Thursday, July 28, 2011

Altered Knits: Sailor Dress

Well, I am shooting for one post per week, so I'm only a little bit behind! Once again, welcome to all of my new followers; I'm so glad that you've joined my blog, and I'm very thankful for all of your lovely comments on my last post!

This is my favorite knit project so far! I love to look at all of those beautiful '30s knitted and crocheted dresses, but since I don't know how to make either, I had resigned myself to the idea that winning the lottery (or *ahem* finally learning to knit!) would be the only way that I would get my hands on one of these lovelies. But then I remembered: Hey, they made knitted and crocheted dresses in the '70s and '80s too! I found this great knitted dress on etsy:

Not exactly sure what I was going to do with it, I removed the turquoise trim and starfish embroidery, but there were some marks underneath that I could not get out. So, I turned it around so that the marks would be in the back, and after looking at MANY images of '30s knit dresses, I finally came up with the solution: a sailor collar! I have read some great posts about the popularity of sailor collars in the 1930s; here is one with a wealth of information (and a lot of beautiful pictures!) from Charlotte at Tuppence Ha'Penny. I've been wanting to make a sailor dress for so long, and this was the perfect opportunity, since I needed to cover the marks from the embroidery! Here is the result:

Here is the back. The collar is made from the same cut-up sweater as the hat that I am wearing in the photo below, which I blogged about making in this post. Luckily, it was a rather large sweater, and I used it to make the belt as well!

The striped knit is from yet another sweater redo (to be photographed later)! These were actually the scraps from that project, and I was able to make the bow and 4 covered buttons; two for the belt, and two to add onto these beautiful crocheted gauntlet gloves that I got on etsy.

Hopefully you can see the jewelry in this picture. It is a Navy sweetheart pin and earrings set, which belonged to my grandmother. She and my grandfather were married in 1943 when he was serving in the Navy. A little bit later than my chosen era, but I don't care; I think they're perfect!

The hat is another alteration, on which I used the same basic technique as my last one. It was a basic men's fedora with a small brim, the kind that they sell everywhere lately, brand new from Wal-Mart. It basically looked like this:

I wanted a white straw hat and couldn't find one at the thrift store, so I had to shell out for a new one. It was still under ten dollars, though! I separated the crown from the brim, cut about three inches off of the height of the crown, wet it and rounded it out, and sewed some tucks down the length to make it smaller and to add interest. This time, though, instead of putting a wire in the brim to change its shape, I wet it as well, and shaped it by weighing parts of it down with books. I wanted to make it look like the brim in this picture, and also as far away from a fedora as possible.

I am very happy with the way that it turned out.

I stood on a rock for this one (you wouldn't think that grass would grow so well in 100+ degree weather, but you'd be wrong!) so you could see my great navy leather/mesh oxfords! I switched out the original navy laces with white for this dress; the white "laces" are actually made from white cord. Trying to make them look like those beautiful vintage laces, I wrapped them with scotch tape about a half-inch from the ends and then unraveled them.

I sort of look like a giant in these pictures; since we don't have a tripod, my husband was experimenting with other objects on which to set the camera...this one was obviously a little bit too low!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All Buttoned Up

Wow, thank you all for your wonderful comments on my last post; I am truly overwhelmed! And welcome to all of my new followers; I usually do like to welcome people by name, but as the number of followers to my little blog has basically doubled in the last two weeks, I will just have to extend a heartfelt, "Welcome, all!"

And now, on to what I've been working on. Well, one of the things that I've been working on; I am one of those people who has a huge pile of garments in various stages of completion. It's terrible, I know, but I just can't seem to stop myself! I made this dress with some beautiful burgundy crepe (okay, crepe-like fabric; I have no idea what it is made out of...but it was $1.00 per yard!) accented with a satin floral.

I made it specifically to match these beautiful gloves, which I got from ebay. The burgundy trim around the top of one of the gloves was missing, and there were a few other issues with them; of course, even though I have no knowledge of knitting, crocheting, or tatting (I think the trim was tatted, but I'm not too familiar with it), I was SURE that I could fix them. Someday, this over-confidence in my crafting abilities will be my downfall, but I've been lucky so far! I basically just tied a series of tiny knots with embroidery thread, trying to make it look as similar as possible to the existing trim on the other glove.

I made the dress using this pattern, with a few alterations, of course!

I made it with detachable long sleeves, because anytime I have an opportunity to make something wearable year-round, I'm all over it! Since it has been 100+ degrees here lately, you'll just have to wait until it cools off a little bit to see the sleeves! I also wanted to incorporate the scarf into the dress a bit more. Since this is one of those dresses in which one side of buttons is simply sewn on (no buttonholes), I sewed the scarf under the buttons, draped it around the back, and brought it back through the dress, letting it hang at the side.

Here's the back. I let the scarf drape down and then tacked it in place on the shoulders.

I don't have a huge collection of vintage buttons, so the ones that I used on this dress were chosen solely for the fact that I had twelve of them. They started out a lovely shade of yellow-green, and I spray-painted them cream to match the scarf. Since they are metal, I hoped that it would work; I cleaned them, painted them, and sealed them. So far, so chips!

These are the same shoes from my last post, but in brown; I love them so much that I am basically just alternating between the two pairs! And, of course, my new favorite hat.

I really like the way that it turned out, especially the way the scarf mimics a cap sleeve on one side. What do you think?

P.S. If you liked that altered sweater from my last post, you will love what is coming up next!!