Monday, 27 March 2017

Hop's new dress

M's sewing aspirations are high and just lately she's moved on from drawing countless pictures of dancers in varying pretty dresses, to wanting to make the dresses themselves. Sadly her lack of sewing skills have led to her improvising, which means making clothes for her toys from paper.

These creations take hours to design and then make, but being paper and held together with tape are not particularly robust. The first outfit ripped when she tried to dress the toy, so after some thought M's solution is to:
  • Make the dress bigger than the toy
  • Use a dress form - in this case a few toilet rolls
Hop's dress on an improvised dress form.
The dress being modelled by Hop herself.

It may not look like much, but there is a lot of design and knowledge about clothing wrapped up in this dress. If you look there is a bodice and a full, layered skirt. The bodice itself is decorated with bows and the whole garment is sized to fit (albeit large with extra room so it can be put on and taken off) a specific toy rabbit.

I'm impressed.

M tells me she is making Hop some pyjamas next.

In the meantime, I've started trying to improve M's sewing skills but it is slow going. Sewing without an end product is not terribly exciting and it is not a craft which lends itself well to instant results. The results are faster than something like knitting or crochet, but you still need to have patience.

For this reason over the past couple of weeks we've worked some threading and beading, making some dream catchers, wind chimes and necklaces.

We've also done some actual needlework, with real needles...
Making a pompom necklace and working on our French colours.
Patchwork cat wearing her new necklace.

A flower stitched onto card.
A heart stitched onto card.

In the meantime I've been altering costume for M's upcoming dance show. The costumes may have come from a theatrical supplier but they do not take into account the real shape of small children. Fortunately I've been able to limit the alterations to shortening straps and adding extra velcro.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

It turned out alright in the end

I started work on this shawl collared waistcoat back in November, based on a pattern from "Custom Crochet Sweaters (Dora Ohrenstein)". It was not overly complicated but had the novelty factor of being worked vertically with increases based on changing the stitch height.

Everything started well and I made good progress, but misunderstood the increase instructions and didn't notice until I had almost finished. I wouldn't have been happy with the finished result, so I ripped the whole garment out and remade it, finally placing the last stitch on Christmas Eve. By this point I had lost the love entirely so put it aside, only taking it out last month to reluctantly sew it together.

I'm glad I persevered though as I think it turned out well.
Shawl collared waistcoat.
 Worked up in Wendy Mode DK on a 5.5mm hook I had to rework the pattern a fair bit as usual, I couldn't make gauge, this is why I got lost on the increases. My interpretation of the word 'repeat' and whether it includes the original instruction on what to repeat, differed from the designers intended meaning. As I had to adjust most of the stitch and row counts, it is easy to see how I got confused.
Stitch pattern.
The stitch pattern combined dc and tr in a cluster, reminding me of my favourite baby blanket. It was easy to memorise and works up quickly, which is why I was able to make this whole garment twice in under two months. The only delay was I couldn't face sewing it together.
I fastened the front with a single snap as recommended by the pattern. The stitches had to be stabilised, by darning into the clusters to produce a firmer fabric before sewing the snap on. The only real issue with the design is the curl on the bottom of the front pieces. I tried steaming the area before making up which helped a little but didn't completely eliminate the problem. As Wendy Mode is 50/50 Merino Wool/Acrylic I didn't want to do more for fear of killing the yarn.

So in summary, this should have been a quick and easy made which was complicated because I couldn't hit gauge so had to rework all the numbers. It was however completely worth the effort as it is a lovely waistcoat and has already made it into regular circulation as part of my wardrobe.