Married to the Sea

I haven’t posted in a few days, as you may have noticed, because I’ve been making people drive me in a giant Northern VA-Charlottesville-Richmond¬† triangle for friend visits. I wasn’t idle, though. While I was away I whipped out my knitting needles and made a pair of fingerless gloves, something which I used to abhor for not being useful until I realized last winter that they really help while typing in a poorly insulated apartment.

The motto on the gloves, Hold Fast, was a traditional sailing tattoo, a charm or preventative against falling from the rigging. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m sad that I didn’t replace the word “hold” with the word “type”, since I rarely find myself at sea but am often at a keyboard…

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Sweater dress? Why, yes!

I went to the thrift store today with my charming friend Carli, and found, mysteriously, two sweaters that were exactly alike except for color. Same size, same brand, same everything. So, what did I do? I combined them!

It’s not the most flattering garment I’ve ever made; it has a tendency to hang. But it is incredibly warm and brightly colored, and it’ll be just the thing for chilly fall days. If those ever arrive. Keep your fingers crossed, folks.

I also had most of the blue sweater left over when I was done, minus some ribbing for the bottom and the bottoms of the sleeves. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get that; I might have to sacrifice part of another sweater to do it, creating a vicious cycle of sweater alterations. I’ll post that one when it’s done, probably in the next few days.

Total cost for this dress? $10. And I get a second sweater out of it, to boot.

Gray and Black Lace Tank

Today has been a long day, but oddly enough, not much has gotten done in the way of “final” products. I’ve made most of an underbust corset, gone to the fabric store for supplies for a project I’m doing for my aunt, bought metal eyelets, and knitted. However, it wasn’t until a few minutes ago that I got around to making my Item Of The Day. I was struggling for inspiration, you see.

Finally, it struck when I found a bunch of gray knit jersey left over from an ill-advised dressmaking project. (Where does all this stuff come from?? Did I sew a lot more than I remember as a child?) It was kind of a mess, all bunchy and tangled, but I managed to get it into some semblance of order:

After that, I spent some time doodling ideas, at least one of which will become another shirt.

I think I want to make the cloud one; it’s a little cutesy, but I did just make a shirt with an anchor applique. Clearly, being cheesy is not my biggest fear any longer. But I also like the idea of making a gray tank top with cutouts that show orange tulle underneath. Perhaps in the shape of an orange.

After some cutting, some sewing, and some swearing, here’s the final shirt:

This picture tells you a couple of things. First, that I’m tired; I’ve been up for quite a while. Second, that this shirt is too small for me; I used another shirt as a template and this fabric wasn’t as stretchy. This shirt goes straight into the shop. Which is a shame, because I rather like it. Maybe I’ll make a bigger one out of the leftovers…

Contest Dress, final product!

Last night I posted my finished dress on Craftster, and I’ve been getting an overwhelmingly positive response. I’m so happy, I’m daring to think I might win! In which case, I would get a lovely free t-shirt, as well as fame and glory. We can only hope.

This crafting challenge fits right into my philosophy as a crafter, which is to use old rather than new, to take what you’ve got and make it magical instead of running out and buying the new trendy thing. And I think I achieved that here.

Here is the dress. It’s all made out of the black bedsheet, and I’m still sort of amazed by how well it turned out. I tried darts for the second time ever, and I’m really coming to appreciate how much darts contribute to well-fitting clothing. This post is going to be a little photo-heavy because I’m so happy.

As you can tell, I’m ecstatic.

Stay posted for news on whether or not I won. I’ll be heading out to Portland, Oregon next week so I’m going to try and squeeze in a tutorial before I go, something to keep you all occupied, or at least amused at my folly. And I’ll be posting pictures of neat handicrafts and homemades that I find in Portland, which is famous for being the freakiest, weirdest place on the west coast. You excited? I know I am.

Craft Challenge! I love a challenge!

So I’ve recently discovered Craftster, this site where people like me endlessly post their finished projects, questions about crafting techniques, and other neat stuff. And–here’s the best part–they have challenges! Crafting challenges! With prizes!

The current challenge is bedsheet clothing. I think I can come up with something in the next few days, but I’m not sure if the sheet I have in mind can win. See, it’s black. Working with it is basically going to be like, you know…working with black cloth. Not that challenging. Furthermore, the dress that I’m making is ridiculously simple. It’s a black-on-black dress with a circle skirt and a fitted bodice, and while it’s going to be breathtakingly flattering and good-looking, it’s not exactly a wow piece. Here’s the work in progress:

I still need to fix the top edge, install a zipper, put in shoulder straps and hem it. But the tricky parts, the tailoring of the bodice and waist, are done. So I should be right on track for meeting the challenge deadline. I’m wondering if I can win through clever styling–wearing it with a pillowcase shirt or something. Tune in tomorrow, hopefully, for the finished dress.

Tutu? You, too? Youtube? Um…skirt.

Ever since I was about three years old, I’ve wanted a tutu. I think I even had one for a little while; if I didn’t, it certainly wasn’t for lack of begging. So today, to placate my inner child, I decided to make one.

I started with the traditional bunch-up-some-fabric technique; I cut about a million strips from my Giant Bolt of Orange Tulle (see photo), which lives in my room and taunts me with its impracticality. This was oddly relaxing.

Then I bunched up all of those strips, one at a time, and pinned them onto a waistband that I made out of two sleeves from a t-shirt–in fact, the same t-shirt that I used to make one of the tank tops in a previous entry, thus winning me many frugality points. Congratulating myself, I added a quadruple-layer of tulle underneath the strips for modesty’s sake and sewed the whole mess together. And here it is:

As you may notice, I made a few mistakes. First was that under the weight of all that tulle, the waistband stretched out, making it bunchy and weird and meaning that I had to add a drawstring to keep it around my body (that’s that weird little ribbon end emerging from my clothing.) Second, I didn’t realize just how…orange…this project was until I photographed it.

On the bright side, I think that the orange will look good in moderation–i.e., with another skirt over it. If I use it as a crinoline I can add a little bit of orange zing to everything without having to go around looking like CinderPumpkin.

As soon as I came downstairs to show my family, my aunt said, “Oh, neat! You know, I just bought you something like that, only black. Black taffeta. A…crinoline! That’s it!” So now I Have two. When it rains, it pours fluffy skirts, apparently.

Basement Find–Vintage shirt? Lingerie?

I went basement diving yesterday. My parents both like to save everything, and our basement is pretty extensive, so there was a lot of ground to cover. And I found some interesting things, including this piece that belonged to my paternal grandmother back in the 1950s or 60s. And now, I’m not exactly sure what to do with it.

In case you can’t tell from the picture, it’s beautiful. It was also ripped in three different places, two of which I could fix and one of which I couldn’t. I decided to give up on the tear on the sleeve since it was missing some fabric, and so I cut both sleeves off to make cap sleeves.

Now, I really want to use this piece and wear it, because it belonged to my grandmother, and because I think it’s super-neat and sort of a classic example of careful garment construction. I mean, look at all those tiny pin-tucks, the care with which everything is edged…it just makes me happy. But I run into this problem; how do you wear something that’s simultaneously very stuffily cut and completely transparent?

I don’t think that a bra is enough clothing. I only wish I were Lady Gaga.

Alternately, with a camisole, it looks stuffy and old-ladyish…

I think that maybe the answer is a bandeau bra, or a less fussy camisole, but I don’t want to buy a new thing because new things cost precious, precious money. If you have any ideas for how to wear this thing and not look silly, feel free to speak up in the comments.

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