Oh, April! What a dreamy month. I love that the weather finally breaks and we get a beautiful background over which to celebrate Earth Day, or as many people are treating it now, Earth Month!
My art has always incorporated lots and lots of recycling – for so many reasons. I love to use scrap material because the random nature of it tends to prompt creative problem-solving based inspiration in me. It’s also eco-friendly because you’re using resources that have already been created and purchased, or resources that might otherwise get wasted. And of course, the same reason that our grandmothers did it – because it’s easier on the wallet.
I’ve dabbled in sewing as one of my more frequent non-crochet hobbies and I love to meld yarn-based mediums with sewing, especially when it’s refashioning upcycled/recycled pieces. These dresses were both completed and photographed last summer, but never got published anywhere until now because I was so busy working on pattern file updates and digital housekeeping all last year 🙂
I’ve got a couple tips and links to go along with these projects for the curious cro-seamstress and of course if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments <3
The bottom half of this dress was a very fine, lightweight cotton weave skirt dyed in earthy ombre greens. Unfortunately the cut of fabric around the waistband wasn’t too flattering, and it had a hole near the top as well. I removed the lining and cut most of the top tier of fabric and waistband off.
Using embroidery thread & needle, I sewed on a blanket stitch across the top edge after giving it a quick hemming on my sewing machine. I’ve used the embroidery blanket stitch before for melding crochet and sewing, because it leaves a little bar of thread across the top that you can use as a space to insert your hook to make crochet stitches.
For the crocheted bodice, I used my Basic Bikini Cup recipe formula, making the base chain extra long so the bodice had more coverage than a bikini. I stitched the two cups together using a basic decorative mesh of dc, ch-1 repeats, then added two long strips of crocheted fabric off the sides of the cups to make a back.
The two ties from the cups criss-cross in the back to tighten the back straps as well. I also added a croc stitch trim under the cups, and then finally connected the two pieces using chain space mesh 🙂 I think I’d do a tighter mesh on the belly area next time as it would match the rest of the stitching better, but it came out really nicely despite.
Dedicated readers of this blog may recognize the top part of this next easy refashion: it’s the chambray halter top I’m wearing in the Pixie Pocket Belt tutorial cover photos! I never wear it outside of costuming so I decided to give it some new life. The bottom of this dress is yet another skirt with some damage and fit issues, again a thrifted item with great potential. I just adore anything velvet…
The crochet portion of this project was very minimal. After adding the hem and the same blanket embroidery stitch as the Sage Dress to both the top and the bottom edges, I used a bit of hand-dyed jewel toned merino blend yarn in a fine weight to crochet a fagoting join between the two lines of stitches. Presto!
The embossed velvet portions of the skirt are see-through, so this piece will be cute for layering or on its own at some of the more carefree festival environments 🙂
Ellie Dress (2017)
This project is actually from 4-5 years ago, being one of my earlier attempts at garment refashioning using crochet elements. I had a lovely rayon peasant top that was a bit too short, and a dark floral rayon skirt that was a bit too long. I go in-depth about my process for making this dress in my original blog post about it here. I wanted to mention this dress because the original post has a better detail pictures of my blanket stitch that I use to base my crochet stitching on the fabric 🙂
I did hairpin lace as the connecting crochet stitching between the top and bottom portion of the dress, and even sewed on whole handmade doilies out of the same (upcycled) cotton thread. It was quite scrappy and experimental, but I wore it around in several memorable outfits including the Forest Witch Halloween outfit that featured my Mega Tail (tutorial here)!
Slow fashion is obviously a passion of mine! From frogging thrifted sweaters for yarn to melding closet rejects into something brand new, my style changes but I think slowing down and spending time on your clothes creates a real appreciation of what you have. And gratitude is good for the planet <3