Blue Dress MakeOver

Each fall, I go through my wardrobe, and pick out dresses I haven’t worn in a long time. Instead of getting rid of them, I like to give them make-overs. Today, I wanted to show you one victim. You might remember the petrol blue dress I made a while back? The one I kinda like but never wear out because it’s so bleeding blue? Yeah, that’s the one. Yesterday, I took the dress, and asked it whether it would like some black inserts. The dress said OK, so I proceeded on with my dress make-over.Dress Make-Over - this is where we'll start from

The original dress had a short hem that widened just a little bit. I wanted to keep the shape, and enhance it to create a wider A-lined hem.

I started by opening the side seams and center back seam all the way to the waist. Instead of cutting, I carefully picked out the stitches. The dress had shrunk in the wash a bit (it is a well known fact that ladies never put on weight, their clothes just shrink and require adjusting) so I wanted to add width to the hem. That’s one of the reasons I picked the seams open instead of using scissors: this way, I got to work with the original seam and not have to waist fabric on creating a new one.

Dress Make-Over - carefully open side and back seam to the waist

I took a black viscose jersey that almost matched the original fabric in quality. Then, I proceeded to cut out wedges out of it. The original hem was a little bit longer at the back, so the wedges needed to match that. I cut a wedge for each side, and a longer one to the back by measuring the slanted edge to fit the open edge of the hem.

I serged the wedges into place one side at a time, taking advantage of the original seam.

Dress Make-Over - sew in wedges

I hemmed the wedges by doing a basic rolled hem. The original dress was hemmed with lace, but, sadly, I had none left. As the wedges create a big contrast to the original color, I figured a contrasting hem detail wouldn’t go amiss.

Dress Make-Over - hem wedges, try using contrasting methods!

I had some fabric left, and the blue dress was a bit revealing. I don’t have issues with wearing low cut things, but it is starting to get cold outside. A fall dress is more comfy if it offers a bit more coverage.

After deciding what to do with the neckline, I proceeded to cut a yoke out of the black fabric. I took the pattern I’d used for the dress, and drafted out the shape of the original neckline onto fabric. By continuing the shoulder lines and drawing out a new neckline, I gained a yoke, which I then just sewed together.

My original plan was to sew it with a real button list, but as I was pressed for time, I went with a fake one. After sewing the yoke, I stitched it to place by hand to avoid ripping the neckline binding off.

Dress Make-Over - an after-thought yoke makes any dress warmer

At this point, the dress make-over was starting to look really good, but I wanted one more detail.

I took the remainders of fabric, and cut out two wide strips. I sewed them together, turned the tube right side out, and attached it to the back of the dress to create a sort of a half-belt onto the back. There must be a proper word for it, but right now, it eludes me. The result, though, pleased me quite well. The black bit at the waist creates an interesting detail, and hides the starting point of the wedges. Though I did plan to leave them revealed, and sewed them in neatly enough, a distracting detail is always welcome.

Dress Make-Over - add details!

The finished dress is a lot wider at the hem, which, interestingly, makes it appear a bit longer as well. I love the two-toned hem, and the added yoke makes the dress much warmer and comfier. After surgery, my blue dress feels a lot more like me!

Dress Make-Over - and this is how it turned out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my dress make-over!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Elastic Corselet

As you may have noticed, I have a thing about super-comfy clothes. I refuse to wear anything that’s constricting or hard on the skin. If I can feel it, I don’t want to wear it. That’s why I go for elastic materials in everything, including corsets. Now I know what most of you are saying right now: you can’t make a corset from elastic fabric!! You’re absolutely right about that. You can’t make an elastic corset, because it defeats the whole purpose of a corset. You can, though, make an elastic corselet that isn’t meant to be anything more than a decoration. An elastic thing can’t be used for waist reduction or body modification. As such, it also can’t cause damage to the body.

I’ve made quite a few corselets and light corsets in my time, and from my own experience, I dare say that elastic waist corselets are the comfiest of them all. I’ve only had one for a long time now, and I desperately needed another. As we entered June, I took a discarded skirt, and cut into it. I used our Reversible Waist Corset Pattern for this one. I cut out the pieces from elastic material, sewed the corselet up, and decorated it a bit. I added pockets to each side, and sewed thick cotton ribbons to the side seams.

