Wardrobe Tweaking

There hadn’t been a lot of crafting around here, due to a stretch of days with a sore back. Instead I overdosed on Project Runway series 3. I knew I’d gone too far when I got up on Wednesday morning and went through my wardrobe, told Paul that I needed to go shopping for a new fabulous evening dress, and even contemplated making one.

Well, I did manage to snap out of it. Instead of hunting down a couturier or putting aside the book I’m supposed to finish in a few weeks to make something, I went to my favourite clothing store, Motto and bought this dress.

The reason I love this store is that the clothes can be stuffed into a suitcase and never need ironing. You can washed them in a hotel sink in the evening, hang them in the bathroom and they’ll be dry the next day. They’re perfect layering garments – and there seems to be something there for every body type.

I already have several garments. I love most of them, but there are a few pieces that I’ve worn so much that I’m getting a bit tired of them, and one that I never liked the cut of. I decided to try to do something about that.

First I took a top that I like on me when I see it in the mirror, but not in photos. I think it has something to do with the flash making the mesh on the front look more translucent than it is, and hiding the embroidery on it.

The dress I bought has a similar mesh front panel. I like how there’s also trim that looks like shoestring straps, with a button where it meets the mesh. So I looked through my sewing box and found some black trim and buttons to sew on.

Now, the fabric that a lot of Motto clothes are made of is crinkly and stretchy. Not the easiest fabric to work with. I backstitched the trim on, and because it’s in a place that doesn’t need to stretch it will be fine. The crinkliness makes the straps look a bit crooked here, but the fabric flattens out a bit when worn.

The next garment I tackled was a top that I didn’t like the cut of. I’ve Photoshopped jpeg of a similar top from the site to show the proportions. I love the frill around the bottom, but with the thin shoulder straps on my narrow shoulders it always looked bottom-heavy to me.

The thought of trying to sew the fabric on the machine was intimidating, however. I got to wondering if I could sew it by hand, so I turned to the internet. Within minutes I had learned that herringbone stitch is ideal for stretch fabric, so I got cutting and pinning.

I took off the frills. The smallest was cut up to make a little frill at the shoulder to widen the straps. One of the larger frills made a new, smaller frill around the bottom that levelled up the garment. You can only see the herringbone stitch if you look closely, and then it’s quite decorative.

I’m now looking at a few other pieces in my wardrobe, in particular two straight skirts that don’t get much wear. I think I’ll shorten them. Maybe even add some height to the waistband, since high-waisted straight skirts seems to be coming into fashion. There’s also a couple of stretch tops I’m tempted to change the neckline on.

To my surprise, I rather enjoyed the hand stitching. It’s much less stressful than trying to sew stretch materials on the sewing machine. Suddenly I wish I had a dress model, and keep fantasising about draping cloth and making fabulous clothing … like they do on Project Runway.

No harm in dreaming, right?

Knit, knit, knit. Frog, frog… frog?

I’ve finished a couple of knitting projects.

Pattern: Piper, from the Twist Collective
Yarn: Cascade 220 (leftovers from the Argyle Vest)
Comments: I liked this pattern so much, I bought it twice. Okay, it was forgetfulness and not checking if I had it already. I also wound up knitting most of it twice, due to my own silliness. The size I chose was smaller than what the pattern specified for my head size, because I prefer a smooth look than the ‘slouchiness’ in some of the ones people had knit on Ravelry.

Pattern: Dad’s Socks, my own toe-up, short row heel methods.
Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Sock Yarn and some leftover cream/white Patonyle
Comments: I found the yarn in a sample bin at the Bendy shop, but I don’t think they went on to produce the yarn. Pity, really. It’s a nice, basic, robust-feeling sock yarn. I’ll have to see how well it wears – I’ve added some nylon thread in the toe and heel.

FO: Wristwarmers.
Yarn: Opal (I think) and leftover Patonyle in cream/white.
Comments: These were made from the leg and cuffs of a pair of socks I knitted a long time ago, and didn’t fit too well. I cut them off above the heel, picked up stitches and knit a short ribbed cuff.

FROGGED: Spiral Socks
Why?: Well, they shrank and the spiralling pattern made it nearly impossible to get them on. I deluded myself that I could frog them back to the base of the leg and reknit from there, but it just wasn’t working. So they got frogged completely. I washed them to lesson the kinks, which only reduced them a bit, and for some strange reason a lot of colour came out – even through the socks had been washed plenty of times.

FROGGED: Socks for my Dad.
Why?: He disliked the colours. Not manly enough. I was going to overdye them, but I also found his feet had shrunk since I’d last knit him socks and it was easier to just start again with new yarn. Considered completing them and overdyeing them for Paul, but decided it would be a shame. I like the colours, and even though I already have socks knit from this yarn I may eventually knit another pair.

FROGGED? Well, not yet. The intention was to learn new crochet methods by making a blanket from the excellent book Crochet Techniques. But my enthusiasm for crochet has dwindled a lot, and I prefer the idea of using this yarn to knit a garment now, or weave a blanket instead. I’m a little reluctant to frog all the squares I’ve done, however, since I do have heaps of the yarn and what I gain by frogging will be only half balls of yarn. So I’m thinking I’ll make enough new squares to make a lap blanket with a border, and leave it at that.

WIPs? Well, I still have to finish the fair isle vest at some point. I’m about a quarter of the way through the third and last garment in my Bernardathon, Slinky. I’ve also started knitting a simple ribbed headband and another mobius scarf – the latter so I have something other than rib to knit!

Sketch Sunday 38

Today’s sketch is a pair of tiny paintings I did of houses from the Tiny House Blog. Back when I was brainstorming ideas for using my notebooks I decided to keep one by my computer and paint things I saw on the internet.

Well, this idea didn’t stick. While I’ve been a bit too busy lately to pause and sketch something, the main problem was the notebook.

The book doesn’t want to stay open while I’m working in it. I’m fighting it all the way.

So I’ve decided it will have another use: recording quotes. I have heaps of these floating around on scraps of paper. When I hear a quote I write it down. Gradually, during tidy-ups they end up gathered together in a pile on my desk, or the bottom of the box I keep my post-it notes and lip balm in. It’s time I started writing them down, and this book looks like a good one for that.

As you can see, I’ve torn out the two sketches I did. I’ll glue them into the main sketchbook I use. The other notebook idea I had – the art journal – is going really well. Just this morning I tore out an article on a famous sculpture in Melbourne to glue into it.