I grabbed a pair of sparkly tights from American Apparel that I had destroyed after only a few wears and here's what I did.
Did I make this awesome dress covered in ribbons and sequins? Nope. I bought it at a vintage store for $20. The focus here is my super sparkly tights. I didn't make these either, but I did alter them to extend their life and make them way more comfortable in the process. I love wearing dresses in the winter which neccessitates a lot of tights and leggings. I love the colours and options at places like American Apparel and Joe Fresh but their sizes just don't fit me. I'm the wrong shape and I'm too tall. the tights tend to get pulled down so that I have drop crotch and they also tend to split first along crotch seam first. Not to mention they tend to be so uncomfortable and annoying.
I was reading Marilla Walker's blog a week or two ago and she was releasing a pattern for tights. I have seen a few people make tights before but a light sparked and I realized I could just replace the tops of my tights. This is by no means an original idea as a few days later this exact technique was outlined on her blog and I'm sure it's been done by many others before. You can check out her post here. There's a great tutorial by Carolyn here to draft your own tights pattern here.
I grabbed a pair of sparkly tights from American Apparel that I had destroyed after only a few wears and here's what I did.
I cut the legs off the body of the tights at the point where the fabric changed.
I used my self drafted leggings pattern and folded it so the leg in-seam length was only a couple inches and cut it out on some nude stretch fabric.
I constructed the leggings as usual including adding an elastic waistband so they looked like nude booty shorts. I then zigzag stitched the legs of the original tights to the openings of the shorts. I had to stretch the original tights quite a bit during this. Also it was important to figure out the orientation of the feet before attaching so they were on the right way.
It was super easy. They look very odd when they are not on due to the different qualities of both fabrics but they look fine on as they stretch to fit your body.
Life changing. It's the little things in life. I'm planning on slowly doing this to all my current tights. Hurrah!
A few days ago I wrote my entire Top 5 post, but when I hit post, Weebly lost about half the post forever. I'm not sure what that is about but at that point I needed to give up in frustration and walk away. Anyone else experience problems with Weebly? Are there better blog host sites? Are they user friendly? I would like to avoid anything that requires me to learn coding. I'd rather spend the time sewing, or doing anything else really.
So here it is. Top 5 of 2014 part 2.
Highlights (the general kind, not the sewing kind):
1. We bought an apartment. It's super beautiful and bright and it's in the neighbourhood we love. It makes me happy everyday. We are so lucky.
2. Our apartment also has space for the things we love to do like host our friends, cook lots and I have my own sewing hole.
3. We went on an epic bike trip down the Oregon Coast. I had been wanting to do this trip for a few years and it finally worked out this year. It was an amazing trip and I'm so glad that we did it.
4. We had some great times with friends. We planned a long weekend trip to Mount Baker and filled a cabin with 26ish very fun people. We also managed to co-host a 200 person Hallowe'en party with great success. Lots of great times were had with friends this year.
5. Work got better. I don't write publicly about my work but it got better and that was good.
I always enjoy reading everyone's top 5 and other reflection posts at this time of year. I find it really interesting to see what people really wore and loved and what they learned from the year. I also think that some intentional reflection can be useful. I like Gillian's Top 5 because it is open to use as you wish and it adds some structure to something that could turn into a big long ramble.
So here's mine. Split into multiple posts because Weebly ate half of my post...blurg.
Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt: I never took photos of this skirt but I actually made two of these out of purple chambray. One of view B and then because I wore it so much of view C at the end of the summer. I always wore the first one to work and I change at work and seal everything up to control for bed bugs so I never really wore it when I could take a picture of it. The second one I finished when the weather changed so I look forward to wearing it next year. I need this skirt in every kind of fabric. It's so flattering and comfortable.
Tilly and the Buttons Coco: I have worn this dress every week. Not sure how the fabric will hold up but it is so comfortable. This may not be everyone's neutral but I feel like myself in this.
Kitschy Coo Lady Skater: The same goes for this dress. I put it on and feel like myself in it. The polka dots are a cheap fabric but they are fun and it's good enough for a casual summer dress.
Colette Patterns Myrtle: Despite not being sure about the amount of gape on this neckline, I really like this dress. It's a perfect travel dress as you can crumple it up and it's so quick to dry if I wash it and hang it on a line. This will definitely be coming with me on my trip this winter to South Africa.
Hermione's Everyday Socks: I have knit a lot of complicated projects but never socks. It felt like I would never knit socks. I didn't see the point in knitting something that you just shove in your shoes and hide. After knitting these for my Oma though, I see the allure. They are so warm and so comfortable. I have never had socks that truly fit my feet, store bought socks always just stretch to kind of fit everyone but not really. I can see knitting a pair for myself as a good travel project
Sansa Stark Hallowe'en Costume: This turned out pretty well and I am super proud of those sleeves and figuring out how to do rolled hems on my serger, BUT it took SOOOOOO long and it stressed me out. I enjoy Hallowe'en and I enjoy making costumes but there needs to be a balance and this costume tipped the scales way too far into crazy town.
Cake Tiramisu: This dress is pretty transparent. Also, I wonder how flattering it truly is. I was thinking that when I gained weight that this was just as good as it got but it really accentuates my large hips when I am not standing at this sneaky 3/4 angle. I do still like the top of this dress though and might combine it with a different skirt in the new year when I try again with a thicker fabric.
Megan Neilsen Briar: I actually love this pattern but I hate this fabric. My face here reflects this well even though at the time I was just cold and self conscious. I wanted to try this pattern out with a cheap fabric and had this one from a bag sale. I always feel weird and unattractive in this. I wear it all the time to work though and I think it's getting me down.
