grey jumper #2

wool sweater remake

I got a gorgeous grey merino men’s jumper a few weeks ago.  Its a large mans jumper, and a great shade of grey.  The crochet sweater I am making for my grey wrap skirt is still being hooked (I am on the fourth restart ….. this better be the last version), so I thought I would make something from this.

I had a few thoughts in my head,
– a wrap close cardigan with a length of satin ribbon as trim
– a cropped sweater, 3/4 sleeve with boat neck
– a regular cardigan

but decided on copying an item from my wardrobe.  I copied a pattern from a thrifted fine knit I got some years ago.  Its probably a ‘neither here nor there’ sweater, but its a good layering piece (its cashmere ), easy colour and gets worn quiet a bit.

sweater remake

I laid the sweater out, and traced, folding over the main sweater trace and cutting to make sure each side was even.  In the remake I had to do a few strips to make the sleeve width, but it was worth it as I was able to do a generous box pleat at the ‘cuff’ of sleeve (the pleats in the thrifted sweater are in different locations and are knitted into a cuff).  I would have liked (and am thinking of trying this pattern again) to give a bit more weight to the collar by doubling up the fabric (rather than using a strip of fabric and hemming it).

sweater remake

The sweater has a nice shape, its got a dropped shoulder, and some shaping at the waist – I kept the ribbed band in the cut for hem and its perfect.  I am glad I put the one large pleat in the sleeve as it gives a bit of ‘interest’ and the pleats in the original are a bit puffy.  The sweater is a quick sew, and works well with jeans and looks fine with skirt, and I am sure will work with the grey wool trousers if I get to remake them soon (or at least this year), and wears with the poncho too!.  photo below is a bit dull – but only one taken so far.



a coat for a fiver

So theres a coat, reduced from 20 to 10 to 5….. its wool cashmere, no pocket shaping dart getting in the way, long, navy, and although a mans coat, there was sufficient fabric around the hips for a remake.  I got this coat last spring and put in to the ‘to do’ side.

remake a coat upcycle a coat

There a a few things I have found useful in remaking wool coats

1.  A size 10 will never make a size 12.  This is an obvious one, but sometimes my enthusiasm makes me think I can.  For me, generally, the best way to use up the fabric effectively  is to work with the same style, and also the easiest.  A raglan sleeve is best left a raglan sleeve. I also choose in this case to keep the pockets.  I had originally thought to take these out and try and conceal a dart in this line, but I also thought why not just do it the easiest way.  

2.  Steam and rest fabric.  After taking the coat apart, I brushed and steam ironed each piece.  I sometimes use a water vinegar spray to help lift the pile and flatten some pressed seams and creases.  Then if the fabric is rested overnight, so it can relax back into shape very well indeed.  This I should have done, but I was a bit impatient and only left it for a few hours, and paid for it when I put in the facings!

3.  New lining is probably best.  In general the lining is often not worth reusing and it is difficult to recut, and I can reuse it in smaller projects.   I reused this as it looked so warm and was in good condition, and had loads of inside pockets.  However, I did have a twist in the recut sleeve linings, it doesn’t show when wearing, but the seam is skewed on the inside and I only found this out after it was sewn, so I unpicked the sleeve lining hem, and let it hang naturally, repinned, resewed.  Who knows if this was my cut or the old lining, but if faced with same dilemma again, I would re-cut the sleeves from fresh lining..  The last jacket I tried a cotton sheet for lining and it was not warm . Also, the slash for the slit in the original coat was left and I just did a patch repair.  As its a ‘casual’ coat, I am not overly bothered.

4.  Press and rest as you go.  It really makes a difference.  It was an Ann Ladbury tip from ‘Clothes that Count’ where she suggested when you have finished making your coat, to give it a final steam and light press, and then to put it on a dress form overnight so it could relax into its new shape.  I tend to do this as much as I can after each sewing session also, and had to do extra for all the in-betweens for this coat to compensate for the rushed start.

I had rushed the beginning of this coat as I had hoped to wear it to a lunch with my sister and in the end, I didn’t as I had to rework one or two areas over my rushed start.  The facings were a problem as it was a mans coat so I used the buttonhole facing on the button side (ladies side) so I zig-zag closed the small bit of button hole that was visible as the popper covers it pretty much..  I decided to go with covered poppers as closures.  As the one with the silver sticky out bit was more attractive, I left this facing out, and I have poppers done both ways on various coats. 

I used the collar for the neck facing and its clunky but serviceable.  I was trying to save as much fabric as I could for the detachable hood.  

so the coat was a fiver, I reused the lining, and the poppers cost a whole SIX euro!!!.  I love the coat, its perfect.  The hood is great, but as the autumn weather has been bright and dry I have been wearing it without, and I prefer the coat without the hood, but if its raining, hoods are much handier than hats or umbrellas so its great to have the option.

and finally, my friend Cathriona took some photographs…. a gazillion thanks as I am a rather impatient subject!


winter wardrobe planning

I love reading other bloggers sewing plans – its most inspiring, and incredibly motivating.  

