torstai 31. joulukuuta 2015

Let's Make... Tights to Stay Ups

 Once upon a time, my mother gave me a Christmas present. 
Tights. 
A practical, useful gift well received. 
If only the tights weren't the kind only very small children and very old women wear. Thick cotton with an actual elastic band at the waist, and two seams at the back. 
Eww, said I, grimacing in terror. 
Luckily, I know a solution to the horror of the little girl -tights: turn them into stay ups. 

When dealing with stay ups, the first thing to break is the sock. The lace will last a lot longer than the actual sock. To upcycle the lace, all one needs to do is rip a seam, or just cut it off. I started the process by parting old, broken socks from their silicone-lined lace.
 Then, I cut the legs off the tights. Angrily, I might add, wondering who on earth thought a grown woman would want to wear these.
Next, I pinned the lace on the fresh cut, aligning the seam to center back, with right sides facing.
 Closing the wound took two minutes with my trusted serger. And as a reward, I got thick, warm stay ups.
 Much, much better.

I hope you will all have a magical New Year! 
Until next time.
Love, 
Heather

keskiviikko 16. joulukuuta 2015

Heather's Basic Blazer

Once upon a time, I found an acrylic knit from the flea market. I'd been looking something, anything, in petrol blue to unravel for a while, so I was happy about my find. 
Unfortunately, the yarn was no longer in tip-top shape. When knitting up a swatch, I noted that the knit surface bulged and shrank. 
Saddened, I tossed the yarn aside. It was too light to crochet with, but the colour was lovely, and I wanted to do something to salvage it. 

I had stashed another acrylic I didn't much care for. It was black, and had a slippery satin finish. It was also too light for my taste, but the shine of it appealed to me. 
A bit irritated at them both, I paired them up. 

I hadn't thought of combining two yarns before, but the results made me wonder why I hadn't tried it earlier. Entwined together, the black and blue created an interesting surface with subtle colour changes. The combination of two yarns needed to be something simple, something basic that wouldn't steal its thunder. 


Filet crochet is one of my favourite crochet techniques. I love the way its easy to work with, and can be forced into numerous shapes. Filet crochet surface is light, mesh-like, but warm still. I chose to use it for the project in order to create a semi-see-through garment. 

The yarn quickly turned into a top-down cardigan with a collar and open front. A picot-edge gave it a bit more drama, and as I finished the first cardigan, I decided to turn it into a pattern


I'd only dotted down a few notes. They weren't nearly accurate enough to offer a solid base for a pattern, so I crocheted another cardigan in black for the pattern. It's lovely and I wear it all the time now, but it isn't as cool as the blue one. 



 Using two strands of yarn instead of just one made the cardigan decadently heavy. I love the way it feels, and I kinda wish I'd chosen to use the same solution with the black one. 
Then again, I can always crochet another one... 


Have you tried combining yarns? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! 

Until next time
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 2. joulukuuta 2015

Curtains: Lengthened

Once upon a time, I moved. This happened not-so-long ago. 
My new place is a flat in an apartment building from the fifties. It's airy, bright, and very high. Being a relatively small girl, I feel tiny in the tall rooms. 
Which, of course, is nice. 

One thing that gave me a bit of a headache, along with the good old "how do people reach the top shelf" -dilemma, was curtains. The windows are tall, and my curtains were nearly a foot too short. 
To fix the issue, I added length to them. 

I started with a set of light, orange curtains. I had three pieces: two to go on each side of a window, and a long valance. As I didn't need the valance, I sacrificed it. 



 I cut two pieces of fabric, one for each curtain, and sewed them under the original material. This way, I gained a layered look without an eye-sore-seam. 

I used a french seam for the curtains to get a tidy finish.
To add some... well, black, I chose to fully hide the seam with satin ribbon. I pinned it on... 
... and top stitched it on both edges for a finished look. 
 As a finishing touch, I added a bow from the black ribbon. 
The curtains turned out really cute, but managing a full photo of them is a bit impossible due to lighting. 
 Altering curtains is an easy way to add personality to home decor. Have you done it? I'd love to see your projects! 

