upcycling


Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve finally come up with my #makenine2017!

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I know a lot of the #makenine2017’s out there have chosen nine sewing patterns, but  I decided to broaden my focus a little bit and include fabrics and projects as well.

Let’s unpack this, shall we? In no particular order:

vintage-pattern

I’ve got all these gorgeous vintage and retro patterns and pattern magazines, but I’ve only made maybe two or three items. So one of my goals for this year is to actually get in there and make at least one. I have even ‘projectised’ a couple of patterns with the fabric I want to use, so I’ve got no excuses!! To see more of the patterns in my library, check out my flikr album.

ufos

The story of sewists everywhere, right? Lately I have been pretty committed and have managed to finish 90% of the projects I’ve started in the last couple of months. (I am a slow sewist, so it’s not a UFO until at least 6 months after commencement, heh heh.) But, seriously, there are a couple of projects hiding out that were started years (or possibly decades) ago. So my aim is to either finish them, recycle the fabric or CHUCK THEM OUT!!

 

maxi-skirt


As I was trawling through my stash the other day, I came across this incredible piece of fabric. So big I had to photograph it hanging on a clothesline! You know the stash is out of control when you find fabric you had forgotten about. Anyway, after racking my brain, I remembered I bought this fabric in  Thailand, on a trip about 3 years ago. It’s a dreamy lightweight silk that feels like, well, really lightweight silk. It’s doubled over in this photo and you can see the print on the other side, so you get the idea. Anyway, there’s quite a bit of it and it’s obvious it needs to be either a maxi skirt or dress. I definitely want to maximise the print, so I’m going to be looking for a pattern with the fewest amount of pieces. I was thinking of the Gabriola Skirt by Sewaholic, but it does have a lot of seamlines in the skirt, so I might have to shop around. If you have any ideas for a pattern that might work, do let me know!

activewear

Okay, if you’ve read any of my blog posts before you will know that I have a deep and abiding passion bit of a thing for sewing activewear. I’m not particularly good at it, but the aim is to improve! I want to try a couple of new patterns and hack some old ones. I have tried making FehrTrade’s PBJam leggings previously, but they were an unmitigated disaster so I definitely need to have another go. If you buy Burdastyle Magazine you’ll know the January 2017 edition had a focus on activewear, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on that. (It can take a while for Burdastyle to hit Australia, unfortunately!) The Kwik Sew pattern is already on the table – pieces cut for the shorts and top so I can test for fit! And of course the Greenstyle Creations Endurance Bra: while I’m not a fan of zipup bras I want to give this a try, as it looks amazingly supportive.

Which is a nice segue to….

bras

As you know I’ve already had success making bras, so I really want to get into more of it this year. I’ve made the Watson and the BOO3 (from Booby Traps), as well as the Gail which is not pictured here. I also have the Booby Traps Dart Bra and Seamwork’s Florence Bra which haven’t had an outing yet. I’m keen to replace most of my bras with me-made.

moto-jacket

The Evergreen Jacket from Hey June is one I’ve actually had my eye on for quite some time. When I brought that black camo fabric back from my Japan trip last year, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it! It’s a heavy stretch fabric, somewhere between scuba and ponte. (I’ve no idea what I want to make with the blue camo, though!)

sweater

A patternmaker I’ve been following for a while is the gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic. I started following her blog years ago when she was doing a lot of refashioning, although I don’t think her old blog is available anymore 😦

Her patterns are glamorous, classy and impeccably drafted.  I’ve always had a hankering for the White Russian Sweatshirt. It comes with a cute fox or lion design to quilt onto the front of the sweater. I got this sweet pony fleece on sale sometime last year, and it’s been languishing in my stash ever since. Match made in heaven? I think so!

refashion

OMG you guys. This is my refashion wardrobe. It is literally busting at the seams. I went through a phase a few years ago where 90% of my sewing was refashioning. Some of them were pretty good, too! I bought a lot of garments that I thought had ‘potential’, but sadly I did not have the potential myself to see it through on a lot of them! Of course, there are a couple that I’ve just never been able to bring myself to cut into (did you see the flocked-polka-dot-taffeta dress on my instagram??)

