Apparel: December 2010 Archives
If you are in a pinch for a fabulous New Years Dress or just looking for a simple classic but easy dress to wear on the big night. Or you are a budget minded, but not less glamorous Diva looking to out-do all the 'Over-doers' then look no further. I have come up with a great modification of a simply beautiful knit dress, the Nancy Dress found in our Free Pattern Download section. You may previous have tagged this dress as a must-have for spring and summer but you are going to have to add it to your 'little black dress for all occasions' wardrobe category. Not only does this mod make the Nancy dress even better for Spring and Summer but also kicks up the wear ability for dates, dancing and enjoying the night into the wee hours. Because the Nancy dress is a knit dress you know it will be Uber comfy, will not wrinkle, super washable, packable and will swing and clingy like nobody's business while you shake your groove thing on the dance floor. But now you can add some extra style and security that strapless dress cannot offer. My modification is a simple an extra wide, one shoulder, gathered strap that really matches what is hot on the runways this fall. The best part is you don't need to purchase extra fabric to add this detail. You can find it in your scrapes from making the original Nancy dress. Here's the low down
Make your Nancy Dress according to the instructions. Once complete, cut a 6 in. by 19 in. strap from your remaining fabric. With right sides facing pin one end of the strap rectangle to the front of your dress on the side that you would like to have your strap, 1 in. in from the side seam. I put mine on the same side as fullest side of my hair (you ladies know what I mean) that way I could wear a chic barrette to keep that side of my hair back and show off my strap detail. With a ¼ in. seam allowance, stitch your strap on the front, back stitching at both ends. Now, on the back of your dress pin your strap (right sides facing) to the opposite side of the dress and stitch in place. Now mark the center of the strap and using a basting stitch, sew across that line. Gather your strap and secure with a regular stitch. This will add gathers on your strap which you can leave as is or highlight with a ribbon or pin. Your new fabulous Nancy Dress is done and ready for New Year's Eve Parties. You can be sexy and confident that your dress will stay put and you will look amazing all night long.
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A little something for you, a little something for a friend, a silk/wool cable cowl is just the thing. 100 percent luxurious, this delicious cowl is knitted of silk and wool (2 fibers known for their warm characteristics) with a wonderful cable and lace stitch pattern. Wear the Noel Cable Cowl with the lace on the bottom for a shoulder hugging lace yoke with the cable flowing up. Or wear the cowl with the lace on top folded over for a delicate lace edge and extra warmth under your chin. The Noel cowl also comes with blocking choices: you can choose to only block the lace to open it up and leave the cables tight and the cowl fitted. Or you can block the whole cowl to the finished size and have a slouchy, delicate but still oh-so-warm cowl.
The tweedy color way of the Nashua Isabella adds just the right amount of variation in color and a slight slub texture. This texture is not enough to distort the stitch definition so the cable shine bright and really finish off a nice wool or down coat. The colors available in the Isabella are all remarkable winter, fall or spring colors to top off any coating fabric should you choose to make your own coat while you are whipping up cold weather accessories. The feel of the Nashua Isabella is a delightful blend of silk and wool. It is not as stretchy as wool but there is not irritation but all the softness and plushness. I used Garnet in my pattern which was a pleasant bright red but it was not a saturated red (which I often find hard to photograph). Garnet is more of a light red without being in the pink family. It is a soft color that is gentle on the eyes and provides a burst of color for the color shy.
The Noel Cable Cowl is a quick knit that involves some intermediate techniques like cabling 2 cables at once and constructing a flipped lace cuff. This pattern makes a great gift for close friends or a great way to reward yourself. Noel can be knit up in any Heavy Worsted Weight yarn or any DOUBLED worsted weight yarn. Enjoy!
Hands down, I love Coco Knits shoes patterns. Not only do they look very attractive on the pattern cover but it seems as though I learn a new technique or a different twist on an old standard with every pattern. For such conventional accessories as shoes, Coco Knits is very outside the box. I enjoy knitting these patterns. Usually while starting a new pattern that could be a challenge, I find the need to totally focus. But with the Coco Knits patterns, I am more relaxed and can engage in gossip, movies, or knit while watching my daughter play. Coco Knits are not relegated to 'Nap time only'. Now to the Prairie Boots pattern specifically. The Prairie boots ended up being super soft and comfy AND WARM. As a cold natured person (my feet are like icicles after Oct), I saw this pattern and had stars in my eyes. The finished product turned out better than I had dreamed. The chunky yarn gives a great textured look to the relatively simple stitches. The combination of garter and ribbing gives this boot a classic yet edgy look because of the structure and composition. I find that the boots look great pulled up with leggings and when you wear jeans or khakis, folded over gives the most warmth and style. Because these boots are knit with such chunky yarn, they are really cozy, like a snuggy for your feet. I love curling up on the couch to knit with these on. I find my need for a blanket has greatly decreased. Plus, at a recent holiday party at my house, a friend discovered these in my knitting bag and showed them around. Everyone wanted a pair. They were such a hit that I am planning on giving them as gifts and to those I can't get to before Christmas will be getting them as Ground Hog's day present, New Year's, or birthday gifts. I used Lion Brand's Wool Ease and it was a pleasure. The color selection is out of this world, making it easy to customize this gift for any one. Fabric.com's Bulky Yarn selection is amazing so you can make the Prairie Boot in any fiber, in any color for any loved one or just to fill your closet. Everyone knows that for a girl to truly be happy, she needs super cute slipper boots in every color to match any possible outfit selection. The buttons really add to the classic, modern look. I should also add that this pattern even fits my athletic calves so it is not just for the petite.
