Floral Party

Friday was the moment the Floral Party dress went out to play. Floral Party dress came into being because the first batch of students from work graduated. Graduation means a ceremony and a perfect excuse for a new dress. The dress needed three elements: a fabric, a pattern and a sewing machine. All those elements were new to me, and I’ll explain below.

How I wore it

How I wore it

Now, I’m usually not a floral person. In fact, I hadn’t even noticed that the fabric resembled something florally when I bought it. I thought it was just random smudges of colour, silly me. The fabric is stretch and has a seemingly waffle like texture to it, it felt very interesting and not something I’d really used before, so that was new. I had about 2 meters, maybe a little less of the fabric to make work.

Fabric

Second, the pattern. The pattern is called (I think) “Odkodowana sukienka” or “Decoded dress” from Papavero and can be found here. Now, this site is completely in Polish, and my Polish is *cough* very limited. It does however, have some very nice free patterns. There are no real instructions, apart from a link from someone else who made it, and the comment that the sleeves are tight. This was my first time with a Papavero pattern, so that was new too, but with a stretch fabric I figured not much could go horribly wrong. I decided to pick size 36 based on my measurements and sewed it up according to what I figured made the most sense. I added pockets, reduced the length of the back bodice about 2 cm in the centre and took at least 10 cm from the hem.

Front Back

The third element was the sewing machine. You see, I got this very old-looking sewing machine from my friends for my birthday. I didn’t know if it would work, or how it would work. So sometime in the past two weeks, I figured it was high time to get the machine out of the corner it had been stashed in since April. I googled the serial number, eventually finding a site (ismacs.net) that told me that V machines with my number were a type 15K and made in 1909. That’s old! With the model type I could YouTube a movie on how to thread and use it. So I did, and it worked! It might originally be a treadle, but I only used the hand wheel, so it is slow sewing. Very interesting to do for a change.

Singer Cluttered

This is the difference between how I should work (left) and how I actually work (right). Spot the differences..

I used the old singer for all the seams, apart from the waist seam. I figured the waist might need some stretch to be able to go over my head and stuff. The Singer is a pure straight stitch and cannot do the zig-zag necessary for stretchy seams, so I used the old machine for that. I didn’t overlock the edged since it wouldn’t ravel, and I’m not sure my serger is back to a decent stitch again.

Hem Scarf

I even hemmed it with the Singer. First stitching along the bottom edge, then cutting the 10 or so cm excess, and turning in the left over length and stitching again. I like that hem and I think it is either straight, or longer at the back. While I like the dress in general, I do think it benefits from something to break it, so that’s why I’ve added the scarf.

Verdict: another successful and comfortable Graduation Dress!

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Green Plaid Pants

More everyday pants have definitely been on the list for a while now. Currently, I tend to wear pants on a daily basis, but I only have a few pairs that I’ve made myself. I seem to gravitate to the three pairs of bought (old) jeans that I own. I want to change that by giving myself more options. Important aspects for pants to me are belt loops for my keys, back pockets for the access card to work and that they stay up and don’t sag too much.

This plan started one day, when, after about the 5th time I saw some plaid fabrics, I decided that I just needed to have a cut in green and in red. The green was destined to become these pants, while I’m hoping I’ll be able to make a nice jacket with the red stuff (which may or may not have green plaid elbow patches in the future). The cuts are probably less than 2 meters long, so I knew I didn’t have much wiggle room.

I also knew that in the pants I wanted to have the plaids matched horizontally for sure, and vertically as much as possible. The plaid is not balanced in that one of the white stripes is lighter than the other. I knew symmetry was not going to be possible. The pattern I chose was the Helena Culottes pattern by Ralph Pink which I made before here. I did decrease the height at the top, such that it is more at my natural waist now. The waistband pattern from another pair of pants was fetched and added to the top, which worked out better than expected.

Front Back

The pants have front pockets, a front zipper opening and double welt back pockets. I wore it to work today and it stayed up for the entire day. I think this is the first pair of pants that, while not being too tight, fit at the top and stay in the correct place. This may also be because there is no stretch in this fabric.

