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.



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.



Mixing Knit and Crochet

Last week was a bit difficult for me. Not only did my website experience a technical difficulty (these things happen, and this was just a hickup with necessary updates), but I also fell victim to a severe case of a stiff neck. I noted it on Thursday, mentioned it to Charming, and received strict orders not to knit and crochet. Which, imho, was quite harsh. I mean, how could continuing to do what caused the condition in the first place possibly make it worse!

… well, obviously I’ve sat with my hands on my lap through the weekend. Not knitting. I’m getting better, and I sincerely hope Charming will let me pick up the needles before too long.

Since I’ve been a bit achey, I haven’t been able to take outfit photos. Pulling on a robe was a task and a half all through the weekend, and I figured it might be best to just wait until I’m all better before struggling with corsets and such. So today, I wanted to talk a bit about a knitting related thing. The way I like to mix knit and crochet, that is.

This week’s featured product is still The Faux Cable Shrug. I’m extending its time in the spotlight for another week due to the website-issue. I hope to do an outfit post with it for Friday, but today, I wanted to shed more light on its crochet embellishment.

I love crochet details on knitted garments. A crochet edge can make all the difference to a knit item. The Faux Cable Shrug features a shell edge worked onto cast off edges. It doesn’t require much work or extensive knowledge of crocheting, but it does make a lovely detail, don’t you think?

Crochet edges are more often seen on shawls. A crochet cast off is a quick, easy way of achieving an edge that’s both tidy and elastic. Continuing to crochet a delicate border from there is irresistably easy. A crocheted edge can make a stockinette scarf appear more romantic…

… or it can give a subtle touch of femininity to an everyday shawl.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed adding crochet details to knit items ever since I first learned both skills. I’m actually working on a cardigan that features crochet flowers sewn onto a knit surface. It will be published later in the spring, hopefully mid-March!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the way I mix knit and crochet.

Until next time.



Mesh Insert Dress

On Friday, I used my Mesh Insert Dress in an outfit post for the second time, and I still haven’t properly introduced it to you. I figured now’s as good a time as any!

The Mesh Insert Dress is actually modded. I got a sleeveless bodycon dress in size way-too-big from a flea market, and decided to use it to create another Pretty Basic Jersey Dress. The only thing that fit in the original dress was the hem. The width was perfect in that one spot alone, so I chose to start working from the hem up. I cut the dress along the original Jersey Dress pattern. There wasn’t quite enough fabric for long sleeves, so I had to improvise.

I had skin tone power mesh stashed. There wasn’t much, but enough to cut half a sleeve. It took a bit on pondering to decide whether I wanted to do the upper or lower sleeve in mesh. The upper sleeve seemed like a better choice so I went for it.

When comparing the materials, I noted that they had a different amount of ease. To compensate, I cut the mesh piece a bit narrower. Which is why the sleeve looks a little funny when no-one’s in it.

 The original Jersey Dress comes with two options for cuffing the sleeve. Instead of the wide one, I chose to do a very basic binding. This option matches the neckline, and gives the dress a very unified look.

Most of my dresses have a round neckline. With my Mesh Insert Dress, I wanted to do something different.

Not too different, though, as I still wanted to stay true to the original pattern. So instead of cutting a round collar, I went for a subtle V-shaped line. I used a strip of fabric to bind the neckline, and top-stitched using a narrow zigzag to preserve the elasticity of jersey.

The finished dress is figure-hugging, and still really comfortable. The mesh inserts make the dress looks sleeveless with separate arm warmers, and I kinda like the effect. You could use contrast colored material for the upper sleeve, too, or sew it with elastic lace.

As my Mesh Insert Dress has a snug fit, it’s comfy under knits. The Faux Cable Shrug seems to love it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Mesh Insert Dress.

Until next time.



Spaghetti Strap Dresses

As I’ve mentioned many, many times before, basics are a really important part of any wardrobe. Mine consists mainly of dresses and accessories, so it’s only natural that I require a multitude of basic dresses. I hardly ever wear skirts and tops, let alone pants. In that light, it may be easy to understand why my Basic Jersey Skirt and Spaghetti Strap Tops sat in the closet untouched. I don’t like seeing clothes out of circulation, so I turned the skirt and one of the tops into a dress! Spaghetti strap dresses get way more wear in my world than skirts and tops, and I already have loads of outfits planned for this one.

