Maxi Dress Looks

Maxi dress looks are a lot of fun to wear. Long hems may not seem that practical, but they are lovely in a romantic way, and offer a lot of coverage. Accessories offer a great way to express personality even with generic dresses. Recently, I combined our Spaghetti Strap Top and Jersey Skirt into a spaghetti strap dress. I’m quite pleased with my decision: for me, dresses are easier to wear than skirts and tops. This one is casual and comfortable, and I’ve had loads of fun wearing it! Today, I wanted to show you two cute maxi dress looks for it.

Blue Cardie

Dresses that leave the shoulders and arms bare aren’t really suited for winter. Though we’ve officially seen the first day of spring, it’s still bloody cold out there. Cardigans are a must with revealing dresses for at least a few weeks. This spaghetti strap dress goes beautifully with our Crochet Cardigan. For this look, I wore my blue one.

This dress is made by combining a top and a skirt, so it has a seam at the waist. I don’t really like leaving it exposed, so I often wear this dress with various belts. This elastic one has a silver buckle that serves a practical and aesthetic purpose at the same time.

The blue version of our Crochet Cardigan really likes this dress. It’s loose and airy, and still quite warm. I made it using two strands of yarn, one blue and one black. This gives the cardigan a unique coloration. I’d like to use a similar color choice for a knit garment. A dress made with black and purple yarn would be really pretty, don’t you think?

Lace Top

Tops and dresses go well together. Usually it’s more common to wear a top under a dress. Today, I wanted to show you a look with a top worn over a dress. I picked our Lace Top for the purpose.

The Lace Top sports a daring neckline that can be a bit much for many. There are times I would like it a bit more modest, too. With that in mind, I wore The Lace Top over my spaghetti strap dress. The dress offers more coverage, and its neckline peeks out from under the top. The dress also offers more coverage (and warmth) to the back of the top, which is made without a lining.

I didn’t want to leave the top’s hem just hanging out. Instead, I took a long chiffon belt, and tied it twice around my waist. I tucked in the hem of the top, and tied the belt in an ordinary knot. This creates an illusion of wearing a skirt with a chiffon waist, and makes the casual dress party appropriate.

I really like this look. It’s so easy to wear, and looks fabulous. It’s comfortable, too, so there’s a minimum amount of tugging and pulling involved!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our maxi dress looks! Don’t forget that our entire Pretty Basics Collection is on sale, so it’s a good time to stock up on patterns!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Lace Dress

A while back, I did an outfit with a lace dress I hadn’t properly introduced. I think it’s time to fix that mistake!

I like casual, comfortable dresses best of all. Elastic materials are my favorites. Though they can be challenging to work with, elasticity makes a dress fit snugly without restricting movement. For this dress, I chose a polyester lycra. I usually go for natural fibres such as cotton and viscose. This fabric had a really smooth finish that appealed to me. I paired it up with left-over elastic lace and skin toned mesh. I used a similar combo in our Lace Top. Lace is a see-through material, and requires another layer beneath it. Layered on skin tones, you can easily hold on the translucent quality while making a garment completely decent.

I didn’t use a pattern for this dress. I actually cut it with just a measuring tape as a guideline. When sewing for myself, I often do this. After years and years of clothing myself, I’m pretty familiar with my measurements. My lace dress has a long, A-lined hem, and a spaghetti strap bodice. Combining our Spaghetti Strap Top and Jersey Skirt will yield a very similar outcome.

I only had a little bit of lace left, so I made the bodice short. The bodice ends an inch or two above my natural waist, so this dress may prove tricky to accessorize with belts. Sashes and waist corsets will probably work, but narrow belts might not look so good with this one.

I attached the straps while binding the bodice. The binding is a bit wider, and as I didn’t want it to roll under the straps, I used buttons to secure the straps. The buttons create a nice, subtle detail.

This lace dress turned out a little bit more elegant than I expected. This isn’t the kind of dress you run errands in, but it’s perfect for evenings out. Sleeveless dresses are a bit cold during the winter, but long-sleeved tops make them a lot more appropriate for the freezing temperatures. Shrugs are also a great way to stay warm.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Lace Dress! Don’t forget that now’s a good time to grab the patterns that can be used to create a similar dress since all The Basics are on sale!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Violets on Stripes

Cropped tops come and go in fashion. In the fall, cropped tops were starting to make a huge comeback, but the trend faded pretty fast. Tiny little tops are still available, and they can look really cute. I think they look best layered, and that’s one of the reasons why I designed our Violets on Stripes Cardigan, a stripy cropped cardigan with flower embellishments.

