apart and made it fit.  And this dress is fully lined.


I enjoyed wearing the dress for a long time once those adjustments were made, and then it sat in my closet for even longer.


Then three years ago, it caught my eye as I was rummaging through the closet, and I pulled it out to wear again.


And now that the weather has warmed up considerably (it was 97 degrees today, yuck), I think I will pull it out again.  Thank you old photos for reminding me of my old wardrobe!


Dress: Made by me, Butterick 6637
Necklace:  Refashioned by me

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Plaid Check


One of the wonderful things about spending a whole lot of time at home is that all of those unfinished projects that I stashed away have finally had the chance to demand my attention.  This dress is one of those projects.  




A few years back, I had a vision of this dress in lightweight rayon that I picked up at a fabric swap.  




Alas, it was at the end of the Fall season, and I was not all that motivated to get past cutting the fabric out and putting together the skirt pieces.  After pulling out all of my bemberg rayon last month, I also suspect that a lack of lining fabric slowed down the process.  [I definitely need to restock with lining fabric when I get the chance since I am down to scraps!]




But I wasn't going to let that stop me now.  I decided that a pink rayon would serve almost as well as my lining fabric, and give a bit more weight to the extremely lightweight checkered fabric.




And having completed the garment, I am very pleased with the result.




The skirt length is a little bit shorter than expected, but that neckline definitely makes up for it!




I will have to wear it to confirm, but I suspect I am going to love this one!  And there may be more versions of Butterick 6380 to come.




Friday, May 15, 2020

Out of Season Knitting


For whatever reason, in this new Covid world in which we live, I am finding myself drawn more and more to knitting and crochet projects.


This is the first of the lot.  I was rummaging through a pile of paperwork, looking to put things away, and I stumbled across a printout of this pattern.  I first found it many years ago, and it looked promising.  The pattern is called "Quick Knit 1940s Style Sweater," which pretty much sums it up, I think.


And so I set out to find an appropriate yarn.  Which I managed to find in the stash.  At one point I started using this Knit Picks City Tweed for a wrap sweater, but the stockinette stitch did little for the lovely textured yarn.  I didn't get very far with the project before putting it away.


Lucky for me, I had enough yarn for this particular sweater, because I think the faux cable pattern suits the tweedy bits very nicely.


And like the name of the sweater, this is a massively quick knit.  In fact, I couldn't believe how fast this project came together.


It probably has to do with the fact that I tend to use fingering weight for most projects.  But even so, this thing just flew along.


Sure, I have more at-home time these days, but finishing a sweater in less than ten days is unheard of for me.


And while working with wool may be a bit out of season at the moment, I can't wait until I get to wear my new sweater!


I have an old deep plum colored skirt made of rayon jacquard that needs refashioning, and I think the two pieces would make an excellent pairing.  I just have to figure out exactly what I want to do with that skirt . . .



Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Corduroy & Crochet


Well, this outfit is far from Spring appropriate, but I am determined to get some of these older projects posted on the blog.  (I am beginning to sound like a broken record on that front.)


And this is an old one!


I recently pulled this out of a bag, in a very incomplete state.  And I decided that since I took all the trouble of crocheting my own trim and tea dying it, the dress deserved to be completed, whether or not it is my current style.


And then I thought about how perfect my Royal Vintage shoes would work with the dress, and it was a done deal.


This is a little bit removed from my standard style, but I do love the way it turned out.


And it was meant to be, since I didn't even have the pattern from which I borrowed the sleeve (McCalls 3730) when I first cut out the dress.  I found a drafted cuff cut out of paper in the bag with the abandoned dress, and I cannot recall what I was going to do for a sleeve, but this one worked out perfectly.


I did have to go back and cut out another collar since I didn't make the corresponding bodice alteration to that pattern piece.  I had already hand stitched the crochet piece on, so I carefully unpicked those stitches.  I had also used a thick Pellon interfacing that I really don't use anymore, so it was an opportunity to swap in something more appropriate (a leftover scrap of cotton).


This dress has actually made me want to make more 1960s inspired dresses for my wardrobe.  But until I find a pattern that will tempt me, I am trying to finish more of my in progress projects from years past.


That, and I never really wear mid-thigh length skirts without tights, and since warm weather has definitely arrived in the Bay Area, I will probably put off making short skirts for the time being.  But there are still plenty of creative things to do in the meantime.  I have been enjoying my knitting and crocheting very much lately, even with the warm temperatures . . . go figure!


Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 9723 / McCalls 3730
Shoes:  Royal Vintage "Greta"
Earrings:  Kate Spade

Friday, April 17, 2020

Hang Tough


As anyone with a crafting addiction knows, after a few years, you have a tendency to generate lots of leftovers, like bits of yarn, leftover yardage, etc. that I never have the heart to throw away.  Because one day, that scrap of elastic just might come in handy!


Last year, I decided that it was time to use up some of my yarn scraps.


Back in the days when estate sales were still happening, it was rare to find an older home that didn't have at least one or two crochet covered hangers lying around.  The yarn is usually rather lurid in color, and they have a tendency to smell rather funny from sitting in a closed closet for years and years, but I figured I would try to make some of my own.  Basically, all you need are two crocheted (or knit, I suppose) pieces equal to the length and width of your hanger.  The two strips then get crocheted together around the hanger, or a single length is folded in half around the hook and then crocheted together along the bottom edge.


The stitch choice is up to you, as is the embellishment.


This particular style of hanger is called "crescent" or "crescent shaped."  They don't seem to sell them in the United States anymore, but there are British companies that sell them if you don't have any on hand.  The shape is really quite nice since they don't create those unpleasant shoulder bumps that have to be steamed back into place.


And the layer of crochet keeps slippery fabrics from falling off the hanger.  Think of these as the original "velvet" hangers.


These are quick and rather addictive.  I used to make myself a covered hanger for each of my finished garments with Lion Brand Chenille and a standard plastic tube hanger.  I don't bother with that anymore, but I think that I actually prefer this style of hanger, and the look of the crocheted cover.  And as a bonus, a few more of those little balls of yarn taking up space in my sewing room have magically turned into a very useful item.


[Two of the patterns that I used as a reference are "A Happy Hanger How-To" and "Floral Hanger Cover"]

Monday, April 13, 2020

Feeling a Bit Dotty


Just checking in, because it has been quite a while since I felt any motivation for blogging.  


And it's been a strange few weeks, to say the least! 


While I have been fairly productive (although the level varies from day to day), I have not felt the urge to go through photos or post to this blog.


But I decided to jump back in.


Do I feel confident that posting consistently will resume sometime soon?  Probably not.  But I am going to try to get back in the swing of things.


I find that posting to Instagram is much easier for me these days.  But it's the lazy way out, and I do like to have a record of my finished projects here.


When this began, I knew I had enough project materials to keep me busy for quite some time, so being forced to stay home did not seem like a horrible imposition since I had plenty to occupy my time.  What I didn't expect was missing the routine of going to work.  And even when I am not missing the office, I know that Valentino is.  He definitely misses that extra interaction (and the extra treats from co-workers!).


In the mean time, I am getting a lot of unfinished and abandoned projects completed, going on a brisk daily walk by myself to clear my head, and spending lots of time with my pup.


I hope everyone is doing well.  Stay healthy!  And happy sewing, knitting, reading, lounging on the couch, or whatever it is you are up to these days.




Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 8685
Shoes:  Nina "Serena"
Earrings:  Judith Jack