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Crochet Dress and Cardigan

A while back, I mentioned a little crochet project I was working on. Cotton and lace is a combo I really like, so one thing led to another. Instead of one lace garment, I now have two!

I found a basic pattern for a lace dress on Novita’s site many, many years ago. I loved it, but didn’t dare try it. After gathering more experience and courage in crocheting, I went back looking for the crochet dress pattern. Novita had taken it down, but I managed to dig up a chart for the lace repeat. I memorized it, tried to make a dress, and failed miserably.

This spring, I tried again.

The lace repeat is relatively simple, but still lovely to look at. It’s airy and light, and reminds me of spiderwebs.

I used two hook sizes with the dress, 3mm and 3,5m. Upping the hook size at the hip gave the hem of the dress a bit more room and saved me from adding more stitches. This style is started at the empire line, and worked both up and down from there. The sleeves are worked separately, and the dress has a zipper in the back.

The dress turned out really pretty. I can’t remember how long I’ve wanted to make one, and now that I have, I want another one!

Crochet Dress worked with black cotton

After finishing the crochet dress, I sill had some yarn left. As spring was coming along, I figured I needed more lace. I didn’t have a cute, comfy cardigan to wear out, so I decided to need one.

I cast on another lace project, and before I knew it, I had my cute cardie.

Like the dress, this one is worked both up and down from the empire line. I added a triple crochet row there just in case I wanted to slip a contrast coloured satin ribbon in.

I left the cardie pretty short, and only used a 3mm hook.

I plan to wear this cardigan with dresses only, so I felt comfortable leaving the hem open. The cardigan closes only at the bust, which makes it perfect to wear even with waist corsets. Bright colours push through the lace, and make the cardigan super-cute over red and blue dresses.

The red dress will soon be published as a pattern. I’m planning to add more items to the Pretty Basics, and the figure-hugging dress will be the first in line. I’m also planning to start posting outfit photos on IG, so be sure to follow me there, too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my crochet dress and cardigan!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Reversible Corset

A while back, I mentioned a project I was working on. Finishing it took a bit longer than expected, but now I get to show you my Reversible Corset. It’s based on both The DeathRock Bustier, and The Reversible Waist Corset. I used the bustier pattern, and techniques from the waist corset.

I like to make clothes that can be paired with everything in my closet, and worn in many ways. This corset is a perfect example of both. It goes with all of my skirts and most of my dresses, and can actually be worn inside-out. It’s made with satin finished cotton and jacquard-print poly-blend. It has a zipper at the front, and lacing on the back which makes it easy to put on.

Since the corset is designed to be fully reversible, it doesn’t have a modesty panel. The lacing leaves my back partially exposed, so this style is best worn over a top or a dress. The DeathRock Bustier Pattern comes complete with a modesty flap, but working one into this mod of the original pattern was just too much for my spatial awareness.

This corset, along with The Reversible Waist Corset, is boned with spiral steel. I use it for most my corsets. It’s light and flexible, and makes corsets comfy to wear. I don’t go for tight-lacing, so light boning works well.

Getting the bone channels to look nice on both sides is surprisingly easy. All one needs is a bit of patience and accuracy.

I chose to create this corset with two black materials. Though the fabrics are close to each other in colour, they do bear a subtle difference in pattern. With two black options rolled into one, I get the most wear out of this corset.

For the photos, I paired the corset with a Victorian-inspired satin skirt made with two layers. The top layer of the skirt can be hitched up, which gives the style the versatility I love so much. The Victorian Skirt is available as a drafting tutorial.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Reversible Corset!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Cabled Wristlets and Gloves

When a coat’s sleeves aren’t quite long enough, there’s only one solution.

No, it’s not called “buy a new coat”. It’s “wear long gloves”

The green coat I showed you on Tuesday sports just that issue. Me arms are pretty long, and patterns always have too short sleeves. The coat’s cute and pretty perfect for spring and fall, but it leaves my wrists feeling a bit left out. I’ve solved the problem by wearing with gloves that are a bit longer than usual, namely my Cabled Gloves.

To me, long gloves have always felt like they came straight out of a fairy-tale. Disney’s princesses wear opera gloves on their perfect night, and I associate the accessory to glamour and magic. When I first started designing knits, my initial thoughts were “yay, now I get to create all sorts of long gloves!”

The Cabled Wristlets and Gloves are, to date, my only long glove style. To tell you the truth, they’re not the most practical thing to wear with ordinary coats… With loose cape-like coats long gloves work wonderfully, though!

