Finally, something for Linda!

I have been promising Linda something of her own to wear for a while now.  She’s my middle child age-wise, but the biggest size-wise, and I have such a short attention span.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at ways to repurpose pillow cases.  Lots of good ideas out there, and making dresses for little girls has always been one of the more popular ones.

This is my contribution, using a pillowcase my ex-husband left behind (it’s been in my dresser, taunting me with its resemblance to a skirt, for almost two years now):

As you can tell, the top is crocheted, & the bottom is a pillowcase.  I don’t have a pattern for this, but I’ll tell you about the way I did it.

I used a normal-sized jersey (t-shirt material) pillowcase, Peaches ‘n’ Cream yarn, an H hook, & white embroidery floss (as I don’t know where the hell my white thread is).

First, I held the pillowcase up against Linda.  Full-length would have made an ankle-length skirt.  Great for winter, not for summer (in Texas, anyway).  Half-length would have been about an inch above the knees.  Not too bad, but I’d have had to make a bigger bodice and Linda needs long dresses because she’s too young & too bouncy to sit in a ladylike fashion.

I crocheted a double-chain just long enough to go around her (it’s a wee bit snug now, but I know from experience with the yarn that it’ll loosen up in time).  Joined into a circle, added two more rounds of single crochet.  Put it around her and counted stitches so I knew how wide to make the front of the bodice.  I did one row of that number of sts, then reduced on the first & last stitch of the next row…did that for a total of 8 rows (which is: one even, one reduce).  Added on either 4 or 6 more at the top, even.  Single crocheted down the side, half-double crocheted around the back, single crocheted up the other side, and did a picot/slip stitch across the top.  Then I went in to the first tie–61 chains, then slip stitched back down the back side of the chain.  Finished it off, put another one on the other side, & then weaved in all the ends.  I thought about doing a decorative bottom border as well but decided against it because I didn’t want to have more ends to weave in.  I hate weaving in ends.

That was the easy part.  Of course, the pillowcase is a LOT wider around than my daughter.  And I don’t have any straight pins.  It would have been a lot easier with straight pins.  Basically, I basted the side seams on the pillowcase to the ends of the bodice (by which I mean the part that goes up) and made little gathers on either side of this as I sewed.  This was easy the first side, but when I backed up to do the other side it rapidly became a pain in the butt because I had to work right-handed in order to keep the right side facing me and tell what the heck I was doing.

I was NOT going to do this again on the back.  So I smoothed it out and gathered all the extra fabric up in the center.  Marked it with needles (I have plenty of those).  Grabbed another needle already threaded, and gathered the fabric in the center back.  I’m not sure how clear it is in that picture (I really need to clean my monitor), but I love the way that turned out.  It was also much easier to sew.

Honestly, I really like the way it turned out.  The gathering of the material started out pretty haphazardly, but I figured out a way to make it look intentional!

I really do like the way it turned out.  I am no sort of seamstress (which is why the connecting seam is a little raggedy), but this was a pretty quick project no less and Linda is thrilled with it.  Which is what really matters.  She’s already asked me for permission to wear it tomorrow!

Rookie mistake.

From the “I Really Ought to Know Better” files:

This is a bustier, largely based off the Tube Apron top in Double Stitch.  I used some Berella 4 yarn I bought on clearance at Michaels last year (that’s why you keep seeing this particular yarn cropping up in projects), some Super Saver for the trim, and a J hook.

I’m larger than the largest size in the book, so I figured it’d work out more or less if I went up a hook size.  This isn’t unheard of as a sizing measure.  And honestly, I don’t count that as my problem.

The problem?

I’m not shaped like that.

I’m sure this bustier would work just fine on a 200-lb woman whose weight is evenly distributed.  But I’m a 200-lb woman whose measurements (and I’m going to cheat & use bra size here so you get a good idea of where the weight is) are 40F-38-51.  What this means is I’ve got giant ta-ta’s, a proportionately small waist, and giant hips.  In other words, I’m not straight up and down, and so while this thing is real pretty laid out on my bed, on me it bunches funny and doesn’t stay up.

I’m going to frog it.

Couple of thoughts to fix it: drop back down to the size hook I’m supposed to be using for the pattern.  Maybe that will shrink it enough to give a goodly amount of stretch and force it to pretend it’s got some shape.

The other thought is to use mock-short-rows to cinch in the middle some, in addition to shrinking the overall width of the piece.  If I do the bust part in half-doubles like it is now, then the waist in single crochet and then the hips in double crochet, that may also give it enough definition to make a difference.