Until next time.
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 25. marraskuuta 2015

Poncho-Coat Re-Mod

Once upon a time last Wednesday, I didn't write a blogpost. The reason for this was that on Monday, something horrible happened. 
You see, my Ubuntu had decided to move all of my photos to a strange location. I though the folder was a link, pushed Shift+delete, and watched 5,4Gbs of photos fly out the window. Naturally, I had no backups. 
I tried everything I could to restore the lost images, but nothing worked. My latest modelling photos were gone, along with phase photos for two upcoming designs, not to mention memories from the last four years. 

Luckily, I still had some photos on my camera, and more on a flash drive, and even more on my laptop. But even though, recovering from the damage kept me overwhelmingly busy last Wednesday. 

Any photo can be taken again, and so today we had a photoshoot-day! Wiser now, I saved the photos on a flash drive straight away. 

So. 
As you may remember, I modded a poncho-coat a while back. After wearing it a few times, I noted that it gathered static electricity like crazy, and then clung to my clothes making me feel very self-conscious. To fix this problem, and to add some warmth to the light coat, I lined it. 
With red satin. 
After, I crocheted a hood and added that, too.
 Now, the coat is clingy no more. Also, its drama-level went from four to twenty-two in no time!
 Though the coat is still light, it's lovely to wear over a knit dress or a sweater-skirt -combo. The hood brings extra-warmth to it, and makes the coat work better with infinity scarves. I even added a ribbon belt made from the same red satin. 

Wearing this makes me feel like Little Red Riding Hood, but in a good way. It's like forcing a bit of fairytale-magic into this realm.
Until next time!
... and by next time, I mean I might change posting day from Wednesday to Sunday-maybe to avoid collision with the Official Business Blog -post. Anyway, stay tuned!

Love, 
Heather

keskiviikko 11. marraskuuta 2015

How To... Take It In at the Side Seams

Once upon a time, I found a pretty nice lace duster from a flea market. It had only one flaw: it was four sizes too big. 
I bought it anyway, thinking I might use the lace for a whole new creation. I took it home, tried it on, and realized it was one of those rare garments that don't want to be anything else. 
But still, it was four sizes too big. So I decided to just take it in at the side seams. 
The process is relatively simple, but requires basic skills in sewing. Also, understanding how a garment is made helps. Many tutorials tell you to just sew a new seam to make a top smaller. but that doesn't look very nice, nor does it feel good. If you take the two seams in at the same time, the garment will cinch under the arm. 

So today, we shall do this My way. 
First, take the sleeves off. 
 Try them on, and pin down the excess fabric. Sew a new seam, try the sleeves on again, and cut off the extra material. 
 Next, try on the bodice. It's best to do this with the garment inside out, and pin down the seams while it's on you. Or a sewing mannequin. 
I also took a little bit off the shoulder line so that the duster would have a better fit. 
Sew, try on, and cut. I did this in the wrong order, because I've had to do this many, many times before, and knew what to do. But I do recommend sewing first and cutting later. That way, you can shape the seam again if it doesn't look or feel just right. 
 Next stop, set the sleeves. 
It may be necessary to shape both the sleeve arc and the armhole for a perfect fit. 
 The last thing I did was to add darts to the back of the duster. 
 
 The finished garment was happy to get a second try at life, and I'm happy with my new duster. It works wonderfully with knee-length and full-length dresses. Although it isn't very warm, it adds texture to outfits. 
 The dark lace is see-through, and wearing it over a brighter dress would create a lovely contrast. 
I hope this helps in taking in those too-big tops! 

Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 4. marraskuuta 2015

Haruni

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I wanted to knit my first lace shawl ever. Naturally, I had experience on reading charts and knitting lace, but I had never attempted a shawl before. 
I tried several free patterns, and found them either confusing or not lacey enough. 
Crocheting one was quick and easy, and I made several crochet lace shawls, and then gave them away as presents without snapping a single photo as evidence. 

