Thursday, 11 December 2014

Alice in Wonderland

Would I mind making an Alice in Wonderland costume for the local dance company?

Absolute no brainer - of course I would!

It began with a circular skirt...

I added a top (which had to be taken in a little with darts)...

Next I added a Peter Pan collar (this photo was taken pre-pressing - top tip - ALWAYS press your work LOL!)...

Puffy sleeves with a little gather...

Acres of Broderie Anglaise...  Always buy more lace/Broderie Anglaise than you think you will need, because you will need loads and loads of it, especially with a circular skirt!

All topped off with an apron...

I love how the more that I sew, the more that I know :)  All of the above costume was made with no pattern, just a few measurements from the dancer.

The dancer looked, and danced, beautifully!


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Ocean curtain to new apron

I have a thing about the ocean.  So when I saw a pair of preloved curtains with an ocean theme I just knew they would come in handy.
Curtains suitably purchased, I wondered what to do with them.  Then inspiration struck - my current apron is getting very tatty, so why not make a new one?
I made it in a larger size, added a front pocket (making sure to match the pattern) and then added bias binding along the edges.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Now I can combine ocean AND cooking!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Waiting-to-be-loved fabric bag

Sometimes I have been known to buy fabric from a fabric shop.  Surprised?  Yes, I know!

I have often bought fabric and oilcloth from Dotty Brown.  Something very classic and vintagey about it with all those polka dots and pastel patterns.

One day I was perusing their website when I read that they were looking for people to send in photos of items they have made from their fabric.  Why not, I thought as I hastily looked through my snaps to see what I could find.  Here is the project that I sent in:

A little while later Dotty Brown contacted me and asked if I would mind them putting a copy of the photo and details of the refashion up on their website.  Go for it, says I!

Here is the link if you want to see the article in its entirety:

As a thank you, I was asked if I would like some of their fabric.  Oh yes please!  Did anyone say kid in a sweet shop??

I chose two of their cotton fabrics that I thought would go well together.  Funnily enough I decided to make another bag(!)  Well, honestly, you can never have enough bags, right? 

I settled on a pattern from Jodie at the Vintage Ric Rac blog.  It says it should take an hour, but it took a little longer than that despite my bag experience!

I was really pleased with the way the bag turned out though!

And I have plenty of the fabric leftover still :)


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Slouch bags galore!

I adore slouch bags!

They can be made in any fabric and have just the right amount of slouchiness.  I taught myself how to make these.  Quite straightforward when you know how!

This William Morris slouch bag was made from preloved curtain fabric - I loved the use of blue and green together.

It is lined with a preloved teal coloured sheet.  With an internal pocket, of course!

Then I decided to make one from fur.  It's a very touchy feely bag which is currently residing in Germany :)

The bag was lined with faux cheetah(?) print fur - Growwwwwl!

With an internal pocket.  This is such a cuddly bag!

Damson cord was used for the next bag.  I have a thing about cord.

The bag was lined with preloved curtain fabric which tones beautifully with the cord.  I added a ribbon tie to this one rather than a popper.  Adds a bit of extra oomph.

And then there's the ever popular Sanderson slouch bag.  Made from preloved curtains making it extra sturdy.  Had to make sure that the pattern was central on this one.

The bag was lined with silk from a preloved throw.  And a Sanderson pocket added, of course!

Which one is your favourite?


Friday, 22 August 2014

Infinity scarf

I loved this top when I bought it, but I knew it wouldn't be a top for very long!  

The pattern sold it to me.

I couldn't quite figure out what it was going to be, so I had a play and a think.

It looks as though there was lots of fabric in the main body, so why not cut off the bottom and top, make a tube and turn it into an infinity scarf?

So that's what I did:

It's so easy to make, too!

I do so love the pattern and wear it with anything (although, it would probably have been better if I'd had a different top on in this photo!)


Monday, 7 July 2014

Cashmere mittens from a jumper

Cashmere.  Even the name is soft.

I found a lovely jumper at a charity shop one day.  Took it home.  And felted it in the washing machine.  Boy did it shrink!  It was teeny tiny by the time I'd finished with it!

As the sleeves were so short I decided that the only reasonable thing to do with it was to make some mittens.  I could just see them in there.  And it meant that I didn't have to make the cuff as it was already made for me.

This is the end result.

And I even had enough cashmere left over in order to make a phone cover. 


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bookmark from a shirt cuff

Sometimes you see things differently.

I was looking at an old shirt and I couldn't decide what to do with it.  I turned it around and nothing but nothing was jumping out at me.

Then I had a thought.  Surely I can use that cuff to make a bookmark??

Easy peasy, right?

Cut off the cuff, insert something to make it more rigid and then sew it all up, right?

Actually, it was a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be.  There was an awful lot of unpicking to do to remove the sleeve itself.

Then I had to figure out how to insert the stiffener between the buttonhole and the button.  Once that was done, I tucked everything back in and then sewed it all up again.

Added a ribbon and ta-dah - it was done!


T-shirt refashion

I had this fab t-shirt that I wanted to keep.  It had so many memories attached to it. 

Trouble was, the neck was a leetle bit on the tight side.

It felt more like a turtle neck than a t-shirt.

But I soon sorted that out.

Easy peasy.  Cut the neckband off.

And as it's t-shirt fabric it doesn't fray.

I was a bit concerned in case it rucked up in the wash.  But nope.  It washes perfectly!

And it's so much more comfortable now!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Floral top now skirt!

I do love a good floral pattern.  So even though I had no clue as to what to make with it, I just knew that it would have to come home with me.

I turned it around and around trying to figure out how to make it into a smaller top, but it had unusual 'wings' attached over the armhole so I left it until inspiration decided to make itself known.

Then one day I was looking at it again.  It was an oversize top so there was a lot of fabric there and that neck looked as though I could put it around my waist...

So I tried it on as a skirt and despite the wriggling involved and flappy wings it actually looked like a skirt!

The neck wasn't quite large enough to make a waistband so I made a cut straight across the bottom of the neck.  Then sewed up the sides.

And voila, another skirt was born!!


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tie-dye messenger bag - with a twist(y lock)

A seamstress walks into a charity shop - and lo and behold, discovers a beautiful denim tie-dye skirt in a size large (more fabric that way), thinks, hmmm, I already have a top that would go perfectly with that...

And so begins the tale of another creation.  I was right.  The skirt DID match the top.  So I decided to make a small messenger bag from the blue and purple combination.

I'm really happy with the result, too!

I added a side pocket for pens and other bits and bobs.

It's the first time I've used twist locks on a bag - I've now perfected cutting out the hole so that the fabric doesn't show!

This was the original tie-dye skirt and the matching top:

You can see why I paired them now, can't you?

It has a zip fastening and a pocket underneath the flap for all those receipts that tend to accumulate:

If I were to make this one again I would add some padding to the strap as the top I used was very floaty.  I did top-stitch it though to give it some extra strength. 

This was the first time I have added an internal zipped pocket.  I learned something here too - make sure when adding the pocket lining that you sew it onto the back with wrong sides together!

Another view:

The internal seams were bound with fabric from the top.  It was so light and airy that it was really easy to work with when making binding.  Something I'll remember for next time!

So all in all, a very satisfying project!


Friday, 14 March 2014

Tip: What to wear when sewing

As I'm pretty much self-taught, I thought I would share a few (hopefully!) helpful tips that I have discovered along the way.

So, what have I discovered about what's best to wear when I sew?

Always wear something comfortable
I have tried the 'really tight jeans' approach, but it just hurts.  I do tend to sew with my left leg underneath me (no idea why!) and leggings are ideal for this.  They allow for a full range of movement.  As do t-shirts.  You don't want to be impeded by the clothing you wear.

When serging, wear a skirt
I hadn't given 'sewing clothing' a lot of thought until recently when I was using my serger (did I tell you I have a serger??  Ooooh, something else to post about!).  I was wearing a maxi skirt and the bits that were being cut off the costume were just falling into my lap and being caught without creating a huge pile of debris on the floor.  So I will definitely be using that method next time I have a lot of serging to do.

Don't wear a scarf
Having a scarf all snarled up in your sewing machine is not a good look.  Not that I've done this particular one. 

Always.  Either late at night or first thing in the morning.  Or even a lazy Sunday.  Pyjamas are the business!

Underwear is perfect
And yes, I have sewn whilst wearing underwear.  Now that IS comfortable!  But you can get bits of thread everywhere.  And I'd only recommend it in warm weather.

Long sleeves when sewing net
Always wear long sleeves when sewing tutus - that net stuff is really, really sharp!

Bare feet
For some reason, it always feels better using a bare foot on my pedal.  Not so much a tip as an observation!

So what do you wear when you sew?  I'd love to know!



Friday, 7 March 2014

Dress to tunic top

Sometimes you see a dress in a shop and the print is so fabulous that you have to have it, right?

I love it when that happens!

So I found this beautiful child's dress and brought it home.  See what I mean about the print?

My daughter fell in love with it and wanted to wear it, but on trying it on we found that it was too small at the top.

So I had to put my thinking cap on.  Hmmm.  What to do?

I know!!

I could cut the top off entirely, elasticate the waist and make a tunic top - yes, I think that would work!

I used the original belt to make some criss-cross straps.  Et voila!

It looks fabulous with a pair of leggings!

I'm not sure if you will be able to see this as the pattern is so intense, but the front of the skirt/dress is higher than the back - I love it!


Friday, 17 January 2014

Military shirt de-blinging (un-blinging?)

I bought a rather snazzy military shirt because I loved the colour and just knew that I could do something with it to make it look 'me'.

Here it is in its full 'before' glory:

A little on the 'riotous' side for me!

So I set about de-blinging it (or should that be un-blinging?!)

I removed all the ornamentation from the breast pockets (and there was a lot of that!)


And added one of the spare buttons from the inside of the shirt.

Then I looked at the epaulettes.  That had to be doctored too.  So I removed the jewel.

And added yet another button to the shoulder.


I am so much happier wearing it now!