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.

Love,

Heather

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.

Love,

Heather

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.

Love,

Heather

How To Make a Crinkle Skirt

A few weeks ago, Mom brought me a pile of fabrics. She needed a new top or two, and naturally turned to me. In addition to the materials she wanted me to use for the tops, she brought me a present. Crinckle fabric. The material wanted to be a skirt, and so I decided to show you how to make a crinkle skirt.

Now I haven’t seen this material since the crinckle skirt was a big hit back in the year I-forget. I didn’t expect to run into it again, but there it was, demanding attention. This fabric is making a comeback, so I wanted to make a tutorial on how to turn it into a skirt. You can make blouses and jackets and all sorts of thing with this material, but I would stick to simple designs. This stuff is difficult to cut, and the pleats can throw off a fitted garment’s shape. We’re going to keep it simple, and make a skirt with two straight pieces.

How To Make a Crinkle Skirt

A skirt made with just two rectangular pieces is the simplest skirt design known to man. It requires a certain kind of material to look its best. Pleated and crinckled fabrics work best for this style.

You will need

 -Two lengths + 6″ of 50″ wide crinkle fabric if the crinkle is vertical.

– 2″ wide elastic band

– 8″ long zipper

– sewing machine (serger optional)

– notions you like to use when sewing

how to make a crinkle skirt - material

Start by measuring the desired length of your skirt. I chose to make a knee-length skirt that sits on my waist, so I measured the distance between waist and knee. That came to 55 cm, allowance included.

We’ll want the crinkle pattern to be vertical.

Cut two straight pieces to the desired length.

how to make a crinkle skirt - cutting

With right sides facing, sew one side seam. Serge through raw edges.

I used my serger for sewing, but a sewing machine will be just as good.

how to make a crinkle skirt - sewing

Install a zipper to the other side seam. This tutorial will help you along!

how to make a crinkle skirt - installing zipper

We’ll want the waist to be both tight and elastic. The finished skirt will be heavy, and it needs to sit securely at the waist.

Cut a strip of fabric a bit longer than your waist and wide enough to house your elastic band. Don’t forget to add allowance!

Pin the waistband to the inside of the skirt with right side facing the wrong side of the skirt’s waist. Gather all of the fabric to the waist band. The crinkle of the material will come to aid with this step. Though there seems to be an abundance of material, it will all fit onto the waistband.

Sew the waistband to place.

how to make a crinkle skirt - installing waistband

Take your elastic band, and place it in between the waistband and the seam. Secure both ends to the waistband, fold the waistband over the elastic, and tuck in the raw edge. Top stitch to place while carefully stretching the elastic to length. Top stitch the upper edge of the waist band to keep the elastic from turning inside.

how to make a crinkle skirt - finished waistband

Hem the crinkle skirt, and you’re all done!

how to make a crinkle skirt - hemming

I really love the way the skirt turned out. It’s cute, it’s wide, and despite the huge amount of fabric piled onto the waist, it has quite a narrow silhouette. The material is nice and lively, and the simple style goes with almost anything.

How To Make A Crinkle Skirt - All Done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial on how to make a crinkle skirt! On Friday, I’ll show you a few ways to style this cute crinkle skirt.

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Ruffle Dress

Every now and again, I decide I no longer like a dress. Lately, since autumn is drawing closer, my wardrobe seems to be in need of me hitting F5. New trends are rolling in, and instead of going on a mad shopping spree, I like to weed out the dresses that no longer feel just right, and change them. It’s fun, it’s affordable, and the environment likes it, too.

Last week, a dress I made for New Year suddenly had an existential crisis. It was a long spaghetti strap mermaid dress made with black viscose jersey. I don’t think I’ve worn it more than twice, and for that reason, I have no pictures of it.

As I heard the dress wailing, I took it out, and inquired whether it would enjoy drastic surgery.

The reply was “oh god yes”, so I set to work.

I had purple viscose jersey stashed. It’s a bit too purple to work as an entire garment, but paired up with black, it’s perfect. I took some of the purple fabric, and cut out a very short bodice. I wanted the updated dress to have an empire waist, but a fitted one.

I really like simple styles, the kind of dresses you can just pull on, and not have to worry about since. This one seemed to need something extra. A detail, maybe.

Something ruffly.

I have this little bit of an obsession with ruffled button lists. I’ve added this detail to one garment so far, and wanted to make another one. The black and purple dress was the perfect victim.

I took strips of purple jersey and a bit of black lace, and sewed them onto the front piece. The process is actually really easy: pleat or gather strips of fabric, arrange them so that they please your eye, and sew to place.

I cut the black mermaid dress just below the bust, and above the knee. After serging the bodice together, I joined the two at the waistline.

To keep the ruffle dress from going over the top, I bound the neckline and the sleeves in a very basic way. I was kinda thinking about double-binding the neckline with black lace, but that would have maybe been too much.

The ruffle dress turned out really nice. I love the way it looks and feels. It’s super-comfy, and since it has a bit of detail, it doesn’t really need a bunch of accessories. It really is one of those dresses you can just pull on and forget.

And the best part is, the left-over hem of the mermaid dress is long enough to be made into a skirt!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Ruffle Dress.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Tropical Breeze

Once upon a time, I decided to need a really big crochet shawl to wear over basic dresses. During the summer, I like to grab a cardigan or shawl when venturing outside just in case the weather acts up. Cotton is my favourite material for shawls. It’s heavy, it’s nice to work with, and it isn’t too warm for the summer.

I had upcycled cotton stashed, so I decided to use it for a shawl. The yarn’s a bit too thick to work as a dress, but pretty perfect for shawls. For the pattern, I went to Drops. I’ve worked this style before, and really it. The pattern repeat is easy so it’s perfect for Flix-binging, and the simple lace works with all kinds of outfits. The pattern is called Tropical Breeze, and it’s available on Drop’s site.

This shawl is worked up from the lowest point. This gives it a nice triangle shape with a wide wingspan. The shawl is finished with a border, which always gives me a headache. This time, I only messed it up a little, and chose to leave the mistakes in. Maybe I’ll remember to concentrate better when reading instructions next time!

I really like the way the shawl turned out. It’s big, it’s heavy, it goes with everything, and the shade of red is just to my liking. I’m hoping this one will get a lot of wear in the warmer months.

My Tropical Breeze Shawl goes well with The Pretty Basic Jersey Dress. The shawl is a perfect cover up for the figure-hugging dress, and gives the black version a lot of colour. I like the combo of black and red, and the feel of the heavy shawl has something very decadent about it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my crochet shawl!

Next time, I’m hoping to show you a few outfit ideas based on the Pretty Basic Jersey Dress. Until then.

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

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