Holidays: April 2011 Archives
Remember back in November when I first took a stab at a project from Sewing Green by Betz White? Well, I decided to take another go at the Easy, Breezy Skirt for Earth Day. I really like my original skirt but have decided to take the pattern up a notch for Earth Day to inspire our readers with the versatility of the pattern. My first version used a pillowcase, but I wanted more volume for my second try so I decided to use the matching flat sheet that came with the pillowcase. If you don't have a great sheet laying around to cut into you can use1 ½ yds of quilting cotton or 1 yd of 56-60 in. apparel fabric (like our Tropical Hemp fabric).
I had the picture in my head of a hybrid of a Paper-bag Skirt and a Ruffle-topped Skirt. The modifications I added were that I started with 2 rectangles of 25 in. by 26 in. which I cut using the existing hem as suggested by Betz White. When it came to sewing the elastic casing, I folded over the top 5 in. towards the right side and with a 1 in. seam allowance stitched the elastic casing-this created the top ruffle. Before adding the elastic I added a double turn hem to the top of this ruffle.
Because of the added volume and length (I made this skirt longer than my previous), I can make this skirt do double duty as a strapless tunic. It looks amazing with a chunky belt (try my free fabric belt pattern) and jeans.
This is just one way to recreate this great eco-friendly pattern. You can layer 2 or more pillowcases to add more color or texture. You can sew on some knit ruffles to create movement or if you opt for a solid colored sheet (like me) or pillowcase you can add some great embroidery from Sublime Stitching. I recommend purchasing Sewing Green book for your library so you can make your own version of the Easy, Breezy Skirt plus anyof the other 24 great projects.
Sewing Green is a great book to enjoy on Earth Day; not only does Betz White encourage you to work from existing goods but to also grab from your stash. She also highlights other Green Fabric Lovers so this book is full of eco-inspiration. However, should your stash be in need of replenishing, check out our Organic and Eco-friendly fabric section!
On the heels of last week's posting on Amigurumi, I
bring you some super fun Crochet Easter Toys.
*Editorial: Let it not be said that we at Fabric.com have not heeded your call for more Crochet- but having said that know that I am still learning. I want to thank our readers for pushing me to learn this new skill because I have come to love it very much and my desire to improve so I can bring your more and better projects is at a fever pitch. Editorial over* These toys are all easy to make and, of course, quick. I was thoroughly addicted to the eggs and the bunny really helped me to branch out a bit while still staying in my comfort zone. I am ready to admit to my faulty gauge which is TIGHT so I used a bigger hook than called for (a J when the bunny pattern called for a H) but aside from the standards that came from learning, these were fun and great projects that I recommend to get you and yours ready for Easter.
First up are the Lion Brand Patterns: Best Bunny and Amigurumi Easter Eggs. These eggs will fly off your hook and crochet up in Baby Wool in Alpine Meadow makes them so soft to the touch, perfect for the littlest fingers to play with. The Alpine Meadow is variegated wool that blends from Yellow to Green to Blue lending itself perfectly to an appearance of a dyed Easter Egg. The recommended hook for the egg pattern is a G, but I had trouble with the first few rounds with a smaller hook given that the yarn was worsted weight so I, again, went with a J so help me with some extra wiggle room. The egg produced is about 15% bigger than a regular egg but still fun none the less. The bunny is crocheted in pieces and was made with Lion Brand Baby Wool in Sprout (a fun, bright green) and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Baby Yarn in Mint. I had trouble with the first few rounds in the ears and arms since there were about 6 Sts or less. It seems really hard to fit in my hook but I guess I can chalk that up to my gauge and practice more. The bunny over all was easy and came together fast. He is a big hit with my 2 yr old and I think a few more lining her book shelves along with the eggs will really bring the holiday home.
The smaller eggs are Easy Makes Me Happy Tara Murray's Pattern called simply "Easter Egg Pattern" and it is also fun and easy. The construction is different than the Lion Brand egg which gives is a smaller but more egg-like shape. I also really dug Tara's inspiration pictures. I found this pattern on Ravelry while searching for Easter patterns that I could not live without. While I had already started the Lion Brand eggs when I found Tara Murray's pattern, I could not help myself and I am not at all sorry. These eggs were super fast and I even dared to add a little stripe (my first color change in crochet *pat on the back*) in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Baby Yarn Berrylicious. I recommend this pattern for Easter egg fun-goodness.
April is a Spring Wardrobe themed month. I am going to feature several great pieces to add to your Spring Wardrobe that will carry you into summer and can be added to your fall wardrobe as well in layers. My favorite fabric for spring is knit. It is so swingy and flexible. Knits are light enough to layer with leggings and a jacket for brisk mornings and can be glammed up with a sleek clutch and heels for a night out. Knits are excellent travel garments as well and are not prone to wrinkle like wovens. Great knit patterns are also easier to find than ever before and Kwik Sew has many fashionable knit patterns. One of my favorites is the Kwik Sew Knit Pull-Over Dress & Tunic. It has a simple design which makes it a shoe in for easy layering and also customization. You can make several in different colors and prints to really flesh out your closet. The fit is flattering without being clingy.
I learned my lessons from my previous knit dress and measured my pattern pieces before deciding on a size. I was between a medium and a small so I went with medium because I fall on the busty side and I didn't want to have the bodice too tight. I realize now that I should have gone with the small. I didn't take the weight of my knit into account. I prefer the medium weights and this Stretch Cotton Jersey is a bit heavy but the drape is just right. There is also considerable ease in the pattern; I suppose to prevent too tight bodices should you decide on the next size down. The fit is still good and I will not alter the dress. The tank style is very flattering, with a scoop neck that accentuates without revealing. I feel very comfortable as a mom with a toddler wearing this dress around to do my mom-like tasks. I did modify the style of dress and am very pleased with how it turned out. I wanted to display how well this pattern lends itself to modification. While a stylish cut, it is also a blank slate. It reminds me a of a really great t-shirt; you can totally wear it as is and look hot but if you add some embellishments, they will look great too.
For my modifications I added a contrasting knit trim on the neckline and armhole. I also added a scallop edging to the skirt. It was really easy too since I made a hem facing. I measured the width of the skirt piece and made a rectangle 2 in. tall by the same length. Then I chose a plate about 4.5 in. in diameter (you may need one smaller or larger if you choose a different size), there was one in my daughter's tea set. I marked on the back 4 marks each indicating ¼ of the plate. I then lined up the half plate on the fold side of my scallop pattern piece and traced it. I moved the plate over so that I then traced half the plate until I came to the edge where I again traced only ¼ of the plate. Cut out the hem facing. Tape this to the bottom of your skirt pieces before you cut out the skirt and then cut 2 of on the fold from your fabric for the hem facing following the same stretch and grain indicators from the skirt pattern pieces. Sew the skirt as directed in the pattern but instead of hemming, add your hem facing. Stitch your 2 hem facings together at the sides and with right sides together, pin and stitch your hem facing to your skirt. Clip and trim around the scallops before turning and pressing. Finish by stitching your hem facing to your skirt. You can topstitch if desired. This scallop hem really adds a bit of spring to this dress in homage to tulips and Easter. Created in a light color or soft print this dress will make a great Easter dress or tunic. I recommend a jersey or interlock, something with a good bit of stretch and experiment with a muslin to get the fit just right. This is a great wardrobe builder.