PBT: Wrap-Up

PBTCover

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit theΒ Intro page.

Maybe it’s just because I worked on the tutorial for this so much, but this newest pixie pocket belt may be my favorite ever. To be fair though, I do say that almost every time I make a new one of these.

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That’s because every one of them turns out to be totally unique – I start out with a pile of scrap materials, and then let it be what it becomes along the way. This one became “Maple” named of course after the tree. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial series – I certainly did – and I’d love to see what is being made from this guide!

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This pattern tutorial series is now listed on Ravelry – hook up your projects so I can see what you made, or look through other projects for inspirationΒ  πŸ˜‰

And now for more pictures and ramblings.

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I especially love these to dance in, since the fabric fringe catches movement so well!

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Fun side story – the flower headpiece I am wearing in this photo is one I made years ago, a long strand of curlicues (just like the ones talked about earlier in the tutorial series) with scrap yarn flowers that made as I was traveling across the U.S.

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Of course, the utility belt function of this project is super handy if you are the festival-going type, since these pixie belts are not only cute and go over anything, but also hold your necessaries!

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I’m pretty happy with how the faux-bustle back came out – its not something I’d ever really tried before. That’s another thing I love about these projects – pure experimentation is necessary, not just encouraged.

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I’m a little sad to be closing out the pixie belt tutorial actually, so I’ve had a thought – perhaps more pocket patterns in the future? What do you think?

As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions or leave any comments! I love hearing from you ❀

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-MF

 

 

 

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PBT: Fabric Fringe Skirt

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit theΒ Intro page.

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Okay, we’re all done with the crochet process now, so it’s time to move on to one of the most *satisfying* portions of the process: the ragtag fabric scrap fringe skirt! Why is it so satisfying? Well, because you get to rip stuff up. Rip rip rip.

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Here I have the fabrics I selected during the process of selecting my materials – a couple of thrift store silk shirts and some soft rayon jersey knit that formed the lining of one of the shirts. I use my scissors to separate large chunks of fabric away from the bulky seams, then once I have a piece isolated, I start ripping!

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Using my fabric scissors, I cut out small tabs on the edge of the piece of fabric. Then…

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….I grab a tab and rip straight across to get a strip of fabric. RIIIIIIP!

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That’s all there is to it, really. I keep ripping until I have a nice little pile of strips. Beware, there will be a lot of stray threads involved in the ripping process. This is normal.

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So here I have a nice pile from this silk piece. They are different sizes, because I’m using upcycled clothing, so the pieces I’m ripping from are not uniform in size or shape. I’ll sort it out later.

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I’ve also decided to use the jersey knit lining from the same upcycled shirt. Since you can’t rip knit, (or stretch velvet, another favorite fabric of mine to use in these projects) I just use a rotary blade to open up the shirt and cut long strips.

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Add ’em to the pile!

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I also discovered this gold colored silk button-down in my stash at some point and added it to my material pile – I thought it would be good to add depth to the color scheme. Rip rip rip!

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Okay, that’s a pretty good sized pile. It’s not all of my material, but I can always cut more if I need to. Time to apply them to the belt. First, though, one side of my belt doesn’t have a tie – so I am going to use the netted ribbon yarn for that. One good long length doubled over, then looped through the end of the belt, makes a nice tie. Additionally, the netted nature of the ribbon yarn can easily hook over any buttons placed on the belt, giving you more options for how to secure it around the waist.

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Now, the fringe! I lay out all of my strips – since I am making a bustle-style back for this belt, I want to utilize my longest strips in the back middle, and put the shorter ones toward the front edges. So I organize my strips into piles according to size – long, medium, short. Then, take each strip and double it over.

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Using a large-ish hook, draw the loop at the end of the double strip through a chain-loop opening on the edge of the belt. You can also draw these directly through the stitches, or really wherever you want. FrEeForM!!

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Draw the ends through the loop and tighten to create the fringe. Do this all across the belt, or anwhere you want your fabric fringe to be. I go through and add this layer of fabric on just the edge loops, going according to size as I mentioned earlier.

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Once all of the loops on the very bottom have been fringed, I flip the belt over and work from the back side for a bit, hooking fringe into the middle layer of loops.

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Again, there’s really not a wrong way to do this. You can fringe all from the front, or all from the back, or just do one layer, or do so many layers you can’t even see the mesh portion. That last one is what I’m aiming for.

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So I attach my strips just about anywhere they will fit.

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Then, flip it back over, and attach on the top portion of the mesh on the right side!

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Hm, needs just one final touch I think – so I attach just a few strands of a small ball of silky eyelash yarn I have in my materials pile.

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That’s the stuff. And now, I’m seriously done! I am so thrilled about the way this turned out, and also being able to share this creative process here on the blog πŸ™‚ But I do have one more post in this series: the Wrap-Up! Check it out and don’t forget to show me what you’ve made!

Meanwhile, here’s more examples of fringe skirts from other belts I’ve done:

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“Mulberry” used strips of cut stretch velveteen. It also featured a mushroom pouch on it’s own loop, which can be worn around the neck as well. I didn’t include that type of pocket in this tutorial because I already have a mushroom pouch free pattern available!

