Apparel: September 2011 Archives
I love new pattern downloads. Love making them and love launching them. I love today's especially because we have heeded your call and Fabric.com and I are proud to present our first Crochet Free Pattern Download: Ellis Square Cowl and Hat. This is a chunky but open cowl and hat project that is just right for fall. Made with Lion Brand's Wool Ease Thick n Quick; it is warm and cozy without added bulk. Plus when you thread a beautiful ribbon through the top and tie it in a chic bow you have a great hat too. You can work up two to give as the perfect gift. One to wear as a cowl and one as a hat or they can wear both as cowls should it get cooler.
My second Free Pattern Launch is the Tybee Island cover-up. This is the perfect cover-up over swimsuits or shoulders, depending on the season and the fiber used to work it up. This knitted pattern features a leaf pattern worked on each side. You can work it in a chunky wooly yarn for winter or a worsted cotton ( try it in Lion Brand Recycled Cotton ) for spring and summer. The ties at the top keep it secured around your hips or shoulders. This also makes a great gift coupled with a gift card for dinner out and a movie (restaurants and theatres are always chilly).
Back when I originally test drove the Hot Patterns Fringe Festival free download, I mentioned that one of the many visions I had for the pattern included elongating it and turning it into a running dress. Come along for the ride as I work on my custom tunic!
Before I did anything with the pattern, I wanted to transfer an image to my fabric. I am making this dress for a 1/2 marathon in Walt Disney World, and I love a little custom flair. Since the Haunted Mansion is my favorite, favorite, favorite ride, I decided to try adding an image from the ride's iconic wallpaper pattern to my lycra. If you've ever made the mistake of ironing lycra, you know it's a no-go (hello, melted mess!), so an iron-on transfer wouldn't work. I decided to try a different approach -- a Sharpie marker.
I used my opaque projector to project the image onto my fabric, and traced it out with a series of sloppy dashes. Since this maneuver takes place in the dark (with the exception of the light from the projector), what you end up with is not going to win any art awards.
After I filled in my design, it was much better. Hooray! Haunted Mansion! If you try this method at home, don't get discouraged if your fabric gets a little distorted or puckers during the process -- a little shot from the steamer smooths everything right out.
Perfect? No. Indentifiably dicey while I'm running in it? Absolutely not. Onward!
Now, on to the pattern ...
I pulled a pattern from my library that I have had for -- no joke -- 20 years. I like it because it's made for knits and has a nice swing to the skirt.
I set the Fringe Festival top pattern on my fabric, and then set the longer dress pattern on top of it. That's it! No magic tricks required. I just cut out the resulting shape, smoothing the transition lines.
I wanted to add a black stripe down each side of my running dress to add a little bit of sport detailing, and also to contrast with the periwinkle fabric I used. (Without the black, it was looking like stretchy scrubs -- NOT the look I wanted!) Once I had the four primary pieces cut, I eyeballed my additional side pieces, cutting them out of a black lycra.
I assembled my six pieces and checked for fit. I made a few minor contouring adjustments at this stage, because while the pattern fits fantastically as day wear, it fit a little differently over the shape created with a sports bra.
To finish the tunic, I cut a 2" piece of black lycra just a little shorter than the circumference of the neck opening. I stitched this piece into a closed loop, folded it in half lengthwise, and stitched it to the neck, applying gentle, consistent tension throughout. Once the neck binding was applied, I stitched a triangle shape at the front of the v-neck to keep that same v-shape for the facing.
Then sleeve binding was attached the same way I did the neck binding, but completely straight, since I didn't have to accommodate the v-shape.
I opted to serge the hem, and call this project done. Ready to race!
Are you thinking of a way to customize one of our free pattern downloads and transforming it with a totally fresh take? Do it! Be bold! For all you know, you may start a new trend.
When I was around 7 years old, my mom made me a really simple witch costume. I loved that thing. I mean LOVED. I wore it three years straight -- even though by the time I was 10, it was woefully short on me and the hat was tight. But I just adored my witchy raiment in a way I could never fully articulate to anyone. I just knew that when it came to Halloween, I wanted to be a witch.
You'd think that urge would pass as the years wore on, but it never did. Now that I'm an adult, I usually end up booked for several costumed events around Halloween, and I still make sure I dress as a witch for at least one of them every year. And every year, there has to be a new witch costume.
