April 21, 2015

New Full Body Trio pattern: Lopes!

Lopes, the second garment pattern in my Full Body Trio mini-collection (after Tionne), has been released!  (On ravelry here!)  If you follow me on social media at all, you saw plenty of peeks a couple months back when I was making the first sample – I was posting all kinds of close-ups on instagram, revealing things like the sleeves (and the fact that it was an item that had sleeves), the seed stitch edge, the drop-stitch wedges…

Ahh seed stitch, I do so love how it looks but hate the act of knitting it. Which makes it good for just the edge :) Sigh. I'm no good at garment design yet. My sample was sized SO wrong - there are eight of these panels of 26 rows, and for correct sizing there should have been 16 rows instead. The heartbreaking thing is it would have been WAY quicker to knit if I'd fig

#leethalPAD day 14: Jagged. Ziggy-zaggy drop-stitches in my upcoming pattern sample. This was my first time hiring a sample knitter for a pattern sample (shout out to awesome knitter Chantal, who I don't think is on Instagram) and it was very exciting to Sleeve #1, done!  I think I'm pretty darn happy with how this is looking! (Upcoming leethal Full Body Trio pattern.)

But the BIG REVEAL when the pattern was released last Thursday night was that it’s a cardigan that can also be worn as a skirt!!  TAH DAH!

Lopes! Lopes

It’s a springy/summery, drapey, flared, airy, swingy wrap cardigan, with short sleeves which can be turned in and laced closed, turning them into the functional pockets of the wraparound skirt!

Lopes Lopes

I made a video showing you how it works and some different ways it can be worn:

That was fun!  (Many thanks to Pete for whipping up that background music for me!)

Lopes! Lopes!

So, here are things about the pattern…  It’s written for any yarn weight/gauge, though nothing heavier than worsted is recommended, and working at a loose gauge for maximum drape is ideal.  (I made a prototype to figure out shaping/construction/size stuff, in bulky weight, and it is totally ridiculous and unwearable.  Part of it is that the sizing is all wrong, so that all got fixed in the pattern, but the bulky weight is really not a good fit for this item.)

Lopes! Lopes

The samples were made with Hazel Knits Lively DK, the beautiful Sedge colorway (which very much shifts colors depending on light!), knit at a very loose gauge (size US 8 needles on the shorter sample, US 7’s for the longer sample), and it was a fantastic yarn fit.  Hazel Knits is an awesome yarn company, local-ish to me in the Pacific Northwest (based in Seattle), and they do dye-to-order if they don’t have the color you love in stock – turn around is two weeks (or less!) on custom dyed orders – there are so many gorgeous colorways, it was really hard for me to choose just one, but I really love the Sedge so I made a good choice!

Good mail day!! That's @hazelknits DK in colorway Sedge <3  Can't wait to start knitting with it!

Lopes is custom sized to your body, using your own measurements, and you can make it shorter or longer, as you prefer.  You’ll need to make a good gauge swatch, take a few measurements on yourself, then fill out a worksheet with some math (very easy with a calculator app) to find your custom pattern numbers.  (This is the same as how Tionne works, except Lopes is much simpler than Tionne, fewer sections and fewer numbers to find.)

Lopes Lopes

The measurements of the piece are based on the measurements of your upper body, so the cardigan fits nicely around the back/shoulders, and around your waist, so the skirt fits.  The fronts of the cardigan are therefore usually wide, overlapping quite a bit, for a double-breasted kind of wrap style sweater.

Lopes Lopes!

The cardigan flares out a lot, which makes it nice and swingy and fun to wear…

Lopes! Lopes!


…but, as you saw in the video above, you also have the option of using ribbons/laces to cinch it around your body for a more form-fitting look.


Lopes! Lopes!

The piece flares out with short row wedges, worked with a drop-stitch pattern – the fabric is already meant to be light and airy, so the dropped stitches make it more so, and the garter stitch borders add some texture.  Of course, the skirt is designed to be worn over another skirt layer, or opaque leggings, or as a beach coverup, etc.  Even if the fabric wasn’t see-through, it would still be scandalous to wear it without something under, since it’s open in the back!

Lopes! Lopes

That wraparound, open-back design makes for a very comfy, moveable skirt, as you can see in the shot below where I guess I’m being a dinosaur?  Photoshoots are silly.

Lopes! Lopes

The sleeves/pockets are in garter stitch, giving them nice stretch while functioning both ways, and they have braided cables running down the centers, matching the braided cables along the bottom edge.  And eyelet holes around the bottoms, for lacing up the pockets.


They are worked last, out from live stitches left in the body, in the round with short row shaping.  Here’s a closeup of the sleeve cable joining the body:


(Side note:  I had originally designed this with plain garter stitch sleeves; the idea to add the cables came to me as I was knitting up the sample, and I’m SO glad it did!  Test knitters agreed that the sleeves are one of the best parts of the pattern.  Love them!)

Lopes Lopes

The short sample has very short sleeves, which makes the pockets not very functional, only meant for putting my hands in; the longer sample has sleeves about an inch longer, making the pockets more functional, but they still can’t hold very much.  If you want really functional pockets for holding stuff, it’s recommended that you go about another inch or so longer than these sleeves.