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“Shepherd’s Purse” used only ripped cotton weave fabrics, like gauze and muslin.

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Instead of ripped fabric, the skirt for “Nightshade” is that netted ribbon yarn, all stretched out to make a frilly fringe.

-MF

 

PBT: Attaching the Pockets

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit theΒ Intro page.

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So far we’ve covered basic shapes in the form of pockets such as circles, squares & rectangles, triangles, and cones – now it’s time to take all the pockets and attach them to the belt base using slip stitch crochet. Like the rest of this project, there is no strictly “right” way to do this, but I’ve included lots of process photos to show how I manage this part.

I prefer the look of pockets mounted directly onto the belt, with the backs up against the belt itself. I also always double-mount my pockets, using two lines of slip stitching, one at the top and one in the middle, to attach the pockets to the belt base. This is not absolutely necessary if you want to skip the second mount (the middle mount is the trickiest part of this) but it does make them really sturdy.Β  I have seen my festival friends put these things through the wringer with use – and they hold up!

If you need more inspiration on the ways you can assemble the belt, remember to check out my Pinterest board featuring crochet utility belts!

Attaching the Pockets to the Belt

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To begin the final stage of crochet for the pocket belt, lay out your belt base and grab all of your completed pockets. Decide how to place the pockets, arranging them along the belt base in whatever manner strikes your fancy – I like the pockets to sit near the ends, but sometimes they are all over the place. Here, because I’m featuring a bustle back, I keep them corralled near the ends so as not to cover the back of the skirt.

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The first step is to get a yarn and start slip stitching across the top of the belt base. I am using a really textured yarn for this part, just to add a little extra crazy.

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Here, I’m just slip stitching across the top of the belt until I get to a place where I’d like to put a pocket. Keep slip stitching, but now work through two layers – the top edge of the pocket (the back part only, since you don’t want to stitch the pocket closed) and the top edge of the belt base.

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This is the first attachment. Keep slip stitching until you want to place another pocket.

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Then, slip stitch across the pocket and belt simultaneously again.

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For drawstring pockets like this one, make sure you leave enough pocket unattached for it to be able to close nicely.

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Keep slip stitching and attaching pockets until you reach the opposite end of the belt.

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For the envelope-style pocket, I decide to make the slip stitch attaching underneath the top flap – so I open it up and stitch through the pocket layer and the belt layer underneath.

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At the end, I rotate and work one row of the side of the belt base, then rotate again and start to slip stitch across the middle of the belt, placing my stitches in between the double crochets that make up the middle row.

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Attaching in the middle can require some really creative maneuvering on the part of the hook-wielder. In fact, this part is more like guerilla fiber-punk yarn wrestling. So be prepared for that! πŸ˜€

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To work the second row of attaching, slip stitch until you reach a pocket. With the back of the pocket facing you, insert your hook into the stitching and back out on the other side of a single stitch, catching the post of the stitch with your hook.

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Then, insert the hook through the middle of the belt. Yarn over and draw this loop through the belt, the post of the pocket stitching, and the loop on your hook, making one slip stitch through two layers.

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Continue this process for at least part of the back of the pocket. When you’ve attached enough of the back of the pocket, keep slip stitching through just the belt layer as normal until you reach the next pocket, then work through both layers in the same manner again.

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Here you can see the back of the slip stitching of the second row on the inside of a pocket – just enough to hold them down and make sure they are extra secure.

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The pockets are now attached!

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After working the second round of attaching, I like to do one more row of slip stitching into the same stitches across the top of the belt, just for extra firmness (to reduce yarn stretching on the belt base) and to add more color and depth. Here I’ll change colors, then just work a simple line of slip stitching all the way across, right next to the first line of slip stitches (or wherever… FREEFORM!!)

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After this last finishing touch, I’m DONE with the crochet portion of the belt! Time to weave in my ends, then tackle the final step: the fabric fringe skirt. After that post, I’ll do a final reveal and wrap-up – I can’t wait to show the final product πŸ™‚

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-MF

PBT: Belt Base

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – too read more about this series visit theΒ Intro page.

Belt Base

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The belt base is where I usually start, using one of the main colors of yarn and essentially creating one long, skinny rectangle by stitching just a few rows onto a long base chain. This belt was started by using my 5.00 mm hook and the double chain technique – regular chaining is fine, I just prefer stitching into the double chain for longer projects.

Make a base chain long enough to wrap around the intended set of hips, and then some. You will most likely lose an inch or two during the process of completing the belt due to the tight slip stitching added later.

Then, add a few rows of stitching to create the belt width. I did a row of double crochet, then turned and did a row of (dc, ch 1, sk next st) repeats to add visual interest. Next, I turned and worked a single crochet in each stitch and chain space (so that I have something solid to slip stitch into at the top of the belt in the later steps).

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I got creative here and decided I wanted the middle of the back of the belt to have a little point to it, so I placed a 3-stitch decrease there in each row.

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Once you have your desired width, prepare to rotate and work into the end/side of the belt.