Inside front Inside back

Left the front and right the back of the pants on the inside. I matched plaids all along the legs too and they turned out really well. The fabric is fairly thick, with one side that is fuzzy and one size that is not. I chose to have the fuzzy side on the inside because I thought it would feel better on the skin. I also thought that because it is so thick, it would be better if I would use a different fabric for parts of the pocket lining and waistband. Some man’s button down shirt in a green/blue/yellow plaid seemed thin enough to work. I cut the hidden bits of the pockets from them. The backs of the pockets needed to be the original fabric (mostly) because I wanted to match the plaids where possible. It worked, also in the welt pockets.

Front pants Back pants

I like them, I wore them the entire day and I felt really comfortable, and warm! Now to see if they will survive my living and laundry schedule!

On to the next pair…

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Cover-Up

Some people are natural heaters, some people are natural freezers. I’m a freezer, which means that I’m cold a lot. So, I’m always looking for that extra layer. At long last I figured out I needed a bolero. I re-found the Your Style Rocks free pattern ‘Our Own Pretty Ways‘, a hooded bolero pattern. I like hood and I liked the style of this one, so I decided to make it.

First step was printing it out and taping it together, that went swimmingly. Then cutting out the pattern pieces and figuring out the fabric. I wanted to see if it could fit on the fabric left over from the red dress, and it did! I did have to eliminate the hood lining, but I found a solution for that. It sewed together easily, I made it basically in one evening, with an hour or  so for additional finishing. These patterns always seem to go together well (at least the two I’ve tried).

Close Hood

I made two main changes. The first was not lining the hood. I didn’t have enough fabric for a full lining, and I quite liked the pop of the red. I solved the exposed seams issue by cutting a strip to go over the centre back seam of the hood. I also cut a second front of the hood as a type of facing in order for the drawstring to be applied. The second change was to cut of the end of the sleeves and apply them like the bottom band. I thought that would be a nicer finish. I also stitched along those seams again to create a coverstitch type look (and to keep the seam allowances out of the way). There are three hooks and eyes to close the front and shoelaces as drawstrings.

 Stitching Bolero close

I like how it looks, and I sort of feel like Morticia Adams with the long sort of bell sleeves..

Bolero front Bolero back

I also quite like it with the red dress from yesterday. Which means that I might actually be able to wear the red dress to work, or something. Maybe not, we’ll see. They are getting used to my ‘interesting’ clothing choice, I think.

Dress bolero

I’m also knitting cable socks, planning plaid pants, making cards and working on my coat, so hopefully I’ll have something to post soon again.

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The Red Dress

Some time ago I bought a very pretty knit fabric, one side was red, the other side was black. I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, it was too pretty to simply make a t-shirt, to light to make a real sweater, and I had no inspiration. However, at some point in November, I realised I needed a new outfit for a party.

The story for that is the following. My dad turned 65 this year, and in the Netherlands you get your first payment from state pension three months after your 65th birthday. We decided that it was sufficient enough a reason for a party, especially as the birthday itself was not really celebrated. So it called for an outfit.

I scoured the internet and my stash of pattern magazines. I couldn’t find anything. Last ditch effort was looking through all my pinterest boards to see if I liked anything. And, surprise! I did! It was this pin that set me off, and I soon found the back by clicking through to the original listing. I decided to recreate that dress in the red/black fabric, as I thought a contrast flap would be nice. I also found 11 shiny silver coloured buttons that I figured were perfect.

Insides Shiny button

The pattern I used was my t-shirt pattern, lengthened such that it was one meter long, then I freehanded a seam to mimic the original. I also made sure I had two centre fronts and two centre backs, to be able to clean finish the flaps. The stretch is along the width, not along the length so sewing the seams was clean sailing. I did in the end take out quite large chunks along the back seams to counteract (what I think is a) swayback. I did not feel like sewing buttonholes in this fabric, and as it is stretchy I can get it on over my head, so there was no need for closures. This is the end result:

Dress front Dress back

I like it, it is comfortable and quite warm due to the doubling of the centre panels. People at the party also liked it, so that was good! Next up, different project from the same fabric.

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T.M.A.K.P.E or The Dragon!

The Most Awesome Knitting Project Ever.

I have accomplished my life’s dream and made a Dragon. Some time ago I found, I don’t even know how, a free knit pattern for a dragon by writer Kim Harrison. After I’d convinced myself that I would be able to knit on multiple tiny (2 mm) double-pointed needles, I decided to go for it and buy all the supplies. I spent hours and hours knitting on what felt like something we in the Netherlands call a satéprikker, it’s loosely translated as skewer in English. Very thin sticks that you would ordinarily stick through meat to put on the barbecue. I was actually excited to come home and continue knitting..!