Violets on Stripes is best made with soft, Aran weight yarn, that’s suitable for size 5mm / US 8 needles. Worked with a larger needle size, this little cardie is a quick project. It’s worked in stockinette with a stripe pattern, which makes it suitable for beginners, too.

Violets on Stripes is designed to be short, but it’s easy to turn it into a full-size cardigan. It’s knit from the hem up, so all you really need to do is to work the hem longer. The pattern comes with instructions on how to do this. You can also knit the cardigan with short sleeves if you prefer a lighter version for the summer.

This cropped cardigan features crochet flower embellishments. I’ve always been a huge fan of mixing knit and crochet, and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. Crochet flowers bring an interesting detail to the cardigan, and give it a fun texture. Feel free to use your imagination when embellishing the cardigan. I sprinkled flowers on one side of my cardigan, and ended up with quite many. A single arrangement on one side of the neckline would look lovely, too, and covering the entire cardigan would no doubt look outrageously cool.

Violets on Stripes features a basic button closure, and twisted rib edging and cuffs. These elements make it seem classic, while the cropped hem gives it a modern look. The tiny little cardigan loves dresses best of all. With shrug-like qualities, it offers warmth to the shoulder and arms, giving room for dresses of all kinds to show off their hems.

I hope you’ll enjoy The Violets on Stripes Cardigan as much as I enjoyed designing it! This little cardigan will be on sale along with The Pretty Basics until April 9th, so don’t forget to take advantage of the offer.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Pretty Basics Easter Sale

I just realized that Easter is right around the corner. That means different things for different people. For me, it basically stands for Charming being on holiday for two weeks. I had completely ignored that, and just understood this morning that it would be nice to spend time with him rather than my laptop. For that reason, The Pretty Basics will go on sale for two weeks starting on Friday. I’ll share posts as usual, and newsletters will go out on Fridays, only they’ll be timed until April 9th. I doubt you’ll even notice the difference. I’ll naturally keep up with emails and messages, so don’t hesitate to drop us a note if you have anything on your mind.

Today, I wanted to show you a couple of looks from the not-so-distant past. They all feature The Pretty Basics in one form or another!

Faux Cable Shrug

The Faux Cable Shrug is my favorite knit in our Pretty Basics collection. It’s soft, it’s warm, and it goes with all kinds of dresses. For this look, I paired it up with The Bishop Wrap and our Reversible Waist Corset. I love this style, and wear it regularly. Sometimes with the shrug, sometimes without it. This outfit is casual and comfy, but it works many sorts of outings. I’ve worn it to gigs without the shrug, to lunch with the shrug, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pull it on to a dinner with nicer accessories. The shrug is easy to knit, too: worked with large needles, it’s a quick project for experienced knitters, and a rewarding one for those still learning the craft.

Party Dress

The Party Dress is a cute, fun dress designed to be easy to wear on evenings out. Made with jersey, it’s casual and comfy. I designed this to be the kind of dress you can turn to when you need a comfy, classy outfit. I think I did pretty well, actually. The Party Dress takes accessories really well, and that makes it versatile.

For this look, I did something quite different with it. I wanted it to shed some of its classy elements, so I made it shorter.

Don’t worry, it’s only temporary!

I took an elastic belt, wore it as belts are worn, and pulled the waist of the dress over it. This created a fold that both hid the belt and made the dress look like a skirt and top. I added a tulle petticoat, a statement ring, and silver heels, and felt pretty good about this look. The trick with the belt is a super easy way to transform a dress from longish to short, or from long to shortish.

Wrap Dress

I’ve had a difficult relationship with our Wrap Dress. I love the shape and how comfy it is, but I’m not that crazy about the fact that it has no sleeves. Wearing a top under the dress is always a viable option, but… well, I wish I had fabric left from making it.

For this look, I wore The Wrap Dress with a petrol blue mesh top and separate sleeves. I love the blue top under the dress, and plan to wear this out some day. Pairing the dress with tops is a bit of a challenge for me. Though I like to play around with it for outfit posts, I most often wear it with a lace blouse and black tie. I honestly think I’d get much more wear out of the dress if it did have sleeves, but then again, this has proven one of our most popular patterns! That just goes to show that we all have different tastes, which is one of the things that make us all unique.