Modified Turn a Square: Way too small. This was a fairly quick experiment and reminded me that different knitted fabrics have different properties. Should be obvious at this point. Instarsia is not stretchy.
Modified Lady Skater: This one I made from technical fabric. I thought it would be perfect for my bike trip because I like dresses and this would be fast drying and easy to be active in on the beach. I ended up wearing either bike shorts or long underwear for most of my trip, unless we were out in which case I wore a nicer dress. This didn't fit most settings. It might've been because the beach was generally cold. Perhaps this is better for hotter weather. I'm not sure. Maybe if I played tennis?
I recently asked my partner to grab my leopard print dress from the drying rack and he asked "which one?" Which then prompted a whole slew of commentary from him.
"Do you think you are the only person who has to specify this?"
"How many leopard print items do you think the average person owns?"
"I think I own the average number of leopard print items."
"Yeah, or maybe the number most people own but not the average."
"I see that your mean math implies that I am now part of the select few crazy leopard print ladies."
I had some leftover ponte di roma from my recent Coco dress and thought it would make a nice quick Renfrew top. I actually have a million of these that I made before I started to blog. This is the first one that I have managed to have enough fabric for the full cowl. Love the full cowl. I love it. Definitely worth it.
I occasionally find this pattern a bit short so I decided to add and inch to the length of the body and think it is an improvement in fit. I serged this up quicky and used a double needle to top stitch the neckline shoulders. I also reinforced the shoulder seam with some clear elastic.
I think this will be an easy go to staple to wear with jeans but when my sister saw it she said "Do you think you would have gravitated towards this in the store?"
What do you think?
Leopard print. Yay or No Way?
I made a few Christmas gifts for family this year. I thought I'd just post a quick round up of them all here before I forget them as they were made in the crazy haze that is December.
These are the Hermione's Everyday Socks that I decided would be the perfect knitting project for me to take on my bike trip. When I originally packed for my bike trip down the Oregon Coast this summer I envisioned a lot of chill down time at the beach. While I did spend a bit of time at the beach I mostly spend my time biking and doing all the things that are involved in existing when you camp from a bike which is setting up a tent and cooking for hours everyday. This is not a complaint as it was satisfyingly meditative but it meant that I pretty much knit slightly more than one cuff while on my trip and then it became unravelled in my pannier. I restarted these socks in the fall and then realized that the variegated yarn looked really weird and busy with the textured pattern so I frogged them again and restarted with stockinette. This was my first pair of socks and I struggled a bit with thinking that I knew what I was doing when I didn't and didn't read the instructions carefully enough so I ended up ripping out the heel and redoing that as well during the process. Once I just accepted that I didn't know any better things went a lot smoother and I started really following the directions. Redoing everything took a long time but I also didn't really think about how this yarn is so much finer than I am used to. Thin yarn = millions of stitches. These took forever. In the end though, I'm very happy with the result. My Oma has the same size feet as me and so I hope she enjoys them. She will forget that I knit them but I somehow take comfort in the fact that I know I did.
This was two tries at a hat for my cousin's daughter (my partner would tell me that she is then technically my second cousin but my cousin told us we could choose our own titles to be called and so I choose "Amazing Renée). I recently visited my cousin and her family and managed to measure her 2.5 year old daughters head while she stood still for a minute. I decided to adapt my go to Turn a Square pattern by Brooklyn Tweed by just doing some math and casting on less stitches but I didn't take into account that doing instarsia to make speckles instead of stripes as the pattern calls for really reduces the stretch and made my first attempt way too small. The second hat turned out significantly larger and I hope worked out but I can't be sure as the recipient was not interested in putting it on on Christmas Eve.
This is the Aviator Hat that I made for my cousin's newborn son. This pattern was super straight forward and knit up very quickly as it's so tiny. I didn't add the buttons to the front as I worried they could become a choking hazard as they might be easily ripped off the hat. This one was immediately tried on when received as babies really don't have a choice in these things.
My uncle is a wonderful man who wears a bow tie to work every Thursday. He makes up silly songs, encourages singing at the dinner table and legally changed his middle name to Montana on a recent birthday because he liked it. I drew his name for our extended family secret santa and knew that I would get him a bow tie. At first I thought I would buy him a fancy one but then learned after a trip to Harry Rosen that bow ties are crazy expensive. They ranged for $100 to $250 and none of them were made of magic. In fact they were all piled up in a messy ball in the corner of the store. I gave up on that pretty quickly and decided I could just make a bow tie and hope that it turned out nice. This one is 100% silk and lined with silk organza and cost about $15 to make. I used this tutorial and it was very straight forward. It was a bit fiddly to turn the bow tie right side out but doable with some patience and the blunt end of a knitting needle. The resulting bow tie looks great but my uncle is a big tall man so the proportions might be a bit small for him. He still looked very dapper in it though. When we were little we called him Uncle Stevie. As we got older we started just calling him Steve like everyone else. One day he sighed and said "when did I stop being Uncle Stevie?" so I added a quick embroidered name for him.
All in all, I think that these were pretty successful projects. I sometimes wonder if home made gifts are a pleasure or a punishment. I try to consider if someone will truly appreciate one or if they'd really prefer something purchased from a store. It's hard to know but I think they were well received. I knit my mom a top one year that she didn't seem too into at the time but then she texted me this year telling me how awesome it looked on her. She also handed me a printed out pattern of a cardigan with a colour suggestion written on it a few weeks ago so you never know I guess.
A blog to document my attempts to create a well-fitting wardrobe for myself and my family through sewing and knitting.