Thursday, January 27, 2011

stylish dress book - halter dress

I have a stack of Japanese Craft Books. I buy them, flip through them, admire them but up until now have never sewn from them.

I decided that this year I would try and I started off with a linen halter dress.

Karyn has a nice post with photos from inside the book here.

This is a forgiving dress because after I cut half of the pieces I realized I forgot to add the seam allowance. I also shortened it a bit by accident only to find that I like the length. The back sits halfway down but I need to redo the elastic to bring it in a bit more. This dress is great for layering - tank tops or over a swimsuit in summer. A cardigan and tights for when it's cooler.

So, sewing Japanese:
-I do have a nice print out of typical sewing terms to decipher the language but I didn't use them. I found them afterwards. I will use them in the future.
-Just looking at the diagrams and using my knowledge of sewing worked just fine for this dress. Many people have said this but it's something you just need to try on your own.
Picking a simple dress like this one to start is a good idea
-It's fun.
-Tracing it out was much more tedious however this is due not only to the grid of multiple patterns layering on the page but also that I ran out of dressmaking paper and had to tape 81/2" x 11" pieces together.

I decided on a hand sewn hem and am so happy I did that as it looks really nice that way. I guessed a lot with this pattern and used a different material then I originally thought I would. It feels good to take chances and I love the color. I am not obsessing over little imperfections and I am okay with ironing it or leaving it rumpled.

I see this getting worn so I would say that is a success because sometimes I have made clothes for myself and they just sit there hardly getting worn at all.


And, here is a new hat made with Rowan Cocoon- no pattern here. I just wanted a warm grey hat and this is what resulted. I like it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

reversible cape

This reversible cape was the first project I wanted to do from the book, Make it Perfect which I won over on Leslie's blog.

This pattern was very straightforward and easy to follow and I like the lines and shape of this piece. Scarlet likes it too and I think it will get good use this Spring. The only issue I had with it was the interfacing which I ended up removing. I would have used a different one then the book recommends but I also think it works fine without it.

One one side I used a red floral Katie Jump Rope fabric I've been holding onto for ages from Denyse Schmidt and on the other an owl fabric that I believe is Alexander Henry.

The book has a nice mix of designs for women and children up to age five though I like the children's designs more. There are some really cute tops and skirts for girls and a nice pair of shorts I want to try for Matthew.

I was sure S would like the owl side better but she surprised me declaring she likes the red side better. Perhaps the expressions say it all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

papier mache birds

Oh, these were fun!

A long time ago Alicia was making these birds and I was sad I didn't snap one up when she was selling them. Fast forward some time and she sold them as kits. I purchased one and it sat and sat. Last week I got inspired to make them and so on those cold chilly afternoons while his sister was napping Matty and I got to work. It took 3 days because you have to allow for drying time. Crocheting the necklaces with wire was one of my favorite parts.

Both my kids are learning about birds in school. M is in his third year of preschool and he has had a visiting bird teacher every year who comes in much like a music teacher and does lessons with them Outside the windows of his classroom are bird feeders. The first year there he used to sit in the rocking chair and look at books a lot and watch for birds- so sweet. Ms. S is in her first year and goes two mornings. This month her lessons and craft projects are about birds. So, I thought this would be a good project to reinforce what they are learning about.

Ms. S has decided the pink one is hers of course since that is her favorite color, Matty's favorite color is yellow so that one is his. I chose blue and green for Mick. Now we have a sweet little family of birds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

relief applique chair pillow

The Alabama Chanin relief applique chair pillow I started last July has been finished. It was a nice slow project that I really enjoyed picking up here and there. The creams are so rich and the embroidery mixed with the raised stencil shapes gives it so much texture. I couldn't be more happy with the finished result. This was bought as a kit from the Alabama Chanin website. I really can't recommend this project enough if this style is your sort of thing.

This project is on the list. I can't wait to get started on it

There are so many good kits to choose from like these flowers. I could go on.

In the books recipes are included. I love that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

cashmere lace

The beginnings of a dress. A border knit in cashmere with the lace chart from Veyla sitting on a windowsill the only place I can find the light today. A pretty pattern I've knit before.
To be combined with a blue floral Liberty of London print in a simple pattern which I need to draw up.
It will be a sundress for days when the warm sun bathes us once again. It will come again the sun, summer.