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I create a pointed triangle shape by working three tall connected stitches across the belt ends. These are trtr (triple treble) stitches, which are equivalent to 6 chain stitches, so I chain 6 (counts as first tr tr), then insert the hook into the middle of the side of the belt. *YO 4 times and draw up a loop from under, then draw through 2 loops on the hook 4 times, leaving the last loop on the hook.

Repeat from * working into the other end of the belt side, then YO and draw through all loops on the hook. For a great explanation on working tall stitches, seeΒ this post on Moogly Blog.

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Once you have your pointed end for the ties, you can stitch up a crocheted tie by making some kind of cord (see my guide to crochet cords) or you can leave it and attach a fabric, ribbon, or yarn tie later. Either way, once you are done with this area, slip stitch down the side of the last trtr toward the bottom of the belt. Next we’ll be working into the bottom of the chain foundation.

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For the tattered skirt portion, we’ll need something to attach the fabric strips. You can definitely just put the strips through the stitches themselves if you want, but I like to crochet on a couple layers of loops for attaching the fabric. I’ll start by chaining 7, then skipping about three stitches, then attaching with a single crochet in the next st. I repeat this across the first (almost) half of the belt.

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Around the pointed part, I want there to be more fabric. So I only skip about 1 stitch in between each loop to create this effect later.

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Then, finish up the second half of the belt with regularly spaced loops. Once you reach the other side, create another three-trtr triangle. Here I decided to add a crochet tie, so I chain a length and then slip stitch back down.

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I’m almost out of my ball of plain orange, so I’m going to consider this scrap busted, and with just enough to finish the belt base – mission accomplished!

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Orange scrap, we hardly knew ye. Just kidding, we’ve known ye for about 5 years.

My (semi)-finished belt base here measures about 38-39 inches, unstretched, not including the string tie. As you can see, it curves a little naturally due to the decreases placed at the center.Β  It’ll follow the curve of the hips a little nicer that way, and the extra loops at the increase point will form a fuller skirt there once I place the strips of fabric – I am aiming for a bustle effect with this one.

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But, I am also going to add a second layer of loops, just so I don’t overload the first layer and make it too bulky. With another scrap, I’ll start by attaching my yarn a ΒΌ of the way across – I only want this layer to be on the back half of the belt.

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Here I am chaining 7 and slip stitching in each chain loop. When I get to the center, I add an extra loop there to maintain the point by slip stitching in the same loop. Then, 8 more chain 7 loops across the other part of the belt, stopping once I have about ΒΌ of the way left. Second loop layer added, and another little scrap busted!

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Ta- DA! That’s it for the belt base. This is the piece that you will attach the pockets to later, and can continue to build with color and texture according to your whim.

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The belt base is a great place to start experimenting with different stitch patterns – here are some examples from other belts I’ve done.

 

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“Lavender” uses something like a granny square style stitch.

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I used a more open mesh stitch on “Nightshade” and then wove ribbon yarn through.

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Simple, straightforward double crochet works too!

If you have any questions about the tutorial so far or the techniques I’m using, please leave a comment! I love to talk shop. ❀

-MF

 

 

 

Tights to Top Refashion

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Refashionistas… we’ve all seen it. That tutorial about how cutting the crotch out of your old tights makes a killer long-sleeve crop top. But does this really work? It can’t be that easy, can it?

Well, yes. It can. Almost.

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I have my victim lined up – an awesome print on a warm knit pair of tights that are just slightly too small to function as they were originally intended.

And of course I have my idea, which came from this youtube videoΒ I found on Pinterest. The creator of the video uses sheer nylon type tights, but the idea is the same, no?

Yes and no. We’ll get to that.

FIRST you cut out the crotch. I went with a wide V-neck type of neckline, but you could pretty much do anything here as long as your head fits through.

Then you STICK YOUR HEAD THROUGH THE HOLE. I think maybe your arms go down the legs too.

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Are we done? Is it that easy? Kind of. This very much works as a finishing point, especially if you are working with tights that have a lot more elasticity. But mine, which were more knit leggings than tights, were too saggy in the arms, with too much bunching of the material under the armpits. But the boob-holding department was on point (ha)!

So I used the very advanced and technical sewing equipment known as a plate and a Sharpie to fix the arm problem.

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Measuring about 7 inches from the bottom of the top (that is the waistband of the leggings), I used a plate to evenly mark out a dip in the fabric for the armpit.

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And then measured a short straight line from the crest of the plate marking toward the waistband, to taper the otherwise sudden change in the cut of the garment. I also measured off a long tapering line from the other side of the crescent all the way down to the cuff of the sleeve/leg to slim down the fit of the arm. I did this for both arms, of course.

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I pinned it and sewed it all up with a zigzag stitch BEFORE cutting the extra fabric, just in case I was unhappy with the result. I wasn’t!

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Hooray! I had successfully eliminated most of that saggage. I proceeded to cut off the extra fabric and finish all the edges with an overcasting stitch (I don’t own a serger yet, but my Brother HS-2000Β does a decent job sewing knits on “08” stitch setting. Β Time for the fashion show!

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That’s it!

 

-MF