Tutorials: July 2011 Archives
If you read Friday's blog post you will know that today's project was inspired by a product spread in a popular magazine. The inspiration tunic costs $124 retail and is in the Ombre style. The shape of the shirt is nothing that sensational; it's a cool shirt and all but the Ombre is what makes it GOREGOUS! Ombre is a dye technique and comes from the French word meaning: Shaded. Ombre dye technique creates a graduated effect from light to dark or from one shade to another. The inspiration tunic shifts from dark blue to light. My tunic shifts from yellow to the natural linen of the original fabric. And it was so easy to do. I started with Hanky Weight Linen in Natural and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic (Tunic Length). Once the tunic was complete and before sewing on the buttons, I set up my Ombre dye. Working outside, I put down a clean drop cloth. Next, I took my jar of Jacquard Dye-na-flo fabric dye in Sun Yellow and poured it into a clean spray bottle. Having soaked my tunic in warm water until it was wet through, I then gentle squeezed out water until it was just damp (the dye is absorbed better by wet fabric). I laid my tunic down on the drop cloth and pulled all the wrinkles out and made sure it was nice and flat. Then I started spraying my tunic starting along the bottom and slowly working up, concentrating most of the dye at the bottom and less as I went up. The spray really helps you control the dye application and also creates an Ombre effect if you widen your spray area. Once I had the front covered nicely, I carefully flipped the tunic and repeated on the back. Be careful if you have dye on your fingers where you placed them when flipping your tunic. Repeat the same with the belt, just applying dye at the ends to match your tunic when tied.
DO NOT RINSE YOUR TUNIC. Allow your dye to dry completely. This is not like RIT where you let the dye sit for 30 min and then you rinse off. You must let your tunic dry completely. Then, turn your tunic inside out and with a hot iron (set to your fabric setting) press the inside of your tunic to set the paint on the other side. To set the belt, place a thin piece of cotton between the belt and your iron. Sew on your buttons and DONE! Doesn't it look Chic? I must say I feel great in my Tunic, edgy but classic at the same time. Try this dye technique with other natural fibers. You can even use it on cotton prints to give a neat peak-a-boo effect.
The Total Cost of my tunic was $ 43.93 not including tax (which varies) and includes 2 yds of Hanky weight Linen, one jar of Dye-na-Flo, and Amy Butler's Anna Tunic. You could make a similar Ombre tunic using your own pattern collection and your costs goes down to $27.95. Less than $30! That is a value of $100 from the cost of the inspiration top to your custom fit, custom colored to your exact liking, one of a kind Ombre Tunic. Guess which I would choose!
So now that I am an official crocheter, I figured I should get some Granny Squares under my belt to seal the deal. For those who don't know, Granny Squares are to crocheters as dishcloths are to knitters. Granny Squares are small crocheted squares that feature different designs in each that you can sew up into different projects. Some of the most popular are blankets, scarves, and shawls. Collecting and finding new Granny Square patterns is just as fun as working them up. I set out to find some that I, as a beginner, could handle and I came up with 2 good patterns. The first is a beautiful granny square which is shown in 3 colors but can be worked up in just one or two, as I did. The second is an interesting take on the Granny Square style but reshaped for Christmas to make a Granny Tree. I worked my tree up based on the instructions that called for a treble stitch. Next time I will go with the double and use a smaller hook as with the hook called for by the ball band and the treble stitch I think the finished project is too floppy to make a good ornament but would be perfect with the DC.
I have to say I loved making these. I learned some new things, obtained some much needed practice and new ways to use the skills I already had. Completing something so cute, colorful and beautiful in a short amount of time is very satisfying. Unlike the Amigurumi animals I had made previously, there was no assembly, no stuffing. Once I was done crocheting, I was done! I did learn that: yes, my tension is still too tight. How do I know this, you ask, well... the thought occurred to me shortly after my crochet hook snapped in my hand. "Self", I thought, "you may need to relax a little with this crochet business". Stay tuned to see how this revelation works out. Until then, I will keep practicing and definitely keep cranking out Granny Squares.
My Green and Purple Granny Square was knit up in Berroco Weekend (75% Acrylic, 25% Cotton) in Tomatillo and Orchid. This was a great yarn to crochet with: no splits and it was neither too slick nor fluffy. My Granny Tree was knit with Tahki Tara Tweed (80% Wool/ 20% Nylon) in Brick. This was also a fantastic yarn to crochet with. It was fluffier than the Weekend but it was also had more stretch.
Following on the heels of my previous article on how to sew Pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Foot is how to then add this amazing detail to your store bought patterns. Say you have a dress or a shirt that you want to add pintucks too but you aren't sure how to add the details without altering the pattern. The solution is to sew the pintucks on before you cut your pattern piece. This can be tricky but if you plan ahead your finished piece will look amazing.
I start out by first deciding which pattern pieces will feature pintucks and mark them in some fashion. Then, I layout my fabric and pattern pieces as instructed in the pattern. The pieces that will have pintucks, I trace with tailors chalk around the outside giving a wide berth (sometimes about 1 in. around), be more generous on the width of the piece since that will be affected more by the pintucks than the length. This will give you a good idea of where to place your tucks and how long to sew them. Also be sure if you are working with pieces cut on a fold to mark the center line. You can cut out the unaffected pieces now or after you add the pintucks to the fabric. Do not cut out the pieces that will feature pintucks. Sew your pintucks before you cut out these pattern pieces using your traced outline as a guide. Sew your pintucks from the top of the traced outline to the bottom. Once you have added your pintucks, then cut out those pattern pieces. I like to go over the top and bottom of the pintucks with a basting stitch to keep them secure until the garment is all stitched up. I added 7 pintucks to the HotPatterns Cupid Cami in Sherbet Pips Squares Vanilla/Pink with matching bias tape. I modified the pattern to eliminate the ties and made 12in. long straps. The light pattern really helps the pintucks to stand out and compliment the camisole shape. Pintucks would also look great on the bodice of a shirt dress, widthwise on a fabric belt, or as a hem detail on some twill shorts.
When you are in need of an excellent seamless cast on, you can't go wrong with the Crochet Cast On. The Crochet Cast On is a flawless cast on perfect for joins, grafting and decorative bind offs. You can use it when knitting identical halves of scarf or shawls, for sock toes or when matching your cast on to your bind off. You don't need to know to know how to crochet to complete the crochet cast on, but having a feel for the hook is helpful in learning this new technique. It is a great foundation for pick up stitches later on and is easy to pull out later.
All you need is your working yarn, some waste yarn in a contrasting color, your needle and a crochet hook. It is a terrific alternative to the Provisional Cast On, if you are short on cable needles or just prefer this method. It is always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve and more than one way to get the end result, if the end result you are looking for is a seamless join or graft!