I really love princess ball gowns, and have amassed quite a collection of patterns for ballgowns and wedding gowns throughout the years. This year, I really yearned to make a froufy, poufy ballgown style witch to waltz through All Hallows Eve, so I selected a super girlie pattern, and set to work on my ballgown witch. For fabrics, I used a taffeta and overlaid it with an embellished tulle. Those rhinestones -- sigh! I adore them.
Here is the dress once it was assembled, but not embellished:
Now, I will share with you one of my absolute favorite (and easy) ways to make custom trim.
- First, cut strips on the bias. For this project, I used the same taffeta that I used for the dress, and cut them about 1.5" wide. I didn't worry about carefully marking out cut lines or anything -- I just eyeballed it.
- Next, use a simple running stitch to make a zig-zag pattern along the strips.
- Gather the strips along the running stitch, and you have a lovely scallop-edged trim! Didn't I promise you it was easy?
I applied the trim along the waistline, cuffs and skirt of my dress, incorporating beading into my stitching to add a little extra sparkle.
To add another element to my dress, I purchased a garland chain of black, glittery foliage at my local craft store, and clipped the leaves off. I used the same seed beads that I incorporated into my scalloped trim to tack my leaves into place, creating a sweep of trim across the bodice of the gown. I also tacked several leaves to one shoulder of my dress just above the puff sleeve.
I like to always have a little extra surprise here and there on a costume when I can manage it. For this gown, I attached a ruffle of glitter tulle to the lining, so that when I step into vehicles or up stairs, a little extra shimmer will show at my feet.
The finished dress, plus some detail shots of the sweep of black leaves:
If you, like me, still have a 7-year-old in your heart who loves to dress up, don't forget to look outside the costume pattern catalogue. Often, evening wear and bridal patterns can take a simple costume to a level of glamor and style that any witch would be proud of.
Now, I just need to make a matching hat with that divine Hot Patterns Good Witch/Bad Witch pattern from last year ... More sparkles, please!
Blazers are back big time this fall and I am on the band wagon. I love a good blazer but find that they can be a little confining after a few hours. Don't get me wrong, I love the trim fit and smooth lines they provide to a regular jeans and blouse outfit but the trimness can be wearing at the end of the day. But if you make your blazer out of double knit fabric (like our great selection) you can get the trim, clean lines look of a blazer but the feel of a cozy sweater (like pajama jeans for the top half). Knit blazers are hitting the shelves hard this season but they also carry a hefty price tag. Most of the stores featuring knit blazers don't offer them in the colors or details I want. So I made my own, to fit me and my wardrobe.
I used the Kwik Sew Knit blazer pattern (available at Kwik Sew in Misses and at Fabric.com in Plus size). I cut view B but did a pin fitting to make the jacket less boxy and more fitted. The pin fitting took a while, I had to keep going back and adjusting each piece to get the fit right and recut a few pieces (like the back neck) to keep the drape and shape true. It was fun because I have not had the opportunity to fit front panel seams before or to adjust the fit of a project so much. I ended up taking in the jacket a significant amount because the original is so boxy but the stretch of the fabric and the soft hand still make this a comfy (almost loungy) jacket to wear.
I added an additional button (the original features one) and added a bold cream knit trim to just the pockets. I considered trimming the lapel but when I put on the jacket for a final fitting with just the pockets, I fell in love as is. Just the hint of trim, coupled with the cream buttons, was perfect so I decided to stay my trimming urges. Lastly I hemmed the sleeves a little bit longer than suggested because either I have long arms or I like my sleeves a little longer.
Overall I am very surprised by how structured and not knit-like this blazer looks. I am also surprised by how comfy it truly is. My wardrobe has really taken a step up since I introduced this. Now I can continue with my t-shirt and jeans but look like a million bucks and not feel any different.
Check out these other great fabrics perfect for knit blazers:
The new Hot Patterns Witch's Capelet free download is the easiest pattern you may ever encounter. It goes together in a snap and uses so little fabric, the biggest issue you're likely to face is deciding how many you want to make. (I went with three.) With just a little fabric, a bit of ribbon, and half an hour, you have the perfect accompaniment to any witch's wardrobe.
First, I made one out of black embellished tulle, which I am IN LOVE WITH. The rhinestones scattered on this fabric make it look so lovely and elegant. I love me some sparkles. This one is so cute I may just wear it over a tee shirt for fun -- long after Halloween is over!
