Saturday, 15 April 2017

It's Gonna be a Party!

The count down is on for Chantel’s packing and it is nerve wracking. Two more decisions to be made: how is she going to get into the dress and will the ‘opening’ be on the side or centre back?

The other thing is - the shape of the bodice along the sleeve edge. I knew there would sleeves so I don’t know why I crocheted the bodice like that. Now the sleeves will take on a whole new shape….

If there is an opening, the only option now would be buttons but that doesn’t seem right for this dress. Another fitting and thank goodness this girl can shimmy into just about anything! 

Blocking is important before sewing up the dress. Sequence of  blocking before proceeding to the next part: the skirt, the middle, the bodice and the sleeves, added the edging to the hem, then blocked and pressed the edgings.

I love it when a plan comes together!

The big reveal...please Chantel, please send full body pictures!

She wore it so it must be okay?!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

One HOT Mess!

It is going faster and easier than I thought. Even though I have a large collection of vintage and older knitting and crochet magazines with patterns, I could not find one with all of this open work. So I taught myself to crochet from an American book and choose a pattern from an English pattern. This is significant because the nomenclature is different!
Chose a basic chevron pattern then a combination of chains and loops to create the trellis net look.
Design to keep the waist open but not saggy?

Recalculating, recalculating...

Now to figure out the bodice and make another size transition. Testing stitch and edging ideas.

It all starts coming together but the worse is yet to come! I am out of time and the sleeves pose yet another design challenge.

Final pictures will be posted once the gal makes her debut at Viva Las Vegas!

Crochet Trials and Tribulations!

What do I say when a friend sends a photo of a 70s looking open net dress and asks: “Can you knit this?” Always up for a challenge, looks like a project! Even though it is crocheted and is a photo of Felicity Shagwell [played by Heather Graham] from the movie ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’. It is the inspiration for what is to become one Hot Mess!

“I would like to wear it to Viva Las Vegas in April”. No problem, it is February after all. Just have to finish the order from a designer, going into the busiest two months of my working year…but hey, this is just too cute and an extra small size, how can hard can it be?!
A shopping trip to the local yarn store is in order and I really could not believe the spring colors! Just the right shade of hot pink and orange in a synthetic/cotton blend in a medium weight yarn. I get distracted easily.

After a week of knitting different net samples it became clear that it needs to be crocheted! Great, because other than edgings I haven’t crocheted anything significant. Now I have to learn, find a quick and easy stitch for the solid parts and learn to crochet net! This just became a marathon project because as usual, there is not a pattern. 
After measuring my friend, and I really needed the weekend to work everything out, big sister and Mom organized a birthday party for my old but younger brother. Out to the farm we go and design time was not going to happen, so I experimented with different stitches for the solid part of the skirt in order to have something to work on while I am there and work on in the van on the way home.

Here's hoping for a small miracle and relaxed fingers.....

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Part Three Buttons and Jars

Back to sorting the buttons by color, who knew it would take this long. This is not fun anymore and I have to get these buttons off my coffee table soon. Using different size boxes, bowls to sort with I realize this is not how I want to store or display them. What to use?! 

 [take a break and browse Pinterest] Didn’t take too long to see all those button jars!

Yes I am losing my mind, because it really did take me a couple of days to remember I had boxes of JARS in the basement!! Now I can put the buttons in the jar by color and have a rainbow of color button jars ...


Things in button containers besides buttons:

Lapel pins, baby pins, paper clips, needles, tacks, coins, beads, earrings, stamps, thimbles, hooks and eyes, buckles, snaps, nasty corroded things, paper origami, cuff links, lots of broken bits and pieces, drapery clips and a cloth felt cat needle holder!
Did I mention this taking a long time - finally I just finish sorting the first batch of buttons, brag to my friends that I now have buttons, take pictures of the jars that I now have to put them away because I have to decorate for Christmas.

“Are you sure you don’t want more buttons?!” Well I am sure but I am also getting hooked so more buttons arrive and now I have to clean and make a space in the basement!

Once I get over the shock of the quantity that I am now dealing with, it is time to get serious and learn about the types of materials that buttons are made with. I am finding some interesting buttons that just by feel, I am certain are older than 1930 so the collector in me says Keep!