Or I could just make it into a skirt for one of my kids and make something out of the book and actually follow the pattern this time.

Which just might be too easy.

Pattern’s up.

The pattern for the hat in yesterday’s post is up over at my pattern blog: http://sabraspatterns.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/summer-hat/

It’s a very quick project, and even though it’s shown on a three-year-old, it fit even my big-headed middle daughter (and my big-headed oldest daughter).

It’s also easily modifiable to an adult hat–just add in another increase round, and probably two or three more even rounds.

Here’s a photo of the back:

Sorry for the suckitudinous nature of this photo.  I was having problems with my camera for some odd reason.

The pattern for the increase part of the hat shows as a sort of star.  It took me a while to figure out the best way to increase in a circle with chain spaces.  I don’t know why it took me so long; it’s not exactly a unique thing to do.  But I am glad to have figured it out on my own.

This is a pretty chunky hat because of the yarn used.  It’s Berella 4, which I got a butt ton of last year when it was on clearance for 99¢ a skein at Michaels.  I think I spent about $20 on Berella 4 yarn.

I asked Ro yesterday if she wanted a hat, and let her pick out the yarn.  I need to hurry up and make something for the other two!  But first I have those dolls to make for charity.

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Pattern tomorrow

Two Charity Opportunities

Over at Louisli’s blog, she is raffling off some lovely yarn to help out a friend of hers who is struggling with infertility.  Having been there, done that myself, I have great sympathy.

One of the mamas at MotheringDotCommune turned me on to the next opportunity: Amazima Dolls are being collected to send to an orphanage in Uganda.  They have a goal of a minimum of 350 dolls–sewn, crocheted, even knitted to be sent to this orphanage.  The woman who started & runs Amazima Ministries is only 20!  There is a lovely pattern at Mamachee that would be great for crocheted dolls.  The dolls need only be 12″ tall and brown-skinned; they want boy & girl dolls both.

The way the economy is now, it’s hard to conceive of giving to charity.  That’s why it’s good to be a crafter!  The raffle is only $5 to enter, and the dolls can easily be made from stash yarn, so their only cost is shipping (and they’re being collected by a woman here in the States).  So we’ve got a couple of great opportunities to do something good for others, even if our own circumstances are straitened.  And trust me on this, it feels really good to be able to help out when you’re down yourself.

A New Pattern: Linda’s Scarf Blanket

Find the pattern here.

No scarves were harmed in the making of this blanket.

This is Linda.  And her blanket that I made for her when I was pregnant with her.  (This is why it’s blue and pink.  Figured I’d hit the right one.)

I finally wrote a pattern for it today.  I don’t make many baby blankets.  Partly because it takes so long & you never feel like you’re getting anywhere.  This blanket helps with that a little bit.  It also helps with another of my banes: hot projects in the summer.  When you’re working on this, you’re not holding anything larger than a scarf (thus the name) until it’s time to sew it all together, and that only takes a little bit of time.

This is so incredibly easy I almost feel guilty for calling it a pattern.  I would feel guilty, but for the fact that it’s been so damned long since I posted a pattern.  I do think it’s a good one if you’ve never made a somewhat large project before.  My dislike of scarves is in no small part because I find them crippling–people tend to be afraid to move beyond them.  I am constantly telling newbies asking for a good Step Two project that they can pretty much sew together a butt ton of scarves and make a blanket.

This serves as proof it’s not as ugly a suggestion as you might think.

So I was sitting at my computer last night

at around 10PM, Stumbling through the Knitting/Crochet category and thinking I’m going to put the pineapple skirt in hibernation, when Esther streaked by me.

“Esther,” I said, “I’m going to crochet you a pair of panties.”

So I went to my big bucket o’ yarn and pulled out (what else?) a skein of Simply Soft and set to work.  Esther willingly stuck her butt in my face for a while before falling asleep, but when I finished the panties I put them on her anyway.

And found out they were too big.  By this time, it was 30 minutes til midnight, otherwise known as seven hours until I had to wake up.  So I put them down with the intent of  picking them up and frogging the front so I could fix them.

And so I did.

They’re not pretty.  They weren’t really mean to be.  Just a quick & dirty project for the 3-year-old.

They fit now.  In fact, she is still wearing them.  Earlier, she put them on and immediately started singing the theme song from COPS.