Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kiss the sewing machine goodbye

I have been able to feed my sewing addiction by using my roommate's sewing machine. Unfortunately, tomorrow she is moving out and taking the sewing machine with her! I have talked to my mom about shipping my sewing machine out here, but it will certainly be over a month until she has time and it gets here. I might try using my other roommates sewing machine, but it is an antique/old and it is very challenging to get it thread right and with the right tension.

In the meantime, I was super excited to find a series of blog posts on with collections of free knitting patterns. The posts feature free patterns for form-fitting knit hat designs, beret and slouchy styles, funky hat designs, and cowl and scarflet patterns.

There are plenty of exciting patterns on there to keep me busy even without a sewing machine.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


pattern: $0.75 from Value Village, view 2

skirt: fabric $3.00 from Value Village, purple wool

I am not very happy with how the skirt came out. I was going for the high-wasted skirt look, but the skirt wasn't quite high wasted enough, and the wool seemed too bulky in the waste. The fit isn't great. I used a French seam, like I learned how to make for the petticoat. However, because the seam was finished nicely before I had a change to check the fit, I wasn't able to edit the side seams at all. The original pattern had pleats in the front and darts in the back. I had to change the pleats in the front to darts so that the waste would fit (the pleats made it too small). But the skirt gaps out right around the mid-thigh in an unattractive way...

contra dance dress

the big enchilada, aka my third, and most successful attempt at a contra dance/square dance dress!
pattern: $10.00 from ebay

I created view B, on the left.

dress: fabric, approximately $10 from Value Village, $2.00 zipper from Fabricville, $2.00 ribbon from fabricville

petticoat: pattern from sugardale's How to Make a Petticoat tutorial, nylon netting $2.00 at Value Village
dress with the petticoat:

Over all I love this dress! Unfortunately I accidentally bought a 14-16-18 pattern without realizing it, when I wear a size 12. I tried to make the dress fit best I could, but it's still a little looser than I would like. Room to grow I guess!


Pattern: $0.75 at value village

Hoody: fabric $7.99 at value village

I used a polyester knit hounds tooth fabric for the hoody, with a wool hounds tooth lining. I wasn't sure how the two fabrics would mesh. It looks eclectic, but I think it works. I edited the pattern quite a bit, first by adding puffed gathered sleeves from the blue dress. I also had to bring in the sleeve holes and shoulders a bit, but I didn't change the size of the hood. That caused it to be proportionally large, which I like! Also, the lining was additional. I made the hood detachable with buttons. I used buttons down the front instead of a zipper.

Attempt at contra dance number 2

Pattern: $0.75 Value Village

Dress: Fabric $7.99 Value Village

The pictures of the dress aren't great. I added some inserts to the skirt to try to make it fuller. Turns out that was hard for me to do, and they don't look so hot up close.

my first attempt at a contra dance

(I took pictures of all of these on the same day, so sorry for lack of creativity in the background). I'm not crazy about how this turned out, so much so that I never hemmed it. But I did wear it to a contra dance recently and got lots of compliments!

Here is the pattern: free from mom

And the dress: Fabric free from mom

Lets start at the very beginning...

...a very good place to start.

So I'm not going to start at the VERY beginning. Mostly I am just going to start with my oldest project that I have documented. But a little blurb about my start in sewing is perhaps appropriate. My mother is a crafter, and she worked as a seamstress for many years. Although she would know better, she began teaching me to sew I believe when I was 6 or 7, as well as teaching me how to crochet. I sewed dolls and stuffed animals, and crocheted doll clothes. When I was 8 (?) I sewed the needle through my thumb and got turned off from sewing for a few years. I have sewed off and on since I was in late elementary school, usually without a pattern. In the last few years I have started sewing with patterns and was astounded and joyful with the success I found in creating things I liked. I find that my years of working without patterns taught me how to change what I didn't like, so I find it easy to adapt patterns. However, I am still working on fitting things just right.

I would like to take some classes on finishing techniques, fitting, and pattern making, among many things. I have never taken a sewing course.

Now, where I was going to start was a picture of a shirt that I refashioned last year in Albany. I was inspired by my roommate's art projects to get back into creating.
Here is a picture of the hoody: purple sweatshirt free from the now defunct Capitol District Federation of Ideas, white sweatshirt from same place, screen print from the Albany Free School

I took the purple sweatshirt, then added a screenprinted white hood and a matching kangaroo pocket.


The inspirations for this sewing and craft blog have come from viewing a tremendous amount of craft blogs in the last 2 weeks since I discovered Google reader and got excited about checking out lots of different blogs!

The inspiration for the name of my blog comes from the idea of a chrysalis, the pupa form of a moth or butterfly as it changes within the cocoon - before it emerges. My mother always told me she wished she had named me Chrysalis. She dreamt my name - Kristen. And she says that she thinks she misinterpreted the dream, that my name should have been Chrysalis. I don't think I will ever change my name to Chrysalis or Krisalis, but I embrace it as a pseudonym for my crafter self who helps materials go through a chrysalis stage to emerge as sewn butterfly masterpieces.