Accessories: April 2012 Archives
While many of this seasons dress are considered "billowy and flowy" and trapeze and maxi are the hot new trends, it follows that you need a great belt to really pull off these looks. The extra fabric that adds femininity and style to these styles also needs a bit of the masculine touch to cinch in your waist, add definition or a needed detail to polish your look. Many of the belts I have seen and love are the rope style. They follow the vogue of Kristl and Suzie's nautical post. These belts were inspired by popular (and expensive) designer pieces but you can make them for less and make them your own.
Mambo Braided Belt:
You will need 1 skein of Martha Stewart for Lion Brand Mambo Yarn and one fastener of your choice.
Start by evenly dividing your Mambo skein into 4 strands and braiding them according to the illustration below- Do not knot at either end, zig zag over the live strands to secure.
Cut you Mambo Braid to fit your waist minus 1-2 inch to accommodate the fastener. To finish and fasten add the fastener of your choice. You can sew your sewn ends to 2 long lengths (24 in. or longer) of 1-2 in. wide ribbon. You can add a buckle or you can make a snap clasp to secure the 2 ends.
6 Strand Rope Belt
You will need 6 times your waist measurement in Size 2 (1/4 in) cotton cording and a 4 in. wide by 24-48 in. length of quilting cotton (the length depends on how long you want your sash to be. Mine is a short, small bow of 24 in.). Fold your coding so you have 6 strands with both cut ends at one end with one loop and 3 loops at the other end. Zig zag over each end to secure. To make your sash, fold your quilting cotton along the length WS facing and using ¼ in. seam, stitch down one long end and across one short end. Turn and press. Fold under the open end and topstitch closed.
Fold the sash in half and stitch one end of your rope belt (the end with the cut ends) to your sash in the center. Wrap your belt around your waist and slip one end of the sash through the other end of your belt and tie closed.
One of my favorite ways of changing up a basic pattern or putting a new twist on an old classic is to try knitting it on the bias. If you are new to bias knitting it is definitely different but not difficult and a lot of fun. The fundamental premise is that you cast on a small number of stitches (I go with 3-4 depending on if I need an even or odd number for a pattern) and then you increase at the beginning and end of each RS row (I increase after the first stitch and decrease before the last stitch to make the edges smooth) until you have the desired number of stitches. Once you have your correct number of stitches you will start maintaining by increasing at the beginning of each RS row and decreasing at the end of each RS row. Once you get used to this you can easily add this new technique to your Knitting in Public project, knitting in the car, and movie knitting (though probably not a truly riveting movie that distracts you too much). I love venturing in to bias knitting on some of my comfort projects (those you make time and again because you just enjoy it and it is easy).
You might remember that my Swing Scarf (Free Knitting Pattern Download) is knit on the bias in a simple lace stripe pattern. It is simple but by knitting it on the diagonal it adds an element of detail that not only makes it unique but the illusion of difficulty that will make your fellow knitters and friends sit up and take notice.
If you want to create a scarf like my sample, you will need a skein of worsted weight yarn. Cast on 4 sts and increase after the first stitch and before the last stitch. You can use your preferred increase and decrease but I used M1 (Make one) and SSK (slip1 knitwise, k1, pass slipped stitch over k1) until you reach 18 stitches. Start a 6 st Left Cable in the center 6 sts (Left cable: slip 3 sts onto cable needle hold in front, k3 sts, and k3 sts from cable needle). Continue until you have a total 28 sts and 2 cables going at any one time. They will drift to the left and disappear as you decrease at the end of each RS row and will appear as you increase at the beginning of each RS row. Keep a space of 6 sts between your cables. Continue until your scarf is almost as long you would like then begin decreasing at the beginning and the end of each RS row until you have 4 sts again. Loosely bind off. Enjoy your simple but elegant bias cable scarf!
One of my favorite sewing patterns to relax with is Amy Butler's Chelsea Tote. This pattern is available in 2 sizes. I made the larger size for a knitting tote and have received many requests from friends for a Chelsea of their own. Of those who can sew, I tell them about the pattern and offer these tips for sewing up a Chelsea easier.