I wanted this elastic corselet to be all black. It has black details, black binding and bone channels, and a black button closure. I chose to go with my trademark criss-cross button fastening. I love the way this looks, and buttons are surprisingly comfortable when a garment is worn. A zipper can get caught into clothing, and it can feel cold worn over a light layer. Buttons don’t do either.

For today’s look, I wore the black corselet over my petrol blue dress. I made this dress using our Hooded Dress Sewing Pattern with only minor alterations. This dress doesn’t have a hood, it’s made with only one layer, and it’s a bit shorten from the original pattern. The shape of the bodice and sleeve are the same, though. I wore the dress with black details and jewelry. Black pearls match the buttons on the corselet, and a black rose in my hair gives this look the romantic detail it deserves.

Thanks to all elastic materials, this look is really comfortable. I love everything about this style, and would totally wear it out.

On a brave day when blue doesn’t scare me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Elastic Corselet post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Snap Frame Purse

I’m back from holiday, and a little less refreshed than I’d hoped. Instead of a cold, rainy summer, we got an unusual heatwave, which drained me of energy quite well. I had all sorts of fun things planned, such as shopping, knitting, trips to the museum, and maybe even going to a park, but instead I spent most of my time wondering why I own such a limited amount of summer dresses. To compensate, and to cope with the heat, I modded a few dresses to fit the warm weather better. We’ll get to those later, but today, I wanted to show you a little project I did on the first week of my vacation. It’s a really big snap frame purse!

A while back, I got a piece of faux leather on eBay. I’d stashed copper-toned metal parts earlier, but for some reason, the pieces refused to play nice together. It took a lot of convincing to get them all to behave! I was kinda hoping to get more metal incorporated into the purse, but I do like the way it turned out. Instead of a Goth Witch purse, I got a more inconspicuous bag that goes with most of my dresses. Now the sad thing is that I managed to break my favorite Vagabonds that match this bag’s personality… I hope a shoe-mender can save them! If not, I’m going to have to do some serious shoe-specking.

My snap frame purse is a bit on the large side, which means that it has a lot of space. I added pockets to the lining, one with, and one without a zipper. The purse also has a zippered divider, and a D-ring for hanging keys from. This is probably my smartest idea ever: keys have a tendency of getting lost inside a larger bag. Attached to a D-ring sewn near the bag’s mouth, they’re always safe and easy to find.

I also added pockets to the exterior of my snap frame purse. I wanted a small detail on the pockets, and ended up choosing square rings for them. I attached them with strips of leatherette, and used long, narrow strips to hide the seams. I love this look, and an kinda toying around with the idea of sewing something similar to a piece of clothing. These kind of pockets could work for a jacket.

I sewed the bag’s handles from leatherette as well. I stuffed them lightly with poly-cotton, closing the ends a bit higher so I could sew them on more easily. I then took buttons and even more strips of leatherette, and used these to attach the handles to the bag.

I’m really quite happy about the way my snap frame purse turned out, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. I’m hoping to incorporate it into Friday’s photos, so you’ll get to see the size of this thing!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Fits Like a Glove

… or a Pretty Basic Jersey Dress.

As you might know, I got married in April. We didn’t have a huge party, but the event still demanded a new dress. I didn’t want anything fancy or over-the-top, just a nice dress I could wear as a party dress in the future.

That wasn’t an order too tall, but it still sent me into a spiral of dress-panic. First there was color to decide, then there was material, and then style. So I did what any nervous bride would: chose my favorite color and my favorite style, and topped it off with with a crazy fabric.

… and then changed my mind a gazillion times, and ended up getting married in something else.

I had a snake-skin lycra stashed, and decided to turn it into The Dress. I wanted over-hand cuffs like in our BombShell Dress, a naked-detail on the back, a long hem, and a hood. Some of those requirements actually made it into the finished garment.

Sewing a dress isn’t always easy. With this one, I had a little accident when cutting. You see, the selvage edges weren’t symmetrical. There was a wide printless bit on one end, and I didn’t notice that until I had already cut my back pieces. At that point, The Dress needed a serious time-out.

At that point, I also noticed that the lycra smelled like PVC, got offended, and used the time-out to create Mary’s Dress.

Upon returning to The Dress, I decided to sew a Pretty Basic Jersey Dress instead of a long number. Everything went beautifully on the second go, and I even got my over-hand cuffs.

