Archives for posts with tag: infinity dress

Bolstered by the success of my first Infinity Dress, I have gone on a huge sewing and fabric-buying rampage lately. (Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos in this post. They almost all came out very bright and overexposed. Just pretend it’s a halo of heavenly light and I am about to ascend into a hovering spacecraft, and you are an exclusive witness to this special moment.)

First, Rahul and I biked out to Wal-Mart the other day–a harrowing 4.5 mile ride along narrow, busy roads, on the west side of town, across a freeway. My bike nearly fell in a ditch and when I corrected to stay out of it, I nearly got hit by a truck. It was scary. But my reward was 4 yards of 1×1 ribbed black knit fabric for only $1 a yard. I went home and made another Infinity Dress, and then made a drape neck top with the leftovers. Because my fabric was only 45 inches wide, I made a gathered skirt instead of a circle skirt, so this one has a slimmer silhouette.

I also accidentally sewed the band on top of the straps instead of underneath, but I think it’s still OK.

Here’s the drape neck top. It is sewn together rather poorly. The rib knit was much stretchier than the jersey, so I ended up with a lot of lettuce edges where there shouldn’t have been any. The pattern is Simplicity New Look 6470, View B.

Here’s the new dress.

“Oh my god, that looks SO WEIRD,” said Rahul this morning, as I was going out to water my basil plants on the balcony, and took this picture of the back of the dress to demonstrate how weird it was that my dress had no back. I thought it looked fine, but the sleeves fell off when I was bent over my plants, so I retied it to cross over in the back.

Because the skirt has a pretty slim silhouette, I just wore it underneath my next two FOs instead of changing into a new top.

These are both made with quilting cotton I bought a while back at Shiisa Quilts, from their $4.99 bed sale.

This one is made with a dark purple fabric printed with white dragonflies. I made it into a circle skirt with ties and a zipper at the waist. Because I only had about a yard of 45″ fabric, it came out shorter than I would have liked and the overall silhouette is a little bit 80’s. A learning experience. I should have stuck with a plain A-line wrap skirt like I had originally planned.

This one I’m very proud of. The fabric is a Rowan/Westminster Martha Negley cotton, dark red, striped with tree trunks. I drafted my own pattern according to the A-line skirt, fitted waist directions in Sew What! Skirts, an excellent book for the beginning skirt-sewer like myself–highly recommended. I went on to cut the pieces on the bias to make chevron stripes, put in side pockets (these need some work–for some reason, I cut them so the pockets don’t really dip down, just go straight in, so I can’t put anything in them, though I can use them to warm my hands) and installed what I think is an invisible zipper in the back. I just need to put in some snaps to secure the waistband.

After all that, I went to Jo-Ann and back to Shiisa Quilts, where they’ve dropped the price of the bed sale fabrics to $3.99 a yard and are having a buy one yard, get one yard free offer through today, so I scored a bunch of nice fabric for just $2 a yard.

Here’s some of what I got:

Cloud fabric (not on sale, but I loved it. This is Moda fabric, named, puzzlingly, “Bears just wanna have fun”)

Gray fabric with chartreuse hydrangeas, Kaffe Fassett Lille Arbour. I loved this fabric last time I was in the store, but Rahul prevented me from buying it with his protestations of how hideous it was. So I went back without him and bought several yards of it for half price. I think I might make the Anna Dress with it.

Some other stuff: from Shiisa, some blue Rowan Martha Negley fabric with green plums, some blue striped fabric, the aforementioned Kaffe Fassett fabric, and blue fabric with delicate geometric traceries–this is Free Spirit Mendhi Lotus, and is much drapier and silkier than the other fabrics. I haven’t decided what to do with any of this yet, though the default is “knee-length skirt.”

The linen print with brown embroidered flowers is from Jo-Ann (was also on sale) and is destined for another simple A-line skirt.

This is my new favorite summer dress. It was so fast and easy it hardly counts as an FO, since it’s essentially putting together a kit. I saw the fabric on sale at Jo-Ann and bought it on impulse: they sell a big roll of cotton gauze pre-smocked with elastic thread, and you just buy a piece a couple of inches larger than your bust size, sew a tube, add straps as desired, and hem it. I made nice wide straps to cover up bra straps and this dress fits perfectly, aside from the fact that I didn’t pre-shrink my fabric so I ended up with a dress an inch or two shorter than what I had wanted.