In the quest for more knowledge…
[take a break and browse the internet] Wow look at those old buttons I might just a have a few.
My fingers are getting dirty so I think, now I have to clean the darn things.
[take a break and browse the internet] How do I clean the natural buttons – wood, shell, glass, horn, nut, fabric? How to clean old and new plastic types?
 had to clean the jars first...

 washing what I know will be okay
 there were some really yucky ones

Time to access the serious button collector groups and their experience.

[take a break and browse the internet] Many button groups, they sure know their stuff. There is a button collecting group here, so I should probably just contact them someday.
So much to learn - type, age, cleaning, displaying….


Part Two Buttons

Disclaimer: I am not a collector of buttons
But I am a clothing and accessories collector. Buttons come with the territory mainly as a reference in researching, authenticating, mending and displays. Back to the lady who calls me after a clean out of yet another craft room ( I am guessing here because how does one person have that kind of volume of yarn, notions, patterns and fabric in one tiny house - is a mystery to me).
“Are you interested in buttons?” she asks.  “I could be”, I said, thinking there will be a ‘button jar’ and how nice it would be to have a button jar to put amongst a display. During my sewing years, I just put loose buttons in the bottom of my sewing basket along with those single buttons attached to store bought garments. But those are later 80s and 90s buttons so they didn’t qualify to be part of my collection. It has never occurred to me to start my own button jar, and if I did, I would use a big pickle jar!
To my surprise her buttons were in a box. Mainly from the 1960s and later.

The loose buttons were in small tins, baggies and plastic grocery bulk containers. Yes there are that many.
And many still on cards! Mainly from the 1960s and later. And very small buttons perfect for my crafty friends at the Doll of Club of Edmonton and doll artists who sew clothes and mend for their dolls.
Oh well, I am not a button collector so I will sort by type and color and if there are any that look and feel remotely older than 1940, I will keep in a separate container for future further research.
Handling the buttons reminded me of playing with Mom’s buttons from her button jar. We counted, we sorted, Mom gave us a color or type to find…just to keep us out of her hair for awhile.
Okay…where is her button jar and how come I haven’t seen it in her sewing room?!
A button jar is a very personal thing, it holds memories of the mending, making do, keepsakes of babies, special occasions, working clothes of loved ones and is one of the last items a person gives up when ‘cleaning out’. That and her wedding dress!
Two Christmas’s ago, Mom surprised all of us with one of the most personal gifts I have ever received from her. She made ‘button jars’ for each of her daughters (6). The jars had bits and pieces of everything Mom ever saved – jewellery, coins, pins, buttons, small trims, dolls, flowers, all layered in the jars and personalized for each of us.
 My jar with a green tint and says MASON`S PATENT NOV 1858...yes I know it is not from 1858.

 another jar
Oh yah - the jars she used – those old wonderful jars from the shelf above the fridge.

Part One Jars

Disclaimer: I am not a collector of jars.
‘Old jars’ we all love them, and the crafty possibilities are endless.  However, the memories of picking the fruit, preparing and ‘canning’ is an experience that I did not appreciate at the time. We wanted to spend our hot summer days at the lake!
A few of my close friends are much more ‘crafty’ than I, and while shopping at antique show one starts to admire the jars and brainstorm what she would do with them.  Suddenly it occurs to me, I know where there is a basement with more than a few a jars!! I stop her from buying a jar, sorry vendor.
On our next visit to the farm, I ask Mom, if we can go through her jars and pick out a few each  to take home. We were thrilled with our selections and Mom was happy that someone actually wanted those jars.
Umm… I wonder aloud, “but Mom there must have been jars older than these?”  “Yes” she said, “they are on that shelf above the fridge.”  She didn’t offer them to us, so I dutifully took pictures!!
My Aunt moved into a seniors apartment and long story short – yes I brought home a couple boxes of jars. Now I can only hide so much from my husband and boxes of jars are not one of them! They are family items I tell him, I am going to share with my sisters and cousins…and I did, kinda.

 before cleaning
 baby bottles
 regular types cleaned

The same summer, a lady who has been downsizing, rightsizing her home, called again and asked, “Are you interested in jars?”
Only if they are old I said!!! And another box of jars or two sits in the basement. And yes, I did label Moms and Aunties jars!!