Category Archives: Clothes

Black Pants

I thought I would get back into posts with a simple update; I made another pair of pants for Lloyd. These pants came about from a series of mistakes. A couple of years ago, I bought some black fabric to replace the top of a dress. When the fabric came, it was way too stiff to use for the dress so I put it in my fabric stash and forgot about it. Later, I bought some black fabric to make pants for Lloyd but, since he didn’t need any new pants at the time, I just put the fabric away until needed.

Fast forward to earlier this year when it came time to make the pants. I pulled out all of the black fabric I had and none of it seemed suitable for pants. Except for the fabric I’d originally bought for my dress. So I used that. Happily, the pants turned out really well and seem to be pretty durable. However, there may be more pants fabric floating around the house somewhere that I haven’t found yet! Also in black…

The finished pants!

The finished pants!

These seemed huge when I was working on them given the scale of my previous pants project.

These seemed huge when I was working on them given the scale of my previous pants project.

Stretch Silk Dress

My brother recently got married and, as I have made my own dress for family weddings, it was time to make another dress. I knew I wanted to make the dress out of stretch silk, but wasn’t sure what color I wanted. I probably ordered too many swatches to look at, but ended up settling on a nice lilac color in the end.

The dress was based on my favorite go-to jersey dress that I bought a few years ago so I had to draft a pattern before I began. This necessitated making a couple of mock-ups to make sure I got it right. Once I was happy with the mock-ups, I started working on it in the actual stretch silk.

As I was laying out the dress on the silk, I realized one thing I would have to add: a zipper. There was no way the fabric was going to stretch enough to pull over my head. I immediately added a seam down the back of the dress and started looking at zippers, finally settling on a closely color matched invisible zipper. Unfortunately, I’d never installed an invisible zipper that I was happy with before. A couple of Google searches and several websites later, I felt slightly more confident about it – and then proceeded to put it off as long as possible. In the end, however, I was very happy with the result.

The invisible zipper as installed. Not quite invisible, but nicely done.

The invisible zipper as installed. Not quite invisible, but nicely done.

In the end, I was very happy with the way the dress turned out; I think I may have a new favorite material to work with! After wearing this dress all day, it was still comfortable and breathable despite the humidity of summer on the east coast. I would definitely make a dress like this again.

I even put some nice pleats in front.

I even put some nice pleats in front.

The dress definitely had nice movement. Silk is great for that!

The dress definitely had nice movement. Silk is great for that!

Hat Trimming

Lloyd and I had several conversations about hats this past week. It got me thinking about the hat I modified last year to have a removable band. The idea was to be able to change out the band to make it match multiple outfits or just give it a different look. Then the weather got cold and I got distracted and never made any additional bands.

But now that it’s hat season again, I pulled out my nice straw cloche and dug through my fabric bins to find something fun.

The starting materials. I used this fabric for a skirt a couple of years ago and really like it.

The starting materials. I used this fabric for a skirt a couple of years ago and really like it.

I wanted to keep things simple so I sewed a fabric tube with a single angled side and pinned it together. I’m very happy with the result and looking forward to wearing it soon!

The finished hat. I think Grandma's pin makes this look a lot more finished.

The finished hat. I think Grandma’s pin makes this look a lot more finished.

Ballet Slipper Redux

A little over a year ago, I knit myself a pair of ballet slippers. Unfortunately, the slippers were not made to be worn every night for over a year and soon wore out.

Just a couple of small holes.

Just a couple of small holes.

I really liked these slippers and still had plenty of yarn left over, so I decided to knit myself a new pair. This time with felt soles.

Ballet shoe style soles.

Ballet shoe style soles.

I also changed up how I did the lacing in an effort to keep them in place on my feet a little better.

The new lacing method. More like actual ballet shoes.

The new lacing method. More like actual ballet shoes.

I’m very glad I have a new pair of slippers. Hopefully this pair will last longer than the last as I’ll have to buy a new skein of yarn for the next pair!

My new favorite (and only) pair of slippers.

My new favorite (and only) pair of slippers.

Christmas Party Dress

For the past two years, I’ve used Lloyd’s company Christmas party as an excuse to make myself a fancy new dress. This past year, I finally decided to give print at home pdf patterns a shot. I have to say that I’m not a fan of this pattern distribution method. Yes, I can get the pattern right now and, yes, the selection is really very good, but they’re really a lot of work. First of all, like many millennials, I don’t own a printer so the first hurdle is finding a way to print my pattern. Then I have to assemble it myself, make a muslin of the garment (something I’d do with any type of pattern), and then draft a new pattern piece to match the changes. My taped together pieces of computer paper just don’t hold up under modifications.

Once I got my pattern set up and resized properly, I was very happy with it. Since my favorite fabric store in the Seattle area went out of business, I’ve been ordering my fabric from Mood. I got a light green silk for this project and the dress turned out really well! As a bonus, it’s also one of the most comfortable formal dresses I own. I’m very happy with this one.

The finished dress. I thought the lighter color would work at any time of year.

The finished dress. I thought the lighter color would work at any time of year – not that I’m looking for a reason to wear it again… :)

Dress from the First Floor of Britex!

Since I first went in to Britex 10 years ago, I’ve wanted to make a fancy dress from the fabric they sell on the first floor. For those of you not familiar with this particular fabric store, the first floor is where they keep all the expensive fabrics like silks and wools. As a grad student, that wasn’t going to happen. So when we went back to SF to visit friends last spring I knew what I wanted to do: shop on the first floor of Britex!