Fore capelet number two, I went with multicolor spiderweb net. I had no idea that there is a bonus element to this fabric: It's reversible! The backside is all silver webs. So, in the 30 minutes it took me to lay out and cut my fabric, and then assemble the capelet, I really ended up with two of them! So, whether I want to go as a disco witch or throw an icy, classic vibe, I'm covered.
For the third iteration of this pattern, I decided to go ghostly instead of witchy, and I love the result. I used white chiffon, which I steamed while it was twisted to add a wrinkled texture. After I cut the pieces, I made a series of shallow snips along the edges and then frayed them gently to add a little texture. With my ribbon tie in place, I'm ready for haunting.
So, what kind of witch will you be this year? Remember, witches don't have to wear all black -- you can layer a sheer black over another color for depth, or go completely original as a pink or red witch. If you combine your capelet with a matching hat (we've got you covered with a free pattern download there, too!), you can be any kind of witch you like!
Get the free pattern here -- and get creative!
I am really picking up crochet and with it my appetite increases for projects. I can't remember how I stumbled upon Olivia's Butterfly crochet hat pattern by Valerie Whitten but am I glad I did. I thought I loved knitting hats but crocheting them is right up there. I am still fascinated by the difference in construction between knitting and crochet that each project is even more fun than the previous. This hat was simple but with a detail that really sets it apart. The effortless butterfly detail placed as it is right above the final row takes this hat from basic to amazing. I love how the chains coupled with a single SC add a visual and textural facet that makes this hat just the thing for a precious little girl. It was quick to make as well as fun.
I used a smaller yarn and hook than recommended in the pattern. I have been jonesing to work with our Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere (72% Superwash Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, 13% Cashmere). This yarn was a dream. It was just as soft worked up as it was in the skein (this is not always the case with soft yarns). It did not irritate my fingers while working it up either (something else I have noticed with some blends, they are not so soft when rubbing your skin). The texture and stitch definition were excellent with just a bit of fuzz so you can see how soft it is. The color, Green Tea, is just right for my little one. It was light enough to allow the hat design to be the main focus, not the color, and will compliment many of her jackets since it is not loud. She has been wearing it all weekend and I haven't noticed any itching or irritation from the wool. She really loves it. With the pattern written as it, the hat can fit an adult just by adding more rows. But to fit a child smaller then 2-3, you will want to reduce the increases and rows and reduce the chains in the butterfly too if the child is very small. Since the hat is worked from the top down it is easy to see how big it is and adjust as you go instead of ripping back. This hat will make great gifts for your own children, friends and friends' children. It is a great pattern that can be worked up with ease and speed.
I remember when I was a wee thing planning my Halloween costume down to the last detail every year, except the shoes. I always forgot about my shoes till it was time for the big show. A little bit of disappointment was always there because those white sneakers just didn't work with my Punk Rocker outfit, or I just couldn't talk my mom into buying Pirate boots because my Mary Janes just didn't instill fear in the hearts of "land lubbers" everywhere. So this year I decided I could not have my little one ruining her Lion Costume with her Dora sneakers or Crocs. So I constructed a cute little tutorial to make matching shoes covers that can be easily embellished to match any costume with any fabric (just be sure to make a muslin of the cover if you are using a non-stretch fabric).
For each size covers you are making, I recommend using the biggest shoes in that size as your guide. Remember you can make the covers smaller if they are too big but not bigger if they are too small. You can add appliqués, bedazzle or paint these covers to blend in with any costume. Any fabric can be used but I recommend a fleece because it doesn't fray should you bypass hemming, it is warm and soft, it is easy to work with and stretches to fit different shoes. You can add other materials on top of the fleece if needed but fleece is a good base.
My little one loves her covers but we had some model/photographer difficulties during this photo shoot. Let's call it creative difficulties for the non-parents out there and for those with little ones of your own, I will say she is 2 and you will know what I mean. For the fastest way to get the covers on, slip them onto your child's foot, slide them up the leg with elastic in back, put on the shoe and then slide the cover into place tucking the elastic under the shoe. Please share your shoe cover photos on our facebook page!
