Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The 'Pink Experiment' Dress

Finally a new dress sewn after the Big White Wedding Dress last year!

I may have broken myself a bit on that one. (Well, ok, perhaps not just on that, considering I am still recovering from my occupational burnout #2 so far in life...)

Anyway, I've been going over my patterns and fabric stash a lot lately and been really itching to get some sewing done. At last I dared to try something and so I opted for a very simple dress (with only one new constructional detail) and a fabric I think I at some point got for free! In other words: a very low pressure project, seemed like a good idea.

Here's how it turned out! (and you get a peek of my messy but colorful workspace and fancy dress collection - old, new, homesewn, storebought and inherited - in the background, you're welcome...)

Since the fabric is striped, I've always known I wanted to use the stripes as a slimming feature, in some clever construction thing... So, I used my absolute favorite pattern making book from 1956 again to alter the darts on my me-made standard dress pattern. This V-shaped dart-design was perfect for my plan!

I also did a "decorative" double stitched seam on the edges and to highlight the darts. It's hard to see from a distance so here are some closeups!

The next time I make a dress from this pattern I am going to shorten the bodice back and lengthen the front a bit. I have a bit of a sway back so there is some bunching around the waist mid back. Also since I am "top heavy" i.e. carrying around a (European size) 75F bust, it's always tricky to calculate how much extra length to add mid front to make the waist sit right both front and back... You can see in the following picture that when I move around in the dress there is a lot of unnecessary wrinkling because of this.

Still, I am pretty happy by the results. I think it's a great dress for both a fancy day at the office (perhaps paired with a short black jacket and some more low-key shoes) or a dinner at a nice restaurant (like I'm wearing it the pictures)! Plus I have more nice fabrics in my stash that I could use for making more versions and perfecting this pattern.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The big knit blanket

So - I finally finished making the blanket! 

Not that the work itself has taken a lot of time, I've just been doing other stuff. I love that it came out kind of like a modern hippie thing, all colors at once and quite weird and wonky. 

Here it is!

The blanket is made from all those jersey tops and t-shirts that had so much holes and wear that they had been downgraded beyond the "slopping around at home"-pile. And since I am one of those people that have a slight inclination towards... um, hoarding I guess... well, I had a lot of them.

23 to be exact. Some were strap tops, so very little fabric there, and some were tunics. These made a very heavy thick blanket of circa 120*120 cm, when not stretched. 

A little bit of How to, for those interested:

First of all, find your "yarn" and from there, pick the size of your project and what knitting needles to use. You can buy very thick yarn resembling fabric scraps and avoid the boring bit that is cutting the fabric, but at least here in Sweden, those yarns are ridiculously expensive. 

Another idea if you don't save your crappy old t-shirts like I do, is to buy some lightweight jersey fabric (these are often very cheap / on sale when next seasons colors come in) and use for making the yarn! 

Some of the tops I could tear instead of cut but mostly they are either woven in a way or have been washed and worn so much that they do not tear in any straight-ish lines at all.  

If you decide to cut up old tops, there is no right or wrong way to make the yarn. I both tried cutting back and forth in a zigzag-pattern and starting from the bottom and cutting in a spiral.

Since I had, well, loads and loads of fabric that I could use, I just ballparked how thick I wanted my blanket and went with size 15 needles and cut the fabric into roughly inch-wide ribbons. I did not care at all if the yarn varied in thickness.

There was supposed to be a picture of the needles here but someone (Pippin the fluffball) decided to lie on them when I had the camera out so, no. (Or rather, you can't really see them...)
I ended up casting on 40 stitches, mainly because the needle was getting awfully crowded, and that it seemed like a nice even number.

I decided to do a wide rib stich (this might be called something else when you do five knit, five purl instead of the common one or two..?).

To make a big blanket (for a cold winter day spent in the couch) I went for making four separate pieces and assemble into one. 40 stitches on size 15 needles made for a 60 cm wide piece, and roughly 45 rows for 60 cm lengthwise. However the measuring tape is your best friend during this...

After making the four parts it's time to decide how to put them together (not really an issue if you have gone for buying/making your yarn in just one or a couple of colors). I just laid them out on the floor and changed it around until it looked ok.

After that it's assembly time! This, if ever, is the perfect time to bring out that massive crochet hook... like the one I have neatly put away in some good spot last summer and can't find. But, no worries, it works perfectly fine to just tie them together by hand!

I went for "as simple as possible" and mimicked a hemming stitch by just threading the yarn through and over the knitted stitches.

This can of course be done using some sort of needle too.

Again, not exactly perfection, but it looks good for the overall style of this type of project! 

I tried to get some great pictures of what it actually looks like, on me, in my favorite chair. This is as good as it got after, um, way too many takes. The blanket is cozy, Speedy the cat is looking chubby and majestic, and I am making a very weird face. But it's all good. 

I hope you are all having a great week! Peace and love, folks! 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New look

So, no sewing to show right now, I just wanted to comment on the fact that the blog has had a fairly big makeover!

I had been tired of the old look for quite a while now, but it wasn't really a priority. However, since I have been home on sick leave now for almost three months due to a massive occupational burnout (don't really know why the call it that when often this comes from too much in all aspects of life, not just work, right?!) I figured it was time to try and get back to creativity!