Edited to add, since I had some comments about this: if you’re in the US and don’t have a Jo-Ann Fabrics nearby, it looks like you can get pre-smocked fabric online via Hancock Fabrics. I couldn’t find this specific fabric on the Jo-Ann website, but when I was in the store they also had the same stuff in pink and green, and some tropical Hawaiian-looking smocked fabrics.

I also have some brown jersey (not shown) for yet another Infinity Dress and another try at that drape-neck top. All I can say is that it’s a good thing sewing is so much faster than knitting.

Speaking of which, here is the current progress on the Loquat Shawl:

Apparently, as maid of honor, I’m going to have to make a toast at this wedding, which fills me with a deep sense of terror and anxiety (I would rather eat bugs than do any kind of public speaking). If only they were traditionalists and left all the public speaking to the best man and all the fussy lady’s maid duties to the maid of honor. I’m sure I can carry bobby pins and straighten hairdos like nobody’s business.

I must soothe myself with admiring my newest yarn acquisition, the first shipment of the Sundara Seasons club, June 2008, the Autumn season. This is Sundara Sock yarn in Arabian Nights, a rich, warm brown shot through with henna highlights. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have a pattern idea in my head for this already, but can’t start anything new till I’m done with the shawl.

And a knitter’s PSA: Knit Picks is having their annual 40% off book sale, and they’ve just posted a bunch of new yarns for sale: delicious-looking semi-solid kettle dyes, new colors of many yarns, Imagination hand-painted sock yarn, Swish Bulky superwash, and more.

So right after Cosmicpluto alerted me to the existence of the infinity dress, I ran right out and made myself one, too. Blurry photos:

It was so easy I can’t believe it–I want to make 10 more of these! Here’s the timeline:

Last night: Measured myself and drew out some schematics for cutting out the dress.
Today at lunchtime: Drove to Hobby Lobby , where print cotton jersey knits were on sale for $3.99 a yard (I hear you can get them for $1 a yard at Wal-Mart, but that’s all the way across town). You could choose from camouflage, pink with white floral, pink with white polka dots, blue stripes, blue with white polka dots, acid green with black polka dots, black with white polka dots, and white with black brocade. I decided on blue with white polka dots–thought about the stripes, but they don’t play well with circle skirts, and thought about the black, but thought it would be better to minimize the visual contrast between RS and WS of the fabric. I got 4 yards of it and have a lot left over.
Today at 7 PM: Cut out the four pieces for the dress. Tried to set up the sewing machine, found that the presser foot no longer wanted to raise itself up, cursed and struggled for a while. Ate dinner.
Today at 8 PM: Finally got the presser foot working again.
Today at 8:30 PM: Finished sewing the dress. One seam for the waist, one seam to stitch closed the waistband.

Here are the schematics I used:

  • Circle skirt: Fold 60″ cotton jersey into quarters, then cut a 27″ quarter circle out of the fabric. I did this freehand, with one end of the measuring tape held at the central corner, inching the measuring tape gradually upwards and cutting the curve in short arcs.
  • Circle skirt waist: Cut a 3.5 inch arc out of the central corner. Against all odds, this made a waistband that was slightly too big. According to mathematical principles, I thought this would give me a 22-inch waistband… is my math off? 2 pi r equals circumference? Anyway, it definitely ended up bigger than 22 inches.
  • Straps: Erring on the side of slightly too wide, since I know the jersey fabric wants to roll up (it’s basically stockinette, after all) I cut two pieces along the length of the fabric, 13 inches times 100 inches. Basically these were lengthwise strips from the long edges of the entire remaining length of the cut of fabric.
  • Waistband: I cut a crosswise piece from the end after cutting the straps lengthwise. This ended up being about 30 inches by 12 inches. I folded it in half for a 6-inch-tall waistband and overlapped the ends by about an inch when sewing it to the waist of the skirt.

I assembled this all with a straight stitch on my sewing machine, with the overlap of the waistband hidden behind the middle of one of the straps. I decided to sew the ends of the waistband together when I was done. Two seams.

If you decide to make one, I highly recommend pinning or clipping the pieces together before you start sewing. Once you’ve gone around about a quarter of the waist of the circle skirt, you just have a giant, tangled mess of twisted-up fabric and it’s very difficult to keep it all flat and aligned.