I wanted the back to be revealing, and still comfortable. To avoid slipping and sliding, I cut the back into a V-shape, and filled it with a skin-tone mesh. I bound the neckline with a strip of fabric, and saw this was good. I even made a hood for the dress, and decided to make it detachable. Hoods are cool, but it’s nice to have the option of going without one. I haven’t gotten around to sewing snap fasteners to the hood, so you don’t get to see that today.

On the morning of my actual wedding day, I changed my mind for the gazillion-and-first time, and figured I’d just wear this after all. I pulled it on, walked to the kitchen, and noted that my pretty little lycra dress climbs. The registry office was a 10 minute walk away, and I didn’t feel like pulling this down fifteen times on the way over there. So I wore Mary’s Dress.

I did wear this tuned-up Pretty Basic Jersey Dress to a Goth party a while back, and it was perfect for that!

I do love the way this dress turned out, though making it was a bit of an adventure. That just goes to show that even professionals make horrendous mistakes!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Pretty Basic Jersey Dress near-fiasco!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Birthday Dress 2018

It was my Birthday a week ago on Tuesday, and just like every year, I made myself a new dress. My B-Day celebrations consisted of shopping with Mom and Dad and eating loads of cake, so I didn’t get to wear this. I plan to, though, since summers are always full of fun! This year, my birthday dress came together really slowly. I ordered black satin from Minerva Crafts in March maybe, cut into it in April, and spent two months arguing with it. Sometimes, fabrics just refuse to come out the way I want them to. Finally, on the eve of my Birthday actually, I said “fine then”, and gave the dress a pre-birth make-over.

I had a cap sleeved blouse I got from a flea market. I liked the fabric, but not the sleeves. I took the blouse, ripped the sleeves off, and cut its hem off. Then, I ripped off the bodice of the dress, and Frankensteined the two together. I proceeded to install big puff-sleeves, and cuff them with the black and white remnants of the blouse.

The original plan was to create an all-black dress with a fitted bodice and empire waist. I ran into issues at the waist, though. I needed to sew a lot of darts into the bodice to get it to fit, and that just doesn’t look good on satin. Getting rid of the original bodice, and replacing it with that of a blouse saved me from a lot of trouble! This is definitely not the optimal way to make a dress, but it worked this time. And taught me not to sew darts into satin.

My Birthday Dress features a black and white bodice with an open collar, huge puff-sleeves, and a long empire-lined hem. It’s super-comfy, and I plan to wear it out soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Birthday Dress post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

PS: I’m on vacation right now, which means that The Pretty Basics are on sale. I’ll try to schedule an Everyday With an Edge -post for every Friday through July, but will make no promises. Follow us on IG for (hopefully) more regular updates!

Faeries

On Tuesday, I shared a brand new knitting pattern. It’s for top down gloves with an upside down Indian thumb gusset. I made these gloves with what was left from The Faerie Dragon Shawlette. Instead of striping the gloves, I made one purple glove, and one green. I love the solution: these gloves are perfect for bringing a touch of madness into any outfit.

The Faerie Gloves are available as a free download for all VIPs until Halloween. I’ve created an automated email that sent out to each new subscriber. That email includes a coupon code for The Faerie Gloves, plus a 20% discount code to be used on anything you choose.

Now my older subscribers moan in dismay, but fear not! If you’re already on our mailing list, you’ll get the coupon code later today.

Along with something else.

I’m pretty ready to start my summer vacation. That happens on June 26th, and on that day, our Pretty Basics go on sale for everyone, and stay on sale until August 6th. That’s a lot of time to shop! But before that happens, we have time for one more featured product. This week, it’s The Faerie Dragon Shawlette with matching Faerie Gloves! I was actually going to do a really cool outfit post today, but I didn’t have time for a photo-day. I will rectify this next week, and in the mean while, we can walk down the memory lane for a spell. When The Faerie Dragon was first launched, I did a party-themed outfit shoot with it. The weather’s warmer now, but there was a look that will work during the summer as well.

Fun with Faerie

Cotton is a light, breathable material perfect for summer. I created this look with our Yoked blouse, and a circle skirt. Though this is pretty concealing, it is, thanks to light cotton, cool to wear on a summer day. I would stay out of direct sunlight, though, since black has a tendency of becoming really hot in the sun.