Again we have a neat segue…

blanket-project

See that blanket? I made that. It’s made from recycled suits and skirts, all made of wool. It’s backed with a preloved flannelette sheet (green and white striped, forsooth) and the quilt filler is another flannelette sheet. So it’s not super-thick, but it is totally warm and cosy!

 

That blanket I made for a friend, and let me tell you it turned out so well it was pretty hard to give up. Ever since then I’ve been intending to make one for myself, and have collected a bunch of wool-fabric trousers and skirts from various op shops. On top of that, I have a collection of woolly half-felted jumpers to make into a rug of some kind, plus yet another quilt I want to make for another friend (this one from preloved band t-shirts).  I don’t know that I’ll get all three of them done this year, but I’d like to try for one!!

And, because I want to stay focused, I did this on my sewing room wall:

Yes, my sewing workbench is always this tidy.*

Yes, my sewing room workbench is always this tidy. *

 

And that’s it, folks! My #makenine2017. Have you come up with a makenine list  for 2017? Do you have a different way of planning your sewing for the year? I’d love to hear from you!

 

*Disclaimer: No it’s not, that’s a total lie.

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I haven’t been posting much lately as I’ve been handicapped with knee surgery and the rehab which inevitably follows, which kind of curtailed my sewing a bit, but I’ve also been having fun making videos for my new sewing vlog! I’ve only got like 3 subscribers so far so feel free to pop over for a visit 🙂

I managed to meet the Monthly Stitch Challenge for December which was party dresses, and I’ve got two December-made party dresses to talk about in this post (in addition to the #littlereddressproject dress described in my last post). I was invited to a birthday party and the invite said ‘semi-formal’. So of course I took that as a sewing challenge!! I had a couple of ideas and as I couldn’t choose, I decided to do both, just in case one didn’t work!

My choices were Lisette 2209 and Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B.

Dress One: Lisette 2209

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Why this pattern? I’ve made this dress before, in a light cotton floral, as a sundress, so no muslin required.

What about the fabric? The bodice is made from a remnant of silver-gray silk I picked up on a trip to Thailand about two years ago (can you say stashbust?). The skirt is made from a recycled silk skirt. I also used the original skirt lining for the skirt, and some lining fabric from my stash for the bodice. Invisible zip also from the stash, reclaimed from a refashion.

And the pattern? As I’d made it once already (albeit a couple of years ago) it was pretty straightforward. The bodice darting is actually quite simple although it does create a little bulk at the front waist seam.

Any added extras? Yes, I added pockets using the last few scraps of the bodice material – I think it looks cute. I also had to make the skirt less full as I had to work within the fabric I had, so it is more an A-line than the fuller skirt in the pattern. Invisible zip at the side rather than the back, and eliminated the centre back seam. I used the ‘burrito method’ to line the bodice.

Did I love it? YES! In photos I notice the bodice pleats come to a rather unflattering point on the bust, I think this is to do with the stiffness of the fabric. Don’t care though 🙂

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I talked about this dress on my vlog!

Dress Two: Burdastyle Magazine 1/2012 Dress #118B

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Why this pattern? Basically I was just flipping through my pattern magazines and I thought this one looked simple, and I knew I had some fabric that would work.

What about the fabric? The printed satin has been in my stash for about two years, I think I got it on sale at Spotlight. The lining fabric is slightly stretchy and was bought at my ‘local’, Jack Textiles in Marrickville.

And the pattern? This dress has no shaping and I was initially worried it would just look like a shiny floral tent on me, but au contraire, it’s totally flattering!