The new face of the blog is a lot more clean and simple. The messy background and extra add-ons are gone. I figure the blog photos are the important part anyway, so they should be the center of attention. I guess it reflects the things I'm going through at the moment, cleaning out the old mess, finding whats important and starting over from there.

I am currently working on a heavy knitted blanket made from old jersey tops that I have cut into yarn, I'll give you an update with lots of pics and perhaps a how-to-make as well soon!

I wish all of you a great and happy creative new start to the new year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Finally, the wedding dress pictures!

So, I kept procrastinating this over and over, thinking I'd put some pictures up here when I had done more photo editing, or that I should take more pics of the details first, or after we send the thank you cards, or, you know, something else. I've been married for over six months now! Where does the time go?

So without further ado, this is how my self-designed, self-sewn wedding dress came out:

It had a few fit issues that I wish I would have realized in time. (But you don't get a trial run, you just look in the mirrors, right?)

One thing is that because I made it a two-piece, figuring it would be easier to get in and out of, the top hikes up, bunching in the back waist and at front under the bust.

Also I apparently have a much - much - better posture standing in front of a mirror than when not thinking about standing straight. Lots of weird hunchback moments according to the pictures! Darn! You can see it in the following detail pic of my flowers and side/front of dress - those folds/wrinkles under the bust are not supposed to be there!

The back looked quite nice though, I especially love how the lace, gold trim and button details came out! And by the way, yes, that is the same gold trim incorporated in my hairdo! Also: The sleeves were once part of 1970's curtains!

The skirt is four layers full circle! It was hard work, but the feeling was pure princess! The vintage lace detail on the waistband was a last minute decision but came out nice. I put two sets of hook and eye on the inside of the waistband to take some pressure off the zipper (God forbid it would break after one slice of cake, right?). And yes, the zipper seams are crooked, but by then I was so tired I just figured that what the heck, it's a side zipper, no one is gonna see that!

Hemming seven meters of hem per layer was... tiring. Not to mention the one layer with all that trim, took a good couple hours, actually!

In the end, I am 90% happy with the outcome. Not bad I think!

I had a few questions about what this cost me. Materials came up to around 2000 SEK (that is circa 235 USD today), the shoes (I had two pairs, flats and these pretty awesome five-and-a-half inch heels), the clutch and the lace umbrella came in at circa 700 SEK (about 82 USD). I also had to replace my old dress form, so there was another 1500 SEK (176 USD).

Then there's the amount of time spent sewing... After finishing the dress I know I wrote the approximate number down someplace... somewhere I can't remember. But as far as I can recall we are talking around 70-80 hours of cutting and sewing. Maybe 20 hours of research, sketching and planning preparations.

Not sure I will ever take on a project as big as this again! (Basically, family and close friends, if I am to make yours, please have less complicated ideas than me, haha!)

Well, anyway, to finish this post up nicely, here are two of my favorite wedding pictures of me and my husband. I guess we're just not the pose-y couple, we're the happy weirdos!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wedding dress progress and details

Just a few quick snaps on the work in progress on my wedding dress!

Getting closer now, counting the weeks, days. So much to sew, so little time... And so much cursing my complicated construction ideas and thousands of details.

But, I'll get there in time... (Might need a shortcut or two in the end though).

Had to fill out the poor new dress form, she was lacking a bit on the boob front. The blue tape is used to mark out potential seam lines.

Seriously messy workspace.
Fitting the lining
Finally cutting into the slightly expensive dupion silk (which I only had a limited amount of)
Trying the vintage lace on the back
Contemplating fake buttons in the back (there is no opening but they look nice). The friends/family/internet vote is yes so far.

That's it for now! More to come...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wedding dress inspiration

The wedding dress sewing is slowly coming along. I have been delayed - quite a bit - by the fact that my DIY dress form had, over the past four years, developed a pretty bad case of scoliosis... Or something similar, in the world of mannequins...

So, que panic purchase of fairly expensive new store-bought adjustable dress form, and the five day wait for delivery. Oh well, I guess it's a good investment.

Anyway, no new progress pics, but for those of you interested, here's a couple of my favorite inspiration pics I used when deciding what to make!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Vintage lace and more wedding dress planning

So, the sewing is coming along fairly well, despite a few oh-I-should-have-bought-this-and-that... As always. Little Miss Last Minute (soon to be Mrs Last Minute, as my future husband is pretty much as bad as me).

One of the more lovely issues of the moment is which of, and if so how much of these vintage lace ribbons I will use. Also, the heavy woven fabric at the top may or may not become part of the waistband for the skirt of the dress... 

Also I have some leftover gold and silver trimmings from a dress I made for one of my best friends for her graduation a bunch of years ago. It has been sitting in my stash since and I was wondering if this might not be the time to put it to use...

I have this lace that I most likely will use on the dress... and I think, that with the gold/silver trimming weaved into it, would look even better (second picture)? (Yes I know the lace is "wrong side out", with the nice edge towards the seam. Good thing it's only pinned in place for comparison!) 

What do you think?