Combining a top and a skirt into a dress is a super-easy project. You simply take a top, cut it at the waist, and sew the skirt onto it. It takes literally twenty minutes, and leaves you with a new, cute dress.

As many people, I’m not a huge fan of vertical seams at the waist, but that can be hidden with a belt, scarf, or corset. I really like this transformed top/skirt-combo. It’s versatile and comfortable, and I trust this will become one of my go-to dresses. Especially after the horrific accident with my favorite maxi dress… 

After putting together the long dress, I decided to need more spaghetti strap dresses. Going through my closet, I noted that most of my short dresses are tight and body conscious. A looser one was in order! I took a piece of thicker cotton jersey, a bit of lace, a pair of wider straps, and our Spaghetti Strap Top Pattern. By lengthening the hem and widening it as much as I could, I gained a short dress with a flowing hem.

Even though I wanted the dress to be a bit less body con, I made the bodice snug. That way, a dress fits comfortably, and stays securely put. I cut the hem to an A-lined shape starting from above the waist to give it more room. A bit of lace turned the dress pretty and feminine.

I used lace to hem the dress instead of going for a rolled hem. This particular fabric likes to roll up if left unguarded, and lace forces it to remain straight.

I love the way this dress turned out. It’s so cute and comfy, and loves cardigans and sweaters!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my cool new spaghetti strap dresses. On Friday, I’ll show you how these two like our Cropped Raglan Top, so stay tuned!

Until next time.



Taffeta Skirt

Once upon a time, I had a little piece of left-over taffeta. It was the basic sort of light taffeta you can get anywhere for 5€/meter, tops. I kinda wanted to make a corselet with it, but taffeta, though it is hard, doesn’t handle pressure that well. Taffeta corsets and corselets require a better quality material, so I opted on making a skirt. I had about half a meter of fabric, so my taffeta skirt was bound to be short.

I wanted a very basic skirt that wouldn’t take long to make. A simple skirt easy to mix and match with all kinds of tops, and even bustle skirts. Instead of picking out a “real” pattern, I used the same idea as with The Crinkle Skirt. With just a long strip of fabric, a zip, and a waist band, this style is super-easy to make.

Taffeta Skirt - this was really easy to sew!

As taffeta frays, and leaves long strands of clingy, fuzzy stuff behind, I used my trusty serger to sew the skirt. I finished all the raw edges straight away to keep from getting covered with taffeta fibers. Then, I used my sewing machine to create a very basic, yet tidy, hem.

Taffeta Skirt - a basic rolled hem always looks tidy.

The original Crinkle Skirt is made with a proper waist band. With this mod, I just took a piece of elastic, and pleated the taffeta against it. I don’t plan to wear this skirt with the waist band exposed, so it doesn’t really need to be that pretty. The wide elastic is tidy enough, though, to be seen, so I do have the option to change my mind about hiding it.

As I chose to pleat the fabric to the elastic without stretching it, the waist band is non-elastic.

Taffeta Skirt - pleated waist is so pretty!

The skirt needed closure. I sewed an exposed zipper to it along with a large button. This solution works with casual skirts, but for formal wear, always use a hidden or concealed zipper!

The skirt turned out really nice, and as I planned, it goes with all kinds of tops and cardigans, and looks super-cute with fluffy petticoats. On Friday, I’ll show a few outfits based on this skirt, along with our featured product for the coming week.

Taffeta Skirt - exposed zippers work for casual wear only!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my taffeta skirt.

Until next time.



Handbag Mod

Once upon a time, I decided I needed a new handbag. I turned the internet upside down in search of the perfect purse, and came out empty-handed. I even ventured outside into the real world in search of one! As I am a little bit picky, and didn’t want to spend a fortune on an accessory, I went on eBay. That’s what I usually do when I “need” something I’m likely to grow bored with in less than a year. Going in, I had no idea what kind of a bag I actually wanted, and finally settled on a slouchy one. The decision is based entirely on material: I figured if the purse was a total bust, I could just rip it apart, and use the fake leather for a new one!

The bag arrived in due time, quite quickly actually, and it was fine. A bit larger than expected, and lacking a sturdy bottom, but OK in quality. I could have used it as it was, but I really wanted to add a reinforcement, and minor details.

