Monday, December 30, 2013

1920s dress!

Ladies and Gents,
I was recently asked by a friend to help make them a 1920s costume for a one-time event. I agreed - this could be a fun challenge!
It's not an era I know much about, so I threw myself headlong into research.
One of the notable things I found out is that skirts were not as short as I would have thought! Towards the beginning of the 20s they were quite long - midcalf or longer, sometimes - and only got shorter (though still below the knee usually) by the end of the decade.
The costume I made is not a reproduction. It is in the style of or inspired by and is intended to give the observer the impression of the 20s - but I make no claims to absolute accuracy!

Garment Data:
- Type: Dress, 1920s style, slightly flapper-esque and possibly less-fancy evening wear
- Date made: December 2013
- Pattern: None.
- Fabric/Materials: I used a dress found at Goodwill that had approximately the right shape, including a lace overlay, and went from there.
- Trim: Fringe, ribbon, feathers
- Time to finish: 2 days or so

The original, slightly mother-of-the-bride (or something) dress. Very poly. Has a lace overlay and ghastly puffed sleeves.
So I took the sleeves off! This also gives it a more 20s line.

Started to pin on some fringe I got.
Various trims and accessories draped on the dress prior to assembling it all. Note that the fringe is partly pinned. There is also a band of ribbon, some green trim (that I did not end up using) and a green hat.

I went for two rounds of trim. This is for two reasons:
1: From the pictures I looked at, trim, flounces, or lace was often layered in at least 2 or 3 tiers
2: That's how much fringe I had! :)

Close up of the two-layer fringe. It is hand whipped onto the lace overlay, using the lace design as a guide to keep it level.

Some other props/accessories I gathered. Layers of pearls were sometimes worn, feathers and plumes seemed to be popular, and all the fancy pictures have furs in them!

I've now added some trim right above the fringe.

I thought about adding a pleated sash, but decided it would be a) too heavy, b) too much for the dress as it now looks!

Full outfit, including headband.

Close up of the finished trim!

Headband (early 20s, but too cool to pass up!)

Hat, for the cloche look, for the more "outside" look.

Completed outfit, with hat and fur coat! Really the coat should be as long as the dress or longer, but this one is what I had! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. :)
And I just found out that there will be a 2nd opportunity for the dress to be worn! Hurrah!

Most sincerely yours,
~ Sarah

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Yep, Ladies and Gents, I once tried to make a sock.
.... the yarn is now incorporated into an afghan...

Garment Data:
- Type: SOCK
- Date made: Well, it was never finished... (I don't actually know when I started. I unraveled it in 2008 or so)
- Pattern: None, I made it up as I went along!
- Fabric/Materials: Cotton yarn
- Time to finish: um...

You can see that I was working from top to toe, and had already turned a passable heel.

I just kept increasing in the right place until it looked like i had enough turn to make a sock. I don't know the angle, but it was not 90 degrees.

There are a few things I will do differently the next time I attempt a sock (or two):

  1. Instead of it coming out looking smooth on the outside (knit) and bumpy on the inside (purl) since I just did knit in the round, I would instead do some sort of stockinette stitch to give it more give.
  2. I will use a more elastic yarn, like wool, or perhaps even an elasticized yarn.
  3. I will use bigger needles. I had quite a fine gauge going, and kept my tension quite tight, which also made it hard to work.
  4. I may even try one of the two-at-once techniques, so I don't end up with lonely socks, or with socks of two different sizes!
  5. I'll make the above-the-heel section longer. I know this is a personal taste and aesthetic thing, but honestly I'd probably never have worn that sock even if I had finished it, because it didn't go up high enough!

Well, I'll let you know if/when I make another one. I wonder what that will look like?

... and how long it will take me to finish???

Most sincerely yours,
~ Sarah

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Winter Hats

Dear friends!
By request, I'm posting pictures from a few years ago that I hadn't gotten around to posting yet. These are hats I made for friends and (when I get around to posting them) myself. They're quite warm! I tested them :)

Garment Data:
- Type: Winter Hat
- Date made: Some time during the years 2003-2008
- Pattern: None. I used what I know about shaping and increasing/decreasing to draft the pattern as I went.
- Fabric/Materials: Acrylic or Acrylic/wool blend yarn, polar fleece for lining.
- Trim: Made of same yarn

Knitted in the round, from forehead up. Then drawn together at the top, lined with polar fleece (hand stitched to ensure that it lay flat).

Th ear flaps were knitted separately, and attached after a fitting with the intended recipient of the hat, to make sure they'd fit where they'd need to be! The pompom was made by me as well, and the pompom cord and the ear flap ties were made using a "knitting nancy" 4-peg knitting loom.

Most sincerely yours,
~ Sarah

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A hatbox!

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I got fed up with finding my bonnets squashed at the bottom of my trunk. I sprang for a cardboard, undecorated hatbox at the craft store, and just spent the day with a bottle of Mod Podge, a sponge brush, some paper napkins, and some tissue paper. What fun!

Garment Data:
- Type: Hatbox
- Date made: (well, decorated, really) 12/07/13
- Pattern:
- Fabric: (materials): Cardboard hatbox from craft store, paper napkins, fancy tissue paper (more like lightweight wrapping paper, actually. I was disappointed), Mod Podge.
- Trim: Lace, knit lacing.
- Time to finish: One afternoon.
- Notes:

Well, I forgot to take a "before" picture, but here's the LINK: JoAnn's Hat Box.

I then started with a base layer of red for the bottom of the box, and a tissue paper with swirls for the sides and top. Autumn-themed paper napkins (and some careful scissor work!) provided the leaves and the leaf-strewn stripes, and a Valentine's-Day-Themed napkin provided the hearts for the bottom.

Halfway done.
On the left, you can see that the red of the bottom is completed, as are the basic patterned sides. (Yes, the hatbox is upside down, for drying purposes.) You can see I'm toying with the placement of the hearts at this point, and how exactly they will be handled (there was a pink center to them that I was unsure of. I ended up cutting it out, and am pleased with the results).
On the right you see the lid. It has the same base pattern as the sides of the box, and a criss-cross of orange leaf-patterns. Then there are four maple leaves, cut from paper napkins, placed in the quarters. You can see a spare leaf on the lid --- it will end up on the sides of the box, along with seven others!

The finished box, complete with eight maple leaves, and a knit fabric corner protector.

And the bottom. Note that the hearts are just outlines, giving a very subtle effect.

The lid. Yep, even mod-podged (is that a verb?) lace to the edge!

The completed box! No handle, but not sure of the best way to add one. For now, it will serve beautifully to keep my bonnets from having to be reshaped before each event! Hurrah!

Most sincerely yours,
~ Sarah