The Cabled Wristlets and Gloves Knitting Pattern was originally designed as a longer style. The pattern is versatile, though, and can easily be modded for a shorter version. My shortest Cabled Wristlets are made with a gray mohair-blend. Though they clash with my green coat, they go beautifully with dark outfits. As a shorter style, they’re nice to wear indoors as well. I’ve made two long pairs for myself, fingerless ones in lioness-yellow and full gloves in black, and a short version in subtle gray. I’ve also made a few pairs as presents.

Though this pattern features cables, it’s still a pretty easy pattern. Working this style requires basic skills in glove construction and basic knowledge of cabling, but I’d label it as not-too-challenging-intermediate.

I hope you’ll enjoy The Cabled Wristlets and Gloves Pattern!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

yellow cabled mitts, image two

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Modding a Green Coat

A long time ago, I made a coat with green wool fabric. I used a Burda pattern for the first time, and found it a really nice fit. The finished coat was a bit green for my taste. After I found it neglected in my closet, I decided to add a bit of black to it. 

Deciding how to start the embellished coat took some time. I pondered between lace, ribbons, and applique, I wanted the details to be thick and to really stand out. After rummaging around in my stash, I found black yarn left over from my black Elise shawl. The shawl is thick and warm, a perfect winter accessory, and I wanted to bring some of its warmth to my green coat.

I also found a really big crochet flower, which pretty much determined what I wanted to do with the yarn.

I took the flower, and sewed it onto the coat’s right pocket. Then, I took the yarn and crocheted smaller flowers into a string of chain stitches.

I ended up with a yard and a half of flowers…

I arranged the chain of flowers onto the coat, deciding to do the decorations on one side only. I then sewed them on by hand.

Had I known it would take forever, I might have chosen a different approach!

The result is lovely, though, and I’m happy with my choice. The flowers take away some of the coat’s greenness, and since the details are quite thick, they give the coat a bit of play with light and shadow.

The coat’s sleeves were a bit on the short side. I have long arms, and patterns often let me down in sleeve length. To give the sleeves a bit more length, I added a filet crochet cuff inside them. Though it’s not that long, it gives the coat more warmth, and serves as a pretty eye-catcher. Worn with long gloves, the coat is now nice to wear before the coldest winter days and as they start to pass.

Though I like the coat now with the black embellishments, I might add a bit more to it. The left sleeve is still quite green, and I’m thinking another string of flowers would look nice around it. The front hem of the coat might like some singular flowers, and maybe there could be a little detail on the neck…

Some projects are difficult to finish only because working on them is so much fun, and this coat is one of them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Green Coat Mod!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Why I Love to Crochet

Lace is one of my favorite things to wear. It’s feminine and delicate, but often a bit too fancy for everyday clothes.

Crochet garments can be made with all kinds of materials. I like to play with cotton and large hooks. This combo makes lace cardigans and dresses suitable for almost any everyday occasion, from shopping to casual dinners. Using simple lace patterns also serves to enhance the wearability of crochet garments.

Most of the things I crochet are black. Two of my latest crochet projects are a dress and cardigan both made with the same lace. I found the pattern for both on Novita’s website in the year I-forget, must have been 2006ish, but sadly, they’ve since given the site a make-over. That means the patterns can’t be found anywhere. I’ve literally turned the internet upside-down in search of it, but came out empty handed. The lace repeat is lovely, though, and it’s found its place among my favorites. It’s airy, it’s easy, and it totally works for an office-cardie.

I’m hoping to show you the finished items soon!

Crochet lace can look intimidating. For me, it did seem like an impossible thing to master. I was literally afraid of trying for years, but once I did, it dawned on me that most lace is created with basic stitches. Know how to chain, single- and double crochet, and you’re good to go. Even the simplest stitches can make an intricate surface. This is clearly seen with Evan Plevinski’s Elise Shawl. The pattern doesn’t have a difficult stitch in it, and the result is just beautiful.

I’ve made two so far, a red one for Mom, and a purple one for me. Mine turned out really big, though I haven’t gotten around to properly blocking it!

Lace is a versatile texture. It ‘s beautiful and feminine, and easier to create than one imagines. It brings a touch of luxury into everyday life, and that’s the reason why I love crocheting so much.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Stripy Wrist Warmers

In the world of crafting, left-over yarn is a rule. It’s always around, and sometimes, it’s difficult to find a use for little balls and skeins. As I was given an opportunity to write a guest post for Craftic, I chose to create these cute, stripy wrist warmers to share. The wrist warmers require basic skills in both knitting and crocheting. Stitches used are very simple, so I would label this as a beginner level project. 

stripy wrist warmers worked in black and purple

Materials

  • sport weight yarn in two tones. The amount of yarn needed depends on how long you wish to make the wrist warmers. For the black and purple ones, I worked 10 contrast colored stripes and used 50 grams (142 yards) of yarn in total.