This bag is soft, and frameless. It’s sewn with light fake leather, and fully lined. The design is very basic, and it’s large enough to house a notebook and other essentials, such as wallet, phone, make-up kit, hairties, knitting, and a bottle of wine along with a change of clothes. Seriously, this thing is huge. As it is “just” sewn, I felt confident to go under the lining.

I pulled the lining out, and carefully ripped open the bottom seam. Then, I proceeded to cut out a piece of sturdy cardboard in the shape of the bag’s bottom, and an extra pocket. I also took a D-ring.

As I was inside the lining, attaching the patch pocket was a piece of cake. Securing the D-ring to the lining was also easy. And now you ask why on Earth do I need a D-ring attached to the inside of a purse. Well, the answer is simple. I have a snap hook on my key ring. Clipped onto a D-ring inside a purse, it saves me from losing my keys inside my bag. I always know where they are, and never have to stand in the middle of a sidewalk digging around my bag. Literally the best idea I’ve ever had.

After the pocket and the D-ring were in place, I proceeded to anchor the cardboard to the bag. I cut out a piece of lining silk to match its shape, and sewed it onto the sole. The fabric keeps the reinforcement from moving around.

The entire process took about an hour and a half, and cost pennies. It didn’t alter the bag’s look, but made it sturdier, and easier to handle. I’m so glad I took the time to do it! This humongous yet still sleek carry-all is now my new favorite. It goes with any outfit, and is so easy to carry around. With the make-over, it can even stand on its own!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my little purse make-over.

Until next time.



Faerie Dragon Shawlette

A while back, I showed you a shawlette made with wild colors. Back then, I promised to write it into a pattern. Well, I’m happy to announce, that today is the day I finally get to publish it. The beautiful vortex was renamed, and I am proud to introduce The Faerie Dragon Shawlette.


Faerie Dragon Shawlette

As I mentioned when I first shared the shawlette, I got two gorgeous skeins of merino-silk for my Birthday. They were very unusual colors for me, and the person who gave them to me was actually a bit antsy about whether or not I’d like them. Well, I didn’t. I loved them! I loved the yarns so much I really just wanted to sit down in the middle of the floor and start knitting right there and then.

I resisted the urge, but not for long. You see, the yarns screamed that they wanted to become a vortex scarf, and be together forever. My only doubt at this was whether there’d be enough for a scarf. I quickly decided that if the scarf would be too small to wear, I’d just hang it somewhere and look at it.

Turns out there was plenty for a scarf. After a bath, the scarf grew into a long shawlette.

Faerie Dragon With Black Dress

The yarns were an absolute joy to work with. The colors were vibrant and full of life, and the luxurious merino-silk was a sheer indulgence. I didn’t check to see how long it took to knit the shawlette, but it couldn’t have been more than two weeks. I worked The Faerie Dragon in garter stitch and eyelet lace, so it was a zero-concentration-required -kind of project. I actually picked simple stitches for this shawlette so that I’d get to admire the colors more closely when knitting.

Faerie Dragon Curve

The Faerie Dragon Shawlette is now available as a knitting pattern. It’s our featured product for this week and next so you’ll be seeing more of it in later posts! Since this is a winter accessory, I’m planning to create some warmer, layered outfits to go with it. And as you know, featured products are on sale, but only for VIPs. If you haven’t already, order our newsletter to gain access to these special offers.

Faerie Dragon - vortex scarf knitting pattern

I hope you’ll enjoy The Faerie Dragon as much as I enjoyed knitting it!

Until next time.



WitchHunt Scarf

Every now and again, we all make something we’re not really that into. Sometimes it’s the design, sometimes the materials, often the combination of both. Not succeeding every time is the price of crafting. We invest our time and energy to a project only to realize it didn’t turn out quite as planned.

For my Birthday, I got a skein of hand-dyed yarn. I love shades of red, and this 80/20 Merino/Bamboo had the most delicious tones of red. It’s named WitchHunt, and dyed special pour moi. The yarn was really light, and I chose to work it with 3mm needles. I usually go for larger needle sizes due to impatience, but it’s actually kinda nice to sometimes work with smaller needles. 

Due to the small needles, I wanted the easiest stitch repeat ever. Garter. It makes a nice, fully reversible surface, and works really well with self-patterning yarns. After a few inches of knitting, I noted two things.

