Chiffon Top Tutorial

Two weeks ago, the only fabric in my stash was a gorgeous pink chiffon and an old, grass-stained sheet.

Pink Chiffon of unknown origin
Pink Chiffon of unknown origin

I wanted to make the chiffon into a delicate infinity scarf, perhaps with a crochet lace border. And then, to my infinite horror, I found these imperfections.

HORROR!
HORROR!

The infinity scarf was out of the question. I could not both avoid the imperfections and keep enough material to make the scarf. Thus, the easiest top in the world was born.

Tutorial:

1. Cut two rectangles of the chiffon that are about a foot wider than your shoulder width and long enough to reach from your shoulder to your desired length. I did this by first cutting the rectangles from the sheet, and then using them as a pattern/practice for the chiffon.

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2. Hem all of the edges. I did this by hand because the fabric was extremely delicate and I felt a little unsure of my ability to use the machine on it.

3. Sew together at the shoulders. Don’t forget to test by safety pinning and trying it on first!

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4. With the top on, pin at your waist and hip height.  Folding the fabric in half width-wise, make symmetrical markings at the waist height, but at the width of your bust (so you can get it over your head). Mark at hip width at the hip line.

Pinning on my body to desired measurements.
Pinning on my body to desired measurements.

5. Stitch between your two marks wrong sides together. There is no logical way to turn it right-side-out if you do not.

Measuring the folded pieces at the waist line!
Measuring the folded pieces at the waist line! I have a 36 inch bust, so I needed the smallest part of the seam to be at least this large to go over my head.

6. Press and enjoy ūüôā

How I'm going to style it.
How I’ll style it.
The fit when finished.
The fit when finished.

So “easiest top in the world” was probably an exaggeration. ¬†It does require a lot of hand stitching and a little time to test the placement of the shoulder tacks and side seams. However, it is very conceptually simple.

I apologize for the silly mirror photos. Those will be present for my first few posts, then I will figure out something better.

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A Creative Space

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new blog. I have been contemplating a switch from my crochet blog to one that includes all the things I love, and I have finally created that reality.

My usual choice of title would be a pun or something silly, but nothing came to me. I finally realized I wanted something that represented my creative energy. I love to work in quiet, restful spots where I can fully engage in the project and my aesthetic is feminine (ribbons and laces).

I have accumulated quite a few pictures and projects while I was trying to come up with a title, so I will get those up ASAP. I am also moving my crochet/knitting posts over from blogger slowly. I expect the blog to feature projects of the following types: crochet/knit, from-scratch sewing, refashions and miscellaneous adventures into other areas.

I recently read this book and was incredibly inspired to work with used clothing to help reduce the unethical consequences of fast fashion, so many of my early posts will show my attempts to turn my $1.39/pound (yes, by the pound) Goodwill finds into something wearable.

I welcome your opinions about my work in the comments, regardless of their harshness, but I request that you are kind to the other guests on my site. Thank you for spending a little time in my world today!

Owl Dishcloths for My Sister

This post is moved from my original blog.

First I should apologize for my long absence, school has been busier than ever lately and as the semester starts to wind down I have more time to craft and be creative. ¬†I thought I’d post an old project that I just got around to finishing. My sister and I have started a habit of sending each other little gifts occasionally, hers are from her shopping adventures and mine are from my crafting exploits.

I found the pattern for the little owl dishcloth here, and I honestly can’t remember whether I used a pattern for the big one. ¬†It’s just a garter stitch border of 4 stitches around a stockinette center. My owl looks a lot angrier than the one on the pattern website, probably because the eyes are smaller. ¬†This project also reminded me of the importance of blocking before photographing! ¬†I tried without blocking and it was terrible.

I love the way they turned out, and hopefully Alyssa will enjoy them too! ¬†I still can’t believe she’s old enough to need dishcloths! ¬†I can’t help but remember back when I used to knit and crochet little outfits for our Build-a-Bears back when we were little, and now all my work is so adult!

Little Crochet Snowflake Earrings

This post is moved from my original blog.

For Christmas I made the tiniest crochet snowflake earrings for my Mom and sister. ¬†The pattern I used can be found here. ¬†Please note it uses UK terms (if you read dc in UK terms, make a sc in US terms). The real challenge with these earrings isn’t the pattern, it’s working with tatting cotton. ¬†I used a magnifying light to help me see and save my eyes. ¬†I also stiffened them with some glue and water while I blocked them, and painted them with a light coat of sparkly nail polish to make them shimmer.

My First Visit to a LYS

This post is moved from my original blog.

It occurred to me this past week that for as long as I’ve been knitting and crocheting, I’ve never actually been to a yarn store. (Local Yarn Store or LYS according to the internet) ¬†So I went over to The Knitting Nest in South Austin and bought some Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in navy and some ChiaoGoo circular needles in size 6 to make a hat for my boyfriend.