Download your tutorial here
You can find Parts 1 and 2 of our Child's Halloween Costume Series below:
For a long time, I avoided any project with buttons holes for one reason: I could not make them neat. As hard as I tried buttonholes always threw off my projects. I could spend hours knitting something perfectly but when it came down to the buttonholes, it ruined the whole piece. Happily, I was not alone in my dislike for buttonholes and they have come a long way since I began knitting. Let me share with you some of my favorite methods to create great looking and hard working button holes.
Above I used Vertical Buttonhole for my French Press Pattern
When I pick up a button band or I need to knit horizontal buttonholes into a project, I go with this method. It is fast, easy and secure. The finished look is very clean and symmetrical. I love that it is all done in one row since I have a past of forgetting to cast back on for 2 row button holes and so I spend lots of time unknitting. One Row button hole: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY4vBzLo-Xs.
Amy, from Knittinghelp.com has helped me through many issues with her helpful videos and no less so with this one. She recommends you write down the instructions but I have found a printable version here http://www.knittingdaily.com/glossary/one-row-buttonhole.aspx
Above is a 4 st One Row Buttonhole that is sturdy
enough for my homemade toggle buttons.
Eunny Lang, editor at Interweave Knits, demonstrates a more precise and slightly complicated (involving more tools than the above method) One Row Buttonhole here. I would recommend this buttonhole method when working with fine yarn, lace or when you need an absolute perfect buttonhole. This is the Rolls Royce of buttonholes, only to be trotted out when you need to show some pomp and splendor. For every day, the previous One Row Buttonhole version is your best bet. http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2010/05/31/a-better-buttonhole.aspx
Now, sometimes a knitter needs a vertical buttonhole and horizontal will not do. In that case try JeshKnits pictorial tutorial. Her pictures are crisp and clear and show you from just the right angle how to go about achieving a great vertical buttonhole. I love these for sleeve bands and cowls. Vertical Buttonholes: http://jeshknits.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/vertical-buttonholes-a-tutorial/
Check out our great knitting and crochet section here for awesome deals for all your buttonhole needs
I'm a firm believer that the difference between a good project and a great one is usually just a matter of detailing. To illustrate this point, I offer up one of my costume projects from this year: an 18th century lady's riding habit.
When I first envisioned this project, I knew I wanted it to stay feminine. Women's riding habits in the 1700s were made exactly the same as men's garments, so choosing a girly color like pink was an easy way to keep the look soft. (I know, I know, I make everything in pink. That's not likely to stop anytime soon.) I went with a cotton velvet for the jacket, because who doesn't love velvet? It's yummy and has a rich, buttery look. For the vest, I selected a flocked home dec fabric in a large floral print. I love how the bold black and white contrasts with the pink velvet. To complete the look, I used a striped taffeta I had in my stash. It was one of those great deals I got from the $1.95 section a while back, knowing I'd eventually find the perfect use for it. Hooray for stashing!
Now, as you can see from this in-progress shot, even once the costume was mostly assembled, it looked sort of anemic. Enter the magic of trim. Metal buttons dressed up the vest and jacket, but braided trim was really needed to bring it all together. I decided to have a little fun customizing mine. I started with a taupe colored Expo braided trim, and then dyed it. What makes this trim fun to dye is the fact that it has a cotton background base with a rayon overlay. Because rayon and cotton take dye very differently -- rayon tends to grab pigment aggressively, whereas cotton does not -- I knew I'd end up with a unique two-toned effect.
To do the actual dyeing, I used a large GladWare container.
I filled it about 1/4 of the way with hot, hot water, and then dissolved the
dye into it.
Once the dye had completely dissolved, I added more hot water until the container was about 2/3 of the way full. Then, I pre-moistened my trim, and dropped it in, making sure all of it was submerged in the dye mixture.
I popped the lid on and very carefully and gently shook the container to disperse the color across the trim. I HIGHLY recommend doing this in a sink, as I did have some sloshy escaping of the dye mixture. I let the whole shebang soak for about four hours, occasionally giving it a gentle rocking shake. I rinsed the trim about four times, making sure I eventually got it to a point where the water ran completely clear. Since I was planning to apply my dyed trim to a light-colored fabric, I wanted to ensure that no color rubbing or bleeding would occur.
Once the trim had dried thoroughly, I applied it to the coat
and the hat for the costume, and instantly, the whole outfit felt much more
"real." The hat also got a dose of ribbon and a cameo pendant I'd been hoarding for a while.
