Escalator Ate My Dress!

I didn’t have the best day yesterday. I slept poorly and woke up too early. I decided to have a knitting day, but I didn’t have anything interesting on the needles. Leafing through Facebook, I noted that Eurokangas was having a flash sale on select items. As I didn’t have anything urgent planned, I deemed myself worthy of retail therapy. I had my coffee while playing Hearthstone, threw on my favorite long jersey dress, and headed out.

I met my spouse, whom I call Charming, in the city center and went to the fabric store while he ran an errand. I couldn’t find anything I liked, and after he came to collect me, we left empty-handed.

On the way out, the most terrifying thing happened. I wore a long dress, and stepped on an escalator like I’d done a hundred times before, without giving it a second thought. As the steps grew smaller and smaller, disappearing into a dark no-man’s-land, I realized, to my horror, that my dress followed!

I thought I screamed, but was later told that I let out the smallest sound, one little word.

help

Had I been alone, I would have just stood there on receding steps, desperately clinging on to my dress without the faintest idea of what else to do. Luckily, Charming was there to hit the emergency-button. That stopped the stairs from moving, but I was caught.

He ran back up, got scissors from a very startled clerk, and cut me loose. There was little else to do, and my dress came out horridly mutilated. I couldn’t believe that an escalator ate my dress! I thought this only happened in nightmares!

escalator ate my dress

A “normal” person would have just tossed the dress, but I’m crafty. I really like this dress, and wanted to save it.

I had a few options, but I decided to cut the hem at knee-length.

The surgery left me with some undamaged fabric which I decided to use to mod the sleeves. The original dress had short sleeves. I’m not that into the “short dress with short sleeves” -concept, so I went ahead to alter the sleeves.

I cut off the original cuffs…

and cut out two A-lined pieces to lengthen the sleeves with. This process would leave me with long trumpet sleeves with seams above the elbow.

The original dress is made with plain viscose jersey. I was working on turning the dress into a pattern, but I hadn’t taken product pictures of it before the accident. I’m thinking I might go ahead with the pattern, and wrap two styles into one, but who knows. I might even order viscose jersey on amazon, and make myself a new dress! I was looking through their selection, and found a lovely medium weight viscose jersey in various colors. This would be perfect for practically all of our Pretty Basics. If you purchase fabric through the links below, I might earn a little extra.
Black Viscose Spandex Fabric, Casual Jersey Knit Fabric
Eggplant Viscose Spandex Fabric, Casual Jersey Knit Fabric
Magenta DK Viscose Spandex Fabric, Casual Jersey Knit Fabric

I had elastic lace stashed for emergencies, and this was nothing short of one. I used the lace to bind the hem and sleeves.

The entire process to save the dress took about an hour, and I’m super-happy that I took the time to do it. The dress turned out cute and comfy, and the lace gives it a lovely detail. I’d completely forgotten how much I love trumpet sleeves!

The new and improved dress really likes the company of Lovelace and Lune, too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this true story about the day when an escalator ate my dress.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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Dress Make-Over

Once upon a time, I had a dress that had never felt quite right, and a top that just didn’t work. I made the dress a while back, felt displeased, and modded it a bit. It still didn’t feel right, so it got buried in my wardrobe.

The top I got as a souvenir from Mom a long, long time ago. That was back when she still tried to understand what I like. Sadly, she forgot that I’m horrified of spiders.

A few weeks ago, I found both the top and the dress, and asked them whether they’d like to get tossed, or play nice together.

The answer was obvious. Dress make-over!

I liked the shape of the top along with its mesh sleeves. The dress had a nice hem, so I decided to combine them. This way, I’d get to make the best of both item’s good qualities.

I started by taking out my scissors. I got these from my ex-mother-in-law (she didn’t die or anything, I just got divorced) a few years ago. I’m not really into the Moomin-thing, but Fiskars makes the kind of scissors I love. They’re durable, easy to sharpen, and comfortable to use.

The scissors are available on amazon in case you’re into Moomin characters. If you get them through the link below, I might earn a little extra.
Moomin Stainless Steel Moominmamma Scissors

I cut the dress at the waist so that I could use all of the hem. I ended up shortening it a bit, though. I like hems to fall mid-thigh, knee, or all the way to the floor, and this one ended up in the gray area of “below the knee”, commonly known as eww in my world.

I also cut the top at the waist. I like waistlines to sit at the narrowest part of the waist. Through this procedure, I gained a bit of cobweb-print material. I used it cut out basic cuffs to replace the ragged ruffles at the sleeves.

I like those, basically, in this top they were just too small and a bit sad.

I serged the pieces together at the waist, installed cuffs, and voila! Two not-so-happy garments turned into a cute dress!

I really like giving sad clothes make-overs, and this trick is among my favorites. Combining a top with a hem to gain a dress is quick, easy, and rewarding. This dress make-over resulted in a comfy and cute dress with just a bit of edge. I might show this to Mom someday to see whether she remembers the top she gave me, or just serve me the good old “dear lord, what on earth are you wearing”-shriek.