Saturday was the most exciting day I’ve had in a long time! It was World Wide Knit In Public Day, and I did that in the morning–more about that later–followed by:

  • a bike ride with Jeanne to tour a local cob-built house,
  • my first visit to a new Ukrainian deli a few doors down from the new yarn store, where I bought lactose-free cultured sour cream and poppyseed lebkuchen and we shared some strange sodas (Duchesse pear and “bouratino”-flavored sodas: Pinocchio, un burattino, turns out to be the Eastern European symbol for cream soda. Who knew?)
  • a Bloomington scavenger hunt (more on this on another day, it merits its own post). We won, amazingly! This scarf played a pivotal role…
  • Starting to read a very interesting new book, The Fruit Hunters, by (oddly enough, though I should have known from the reference to fisting within the first chapter) the editor of VICE Magazine (link probably not safe for work)

So–WWKIPD. The Bloomington group was on the top row, very center of the WWKIP Day photo mosaic yesterday! I didn’t finish writing this blog post before the end of the day, so we’ve been replaced in the meantime…

I prepared the night before by going through my stash and pulling out all the yarn I wanted to destash, realizing I couldn’t possibly carry everything on my bike (Rahul was out of town and had the car), and sorting it into potentially saleable items and things I just wanted to get out of my house and into good hands. A skein of Shetland cobweb-weight yarn, piles and piles of recycled sweater yarn from thrift store sweaters (some not quite out of sweater form yet, but all of it pretty nice, if I do say so myself), a few skeins of leftover Lopi, random skeins of handspun, various leftover partial skeins of nice yarns like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and Malabrigo… I had to leave most of my saleable yarn at home, to sell later on Ravelry, but wound up packing my entire bike basket, a backpack, and a messenger bag with yarn and biking (in a very wobbly and overloaded way) to the market.

In attendance:

  • Nicole
  • Kalani (go see her writeup!)
  • Katie (I’m stealing the photos her husband took to use on my blog, with her permission, because I couldn’t fit my camera into any of my bags, so I have no photos of my own). Her photo is the one featured in the Flickr photo mosaic.
  • Anna
  • Fee (go see her writeup! I suspect that might be my destashed handspun in the first photo)
  • Sylvia
  • Mari
  • April
  • (Am I forgetting anyone? If so, please let me know. Also, undoubtedly there will be more writeups coming along soon.)

Nicole and Katie had made flyers with LYS, “learn to knit” books, and S’n’B information to hand out; Katie made Ravelry business cards with the name of the local Bloomington group; Fee potato-stamped patches with yarn ball-and-needles motifs to hand out; Nicole brought her pile of “Hello, my name is” Ravelry buttons. We talked to various knitters and crocheters and handed out lots of flyers, cards, and yarn. (I contributed lots of free yarn, as did various other attendees, but Fee’s “FREE YARN” sign and basket was the most instrumental in actually getting it into people’s hands and attracting knitters to our group.)

I did some fairly mindless knitting (Sarah’s lace wedding shawl is in slow progress/swatching stages, but didn’t seem appropriate to bring to a public, group knitting event with my laptop and all), bought chard, honey, and garlic scapes from the market, and ate a tamale from my favorite stall.

I wore my Rusted Root, as you can see in the top photo. (Also, a new haircut):

L-R: April, me, Mari, Sylvia, Nicole, Fee’s husband Bryan, Fee, Kalani, Katie

This is the photo that was on the WWKIP website, though a few people were cropped out of it, I think. You can also see one of the plastic bags of yarn I brought to destash, right by Katie’s brown knitting bag: white Berroco Plush, the end of a skein of Malabrigo, recycled cream-colored Irish lambswool, a partial skein of navy blue acrylic, a small skein of handspun singles.

A good time was had by all, and best of all, I left the market minus what felt like about ten pounds of yarn, feeling very light and free–my backpack, bike basket, and messenger bag now empty. Kalani, Nicole, and I had lunch at Esan Thai, a Northern Thai restaurant across from the library, where I had a Thai iced coffee for the first time in ages… yum. I’ll definitely post more about the scavenger hunt at a later date–it was lots of fun, and I think other current or former Bloomingtonians might enjoy seeing how they would have done. Unfortunately, Steve accidentally deleted some of the earlier photos, and we’re hoping he can recover them from the memory card using a free recovery utility.

On the sewing front, I saw this infinity dress Cosmicpluto made and I am now obsessed with making one myself. The tutorial is here, and you should also page through the Craftster thread–it looks like an extremely versatile, comfortable, and flattering dress–not to mention extremely easy to sew, with just one seam as long as you use a stretch knit and don’t hem it. If I make it, if I can find thinner jersey fabrics to use, I was thinking I might line the strap parts with contrasting fabric. It would look cool, would provide a finished edge, and would also provide extra thickness and coverage. I hope I can find a nice stretchy knit fabric locally, because I just love love love this dress.