Now for the knitty gritty. I will be making these again, because they were so fun but also because they are so great to wear. But when I do, I think I will try using a size 9 needle for the whole boot instead of changing to a 10. The ribbing on the bottom of the boot gives lots of stretch while hugging the warmth to your feet. But I think I can still achieve this with a size 9. Should that not work on the upper boot because of the garter; I will delay the change from 9 to 10 needles until I start the garter stitch. I might try changing it up a little by making the boot taller.
p.s. I wanted you to know that these boots can handle the action so they are shot amide my daughter's toy mess. They are battle hardened and perfect for busy moms.
Wee Christmas Dress
One of the joys of sewing and children is making festive holiday clothing. However, Being the son of a teacher who loved a good (and I mean GOOD) holiday sweater, my husband looked at me with a very wary eye when I told him that I was making my little girl a Christmas dress. No bells, reindeer or dancing cookies, he told me with a look that brooked no argument. "Why" I cooed innocently, "I had no intention of doing anything of the sort." And that was mostly true. So given my new rules, I sorted through my mountain of children's dress patterns and selected my favorite Oliver + S pattern: Birthday Party Dress. I had some very Christmasy but not overly Christmasy fabric that I thought would meet the rules that I had in my stash from years past (plus the rest of the pillow case used in my Sewing Green by Betz White post). It is Chateau Roccoco by Free Spirit, but here are some similar fabrics available that are not obviously Christmasy but will deliver all the cheer needed
Sancutary (Prints featured below)
This dress was cut in 2T and fit very well is all the right places. While she is not yet 2 it looks as though it will fit to at least her birthday in 2 months and even to the spring. The pattern goes from 6 M to 3 T so I can get another years size out of this pattern.
I really enjoyed making Oliver + S patterns. They are surprisingly simple which is very good considering you are making kids clothing. All the details that will make the clothes durable and lasting all included and there are no difficulties getting the clothing on and off. This is too often the case with kids clothing, especially the outfits that are too cute to pass up until you try to get them on a wiggling child or off in hast. The buttons down the back make this an easy on and off. Plus there was no silliness to make the dress look wonderful but uncomfortable for the child to wear. The Birthday dress was all adorableness without hindering my little one's movement in anyway. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I enjoyed making it so much I am making the Tea Party dress for a birthday party we are invited to this month. I know it will be a hit!
Today's adorable holiday shirt makeover comes to us from Victoria, and what a darling idea it is! She chose to wrap herself up (like the gift she is) in ribbons and bows. I love that she showed us a new way to have fun with Yo Yos!
This is a great example of how to turn a plain sweatshirt into a festive party cardi with just a snip of the shears and a handful of easy embellishments. Thanks for showing us how to wrap up a shirt makeover with a super cute kick, Victoria!
Many patterns call for interfacing but most also don't expand on which interfacing to use for that pattern. There are many different interfacings to choose from. I'm going to break it down for you to make it easier to pick the right interfacing for your finished project. Interfacings can be divided into weights and fusible/sew-in. Which one to choose depends on your fabric and your project. Some patterns will tell you whether or not to use fusible or sew-in but generally not which weight to use. Interfacing is a fabric that is applied to the wrongside of fabric to add stability, stiffen, strengthen, add body, or to help a fabric keep shape. When making pillows out of quilting cotton, I always add an interfacing to the back to help the fabric hold up and to keep a better shape. I also add interfacing when using Home Décor fabric to make a bag. It helps the fabric keep a structured shape and to also help it hold up to daily wear.
Weight: This is where there is the greatest choice among interfacings. There are 101 different weights (or so it seems). My rule of thumb is choose an interfacing that is directly proportional to your fabric. If you are using a lightweight fabric like quilting cotton, linen, or shirting, choose a light weight interfacing. Home décor projects are a heavier weight fabric and need a heavier weight interfacing. Interfacing Home Décor fabric ensures that window seat cushions last longer and look pretty and pillows keep their shape not matter how many times fluffed. The ultimate heavy weight interfacing is called Peltex. It is used in some of Amy Butler's luggage patterns and can also be used to make fabric storage. Peltex is really stiff and can stand on its own. It is great for adding a lot of body and structure.
Sew-in vs. fusible: Whether you use sew-in or fusible depends on the project and what you want to finished product to look like. Fusible will affect the drape and flow of the fabric. If you are adding pleats, tucks and folds, fusible is appealing since it will add structure to these details. If you are adding gathers or draping, sew-in adds the body and durability but does not affect the drape of the fabric as much as fusible. You can still play with the fabric and add less structured details.
Knits: Knits are such a wild creature that they have their own interfacing category. Knit interfacings are NON-WOVEN and somewhat elastic to mimic knits stretch. This allows the interfacing to add body and strength without distorting knits natural stretch and drape. Knit interfacing are typically around the neckline facings and other places that need some support like buttons holes and zippers.
Psst: The top picture if of Amy Butler's Modern Diaper Bag which used lightweight interfacing and Peltex for the bottom. The bottom picture is Peltex fused on to the back of quilting cotton and made into fabric magnets. Project found here!