I’d already done my homework and knew, generally speaking, what style of dress I wanted to make, what materials I wanted to use, and how much fabric to buy. However, one of the advantages of Britex is that the staff is always excited about offering advice on fabric selections. I was introduced to a silk/silicone blend that had an interesting shimmery tone. I really liked it, but thought it was a bit much, so I got a geometric print sheer silk fabric to use as an overlay to tone it down. For the skirt, I got a lavender wool crepe. I’ve always wanted to work with this fabric and, now that I have, will definitely be buying more wool crepe next time I go to SF.

I was very happy with how this dress turned out and have already been able to wear it to two events. Shopping on the first floor was definitely a fun experience and something I’d like to do again – though I probably won’t go all out again unless I have a particular reason. I don’t need that many fancy dresses!

The dress from the front.

The dress from the front.

The back view of the dress. You can tell it's late in summer from my very visible tan lines. :)

The back view of the dress. You can tell it’s late in summer from my very visible tan lines. :)

Knit Buttoned Cowl Redux

My purple cowl has gone missing, so I decided to do the sensible thing: order the same yarn and knit myself a new one. While I was looking at yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a couple more skeins and make a second cowl since I got so much use out of the first one. This time, I decided to make an ombre cowl that faded from burgundy to charcoal. Other than that, the cowls are the same. And now I have two beautiful new cowls! Just in time for summer. *sigh* Such is the way of my knitting projects…

Have you seen my twin? I don't know where it's gone.

Have you seen my twin? I don’t know where it’s gone.

I really like this color combination. And knitting stripes.

I really like this color combination. And knitting stripes.

Long Knit Fingerless Gloves

I wanted another pair of fingerless gloves that would be light enough for spring but would still provide enough warmth on rainy, cool days. After looking through various patterns, I chose a light weight lace glove. Since I’ve made a lot of fingerless gloves in the past few years, I decided to make up a pattern of my own.

First, I chose a length. I knew I wanted to make them to be longer so that I could wear them with t-shirts instead of a sweater so this step went pretty quickly. Next, I had to pick a lace pattern that required between 14 and 20 stitches. This limit was due to the number of stitches across the back of the glove (20 stitches). I probably spent longer than necessary looking at lace patterns, but finally decided on a diamond twist pattern and started knitting.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the gloves turned out. They were warmer than my sweater the day I took these pictures so I think they’ll work nicely as well!

The finished gloves.

The finished gloves.

I used ribbing so the gloves would fit more closely.

I used ribbing on most of the glove for a closer fit on my arm.

And the lace detail. Lloyd got me Vogue Stitchionary: Lace for Christmas and I have definitely been making use of it.

And the lace detail. Lloyd gave me Vogue Stitchionary: Lace for Christmas and I have definitely been making use of it.

Tie Dye Collared Shirt Part 2

There was also a second part to the tie dyed collared shirt experience: my shirt. This process took a bit longer as I had make the pattern for my shirt first. I’ve been wanting to make a collared shirt pattern for myself for a while and decided to use this as an excuse to finally give it a shot. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and will definitely be making more shirts like this. However, I will be pre-washing the fabric first next time as it shrunk a bit more than expected.

I also wanted to try a bit more complicated dye process than I had used before: ombre. This was done in two steps. First, I base dyed the shirt a medium blue. After letting it sit over night, I dyed it a second time in green. For this pass, I started with the entire shirt submerged except for the collar. Then I slowly raised the shirt out of the dye with a new section removed every two minutes. This resulted in a much more subtle color change than I was expecting, but I really like it. We will definitely be dying more fabric dying in the future.

The finished shirt. It's nice finally having a collared shirt that fits!

The finished shirt. It’s nice to finally have a collared shirt that fits!

Tie Dye Collared Shirt

One thing that we have been talking about for a while, but hadn’t got around to doing, was tie dye. In keeping with our home really being a year round summer camp, we went ahead and made a tie dye collared shirt for Lloyd. As I already have more than enough t-shirts, we figured that I had to make it classy for the office.

First, Jasmine made a collared shirt out of muslin and basted it closed instead of attaching buttons (temporarily). Next, and very importantly, wash the shirt to ensure that it can take the dye. Then we tie-dyed it in a classy two tone green and blue. There are a bunch of very good tie-dye tutorials online; we mostly took from www.bystephanielynn.com and used a modified accordion fold with RIT dye. Then, after re-laundering, Jasmine attached the buttons and, voila, a shirt!

First, I am amazed by how easy it was once we learned that you have to wash the cloth first. I think, in the future, Jasmine might actually dye some of her own cloths for preference, and maybe we will have a go at some homemade dye. But, for the time being, I am very happy with my shirt.

Trial blue pieces. The dye gets remarkably vivid.

Trial blue pieces. The dye gets remarkably vivid.

Note the gloves and clean laundry room environment. In an unsurprising turn of events dye stains.

Note the gloves and clean laundry room environment. In an unsurprising turn of events, dye stains.

Shirt folded and banded with extra hair ties. I dunked the ends is blue for about 5 minutes, and the center in green for 10 minutes.

Shirt folded and banded with extra hair ties. I dunked the ends is blue for about 5 minutes and the center in green for 10 minutes.

Shirt done! It's a bright change of pace at the office, and as an engineer noone says much about my clothing choices.

Shirt done! It’s a bright change of pace at the office and, as an engineer, no one says much about my clothing choices.