We have arrived at our destination: Week 4 of the Beach Daze MAL hosted in the Scheepjes International and Dutch Facebook groups and MAXI Sugar Rush full length dress reveal!!! Whoo hoo! This week I will talk about the finishing details of sewing tails and blocking. No matter which garment version you are making the finishing details can make a huge difference. And then the final question is styling – how to wear it: glam it up or dress it down?
I am not going to lie - I don’t mind a bit of glam as you can see below! I think I might go out for the sole purpose of wearing this MAXI Sugar Rush magnificence! I am tickled pink with how it turned out, the lustre in this mercerised thread is luscious, and I sewed an underdress out of a fine black tulle for a glam/night out look as you can see here, but further down the blog post I show some more casual/daytime ways I could wear the same dress.
Some housekeeping first: if you are discovering this now, here are the links to all earlier posts:
Prep 1 – all about ease and how to choose your garment size
Prep 2 – swatching for gauge and a lot about the influence of making chains
Week 2 – The Front Piece and Placket
And now to get stuck in:
I love hiding tails in edging dc stitches. It’s something I tend to do in all my garments. For Beach Daze Placket, the WS of the 2 rounds of dc sts on the Bodice side of the seam are a great place to hide your tails by sewing back and forth under the “legs” of the dc sts. I sew one way for 5-8 sts or so, then anchor the thread around a loop of the next st and then sew back under the same stitches as before in the opposite direction, smooshing all the fibres together so they can lock on themselves. You just don’t want to over-tighten the edging sts – keep the area flexible like the adjacent fabric.
Where you don’t have dc sts, like in the middle of a row, the lowest segments of tr or dtr sts and the chain they were worked into will do. I find this tends to work quite well - you might also find it useful, but everyone finds a way that works for them. If I finish one yarn ball and start another mid-row somewhere, I try to make sure it’s going to be near and edge of the fabric that will have future edging stitches nearby. This way I can weave it around to the edge then go back and forth under the edging (usually dc) sts. If you are playing yarn chicken though, you may not have a choice of where your tails end up. Below is a video to show how I sew tails mid-row.
I have talked a LOT about how to block in other blog posts as you can find here:
Crochet Tutorial #5 - Blocking
Crochet Tutorial # 8 - The Dreaded Swatch
SO I won’t rehash all that here, but I will show a video of me laying out my wet MAXI Sugar Rush Dark Teal Dress to dry. Prior to recording, I have wet soaked the dress, rinsed it and rolled out excess moisture using towels twice. The video shows I flatten and stretch areas, fussing with everything until I have laid it out with a stretched Placket and shoulder area, the Front and Back Pieces are both symmetrical across the width of the garment and the Filet Units are carefully aligned on top of one another. (I sped it up as it took a total of 8 and a half minutes.)
I find its really important to stretch that Placket Seam open so it lies flat and stretch the Armholes and from the bodice up to the Neckline and outer sleeve caps as it smooths out the fabric and will improve drape, but also gravity will eventually make it so when worn anyway.
The other reason I made this video to show how firm you can be with the fabric as it might surprise people to see how “rough” this might seem - the yarn is actually quite resilient! Particularly the MAXI – I am a huge fan of this stuff!
How I Sewed The Black Underdress In The Above Pics.
Those who sew out there could whip up a simple slip to wear under the beach Daze Dress pretty easy, though you can buy something suitable instead. I made a dress-half with a long roll of white paper using my body measurements at key locations to decide the depth of neckline, width of bust and width of hips, then continued the line down pretty straight from the hips with only a very slight A-line. I cut my dress-half on the fabric fold of my black nylon tulle (twice so the front and back pieces were the same), zipped up the sides with my overlocker using a rolled hem finish, then worked a rolled hem finish around the upper bodice. I cut some elastic straps from a black tank I wasn’t going to wear anymore and sewed them on to the upper bodice and finished by sewing some wide lace around the lower edge, so the dark fabric didn’t finish as a sudden obvious line at the bottom of my underdress. Here is a piece of the fabric that I used.
Ideas for Embellishing the Placket
Linked Plackets can have contrast rows as you see in the Supplement, you could include beads in your edge stitches or sew them all over the middle strip of the Placket if the mood takes you and you don’t mind a lot of hand-sewing. I thought about doing this but couldn’t find the right beads and was short on time anyway, but I think that could look pretty cool.
Ribbons are great for a more relaxed vibe and I really like the effect of this ribbon which is a different colour on each side – adds a bit more interest. You could use multiple ribbons of a tonal colour range threaded together as well? Whatever you choose, do all the threading first so the ribbon is evenly threaded, then knot the ends carefully so you position the knots where you want them, then trim the tips as the last step. I Love this Maxi in Fuchsia so much and the green/white ribbon really sets it off nicely.
So what is left? Styling…
It can be hard to imagine what something will look like, so I wanted to show how you might create multiple looks with the one design and combine learning with a bit of fun. The world needs more fun, right?
I am no fashionista, but I find it really interesting how much the choice of under-garment influences the final look. General colour theory says that dark colours recede and light colours advance. (This is the learning part) What does this mean? A receding colour is less dominant and fades into the background of your view and an advancing colour visually hogs the limelight in the foreground, demanding your attention. It all comes down to the overall contrast as to how much things stand out.
So now to the fun part. To demonstrate the whole receding/advancing thing I have three images for the same dress. Below on the left, you can see the dark underdress paired with stiletto heels creates a more “I am off to the opera - evening” look (or “hand me a glass of your finest…” depending on how you roll). This ensemble lets the overall colour and shape of the dress be emphasised as the black colour of the underdress recedes. The length of the underdress being only a tiny bit shorter than the Beach Daze dress helps solidify the shape too. The much darker underdress is functioning as a support-act. (Note: I specifically chose a see-through tulle (nylon) fabric to sew this slip-underdress rather than a solid cotton as it creates a floaty lighter look though beware: if you are an experienced sewist and follow suit, choose your underwear carefully! My tip is black bra and skin-coloured knickers for your trip to the opera – or cocktail drinks!)
When you look at the middle image, I am wearing a patterned dress with blues and greens on it. The geometric pattern of the Beach Daze garment is obscured by the underdress and the underdress doesn’t really advance or recede because it is similar in colour and tone to the outer dress. This creates a “daytime arty boho” kind of a vibe and is a fun way to layer colours. Colours definitely cheer me up because it’s hard to feel blue when you are a metaphorical walking rainbow, but the patterned dress (at least in this tonal range) is not enhancing the geometric stitching we all put so much effort into. What if the underdress was racy hot red maybe? Anyway, having the underdress shorter than the Beach Daze dress did feel more free-spirited and cooler.
A long white underdress and canvas sneakers, a cap and jaunty handbag looks totally different! The white is really “in your face” as it is advancing closer to your eye as you view the image. The stark contrast between the yarn colour and the MUCH lighter underdress colour really highlights the geometric pattern and all the love you put in your stitches and this outfit has a really casual vibe. It’s not quite “tennis anyone?”, but if the dresses were shorter where you transitioned earlier to the larger hook size for the majority of the Beach Daze skirt rows then hey, why not grab your racquet!?
Next is a photo that shows my oversized original tunic over the same white dress. The contrast between the Yellow Green MAXI Sugar Rush and the white is less than for the Dark Teal above and it looks really fresh. Pair it with a simple wrap and I kind of think the ensemble has a comfortable elegance. The photo makes me laugh though as I don’t look happy. I am like: “where is my uber? I will never make it to the picnic on time!?”
What about some other looks?
My friend Dee looks very relaxed and casual with the black tank underneath worn with black capri pants, which is another great example of the darker undergarments receding and the focus naturally falls on the 854 Blueberry Whirlette Beach Daze Tee. I like how the hemline rounds create a bit of movement and gives the lower edge of the top a soft ripple. It can just be a great everyday go-to garment!
Black everything with a bit of skin creates a completely different impression to Dee’s “out for a morning walk” vibe above! It’s a bit more edgy, I guess. I was in a silly mood when I took these pics and channelled Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction for a moment. Great movie! Anyone who needs a laugh can feel free to have one at my expense. I feel pretty comfy in the tee showing a little bit of skin, but it’s definitely not for everyone. I am certainly not bold enough to risk this for the dress!
If you are wondering what the dress looks like without an underdress though, I can show you because my gorgeous and body-confident friend Sally suggested photos for this too and totally smashed it like a Rock Star!!! Like really! Total Rock Star celebrity “I don’t care” oozes from this image for me. I love the grungy alley pics from our city photo shoot and they somehow remind me of a 90’s album cover or something. Sally is just too cool….
I am sure there aren’t many of you who will be wearing it this way, but some might and at least you can get an idea of how it could work. From a technical point of view, Sally’s skin is darker than the Whirl colours so this helps her body to recede behind the fabric to let her get away with this. The overall effect is a vague question of “is she or isn’t she?” If her skin colour was lighter than the fabric, then her skin colour would advance, and it would be obvious to all that she was not wearing an underdress.
And that’s a wrap! Congratulations to those of you who have now completed your first garment!! So awesome - wear it with pride (and probably an undergarment – hopefully I have given you some ideas)! Post your Beach Daze on socials with the #beachdazeMAL hashtag to show it off and I will be scanning there regularly. Thank you for following along and trusting my Beach Daze pattern and guidance XXX.
My goal in sharing this MAL with you was to show the way you can take one pattern and manipulate it to make a number of different garments and how the one garment can be worn a number of different ways. It did take a LOT of pages over the Pattern and Supplement to describe all the rele vant techniques, and this probably initially seemed a bit overwhelming. Now though, having arrived at the end of your first Beach Daze project I hope you can see a world of possibility for a second completely different creation from the same PDFs! We have covered a lot of techniques and geeky crochet stuff that could help you with any crochet garment project and I hope you had some fun too!
Next week I have a new MAXI Sugar Rush pattern to show you called my Brigitte Lace Tee, so if you have fallen in love with this yarn like I have, be sure to check back, or subscribe to my blog is you don’t want to miss a post.
Don’t forget, Scheepjes retailers can be found worldwide here, or maybe purchase yarn via these affiliate links
Wool Warehouse (in the UK, ships worldwide including the US)
Caros Atelier (in The Netherlands)
Perth peeps can source their yarn from my local Scheepjes Retailers
Leanne at Yarns For All
& Anna and Mike at Stitchcraft & Wizardry
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