Christmas in the 80’s

Our work party this year was themed “The 80’s.” And snarky costumer that I am, I said to myself “I don’t really want to dress like the 80’s. I was alive for them, they weren’t all THAT long ago. I’d rather do something crazy like…. the EIGHTEEN EIGHTIES.” Luckily, I have a boyfriend who was totally willing to go along with it.

I was so pleased with myself that one of those photos became our New Years card. The party was truly wonderful, and the team who put it together did a great job. They even had little instant polaroid cameras everyone could play with. These now have proud places on my desk.

I promise you some excellent real quality photos of the actual costumes whenever I get a chance. But to tide you over, here’s some sloppy shots of my hair, which I was actually pretty proud of doing all on my own.

Weaving Words

This was probably the hands-down best project I worked on for Christmas. Remember how I said the clasped weft scarf looked kind of like sound waves? I decided to incorporate that into a woven words scarf.

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I recorded myself saying “You are the most wonderful father a daughter could have. I love you daddy.” Then I looked at the sound waves for it, and wove it into a black and white clasped weft scarf. I also artistically drew it out, and wrote the words, and framed it to make it very clear what the scarf meant. Super sentimental, but kind of wonderfully perfect. My dad has always been the most musically inclined in the family, and he’s recently started recording audio books, so sound waves seemed so appropriate.

The yarn is the same dragon tales rayon boucle dyed by an Asheville local place named Earth Guild. Its the same yarn I used for the painted christmas scarves. Its, hands down, some of the easiest and most beautiful yarn I’ve worked with yet. It weaves easy, soft but strong, and washing machine/dryer safe, and SO SOFT once it’s fulled. The colors stayed fast, and it simply glows in the right light.

I love this concept of turning spoken words into a scarf. It could be done with any phrase, or any snatch of music, or famous speech. The black and white look so classic. I also feel like clasped weft would make really cool piano keys along the edge of a scarf.

1920’s Christmas Dress

Well, here’s the yearly Spoonflower Christmas Party dress. The theme this year was the 1920s, so of course I had to draft my own pattern.

fabric

I found this amazing art-deco-ish embroidered net fabric at Mary Jo’s in Charlotte and couldn’t really resist. The lining, and the skirt, is a simple navy blue satin. It has a dropped waist, loose fit, handkerchief skirt line, and (my favorite bit) a cowled low back. I also, of course, bedazzled the crap out of it. The skirt moved really gorgeously when I walked and danced (and in the wind), which is obviously why I assume it was so popular for this era. And I had to make a gif of it.

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I didn’t use a pattern for this dress. I hand drafted a basic bodice sloper, and then used that as the base to drape the fabric directly on the dress form. Its a simple silhouette, but I am still ridiculously proud of how it turned out. The skirt is just a square with a slit cut in the middle. Then I used my old favorite hot-fix crystals in a deep blue all along the hemline to give it a bit of weight and help it move nicely.

 


It has always been a goal of this home-made blog to encourage me to take more and better photos of my work. Especially to take photos of myself wearing each sewing project. Well, here you are, proof that I wear what I sew! A little sloppy but better than nothing ;-). I really enjoy the one where I’m making crazy chicken arms, but I included it for shits and giggles, and because it shows the movement of the skirt quite well.

Twelve Scarves of Christmas

UPDATE: if you love these scarves as much as my friends and family did, I’m selling more of them in my esty shopΒ for this christmas!

Well, I was very very busy for the weeks up to christmas. There are a lot of photos for this post, but I assume you guys wont mind. I, of course, decided to give everyone a scarf. Scarves are so fun and easy, when you get into a rhythm they don’t even take very long, you get to change up the colors frequently, and they’re just so satisfying.

There’s a local to Asheville yarn store called Earth Guild that does their own dye of some rayon weaving yard. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I’ve been eyeing it for awhile now. They also sell hand-painted warp scarf kits. The yarn is already measured and painted for you, and they provide warp and weft all in a bag. Just warp your loom and you’re ready to go! I confess, once I did the first one and saw how fun and easy and BEAUTIFUL they were, I went a little crazy. The given color combinations are absolutely gorgeous, and with everything pre-mesured, as long as I stayed in the twill family, I simply just tied on new ends to the old ones and didn’t have to do 75% of the annoying pre-work bit.