After turning the internet upside down, I stumbled upon Emily Ross's Haruni
At that time, many years ago, Haruni was not yet nearly as well known as it is today. It was only one year old, but already proving to be a long-term favourite for many knitters. 
Including me. 

I knit my first Haruni with bright blue cotton. My sister likes this shade of blue, so I gave the shawl to her for Christmas. 
And I missed it dreadfully. 


The pattern for Haruni seems, when you first open it, confusing and very intimidating. With a bit of dedication, though, it turns out to be easy-to-follow, and a delight to work with. There's very little counting involved when working with the first lace pattern, so the shawl is a pretty OK TV-knit. 

A year after finishing the blue shawl, I knit a white version with a poly-blend and larger needles. The shawl turned out lovely and airy, and went to warm my soon-to-be-ex-husband's grandmother's shoulders. 

Just last year, she showed me the shawl, and told me it was her favourite one. It was lovely to hear she liked it so much. 


After the white one, I knit one for myself. This one, I made with black cotton. The first were a breeze, but this one... I don't know if it was the black yarn or the fact that I was knitting this for myself and didn't feel the need to concentrate. The border was riddled with mistakes, and the shawl came out way too small. I undid the border, and knit it again after doing a few more repeats on the body of the shawl, and still it feels a bit tiny. It's mistake-free now, but a bit meh, somehow. 


My black Haruni is beautiful, of course, but wearing it is a bit difficult. I think I might just rip the border off one more time, and knit it to a larger size. 

I did a photoshoot with the shawl a long time ago. I paired the shawl with a crochet lace skirt I'm thinking about revamping... 

Until next Wednesday! 
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 28. lokakuuta 2015

The Power of Make-Up: Halloween is Upon Us!

Once upon a time just this morning, I realized Halloween has crept up on me yet again. This happens every year, so I'm used to it, and pretty good at coming up with a decent costume at a moment's notice. 
Today it occurred to me that I can't be alone. I can't possibly be the only one who wakes up on the 28th and goes "oh snap, how did this happen AGAIN!!" 
Pulling out a costume from your closet is easy. Burlesque dancer, wicked witch, even Wednesday are no-brainers when it comes to dressing up. 

But. 
Halloween is about more than just putting on a fancy dress and having fun. 
Make-up has always played an intricate part in dressing up. Personally, I have absolutely no talent for make-up -based illusions. Luckily, the internet is filled with tutorials that teach you to create anything with make-up. As techniques develop, the days of slapping on blood and gore and going as a zombie are over. Today, make-up is a tool used for turning fantastical ideas into reality. 

Stylist has made it easy for us, and listed 10 really cool Halloween make-up tutorials. Although most of these require mad skills, tutorials offer both ideas and aid. My favourite is the last one. Who wouldn't want to be Pinhead, even for just one night. 

I've been toying with costume ideas today. There's really not much time left, so making something is out of the question. Going as a broken doll is an appealing option, and this tutorial helps with creating the entire broken look. 


With two days left to ponder, I'm starting to get a little panicky. Good thing there's always the option of borrowing someone's clothes and going as ordinary... 
Last year I was a last-minute-witch, and with that memory I wish you all have the happiest Halloween!


Until next Wednesday. 
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 21. lokakuuta 2015

DIY: Poncho Coat

Once upon a time, I looted soon-to-be-ex-Husband's closet. I came out with a black poncho cut from light wool blend. I liked the shape, and the way the garment hung around me, but wearing it proved challenging: a coat like this slides, falls, and is just generally annoying if not pinned to place in a dozen places. 
So I decided to force it to stay put. 

Poncho coats are everywhere right now. You can get one in any shop, but making one is pretty simple as well. Take two yards/ two meters of 60"/150cm wide fabric. Round the corners, and cut the fabric open in the middle halfway through. That's all it takes. This will give you a poncho with unfinished edges. Wool doesn't fray that much, but sewing a rolled hem around the edges is a good idea. 
Or you can do what I did. 