Any added extras? I deviated quite significantly from the pattern instructions (although as we all know with Burdastyle, the instructions can be next to useless!) So the pattern used the same fabric, a crepe-backed satin, with the crepe side as the feature of the dropped lining. My floral satin wasn’t really going to work so I used the coral satin as a contrast instead. I lined the front flappy bit on one side with the coral as well to provide some interest. This made the neckline join more than a bit complicated but a few clips and some understitching got it sitting flat. It also made the centre front seam a little different; I wanted a nice finish though so I did a faux-felled seam (folded under the raw edge) and topstitched with some metallic thread.

To make the lining show shiny-side-out at the hem meant I had to install it ‘inside-out’ which did my head in a little bit!! I also skipped the inseam pockets – I was doing french seams all the way and that just seemed too hard. No sleeves either – I tried it on prior to adding the sleeves, pinned one sleeve on and went ‘nope!’ The armholes were finished using bias strips from the floral satin offcuts.

Did I love it?  I certainly love the look of it. I haven’t worn it to any occasions yet though!

I talked about this dress on my vlog, too!

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I did end up wearing the silver-grey dress to the party, even though I had finished both in time.

silver party dress cropped

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year and I look forward to sharing lots more cool stuff with you all through 2017!!

 

Hello all!

Yes, I know it’s June, which means Indie Pattern Month, but I thought I’d just have a quick look at the past month and how I progressed with Me-Made-May.

Considering I kinda forgot about it until about 3rd May, I did pretty well from then on. I believe my pledge was one me-made item a day for the month. I admit that sometimes that one item was my knickers, or a sports bra, and I was definitely counting refashions towards the end of the month, but I pulled it off!

Now, I don’t do daily outfit photos. It’s just not how I roll. So here’s a collage of some of the items I did wear during May 2016.

MeMadeMay16 Collage

Obviously that’s not all of them! I don’t have photos of some of the things I have made, and others I never blogged because I couldn’t get a decent photo or didn’t like it enough to blog (or just haven’t blogged it yet, but intend to, like the pink pyjamas you don’t see here.)

My homemade activewear got a workout (ha, ha) as did a two pairs of skinnified jeans (which actually got re-skinnified during May when I decided I didn’t like the initial result anymore), and a few other refashions:

MeMadeMay16 Collage2

All in all, I’m pretty pleased that I was able to complete my pledge. Next year’s pledge might include finishing an item or two during the month of May – I’ve been agonizingly slow to finish projects lately.

Did you take part in the Me-Made-May Challenge? How did you go?

 

 

 

Seems like a while since I did a ‘refashion’ that didn’t involve using a paper pattern and recycled materials. This is one that stalled a while back for want of orange thread for my overlocker. Today I decided that my regular machine could handle it just fine.

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It all began with this knit top and chiffon shirt. I liked the double button effect on the shirt….. but not enough to wear it as is.

Orange top collage

So what I did was slice the sides off of the knit top. Then out of the shirt I cut two pairs of dolman-shaped sleeve-side pieces. I french-seamed them together at the shoulders. Because the chiffon shirt wasn’t long enough, I needed to add some length at the bottom of the side panels. Originally I was going to use the sleeves of the chiffon top to get this length, but in between starting this refashion, stalling it, and starting it again, I lost some of the fabric and didn’t have enough. Instead I used the knit top sleeves, cleverly using the sleeve hems at the bottom on the garment.

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Once the side/sleeve pieces were altogether, I sewed them onto the sides of the knit top using a shallow zigzag stitch. I then used my serger (with plain old white thread) to finish those two long seams.

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There’s plenty of tutorials on the internet concerning how to hem very light fabrics like chiffon. Basically they seem to come down to this: fold under once and stitch (using a small stitch length). Trim raw edge close to stitching line. Fold under again and stitch. Press. Done. Actually it was pretty easy.

And that was it! Done!

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My hems are out by like 2mm there at the back. Please ignore. (Also please ignore my weekend hairstyle. On lazy Sundays in the sewing room, I really could care less about the hairdo!)

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How much sewing can I do in one month? Well, I guess that depends on how many episodes of Stargate Atlantis I can watch in my sewing room.