With a seam at the waist, this dress needs a belt to ease out the contrast created by two different kinds of fabric. I like to wear this with an elastic belt, a tight petticoat (the hem flies a bit and it makes me uncomfortable), and small, sparkly bits of jewelry. This dress is basic enough to wear for running errands, and still cute enough to style up for a Friday-night outing.

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

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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Wide Wide Hems

This week, we’ve been concentrating on dresses. I’m not a sundress-kind of girl, but prefer styles that offer a bit more coverage. I like dressing up, and most of our designs are pretty perfect for going out. Today, I wanted to show you a few skater dress styles. All of these dresses are based on our SkaterDress Pattern. It’s a versatile pattern with the option for a classic style, a Gothic update, and a version made with upcycled materials. I love all of these dresses, but again, one outfit pleases me more than the others.

Velvet Circles

Our SkaterDress Pattern comes complete with three styles. One of them is a Gothic version of the classic. It’s made with a super-short hem, wide cuffs, and a lacing. You can also choose to add a hood to the dress. I don’t feel comfortable under a hood, so I made this version without it. The hoodless style works better with my personal taste, though I do love the fairytale-vibe a hood always seems to add.

This dress has a lot of details. With the lacing and the bell sleeves, it can be challenging to accessorize. I wanted to go with a look that’s a bit on the conservative side. I’m not young enough to pull off a wild look with a mini skirt, so I chose to tame the dress down.

Hair and make up can work wonders in changing a look. I chose to wear my hair in a French twist secured with small claws. I kept my make up very light, and chose to wear only a small heart-shaped pendant. I covered the seam of the dress with a elastic belt, and wore a tulle petticoat under the dress to give it a bit more length. Semi-opaque tights and Demonias complete the outfit.

I like this look, especially with the bell sleeves. The dress is elastic, so it’s really comfy. The only thing that bothers me is the length. Were the dress floor-length, this would be perfect for me!

Purple Accents

Mixing up feminine and masculine is a thing that always makes an outfit interesting. This skater dress mod is super-feminine with its three-layer hem and fitted bodice. The cuffs, collar, and mid-sleeves are embroidered, which adds to the femininity. I needed a balancing detail. Instead of wearing the dress with necklaces, I chose to go with a tie. A purple tie matches with my favorite corset, and gives the outfit a masculine touch.

Since the hem is again on the short side, I popped the tulle petticoat under this one, too. It gives the hem more volume, and a bit more length. Circle hems should always be worn with a petticoat due to the unavoidable Marilyn-moments. They make wearing wide hems much nicer, since you don’t have to be guarding the hems all the time.

This outfit is one I wear quite often, with minor changes in tie and corset color. It works wonderfully when going out to check out bands, and it’s actually a go-to style. Wearing this is easy and fun, and the outfit is surprisingly comfortable especially when standing around all night.

So Sweet

The last of this batch of skater dress styles is my favorite. I made the dress last fall, and it’s gotten a lot of wear. I used an H&M blouse for the bodice. The blouse was a bit snug around the shoulders, and the original long sleeves were too short for me. I ripped the sleeves out, and turned them into short puff sleeves to add a comfort factor to the bodice. I then took a circle skirt with a sewn-in purple tulle petticoat, and joined the two. As a result, I gained a super-cute dress that’s perfect for pretty much any occasion.

For this look, I wanted to underline the sweetness of the dress. I added a long sash to it, and wore it as a belt. I tied the long ends to one side to give the outfit an asymmetric detail, and also something to fiddle with when I get nervous.

I’ve worn black pearl stud earrings all week, and wanted more black pearls for this look. A necklace would clash with the lace-trimmed collar, so I took my black pearl necklace, and wrapped it around my wrist. It turns out the necklace makes a cute bracelet as well!

This outfit turned out really cute. The French twist takes away some of the girliness of the look, and so do the chunky shoes. The dress is also really comfy, and, well, this just looks like me more the most.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our skater dress styles!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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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

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From Sweater to Shrug

Once upon a time, I had a lace sweater. I liked the material, but the shape not so much. The sweater was snug and long. It had a keyhole neck, a high collar which was a bit too tight, and a rib at the hem and cuffs which was also a bit too tight. In order to salvage the sweater, I turned it into a shrug. The transformation paid off: the not-too-nice sweater turned into my favourite lace shrug!

The project was relatively simple. I cut off the excess length and the too tight cuffs. I then opened the sweater down the center front line, and gave the edges a curved shape. I used elastic bias tape to bind the shrug with, and added buttons along with button loops to the collar.

The whole project took me about an hour. I did this a few years ago, and I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of this lace shrug. Turns out a little bit of effort really can save a garment that isn’t all that perfect!

