Christmas Looks with Velvet Dress

Christmas is almost here, and this is 2018’s last blog post. I’m going to take a little break from work now, and will return to blogging on January 8th. Before the Holidays, I wanted to show you looks with The Velvet Dress from Tuesday. As you probably remember, I shared a dress make-over, but didn’t show you how the dress looks on me. Let’s look at it now!

The original dress had a front that was way too open. I sorted out that problem by turning the dress around, and giving the back a V-shape. To make the back more secure, I closed the V with skin-toned mesh. I have issues with necklines that fall open at the slightest careless move, but have absolutely no problem with showing some skin at the back! Also, since the dress will reveal bra straps no matter what I do, I decided to go to town with them. I picked a bra with a butterfly at the back, and kinda like the way it shows through the mesh.

The front of the dress is now nice and smooth, and has a very modest neckline. I’m really happy about this alteration. It made the dress look less like it escaped from the eighties, and made it much comfier to wear.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to wear on Christmas, and have finally settled on this modded Velvet Dress.

Christmas

When I was growing up, my family had a very specific Christmas routine. We’d get up, watch The Snowman followed by the declaration of Christmas peace on TV, and then decorate the tree. We’d get dinner started, and while everything cooked in the oven, we’d have a sauna. After, we’d put on beautiful clothes, usually with something red, and eat until we were ready to burst. Then, we’d open presents, and maybe eat some more. Food and clothes were the things I remember most from childhood Christmases, and I still want to wear something extra nice during the Holidays. This year, I plan to wear this velvet dress look with a red and black sash.

I hope you’ll all have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest New Year. I’ll see you on January 8th!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Velvet Dress Mod

Last summer, I found a dress at a flea market. I liked the fabric, and I liked its sleeves, so I bought it. At home, I tried it on, and decided it needed a dress make-over. The sleeves and hem were good along with the fit, but the front… well, see for yourself!

I have nothing against a wrap-cut front, but this dress completely failed at it. The front was too loose on me, and fell open if I leaned over. In order to wear it as is, I would have had to use fashion tape to hold it put. A dress make-over was most definitely in order!

I started by ripping the front open. At first, I planned to give the dress a basic wrapped front. Then I started thinking.

The front didn’t have all that much fabric, and cutting it to shape would eat a lot of it. A wrap front would be flimsy and low, and this dress sort of needed to be toned down.I gave the dress a closer inspection, and found that the sleeve scythes were cut symmetrically. The front and the back piece were exactly alike. This meant that I could do the easiest mod ever: wear the dress backwards! Despite this, I still needed to mod the neckline. I continued my dress make-over by shaping the wrap-cut shape I originally had planned. I also lowered the front a bit at the neck. Not a lot, just enough to make it comfortable.

I used elastic lace to bind both the neckline and the wrap-cut back before changing my mind yet again.The wrapped back, as I tried the dress on, proved to be a touch on the slippery side. It really-really wanted to fall off, so I took a piece of skin-toned mesh, and used it to make the back more secure. And when I tried the dress on again, it was perfect!

How perfect, you ask? Well, I’ll show that to you on Friday!

See you then.

Love,

Heather

New Dress

A while back, I went to the flea market, and came home with a pretty good haul. Among the garments I got, was a velvet print top, and a basic jersey skirt with two layers. Neither of these two fit my personal style as they were, so I morphed them together to create a new dress. I started by chopping the top to length, and taking it in at the sides. Then, I took what was left of the hem, and used it to sew ruffle cuffs.

The original skirt had a seam at the hip. I cut the skirt there to get rid of both the seam, and its elastic waist. It was too long to begin with, and a seam at the widest part of my hip looked just wrong.

After the quick surgery, I gathered the hem, and attached it to the top’s hem. Ruching two layers of slippery jersey, and pinning them to another layer of slippery jersey was not easy! Luckily, this was the hardest step of the entire process.

Turning the top and skirt into a new dress took literally an hour, and I could not be happier with the results. The dress is super-comfy, super-cute, and looks like ME. I’ve already worn it out, and it proved to be the sort of dress I could just forget. It required no adjusting and no tugging, and behaved beautifully all night.

For the finished look, I wore the dress with minimal accessories. I hid the waist seam with my chiffon sash, and went for very basic heels. As this dress has a wide, rather voluminous hem which I want to emphasize with petticoats, I wore my hair in a bun. Leaving it loose adds a lot to my width, and paired with wide skirts, that’s not a good look. A messy bun works much better with this look, and is also much more comfortable.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my new dress!

Love,

Heather

Shoe Mod

My favorite shoes broke in the spring. They were very, very old, and I loved them. I’ve been on the look-out for a replacement pair ever since. Finding a pair of shoes that scream nineties is surprisingly difficult, I tells you! Finally, I found a semi-acceptable pair on H&M.Nothing spells quality shoes like H&M, so I was pretty happy to see them on sale for only 18€. I ordered them, got them, and said “ain’t it a good thing I’m a professional, and can give this pair a shoe make-over”. Here’s where we started from!

Originally, I planned to use lace for the shoes. Later, I changed my mind, but that’s the reason why there’s lace in the photo.

