The “six dollars for sweaters” dress
Fabric: Sweaters from stash, bought 3 new for this project at $2 each
Pattern: My own but inspired by Katwise
Notions: 2 mondo brass hooks
Time to complete: About 5 hours
First worn: September 2012
Wear again? Yes, when the weather calms down.
Total Cost: $6
Do you ever have some weeks where you really have to think, think, think about the challenge? Where it takes SO MUCH THOUGHT to just come up with one idea? That was not this week : ) I had SO MUCH STUFF to pick from that I almost cursed the over-abundance of ideas. I was drawn back to Katwise for several reasons:
1) I still haven’t cleaned up my mess from the last project.
2) I am making a couple of these coats as presents for Ariel and Elora, my little twin friends. Ari is the one with cancer, Elora is the one that my daughter took photos of shaving her head at St. Baldrick’s this year that won her the photo prize at the Marin County Fair. I am in full-on sweater mode and that makes me happy and there isn’t quite enough “happy” right now.
3) The last couple weeks the weather has been cool, especially in the mornings. I thought we were into fall. Ha!
So I started with the pile in my living room. I loved the greys I didn’t use in the last coat and was really wanting to do something with the grey cashmere that Stuart kitty fell in love with. I had a purple wool sweater that someone gave me because they had smeared something on it they couldn’t remove.
My gain : ) I also had a grey wool sweater that I got at the last swap that was beautiful except for these:
So far we’re up to free. I called to take Elora shopping last Monday, when all clothing at Salvation Army is $2. She had been grounded (!?!) for texting a boy too much so I had to go it alone. It’s tough being 14…
I found the lovely dark purple sweater along with another medium grey wool/silk blend and a cotton light grey. Just as I was throwing everything into the washing machine I spied a grey floral-printed wool sweater that I had set aside from another swap, I was wanting to replace the buttons and cut it down to a cardigan but what the heck, it joined the party!
Then I cut strips. The toughest part for me is cutting into these guys, I don’t know why. I once did a project for a friend of mine who did very high end wall coverings for very wealthy clients in the City. He brought me a bolt of Fortuny fabric to cut into panels and stitch together and that stuff was $1,000.00 per meter. No, I didn’t put the comma or period in the wrong spots. One thousand dollars. A meter. And the bolt had 100 meters on it. It was worth more than my house.
I cut into IT just fine so I’m not sure what my problem was this week.
The inspiration piece (above) was a garment Kat made to auction off, a fellow artisan by the name of Chopstix died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and Kat was trying to help the family raise money to settle the estate. Had I felt wealthier I would have been tempted to bid on it, it sold for the price of a meter of Fortuny fabric.
Then I found this pic –
In the end it really took about an hour to cut and sew the dress together, another couple to futz with the hood/cowel. I fussed over what band goes where more than I’d like to admit. I wanted the center purple band to define the waist and I’ll probably cut it off the dress, shorten the grey top and put it back on, I think its a little long.
I made a pretty cha-cha belt loosely based on an obi design. Of course I had this idea around 9pm Saturday night and I had set things up with my daughter to take pics first thing Sunday morning. For some reason I just didn’t want to pull out my sewing machine. Nothing is set up any more since puppies have the sewing room so hauling the thing out, finding the cords…ugh… I made the belt from a sleeve of each of the purple sweaters and just overlocked everything together. I didn’t mind hand stitching on the huge hooks I had in my drawer and was done around 9:45. I put everything on the mannequin, stood back and frowned. I didn’t care for the hood/capelet. I don’t know why. I played around briefly with another idea until the rational part of my brain said “This isn’t important, it looks fine. Go to bed.” I went.
Sunday morning we were all up early. As I was walking mama Chloe at 7 am my next door neighbor, who has not spoken to us in at least 9 years, opened her door and was passive/aggressive mean. Generally this kind of thing doesn’t throw me but I didn’t have my emotional Wonder Woman bracelets on. It was unexpected. Walking my other dog I just sat in front of the library downtown and cried. I came home and tried to put my make-up on. After my eyeliner washed down my face for the THIRD time I finally got it together and my daughter called “Are you going to be here soon? The fog is burning off”.
I pulled my outfit on, threw the rest of the makeup on, didn’t care about my hair and jammed. I wanted fog – big swirly cold blasts of it. Let me let you in on a little secret if you plan on visiting the Bay Area. Don’t come in the summer. Late September through mid-November is when weather in the City rocks. By 9am there not only wasn’t any fog but standing in the sun was H O T. Which means that by the time I’m typing this it is over 100 at home.
I’m a little warm, I’m a little unhappy. At least I stopped crying and my daughter did manage to tell a series of silly jokes that made me feel better.
But I’m afraid this is about as good as it got in the smile department. I really like the dress and in a few weeks it may be one of the best things in my wardrobe : )
These “benches” area actually HUGE trees that were cut down and left along Grizzly Peak. Someone cut out some seating for this view:
No fog : ) Well, there’s a little left at the coast but this, ladies, is Berkeley, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco, all at your feet. The ground drops off about 6 feet away from this bench/log, almost straight down into poison oak. My camera lens is nothing special so we couldn’t get a wide shot with the Golden Gate bridge but if it’s this clear it means it is WARM.
On our way home we decided to hit Bittersweet, a shop that practically guarantees you’ll feel better. Chocolate, they specialize in chocolate. Hot, cold, sticky, gooey, wonderful chocolate. Brittany discovered their Thai Iced Tea with chocolate, I indulged in a Coconut Chill. A little bit of heaven in a glass.
Happy girl : )
Can you believe we only have 12 challenges left?