I love this look: it’s cute and fun, and the wildly colored vortex shawl gives it a bright pop of color. The long sleeves are perfect for keeping lethal rays away from vampire-white skin, too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Faerie Gloves

Yesterday, I decided that for the rest of the summer, I shall do whatever I want. So today, I launched a brand new knitting pattern! It’s for top down gloves worked with left over yarn. I know summer isn’t really the optimal time for knitting, but this project is quick and really easy. It’s perfect for rainy days, and small enough to take along on road trips.

For this project, I used yarns left over from The Faerie Dragon Shawlette. I had one tiny ball of purple, and one equally tiny ball of green left. Instead of working stripes, I made one purple glove, and one green one. This mismatched combo is a lot of fun, and I like it better than conservative stripes.

The color choice isn’t the thing that makes these top down gloves special. You see, I really like the Indian thumb gusset. It looks good, it’s easy to work, and it gives gloves a perfect fit. The basic Indian thumb gusset is worked from the wrist up. I wanted to see if it can be incorporated into top down gloves. For many weeks, I wondered and pondered. Jumping in with an idea I hadn’t seen done before felt daunting. Then one day I was desperate for a small travel-knit, tossed what was left from The Faerie Dragon into my bag, and just cast on. And it worked out beautifully.

The Faerie Gloves are ridiculously easy to knit: they’re worked top down, interrupted by a thumb gusset, and continue to cobble up all the yarn reserved for them. A frilly crochet cast off perfects the design, and helps create a loose edge. You can knit these in any color, and with any kind of yarn (as long as the gauge matches). I used 3,5 mm needles for my gloves along with  fingering weight yarn.

As you know, all new patterns go on sale for all VIPs. The Faerie Gloves will, too, but with a twist. From now until Halloween, these top down gloves are completely free for all VIPs! Just join our mailing list, and a special code for a free knitting pattern will arrive to your inbox. If you already are  VIP, you’ll receive the code in this week’s newsletter.

I hope you’ll enjoy The Faerie Gloves Knitting Pattern!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Amanda’s Dress

On Tuesday, I showed you a dress I made from a skirt. In that post, I promised you a surprise for today, and here it is. A brand new sewing pattern! It’s A-lined just like the dress I showed you on Tuesday, and it’s perfect for summer parties. I named this pattern Amanda’s Dress, and I really hope you’ll like it!

I didn’t intend to make Amanda’s Dress. It was born on a whim. You see, a new shopping mall opened near us in late April. It took me a while to figure out they have a fabric store, and once I learned this marvelous fact, I naturally needed to go. Once there, I found a piece of grey lace. I told Charming I kinda liked it, and he told me to just buy the fabric. I did so, brought it home, and it very loudly announced that it wanted to go play with a grey cupro I’d had for a decade or so, and to become a very loose dress. I said OK, but maybe you’d like a wash first. The lace said no, and I sewed the dress the next day.

Amanda’s Dress is designed for two fabrics. A light lining, and a light lace to go over it. The dress has a loose A-lined shape, a knee-length hem, and a keyhole neck. I made mine with lace and cupro, but other combos can work, too. A basic lining is OK beneath a lace, and a combination of light taffeta and organza would look stunning. I chose matching colors, by accident of course, but contrast colors will work, too. If I made another one, I’d maybe choose an orange lining and cover it with black lace. I would also make the dress long, which is an option for Amanda’s Dress. A short style is cool for informal get-togethers, and a long one would work for events that require a bit fancier dresses.

Amanda’s Dress is, as said, A-lined. It can be worn as is, but do keep in mind that loose shapes can make you appear larger. To avoid this, wear Amanda’s Dress with waist-defining details, such as belts and corsets. Making the dress with really light materials helps, too. Light fabrics fall softly, following the lines of the body. Heavier materials, such as my lace, tend to be stiffer.

Next week, I’m going to show you some outfit ideas for Amanda’s Dress, and the dress I showed you on Tuesday. Until then!

Love,

Heather

Skirt To Dress

A long time ago, in another life if I recall correctly, I found a skirt from a flea market. It had a wide handkerchief hem, and I loved the way it moved as I twirled. Sadly, the skirt went with nothing I owned. It tinted toward grey, and most of my clothes have a brownish undertone, if any. The skirt sat in my closet, sad and forgotten, until I had an epiphany. Instead of wasting time searching for the perfect top, I might just turn the skirt to a dress!

