Winter Sewing

I really couldn’t come up with a better title than that, despite the fact that I’m excited about how my latest sewing ventures came out! I take a break from crocheting occasionally to create garments on my sewing machine and serger – I love patchy pieces using upcycled garments and fabrics, and these two projects I have today fall into that category, as well as both being hand-dyed by yours truly. I finished both projects over the winter, and managed to tolerate sub-freezing temps to get a picture of them outdoors where the light was decent! Here’s my latest sewing, I’m sure you’ll see the gown at least one more time because I have a crochet design in mind to go with it later this year (hopefully).

Rag Gown

My stash of to-destroy thrifted clothing are mostly castoffs from my wardrobe, things that didn’t fit quite right but still had nice natural fabric or an interesting quality I wanted to create with.

For this rag gown, I saved up a linen sundress and a linen skirt, a cotton machine lace tank top, and a small vest of the same kind, and dyed it all along with some spare lengths of cotton plain weave and cotton blend knit jersey. They stewed in a big tub with hastily splashed greens, and the dye took in a beautiful mottled way that I tend to favor over traditional patterned tie dyes or evenly distributed solids ❀

From there I laid them out with a rough plan of how to splice, cutting slits into the sundress for gores made out of long wedges of the skirt. The bottom edge was left rough as the mismatching lengths were sewn in, then I trimmed the fabric leaving peaks where the added length was longer.

This fixed the weird tubular issue the sundress had to make it more flatteringly shaped. The inside slip needed lengthened, so the plain weave cotton got stitched into the premade insert peeking out from below for a permanently layered look. Both hems got some or all the way covered in ruffles I made from the remaining cotton weave!

Next I wanted to adjust the bodice, which was a little puffy in some places and a bit too short of line visually. I cut bits and pieces of the machine laced tops to create a front panel featuring some of the bolder designs and edged it in the lace strips, bordering the sides and flowing around to the zip fastening in the back.

I did consider replacing the zipper with a criss-cross tie back, but at this point my experimentation courage had been used up! My rag gown was looking better than I had any expectation of, and I was happy with this piece enough to end my first foray into this kind of design. A few fabrics didn’t get used or used all the way, and I have ideas for future rag gowns so we’ll just have to save some tricks for later πŸ˜‰

Patchwork Skirt

I’m pretty fond of this sewing pattern for Wendy Kay’s No-Gathers Skirt, which I purchased from her Etsy shop years ago and I’ve had plenty of use from! I’m not sure how many I’ve made but it’s over a handful, and I’ve always wanted to try dyeing one myself. These are perfect with scraps of affordably priced quilting cotton, which I either inherit from friends’ relatives or purchase myself in the discount remnant bins of the hobby stores.

Determined to use up my stash, I had bits and pieces of other skirts left, plus a lot of fabric that had a color I didn’t favor. I decided to use all the fabric I had, and then overdye the resulting garment in hopes that it would tie the non-matching colors together.

It worked pretty well! I love the rich purple and maroon that I custom mixed from my dyes, and the gold embossing on some of the fabrics really shines against that dark background.

Of course, having busted my stash of quilting cottons down, I’m encouraged by the success of dyeing these skirts and will probably pretty quickly rebuild said patchwork stash πŸ˜‰

I love experimenting and exploring with fiber art and apparel, and the fact that I get to twirl around while doing so is no small incentive πŸ˜‰

-MF

Cobweb Wrap

I’ve always loved the way that fog reveals through tiny glimmering water droplets the cobwebs that weave together the grasses of a field. These little intricate fiber blobs go unnoticed until the water reflection lights them up, revealing a tiny world of complexity.

It was after these shining, tensile treasures that I named my newest design, the Cobweb Wrap – available now as a PDF crochet pattern in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Keep reading for more info on the pattern or click the links to buy directly ❀ Thank you!