Wrap Dress Styles - Blue

Lace Top

This combo is my absolute favorite outfit of all times. I didn’t think about it when I created it, and everything just fell into place. I love the way our Lace Top and Wrap Skirt create an androgynous look while still holding on to that femininity only lace can portray. This look is comfy, too. The top is made with elastic lace, and the wrap skirt is fully lined so that it doesn’t cling to legs.

Though I do love this look to bits, I haven’t worn it out. It’s very different from what I usually wear, and there are elements that feel a bit young for me. I might take a chance some night, but maybe with a different necklace.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Pretty Basics dig-up!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

 

Dress Styles with Red Details

This week, we’ve been concentrating on dresses with puff sleeves. The Princess and Keyhole Dress is our featured product until Monday, so today, I wanted to share two more looks for it. I really like this dress, and wear it a lot. Today’s looks both feature red as an accent color. Dress styles with red details have always been my go-to choices, and this dress looks particularly nice paired with darker tones.

Bloodstains

Some of you might remember my favorite corselet. I made this a long time ago. I used an elastic material with a velvet print. At first, I was pretty certain this thing wouldn’t last very long, but after years of wear, it’s still as good as new.

Well, it could use fresh boning, but it’s fine for now. I’m actually thinking I might give this steel boning sometime soon. That way, it would be even comfier to wear. I’m also thinking about making another corselet just like this one, but in black. I already have materials for it, so all that’s lacking is time and inspiration!

Both the corselet and the dress get a lot of wear. I love the way they look with each other, and often wear them together. This first look is the way I rock The Princess and Keyhole Dress. Paired with my Bloodstain Corselet, it’s the perfect interpretation of my personal style. For this look, I added a red petticoat. It’s still pretty cold outside, and layered hems make dresses much warmer.

I try to keep accessories to a minimum with this dress. It has a lot going on, especially with the hem gathered, and too many details can work against one another. One piece of jewelry can be plenty for this dress! I chose my bangles for this look along with The Fishnet Gloves. I like the way they work together with the sleeves, and bring both bling and a bit of warmth to the look.

Lace

For the second stop of dress styles with red details, I wanted to create something more romantic. This dress does come with the option to wear the hem hitched up, and that reminds of the Victorian era. I wore the dress with the hem gathered to reveal the red petticoat. Something about this look reminded me of Claudia in Interview with the Vampire, so I chose a child-like detail for it.

The red petticoat matches the long red belt I made for our Lace Skirt. I tied the belt above my waist to create an empire-line for the dress. I hid the ends of the belt under it to gain a smooth, unbroken line. With jewelry down to a bare minimum, this look is simple and still unique.

I really like this look with its red details. There’s something very romantic about this style. I kinda regret not wearing it on Valentine’s Day!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s dress styles with red details.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Purple Dress

Once upon a time, I found a piece of jacquard-patterned fabric from a flea market. It was a nice enough quality, so I figured I’d find a use for it. A few years later I found it in my stash, apologized to it for my lack of attention, and obeyed its wish to become a purple dress with puff sleeves. Since our featured product this week is also puff sleeved, I figured this would be as good a time as any to show you this pretty purple dress.

 I wanted the dress cute and pretty, so I could wear it to family gatherings. Mom tends to frown when I show up to Birthdays wearing all black. Biting the bullet and wearing something “colorful” is a small price to pay for her happiness. That was even more reason to make the dress both cute and comfortable. I chose to sew the dress a bit looser at the waist, and to give it lace details. I started with the neckline, which I cut quite low, and bound with satin bias tape with some lace. 

I used lace to hem the dress. Though the fabric is quite dark, it’s still quite purple, and I wanted to tone it down a bit. A strip of narrow lace doesn’t change the color much, but it does make it easier to add black accessories. Lace also gives the dress an even more feminine feel.

My Elna had some serious issues with this material. I don’t know whether it was the slippery surface or overall texture, but getting it to top stitch without pushing the fabric out of place was impossible. I have a roller foot which should help Elna deal with challenging materials such as everything, but no deal. I ended up top stitching the zipper by hand. Ripping it out three times due to bulging and pulling was too much for my limited patience. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s straight!

The dress turned out pretty much just the way I wanted it. It’s cute, it’s quite far from black, and it’s super-comfortable. I actually wore this to my aunt’s Birthday party last summer, and could eat all the cake I wanted. As an added bonus, no-one looked at my clothes funny.