I haven’t done much so far, but I’m using a modified version of this pattern from Ravelry. ¬†By modified I mean changing the number of stitches to account for the fact that this yarn is a little lighter than worsted, and using a special technique to prevent the gap between the knit and purl stitches that plaques my ribbing. ¬†I will post details when I’m done!

Irish Crochet Cross Bookmark

This post is moved from my original blog.

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted (a whole week) because it’s been way too long since I’ve had time to do any knitting or crochet! ¬†Last weekend I finished this bookmark for my grandmother, and I had to wait to post it until it arrived so it would be a surprise! ¬†She was thrilled, though I’m sure she would have been even more thrilled if it had been on time. ¬†She taught me to crochet and knit when I was a child, so getting handmade presents has some additional meaning.

I didn’t create a pattern because I had to improvise a little, but maybe someday I’ll recreate it and write up what I did.

I used DMC’s Cordonnet in No 40, with a size 11 steel hook.

I started with a base chain that formed the shape of the cross.  When I had just started the second round it looked like this:

That is, it looked hilariously bad!
So after I finished the second round, I went ahead and blocked it to give it more shape and help me correctly assess the number of stitches I needed.
Before Blocking
After Blocking

The cross was starting to take shape!  I used a lot of tugging on the PC (padding cord) at this point to help the shape.

The next 2 rounds created this:

And with one more round of blocking, a flower for the center (from the Go-To Book for Irish Crochet), and the addition of a tassel, I finally arrived at my cross bookmark! I can not stress enough the importance of using padding cord in the second and last rounds. ¬†It helped me create the cross shape when the yarn wasn’t stiff enough to do it by itself.

It was a very fulfilling design process because I had such a clear idea of what I wanted, but I had never made a bookmark.  Unlike my flower motifs, which are the product of moderate experience with making flowers, the cross had its beginnings in my imagination.

Cherry Blossom Motif

This post is moved from my original blog.

I’m designing an Irish Crochet piece (finally!!!)with cherry blossoms all over it, and I couldn’t find just the right flower motif to make it look right. ¬†Let me be clear that were plenty of beautiful ones on Ravelry, they just weren’t what I was looking for: flatish, detailed and thread friendly. So I spent the afternoon designing my own! ¬†As usual, I’m sharing the pattern (at bottom of page)

So here is a picture of real cherry blossoms for comparison (with source and permission of course!):

Spring in Somerville, NJ – 2012 File 3” by¬†Siddharth Mallya¬†–¬†Own work. Licensed under¬†CC BY-SA 3.0¬†via¬†Wikimedia Commons.

Here is my first attempt with size 10 white thread (unknown brand) and DMC Tatting Cotton in plum for the center:

And my final pattern piece with DMC Cordonnet No 30 blanc and the same tatting thread in the center.

And because I love thread size comparisons, here’s one of those!

And finally, a picture of a rough concept for the final design. ¬†I plan to create stems just overloaded with the little version of the flowers, just like real cherry trees! I’m also planning to design a separate motif for the buds so I can have a few of those as well. ¬†Please excuse the wrinkled fabric I pinned it to.

Cherry Blossom Motif:

Materials:
DMC Cordonnet No 30 in blanc
DMC USA Spécial Dentelles Size 80 in plum
size 11 steel hook
size 14 steel hook
needle for weaving in ends
with white No 30 thread and size 11 hook

round 1: 1ch, 10sc into a magic loop.  sl st into back loop only of 1st sc

round 2: (working in back loops only) 1ch, 1sc in same st, *2sc in next sc, 1sc in next sc* repeat to last sc, 2sc in last sc, sl st into back loop of 1st sc

round 3: *ch 7, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next sc, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in last 2 ch, sl st to back loop of next sc from round 2, 1ch, turn to sc in last sc of petal, hdc in next st, dc in next 2 hdc, hdc in next st, sc in last st, 1ch, turn, 1sc in next 2st, hdc in next 2 st, sc in last 2 st, sl st to back loop of next sc from round 2,** sl st to next st* repeat 3 more times from *, then once more from * to **

round 4: *sl st into back of ch on petal from last round, 2sc in back of next sc from last round, 2hdc in back of each of next 3 st, 2sc in last back of st, 2sc together across row ends of last round, 2sc in next sc, 2hdc in each of next 3 st, 2sc in next st, sl st in next st.* repeat from * around, end with a sl st into first sl st of round. Fasten off, weave in ends.

To make center:
with plum No 80 thread and size 14 hook
Join pink yarn to innermost front loop with a sc.  *2ch, sc in next front loop* repeat around, working in a small spiral until you have one circle of pink.  sl st to complete circle, fasten off, weave in ends.

If you want a more textured center like on my bigger flower, start by attaching in the same spot, but then work (3ch, 1sc, 3ch, 1sc, 3ch) into each front loop around.