By Haley Pierson-Cox When my husband was nominated for an Emmy this year, my imagination started running wild. As a crafter, I pretty much assumed that I would create at least something to wear for the event, but I never thought that I’d end up making almost everything. But, as a blogger at CRAFT, I’m always looking for opportunities to connect with other people in the crafting community. I knew that the Emmys would be the perfect excuse to collaborate with other creative people, so I just couldn’t resist the urge to go all the way – creating a gown, shoes, and accessories – and then sharing the adventure, as well as my handbag pattern (see below), with you guys!
When planning for a big event, every lady knows, when it comes right down to it, you can’t figure out anything else until you figure out the dress. Now, I’m perfectly capable of running fabric through a sewing machine, but I knew that making an evening gown would be a completely new experience. With that in mind, I went to the one source that I knew could help me: The Party Dress Book, by Mary Adams.
Assembling the Gown
When assembling my gown, I followed the Layered Silk Organza Dress pattern from the book for the basic shape, then added my own neck drape and back drape details to fit the classic 1940s look that I had in mind. I wanted the dress to flow nicely, so I used heavy satin for the main fabric and shimmer organza for the lining. I’m vegan, so I used synthetics instead of silk for both. As it turns out, making a formal dress isn’t very difficult, especially if you make a muslin first to help you adjust the pattern size before you cut the real fabric. My muslin wasn’t exactly the same as the final dress – neck drapes don’t work as well with stiff cotton – but it allowed me to get the correct bodice and skirt fit so the dress would flatter my figure. The worst part of the process, by far, was getting the hem straight with all of that slippery fabric. I thought that hemming was going to take the usual five minutes that it takes for a regular skirt, but I was so, so wrong!
Crocheting a Lace Clutch
Next, I moved on to the handbag. I hadn’t ever made one before, but I love to crochet, and thought that a lace clutch would look really nice with the vintage style of the dress. With the help of the lovely Malvina from Purl Soho, I picked up a skein of linen copper-colored lace-weight yarn and some wooden handles, and got to work. That is to say, I got to work right after spending five hours untangling the massive knot that I somehow managed to put in said yarn. Nobody told me that linen would be so frustratingly sticky and crotchety! The finished bag is a very simple shell lace. I didn’t use a specific pattern – I just made my chain twice as wide as my handles and crocheted in the round, using a shell stitch. If you’d like to make your own, I’ve included a bonus mini-pattern here.
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1 skein linen lace-weight yarn, I used copper but you can choose any color. Crochet hook, I used a 5mm hook to give the lace an airy look. 1 pair of wooden handles 1/2 yard of fabric, for lining, or more fabric if you are making a huge bag Needle and thread, for stitching the lining into the bag Large hand-sewing needle, for attaching the handles with the yarn
Chain in a multiple of 7 (I chained 84) to your desired length, and connect the ends with a slip stitch. Rnd 1: Single crochet into each chain, connecting the end with a slip stitch into the first single crochet. Rnd 2: Chain three, then double crochet five times into the same stitch (counts as one six stitch shell). *Skip 3 stitches, single crochet, skip 3 more stitches, then shell six double crochet stitches into the next stitch. Repeat from * until you reach the end of a row, then connect with a slip stitch into the third chain of the first shell. Rnd 3 to end: Repeat row 2 until you reach desired size, then fasten off. To close the bottom of the bag, turn your project inside out, then single crochet along the bottom to connect the two sides, making a seam. Fasten off when you’re done, then line the bag and add some handles. When it came to jewelry, I knew that I was completely out of my depth. If I were going to avoid looking like a kid whose mom let her go nuts in a bead shop, I needed to call in an expert: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess. When I met Vicki at CHA this summer, I adored her immediately, and I’ve been in awe of her creativity ever since. I knew that with her experience – and how much we tend to think alike – she was the perfect partner for this project. After one Skype conversation, and having only a vague idea of the final neck shape and color scheme, she came up with this gorgeous necklace. It matches my dress and personality perfectly, and I can’t wait to wear it on Saturday! Head over to Vicki’s blog to read about the process of picking out the beads, and then check out her second post describing the bead and fiber weaving technique that she used to make the necklace! I love shoes, but I hate uncomfortable feet, so flats are my go-to shoe, even for fancy events. I don’t have the tools or skills to make my own shoes, so I had to settle for buying a pair and personalizing them. Luckily, I was in the middle of reviewing a set of Kanzashi Flower Makers for Craft Test Dummies. On a whim, I tossed some of the dress satin into the template, and loved the results. Not too shabby for a cheap pair of flats and some extra fabric, right? That, my friends, is how you DIY Emmy-style. Make sure you check out my second Emmy post tomorrow, where I’ll focus on DIY black tie for men, including tutorials for making a pocket square and a bow tie. About the Author: Haley Pierson-Cox is a Brooklyn-based craft writer who loves granny glasses and loathes extraneous apostrophes. She blogs about crafts, cats, domestic bliss, and DIY goodness at The Zen of Making.