Lopes Lopes

As you see, the sleeves can be worked in a contrasting color for a nice effect, especially when worn as pockets (I think).  These sleeves are Hazel Knits Lively DK in Low Tide (the leftover yarn from my Warren hat – those skeins are big!) – I love the subtle variegation just on the sleeves.  I think the whole piece is best in a solid/semi-solid, but that contrast works very well to my eye!

Lopes Lopes!

And you can play around with some other color pop ideas like I did in my longer sample – the beginning and ending edges are in a contrasting dark grey color (Anzula Cricket in Elephant), and the last panel is in a contrasting lighter green yarn (Anzula Cricket in Key Lime).

Lopes Lopes

As for yardage, my shorter sample used just under 3 skeins of the Lively DK – approx 730 yards / 670 meters total, and my longer sample used 3 full skeins plus all the contrasting bits, totaling up to approx 1100 yards / 1000 meters used.  I normally wear a size large; you can see my very approximate yardage estimates for all yarn weight and sizes here.

Lopes! Lopes

Let’s see, what else about the pattern?  Oh, buttons!  Buttons are always fun, of course.  Let me show you mine!  My yellow button came from an amazing little button shop in York, England.  I’d been saving it for just the right project, and I think it’s a perfect fit here!


And the second button there was found in my stash – I don’t know where it came from but I’m assuming a bag of old buttons from a thrift store, or from Knittn’ Kitten, since that’s where most of my random stash buttons came from.  There’s a deer on it!


The back side buttons on this sample are yellow as well, also random stash finds.


The other sample features antler buttons, bought at Paxton Gate in North Portland.  Love them!!



This sample is special, by the way, a first for me as a designer – I hired a sample knitter to make it!  Local knitter Chantal knit the whole body of the piece, and I just added the sleeves and did the finishing.  It was so weird and cool to have an almost finished pattern sample handed to me!  Hours upon hours of work that I didn’t have to do myself.  Not that I didn’t love knitting Lopes, because I really do love this pattern and I (mostly) enjoyed making the first sample, but, two in a row?  With tons of other deadlines and work projects on my mind?  The pattern would have been delayed a month probably if I’d done it myself, not because that’s how long it took, but because I’d have had to wait till I finished other deadline projects first before finishing it… Anyway, that made me feel like I took a new step as a professional designer, and Chantal did a great job, so hooray!  Thanks Chantal!!


And many thanks to my test knitters as well, but super especially to Megan, of the Stockinette Zombies video podcast!  (She shows her Lopes test knit in this episode, keeping the fact that it’s a skirt a secret since the pattern wasn’t released yet – thanks for that, Megan!)  I had a too-tight deadline for testers on this project, since I was eager to release it asap, and Megan is the only one who actually finished it 100% so she’s awesome.  (Don’t worry, other testers tested all the parts of the pattern, and the pattern was also tech edited – thanks Ashwini! – so it’s been fully checked and is up to my quality standards!)

Lopes Lopes

Okay now I’m going to get into a lot of detail about the design process for Lopes, so if that doesn’t interest you, just check out the pattern on ravelry and thanks for reading this far!  ;)  Here we go…


For my first garment pattern, Tionne, I blogged all about how I first got the design idea, and my design process… once I had that design concept in my head, I decided I wanted to do a trio of garment patterns, so I started casually thinking about other garment ideas, and the idea for Lopes just came to me.  I don’t have any kind of story about it; I don’t even remember how I first thought of it.  I just had a thought one day, something like, what if I made a really simply shaped, flared piece, in three panels, and there are sleeves which can fold in and become pockets, so it can be worn as a cardigan and a skirt?  Hmmmmm… and then eventually Lopes was born!


Oh but, my original design concept was for the three parts (the two sides and the center, between the sleeves/pockets) to all be the same width across, and I stuck to that all the way through completing the first sample, which is why this happened.  When it was done and blocked, it was WAY too big.  Horrible fit.  I was in denial the whole way though until it was completely finished, partly because the gauge stretched A LOT with blocking, and I’d measured my swatch without stretching it so much, so that was my fault and it really did get much larger than I expected it to… and part of my denial was just not wanting to frog and re-knit because I was in a big hurry to get it done and out to test knitters.  So, when it was almost done, only partially blocked, with the needles still in one half-done sleeve, I took some quickie photos to send out with my call for testers, and I really did think the fit was going to be okay at this point:

Lopes first fail

Looking back at these shots now, blech, it’s so obvious to now-me that the fit isn’t okay.  The sleeves are so droopy, for one thing.  Anyway, then I finished it, wove in all the ends and everything, and blocked it completely.  And then I did another quickie placeholder-photos shoot.  It was during this shoot that I reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was NOT OKAY and something needed to be done.  As you can see, I tried playing around with making it look cool as it was, but it just wasn’t working.

Lopes first fail Lopes first fail

At that time was when I re-did my original math based on the actual post-blocked gauge, and posted this panic-y instagram, when I was still thinking the pattern was okay as it was, but that the whole thing should have been smaller.  After lots more measuring, calculating, etc, I realized that actually that wasn’t true, and most of my sample was actually okay as it was (yay!) but the pattern needed to be re-written.  It just wouldn’t work for all three sections to be the same width.  So I re-did all the worksheet/numbers stuff, re-wrote parts of the pattern, and figured out how to go about fixing this sample.

I decided I could make the whole thing sized correctly by significantly shrinking the two center panels, and the sleeves; I tweeted about this and Kirsten suggested the excellent idea of grafting first, cutting second, so I could make sure the new sizing was good before doing anything permanent.  That turned out to be a REALLY helpful idea, because I did indeed need to unravel and re-graft the first panel!

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

So I grafted, un-grafted those stitches, re-grafted, it was good the second time, so I cut and unraveled.  Unfortunately, even though I was trying to be super careful, I cut the wrong strand (I thought it was the right strand! It was hard to tell what was happening!) and made a new hole next to the grafted stitches, so I had to graft that closed too.

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

For the second panel, I cut first, grafted second.  So then the center section was the correct size, fit to my body.

Lopes surgery project Lopes surgery project

The other major re-do was to completely frog both sleeves, graft up the armpits several stitches to make smaller holes, and re-knit them.  Here it is after the first was finished, for comparison; of course, the bigger one is post-blocking, and the smaller one is pre-blocking, knit with kinky frogged yarn.  But I made the sleeves MUCH smaller, which really gave the entire sweater a much better fit!

Lopes surgery project

 So that was that – I re-blocked the center and the sleeves, and it fit perfectly!  Phew!  I was so relieved when I tried it on and it actually fit right, unlike the first time when I tried it on and kind of convinced myself that it was okay before finally admitting that it was not.  And the pattern got all fixed up and written to work for all sizes, and to fit right for everyone!  Hooray!


So, overall, even though it was an annoying process, I learned a lot, I ended up with the best possible pattern/sample, and it all turned out for the best!


Okay I think that’s everything I have to say about Lopes.  The third garment pattern in the Full Body Trio (Chilli) will probably be coming near the end of the year; I’ve got to spread out these garment patterns, they are exhausting for an accessory designer!  There will be some exciting non-garment things coming soon, though!  Happy knitting, everyone!

Filed under: clothing,knitting,pattern Trios,skirts — Lee Meredith @ 3:39 pm

March 29, 2012

My first skirt of the season!

Well the weather is still pretty wintery here in Portland, but I’m excited about the bits of sunshine that happen occasionally in the spring, and I’ve recently been feeling the urge to sew up some new warm weather clothes!  Most years I tend to have big plans to make lots of new skirts and dresses, which don’t end up happening… I don’t know how the rest of the year will play out, but at least I’ve made one now!

pleats wraparound skirt pleats wraparound skirt

I’ve been slowly trying to get my studio in order, and the other day I went through a giant pile of reclaimed fabrics, mostly bought by the pound at Trillium, and mostly recycled upholstery fabric samples (and other similar things, donated to Trillium by interior design showrooms)… when I came across this set of three matching canvas rectangles I got inspired to try turning them into something.  Not the best skirt-making material, with some serious wrinkles which my iron just wasn’t capable of smoothing out, but I’m still pretty darn happy with the finished result!

pleats wraparound skirt pleats wraparound skirt

The skirt was inspired by the photo of this skirt from Interweave, which I came across on Pinterest last year, but I made mine with no pattern, just improvising and constantly trying it on as I did each step.  I just kept resewing the lines of the panels, curving them in more three times until the fit was good; not the most efficient way to do things, but it works for me, hah!

I started out my making a basic 3-panel wraparound skirt out of the three fabric pieces, but I made one side significantly longer than the other side.  I put buttons at the two top corners, as I would in a normal wraparound skirt – you can see below the top pearl button, and the arrow points to where the inner button is, holding up the inside corner.

pleats wraparound skirt

Then, while wearing it, I made the folds and marked all the spots where the buttonholes needed to be, for them to line up – three holes per button – and sewed the buttonholes:

pleats wraparound skirt

I put it on again, and figured out the best exact placements for each of the three buttons by putting in safety pins where the buttons would go, then sewed them on, ironed some more to really crease those pleats, and tah dah!

pleats wraparound skirt

My new spring skirt!  I wore it out last night, in the cold rain, with thick tights and tall boots… can’t wait till it’s actually spring weather and it makes more sense to wear out!

pleats wraparound skirt pleats wraparound skirt

Oh yeah, one last thing I’m considering doing… I may tack down the pleats in a few spots so they stay in place better.  And now that I’ve made this one, I plan to make some more similar ones, in better skirt fabrics.  Wraparound skirts are so easy to make, since you don’t need to worry about zippers or anything complicated like that (I am not an experienced sewer – zippers are scary!), and this is a fun twist that only takes a little more time and effort than a basic wraparound design.  Yay!

Filed under: clothing,skirts — leethal @ 4:06 pm

September 13, 2011

My recycled fabric infinity dresses!

I made some dresses!  These are infinity dresses, using this tutorial, made with recycled sheets!

infinity dress! infinity dress!

So, awhile back I had a wedding to go to and I wanted to use it as an excuse to buy a new dress… but after a day of shopping I found nothing I liked, so then my plan changed to it being an excuse to make a new dress!  I searched around and found that tutorial, then I went thrifting for knit sheets that might work, and found a couple good ones – the first, a twin size green stretchy knit sheet ($1.50), I used to make a trial dress, to learn from my mistakes before making my real dress.

infinity dress! infinity dress! infinity dress!

It has some major issues – it doesn’t work worn most ways, and it’s too short worn most ways (since a twin size sheet wasn’t enough fabric)… but I did indeed learn from my mistakes (some of them, anyway) and I went on to make my second dress.  This one was made with a t-shirt material duvet cover ($5), I think queen size, so it was the amount of fabric in 2 large sheets – plenty for a big, twirly circle skirt!

infinity dress!

I made a stupid mistake which ended up resulting in awesomeness.  When I folded my big square in quarters and cut it into a circle, I accidentally cut on the wrong side and made 2 halves of the circle.  Since I had to then sew the halves together to make my circle, I took advantage of the mistake and added pockets!  Love them!

infinity dress!

My one regret with this dress is that I didn’t overlap the two top/strap parts as much as they should have been (I only overlapped about 1 1/2 inches for some reason, even though the tutorial says 3-5 inches – I meant for it to be more, but messed it up somehow).  This made it so I can’t wear the dress most of the “infinity” ways, but after a few hours of playing around with different ways of wrapping it, I found a couple ways that work well, so it’s cool.

infinity dress!

Yay new dress!  It’s super twirly and has pockets and is soft, comfy t-shirt fabric and I love it!!

infinity dress! infinity dress!

I made another dress around the same time as this one (most of it on the same day actually, I was on a roll!) but it’s a different style, so I’ll save that for another post… soon!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts — leethal @ 1:57 pm

September 15, 2010

2nd Make-a-Long and Skirt I made during the 1st one!

This Saturday, Sept 18th, will be the second official make-a-long, wooo yay!  The first make-a-long, in case you missed it, was April 10th, and I first wrote about the idea here, then posted about the various ways you can participate here.  Scroll to the bottom of this post (under the skirt photos) for a recap of how you can make-a-long this weekend and join the fun!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

So, I realized when I talked about everything I made last time, I said I’d be giving this skirt its own post, and then with the move, a lot of planned posts never got written… so now’s better than never!  I absolutely love this skirt I made out of the sleeves of 2 shirts:


The concept is simple – detach the sleeves from 2 long-sleeved, button-down shirts, and sew them together, rotating shirt #1 sleeve, shirt #2 sleeve.  Because left and right sleeves are different (buttons/buttonholes on opposite sides), two of the joins will have a button and buttonhole together (perfect – no need to add a zipper or anything), but one join will have buttons on both sides, and the last will have buttonholes on both sides.  In the top photo, you can see how I handled the join with the holes on both sides, with a ribbon closure.  If you make a skirt like this, you’ll have to figure out how best to join all the parts together depending on your particular sleeves.

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

I added one button of my own to make for a smooth join (sometimes things don’t automatically line up perfectly), and as you can see, I added a few bits of ribbon where things needed to be neatened up.  And I added some wavy top-stitching all over, just for fun.  I wavy-sewed all around the bottom edge, which was just cut and not hemmed:

shirt sleeve skirt close-up shirt sleeve skirt close-up

And then I sewed extra wavy lines along all the seams where the sleeves were joined (below).   I don’t have a good photo of me wearing this skirt, but it fits perfectly and I love it!  If you want to make a skirt like this, hopefully you’ll luck out like I did and find sleeves that fit around your waist perfectly when joined together, but you may need to play around with different sleeve arrangements, or join them differently, to make for a good fit.  I didn’t take step-by-step photos, and the construction would be different depending on your sleeves, but hopefully this is enough info to inspire you to try one of your own!

shirt sleeve skirt close-up

For this make-a-long, I will be focusing on wedding-related crafting:  my dress, shoes, fabric flower decorations, etc.  You can make anything you want!  Catch up on old, forgotten projects, try a new craft you’ve been wanting to explore, finish up all your work-in-progress pieces, open up a craft book you bought and haven’t used yet, as long as you have fun making!

The date and time are loose… if you have plans scheduled for Saturday, but are free on Sunday, then make that your making day!  I will be again attempting to make for a full 24 hours (didn’t succeed last time, but maybe this time I’ll do it!), so I’ll be trying to go from 7am-ish Saturday to 7am-ish Sunday, or as long as I can last.  Read the original make-a-long post for my initial inspiration and ideas about the make-a-long concept.

stitching during the make-a-long!

And then, to participate (the “a-long” part) – use whichever social media outlets you prefer: twitter, facebook, ravelry, blogs (commenting on mine, posting on your own), flickr.  Use hashtag #makealong on twitter, join the make-a-long group on facebook, I’ll be starting a thread in the leethal ravelry group… and then I strongly encourage everyone to add any photos you take to the flickr group.  I won’t be posting photos during the actual make-a-long day (probably just some twitter pictures), but I’ll be shooting throughout the day for sure, and uploading them to flickr within the next couple days.

Share what you’re working on, your making trials and errors, talk about the crafty fun you’re having, and get inspired by fellow make-a-longers!  You’ll find me mostly on twitter throughout the day, but I’ll be checking in on the ravelry and facebook groups, and blog comments of course.  Hope to see you making!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,make-a-long,skirts — leethal @ 3:53 pm

April 17, 2010

Make-a-Long results!

Oh yeah, how did the Make-a-Long go?!  I’ve had to dive head-first into packing this week, as our moving day quickly approaches, so I kind of forgot to blog about it sooner…

I think many of you had fun with it!  I followed along on twitter and facebook a bit througout the day, but didn’t reply much since I was busy making!  Looking through the flickr group now, fibrouspics’ lemon ginger cheesecake looking amazing, I love notfroggiknit’s yellow/orange bracelet, and all of her food looks awesome, and esea’s soft ruffle top looks fabulous!

Plenty of blogging happened too!  Read about make-a-long fun at Craft Evolve (with the ruffled shirt), Big Girl Feet (love the colors in that granny square! and the tiki quilt is awesome), That Yarn Store, and again (about the cheesecake), Genuine Mudpie (shirt reconstruction!), Designed by Diana (cute PJs and apron), …Beachcombing Day, and Green Stockings Crafts & Design.  Hope I didn’t miss any!

As for me, how about first I’ll show you what I made, then I’ll tell you how it was and lessons learned… I got up around 8am, made some coffee, and started on an embroidery project first:

stitching during the make-a-long!

I worked on that till finishing around noon (more on the project later, which is related to my April club, with its fruits + veggies theme):

veggies stitching!

Sometime during the morning, I made myself a breakfast quesadilla, with asiago cheese, yumm!  I’d planned on food being a part of my make-a-long day, thinking I’d make a supergood dinner, and maybe bake something, but that ended up not happening because I was too immersed in the crafty stuff, so this is my only food photo:

breakfast quesadilla!

After the stitching, I headed into the studio, got it cleaned up, and finally did the sunny photoshoot I’d been needing to do forever (more on that later).  Once it was clean, it was time to mess it up again!  I dug through some old stash and pulled out a collection of partly done projects and to-be-done clothing repairs/reconstructions (these are some, there were more):

stash of in-progress projects

I decided to start with this top that I’d started sewing maybe 4 years ago – it was being a bit of a fail, so I’d set it aside with plans to fix and finish later.  Well, make-a-long day was later!  Ok so it’s still in the fail category, but I still plan to try to make it work, after which I’ll blog details (if I can’t, I’ll have to blog about it over here instead):

weird shirt worked on during make-a-long weird shirt worked on during make-a-long

So after giving up on that, I moved on to a black skirt I’d started sewing maybe 8 or 9 years ago and forgotten about – it’s the one in the top left corner of that photo above.  It’s super plain, I don’t know why I wanted to make it in the first place, but eh, it was still fitting, so I decided I may as well finish it.  I did so successfully, but man was it boring!  Definitely needed to be spiced up… Crochet Adorned to the rescue!  I’m not doing a project directly from the book, but I am using a pattern from the backpretty pineapples

crocheting for make-a-long!

This is as far as I got that day, and I’m sure I won’t have time to finish it till after the move; when it’s big enough (one pattern repeat maybe) I’ll hand sew it along the bottom edge of the skirt, and possibly make some more crocheted embellishments up the side or something.  See how boring the skirt is?  This is the back of it in the photo, with the zipper, since the front is just plain black (of course, once it’s all done, I’ll blog the finished skirt!):

skirt in-progress during make-a-long

After crocheting for a few hours, I moved on to what would become my only completed sewing project of the day.  Shirt sleeves skirt!  This one will get its own blog post later – I love it!!

shirt sleeve skirt made during make-a-long! shirt sleeve skirt made during make-a-long!

When that was done, I was well caffeinated and still getting so sleepy.  I had this in my to-do pile for like a year, so I decided to get it done, then crash.  It’s the alpaca applique I ironed onto a sweater back in November ’08, which was fine as it was, until the edges (especially the legs) started to come off.  So I needed to sew it on, but hadn’t ever gotten around to it – so happy it’s done now and I can wear it!

applique alpaca!

How did the whole 24 hours thing go?  Well, my main lesson learned was never to schedule a make-a-long for 2 days before a club mail-out day!!  I had been trying to get all the club stuff done early, but things took longer than I’d hoped and I stayed up later than planned Friday night trying to get more done, pushing my sleep schedule so I slept later than planned on Saturday morning.  But, much worse than that, being stressed about getting the stuff done right up until sleeping resulted in absolutely terrible sleep that night, so my intended 8 hours was more like 4ish decent hours and 4ish hours of tossing+turning half-sleep, or laying in bed not sleeping at all…

So, my main problem was sleepiness all day – if I had a full night’s sleep and wasn’t stressed out, I would have no problem at all staying up 24 hours.  Then on the other end of things, all for the same reason, I knew I had so much work to get done on Sunday (and really didn’t want to be working on the club during the make-a-long because that would be against the whole point of it!) so if I stayed up till 8 the next morning, I didn’t know if I could do it.  So I crashed around 6am, slept till 10, and finished all the club stuff on 4 hours of sleep.  Better than no sleep at all!

Those were the bookends of the day; as for the middle, there were some interruptions there as well… in between the crocheting and the sleeve skirt, there was a bit of a gap.  I took a nap for about an hour and a half, the only way I could make it into morning, and then Pete and I went out to dinner with friends – it wasn’t planned, but I didn’t want to say no to the invitation because of the making.  I knew I was already failing at the 24 hours straight plan, especially after the nap, and I had to eat something, so I got coffee with my food and had some social interaction thrown in there.  So from about 7:30 to midnight, the make-a-long was paused.

The only other problem I had, which wasn’t a huge deal, but I’ll be better about it next time around, was that my plan to not have any plans didn’t work out so well.  I thought, just planning to make stuff nonstop the whole day, and leaving what that stuff was up to whatever I felt like doing in the moment, would be the best way to do it; but it ended up resulting in all those still not finished projects, and gaps of time throughout the day that were wasted trying to figure out what I was in the mood to make… Next time, I’ll have a pile of projects ready to go, and I can still choose what I feel like working on, but with some limitations, there won’t be so much indecision, maybe…

Ok that was a lot of babbling, sorry about that.  In about a month and a half, something like that (maybe May 22nd?), I’ll arrange another make-a-long, on a weekend with no deadlines in front of me, and hopefully the date will work well for you too, and we’ll all give it another go!  Yeah!

Filed under: general crafts,lots of links,make-a-long,skirts — leethal @ 1:59 am

May 2, 2009

recycled tee skirt on craftstylish!

teeskirt6 teeskirt5

this week’s craftstylish tutorial was a special one to me – i designed this skirt a couple years ago for myself, and i loved the design concept (super easy, no pattern, custom fit, crazy comfy) but i loved it so much that i wanted to hold off doing a how-to… it’s silly, but i just felt like this one was better than the recycled skirt series i did here on my blog last summer, so i didn’t want it to blend in with those, so i saved it.  then i figured craftstylish having earth-friendly projects month in the springtime was the perfect chance to show my design to a bigger audience, so there it is!

orangeandred1 orangeandred3

but here on do stuff! i’ll share a little more with you… my first version of the skirt, that red and orange one, was a bit different, as you can see in those photos.  i’m not sure exactly how i made the panels since it was undocumented years ago, but i do know that i cut the diagonals in different directions, instead of all in the same direction. so if you want a more twisted, asymmetrical kind of design, when my tutorial says cutting the diagonal line in the same direction on each one. It doesn’t matter what direction, as long as all four are cut the same (in my case, they were all from top right to bottom left) – ignore that and cut them in different directions. then when you’re deciding on the panel order, lay them out on the ground together and see how you want to piece them together for the coolest looking lines.

teeskirt3 teeskirt4

i had fun twisting and twirling for our photo shoot! and being silly…

teeskirt2 teeskirt7

so this skirt was kind of a continuation of my recycley skirt how-to series from last summer – which were part 1: t-shirts, part 2: sheets, part 3: sweatshirts.  i also did a post about trying to make a sleeve skirt, which i plan to try again this season and post a better how-to if it works out. so, i’ve made a new category for skirts since this is an ongoing topic for me, so you can see all of them.

oh hey and speaking of bloggy things – i’ve (finally!) gotten my links page a little bit up to date, although it still needs more work.  i had pretty much completely ignored my poor links page since i first started do stuff!, over 2 years ago, but i got motivated a few nights ago to give it some attention, and now there are a ton of blogs and sites added, some new categories, and hopefully i’ll continue to keep it updated now.

Filed under: clothing,craftstylish,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 2:12 pm

August 31, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 3: simple sweatshirt skirts!

turquoiseskirt1.jpg orangeskirt.jpg

oookay this one has been on hold for awhile, so i’m happy to finally bring you the sweatshirt edition of my recycled skirts series! and to make up for the pause between projects, this one is actually 2 different designs! if you have a blank sweatshirt (or you don’t mind the image being upside down) you can make the skirt on the left (above), where the bottom of the sweatshirt becomes the waistband of the skirt. if you have a sweatshirt with an image you like, you can make the skirt on the right with the band around the bottom…

redskirt1.jpg blueskirt.jpg

for the sweatshirt bottom as waistband version, it’s best to choose a sweatshirt with a still-stretchy bottom band, and the best results will happen when the band fits your waist well so you don’t have to take it in. the turquoise sweatshirt i used did not fit these recommendations, so i did have to bring it in at the waist, with resulted in a weirdly-shaped skirt which i will probably only ever wear over pants to hide the weirdness. the above examples had better fitted bands, and i made them into the most simple version, which is just chopping the sweatshirt across under the sleeves, leaving you with a mini-skirt. i’m not the mini-skirt wearing type, but i like the red one over pants, and i plan to add something along the bottom of the blue one to make it longer. anyway, if you are into short skirts, that’s the super easiest version.

turquoiseskirthowto1.jpg turquoiseskirthowto6.jpg

if you want it longer, it’s not much more work, still super simple. chop the sleeves off straight up from the body…


…so you have a vest-like thing like this:


then chop the top straight across so you have this:


now you can flip it upside down and try it on as a skirt. if the waistband fits you well, awesome! if it’s too big, like mine was, you’ll have to bring it in somehow. depending on the thickness of the fabric, and on your sewing skills, you could try putting it elastic or a drawstring. i sewed the sides in as pictured, and it didn’t work out great… i think it would have been better had i come in even more and sewed down further at less of an angle.


as for the bottom, you can choose to leave the slits, or sew them closed. i chose to stitch them closed with embroidery floss as pictured below (click the image to see it bigger). and, a close-up of a good, stretchy waistband with no bringing-in required. (oh, a side note, if you want to know more about the circle printing i did on the turquoise skirt, i did a threadbanger post about it over here.)

turquoiseskirt2.jpg redskirt2.jpg

so if you have a sweatshirt with an image on it, it’s not much harder, and you don’t have to worry about the size of the sweatshirt or the stretchiness of the band. as long as the sweatshirt body, measured across the middle, will fit around your hips/butt area, it’ll work.

orangehowto1.jpg blackskirt.jpg

the first step is the same as the last design, chop the sleeves up the sides:


then, also like the last one, chop the top off, but this time be careful to cut as high up as possible, just under the collar, because of the image.


now it looks like this, and all you need to do is sew the sides in to fit your waist…


turn the skirt inside out, pull it on, and pin it evenly on the sides so it fits well.


you could use safety pins to pin all the way down your sides while wearing it to get a perfect fit. or you could do what i did, which is to pull it off, pin along the edges to hold the sides together, and mark with chalk where to sew. the photoshopped dotted line represents how my chalk line should have looked for a better fitting skirt. (you can see in the bottom picture how the black skirt is shaped better than the orange, that’s how it should be sewn, like the black one.)


after you sew the sides up, you can fold the top under and sew a hem if you want. it won’t unravel or anything without a hem, but i think it makes for a more fitted waist, so i sewed hems on mine.


oh yeah, by the way, i have no connection to florida, i just like the alligator (/crocodile?) guy and, of course, the orange. got the sweatshirt at a yard sale in wisconsin for 50cents…

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,personal,skirts,threadbanger,tutorials — leethal @ 10:38 am

August 11, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 2: vintage sheet double wraparound!

wearingskirt2.jpg wearingskirt1.jpg

ok time for my next skirt tutorial! this concept came to me when i was thinking about wanting to make skirts with vintage bedsheets but how some of them can be pretty see-through… so i thought, double layered would be cool… and the double wraparound idea was born! this sheet is a little silly, but the design worked out well, so now i can make more skirts with sheets i like better…

so you take your sheet and cut/rip it lengthwise to the length you want your skirt, then lay it flat across the floor. (if yours is as wrinkled as mine was, you might want to iron it!)


now: measure around your waist where you want the skirt to sit. divide this number in half, giving you a. measure across the length of the sheet strip. take this full length measurement and subtract a x 4. now divide that number by 3, giving you b. make marks on the sheet starting at the top a from the edge, then b over from that first mark, on the bottom, then across a on the bottom, b over on the top, a across the top, over b on the bottom, and then the remaining width on the bottom should be a. don’t worry about following those written directions, i made a diagram!

skirt tutorial

the easiest way to mark the points is to fold the sheet lengthwise and just make sure you’re marking on the correct side, like this: (i used green sharpie, but it’s probably better to use something that’s actually meant for marking on fabric…)


now just cut between the marks and you’ll have 4 panels that’ll fit together to make your skirt. the 2 sheet edges don’t flare out, so choose which end you like better to be the front/outside and use the other end panel for the opposite side. sew all the panels together, and you have a double wraparound skirt!


a note about sizing/adjustments…. my b measurement was 5 1/3 inches, which worked well for the amount of flare (a-line angle) it gave my knee-length skirt. the design might look a bit crazy if the flare angle is much more than mine, and if you’re thinner than me then it probably will be, depending on your sheet + skirt length. if you’re making a longer skirt, b can be bigger, and if your skirt is shorter then b should be smaller – you’ll want to look at the angle of flare when you make the marks and see if it looks ok. if the angle is too much and you need a smaller b, try dividing by 4 instead of 3 – if the new b makes for a better angle, mark your fabric the same as the diagram but add an extra b flare at one of the edges, so you’ll have a triangle of scrap fabric left over. make sense? if b is still too big when dividing by 4, try dividing by 5, and making both end panels flare out on both sides, leaving two scraps.

and for the closure…. i used buttons because i had just been sorting my button stash and wanted to use some, but it would be super easy to do a tied closure. because of the double wrap design, the inside end is right behind the outside end, with one layer of fabric between. so, to make a tied closure, you’d just snip a buttonhole in that in-between piece right where the two ends line up, and attach ties (fabric strips, ribbons, whatever you want) to each of the end corners. when putting on the skirt, bring the inside tie through that hole, and tie with the outside, yay! (if you want to use buttons like mine, there is one hidden button on the inside holding the inner panel closed. i marked where to put all the buttons and buttonholes by wrapping the skirt around me how i wanted to wear it and safety-pinning where they should go.)

skirtflat1.jpg skirtbuttonscloseup.jpg

oh yeah i almost forgot to mention – after sewing the panels together, i hemmed the top and bottom edges. i left the inside edge raw because it’s hiding and i’m lazy (not lazy, just always rushed). the outside edge was the original sheet hem. if you like the deconstructed look, sheets have nice raw edges so you can just leave them alone.

after the skirt was complete and i tried it on, i found that since the buttons are lined up along the side edge, i could wear the skirt backwards if i wanted to…


and when playing with different skirt positions i discovered that i really like how it looks with the seam down the middle!


ok i hope this tutorial made sense, it’s a little weird. the basic concept is easy – 4 a-line panels, the tops each measuring half of your waist. if you have an a-line skirt that fits you well, feel free to ignore all my equations and stuff and just use that skirt as a template to make your own pattern! just trace the skirt flat on the sheet 4 times to make your 4 panels, it should work well… ok have fun finding and recycling some rad vintage sheets!

wearingskirt3.jpg wearingskirt5.jpg wearingskirt4.jpg

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 12:06 pm

August 3, 2008

recycley skirt how-to part 1: asymmetrical scrunchy t-skirt!

t-skirt t-skirt

yay, it’s the first of my many-part series of how-to’s for skirts made from various recycled things! i’m going to try to do one per week, and there will be 4 or 5 or maybe even more different skirt projects, woo!

i’m starting simple with this t-skirt – you just need one t-shirt and some basic sewing ability. oh yeah, i should add, about all the designs: i am not at all a skilled sewer, so every project i do that involves sewing will be friendly to low experience levels. you’ll basically need a machine and the knowledge to use it and that’s all, nothing fancy! ok here we go!

first, pick out a shirt. to make sure your skirt will fit how you want it, measure around your butt/thighs area to get your largest skirt-area measurement. my measurement is 44in, and i wanted my skirt to be comfy-fitting, not too snug, so i made sure my shirt measured at least 22in across or a little more, meaning it would fit around me fine without having to stretch too much. you will be sewing the shirt in a bit, so if you want it extra loose, it should be about 4 inches bigger than you are. t-shirts do stretch, of course, so depending on your specific shirt’s stretchiness and your fitting preference, your shirt of choice could measure less than you do. i chose this rem shirt that was pete’s from high school – he almost gave it away when cleaning out his closet, but i held onto it to make it something new, yay!

t-skirt how-to 1

now you need to chop off the sleeves. instead of cutting along the seams, just cut straight up following the body of the shirt. i used a rotary cutter, but scissors will work fine.

t-skirt how-to 2

now your shirt should look like this (front side):

t-skirt how-to 3

now chop off the top, straight across, to cut off the collar part and open up the whole thing.

t-skirt how-to 4

slip on the soon-to-be skirt and hold it together where it fits comfortably. pin in place down the sides so that the two sides meet the edges asymmetrically. the way i did this: when i tried on the skirt i pinned only the top pin on each side, then carefully took it off. i put it flat on the ground and put the pins in as shown in the picture, the left side going down further than the right side. then i (very carefully) slipped the skirt back on to make sure it fit well. (use safety pins if you don’t want to poke yourself when trying it on.)

t-skirt how-to 5

now sew along where the pins were – wrong sides together!! the dotted lines are over the stitching, which you could barely see in the picture. then cut through both layers one inch out from the seam, represented by the solid line.

t-skirt how-to 6

on each side, fold the one inch flappy parts outwards and sew them down along the edges, forming tubes on either side of the seams about 3/4inch wide. do not sew these parts closed on any end! when the flaps get narrow at the bottom, just keep sewing parallel to the center seam until you hit the end of the flap. (i only have a photo from after i put in the drawstring, but you get the idea.)

t-skirt how-to 10

cut drawstring pieces at least as long as up the seam tubes and back down. i used t-shirt pieces – when you cut strips of t-shirt fabric about 1/2in-1in wide and stretch them out they make great cord for this purpose. you can even use strips cut from the sleeves you cut off if you want the same color.

t-skirt how-to 7

on each side of the skirt, pin a safety pin to the end of the drawstring and thread it up one tube and back down the other side.

t-skirt how-to 8

now just pull the strings to cinch it all up and tie in a knot or a bow – you can do this while wearing the skirt to get it cinched just right. this picture is from my first version of this design (which is shown below), with contrasting thread so you can see what’s going on better. it’s always good to use zig-zag stitch on t-shirt fabric, but since you’re scrunching up the sewn parts of this skirt it’s not super important in this case.

t-skirt how-to 9

i have this vision in my head of making this same skirt design except crazier – with like 7-9 scrunched drawstring parts, all different lengths, with one going all the way to the bottom! someday when i have a little free time i’ll try it out. you could also make this skirt with the drawstring only on one side, and just sew the other with right sides together for a regular seam. if you make a skirt based on this design idea, i’d really love to see a picture!!

t-skirt (first version) t-skirt t-skirt

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts,tutorials — leethal @ 5:43 pm

July 15, 2008

skirt from recycled shirt sleeves!

sleevesskirt1.jpg sleevesskirt2.jpg

i have been super crafty the last few days! i made this skirt this morning (i actually started it months ago and put it on hold until last night when i found it while cleaning up the studio) and then i started to finish a second skirt that had been set aside, and i got crazy frustrated with my sewing machine after it jammed up on me three times for no reason and had to walk away before i ended up hurting myself. anyone relate? anyway, this skirt is totally weird but i like it! (oops i just realized the one photo was taken in the mirror and i forgot the reverse it, oh well…)


i got the idea from here, but i just used the shirt sleeves concept and improvised, not being much of a tutorial-follower. what i didn’t think of though, was that using the two sleeves of two shirts wouldn’t work how i imagined it would, since the buttons on right and left sleeves are on opposite sides. so, the buttons would only close on two of the four seams on my skirt. since the skirt ended up being a bit smaller than i’d prefer – sitting on my natural waistline instead of more down on my hips – just the two buttons wouldn’t allow me to get the skirt on, so i added the extra button band up the one seam.

i left the bottom just as the sleeve shapes were, adding a single straight stitch around the edge to prevent fraying. i might have chopped the whole thing to give it a straight-across bottom, but the highest point is higher than i’d want it. i’ll probably make another one in the future, using 4 different shirt sleeves, from longer/larger shirts, and cut the bottom straight across.

in other news, i’ve been working hard on two new knitting patterns. no clues, except that one is a hat and one is not! and speaking of knit designing, i am on serious pins and needles waiting to hear if i’m in the fall knitty! i know that at least one designer was notified that she’s in so i figure i could be hearing any minute now (or possibly not for another month) so it’s hard not to be thinking about it constantly!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,skirts — leethal @ 7:17 pm
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