I really like this dress, but because it is purple, I only wear it those “and would you be a dear and wear something pretty” -events. To show you just how cute it is, and what my uncomfortable smiles look like with it, I styled it up a bit, too.

I chose to wear a tulle petticoat for this look. The dress is quite short, so I like to wear another layer under it. To emphasize the waist a little, I tied a long chiffon belt around me. The dress is girly and cute, so I tied it into a bow. High heels are a must, and I chose these ones to fight back the dress’s cuteness just a bit. I left my hair loose because… well, family-things are the only place where I can leave it loose and not have a bunch of people ask me where I got my extensions.

I really like this look, but it does feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes. The photos show it too: in most of them I was smiling a very tight, awkward “let me out” -smile I associate with Mom handing me someone’s baby to hold or pulling me to meet great-aunt what’s-her-name. Pretty, but could I have my black dress back, please?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my purple dress!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Princess and Keyhole Dress Styles

On Tuesday, I showed you a purse I just made with no hints as to what this week’s featured product will be. That was because I hadn’t fully decided it yet. I was pondering between a couple of patterns, and finally settled on The Princess and Keyhole Dress. After deciding it, I realized I haven’t said anything about this pretty dress since the day the pattern was launched! It’s about time I did some long dress styles with it, don’t you think?

So you all know the drill. This pattern is on sale until March 19th, but only for VIPs. To gain access to the offer, sign up for our newsletter.

Today and next Friday, I’ll post outfits based on The Princess and Keyhole Dress. Of which I should share more info right about now.

This dress is a princess-seamed long dress with a wide ruffle on the hem. It has really big puff sleeves, a keyhole neck, and ribbons sewn into the hem so that you can hitch it up. The dress is best made with non-elastic materials. I made mine with basic cotton, but nearly any kind of dress fabric will work for this design. I’d steer clear from really thin satin, though. Working curved seams into slippery satin can be a pain, and the hem looks better gathered when it has a bit more body.

Pinstripes

 This dress has a looser fit. It has a bit more room around the waist, which makes it comfy to wear. I like to accentuate the narrowest part of the body, though, and often wear this dress with belts or corsets.

This dress has a hitch-up hem, but it can be worn down, too. I don’t often gather it, though I do like the look. A straight, ordinary hem is often easier to handle, and less noticeable. For this look, I chose to keep accessories to a bare minimum. I wore a pinstripe belt which you can almost see, and a big, black rose as a corsage.

Long Dress Styles - minimalism FTW

I wear this dress a lot. This is literally the dress I go to when everything else feels somehow wrong. Despite being long, it isn’t too warm even during the summer, and it takes accessories really well. This look is something I would gladly wear out. I might go for a different hairstyle, but the accessories please me well.

Blue Layers

When wearing the hem up, The Princess and Keyhole Dress requires, in my opinion, a petticoat. For the second look, I paired it up with blue hems.

A long time ago, quite far from where I live now, I made a long peasant skirt with light petrol blue fabric. The skirt is really thin and nearly translucent, so I like to wear it under long dresses only. The color throws me off a bit. I like blue, but I’d rather look at a blue sky than wear blue. Worn as an accent, though, it sometimes works.

As it is still winter, I wanted to add a layer to the dress. A long sleeved mesh top doesn’t look very warm, but it does offer some protection from cold weather, especially indoors. The blue top matches the blue hem, and together they bring a touch of color to the very dark dress.

This look is also very minimal when it comes to accessories. The dress with its hem gathered can be a bit of a showstopper, so I chose to tone it down by skipping jewelry. Though this style comes with a built-in wow-factor, it is surprisingly comfortable. I’d actually like to wear this out someday, just to see how I feel about wearing this much blue in public!

Long Dress Styles - a light layer brings a surprising amount of warmth

I hope you’ve enjoyed our long dress styles today!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Snap Frame Purse

As you may recall, I have a thing about handbags. I need to have many, but I’m still quite picky. Being crafty means that if I can’t find what I love, I will make it myself. During Christmas I decided to need a snap frame purse. I wanted it small with lots of pockets, and I wanted it made of leather. Of course I couldn’t find one straight away. Metal bag frames, though, were plentiful along with PVC fat quarters. And so I said, once more, how hard can it be?

Turns out, not very hard.

