I was watching Downton Abbey the other night – now in the deliciously beautiful fashion era of the 1920’s, and while my craft mind gets whiplash from the beautiful clothes created for the show, a stunning cape worn by Lady Edith had me searching the internet for photos and mentally unpicking and constructing that garment! I’m not the only one, because the internet uncovered several blogs of others with the same love affair with that cape!
The Lady Edith cape was a twin set – a skirt with matching cape (be still my beating heart). The cape, I would guess, made from soft draping wool, features buttons down from the shoulder (where the sleeves would be) and pleated gussets in the hem. Worth looking at the video to see how it drapes when she puts it on. Much though I fancy it, I don’t think I will be making a replica, but its moments like this that often drive me into the search for a pattern to make my own whichever lovely thing it is.
I’ll confess I’ve had a cape obsession for a little while. It started with a friend wearing one that had been handcrafted by a talented dressmaker friend of hers. From memory it was plaid and bold! It did send me on a quest for a cape! After searching for the right pattern, I found one on Style Arc (if you sew clothes and you don’t know about these guys, you should check them out. Their patterns are light on instructions but well fitted and you get the pattern printed that fits you). It was a project that I thought to try to be more professional in my finishes (I talk about this mission in an earlier blog here). I also modified the pattern to add a hood. The final product is quite lovely, if slightly impractical for unfettered arm movement!
I get inspiration for my craft in all sorts of places. I have been working on a green cardigan for the best part of the last year after seeing one in a particular shade of green worn by Justine Clark on the ABC series of The Time of Our Lives. I then became obsessed with finding the perfect shade of green and a suitable pattern. In the end I found a sock yarn in the perfect colour and it really is a beautiful colour!
For knitting and crochet projects my first stop is always Ravelry. Now if you haven’t discovered Ravelry, get thee there now! It is the ultimate database for yarn crafts. It holds information about an enormous number of yarns and a seemingly endless collection of patterns. So, for example, when I wanted to make a green cardigan I searched all cardigan patterns on Ravelry in the weight of the yarn I had found in the perfect colour (fingering weight). There are simple searches (‘cardigan’, ‘beanie’) or advanced searches like ‘cardigan, adult, female, fingering weight yarn, knitting’. They also have features on their home page that have me drooling regularly. They are even cheeky enough to call it eye candy! You have to register and create a log in for Ravelry but that means you get to create your own database of things you like, projects you have completed, yarns in your stash, groups to follow, patterns in your library. It’s a hell of a long way from the old Patons knitting books let me assure you!
Speaking of online inspiration, there is also Pinterest. As the name suggests it is like a pinboard for your interests! It never ceases to amaze me the ideas and images on Pinterest…its all the great photos on the internet organised by topic! I have found sewing techniques, garden inspiration, quilt ideas, home décor ideas, knitting patterns….it’s blissfully endless! The best part you become part of a community of people sharing ideas! The Yarn Bar has a pinterest account and has been great for organising ideas like knitted cushions, kids knits, adult knits, scrap yarn projects and techniques!
One of my next projects began as an online inspiration. Moving to Canberra I decided I would make myself a coat. I came across an image of a stunning recreation of a 1940s coat. I wanted to make one too, but there was no pattern (at the time...I discovered this morning that there is now a pattern but in a tiny size!) so I began searching for something I could adapt. I started with what I thought would be a good coat pattern and made a calico version. Despite the images on the pattern packet it was totally the wrong shape and it was beyond modifications! So I shelved the idea for a while. But the idea has stuck and has taken me to couture tailoring books, searches of sewing techniques and a hunt for a good pattern. I recently found an original 1940s coat pattern in my bust size on Etsy! So now I have a new pattern and new techniques to try (and the instructions from the original design!).
The internet has brought an explosion of craft ideas, tips and tricks and I use it constantly! Now my problem is not finding inspiration but finding time to make all the things I fancy…especially when it takes me a year to make a cardigan!Continue reading