I wasted no time after the initial idea. I literally took the skirt out, said “hey you should be a dress”, walked to my sewing machine, and just did it. Nike would be so proud! The transformation took less than an hour, and I forgot to take phase photos. Sorry!

The skirt was long, down to my toes, so I had to shorten it a little. I wanted a dress that fell to my knees, not past them. Instead of chopping the hem, I took out the extra length from the top as I shaped it. I pretty much just ripped out the zipper, cut off the waist, closed center back seam all the way, shaped back and front necklines, shaped arm scythes, bound the whole thing while sewing down pleats to get rid of excess width, and popped straps on. I was half-way expecting the dress to fly down the garbage chute, but it surprised me by turning out super-awesome!

 

It was early spring when I turned this skirt to a dress, and I feared summer to be close. I gave the dress straps so it would be cool if the weather got warm, and easy to layer for colder nights. I got these straps on eBay for pennies, and was surprised by the quality. Though meant to be replacement straps for lingerie, I’ve used them for dresses. They’re sturdy, pretty, and comfortable.

The handkerchief hem was the thing that drew my attention when I first saw the skirt. It has an unbelievable amount of fabric! I love the way the material moves with a slow grace, kind of drifting behind me. Though the material isn’t particularly heavy, the volume makes it slow.

Instead of shaping the dress and giving it a defined waist, I allowed it a wide A-line. Most of my dresses are on the skimpy side, and I wanted one that would hide everything. This one most certainly does! The best part about this thing is that I can wear it as is, or shape it with a belt. There’s a lot of fabric, yes, but the crinkles make it easy to scrunch up. I’m going to show you a few looks with this dress next week!

… why not Friday, says the eager crowd. Well, because I have a surprise planned for you on Friday, so stay tuned!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Sleeveless to Short-Sleeved

Summer usually starts slowly here in Finland. It gets gradually warmer until mid-summer, when temperatures reach a high of 20 C. It’s rainy most of the time, and after mid-summer, the weather starts to cool down. Well, this year, we got a surprising heatwave on May 1st, and there is no end in sight. I’m not a big fan of summer, so the weather right now is killing me a bit. A photo session was out of the question yesterday, so I decided to show you guys something I altered yesterday.

Wrap dresses are a big thing right now. I can’t recall the last time they were this popular! I love this turn of events, since wrap dresses are cute, comfy, and fun to sew. This week and next, our featured products will be All Things Wrapped, aka all of our wrap styles. These include The Bishop Wrap, our Wrap-Cut Tops, and The Sleeveless Wrap Dress. Which is the thing I altered on Monday.

sleeveless wrapdress, four

I’ve mentioned many, many times that I have minor issues with sleeveless dresses. Short sleeves are fine, but sleeveless styles leave me somehow uncomfortable. This has resulted in a difficult relationship with The Sleeveless Wrap Dress. I love the fabric I chose for the dress, and the shape is super-comfy. But the sleevelessness bums me out big time. I’d love to wear it during the summer, but for my style, it needs to be paired with blouses, and that makes it too warm.

I went through my wardrobe on Sunday, and tossed out things I don’t enjoy that much. This dress was on the verge of the charity bin when Something Dawned on me. The dress would be perfect if it only had sleeves. It’s also a bit on the long side.

I literally facepalmed as I finally realized I could just shorten the dress by 6”, and use the strip of fabric to sew sleeves. I feel stupid at least thrice a day, but this was a major derp-moment.

So yesterday, I took my scissors, cut the hem, turned to my newly-serviced serger, and spent 30 minutes perfecting the dress. I seriously cannot believe I hadn’t thought to do this before!

As I only had 6” of fabric, I sewed short sleeves for the dress. The piece I cut off was long, and I used the rest to create wide cuffs. I really like cuffed sleeves on jersey dresses. They tie the garment together, and give it a polished look with a minimal amount of fuzz. I used our Pretty Basic Jersey Top Pattern for the sleeves. They’re designed to fit this dress just in case!

I was a bit apprehensive about shortening the dress. 6” sounds like a lot, but the original hem fell below the knee by an inch or two. Cutting the hem didn’t make as big a difference as I thought: the dress still has a decent length!

I’m going to defy the weather on Thursday for fresh outfit posts to share on Friday and next week. I’ll include The Sleeveless (now Sleeved) Wrap Dress I altered today so you’ll get to see the difference!

Until then.

Love,

Heather