Thursday, February 16, 2012

Altered Knits: Mad About Plaid Part Deux!

I made this dress for the Burns Supper that I hosted a few weeks ago, but I couldn't get a good picture of it until now.


My sister and I have hosted a Burns Supper for the past few years. I always ask everyone to wear plaid, although we don't have a completely traditional supper. I am a vegetarian, so we don't have haggis; we still do the "Address to a Haggis", though, if only so we can stab something. My sister and I are the only ones who are really serious about it, and the rest of the family just sort of humors us, so we have to keep them entertained! We do make everyone recite one poem, and sometimes we make up little tunes for them and have my cousin accompany on guitar. Pretty entertaining. Then we watch "So I Married An Axe Murderer"; you know, because Mike Myers plays a Scottish character who eats haggis. Robert Burns would probably roll over in his grave, but we have a good time!


Please forgive the funny pose; I was trying to ensure that the sleeves showed. I had to take these pictures myself using the timer on the camera, so if it looks as if I was jumping into position, it's because I was. I also cut off my feet; apparently the Lincoln Log tubs on which the camera was sitting weren't stacked quite right...The light inside my house is terrible, but it will have to do until Spring arrives! At least I'll get to show a little bit of my house, which never seems clean enough to photograph.
The plaid parts started out as a huge vest from Goodwill, and the equally large red sweater dress was an etsy find:




I knew that I wanted to do something to alter the sleeves, but my options were limited by the size and shape of the available vest material. In looking for inspiration, I spotted a lot of bell-sleeved dresses and sweaters with contrasting lower sleeves.


Ever since I saw this picture, I've been hunting for enough black fur to make this coat; I have some red wool that would be perfect! I think the orange striped one is actually a jacket over a bell-sleeved blouse.


I was afraid that using a different print for the lower sleeves would make them look too much like they were altered; like they were just stuck on the ends of the existing sleeves (which they were!) instead of appearing as if they were knitted all in one piece. I found quite a few examples, though, that were knitted that way, including these beautiful full-color ones!


This one looks like a knitted jumper over a coordinating sweater. Lovely!


I started by removing the sleeves in order to move the shoulders up and take in the sides. The sleeves were originally gathered at the shoulder, but I wanted the shoulders to lie flat for a smoother line down to the bell, so I put in a series of radiating darts. The sleeves were three-quarter length, so I cut off about six inches so I could add the bottom part. I reattached the sleeve band to the bottom, which I had gathered. I was very proud of the way these turned out; I had to do a lot of measuring (which is not my forte) and drafting, and they ended up exactly as I had planned, which is rare for me!


Luckily, it came with a tie belt, so I just cut it down and put a buckle on it. I used the extra red material from the sleeves to back the collar and the insert for my hat. The plaid collar comes from behind the shoulder and is stitched in place with a big vintage button.


This dress took me about three days to make, most of which was spent planning, measuring, and drafting the sleeves, and then procrastinating because I was afraid that my measurements were wrong. That's pretty much my M.O. on every project, although I have managed to get another sweater dress finished; I'll get some pictures of it if we ever see the sun again!

49 comments:

  1. This is simply wonderful! Looks stunning, fits like a glove, and such an eye catching combination! And to think it only took 3 days to put together!

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  2. This is fantastic and I am so relieved to find you did not knit the entire dress..which is what I assumed before the complete scroll. I am so impressed by your ingenuity and ability to capture the period. It's always a treat visiting your blog:)

    My husband loves Haggis, me not so much....glad you enjoyed your gathering.

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  3. Looks brilliant - I never would have guessed this was two garments spliced together. Well done!

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  4. That dress is so lovely and you look so good in red!

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  5. That is amazing!! I just had to pin you. :)

    http://pinterest.com/pin/228135537343830292/

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  6. You look stunning and your Burns night sounds so fun!x

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  7. This, and you, are absolutely amazing! I'm going to have to look out for similar materials to work with, I'm completely inspired!

    xoxo
    Solanah

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  8. Very lovely. You have a great eye for being able to re-purpose garments.

