Free: May 2011 Archives
Liberty of London- Just say it out loud. It just sounds like great fabric. Saying that words bring pictures of English countryside, blooming flowers, tea heavy in the air and double-decker buses. Saying the name "Liberty of London" makes me want to sew. And sew I have. I was given 2 yards of Liberty of London Lawn Pepper Green (one of our MANY gorgeous prints from Liberty of London) as soon as it arrived in our shop and told to make something great but try to keep the project small and fun. Well, that was no problem given that it is spring, almost summer. I decided on 2 projects to show the variety of Liberty. These prints are perfect for wee people as well as adults and it is perfect for warm weather.
My first project was the trickiest because I wanted a sleeveless shirt but nothing with too much detail to compete with the print of the fabric. I sorted through the Fabric.com pattern catalog but didn't find anything I loved! Well, I became sidetracked with a personal project of making new PJs for myself and found the pattern that was perfect for the Liberty of London. It is HotPatterns Cupid Cami (And it's a free pattern download!). Originally designed as a PJ top, I didn't see why with a fabric substitution it would not make the most wonderful summer top. I love being right. With some Hanky Weight Linen as my bias tape, this cami took approx 1 yard of Liberty of London (you are safe with just ordering 1 yd) and about 2-3 hours to complete (having had to make the bias tape). I did have to add darts of 4 in. long by 1 in. wide at the bust but that was my only modification. This top is easy to make and can be easily modified for a longer length; it hit right at my hips. The ties at the top are so much fun and make me feel like a kid again. I do recommend that when you sew the front to the back that you start at the bottom when matching up the sides. If you start at the top, it will not match up once you get to the bottom. Once you sew the seam, it will all work out.
My second project also took approx 1 yd and came from Heather Ross Weekend Sewing. I have made the Flower Girl before and know it runs a little small so I made the size 4 for my 2 yr old; I want her to have it for several summers. This print really brought out something in this pattern that the other dress did not have. The Liberty of London print sort of 'fits' this pattern like no other fabric. The Flower Girl dress also went to together super quick, 2 hours or so. I cut my skirt length to 20 in. to make it longer like in the book photograph. The other modifications were to topstitch the gathers in place once I had pressed the bodice seam towards the skirt and I made the straps a bit wider at 1.5 in. I think even a bit wider than that would still look great. You could even get away with some flat piping where the bodice and skirt meet. You could not ask for a better combination of dress and print for little girls.
The flow and drape of the Liberty of London Lawn is light and delicate with an airiness that will be most welcome come the balmy days of summer. The print reminds me of my childhood, of picnics and climbing trees. You can't beat the soft hand or bright colors; this is a fabric that needs to be in your closet.
Infinity dresses are everywhere these days; a call back from their heyday in the 1970's. And why not! They are classics and modern perfectly combined because you can wear them to suit your style, event or mood. Couple that with Fabric.com's amazing selection of dreamy Stretch ITY knits and your infinity dress can be in a rainbow of colors or lengths (Mine is in turquoise). The infinity dress is perfect for holiday weekends or destination weddings because it is wrinkle free and ready to wear in seconds.
There are many different versions in stores these days but some lacked pizzazz or included too much pizzazz. I originally fell in love with the original on Rostitchery's blog but I had trouble with cutting the circle skirt. Rowena of Rostitchery wrote another version with some great additions for Threads Quick Stuff to Sew that included an easier version of the circle skirt and a small elastic casing (among other great tips) but I still didn't want to deal with Pi or a circle skirt so I developed my own work around : a gathered skirt. What I really loved about the gathered skirt- besides not cutting out a circle- is the ease of hemming, no round hems here! Here's how to make an infinity dress like mine.
4 yds of ITY Knit
1 yd of ½ in. elastic
Measuring tapes of various mediums (seamstress, carpenter's and a solid ruler)
*Always use a narrow zig-zag stitch unless otherwise noted
Measure out your 2 straps which will be 1.5 times your height. I am 5'7" so I rounded to 8ft long for my straps. The width is roughly from your breast bone to under your arm. I measured 11 in. So I cut 2 straps 8 ft long and 11 in. wide. The skirt piece is double your natural waist (mine is 28 in. so I cut mine to 60 in. to make it easy) for the width by however long you want your dress to be. I decided on a 36 in. length and it hits right at my ankle (perfect for dancing). The casing piece is your waist plus 2 in by 2.5 in.
With right sides together sew up the side seam of the skirt piece. Baste 2 lines of stitches along the top and pull the bobbin thread to gather up the skirt until it equals your waist measurement. Stitch the gathers in place. With right sides facing, pin your straps onto your skirt with the seam in the back, fold your casing widthwise and pin to your skirt over the straps, overlapping the ends by 1-2 in. Stitch all these layers in place. Insert your elastic into your casing, making sure not to twist and then stitch the ends of your elastic together and then close and stitch your casing ends (I just tucked one end into the other and stitched over top of the ends. Voila you are done.
Now there are tons of videos on how to wear and wrap infinity dresses on YouTube. But there are also many ways to fancy up your dress as well. You can add a simple ruffle like my Michael Miller Knit post or add many ruffles to your skirt. You can make your dress in white and dye it in an ombre design. You can make your skirt and straps to coordinate but not match. Some designs even feature a built in tube top (just an extension of the waist casing) or a separate tube top for extras modesty or with a built in bra. The possibilities are endless but this is the PERFECT summer dress!
My first big crochet project and I am feeling pretty good about it. I have been drooling over the Irish Lace Scarf pattern (Nicky Epstein for Lion Brand) ever since Fabric.com featured it as a thumbnail for our Yarn Section. This is a great pattern for beginners. It is still a little tricky but a good way to expand your crochet knowledge. I had stumbled a bit on the scarf with the last stitch of each row's placement but with some experimentation decided to stitch into the spaces for the last stitches instead of the chain as the pattern states. I also had trouble with the Roses. Crochet seems to be more 3D than knitting which I think of as more back and forth and if you want to build you must go back and pick up stitches. But this is not the case with crochet; you can just as easily build out as you can back and forth. When the Rose Pattern called for 'working behind' rows I was stumped. No- I was beyond stumped. As a knitter I could not see how it was possible. However, with the help of this fine video I was able to see through my ignorance and work out the Rose.
Summer is almost here and I, especially, am eagerly awaiting the opening of the pool, first day on the lake or our first beach trip. I love to lounge by the water and read a good book. However, I always forget to bring a pillow. Who would remember something like that when you already have your tote stuffed full of towels, cover-ups and swimsuits. Well, I decided to knit up a Beach Pillow to serve as storage for a towel or cover-up so it won't be forgetten (and fits easily in your bag). Use the Beach Pillow by the pool, lake or ocean when it's time for some reading or a well earned nap.
The perfect beach or pool companion, this knitted mesh pillow cover is made to be stuffed with your beach towel, cover-up or discarded swimsuits. One side is mesh lace to allow for moisture wicking and breathability so you can store your wet towels or swim suits after a long day frolicking in the water or for a cool place to rest your head as you watch the kids splash about.I use mine to keep cool so I stuff my Beach pillow with my wet towel and settle in with my summer read while hubby takes his turn with the little ones in the pool. The Beach Pillow is also a good place to toss your wet swimsuits when the day is done. The cotton yarn will absorb the moisture without distributing it throughout your tote. The cotton plus mesh will also deter mildew. The Beach Pillow Cover is also a great way to carry your towels to and from. It will keep them neat, dry and easy for the kids to carry around. Beware of pillow fights on the walk to the beach!