Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My First Completed Scarf

I have started knitting many things in the past but I rarely finish any of them.  It is probably due to the fact that I have tried to knit huge projects that a beginner probably shouldn't have chosen... like a blanket (a very ambitious and unpractical first project). This is the first knitted item that I have actually finished. I used The Manly Scarf pattern, which can be found here at Knitting Queen's Pattern Page.

I ended up using Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Black and size 10 1/2 needles with the yarn doubled. I also changed the number of stitches cast on to 26 and just followed the directions until the scarf was the length that I wanted.  The finished scarf measures 8 inches x 72 inches.
This scarf was made for my boyfriend and it was a great Christmas present.  I started knitting it 2 days before Christmas but then ran out of yarn on Christmas Eve so I just put it unfinished in a box with the needles still in it just so he could see it.  After Christmas, when the stores opened, I went back and got more yarn and finally finished it.
Here is a close up of the "waffle" design.

I have another scarf that I have been working on for me but it had to be put on hold while I did this and some sewing... hopefully I will be able to get that finished and write about by the time it gets cold here again.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dress to a Skirt Tutorial

This is my first attempt at writing a tutorial.  If you have any tips or comments please let me know so I can improve.  I would love to hear from you.

I've had this dress sitting in a pile of clothes that I either need to hem or change completely in order to wear them. Since this pile keeps growing and I am moving into my dorm room in a week, I figure I need to stop procrastinating.  I got this dress a few months back when someone was cleaning out their closet.
The dress just does not look good on me... even when I add a belt.  I love the print of the fabric so I knew I wanted to make it wearable.

1. To figure out where to should cut the dress, hold it up to your body at the right length you want the skirt to be.  Cut the dress at the line where it hits your waist.  You can also lay the dress on top of a skirt you already own to figure out where to cut it.

2. After cutting the dress and the lining, Used your overcasting foot to sew where you just cut to stop it from fraying and to secure the two layers together. This is the zig-zag looking stitch in the picture below.  If you don't have an overcasting foot, a normal zig-zag stitch set at a short stitch lenght will work too.

 3. Then fold 1/2 inch of the top edge over to the inside of the skirt and sew 1/4 inch from the top. (see above)

4. For this skirt, we are using elastic thread to create shirring at the top of the skirt.  Here is a great tutorial for shirring.  It is the one that I used to learn how to do this.

5. Wrap the elastic thread loosely (very slightly stretch it) by hand onto your bobbin.  You will be using this elastic thread as the bobbin and normal thread as the top thread.
6. Backstitch about 3 times to secure the elastic and star 1/4 inch from the top of your skirt sew all the way across the top of the skirt.  Just before you reach where you started, start to turn and sew at a diagonal line to continue to make another line 1/4 inch below the one you just sewed.  Continue spiraling down until you have about 7 lines evenly spaced.  You can add a couple more lines if you want, 7 just works for me.

       6.5.  If you have a Brother sewing machine, some of them do not like elastic thread.  They will sew and not create any shirring at all.  On the bobbin case, there is a green screw and I usually have to turn it 2 complete turns clockwise, in order to use elastic thread.  Here is a great tutorial that can explain it a million times better than I can.
 7. After sewing the rows of stitching this is what your skirt should look like.  You should be able to tell that the waist is a bit gathered and elasticized.
 8. Take an iron that is set for steam and hold it OVER NOT DIRECTLY ON the fabric that is shirred.  The fabric will shrink up even more.  Do this all the way around the top until you see the elastic stop shrinking.
 9. This is what it should look like after all of that.
 Here is the finished product! I like it the most when I pair it with this belt that I made using this tutorial.


 Here it is without the belt
 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  I had a lot of fun creating it!

I am linking this to... Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. and Made With Love Link Up at Sew Chatty

Cute New Dress

Happy New Year!

Awhile back I picked up this pattern for $1 and some deep teal crepe fabric that was in the clearance rack that was also 1/2 price... I ended up getting 3 yards of it for $2/yard.
I made view C without the neck ruffle.  I cut out a size 8.  For the armhole and neck facings, I didn't want to waste fabric so I just cut several smaller bias strips the same width and connected them together to get the length that the pattern called for.  This is the first time that I did this and I will definitely be doing it for many other projects... I may even use this method to eliminate the normal facings in other patterns.

I cut the neck about 1/2 higher to be safe.  I ended up trimming about 1/4 of that away... which was a bad idea.   The dress ended up being too low cut.  Next time I will add more and not cut any.  After finishing the neck edge, it seemed to be a bit stretched out.  I will have to be more careful next time.  Because of all that, I have to wear a camisole underneath the dress.
After reading some reviews on Pattern Review, I decided to move the zipper from the side to the center back, which was definitely a good decision.  Since I did that, I would add 1/2 to 1 inch to the center back of all the pieces next time I make this.  I also took the sides in enough to make the bodice a size 6.  Next time I will just cut a size 6 bodice and take in, if needed, from there.  I also think that next time I will shorten the bodice by about an inch.  I ended up hemming the dress with lace, which I love.  I hemmed the dress 2 1/2 inches, which made it end just below my knees
I don't like the dress by itself but when I add either a belt or a cardigan, I really like it:


 Overall, this dress was very easy to put together quickly even with some of the fitting issues.  Now that I figured out exactly what to fix, I can throw this dress together quickly in the future.