The shrug works really well with dresses and over tops, but I love to pair it with corsets even more. The lace shrug has a perfect shape to be worn over an overbust, and it offers both coverage and warmth. For the photos, I wore the shrug with The DeathRock Bustier and Lace Skirt. The outfit turned out quite dark, and well suited for evenings out.

The Lace Skirt is a mod of our Lace Skirt Pattern (which will be this week’s VIP-offer!). It’s made with non-elastic lace fabric, and it has a purple lining. I love the colour combo, though pinks and purples were strangers to me for a long time. When my hair was red, I used to be jealous of ladies who could rock red hair and pink outfits. When I tried to do the same, I colourblind instead of gorgeous. Returning to black hair opened my mind to the prospect of adding a bit of purple and even the dreaded pink to wardrobe, and I actually kinda like it!

To top off the outfit, I added large hoops and my trusted Demonias. A little bit of silver brinks sparkle to the look, and compliments the way purple lining glimmers through lace. And yes, I once again forgot the correct order of getting dressed. Ouch.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my lace shrug!

Don’t forget to order our newsletter if you haven’t yet done so. This week, we’ll be having The Lace Skirt on sale, but only for VIPs!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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Black Skater Dress

This week has been about skater dresses, and the various forms they come in. Our Skater Dress Sewing Pattern is this week’s VIP-offer, and today, I wanted to show you guys a dress I made with the help of the pattern.

Our Skater Dress Sewing Pattern comes with three choices. You can choose from a basic skater dress, a Gothic version of the classic, or a heavily modded version that’s based on a store bought blouse. I made my dress along the last option.

I had a short peasant skirt. I liked the look of it, but it felt uncomfortable. I liked to wear it with blouses, and the waist of the skirt never really co-operated with me. It was always either riding up or sagging even though it was the right size. I was quite upset with the skirt. This week, I decided to Do Something to it.

I had a basic black blouse I kinda didn’t like either. It was a bit on the baggy side, and a bit plain. I took the two, and paired them up.

The Skater Dress Pattern offers more detailed instructions on how to do this.

I cut the top to length, joined the two at the waist, and added a zipper on the side. The result is quite nice. The top lost its bagginess, and the skirt its desire to venture out of place.

Black skater dress mod

A dress like this can work as is. All it really needs are tights and shoes. I wanted to add a little something to it, though.

Skater Dress with Silver Accessories

Two weeks or so ago, I happened upon H&Ms sale online. I’ve kinda been on the lookout for new shoes, so when I found a pair of silver pumps at H&M, I ordered them. I picked them up yesterday, and wanted to incorporate them into an outfit right away. I paired the shoes with my new black skater dress mod, my heart buckle belt, and a lace petticoat. This dress has a wide hem, and though the petticoat is a bit flimsy, it offers coverage during the inevitable Marilyn-moments.

Skater Dress and accessories

I added black pearls to the outfit along with large silver hoops.

This is another outfit that works well for casual dinners or going out for a pint. It’s comfy, cute, and easy to wear. Adding a cropped cardigan on top will offer extra warmth, and a silver purse would give the outfit more bling.

Black skater dress with silver accessories

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Skater Dress mod!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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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

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SkaterDress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next Wednesday.

Love,

Heather

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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

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HandBag with Pink Lining

Every now and again, I get bored with all of my purses. A normal person would just go to a shop and buy a new one, but I venture in sewing handbags myself. Or at least trying to.

Sometimes, I get to say “oh my that went sooo horribly wrong” and quietly get rid of the evidence, but once and again, I come up with something that’s actually quite cool.

I found some black leather in my stash, and decided to want a bowler purse. I’ve always kinda wanted one, but never gotten around to finding one. As the leather just screamed to be a bag, I thought I’d give sewing handbags a go.

Going through my stash, I found a pink skirt with a black comic print on it. Someone had given it to me a long time ago, and since I didn’t want to wear it, I chose to sacrifice it for a higher purpose.

I cut out the pieces using the good old “I’m just eyeballing it” -method. I’m a true follower of this school of patterning, and use it often when sewing for myself.

I cut out two pockets for the outside of the bag, and two for the inside. I sewed a zipper to one of the inside pockets using the easiest method available. Take a short zip, cut a rectangular piece of fabric for the pocket and a narrow strip to hem the pocket with, sew the zip in between, and just sew the piece on the lining. It’s super-easy, and saves you the headache of doing a welted pocket.

I aligned the pockets with the bottom of the purse, so that they would endure more strain.

I’m always worried about losing my keys. When making this purse, I came up with the cleverest idea I’ve had in, well, all my life.

I took a D-ring, and attached it to the side seam of the lining.

I then took a parrot clasp, and attached it to my key ring.

After finishing the purse, I can just attach the parrot clasp to the D-ring, and never have to worry about accidentally pulling out my keys again!

I’m quite happy about the way the purse turned out. It’s large enough to house all the things I need when stepping out (including various notebooks), and cute enough to take along to a casual party. The zipper closure is practical, and the lining makes it extra-special.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my cool new purse!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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