I am rather pleased my sewing so far, and the planned makes are to link back to my winter footwear, as these are what I wear the most, and so far, its all working out – so much so, I hope I am not speaking too soon.  One coat, one skirt, one well worn poncho/shrug, and one dress later……and everything seems to be coordinating.  This year seems easier to plan my makes, as I am a bit more sure of what I like (simple lines, block colours) and the limitations of the remakes (a size 10 will never make a size 12).

so for the next few weeks the plan is

To finish a sweater, (to match the grey skirt) – crocheting from a thrifted sweater
which should work well with a grey wool pair of trousers, yet to be re-cut (bit nervous of this one).  It should be a long sleeve raglan, but I am now thinking the ‘back loop only’ dc/tc looks very plain, and am thinking of changing the stitch.

The denim dress has been worn lots, works well with the base-layer from last year, and works well with my new coat, (for which I am still making the detachable hood).

some blouses, I have to remake a few, and they are silk so they should be super warm.  still fiddling around with what type of blouse, as I don’t really wear blouses, but the silk blouses I am remaking, were a euro each.  some sweaters, and strangely enough, I have picked up a lot of yellow which may not go with the emerging grey hair…. but we will see.  And another skirt from some tweed.  As always, these are sketchy plans, and generally need to be tweaked.

and to make something to match this suede skirt picked up for a fiver (I am not too sure what I was thinking, I am not even sure I am really going to wear it….. but if I make something for it, then there is every chance I will – in the back of my mind I was thinking handbags to justify getting it).  There are some coats waiting in the wings – including this one for 2euro! (seriously still can never believe that these end up being reduced to that).

Last years black skirt and purple dress are proving to be perennials,.  I am now finding I so prefer wearing my me-makes, ….. , most likely a combination of having the clothes I want to wear and unashamedly saying ‘ya I made it myself’ whenever its complimented (as I figure its easier to run the risk of receiving more compliments than getting requests to do alterations).

simplicity 7239 -denim curtain with fish to denim dress without

I have a bit of a thing for sleeves.  I don’t know is it the geometry of them, or that I have narrow shoulders, but invariably, I will justify buying and making some patterns based on ‘wanting to see what the sleeve was like’.  

simplicity 7239

I saw the pattern on facebook Vintage Pattern Bazaar and I loved the sleeve and the funnel neck and thought the amount of seams would be useful in any upcycle sew.  Unfortunately Robin (who was selling the pattern), did not see my enquiry and the pattern was making its way elsewhere, she then got it back for me, and sent it on!  (so no pressure! and gazillion thanks to Robin).  The pattern is a 32 so I graded it, a bit nervously, as I don’t like grading sleeves at the best of times, but as it was a raglan I felt a bit more confident (but not by much).

I took apart a purple wool suit but when I fitted the pattern pieces there was too much waste to justify the sew, and potentially I would not get the length.  I did have a faded fishy denim chambray curtain (only one) so removed the glued fishes, laundered it, and laid it out.  The pattern nearly fitted, and I only figured this out after cutting one piece – so I went for a walk and think (and picked up an end piece of tweed in the charity shop for a euro on same walk), and decided to made the centre back panels with a seam at the waist line, and it was a tight squeeze but it all fitted.  I had to pull out the original pattern as well as my tracing to try different layouts, before rough marking and transferring to the table to cut.

upsew denim

The lining was easier!  The dress made up easily enough, I had anticipated a different look to the sleeves and I was unsure of them, the sleeve dart sits with the shoulder seam but the sleeve and dart seem to sit forward, I took the shoulder in another tiny bit, but its just the style of dress and now that I have been wearing it a bit, I love it (I had decided that I could always take the sleeves off if I was that bothered).  The dress is very comfortable, and the pockets useful.  I really like the subtle funnel neck.  I had been thinking that if I was to try this pattern again, I would reshape the pieces, and redraft a sleeve that had a more defined line to make it a full raglan.  

simplicty 7239

The lining was sewn with the pattern and I ‘pinked’ the edges.  It gave the chambray fabric a better weight.  The pockets were cut bigger (they were tiny) and the original skirt would have been a few inches below the knee, and I hemmed it at an inch above.  The original length was odd looking with boots. Super happy with dress and it feels like a great start to winter sewing as its teaming well with my winter boots, last years made base-layer, and the winter coat that is currently being finished!

and some photos standing on ‘the soon to be foundations of shed’ in the garden…..

I came across this article on THE CUTTING CLASS which I thought interesting if anyone has ever felt (I certainly have) overwhelmed by less than perfect results