As you can see, trim -- basic things like braiding and
buttons -- can completely transform a costume, and the same is true for
day wear. So, when you're planning your next project, be sure to pick out some
good trims and hardware to make it something special.
So our costume is complete and a huge hit but it was a tricky week of sewing, readjusting and hiding from curious eyes that once they have spotted a Lion Costume can't wait to wear said lion costume. I made my little girls Kwik Sew Lion Costume from dark and light purple fleece and it is so soft and delicious. The fleece was a pleasure to sew with my walking foot. Of course, I did have to stop every half hour of sewing and de-lint my machine but it was sooo worth it. Now for the breakdown:
The pattern went together very easily for the most part but I did have trouble with the paws. My work around was to trace the paw pattern piece onto another piece of paper and then cut out the paw pieces from the fleece, not using the sew-on method recommended in the pattern. Then cut out the paw pieces from the traced paper and use it as a stencil/placement guide and with fabric glue (or you can use a glue stick), tack down the pattern pieces. Then zig zag around the edges of paw pieces. This eliminated the paper mess with little bits of tear-able paper under every stitch and made it much easier to cut out the paw pieces since you are doing it before hand instead of afterward. I also hemmed the bottom of each leg so I could let them down further down the road instead of the elastic. This also makes it easier for my little one to get into the costume herself. I added a zipper in a contrasting color to make it easier for her to find and zip up. Lastly, I assembled the fringe on the tail and sewed it on after I sewed and turned the tail. The fringe was too bulky using the pattern assembly. I hand sewed it in place which made it much easier, no broken needles and the finish was just as neat as the original. I am going to go back and lightly stuff the tail and add some pipe cleaners so I can shape the tail for Trick or Treating so keep it off the ground and give it some life.
Some other modifications I considered were adding the bow from the bunny variation and some flat piping around the chest piece. The reason I decided against them was that the costume was so stinking cute that I didn't think it needed them and would have been lost on the costume.
Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4 which will feature easy shoe covers to make your costume flawless and a great Pumpkin Pail Cover to match your costume and complete your Halloween Look. Find Part 1 of our Child Costume series here and check out our great Fleece section for your kid's color combination dreams-come-true!
I remember when I first discovered I was pregnant with my now 2 yr old daughter and bragging to my husband that I would always make my daughter's Halloween Costume. 2 years in and I have stuck to my guns (though that is only 2 costumes so far- year 1 & year 2). This year, I am taking it to the next step and making a full costume using Kwik Sew's Babies and Toddler's Costume that features a Bunny, Bear, Dinosaur and Lion. My little one is crazy about all of these creatures but has a special fondness for lions so I am working on that one. As simple as it may look, making a costume for a toddler is not a 'jump-in' project. This needs some planning and consideration. First you need to know that this is not just a costume to your baby or toddler. Whether or not they understand the concept of Halloween and costumes, reason stands that all that will go out the window once they try it on for the first time. No, this is no costume to your kid, but an everyday outfit (fit even for the fanciest of places...the grocery store). FACT: this costume needs to last. Given that last bit, that means you need to bank on your baby or toddler growing so proper measuring is key.
You will need to start by measure your kid now and then adding a year's growth to that (this takes into consideration that this costume will not fall out of favor until next year's new costume is unveiled). You don't want to just estimate here either because patterns take growth as a factor too. You need to make sure you start with the right measurements to end with the right size. To measure a wiggly kid is tough but with a door and a piece of chalk it can be easier (chalk can be cleaned right off). Stand your kid against the door and mark above their head for height and stretch out their arms and mark for arm length. These 2 indications are prime growth areas. You can measure the door while your kid is playing somewhere else with less wiggling. Measure from the ground to the height mark and from the end of the mark to just under the height mark (if you drew in the measurement lines it would make a cross). If you can, quickly measure the tummy, chest and head). I like to do this while she is drinking because her speed is greatly reduced at this time. These are not as critical but are helpful since the tummy is usually the widest area, you don't want the costume to be tight on the chest and this is a big growth area, and the head is a key complaint area for kids.
Compare these key measurements to the back of the pattern envelope as your starting point and go with the next size up. If you are spot on with the size recommended for your size, great but not every kid grows at the same rate. You don't want a too small costume before it is time to make another and you don't want your child tripping to every house in the neighborhood. Start right to save yourself some trouble and make for one happy kid this October through October.
You can find more costume patterns here on Fabric.com