Monday, December 8, 2008

Days of Heaven: D.I.Y. Rodarte 3 Ways

So, some of you might be wondering what ever happened to the three day Rodarte challenge we put ourselves up to for the LaViola Bank Gallery Afterparty that we did a couple of weeks ago. We've been a bit lax on the pictures, but here are some instructions for three different Rodarte inspired projects of varying difficulty.

Rodarte inspired dress with knit skirt, paired with a pair of Proenza Schouler nail studded heels.

The Mixed Yarn Dress/Skirt/Cowl
Difficulty Level: Medium
This is the dress that we made for the gallery opening afterparty. We were inspired by both the Fall 08 collection, and the Spring 09 collection that was a continuation and expansion on the same knitted pieces from fall, with the addition of metal chain and more chiffon worked into the knits. Having worked as an Assistant Designer of Cut & Sew Knits at Sweetface (J. Lo's company) as my first fashion job years ago, I was very lucky to receive a huge bag of $500 worth of leftover wool and mohair knit skeins that they had bought for the runway show. They gave it all to me, knowing that I knit, and it had been sitting in my closet for the past four years collecting dust. Finally, Rodarte provided enough inspiration to bring the entire bag out, and use the precious multi-colored mohair named "Heaven" that still had the pricetag of $80 per skein on it.

The same knit skirt worn as a cowl over my H&M circle scarf.

To make the knit skirts, Christina used her beloved knitting circles, which are giant plastic circles that you can use to do a very primitive form of knitting, which is much faster and easier than traditional needles, but doesn't allow much control or flexibility. It took her about an hour and a half to make each of the skirts, which came out in a long tube. We added elastic to the tops of the skirts, and then made a dress out of the lilac chiffon that Nicollette picked up to match the colors of the knit. We looped one corner of the chiffon square through the skirt, and then tied it halter style around our necks, adding some chain in around the neck for good measure.

In addition to functioning as a skirt, Nicollette pointed out that the knit tube also can be used as a great cowl or circle scarf.

The Mixed Yarn Long Scarf
Difficulty Level: Easy
I made this scarf as part of a Christmas present for one of my besties, Ashley Bigelow, since I know she was is a huge fan of Rodarte. This is the best way to practice the Rodarte knit, since it is just a straight tube. I knit this on a 16 inch circular Size 9 needles, changing yarns every few inches, and dropping, adding, and doing 'yarn overs' to create that crazy irregularity.

The Mohair Fishnet Tights
Difficult Level: Medium/Hard
Like the scarf, I used the 16 inch circular Size 9 needles to make each leg individually, starting by casting on 20 stitches, and then increasing them to 25 stitches after 5 rows. I continued knitting in the round, dropping and doing 'yarn overs' for irregularity, trying it on my leg for sizing, until I got to the top of my thigh. From there, I stopped knitting in the round, and switched over to straight needles and knit back and forth to form one half of the waist/hip area. I regularly tried it on for fit. I repeated the same process for the other leg, and then used the yarn to sew both halves together, and sew the bottom of the foot area shut. I added an elastic waistband to the top, and voila! $850 Rodarte tights made from the crap in my closet in approximately 8 hours! I have to say, they're a bit itchy, but surprisingly warm for fishnet....

Rodarte inspired tights, worn with a VPL cashmere sweater, Prada wool skirt, Rachel Comey boots, Banana Republic cashmere armwarmers, H&M circle scarf, and Rodarte inspired cowl.

A close up of the tights.

Next up, I'll probably try to make a knit dress or sweater, now that I'm back in my knitting groove. I put the needles down years ago after I moved into jewelry, but it came right back to me. A perfect hobby to get back into for the winter months. Maybe with some practice I can work my way up to doing some DIY Sandra Backlund...Ha!


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Brik said...

the tights! simply stunning!

woodley park-zoo said...

AHHH! The tights look amazing! Now you just need to do a bit of dip-dying?

I know basically how to knit, but I am wondering about the whole 'dropping' stitches thing... it doesn't cause it to unravel? Or do you also have to increase somewhere else? Since I'm imagining you mean that like you let a loop or two fall off the needle?

PUG and PIPS said...

this is the most amazing DIY i have ever seen. Love your work.
I only know how to knit 'plain' and 'pearl' knitting skills need to be updated!

Theresa said...

your knitting is fantastic, I can only knit long scarfs.

NatashaFit said...

Do you take an order? I want them !

NatashaFit said...

I want them! do you take an oder:) ?

Pammy said...

the sandra backlund diy is a must!

Your pieces are truly lovely

The Six Six Sick Girls said...


I'm glad that you guys liked the DIY, I hope that you can actually use the instructions.

Woodley Park-Zoo: The whole dropping stiches thing causes it to unravel a bit, but only for the column that you drop a stitch in, rather than the whole piece, which is key to that haphazard look. You are right though, I forgot to mention that you should increase somewhere else in the same row everytime you drop a stitch to keep it even.

NatashaFit: Unfortunately, I'm not taking orders at the moment since the piece requires a lot of fitting as it's being made, to make sure that it's the perfect length, not too baggy, etc. Hopefully though, you can follow the instructions, because it really isn't that difficult if you know how to knit!

Pammy: I have to say, I was inspired when I saw that you managed to make Rodarte style leggings yourself!!!


Ka[i]Lea said...

ok those tights and that dress are AMAZING

"hi, i'm ginny branch and i love love." said...

i'm in love love love with your rodartesque tights. i would take one in every color...can i commission you?????????

WendyB said...

Great work -- I think those tights would drive me crazy though! They look ticklish.

Madeline and Sophie said...

Please email me i would love you to make me something! i will pay you!