Posts Tagged ‘ wrap ’

UFO: little pink sweater

I started this baby ballet sweater more than a year ago to give to a little girl born right before Mr. O.

ballet blossom cardigan because new friend is lovely

Got 90 percent done – it was all knitted and partly sewn together – and hit a roadblock. I didn’t like the seams, I didn’t know how to neatly attach the wrap binding to the edge. I put it down.

ballet blossom cardigan because new friend is lovely

It sat. She grew. It sat some more. I swore off seamed sweaters and moved on to one-piecers. She’s way too big now and has been for many months.

ballet blossom cardigan because new friend is lovely

But 2015 is the year of finishing, of using up, of enjoying. So I picked it back up, decided it wasn’t bad and finished sewing her together. She will find a home with a sweet little girl who just popped out last month.

ballet blossom cardigan because new friend is lovely


ballet blossom cardigan because new friend is lovely

Details here c/o Ravelry.

Finishing more and more

Today was just a silly sleeve job on a long fine wool sweater dress, a black Nina Ricci that goes almost to my toes. The short sleeves were too long still and frumpy looking.It’s not a length I normally wear but it looks like an amazing canvas for jewelry: Probably piles of long necklaces. And now it’s done and hanging in the closet, just in time for another deep freeze.

Because really I’m thinking about my spring wardrobe and what’ll be in it.

Wrap dresses, lots of them. Wrap tops, too.

Purples and grays and blacks.

Silk, mostly thrifted, but not all.

silk magenta print

Little knit tops that fit right. Skinny shells with little ruffles down the fronts.

Wrapped up in purple, vol. 2

No wonder I couldn’t find this post! It never got published, and I made this little top from the purple wrap story, what, the summer before last?!

desira purple finished

I remember buying this purple geometric fabric at another Joann close to where I used to work on a winter weekend when it cost $1 a yard. Silly me didn’t know what to do with it and ponied up just one dollar. (Yes, I now know better and buy at least 2 and usually 3.) Within the week, I knew one yard wouldn’t make anything, so it sat and sat and sat.

Desira to the rescue — a yard proved enough for the main body, and cobbled together the edging with scraps of black and white polka dots from two other projects.

desira purple arm facing

I had to make my own wide seam binding for the front.

desira sew facing from pieces

desira make facing from pieces 2

desira make facing from pieces

desira facing made from pieces

And I nixed the belt and inside snaps for a set of ties, all cut from scraps, pinned and sewn to the spots where you’d have stuck the snaps.

desira purple tie1

desira purple tie2
Burda Style got me hooked on bias strips, something I never really used before. Their techniques for finishing armholes and necklines – essentially before you finish sewing the garment together – makes for really clean insides at the end. I sew French seams whenever possible – and now use French bias tape so nothing frays or looks all 4-H.

Patterns are my “puppies”

My friend B found a puppy store close to our job she visited whenever she felt down. The puppies just… cheered her up. Fixed her day. Got her out of bed sometimes. She tried at length to get me to go with but I never did. I like puppies and all but for me, “puppies” equals “patterns”.

So when I was having a lousy Thursday, I moseyed next door to the Hancock Fabrics to look with ladies through the pattern books. The older ladies who work and shop there are cheerful, calming, chatty. They want help with decisions, admire your choices, comment on the really crazy patterns.

Since my friend eventually bought herself a Boston terrier now named Mona, I took advantage of a $.99 sale and walked out with 10 beauties of my own.

Crazy Lifestyle Wardrobe and pajamas — I KNOW. (Actually, the line drawings look less ridiculous than the pattern photos) But look at the t-shirts that come with. One of them might fit Dolly.

A wrap dress with a proper V-neck. The one I have comes up too high and I feel old in it.

Boy’s shirts (and baby romper) in tons of sizes for my Mister, brothers, nephews. A good staple.

A hoodie that’ll fit snugly and not all naked. Can’t save the photo so it’s here. Look at the top, too. Love that.

Blouses and simple dresses for the summer.

