Finished hand-sewn dress!

Finished dress and skirt

I’d like to share with you now photos of the skirt and dress that I sewed by hand a few weeks ago. I blogged about that last time but didn’t get a chance to wear them until recently.

Finished hand-sewn skirt ...

Finished hand-sewn skirt …

Here is the finished skirt (above). Last week, I decided to wear it when we went to Tagbilaran City. I thought it would be nicer with a lighter colour top but I settled for this brown crocheted sleeveless top that I made sometime in October last year. I remember that top was the last crochet garment I made before the earthquake struck!

Anyway, the skirt is so sheer that it needs to be worn with a slip. I am trying to learn how to make lining for garments so maybe next time I can try making a lining for this skirt. The side seams of this skirt is not perfect – given my hand-sewing – so it looks a bit squiggly. :)

The finished dress. Had to wear this with a full slip and even a pair of bloomers (or pantylet)!

The finished dress. Had to wear this with a full slip and even a pair of bloomers (or pantylet)!

And here is the finished dress. I had to wear this with a full slip and even a pair of bloomers (or pantylet)! I had to do this because the dress turned out to be rather short … well I thought it wasn’t short because it was just above the knee, but when you sit down the dress is so light that it tends to go up and get much too short!

The straps of the dress, plus the straps of the full slip and bra straps also don’t look so good altogether so I just had to wear this dress with that little yellow bolero I made also in September last year.

Again, I would like to make a lining for this dress next time!

I got these cloths to make garments...

Hand-sewn dress and skirt …

It all started when I thought Trevor should get new handkerchiefs, big ones, since his old ones are getting tattered. But then looking through the shops, there weren’t any large handkerchiefs, but only tiny totally useless ones. How odd!

So we went to the fabrics shop and I got a meter of cheap printed fabric. It was about PhP49/meter (just a little over US1.00), a fabric cut to about 60 inches in width. I wasn’t sure what kind of fabric it was, but it had a nice print (that bled quite a bit when I washed it). So I cut this fabric into 4 square pieces and sewed the edges by hand. I took a few days and I thought it was fun and relaxing.

3 pieces of cloth, the brown one I made into four large handkerchiefs for Trevor.

3 pieces of cloth, the brown one I made into four large handkerchiefs for Trevor.

Because of that, I wanted to sew some more. We went back to the fabrics shop and I got two pieces of cloth, probably printed polyester, quite sheer, but lovely prints. I got one in such delicate blue and another in light and lovely yellow with gold patches. These were more expensive, about PhP89/meter (US$2+) and cut to 80 inches width. I got two meters of each, more than enough to make a dress in my size.

I got these cloths to make garments...

I got these cloths to make garments…

After I got the cloths, I looked through my textbooks on sewing patterns. I have no training in sewing or pattern-making at all so I can only barely understand these drawings but I thought that looking through the various sewing patterns could help me figure out a simple design to start with.

A sewing pattern for camisole dress.

A sewing pattern for camisole dress.

I thought that the shape and design of a camisole dress, like this one (above) would be perfect. I actually have an old silk printed dress, bought from a second-hand shop, that is just like this pattern, but without the low waist ribbon.

I also had a look at two new dresses that I bought recently, not very expensive, these two amount to about US$8.  I wondered if I could sew a dress like these by hand. Part of my goal was to learn to sew by hand and learn to do it better, to make my own clothes.

Two dresses and a hat!

Two dresses and a hat!

These dresses are quite simple but not simple enough for beginners like me. I think I will try these on my second project. For now, it will be a simple camisole dress.

So, I drew out the pattern on the fabric, using that silk printed dress from the second-hand shop. The pattern consisted of two sides – front and back, with the front neckline a bit lower than the back. The hard part here was actually cutting the cloth with a margin for sewing along the hand-drawn lines.

The finished dress!

The finished dress!

After cutting, I started sewing the edges of the cloth. It was repetitive work but I loved it. When the two sides were done,  I sewed them together along the sides. After that was the straps which I made by sewing a strip and then turning it inside out.

After a few days, I finished the dress. It is very sheer, so this will need to be worn with a lining (yet another skill to learn! sewing a lining) or – my solution for now – wear a white slip under.

I still have enough large piece of the cloth to make another dress! So now I know that a meter is enough. The two smaller pieces cut from the dress were useful too. I used those to make a skirt. Just a simple skirt consisting of two sides – front and back – sewn together, slightly flared, and with a garter waist.

The hard part was sewing the hem. I made tiny hem stitches all along the edge of the cloth with only a very narrow fold. I wanted the hem to wave through the tight stitches but that didn’t work out. I have a skirt that does this but the hem was machine-sewn of course. Also, the skirt I have was made of very soft fabric which somehow draped beautifully and then the reinforced/stitched hem turned into these gentle waves.

The finished skirt!

The finished skirt!

Here is a photo of the skirt where you can see how sheer it is! I love the fabric so much but this will definitely – of course! – require a slip. I wanted to sew a lining but I got intimidated. Maybe next time.

The fabric is really quite sheer - will need a slip or make a lining for this!

The fabric is really quite sheer – will need a slip or make a lining for this!

So there – lots of sewing and not much crocheting (and lots of poetry writing too). Since all the distractions from the earthquake and typhoon, I don’t feel like crocheting much. Before the earthquake I was planning on designing crocheted lingerie but now I just can’t seem to pick up on that again.

Well, perhaps, I will just have to do other productive things and let the momentum return in its own time. :)

Special Christmas Bananas ... :)

A bit late: New Year thoughts

There hasn’t been much crocheting since after Christmas. I am progressing very slowly with the skirt (appropriating a cape pattern), as well as a new project I started shortly after – a blouse with a Chinese collar.

Over New Year and the first couple of days of 2014, I have spent more of the time writing poetry. I also spend a reasonable amount of time reading poetry by poets I met online, from Portugal, France and Italy. I suppose this old love for creative writing will be making a comeback for 2014.

I have also been busy dealing with several kilos of meat that I got when we finally put DinDin on the chopping block. It was one of the most fun New Year’s morning I’ve ever had. I blogged about this at Korakora.

Well, now, I would like to show you something special. I got these for Christmas – a red and a green bunch of bananas. I got the red one from Alex who has them growing in their garden, and the green one was from our neighbour Charing. These are sweet ripe bananas, rather special, particularly the red ones, so I sent three bunches of these to my mom.

Special Christmas Bananas ... :)

Special Christmas Bananas … :)

I hope to get back to crocheting soon. Writing has really taken the time from crochet. Perhaps I can crochet some books.

The art, pattern and language of crochet