Tag Archives: DIY

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

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

Let’s Make… Add Ruffles to Blouse

Once upon a time, I had a short sleeved blouse. An ordinary blouse made with stretchy fabric. It was comfy, but getting a bit old and having a mid-life crisis. Much like its owner. It was pretty much the right size, all that really needed doing was adjusting darts on the back.
But I wanted to make it less ordinary. So I decided to do the good old “add ruffles to blouse” -trick.
I took a long strip of fabric that tinted quite a lot towards blue, and cut it into four pieces.
I shaped the strips, and did a rolled hem on one of the long sides on each strip.
I pinned the strips to the front of the blouse, rouching them a little as I went a long. I sewed them on, snapped a picture, GIMPed it, and then my computer ate it. Very impolite on its part.
I left a gap between the ruffle and the button list.
… so that I’d have room for another layer. I pinned the second pair of ruffles onto the front, hiding one of the raw edges under the button list.
The other side was made differently, so I hid the edge of the ruffle with satin ribbon.
After sewing the ribbon on, it made a nice little detail.
And that was all it took. The blouse turned from meh to fun, and now I can’t wait to wear it again!
For the pictures, I paired the blouse with pants, but it works well with long skirts and corsets as well.
The ruffles give the blouse a feminine touch, and make it different in a very subtle way.
This trick works for all kinds of blouses. Try adding patterned materials, or making many narrow rows of ruffles with different fabrics!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Let’s Make… Boring Tee to Cool Top

Once upon a time, there was a T-shirt.
Now I’m not much of a T-shirt -person. There’s something I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable when wearing one.
Naturally, T-shirts are very common, and many find their way to me.
I see it as my sworn duty to give each one a makeover.
This Tee had a girly skull print. I liked it, and wanted to turn the Tee a bit more feminine. It was an almost perfect fit, so I didn’t need to take it in at the sides.
I started by folding the Tee with side seams facing. I cut off the collar and the sleeves, leaving a deep V-neck and a low rise back.
The easiest way to do this is to first cut off the sleeves, and then open the shoulder seams. After that, it’s much easier to get the Tee to lie flat on a surface. After, take any backless top, fold it accordingly, and use it as a pattern to find the right length for the back piece. The neckline is best shaped while trying the top on. You can cut it super low, or leave it higher for more coverage.
When opening the fold, I got a backless V-neck top.
Which naturally needed something.
I measured the distance from shoulder to back, and covered it with elastic band. I didn’t cut it, but used the same length of elastic to bind the back of the top. I left another bit of elastic to the other shoulder. These would later be used as straps. I used ordinary elastic band, since I’d accidentally ran out of all the nicer kinds. Elastic lace will look pretty as straps, too.
I bound the neckline with narrow elastic lace.
 I added two more straps to each shoulder, so that I had three pairs. I would have added some elastic lace to the straps, but, well, I ran out of that as well.
 I attached the straps to the back piece. As an afterthought, it might have been a good idea to make the straps cross each other… that would have given me a trendy cage-detail.
 The transformation didn’t take long, but did wonders to an ordinary Tee!
The top turned out nice and comfy, and with a subtle skull print, I can wear it without feeling like an exclamation point. Next time I do this, I’ll add an extra pair of straps (or two) and see how much fun can be had with crossing them!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Elise Shawl

Once upon a time, I found a violet cotton cardigan from a flea market. I liked the colour, and I liked the feel of the knit, so I bought it and took it home.
I do this a lot, buy a knit from wherever, give it a good wash, and unravel it for yarn. It’s a cheap way to get loads of yarn, but it does take a bit of effort. I’m going to write a tutorial on how to upcycle sweaters for yarn, but today, I’m just going to flaunt something I made.
Two years ago I got a bit of a Christmas-panic. I had five nights to go, and no present for Mom. So I got some red wool blend, and rummaged through Ravelry for something quick and lovely.
What I happened upon was Evan Plevinski’s Elise Shawl. It’s a beautiful, airy shawl which can be made in any size. Mom’s shawl ate 200 grams of yarn, and took three nights to make.
Later, I decided to want one for myself. So I took my violet cotton, and set to work.
The lace pattern is easy and consists of just two rows. It’s quick to memorize, so this shawl is a pretty perfect watching TV -project.
I had an entire cardigan’s worth of yarn, and I used it all for my Elise. It turned out pretty big, and a good blocking would increase it size even further. It’s just that I tend to wear this a lot, and can’t be bothered to block it after each wash…
Shawls are lovely, but they tend to be a bit tricky to wear. To force mine stay put, I crocheted a flower from the little yarn I had left over.
Behind the flower, I sewed a button. I use this to close my Elise so it won’t fall off when I see something shiny and get all exited.
 Made from cotton, this is a perfect summer shawl. It’s light, it breathes, and it still provides warmth when I need it.
 And it’s big! Of course, I’m tiny, but still that’s a lot of shawl.
 I’m very happy about the way the finished shawl came out, and I really like the Elise pattern.
A shawl can be worn in many ways, but we often forget that it can work as a skirt. It complements gypsy-inspired outfits, and doubles as a hip scarf for belly dancing. Scarves and shawls are very versatile, so don’t forget to take advantage of their full potential.
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Let’s Make… Sweatshirt to Skirt