I followed the pattern almost to the letter, but I have no idea of what my actual gauge turned out to be. I have the feeling my Dragon is a little bit smaller than others, but I don’t mind. I think he doesn’t mind either, as he’s happily sitting on my window sill.

After knitting the entire thing, I had to decide on his finishing. This mainly concerned the eyes. I followed the instructions and initially had the treads come out next to his nose, like a sort of Oriental Dragon. However, he’s more Western in appearance, and I decided to give him a moustache trim. I think I prefer it, but here’s the comparison.

Dragon Dragon

Dragon Dragon

And the wings open and closed. For the next one (and I think that there will be a next one, maybe rainbow coloured wings?) I want to put the wings on with the purl side down, such that he can be displayed with spread open wings.

Dragon Dragon

Anyway, this was one of my most favourite projects of the year. It’s a dragon after all. For notes from Ravelry, check here, and this is where the knit-along is posted. Thanks again Kim Harrison for providing us with the nicest dragon pattern I’ve seen so far!

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Colour Scarf

At some point in the past I found some Wibra Fenna yarn that had all kinds of different colours that slowly changed into each other. I really liked the combination and I figured I knew someone else who would really like it, my very colourful mom. Since it was a couple of months before her birthday, I figured I would have enough time to make something from that yarn I found. That made me convince myself that buying the yarn was a good idea.

Scarf

So I browsed Ravelry in search for a pattern. I wanted to experiment more with knitting lace, so I chose a nice easy lace-y pattern. It’s called the Wakefield Scarf from Knitting Daily and you can see my project details here, including the link to the pattern itself. It’s actually quite easy knitting, the repeat is *k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2* on even rows and purl on the odd row and then shifted over one stitch every knit row. This creates a diagonal lace pattern, which is very interesting with a horizontally striping yarn.

Scarf

I told my mother I had a present for her, but sadly I only managed to finish it in the week after her birthday. Due to the wish to work on another knit project (see the next installment of Hopefully Creative for that project). She was worried that it wouldn’t be warm enough, due to the holey nature of the fabric. However, she does love the colours and they go with everything, so she has worn it, voluntarily, and received many compliments. Especially the texture in combination with the colours seems to be interesting.

Scarf

This is it, it curls up on itself, but that’s also part of the charm. You can also barely see the areas where I had to switch to the second ball of yarn and where I made another connection. Scarf knitting takes quite a while for me, with a lace pattern especially, but I still enjoyed the process over long periods of sitting in the train and listening to audiobooks.

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Beanie Bribe

Yes, I did spend way too much time figuring out a (semi-)suitable synonym for gift that would alliterate with Beanie. However, this was problematic, in the end I decided on bribe and just tell the rest of the story also. You see, last year, a friend of mine had his birthday during a larp event we would both attend. I wasn’t really sure what to gift but I think I vaguely remembered him telling me that he didn’t have or had had stuffed toys. I believe stuffed toys are necessary for sleeping, but he apparently didn’t. Strange stuff… Anyways, I’d produced a teddy bear (this one) that needed a new home and decided his home would be great. Long(er) story short, he was very happy with the bear. It apparently ended up high in the list of best presents ever.

Hat

Now, this year, we would again meet at a larp event on his birthday. You understand that I had to keep my reputation up and produce another winning present. Not just for the reputation, but also because the friend is one of the nicest I have and he deserves good things. So at some point weeks before his birthday, he mentioned that he’d worn his friend’s beanie and loved it. Clearly that was the answer. So I very subtly asked him his head circumference. It wasn’t obvious at all..

Looking through my stash of yarn, I found something black/brown/gray-ish that wouldn’t be too fluorescent to wear outside. For his protection you understand, he might have worn a hot-pink one just to show appreciation. Anyway, this is the finished item, modeled on my globe.

Hat Hat

There are some gradual colour shifts due to the yarn choice, but I like that. It’s also supposed to be a bit slouchy, which I think worked fairly well. He seems to like it too, so I consider this a win! Next, another present, also of the knitting variety.

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