• I have read some suggestions about not marking on the outside of the fabric, as Amy suggests, and I disagree with Amy with stipulations. I used a water soluble marker and mark on the outside and then spritz it with a water bottle afterwards and it all turns out great. Some bloggers are of the mind that you would need to wash the bag afterward to get the marker off. I recommend you just spray it lightly, it disappears and your bag is good to go.
• FRAY CHECK- buy some and use it! I used it along my cut lines before top stitching the handles and then again in the corners after stitching. However, I have a suggestion on the handle too, if you will read below, but if you follow the Chelsea directions to the "T" then use the fray check as suggested above.
• Fabric glue or just a plain old glue stick. On my next Chelsea, I would use glue to keep the handles in check and then construct the bag as instructed without topstitching the handles. Then once you get to the part where you are attaching the reversible side to the outside there will be no stitching on your handles. This is when you top stitch around the top of the bag to finish it off, then top stitch the handles or if you prefer hand stitch the handles together. I feel that this will insure that your handles have a nice clean look. I cannot get my topstitching on both the lining and outside to match up and couple that with the fact that I am matching up handle holes at the same time. This will cut down on stress and guarantee a nice finish.
I recommend using quilting cotton to make sure you find the perfect print for your Chelsea bag.
I had to find a way to keep my beloved cords with me, even if I couldn't wear them. Since every discarded garment gets treated as yardage at my house, it was just a matter of figuring out how to turn the usable parts of my trousers into something new. Voila! The Pants Leg Purse was born.
Here's how they came into being:
First, I cut a 12-inch piece off the bottom of one of the legs. I chose the leg with an intact hem, because that would be used for the top of my bag.
Next, I added an iron-on I've been hording to what would become the front. I have a pirate-themed getaway weekend coming up, so I thought this would be the perfect time to finally use my flocked velvet skull and crossbones! If you have an embellishment you want to add to this project, this is the best time. Once the zipper is in and the bottom is finished, it's harder to do any maneuvering your applique may require.
Don't miss this opportunity to do really fun stuff! You can add an applique, cut a motif out of your favorite fabric to apply, add a rhinestone design, embellish with ribbon stripes -- any kind of trim you can imagine!
Next, I sewed the zipper in at the top. I just nestled it under the hemmed edge of the pants so I wouldn't have to worry about any raw edges fraying. I left a little space on each end of the zipper unstitched. You'll see why in a minute!
Here's what it looks like with the zipper stitched in. As you can see, my zipper was too long. No worries -- I just tucked it in for the moment. Later, I'll trim it down.
Next, I removed two of the belt carriers from the pants.
Here they are, free-range (for the moment):
I folded the carriers in half, and set them into the folds on each end of the purse opening. Stitching through all those layers is tricky business. I had to take things slowly, and hand walk my machine through some of the rougher spots.
Once both tabs were in place, I clipped the extra zipper length that was tucked inside. Here's the finished top of the bag from the outside:
Time to close up the bottom! I unzipped my zipper and turned the bag inside out, making sure the bottom edges were even.
I stitched the bag closed with a straight stitch. This is the one raw edge to the bag you'll have, since you're using a piece of pant leg, so you'll want to serge or zig-zag the edge.
To make a slight box shape on the bottom of the bag, I folded the bottom seam to make triangle corners.
And then I stitched the triangles into place, perpendicular to the bottom seam.
This is the interior of the bag with the corners stitched into a box shape:
Here's the bag turned right side out:
For the strap, I used a strap I already had on hand, but if you don't have one, it's just matter of stitching webbing in your desired length to a pair of swivel clips like the ones here. I highly recommend the swivel-clip approach, because you can use the same strap on multiple bags. Because no one should have just one of these bags -- pants have two legs!
Here's the finished bag, ready for a pirate adventure!
This project works with jeans, cords, and even dressier pants. There are no rules -- just a chance to recycle in an imaginative way!