Once upon a time, a friend brought me all sorts of discarded clothes. Among them was a hooded sweatshirt.
I don’t wear sweatshirts, full stop.
But the fabric was kinda nice, a thick, white jersey with a skull print.
So I asked the hoodie whether it might like to be something else.
It contemplated on becoming a shrug, and as I picked up my scissors, it shrieked.
“No! Wait! Skirt!”
Trying the hoodie on to see if I could fit my wide ass derriere inside it was a bit impossible, so I decided to risk it.
I started by cutting off the hood and the sleeves leaving a straight edge.
Then I cut off the rib. White is a difficult colour, and white rib was just too much.
And then I got to try it on.
And it fit!
I shaped the side seams to a curvier shape. I also shaped the waist a bit, making it lower in the front. This way, the waist will fit better, and the skirt won’t look like the front of it is taller.
 One of the sleeves got to be a waistband. I cut a strip from it, sewed short edges together, and folded it.
I pinned it to the right side of the waist with raw edges together, and serged the seam.
I got a tidy finish with minimal effort.
 I hemmed the skirt using a zigzag-stitch. It gives more than a straight stitch, and looks a bit nicer, too. And that was all it took. Two hours, including planning, photos, and sewing. I bet you can do it in one!
The hoodie got a new life, and I got a white skirt with skulls on it.
Until next Wednesday!
Love,
Heather

Two Fails equals One Success

Once upon a time, there were two pieces of clothing I’d made.
Or tried to make.
A top that just didn’t feel right, and a dress that failed miserably.
I liked the fabrics on both, and decided to salvage them.
I cut the yoke and straps off the dress, leaving a loud orange hem. I really like the colour, and I love the print, but alone it’s very, very orange. Combining it with a black top would hopefully tone it down a bit.
I cut the binding off the collar, and shortened the hem of the top.
I had to make the hem a bit narrower to avoid a bulky waist. After pinning it down, I got to thinking.
It’s always good to take a “let’s design this thing”-break mid-project…
The yoke of the dress was made with two layers of orange. There was just enough to make cuffs.
And the hem of the top was just wide enough to make a sewn in belt.
And I had a bit of underwear lace stashed.
So what if…
I folded the cuffs after sewing the long sides together. This way, they’d look nice and tidy after just one serged seam.
With right sides together, I sewed the cuffs on. The seam is completely hidden, and the folded edge needs no finishing.
I attached the sewn-in belt the same way: fold a strip of fabric, and pin it to the hem with right sides facing and raw edges together.
 Before serging, I pinned the hem on, too. One seam is plenty.
After turning the dress right side out, the belt sat nicely at the waist, hiding the seam, and adding a nice detail. This can also be done with elastic band, or even lace.
Speaking of lace, I pinned a piece of it to the neckline. Right sides together as usual.
After serging, I top-stitched the seam down. Looks pretty, and since the elastic lace is a little bit shorter than the collar, it keeps the fabric in place, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally showing too much skin.
 I did a basic rolled hem with my trusty serger, and that was all it took.
 The finished dress is comfortable, pretty, and very easy to pair with long-sleeved tops under it, or cardigans over it. I’m completely in love with it, and hope it gets a lot of wear this summer.
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Dress-Mod with Shredded Detail

I happened upon a dress at the flea market. A simple, black dress made with polyester lycra. At the cost of 1€, I couldn’t leave it there.
At home, I tried it on, and found there was room for two!
I could have just re-shaped the dress, but that would have meant losing some of the length. So I dug out a discarded turtleneck, and asked if it wanted to play, too.
I cut off the straps on the dress, leaving a long tube. I also shortened the top, and cut off the collar.
The dress was really big at the waist, so I took it in at the side seams. As I am blessed with a wide ass child-bearing hips, I had to make the seam a bit dreastic in shape.
With elastic fabrics, this works. With non-elastics though, it’s better to not do this.
 I attached the bodice to the hem, and sewed a strip of fabric in to soften the seam.
The extra bit of fabric looks like a sewn-in belt, and reduces the eye-sore-effect excess seams tend to have.
 I bound the collar with a narrow strip of fabric, and top-stitched it down. The basic T-shirt collar is easy to sew, and works well in simple garments.
But.
The dress covered me from neck to toe to elbow, and I felt like a nun in it.
So I decided to add a little something.
I tried the dress on, and marked four lines with safety pins.
 Then, I folded to bodice, carefully aligning shoulder and side seams. I pinned the four lines again, making sure they were even.
 And then I cut.
I made the cuts in a soft V-shape, and smoothed out any sharp corners after the initial cut was made.
 I gained a slashed front that gives the dress a bit of drama.
This fabric manipulation trick works with all kinds of jerseys. Before cutting your top up, make sure the knit will hold!
 The finished dress is narrow and tight, but the elastic fabric makes it super-comfortable.
While I was at it, I made another dress using the same method of combining two garments. I’ll show it to you next week!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Let’s Make… Granny Square to Cardigan

Once upon a time I found a black cotton sweater from a flea market. I made sure it wasn’t serged together, bought it, and asked it what it wanted to be.
It proudly claimed to want to be a granny square.
I hardly ever say no to fabrics and yarn, so I started a granny square.
 By the time I’d reached row six, the former sweater said it actually really wanted to be a cardigan.
Fine, I said, and added armholes on row nine.
The yarn was happy, and I crocheted along for seven evenings.
The process turned into a free pattern, and…
 … a humongous cardigan.
 This is pretty much a square with sleeves you can wrap around yourself any way you like.
 I added a shell edge to my black version a while back to give it a more decadent look.
 With a tall enough collar, the edge doubles as a hood. Which is really nice during the winter when it’s cold-cold-cold.
Naturally, I wanted another one. This time, I found a red sweater that wanted to be something else. The yarn was a bit thicker, and the finished cardigan is stiffer and less flowing than the black one. Also, it came out a bit small.
 It works well with the collar down, and it nice and warm.
But if I flip it upside down…
 … I get a shorter hem and a large hood!
These cardigans are versatile, comfortable, and warm. They’re like a portable safety blanket with a purpose.
 The pattern is available for free on Ravelry, Craftsy, and heatherwielding.com. I hope you enjoy it!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather