Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dairing at the Dressmakers Do

2016 Dressmakers Do : Party time in Melbourne town
Lace LBD
Machine knit Dairing 2/3/Four
Listening to the fabric : felted grey wool jacket
Another occasion to frock up and celebrate all things made by hand with some very talented sewists, this time at the #DressmakersDo organised by the lovely Nichola of the Handmaker's Factory and Leisl of Jorth.
I went for a textural, black and grey outfit; three separates that I know will get plenty of wear in my Melbourne wardrobe.
First up is my classic black lace sheath dress - some may recall that I made and wore this to the very first Frocktails in 2013. Yes, it's the same lace dress, and I still adore it. It has it's very own blog post here: Everyone needs an LBD 09/2013
still haunted by that flash, but what a delightful introduction it was to some lovely and talented sewing friends!
To add some warmth for my travels, I made a grey coat with the most fabulous felted wool - it will have it's own post soon.
For some interest, I thought an avant-garde top knitted in stainless steel, silk and cotton might be just the thing.
Meet Theresa Dair's Dairing top 2/3/Four.
As an overlay (also great with a black tank)
I really like Teresa Dair's design aesthetic. Textural pieces, often knitted with non-traditional threads, in non-traditional gauges, which can be worn in a multitude of ways. It's very similar to my favourite Japanese pattern designers and when made in shades of black, perfectly me ;)
And from the back in its shawl cardigan view:

Crafting friends really are the best.

I found the Dairing 2/3/Four kit in a Raveller's destash, mentioned on Instagram that I was contemplating dabbling in machine knitting to make it and received the most generous offer of a loan of a knitting machine. (thank you again x)
gratuitous dachshund shot. Yes, he 'helped'...
The hand knitters guild market gave me an opportunity to observe and meet some machine knitters, as well as to meet the talented Teresa Dair herself and get some hints on converting the pattern to being machine knit.
The machine knitters guild (MKAV) in the form of the lovely Christine encouraged and guided me through the skills required and I set to work.
For anyone who, like me, has never dabbled before, it's both as easy, and much more time consuming than I had imagined. The actual processing of each row is very quick. The set up, double e-wrap cast on, troubleshooting and eventual cast off was a steep learning curve.
My swatch - used to determine the amount of stitches to cast on, and how many rows to knit.
I underestimated my sleeve length.
The machine is not unlike my overlocker - adorable when behaving but a bugger to rethread and troubleshoot - I don't 'know' it intimately enough yet, so troubleshooting has been a lot of retracing of my steps and cursing.
After 187 rows, the 2nd sleeve was done! So was the cone of thread....
I then used my sewing machine to attach the 4 pieces (Four pieces is a direct reflection of it's name 2/3/Four. I also have Two/3/4 in the same yarn/threads).
I finished it and wasn't sure if I liked it.

I then had to unpick the left sleeve, you may see it's tight in the photo. This was painful.  It was necessary as my 'loose' cast off was still far too tight, exacerbated by the fact that I'd inserted it upside down. I couldn't move my left arm. The cuff on the left now stretches out horribly after 10min of wear, despite blocking ;( I might add a flared cuff extension to both arms, maybe...
new friends and old ;)
Updated newsflash: I do like it ;) It's missing in most of my DressmakersDo photographs as the venue was warm, and as lightweight as it is, the silk & stainless steel is warm as well. What struck me by surprise is how very soft the fabric is! I really was anticipating it being more sculptural, however it's a delightful soft top.
Project page on Ravelry is here

Photowall props for the Win!


  1. Now I think you need to reteach me! Great outfit. Fun night. Fabulous to see some 'proper' photos from a camera!

    1. Such a fun night! Everyone looked so lovely, I can't wait to see all the outfit posts appear ;)
      I think sharing what I've learnt will be the best way not to forget it all!! Thank you xx

  2. The do looks so much fun (of course) - wish I could have come along. I absolutely love your machine knitted avant garde top - it looks very special and arty and luxurious. And I had forgotten about your lace dress - I thought it was a new one when I saw your photo on Instagram - but it looks really different with a different layer underneath (we that's my excuse!).

    1. Thanks Gabrielle ;) It's such a gorgeous dress that I felt it deserved another night out with talented sewing ladies - and it took the pressure off my making deadline, so I could enjoy the process of learning to machine knit. I wonder which city we'll be attending the next Do together in? I'm looking forward to it ;)

  3. No dachshund shot is really gratuitous - dachshund presence is integral to the sewing process, I find!
    Looks like a fun night!

    1. It was a great night Paola, one day we'll make it to the same one ;) Maci definitely believes that he is integral to all household functions - he's taking up my entire lap as I type.... ;)

  4. Silk and stainless steel. That's awesomeness right there. This is such a great idea, a fabulous incentive to learn a new skill and made for an amazing garment!

    1. Thanks Shelley, I must admit that the silk & SS was my immediate hook as well!! I love how there are so many different skills out there, just waiting to be given a go - and how many patient practitioners who are so generous with their time and skills.


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