linen remakes

I have been meaning to post this for a few months now – and while technically I do have more making time now that I am working a part week, I am getting distracted by more projects than ever and my latest will be umbrellas (so I have now become the person who takes broken umbrellas out of bins as of 2 weeks ago).

I am still picking up linen trousers on the reduced rail in charity shops. Crazy to see such beautiful fabric trousers reduced to a euro, and these wide leg pants are relatively easy to re-purpose, so I now have a ‘stash’ of these.

This summer I resewed a few pairs of linen pants. One pair was simple enough as I just recut them to remake a pair of cropped pants, and the other sews were to make some summer tops.

I also used Simplicity 1364 to remake in 2 linen tops, one blue and one white for work. The pattern is so useful, and the sew is fast, especially as I sew the sleeves in flat and then sew the side and sleeve seam last.

 

These are such useful ‘basics’. Last year I made one similar but I cut the sleeve on the cross grain, and then made a large cuff, which I still wear but found the layers of linen in the double cuff a bit chunky.

This year I decided to do a sleeve with a seam down the middle and this way I got a longer sleeve and could include a flare. The only other thing to remember is to add the seam allowance to the centre sleeve. I finish the neckline with bias binding and have a one button close at the back.

 

 

I also tried a linen tee-shirt with a split sleeve and overlapping boat neck and used a bodice block with basic bust dart as the base. Its only semi-successful and it will probably be remodelled again later. I adapted a vintage simplicity 2120. The main down-side is it looks like a dentists tunic as it is in white.

 

If I was remaking this style again, I would do tulip sleeves so they blend with the overlapping boatneck and would make the bodice shorter and flare either the bodice or sleeves (or possibly flare both).

Other than that I also took part in Galway’s first ‘repair cafe’ – yay! It was very interesting as I generally sew on my own, in my own space, so sewing in a public space with random repairs was so interesting and great fun, and not without challenges (which my singer was well able for). I even fixed roller blades.

Myself and another maker will be running a workshop soon on upcycling old umbrellas and other bits, so plenty to be busy with, especially as I hope to have additional patterns for bags and rain gear for uploading then.

I don’t know if anyone has seen the recent episode of BBC Click? They did a great show on futures for the fashion industry (youtube clip here on bacterial dying). And they also did add that the best way still to mitigate the effects of fashion on the environment is still ‘buy less’.

Happy Sewing……

 

 

Quick remakes – T and Shirt

I was asked to help with a workshop a youth group was running locally.  The ‘summer camp’ was going to try and combine fashion along with eco-sensibility – by both discussing the negative environmental and social aspects of fast fashion as well as facilitating the attendees to make their own fashion by handing over a fiver and getting them to go to the charity shops and find some clothes that they would wear or upcycle!

I thought I better do some quick sews to show them pieces that can be done with very little sewing and cutting.  I found a shirt and tee in the sewing room box (a lot of unsaleable pieces from the attached charity shop end up here so some have holes some have stains….).  The big T had some small holes and the design was badly faded, the shirt had a stain to the front.

The T

grey tee shirt cut out

The front print on this was faded but was not as noticeable on the wrong side – which I used as the right side,

  • I cut it up and rough cut a tee-shirt shape from the front and back and shortened the tee shirt
  • cut a slight curved arm-scythe. I used one of my own tee’s as a guide.
  • I sewed the shoulder seams together
  • I trimmed the sleeves into as long a rectangle shape, and joined each to a rectangle made from the front and back trim from the bottom of the tee – with the original hems left intact so they became the finished edge of the new sleeve – I gathered the sleeves and inserted them flat
  • and over-locked the sides together and twin needled the neckline and hem.

grey tee after (1)

The hem and neckline were turned over and finished with a twin needle!  The sleeves in this are very dramatic, but its a great tee, and I have since tried another with smaller sleeves.  The sleeves here were made from the 2 rectangles cut from the bottom of the tee-shirt only.

G Star T upcycleG star t upcycle

The shirt

There are a few upcycles around for this style of gypsy shirt, but I wanted to show shirring as I find it so useful, effective and fast.

shirred shirt upcycle to summer top

So for this I cut the shirt above cuff and placket, and around the neckline (which was just under the yoke of the shirt at the back, and over-locked all edges.

I then did 3 lines of shirring…. which equated to one bobbin full!  I later put in some at the hem.

Both took less than an hour each.

The workshop was last week and it was so interesting and so hectic – I did 3 afternoon sessions of about 2.5 hours and it was non-stop.  There were 7 attendees and a great mix of ages and fashion styles, and they were all incredibly enthusiastic.

Few had really sewn before and the nice bit about the making were all were happy with making in general and setting a realistic standard (I think sometimes teaching adults to sew is more difficult as some expect to have a store bought finish and feel defeated when it comes out otherwise.)  Anyway this was just as well as they all seems to have picked up very tricky fashion fabrics at the charity shops.

 

Bianca 1 and Bianca 2 – skirt and shirt upcycle

I have been sewing a lot, and blogging less.  Some of my sewing has really been going in circles – normally I like to make something, finish and move on to the next but the last few months I have been sewing a few things at the same time, and dawdling on the finish.  Bianca making

I started these Bianca’s ages ago.  I used the Wear Lemonade Free Bianca pattern and thought it would be a cute update for this ‘blackwatch’ plaid skirt, which ultimately I think it is.  I cut the plaid as usual for the main body, but had not enough to plaid match sleeves fully so I only matched them on the cross grain.  Personally I don’t mind this as it looks even.  I did not like the Bianca collar and perhaps its because I don’t wear shirts (?) but eitherway I tried doing a more casual collar with notches.  I still think the collar is too tight but other than that its a sweet blouse.

bianca finish

 

At the same time, I decided I really needed a white blouse with peter pan collar so I upcycled a white shirt to make this.  To add a bit of interest I tried out a lot of the decorative stitches in the machine in a grey thread.  I have yet to put a button and loop close at the back but at least they are both now FINISHED!

white bianca shirt upcycle

 

1 metre make – Advance 5232 Liberty Silk

I am sure I am not the only one who either buys too much or too little fabric.  Some time ago, I bought 3/4 metre of this Liberty Silk (because it was relatively expensive I bought ‘too little’).  Its really lovely.  I could not figure out what to make with it, but eventually  tried out Advance 5232 – a lot of the 40s patterns are  economical with fabric (post war fashion etc).  I had photographed the cutting plan at the time, now on other laptop… but suffice to say, it all just fitted in.  The back seam is cut on the selvedge (.75cm is the print and the rest of the seam is the cream selvedge edge).  There were tiny scraps left.

 

 

There are probably a few things I should have figured in sooner.  One being, I rarely wear prints, I feel they are fussy, and the second, I find small gathers a bit fussy too, and yet here I was!

I also used the silk setting on the Brother Jones Machine, which was a bit silly as really all it did was sew tiny tight stitches that I cannot undo easily (I did not know this is what it would do as I never had a machine with this setting).  So the blouse is half made (no hems) and in wardrobe (it was taunting me in the work room).

It was only a post on WeSewRetro Facebook that got me thinking about it again – that it will have to be finished.

I am going to take off the yoke as the top stitching is uneven and too far in, but didn’t really want to start until I figured whether the collar should be changed.  Would a solid colour collar look better?  Neither colour I have here is correct, and now that I have photographed a block colour beside – I think I am better with leaving as is….. the yoke will be removed and sewn back but not top-stitched – and a button and loop on back.

UPDATE – 10 APRIL

took off the yoke today, reattached, hemmed and button and loop – now finished and it looks far better without the top stitch! Also located the cutting layout photos!

 

 

 

a floral blouse from floral pants – Simplicity 1278

I have been steadily sewing since the new year, but super lazy in not writing or photographing much. Its been a mix of crochet, experiments in embroidery and a ruthless run at the ‘use it or lose it’ stack of clothes, and one piece has already gone to the charity shop when I thought of a use for it!


This pair of floral pants was not under any threat as I love the print.  I think the intensity and balance are captivating, in general I am drawn to print, but rarely wear it as it always feels busy. 

I also wanted to try out Simplicity 1278 for a while as I liked the look of the tucks, and it looked like there would be enough fabric.
I used the modern reprint, and traced my size out, using version b with longer sleeves.








 



The construction was straightforward, a lot more careful that I needed to be with the pleats and tucks, and tacked the markings.  Its a nice use of fabric the few tucks are so effective, and very subtle.

The only real compromise in the cut was the sleeve, I could get the sleeve to below elbow and added a cuff.  I was able to get a sleeve and front of the trouser fronts, the blouse back from the remaining two leg pieces, and the cuffs and facings from the lower leg with very little left over, and also a zip!

I used two buttons from the button box to close  I cannot remember what they were taken from but they are rather cute, they are clear faceted plastic.




It was a relatively quick sew, and while I do like it and I will wear it, I am beginning to figure out that while I like prints, I feel a bit overwhelmed wearing some of them.   I don’t really have many blouses, and mainly wear sweaters in winter, and summer tops in the warmer weather,  I have not worn this as such yet, and in ways made it to expand the styles of clothes I wear in both style, and pattern.  It does feel a bit busy, I had thought it would look well with jeans, but think its more for trousers, and the weather here is still rather cold so it may be a while before I wear it.  

I would like to try the pattern again in a plain fabric, as the tuck detail is rather lost in the floral fabric, but rather impressed that I got a full blouse out of the trousers – inspired in no small part by Linda in Remake Remodel.


 

use it or lose it – trousers to Astoria top

I have started this month with a tidy up…. of everywhere….. and trying to figure what to do next.



I did a check (again) of all fabrics and charity shop buys….. to figure a plan.
The plan is start using these up or donate back to the charity shop, which means to get trying the patterns I keep meaning to ‘try out’ and to stop shelving other projects to the back of the queue.