I’ve made handbags before. Some are pretty perfect, some have failed miserably, but all of them have taught me something. First lesson I’ve learned is that my sewing machine has issues with PVC. Top-stitching is a no-no for Elna 5100. For this reason, I top-stitch by hand.

I wanted patch pockets for this bag. I cut out two square pieces, one for each side, sewed a bit of lace on, and attached them by hand. My stitching isn’t as straight and even as a machine’s but it does keep the leather from pulling and bending.

I wanted this bag to have soft handles. I cut out strips of PVC, sewed them into a tube, and then turned them. Elna can manage sewing from the wrong side of fabric, and I like to take advantage of that. It makes life a bit easier for me, after all.

After getting the handles turned right side out, I closed one end of each, and used batting to stuff them lightly. This made the handles soft and a bit more substantial to grip. I used buttons to secure the handles in place, since Elna protests to a) sticky surfaces and 2) thick materials. That thing is most likely designed by a man who thinks women only sew light little curtains.

I used basic lining fabric for the interior of the bag. As it is flimsy and light, I stabilized it with soft, fusible interface. Then, I proceeded to sew patch pockets onto the lining as well.

I had a zip-closure inside divider stashed from a bag I took apart many years ago (it broke and I wanted to salvage what I could), and I sewed it into the bag as well. I also attached a D-ring into the lining, so I can hook my keys into it.

The snap frame purse turned out OK. It’s small enough to be easy to carry, but big enough to house essentials. It comes complete with a stunned look that matches my general expression quite well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my new snap frame purse.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

More Shrug Looks

Last week, I missed both Friday’s post and newsletter due to a minor mishap with our website. Because of that, I decided to prolong The Faux Cable Shrug‘s life as our featured pattern. I really like this shrug, and creating another outfit post with it was too fun a thing to pass! So today, I wanted to show you two more shrug looks.

Staying In

I work from home, and that makes me one of the lucky ones. I get to wear whatever I like to work. Some of us who stay at home all day like to wear jammies, some like to dress up. I’m somewhat of an in-betweener, and go for dresses. For the first look, I wanted to show you what I really wear around the house.

Minus the make-up and heels, this is pretty much what I look like. Comfy dress, tights, messy braid, shrug if I get cold. After the neck pain I experienced just last week (all better now), I’m constantly reminding myself to keep warm. Even in a warm flat, I get cold easily, and this little shrug is a perfect way to cozy up. It’s both comfy and cute, and targets the neck and upper back. As I do enjoy low cut dresses, shrug looks are an easy way to make winter warmer.

Jewelry is another thing I thoroughly enjoy. When working with fabrics, bracelets and rings can get in the way. I shy from them in everyday life, but this ring goes on more often than not. I’ve always had a soft spot for black stones, and with a dark base, this one appeals to my sense of beauty. It goes with everything, too, and compliments the feminine details of this shrug.

When taking photos, I usually snap a test shot just to see if the light’s OK and if I fit in the frame. Often they’re useless, but this one was kinda cute. Not only does it display the puff hem beautifully, but it also shows a natural stance for me when spying on passersby looking out the window.

Going Out

I like to dress up when going out. Quite often I choose a look based on venue and music, while still staying true to myself. Lately, I’ve worn more and more LBDs just because they’re so easy to pull on in a hurry (I’m always in a rush when getting dressed to go out – Friday nights are for relaxing and I relax by playing video games, and, well, I immerse and forget what time it is).

This look is something I could wear pretty much anywhere. I love this skirt, this corset is my second home, and the combo of lace and satin is just lovely. This style features our Victorian Skirt, Pretty Basic Lace Top, Reversible Corset, and Faux Cable Shrug.

I’ve always been a sucker for satin. The shiny, silky surface is just so pretty, and satin takes gathering really well. The Victorian Skirt is actually best made with soft satin. As this is a gathered garment, fabric should fall and drape like a dream. Satin and very light taffeta do it best.

I don’t usually do selfies for outfit posts, but for this look, I wanted to show you a close up of my earrings. These black spiderweb earrings are literally my favorite ones. Despite being really long, they’re light and easy to wear. I actually feel the ear cuff more than the webs!

Even though this look is intricate and quite Victorian, I feel comfortable in it. As every piece of this outfit is made to measure, it fits without requiring constant re-adjustment. The only thing that sometimes needs tugging is the skirt: satin gathers static electricity when the air is super dry!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this super-long shrug looks post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather