Monday, May 31, 2010

dirndl variation

This is another project started during pregnancy and not completed until after the baby was born. In hindsight, I don't think my belly would have fit under the waistline, even though I made it higher. The way it turned out reminds me a little of a regency-style dress.

My mother-in-law bought me the amazing fabric at a store in St. Louis--it's a linen and silk blend. Just heavenly in texture! I would make everything out of this if I could. The pattern is from Folkwear, a traditional Austrian dirndl that I changed a lot to get this result.

What is a dirndl? Basically a type of dress that is sleeveless and buttons in the front with a full skirt, although there are several variations on it. I fell in love with the style while watching Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I'd really like to make one with a dropped waist like she wears in the movie.

Here is a close-up of the main alterations to the pattern. I added in a lot of width to the bodice front so I could make these nice pleats. I also tried a hand-made button hole technique learned last summer at the weaving conference--it worked really well! The light purple edging and button holes are done using the blanket stitch, which is very easy. I also didn't make the skirt very full. It's basically an A-line with pleats in the front.

Monday, May 24, 2010

chinese-style robe

This project was actually started last summer as something to wear during my pregnancy, but I didn't finish the embroidery until the week after the baby was born! So now it just needs a belt to cinch in the waist. The material is blue linen with a white linen facing, and then just white cotton embroidery thread.

The pattern, from Folkwear, was extremely easy. I did do a few things differently than the instructions though. The trim is supposed to be a thick band of contrast material, but I turned this to the inside as a facing and just left a thin piping edge showing. The overlap of the robe is traditionally fastened with "frog" closures, but I couldn't find any--and I was snapping so many onesies on the baby that I thought snaps would work well, and they do! The belt was also an addition to the pattern. The best part about this is that I can easily unsnap it to nurse the baby. (Alas, much of my wardrobe is unwearable right now because of the need for nursing access.)
If I made another one, I would probably use a looser, more drapey fabric. The linen is a little stiff.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bird Mobile

This is one of the few hand-made things that I thought would be worthwhile for a baby. The birds were amazingly easy and quick. The branch is cut and hung easily too--this one is from our crabapple tree. I really like the organic shapes of the branch and birds together, whether a baby knows what they are or not it's nice for me to look at!

The pattern is from Spool and there is a huge flickr pool of ideas.

It was really fun going to my favorite fabric store (Sarah's in Lawrence, KS) and picking out all the different colors. I bought fat quarters of every color and only used about 1/6 of each piece, so I'm trying to decide on another project to use them with.

This bird is one I made for a friend who just had her baby. The two-color combinations are endless.

Here's a picture I took of what the baby sees lying in the crib. And to my delight, I actually caught her looking and cooing at them the other morning--yay, it works!
And if you don't know any babies to make them for, I thought they'd look great on a Christmas tree or even as a wall decoration in the house. (I'll probably be making more of them at some point for one or both of these purposes.)
Do you know of any super-quick-and-easy projects like this? It seems like good ones are hard to find.