And two Cynthia Rowleys I’m so geeked up about too. The sleeveless ruffled one would look amazing on my sister. The tunic one is going to become a staple and a stash-eater.

how to… shorten blouse sleeves-3

I was playing with short sleeve a while back by making new short cuffs, and by resetting the whole sleeve to preserve the original cuffs.

Thrifted a long sleeved black cotton blouse this week because of the great wrap detail – a button plus tie with a cummerbund sort of detail – and decided, so I can wear it to work, to do the simplest shortening of all – a basic chop and hem – while watching the nightly news.

blouse black wrap before & after after… and before

You can see the long sleeve as a before, and the sleeve I shortened as an after.

Flip the blouse inside out to work with it. Mark where you want the short sleeve to end, cut straight across, and then hem using this failsafe method: Measure an inch from the raw edge, fold up wrong sides together and press. Then fold the raw edge into the fold, and press again. Tack with a few pins, then stitch with a basic straight stitch. I like to use excised sleeve #1 to mark and cut sleeve #2.

Doesn’t get much easier – unless you chop and wear, a la t-shirts.

wrapped up in purple, vol. 1 (or how to… freezer paper stencil)

Wrap clothing is my salvation and my downfall both. Tops and dresses that wrap always fit – and that’s the problem – there’s no telling how snug they should be since there’s always plenty of give. in the end, I seek out stuff that wraps around because it always looks good on me. I get my much-needed waist, and there’s room for many or no layers underneath.

The purple-ing of my wardrobe continues. Wardrobe Refashioners advised me many moons ago to figure out what I like and need and stick to it. I like purple and I need clothes that fit well, and nothing adjusts more easily than a wrap. My stash is full of purple fabrics in one- and two-yard lengths.

So I made a dress from a pattern I had, McCalls 4007, and some purple linen-like fabric from the Joann clearance rack bought last summer, maybe.

DSC04463 finished dress – cute but boring

I finished my size and didn’t love the neckline – which prompted me to get cracking on Burda Style’s Desira wrap – but it fit nicely and screamed out for a freezer-paper stencil.

I used a blown-up evil eye design, the simplest I could find online and still it took a lot of skill with scissors to cut out precisely. (Note to self to choose something with fewer pieces next time.) Image also known as a hamsa or hand of Fatima and my superstitious self adores it.

enlarged printout to 8.5 x 11 setting on copier

Traced the outline with a pencil on the flat side of freezer paper.

DSC04462 compare to original

Cut it all out. I like to use tiny scissors. Ironed the bottom skirt flap where image was going. Carefully placed pieces onto the skirt, ironing a piece at a time (no steam!), first the outline, then the small motifs.

iron one piece at a time, no steam
all ironed on

Mixed gold and purple craft paint with white fabric paint medium. Put the fabric on a chunk of newspaper in case of bleeding, then dabbed the paint on until the whole stencil was well covered.

freezer stencil paint two coats of paint did it – added more gold streaks in second coat
freezer stencil protect paint on something protective like newspaper to avoid bleeding paint onto another layer of the garment

Let mostly dry, then applied a second coat, streaked with gold. Let paint dry overnight just in case. Peeled off freezer paper pieces carefully.

that hamsa’s finished!

Held up for Mister to admire.

dress wrap purple finished dress so much cuter with the design

Other freezer paper tutorials available on Craftster, Freezer Paper Stencils on Flickr.

Happy Birthday, little girl I love

My goddaughter who has legs up to her neck and avant-garde bangs (she cut herself, naturally) turned 7 this year. My girl loves a casual dress, and I love sewing for little ladies, so there’s the finished present.

I took this vintage Simplicity pattern thrifted in a packet of old patterns and lengthened the wrap top shown in yellow. The inside facing had to become longer, too, to hide all the denim fray, and I fused interfacing to a teal bandana to do that (pix here). Denim’s from Gaffney’s in Philadelphia, my very favorite fabric store.

Finally saw the little girl this past weekend, handed over packages, watched her twirl (despite the flu) in the dress *and* white on white embroidered cowboy boots purchased for a steal from Alcala’s Western Wear in Chicago.