Though now it feels more like I'm living in a cocoon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

white rabbit wrist-ees

I made some Alice mitts.

This is my second go at this pattern. I had the yarn in pink so I worked those first to see how i would like it and I love the feel of this silk/mohair on my hands so I went ahead and ordered the colors to make the striped version
The designer modeled them after the above image from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and i think she did a fantastic job with it.

Here are mine:

If you are thinking I make a lot of fingerless mittens you would be right. I love them. Apparently, I was too lazy to remove my chipped nail polish for the photo.

Monday, January 10, 2011

poem pillow

I wanted to make a black and white pillow for a while. Something with a bit of vintage and text. I didn't fully form the idea beforehand. Instead, I just worked on it and let my instincts guide me as I went. I had some organic cotton jersey for the main fabric and a piece of lace I wanted to use which I wound up putting on one side of the envelope back. The front has a cotton doily handed down from my Mom that belonged to her Mother or Grandmother.

I was quite influenced by the romantic poets back in my college days. I had one very 'colorful' poetry teacher (he was a real gentleman)who I will never forget- an absolute perfect teacher for the course. At the time I was in my black and white period wearing knee - length slips with cardigans and tights to class and kohl rimmed eyes. I was 21 and invincible. Anyway, my fondness of Keats came back after seeing Bright Star in the theater so I decided to use some text from one of his poems (On the Grasshopper and Cricket) which I incorporated into the piece.

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
from hedge to hedge about the new mown-mead;

The rest is here.

On the back I dedicated the pillow to my Great Grandmother - Mary Donaldson.

I really like this idea of a dedication pillow and toying with different ideas incorporating these elements as well as photographs.

My Mom often brings me linens: embroidered, appliqued that were made by her Grandmother and they are really special to me. For Christmas I received two embroidered tea cozies and a stack of vintage hankies. I wanted to give something back somehow and this was what resulted.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Things I made July- December 2010

Here is the last half of the year. Seeing this makes me want to more embroidery and hand stitch. Those projects really jump out at me. Well they are all nice. I'm proud of my year.

Things I Made January- June 2010

Melissa of Tiny Happy put together a retrospective of what she worked on last year and I thought it would be nice to take a look at what I made last year and see what was inspiring to me. Here are a few of the projects from January through June of 2010. It also serves as a reminder to me that I actually do a lot more then I think. I often say I'm not getting anything done but these pictures tell a different story.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

my best girl sweater

Mommy, I love you. You're my best girl.

This is called 'my best girl' sweater because of the above words that my little one says to me a few times a day, every day.
She's my best girl too. What more could I ask for in a best friend. Awwww.

And, this was her sweater for Christmas. It's an organic merino wool and nice and soft. I just love the brightness of the red colourway which is called chili pepper.

The Ravelry link is here.

This lollipop ornament seems to have gone missing. I can't wait to find where she hid it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

neck cozy

I really wanted to knit this when I saw the project on Purl Bee. It's always nice to do a fast knit while working on larger ones and in between. I had just enough of Como by Debbie Bliss that I scored on sale a while back at my LYS.

I have been really attracted to wearing white more so in this past year then ever. I like how it brightens my skin and I like the softness of this wool in particular - a blend of cashmere and merino. This white has a silver halo to it that is so pretty.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

A new year. A new dress made from leftover fabric of one I made for myself. The servant dress designed by Lynne at Sugar City because she outgrew her white one.

Another version of the same dress made as a tunic.

The mark of my blog turning four years old.

A few resolutions:

Start reading books again... good thing I joined that book club last month to keep me on track.
Take better photographs.
Work harder on the garden this year and maybe try to grow a dye garden and lots more flowers.
Challenge myself in one new direction by learning a new skill. Undecided yet on which one but here a few I'd like to try:
Learn French. I think Japanese would be wonderful too. Learn to paint with watercolors. Take a flower arranging class. Learn ceramics.
Continue to exercise on a regular basis.
Go to at least 3 flea markets. I have been missing them like crazy the past few years.
Go on a vacation already! It's been almost 5 years people.

I would also love to re-do the den and build a patio but we will see.

Happy New Year.