The only two that weren’t pre-painted kits were the two ones I did with their line of variegated yarns. There’s one foresty green and blue scarf, and a golden scarf with purple and reds. Same weight as the other yarn, just the warp is a variegated and the weft is a solid color. For a couple of inches at each end, I also used variegated in the weft, and then slowly transitioned to the solid to create a nice ombre effect. Does it happen to correspond very closely to the very first scarf I did? maaaaaybe πŸ˜‰ But it just looks so good!


Anyways, it was so delightful to use Earth Guild’s scarf kits. They are the perfect project in a bag, easy, beautiful, somewhat addictive. They’d also be great teaching tools, they easily display the basics, leave out part of the math, good strong soft yarn, the colors look amazing and hide simple flaws, and they don’t take long at all! Any friend that wants a good project to learn to weave on is welcome to come sit at my loom one weekend, and I’ll show you the basics!


You’ll also note that I got the boy to model for me, as long as I also promised to model, haha! Everyone keeps asking for it, well, I’m finally going to attempt to take more photographs of me actually wearing the things I make.

Christmas Dress 2014

So this was my Christmas dress of the year. I knew I wanted to do something a little bit over the top, couture inspired, silvery gray, and covered in sequins. I was predominantly inspired by this 1950s dropped waist dress by Hardy Aimes. (And created a inspiration board on pinterest.) I ended up not going with the scalloped edge neckline like I wanted, but kept the scalloped dropped waist.

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I bought an entire bolt of tulle off amazon (where, fyi, you can get it super cheap!), about 60000 sequins in a variety of gray and smoke and rainbow sheen colors, about 10000 hotfix crystals, and an acre of ribbon. I even got a tambour embroidery hook and frame, and told myself I was going to learn an awesome new skill. As you can see, I totally ran out of time. There are some sequins along the seam at the dropped waist, and at the neckline, but thats it. The neckline was actually originally going to be the edge embroidery on an epic shawl I planned to wear, but ended up repurposing when it was clear I was barely going to be able to get the dress finished, much less the decoration.

I didn’t use a pattern at all. This is probably the most complicated garment I completely planned and draped by hand. There were a couple of terrifying moments when the party I wanted to wear it to was three days away and I thought I had completely screwed up the bodice. Thanks to an amazing friend who ended up drafting extra darts while it was on my body, the thing turned out amazing. The upper back is unlined gathered tulle, and on my skin it looked amazing. I wish my dress form wasn’t gray so you could see the effect.

Overall, I am very happy with this dress. I got an unusual shape that I’d never played with before in the dropped waist. The color was beautiful at nighttime parties with lots of lights. I got a ton of compliments, and would probably wear it again if I had fancy parties to go to, ever. But I do wish I’d been able to sequin and bedazzle the shit out of it like I wanted to. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday, but I doubt it. There are always more things to sew!

Christmas Velvet

I love this dress. I love its fabric. I loved making it. I loved wearing it.

I really really hate my photographs of this dress. This is one of those times when I acknowledge that I really need a real camera. And maybe some practice, or some skill. And probably a better spot than my dining room or back porch to take photographs. This dress is amazing. My pictures of it are absolute crap.

Other than that, I’m really proud of this project.

I made this dress for a Christmas/Birthday party we threw at our house for a roommate. I wanted something visually simple but that felt wonderful and moved with me.

I chose a very nice dark green velvet for this dress because I wanted that tactile experience. I also have never sewed with velvet before, and I wanted that experience. Photographing that velvet was a serious challenge with a crappy phone camera. It is a very dark rich green color, and when the low lights hit it at the christmas party, it glowed. It was beautiful. I lined it in silver satin-y lining which felt soft on the inside and showed when I twirled.

This pattern is Vogue 8814. It didn’t turn out quite like I imagined, but I made it work in the end. You can read my review of the pattern here:Β Vogue Dress V8814 β˜…β˜….Β The pieces are large and simple to put together, but joining those pieces cut on the bias gives it a very elegant look. I included a picture of the cover of the pattern. Because of my inability to photograph the velvet well you can’t see the very interesting structure of the dress. It is comfortable to wear, and twirls fantastically.

I altered the back of it pretty dramatically. The pattern had two choices, with a fully closed back all the way up to the neck and a zipper, or crossed straps. I used the pieces for the full back, but then cut out a diamond shape where the zipper would be and had it simply close at the back of the neck. I attached a filigree bead and a Swarovski crystal to add an awesome sparkle and bring interest to what is normally the most boring part of a dress.