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  9. This is truly gorgeous! I've just found you, I even showed my OH your creation and what you made it from and he just said AMAZING! He's right!

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  10. Gosh, this is just lovely, well done!! X

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  11. The whole outfit is breathtaking, more so when you consider what it started out as!

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  12. This is gorgeous and i just loved seeing your inspiration

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  13. Goodness, you have amazed me yet again! This dress is so stunning, I would never in a million years guessed at what it started out as! And I must say your house looks beautiful and is the perfect back drop :)

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  14. It's WONDERFUL! Your projects are always an absolute inspiration. Using that plaid vest for the accents is absolutely INSPIRED! Jealous that you keep finding affordable sweater dresses to alter - my searches never seem to turn up any.

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny

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  15. That is such a fantastic conversion. It looks perfect.

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  16. I'm so envious of your dressmaking talents! As usual you look outstanding!!!!
    Fantastic dress (ah those sleeves are divine!)Miss ;)

    Tupney x

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  17. Genius! I never would have guessed that the dress was once two pieces of clothing, that´s how perfect it looks :)

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  18. Beautiful job! I love 30s fashions and you've such a good job capturing the style.

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  19. It looks stunning!! I am always extremely impressed by your sewing skills! It doesn't even remotely look like two pieces you have altered together. It just looks like one fantastic dress!

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  20. You look awesome! I love the plaid with the red.

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  21. Wowsers! You are a genius with knits! Love the dress and your pose. The photo looks like a vintage movie still.

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  22. It's just lovely--the whole thing is perfect. The fit, the plaid, the belt, everything!

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  23. Superb. The FO reminds me of some of my Minerva patterns, particularly the "couture" items. I do knit, but every time I read your blog I realize that I need to learn how to sew! (It would take me three or four months to knit a similar dress.)

    Exquisite work--well done!

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  24. So pretty! Love your dinner,too.

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  25. I think this may be the most fabulous red dress I have ever seen! I LOVE it!

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  26. here i always thought that 30's day dresses were frumpy. Boy did you prove me wrong!!! the result is LOVELY
    rj

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  27. I will tell you what everybody have already told to you... YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please visit my post about late 30's, I think you will love all those beautiful 30's ladies with hats to die for : http://lostin1950.blogspot.com/2012/02/marie-claire.html

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  28. Fantastic!!! Another amazing creation!

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  29. That is very, very clever :) It turned out so well! And I think your pose looks very right for the time period LOL

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  30. That dress is amazing! You're very talented :o)

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  31. I have just found your blog and I love it! I had to let you know how much I love your new sweater dress. I am fascinated by knitted dresses from the '30's. I think you look just how I envision Nancy Drew to look! (Now, if you just had her baby-blue convertible, right?)

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  32. Oh my goodness! I love what you've done to the dress. It looks amazing and ver 30's style. This makes me want to do some 30's style revamping aswell... I need more winter clothes and similar project would be perfect thing to do for winter.

    Rhia from
    http://www.evildressmaker.com/

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  33. So fabulous, the colours match wonderfully and you look gorgeous.

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  34. I don't think I could come up with enough good things to say about it, it's just perfect! The plaid is wonderful with the red. I am so impressed with the phenomenal transformation.

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  35. I love this. I spend a lot of time gazing at knitwear in Charity shops trying to figure out if I'm up to the challenge, and if I will find the necessary contrasting garments to do something similar. Now that I see what you have done I'm just gonna do it next time!

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  36. absolutely gorgeous project!

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  37. This is fantastic!! I am a rather new seamstress, and completely self taught, save a sewing book from the 40's. I have so many clothes that I think, "Boy, if I could just adjust this and this, it would look great!", but I don't really know how to do these kinds of alterations, such as changing a neckline, moving sleeves up, adding or taking away sleeves, etc. Do you have a recommendation of a book that tackles this, or perhaps quick instructions somewhere? I want to do it so badly, but I'm afraid of doing it wrongly...

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  38. Love the dress and your hair is perfect :)
    Great blog.

    ***

    The Marvelous World of Narcissa

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