Thursday, April 15, 2010

Colonel Mustard in the workroom with the hook

At long last I am proud to present to you the completed Mustard dress! I realize that's not the most flattering name, but I happen to love mustard and am not willing to think of anything more cutesy at this point. But before the big payoff, let me take you back to the beginning. Remember this sleeve?
While sleeves by themselves are great, I was looking for a bit more in this dress. I started at the hem and worked my way up.

While that's progress, I also prefer my dresses to have a...(ahem) bodice.

Great! Now all we need is a back, and we're set.
This dress was rather difficult in how many times I had to crochet several inches and then rip them out and go back again. But that's what this process is about! It's really exciting when it all comes together:

It still has some flaws that need to be worked out, but there you have it! By the way, it's definitely a fall dress. It's rather warm. Thanks to Lion Brand Yarn for the awesome yarn. Love that Vanna's Choice!
Thanks for checking in! Hope you like it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lady Justice

As some of you know, when I'm not sewing and crocheting, I'm probably at my job at Chicago-Kent College of Law. While my job is incredibly menial (copying, proofreading, printing, teaching computer basics to professors, un-jamming staplers), it does have its perks. Mr. N and my friend Lauren and I experienced the best of these perks this past weekend when we attended the Barrister's Ball (also known as Law School Prom) onboard the Odyssey II for a dinner cruise.
Never one to shy away from a fancy occasion, I immediately began thinking about what to make. I challenged myself to use only fabrics and notions I already had on hand. This was rather difficult considering the only fabrics I had enough of to make a dress were several yards of various silk brocades I acquired while working as an intern for prom dress designer Loralie. Loralie hadn't wanted to use these fabrics, so she gave them to me. Silk brocade, while beautiful, has a tendency to be extremely colorful, over the top, and difficult to work with. Since taste and elegance were the name of the game I had to carefully consider this design. I also only had a week to do it. Something about this fabric made me think retro '60s vibe a la Mad Men (which is extremely hot right now, for good reason). While I don't have many pictures of the brief process, here's the dress near completion:
I hated this pretty pretty princess fabric before I started working with it, but I grew to really enjoy its gold shimmer. Here's a detail shot of the neckline:

The gold band is simply the wrong side of the fabric. It worked out beautifully!
Here's Lauren and I walking down Navy Pier to the boat:

Mr. N and I waiting to board:

And, finally, the best thing to do while you're drinking champagne on a yacht:

Ahh, the glamorous life. We're so glad we (did not) attend law school.

Monday, April 5, 2010


In the two years Mr. N has been with a fashion designer, he has never received a custom made garment. I'm not too great with the menswear, granted, but it was high time he reaped the rewards of being so incredibly supportive of my craft habit. Quite a while ago we picked out some fabric for a suit vest for him, but said vest never got made. I asked him several weeks ago what he wanted for his birthday, and he said, "Why don't you just make me that vest?" Since he had a vest he already liked and fit well, I committed the designer sin of simply copying the pattern. I must say, it was pretty great. So easy! Here's the original:
Please note the unsmiling "before" picture.
I simply copied the shape of the vest pieces onto paper for the pattern and made a muslin to ensure proper fit. Here's the muslin:

"You didn't get my skiier pajama pants in the shot, did you?"

"Wait, did Butler just score?"

Oops, there he goes to watch the game. Oh well.
The vest construction itself was simple. The challenge came in the form of buttonholes. Since my buttonholer is broken, I decided to do bound buttonholes. Here they are finished:

They're by no means perfect (or perfectly spaced), but they came out pretty well. Definitely a challenge. I hand finished them on the back:

If you're having trouble seeing, click on the picture for a closer view.
Finally, after a day of hand finishing at work, it was done.
The "after" picture:

Yes, he is looking very dapper. And to my great delight, he wore it twice last week!
Happy Birthday, darling. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Coming soon: The conclusion of the yellow dress. I can't wait to show you how it turned out!