I’d been thinking about cobwebs a lot recently, due to receiving a really unique donation to my costume closet – The faerie costume of Texas Renaissance Festival participant “Cobweb the Faerie” known in our realm by her human alias, Laurie Hummel. My friend Jason inherited this item from a friend of a friend while living in Texas, and then mailed it to me, bequeathing me the title and associated memorabilia.

I felt an appropriateness about it, first of all because “cobweb” = a spinning of fibers to create a pattern, which seems a lot like what I do, and so there exists an affinity between my art and spiders as a concept (my relationship with actual spiders is ambivalent at best).

It’s an honor to be entrusted with someone else’s magic – I felt a similar sense of inheritance when I bought my secondhand spinning wheel. I felt the need to do a kind of tribute with Cobweb making an appearance modeling a design. Once I determined this, the perfect concept came forward as if it were ready and waiting.

I’ve wanted to try my hand at a gorgeous pineapple lace wrap similar to this one since it first made my romantic be-doilied heart skip a beat on Pinterest some years ago. This nascent idea for a delicate circular lace wrap/skirt, being so much like a web already, seemed appropriate for the character and the costume even matched with the thread I had ready for the project ❀

What I came up with is as simple as it is versitile – the large, 60″ circular center opening is controlled by a drawstring, to make both an adjustable waistband and an adjustable opening to drape around the shoulders.

I also added different length options – a shortened version of this pattern makes a swing-y skirt or vintage style lace shawl – instructions are given on how to work for Short, Midi, and Long lengths.

The foundation of the pattern is adjustable by a given amount, so that you can make this in larger hooks and yarns and adjust the pattern as necessary – more description of how to modify is given in the pattern notes, like for this DK weight version:

Wear ALL the different ways – shawl, poncho, wrap, layered skirt, lace dress! Read on for the details on materials and description of the pattern πŸ™‚

Cobweb Wrap

As delicate and gossamer as the silken threads that line the fields, the Cobweb Wrap is an impressive lace piece designed to be shown off!

The apparent intricacy belies the ease of a classic and simple lace pattern: the crochet pineapple. The popularity of this design over centuries is due to its accessibility – with just a few basic crochet stitches and a set of intuitive repeats, massive webs of beautiful lace can be woven easily!

Though named the pineapple, this design is a gorgeous geometric pattern that could be imagined many ways – peacock feathers, leaves, and even little spider bodies (creepy cute!). The pattern is in detailed written format, with 75+ tutorial photos and full video how-to for the hem (which you can access for free by following the link).

This wearable lace piece is convertible from skirt to shawl/wrap, includes instructions for resizing for different yarns and gauges with optional lengths of Short, Midi, and Long – and features the Pointed Pineapples technique, which creates a charming tattered silhouette that gives the wrap a romantic vintage feel ❀

Get the pattern now in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store!

Materials:
3.25 mm hook, 3.50 mm hook, 3.75 mm hook
#5 Crochet Thread – (I used Artiste brand 100% Acrylic thread, in 370 yard cones) – 6 cones for the full skirt
Scissors
Tapestry needle
Ribbon yarn or some kind of tie for drawstring

Sizes: Short, Midi, Long
Finished Measurements: ~60″ Top Opening, Up to ~32″ (Long)
All instructions are written in English, in US terminology.

More about my outfit: Cobweb the Faerie’s original costume pieces appear mixed and matched with my own additions – The light green flowery top, purple/green/gold tulle skirt, and flowered tulle headband are original to Laurie’s gear, as well as a pair of sheer golden wings not pictured on me here.

The green crochet vest is a variation on the Embla Vest, another original design from me.

The green leafy wrap necklace is a FREE pattern on my blog , the Ivy Crown.

The woolen costume dreads are dyed and felted & decorated by me.

The beautiful sage green bellydance skirt is from Magical Fashions.

Photography by Abel Benge ❀

I hope that I’ve done justice to Cobweb’s persona (faeriesona?), as well as adding my own interpretation and that Laurie, though I didn’t know her, would approve!

-MF