  • double-pointed needles size 3,5mm/US 4

  • crochet hook size 3,5mm/US 4 and 4mm/US 6

  • tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Notes

The wristwarmers come in three sizes, S (M), and L. Size S suits an arm of 20 cm/ 7.8 inches in diameter, size M 22 cm/ 8.6 inches, and size L 24 cm/ 9.45 inches. Gauge (taken from a wristwarmer while it’s worn) is 18 stitches and 24 rows in a 5 cm x 5 cm / 2” x 2” square.

Abbreviations

K – knit

P – purl

DC – double crochet

* * – repeat

Pattern

Cast on 40 (44) 48 stitches on DPNs with black yarn, divide them eavenly, and join to knit in the round. The wristwarmers are worked in *K2, P2* -rib up until the crochet cuff.

Counting in the foundation row, work four rows of rib with black yarn. Switch to purple, and work two rows. Alternating the stripe pattern of *four rows in black, two rows in purple*, work in the round until the wristwarmer is approx 15cm/ 6 inches long. Finish with a black stripe.

Switch to the smaller crochet hook. From the beginning of the first row, pick up two stitches onto your hook. Crochet them together with a slip stitch, and chain four. In between of the two stitches you just crocheted together, double crochet.

DC the next two stitches together, chain two, and DC in between the two stitches crocheted together. Continue like this through the row.

Switch to hook size 4mm/ US 6.

Row 1: Into each arch formed by two chain stitches, DC three times.

Row 2-5: Using slip stitches, move to the middle DC of the first group. Chain two, and DC twice. *DC three times into the middle stitch of the next group.* Slip stitch to close the round.

Row 6: Using slip stitches, move to the middle DC of the first group. Chain two, and DC four times. Single crochet in between groups. *DC five times into the middle stitch of the next group, single crochet in between groups.* Slip stitch to close the round.

Cast off, and weave in ends.

stripy wrist warmers worked in double rib and crochet lace

 I hope you’ll enjoy The Stripy Wrist Warmers Knit/Crochet Pattern!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

SkaterDress

On Tuesday, I showed you a cute little dress I made in less than two hours. I based it loosely on our Skater Dress Sewing Pattern, and today, I’d like to write more about the pattern.

The skater dress and its variations are among the most popular dress styles. With a fitted bodice and a flared hem, what’s not to love! The basic skater dress pattern can be modded beyond belief. With our Skater Dress Sewing Pattern, I did just that. Along with the basic style, our skater dress sewing pattern includes a hooded, Gothic-inspired style, and a variation based on a store-bought blouse. I for one like to sew a pattern over and over again if the style pleases me. Adding details and little mods can change up a basic pattern quite a bit. This pattern is designed with the re-sewing option in mind.

The example of our basic style is made with long sleeves, and a smooth hem and bodice. I used viscose jersey for this style, and I really like that choice. A soft fabric makes the dress comfy for everyday wear.

The basic style is super-easy to accessorize. It goes with pretty much anything! Try adding a belt to the mix, wear the dress over a top, or pop a cardigan over it. You can change it up when sewing, too: make the hem longer or shorter, mix jersey with elastic lace, or pick a patterned material. The basic style really loves its variations, so don’t hesitate to go wild with it!

The basic skater dress bends to all sorts of ways. When making this pattern, I wanted to see just how much can be done with it. For the Gothic version of the pattern, I added bell sleeves, a laced up bodice, and a large hood. All of these elements together make the dress a Gothic girls dream. This style can also be taken apart for a more subdued look. Try sewing a basic dress with a hood, or adding the lacing to the basic style. Change the fabric from velvet to jersey, and the dress changes altogether!

This style is a bit more challenging to accessorize due to the amount of detail. The dress likes jewelry and petticoats, and of course cute leg-wear paired with wicked boots.

The last style is my personal favorite. It’s made taking advantage of upcycled materials. For it, you’ll need a fitted blouse, and a hem’s worth of fabric. The model dress has a three-layer hem: tulle, and two kinds of fabric. The top layer is cut into an asymmetric shape to give the voluminous hem a bit more drama.

This style can be paired with corsets and ties which give the dress an androgynous vibe.

The pattern includes a hem, two options for bodice, sleeves that can be made long or short or topped with a circular cuff, and a hood. All of these parts fit together, so you can just take your pick of the elements you’d like to use, and make your dream come true. I’m currently dreaming of a full-length skater dress…

I hope you’ll enjoy The Skater Dress Sewing Pattern!

Until next Wednesday.

Love,

Heather

Cute SkaterDress

As you may have noticed, I really like dresses. I have literally dozens of dresses, and I hardly ever wear anything but dresses. They’re so easy to pull on and accessorize. And the best part is, despite the fact that dresses are ridiculously comfy, wearing one makes you look chic no matter what. Though I have plenty of dresses, I keep making more. Last week, I made a cute skaterdress by just combining a spaghetti-strap top to a hem I quickly sewed up.