My sewing has taken a slow down due  I had pretty much stopped buying at charity shops some time back, as I found I was getting more than I could sew and was borderline hoarding!   My sewing slowed down a bit for a few reasons
was busy making the dance dress

  • I seem to have sufficient in my wardrobe (yup seriously and I love my new makes)
  • my soon to be grey hair has me wondering on whether is is worth making anything in yellow (my hair is currently in transition, with graduated roots in thanks to thoughtful cut by hairdresser kept it looking okay till christmas -however the roots are now just plain half and half)
the trousers
I bought these purple trousers sometime in the summer – for some reason on that day I bought three purple items from the euro rail and have yet to use them.  They are a 2 way stretch (barely) and a size 16 polyester.  I had thought to try a draft a pattern for a sleeveless shift, but then thought I could try the astoria pattern from Seamwork, and hope the fabric would work.  I had wanted to try this pattern for a while as there are some lovely results online (this being one)
the layout



As it turned out, there was enough fabric for the full sleeve (I thought I would have to do a two part sleeve)  All other pieces did have to be seamed!  I left the creases in place for the cut as they were my straight grain guide, and I ironed them flat with vinegar solution after cutting and left them to rest overnight.

The astoria is a one-hour sew, which would be right, except for I sewed a sleeve in wrong side out which I am part blaming on the shocking amount of Italian sweets I have been gorging….

The top is nicely fitted.  I find it slightly too fitted for what I wear but this is also probably due to the fabric is not a 4 way stretch (its not a great 2 way stretch either).   I am glad to have it as reference for a cardigan I am going to upcycle as the sleeve fitting of the Astoria is really lovely, it sits just right, so I am hoping it will work for a slightly thicker knit/actual knit.




As I seemed to be on a bit of a go slow with crochet this January, I got some gumshoe books from the library – there were about 10 curse words in the book I just finished and some previous reader blacked out each one! strange……..but even more unexpected was the first result back on a google search on ‘defaced library books’ (I was wondering if there was a actual term for it, and it turns out there is –  6 months…)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/14/joe-orton-defaced-library-books


red blouse remake, and a vogue skirt

Things have been rather hectic lately.  I have finished embroidering and sewing an irish dancing costume for my niece and due to go up to bling it on next week, and while that was being sewn, the sew social group started – no photos of either yet!.  The sew social group is great, there is a brilliant mix of people and skills, and extra people coming the second week.  It is to run for 4 evenings and 2 evenings to go, and I am hoping to be shown how to knit properly there soon.

I made this blouse and skirt a few weeks ago, and have worn both a fair bit, and I am still in the middle of crocheting the sweater (if a crochet project goes on too long there is always the danger of a change of heart and I will unravel it, so I am hoping to finish it this week)
meanwhile………………

The blouse



Red is a tough colour to photograph.  The red blouse was on the euro rail.  it was a light jacket/blouse with shoulder pads (and a few stains), and its silk

upcycle blouse

I laundered it, took it apart and thought to make a blouse which would also work as a base layer for under sweaters.  I don’t normally like collars, which was just as well as I barely had enough fabric but got their in the end.  I had to peel off the fusible which was on the facing of the original blouse to use as side panels in the front – which worked out fine.

upcycle blouse

I used a 50s dress pattern as a base for the tucks at the neckline, and I was going to face the neckline but used a simple binding instead, and a zip closure at the back.

The skirt

brown tweed skirt



The day after I got the blouse, I was cutting out the denim dress (2 or 3 posts back) and ran into a spot of bother with the cut, so I went out for a stroll to think it out (rather than cut any further), and I strolled towards the charity shop.  This tweed was in with some pillowcases, and about .75 of a metre, and 2euro.  When I got home, I put it with the ‘pile’ and it looked so well with the blouse – that I figured I had an instant outfit.  I had originally planned a box pleat skirt, but there was just slightly too little fabric.

vogue 7776 skirt upcycle

I used my TNT pattern, vogue 7776, and did the version with the front slit.  I pretty much did everything as per the pattern except I did a facing for the waistband (petersham is recommended).  I left the hem at 3 inch allowance which is a lovely weight for the tweed.  Had I known it would turn out so lovely, I should have considered interlining with organza (its a couture technique I think).  Its perfect for a long-life tweed skirt as it helps any potential bagging/sagging issues at the seat, and its perfect for holding the hem.

silk lining vogue 7776

I had some habatoi mock silk lining in a fun orange shade, but I didnt realise until I went to cut how off grain it was……………. I was a bit shocked.  So I cut on grain, one piece at a time and just about fitted it in – the photo above shows it laid out and going with grain.  I cut the back on the fold and the 2 fronts just about fitted it in.

I did a top stitich on the skirt but only used sewing thread so its barely noticible, and the only other blip (besides the low quality lining) was there was a tiny hole in the weave (probably due to age) in the back panel which I didn;t notice until I was holding towards the light to inspect the dart.  I put a small darn in it, and then ironed on some vilene.

so – an outfit for about a fiver – blouse 1 euro, tweed 2 euro, zips taken from other garments, lining would have been about 2euro……

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.