11 August 2011

Going Green

A few months ago, I accidentally stepped through a point on the handkerchief hemline of my favorite skirt, and the heel of my shoe went right through the fabric. The hole likely can be patched. One day. My heart, however, was yearning for a new and improved lime green batik masterpiece. I'd been saving up a ball of lime green crochet thread for just such a project.

A Hole in OneI have a collection of lime green batiks. I bought one or two yards at a time, thinking one day I might make a quilt. I still hope to do that one day, but for now, smaller projects are more desirable because they don't take as long.

I'd cut into the stash a few years ago to build a bag. My bag bit the dust after just one season. I later made the skirt, and it lasted a lot longer. New lime green batiks kept catching my eye, and I began rebuilding my the stash again to make the new dress I could see in my head. A yard here, a yard there; one by one, I restashed.

Turquoise is my favorite color, but there's something about lime green. I can't explain it. Perhaps it just yearns to be my favorite color.

I finally found just the right plum and kiwi batik to complete my reconstructed stash back in May, and the one-yard cut was the last I needed. I finally had enough fabric for a dress! But it was cycling season. Sewing time is never easy to come by in spring, summer and fall. Some winters can be difficult, as well.

Garden-InspiredSometimes, my sewing machine waits a very, very long time for me to be a close friend.

Three weeks ago, I rummaged through my ancient patterns. Most of them are from the '70s and '80s, but the boxes containing them were so buried in my basement, the patterns felt much older, much longer lost. Cobwebs probably helped...

Yes, I have cobwebs. I confess. I haven't been in that maze of boxes since... since the last time I needed a pattern, which probably was the summer of '09, when I had to make a pioneer bonnet for The Trek.

I selected two patterns I could combine to come up with the twirly dress I could see in my head.

Two weeks ago, I began mixing and matching delicate pieces of tissue-like paper and cutting out pieces that had never been used before. Each day for an entire week, I thought I could finish cutting the fabric in one night, and I'd have the dress finished on a second night.

My thread harmonizes!But it's still cycling season. It's still gardening season.

Cutting and preparing the pattern took four nights! Drawing my own diagonal lines on the pattern pieces proved to be more challenging than I'd thought.

But then it was done. Now I could soar. Even if I didn't get home until 8 p.m., I knew I could whip this baby out. Embellishment would take significantly longer, but I speed through dresses. I can't muster any meaningful velocity on a bicycle, but a sewing machine gives me wings.

I was so excited, I could barely sleep. I jumped out of bed before the sun came up to begin piecing the next morning, and the dress body was put together before I left for work. I also managed to find the perfect thread and proper settings for the topstitching I wanted to do, and I finished half of the topstitching before work. That night, I finished the machine embellishment. Only the sleeves remained, and they were destined for something special.

peekaboo sleevesWhile The Lizard drove us and our bikes to the Columbine Mine trailhead for a training ride the next day, I created Embellishment #1 and #2. When we got home late that night, I attached my lime green snowflake flowers to the sleeves. The next morning, I cut the fabric from beneath the motifs and whip stitched the cut edges under tightly. Setting in sleeves takes me no time at all when I'm excited about wearing the finished product.

I wore the dress to church that day. I decided the neckline needed another motif, and I'd planned all along to crochet a matching edging. The most difficult part of this step is working on the dress, because I want to wear it, and I can't while I am working on it!!!

I wore the dress to work to see what people would say. They loved it, and everyone thought I should leave it alone, not add anything else. Which was just the fuel I needed to keep going.

The hemline edging took three more nights, with lots of do-overs to get the long, flat design to somewhat resemble the round, curvy design of the snowflake flowers.

almost heavenOne more snowflake flower, a few stitches to tack it in place, and viola! My new favorite dress was ready to wear again!

Complicating the entire project was trying to write the crochet patterns as I was working out the designs. That made things take much longer. But pattern writing is easier done while the crochet is being worked out than waiting until after the project is finished.

Now that I've sunned myself in this awesome creation, I want more. If I had enough lime green thread, I'd crochet a floppy hat to match. And a parasol! Maybe matching lacy gloves will suffice. There's enough thread left to wrap my hands in yet more crochet.

Ooooooh, and what about tie-up espadrilles, with crocheted lime green ties?!?

Now I want to make the whole ensemble, including the hat and parasol, all over again in blue batiks. And then again in violet batiks with bright pinks and roses. You think maybe I've learned to buy adequate crochet thread before I start a project?

Dang. I should have been a fashion designer.

my new favorite dress
next Monday's snowflake
Leadville 100 Edging


  1. Absolutely gorgeous. You've done really good work there!

  2. Yes, it´s perfect. And the colored pots are very nice.........

  3. Wow, simply beyond words. So lovely and creatively yours!

  4. Wow that is totally unique and very lovely!

  5. Above and beyond the combinations of fabric and thread and of course color; I find plenty of pleasure in your skillful wordcraft. Thank you for sharing. Now ..back to the John Deere...more grass to mow, clouds and skies to scan, gardens to plan.

  6. Great dress! Perfect color combination. You are a very creative fashion designer. Kisses..

  7. When I saw the hole in the skirt, I immediately thought ... perfect spot for a motif!

    I'm a sucker for lime green. Not my colour at all but I love it anyway. And batik - every shade calls to me. I've never met a batik I didn't want.

    Your dress is absolutely bee-yew-tee-ful. The trim is the icing on the cake.

  8. Impressive! I LOVE it! The colors are so perfect too!

  9. You don't know me, but I am desperately looking for some lime green crochet thread. I ordered some online that LOOKED lime and was even called "Lime", but it was decidedly pastel. Please oh please, can you tell me the name of your thread and if it really is bright and limey???

  10. That is just so amazingly beautiful! I even made my hubby come look at it. Be very proud to wear it - you really have done a wonderful job!

  11. Thank you, everyone! I really love wearing this dress.

    Hi, Jessica. My thread is truly lime green, and I got it from Sara's Colorwave Yarn. I bought the last of her stock, but I really do want to make a floppy hat to match, so if she needs/wants a certain amount of sales to dye again, I'm good for two more and possibly three.

  12. That is the most amazingly HAPPY green of all possible greens. Love, love, love the dress!

  13. That is absolutely beautiful!! I wish I had that kind of talent!


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