The story of the dress goes like this.

I had a top dug up from who-knows-where. It was a bit too short to be worn with a skirt, but I really liked the color and the velvet print. My website was down last week, and to make myself feel better, I decided to treat myself to a new dress. The top would serve as its foundation.

top on its way to becoming a cute skaterdress

I had black viscose jersey stashed up. I used some of it to sew an A-lined, wide hem for the top. Patterning and cutting were done using the proven method of “it’s just jersey, what could possibly go wrong!”

… nothing major, just had to take the waist in a little.

hem waiting to be attached

After sewing up the hem, I attached the pieces at the waist. When doing this, you’ll want to make certain the seam will sit at the narrowest part of the waist, and that it’s a snug fit. Otherwise the seam will bulge.

almost there!

I did a basic rolled hem on the dress. It’s a quick, easy finish for a casual dress. It works really well on jersey, since it won’t eat at the elasticity of the fabric, but lives along with the material. For everyday dresses meant for nothing fancier than a dinner at the local pub it’s the perfect choice. If you’re making something more special, try trimming hems with lace.

I really like the way my dress turned out. I wore it last week, and paired it with a mesh top and a tulle petticoat beneath, and a basic elastic belt over the seam.

cute skater dress all done!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my new cute skaterdress!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

DeathRock Bustier Sewing Pattern

Corset patterns are abundant in the internet. A bit of googling will reveal an endless source of corset sewing patterns from Victorian to modern. Despite the fact that corset patterns are pretty much everywhere, I couldn’t find one that would suite me. I wanted a light overbust with little detail, a modesty panel, and a shape that would allow it to close almost entirely. Even after turning the internet upside-down I came up empty.

So I had to make the pattern myself.

The DeathRock Bustier is one of my favorite corset sewing patterns in our growing collection. It’s easy to make, comfy to wear, and it can be paired with almost anything. I like to wear mine with long skirts, but the DeathRock Bustier works wonders with short hems as well.

I’m currently in the process of making a new one with steel boning and a front zipper.

As I was cutting the corset, I couldn’t decide between two pretty fabrics. To give both of them a chance to shine, I chose to make the corset reversible. I used the exact same techniques as with the Reversible Waist Corset. With both sides pretty and tidy, the garment can actually be flipped inside out even in the middle of a night out.

Adding front closure to a light corset is really quite easy. Cut the front in two pieces instead of on fold leaving a bit of allowance, pop in a zipper, and sew bone channels on both sides. The solution makes any bustier easier to put on, and adds an extra detail.

My old DeathRock Bustier is pretty well worn. It’s boned with acrylic, and bears the marks of a lot of wear. It’s not beyond the point of salvation, and I’m thinking about changing it’s bones to spiral steel. The operation shouldn’t be too difficult, it just involves a lot of unpicking…

I hope you’ll enjoy the DeathRock Bustier Sewing Pattern, and have fun with modding it to your own taste!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Heather lying on forestfloor

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Loki Corset

Once upon a time three years ago, I got a bit carried away right before Halloween. I got a grand idea to go as Loki, and made a corset out of black fake leather and green cotton. I got sidetracked half-way through, and the corset was forgotten. I found my Loki Corset again a month or so ago, and decided to feature it in the I Made This! -section today.

I actually meant to do this yesterday, but I had the misfortune of coming down with a flu. I was literally too sick form a comprehensible sentence, but today I’m feeling much better. Not very pretty, though.

The Loki Corset is loosely based on the DeathRock Bustier Sewing Pattern. I used the pattern as a basic shape, and modified it with a heavy hand. I added a lot of details, steel boning, and front closure.

The criss-cross button closure is a thing I like to use when making light corsets that aren’t meant for tight-lacing. It has a unique look, and makes the garment comfy to wear. I most often use spiral steel boning which is flexible and forgiving, so this style of closure only works when you don’t want a very tight corset.

All the details of my Loki Corset are sewn on. I embellished each pair of pieces separately without a plan. I used a lot of piping for this too add as much green as I could. I wanted to avoid vertical lines, though, and decided to use black twill for bone channels. This solution gives more space to the diagonal embellishments.

The back of the corset has a very basic lacing. I like to use long satin ribbons with this one. They add a feminine detail to the style. The corset is complete with a modesty panel, naturally with my initials sewn into it.

I meant to wear my Loki Corset out on Friday, but a late dinner made me change my mind. This little mistake paired with the flu I got means you’ll have to settle for a headless shot of the corset being worn…

Though this piece hasn’t gotten much actual wear, I love it to bits. It’s comfy, unique, and pretty. I hope you enjoyed reading about it!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather