Thursday, March 24, 2011

The way I shop

Most (normal) people create an outfit in an organized, practical way. First, the dress/skirt/what-have-you is purchased, followed by a pairing of the outfit to accessories, usually already owned by the purchaser. Of course it is often necessary to actually buy a brand new necklace or pair of shoes to match said new outfit, but many times these are afterthoughts.

I tend to do things backwards—I buy the accessories for a not-yet-realized outfit first—which always makes for an interesting experience, especially for my wallet. Here is my latest blow to the budget:

It all started one wintery day at the Silver Creek Cabin knitting store, as I came across a gorgeous pattern for a non-functional piece of clothing. It’s called “Vision” in the magazine and I tend to revert to calling it a “shawl”, although that’s not really what it is. I simply had to make it, so I dug deep into my non-existent pile of cash to buy the yarn listed in the pattern, which also happens to be the most expensive yarn I’ve yet purchased—a blend of mohair and silk. I plugged my ears when the total cost was announced, handing over my credit card while my mind scrambled to get to my financial happy place.

I won’t go into the details of knitting this yarn up, other than to say it was basically like knitting with thread. The finished product took about 35-40 hours to make, but I was thrilled with the final result. This was my first time tackling lacework and I have to say I am quite pleased.

After I completed this beautiful “Vision”, I realized I had nothing suitable with which to wear it.

(This is me deciding that sweats just don't do Vision justice)

The model in the sample photo paired it with a plain, flowy white dress, so I decided I would follow suit. Unfortunately, I soon remembered the perils of trying to find a dress that exists in one’s mind, but perhaps not in reality. So…I decided to make one! Joann Fabrics sucked me in with their display dress, although I wasn’t a huge fan of the single color in a knit fabric.

I chose a creamy knit for the top and a brown pin-stripe linen for the skirt. I figured this would eventually be more practical than my original all-white idea.


(please ignore the wrinkles!)

Okay, so I technically only completed about 10% of this dress myself (namely the skirt and pockets); my wonderful mother did the rest. But it was a good team effort. Maybe I’ll branch out on my own next time.

The icing on the cake was purchased in Georgia while visiting my sister during the Cherry Blossom Festival in mid-March. I found a great vintage-style ring at an antique store and some fabulous purple shoes at a cute boutique. (Note: the shoes are actually a bit dark for the dress, but I couldn’t pass them up!)

I don’t recommend this method of creating an outfit as the most efficient way to get from point A to point B, but if you have the time and the “vision” (haha, couldn’t resist!) it sure is fun!


  1. Nice work Mara, you look beautiful! The vision/shawl/cowl/vest is amazing. It could definitely be on the rack at Anthropologie.

  2. WOW. That lace knitting is exquisite!!! You (and your mom :) ) are amazing!! Love the chunky ring, I really could use some of those.

  3. This is amazing. I am amazed. Mara you have officially out-knitted me!! I've never done anything as intricate as the "vision" before - it's so beautiful...and i love the dress. I'll take one (in a slightly larger size:) Linen makes me happy - i love that you made the skirt out of linen.

  4. Awesome job. I am seriously impressed with the shawl/vest/vision! I say skinny jeans and a white tank would also work wonderfully with it! Great dress too. Want to create a new wardrobe for me?

  5. Alana, I don't think I'll ever outknit you! The shawl thingy took a long time, but it wasn't difficult. That damn teddy bear actually gave me more trouble--I can't figure out the ears!

    And I spent more time being the dress-form than actually sewing it :-)

  6. this is totally beyond what I was envisioning in so many ways - you never cease to amaze, Mara! I wish I was the type of person who bought purple satin pumps - sometimes there is just no place for practicality when planning the perfect outfit!

  7. LOVE the vision. Can't believe you knit it. Truly awesome. And I love Kim's idea of the skinny jeans and white t/tank. Plus a big wide belt maybe.
    Also: I'm in love with that ring. I'm really digging the vintage jewellery thing these days.
    Also again: Love Lani's line, "I wish I was the type of person who bought purple satin pumps." Amen, sisters.

  8. Cute cute, I love it! And I'm totally jealous that you saw cherry blossoms in March..