Working a shawl on small needles takes FOREVER.

And the yarn had shades of brown hidden into it.

These facts combined slowed me down quite a bit. I worked on the garter scarf whenever I was in between projects, and was pretty eager to pick up something else.

Despite my eagerness to pick up another knit, I finished the scarf. It took a whopping five months, but I finally got it done.

I got bored with garter at some point pretty early on, and worked simple lace stripes into the garter scarf. Then I noted they made knitting even slower, and counted my lucky stars for not committing to a full lace project. I knit the scarf as long as I dared, and still had a third of the skein (now of course a ball) left!

I toyed around with knitting a lace border to the scarf. The thought scared me a little, so I went with a crochet edge instead. I’m really happy with this choice. Crocheting was a lot faster than knitting, and gave the scarf a cute, frilly finish.

A this point I was actually pretty pleased with the scarf, and though it is a pretty basic scarf with nothing fancy to it, I considered turning it into a pattern.

And then I washed it.

Dying yarns is a challenging venture. There are many, many things that can go wrong with the process. I don’t feel that nice having to say this, considering they just went into business in dyeing yarns, but this skein bled like crazy. After washing this scarf, the bathroom looked like I’d killed someone in there.

The shape of the scarf is actually pretty nice. Blocking it would bring more shape to it and open the crochet lace, but I don’t really want to introduce it to water ever again. The scarf’s obvious dislike toward moisture keeps me from wanting to wear it, too. What if it rains and the scarf gets wet and starts bleeding? That’d be a “goodbye, coat” -moment.

As you see, sometimes we end up making something that doesn’t quite work. The reason why I wanted to show this garter scarf is to remind you that designers mess up, too, and more often than we’d like to admit!

This post will also set the theme for this week and next. I’m trying to get a new pattern out for Friday, so we’ll be focusing on shawls!

Until next time.



Grey In The Making

Cardigans aren’t only fun to wear. They’re fun to knit, too! I’m currently working on two new patterns for cardigans. Both are quite deep in the making, but I wanted to give you sneak peaks  of my works in process anyway. These designs will be fun to mix and match, and easy to knit up. Instead of funky details, these cardigans feature classic shapes.

Lately, I’ve developed a liking toward grey. It’s soft and neutral, and, well, let’s face it, easier to knit than black. Grey is subtle and elegant, and never goes out of style. The color dictated the style for the first cardigan. I wanted it to have classic lace and a V-shaped neckline. The yarn I chose for this cardigan is thick and heavy, and 100% cotton. This makes the finished (well, almost finished, I still need to weave in ends and sew in buttons) decadently heavy and delightfully warm.

I like raglan-sleeves best of all when it comes to cardigans. Knitting a top down raglan cardie is fun and relaxing, and the shape is comfortable to wear. For this style, I wanted something different. Most top down raglan cardigans have a round collar. With this design, I wanted to create a V-shaped neckline. This took so much brain work I had to turn to google for help. I found a blog post with instructions on the general process of knitting a V-neck for a raglan sweater. When I looked again, the post was nowhere to be found. I’m starting to think I might have dreamt it!

I wanted to work lace for the hem of the cardigan. Feather and Fan was the perfect choice for this design. It’s easy to knit, and the result is just lovely. The sleeves are free of lace, but they come with the option to work in purled stripes.

I’m not a big fan of after thought -buttonlists. I like to work them in while knitting, or not at all. This cardigan has seed stitch button lists. They’re worked in from cast on, so the’re will be no tasks waiting after cast off. When you’re done, you’re done. Well, there will be a few ends to weave in and buttons to sew, but no knitting buttonlists!

I really like the Feather and Fan Cardigan, and I’m hoping to get the pattern published soon.

The second WIP is also grey. This is actually a re-design of a cardigan pattern I made a long while back. It’s a short sleeved shrug-like cardigan which I’ve never learned to wear. A week or so ago I realized I had an ugly shawl worked with the same yarn as the shrug. I frogged it, ripped out the cardigan’s sleeves, and cast on long, stripy ones! I love working with this yarn, it’s a shame Novita discontinued it.

The re-vamped cardigan is going to have a light grey bodice, stripy sleeves and maybe a stripy border. I also want it embellished with a fall of crochet flowers. This project is so much fun I think I’m going to go work on it right now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my grey works in process.

Until next time.