I started by using my scissors to cut the leg of the shoes. That was pretty easy since they were made of fabric, and the actual shoe part was stitched to the fabric bit. The picture shows it better than I can explain it!

This wasn’t the first time I did a similar shoe make-over. That’s probably the reason why I went ahead and ordered a pair of shoes just to cut into them… The first pair I modded was so good I wore them until they fell apart on me. Literally, I was walking along, and they started to disintegrate. Luckily, I was quite close to home, and made it there without injury.

Anyway, after cutting the shoes to shape, I took black bias tape, and hand stitched it to place. That does sound like a lot of work, but sewing keeps the binding in place better than gluing, leaves a tidy finish, and can be replaced if need be.

The finished shoes are very, very basic and super plain. They’re also very high, and I feel that decorating them would make them appear a bit too much. In their current basic form, they fit all outfits, and won’t clash with styles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s shoe make-over. I promise to show how these look on me in Friday’s post!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Taking in a Tardis Tee

A while back, I stole a T-shirt from Charming. I’m not a T-shirt person, but this one had the coolest Tardis print, and I had to have it. Needless to say, the Tee was designed for a boy, and would not flatter a girl. Since I really wanted to wear it, I decided to go on a T-shirt resizing quest. Here’s what I had to work with!

The T-shirt was pretty OK around the shoulders, but below that, it was a disaster. Way too wide at the waist, and a touch tight at the hip. I started my T-shirt resizing by putting it on inside out. While wearing it, I pinned down the sides using safety pins. Next, I opened the side seams, and removed the sleeves.

I shaped the side seams to gain a narrower waist. To add room to the hip, I decided to add wedges. Cotton jersey was a bit sparse (I don’t really care for it, cotton has a tendency of clinging to itself and that makes me fidget) so I settled for left-over lace.

I closed the side seams while adding in the wedges, tried the Tee on, and found that it was good. Also, I found that I needed to change my original plans a bit. The shoulder width was fine, but arm scythes were waaaay too big!

To remedy this flaw, I ripped off the neckline binding. Then, I cut off a bit at the shoulder, and shaped the neckline on the back piece. This does seem like a lot of work, but it is the most efficient way to shorten an arm hole.

After closing the shoulder seams, I returned to the sleeves. They were the basic boys’ Tee shape, which can only be described as “boxy”. I could have cut them into a narrower shape, but instead, I merely shaped the cap a bit.

To hide the extra width, I pleated the excess around the shoulder to gain a puff sleeve.

Though the Tardis Tee needed a lot of work, the actual T-shirt resizing only took two hours. Putting a Tee together is pretty straightforward, and I think I spent most of the two hours seam ripping and taking photos. The finished product is still a bit loose at the waist, but I don’t think a T-shirt needs to be super tight. What matters is that it’s no longer baggy at the waist and small at the hip!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s T-shirt resizing adventure!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Blue Dress MakeOver

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dress Make-Over - sew in wedges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dress Make-Over - add details!

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

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

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

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Birthday Dress 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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

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.

Love,

Heather

Seed Stitch Shrug

As winter draws closer, it gets chilly indoors. This time of year, I like to reach for the warmest cardigans. Being cold is a big no-no for me, and cardigans rise to my rescue each fall. Cardigans are not only my go-to garments, but also one of my favorite things to knit. I’ve used all sorts of yarns and techniques when knitting cardies, and found that I like simple designs best.They’re easy and quick to knit up, and pair up beautifully with all kinds of dresses. The Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug is among the easiest cardigan patterns I’ve made. It’s worked with seed stitch and stockinette, and features a super-cute picot cast off.

seed stitch shrug, open

The Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug is designed for chunky yarn. It’s worked with large needles, which makes it a quick knit. I used upcycled yarn for the original design, but any kind of chunky yarn will do just as long as the gauge (4″ x 4″/ 10 cm x 10 cm = 20 rows and 15 stitches in stockinette) matches.

Leafing through Amazon, I found two yarns that would be pretty perfect for this shrug. Both are easy-care acrylics. Using acrylics to knit cardigans is a widely debated area. Acrylic yarns can be annoying to work with, but they do make a light garment that’s easy to care for. With thicker yarns, weight becomes an important factor. A heavy yarn can make, say, this cardigan a bit uncomfortable to wear. Both of the yarns I picked out seem light and soft, and they come in many color choices. If you purchase yarn through these links, I might earn a little extra.
Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease Chunky Yarn
Lion Brand Heartland Thick and Quick Yarn

seed stitch shrug, sleeve detail

The Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug is a mix between cardigan and shrug. It has shaped sleeves and back, and a round edge that doubles as the collar and front pieces. The cardigan has no closure: it’s designed to be versatile and easy to combine with various outfits. It can be closed with a pin or brooch at the neck, bust, or hem, or even worn open. The Seed Stitch Shrug will be our featured pattern (with another cardigan that I’ll post about tomorrow), and I’ll be sharing outfits based on both during the next two weeks.

seed stitch shrug, closed at neck

I hope you’ll enjoy our Seed Stitch Shrug Knitting Pattern!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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, and make myself a new dress! 

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