Thursday, May 26, 2016

New dresses!

When going through my wardrobe in the #konMari process, I realised I wanted more dresses. Today, I present three new additions to my closet!

The first two were ones which were living in my mother-in-law's warehouse and I was gifted them when we were cleaning up.

The first is a basic loose shape (so it is helped by a belt) but I find the pattern charming and the fabric is comfortable. Incredibly easy to wear. I've dressed it up here with a lovely frangipani head piece made by my talented sister of Tanith Rowan Designs.

Free is the best price.
The second is this striking metallic dress. It is sadly a little bit scratchy around the neck and sleeve hems but I'm willing to put up with that for the awesome retro vibe. I have not worn this out yet and am still pondering how best to style it.
I try not to laugh as the toddler creates behind the scenes havoc
The third dress joining my wardrobe is one I've made myself.  It is my first try making a garment from stretch fabric, using specialty stitches on the sewing machine. For many years I avoided knits "until I got an overlocker" but lately I've been willing to experiment. I'm very happy that I pushed myself, because the machine did better than I expected and it opens up lots of new options for me.

It is an incredibly basic caftan dress sewn from two rectangles of fabric, as explained in this online tutorial. I used stash burgundy jersey, sewing the seams by machine, but doing the neck, sleeve and bottom hems by hand. Dame Esmerelda helped with that process.
Using my dress form to sew the neckline.
You end up with a straight, shapeless dress (with quite nice drapey short "sleeves"), and I personally wouldn't wear it without a belt.
I also made a long belt of the same fabric from the leftovers.  As a change, I added a cloche and a pansy brooch for a 1920s vibe.

I don't usually take outfit photos for the blog and the little boy was very interested in the process. We have quite a few photographs featuring a short photobomber.
Just like this. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bavarian crochet and a break from blogging

It has been a while since my last blog post. I have to blame a combination of factors, sadly. The first is that the small boy has absolutely, no question, for real dropped his daytime nap (we've had maybe six daytime naps in the last two months). Then I got a paid contract to do a book index, and without a daytime nap all that work had to go on in the evenings, eating into craft time. And when I did get free time, I was eager to create, not blog.

However the index is done, I've got my evenings back, and I can spare some time for the blog.  I have a heap of blog posts planned around recent projects but I'm behind with taking photographs, especially ones of me in outfits, because I need someone more skilled than a toddler to take them.

One topic for which I could take all necessary pictures is my current obsession with Bavarian crochet.
I just sent this lovely potholder off to be sold at Wattle Flat Crafts.
Made with yarn leftover from a vintage hat project, I think the retro colour scheme works well with the kitchen kitsch image of a hanging potholder. The Bavarian crochet pattern has a dense finish that suits the purpose too.

Back view of the potholder, showing the wrong side of the Bavarian crochet.
 I've also been playing around with Bavarian crochet in rows, using some handspun yarn that I was given as a gift several years ago and that has been waiting for a suitable project.
Starting the rows.
 I decided to make a set of cuffs for my planned winter coat. I'm still in the "find a pattern I like" stage of that planning so the cuffs may be waiting for a while yet!
The finished cuffs, waiting for sleeves.

I have enough yarn to make a collar or maybe a hem band as well but I really need a clearer vision for the coat first. At least I've got the start of a colour scheme, and can coordinate the coat fabric to these. I have a vision in my head of an off white coat with a blue lining but I'm reminding myself that there is no use looking at fabrics until I've chosen a pattern. I don't think this coat is being made for this winter but the next.