To me, the edges of the poncho looked pretty boring. I wanted something extra around them, something not that noticeable, but pretty. 
So I took some yarn and a hook, and single stitched all around the coat. It took a while, but the result was nice. Crocheting lace into the sc-row would have made the coat even more special, but your's truly ran out of yarn. 


To make the coat stay put, I made four buttonholes into it. And then I made a belt. 
It's nothing but a piece of thick elastic with lace sewn around it and a heart-shaped buckle attached to one end, but it does the trick. 
I've made elastic belts before, and you can find a free tutorial on them here


After putting the belt through the buttonholes I'd made, the coat looked like a coat, felt like a coat, and behaved beautifully. It drapes around me like a cape, but is far more practical. I'm completely in love with it! 



Have you gotten into the poncho-craze? 


Until next Wednesday (sorry I missed a post last week)

Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 7. lokakuuta 2015

Winter is Coming

Once upon a time, I was born with pretty bad circulation. The first thing people say to me is "Wow you hands are ice-cold" and the same goes for feet as well. As fall draws near, I look to wool socks for solace. 
Socks are one of my favourite knitting projects: they're quick to make and always needed. They don't take much yarn, and can be made with various techniques. 
My go-to is the basic cuff down sock, which I like to spice up with both colour and texture. 
Knitty offers a detailed tutorial on how to knit socks, so if you're new to this, check it out


Though I like to wear black, knitting black is a bit... well, challenging. With socks, I often pick lighter colours. Red lace brightens up any day, and purple cables are a delight to knit. 

Changing small elements in the basic pattern offers variation to socks. I made a purple pair with a twisted rib cuff and a lazy person's "just knit every row" -heelcap. 


A pair of short, stripy socks wanted crochet flowers to feel extra-pretty. Stripes are one of my favourite things to do with socks: it's so much easier to count stripes instead of rows!
A simple variation in colour does wonders to a basic sock. Though I like the quiet, symmetrical patterns, I've seen beautiful creations with wild, asymmetric stripes. 


I've probably knit a hundred pairs of socks, and only managed one pattern. It's most likely because knitting socks is a quick process, and I like to keep it simple. My pattern for lacy knee-highs is designed for strong legs, and can be purchased on Ravelry, Craftsy, and my store

Yesterday, I was super-exhausted from all the stress of moving and unpacking and just generally settling to a new place, so I took the day off to unwind. Binge-watching Unce Upon a Time gave me enough time to knit a full sock with self-patterning yarn. 
It seems I'll need another couch-potato -day to finish the pair... 


Until next Wednesday! 
Love,
Heather

keskiviikko 30. syyskuuta 2015

Let's Make... Collar to Sleeve

Once upon a time, I found a top at the flea market. I liked the print, but it had a high turtleneck collar. Being known to be crafty at times, I figured I might do something about it. 


At home, I cut the collar off. It was high and did very little to flatter my not-so-long neck. I cut the neckline to a more revealing shape, and opened the seam on the collar. 
The piece gained was quite long and quite wide. 


I used some of it for binding. 


In my opinion, a garment can work with contrast coloured binding. Unless it's loud to begin with. 


The rest of the collar wanted to be a sleeve. I asked it if it might get lonely all on its own, but it said no, I will be a sleeve when I grow up! 
Fine, I said, at least take this bit of lace to keep you company. 


The elastic lace gives the sleeve a bit of support, and acts as a pretty detail. 


The cuff got a simple rolled hem. Anything more would have been too much. 


On photoshoot-day, I figured too much would be a good thing for a change. 
I paired the top with my tulle skirt with red shorts under it. The outfit felt comfortable and awkward at the same time: I love the look, but... it is a bit much. 
What do you say? Yay or go home and change? 

Until next Wednesday! 
Love,
Heather