Here’s some hilarious Czech ‘Zalenka-isms’, for fun.

Okay so back to the sewing. About a month ago I got a couple of StyleArc patterns when they were having a sale. One of the patterns I purchased was the Tamara Top, a fairly simple-shaped top with some interesting design lines.

I’m on a self-imposed spending freeze, which means no new fabrics at the moment, so it’s stash or bust in the sewing room. And let’s be honest, I have plenty. That top drawer is new fabrics, mostly stretch, and the second drawer is ‘refashionables’. And let’s not talk about the plastic tubs in the garage.

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To trial the pattern I used some blue double jersey salvaged from a (mostly unsuccessful) attempt to make leggings (ironically, from another StyleArc pattern). The black & white tweed was refashioned from a skirt I picked up at the op shop. (Look, that’s it in the drawer! See?)

Version 1

See that seamline down the front? Not part of the pattern. That’s the side seam from the leggings that failed.

Version 1 - blue double jersey & recycled tweed skirt

I’m actually really happy with the result! The top fits well and is a nice shape on me. I quite like my extra seam. I’m gonna call it a feature.

So I went ahead and made another one! Again I used some rescued fabrics. The taupe knit is a viscose lycra, which I bought only recently and made into a long-sleeved drapey top, but that looked like a monk’s robe when I put it on. Sooooo taupe, sooooooo blaaah.

Version 2

The printed stretch satin was originally from Spotlight, a few years ago, that I used to make up a commercial pattern but I decided to alter the pattern on the fly… bad idea. I loved the fabric, though, so the unfinished garment and the leftover fabric have been languishing in my stash ever since.

Version 2 - viscose lycra & printed stretch satin

As I’ve found with StyleArc, the instructions are pretty basic. That said, the top wasn’t hard to put together. The trickiest bit was the corner seam at the upper front, but I basted it first and I think that made all the difference. Trying to manipulate that corner under the presser foot, clipping and dealing with pins at the same time – no thanks.

I used my regular sewing machine for the seams, but finished the edges with the overlocker. I know knits don’t fray but it just looks nicer on the inside if the edges are finished. And when I say ‘regular machine’, I’m referring to the Janome SuperAutomatic which has become my favourite workhorse sewing machine:

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The patterns says you can use stretch or woven for the insert panels. The tweed is a woven – it had a tiny bit of give due to the weave, but not enough to call it a stretch. It worked fine for the panels in the bodice, but in the sleeve I could have done with a little more ease. You know, for my bulging biceps. Ha ha ha.

In the second version, as both fabrics were stretch, it was completely fine. Both versions pull a little across the bust, somehow more noticeably in the taupe than the blue, so possibly I needed a little extra for the bust. Neither neckline sits very flat, I think the binding is just a little too bulky. The blue is quite thick, and I only used a single layer of binding, but in the taupe I followed the pattern and used a doubled piece, thinking the lighter fabric would work better. I think possibly the interfacing I used is too heavy, resulting in that sticky-out neckline.

All in all though I’m pretty happy!

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Anyone else had experiences with StyleArc patterns? How about those 6mm seam allowances, huh? (I have to admit to adding extra seam allowance when I traced out the pattern. 6mm is just scary to me!)

 

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So. There was this challenge. On The Monthly Stitch. The challenge was ‘Check It Out’. No worries, I thought. I’ve got this big old orange plaid skirt I paid $5 for, never worn, been wasting away in the refashion pile.

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Also, I thought, ideal time to try out one of the free patterns from SpitUp&Stilettos. (Yeah sorry, I really don’t like that blog name. But that’s what they’re called.) I like a boxy top and I thought I might be able to squeeze the Atalia Top out of this skirt, with a little help from some leftover bits of a terrifyingly 80’s power dress:

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Wearing it with flipflops really works, doesn’t it??

I had previously turned the top half of this horror into a cute cropped jacket, but never managed to take any decent pictures. So I was left with most of the skirt to work with, and the colour matched perfectly with the orange plaid.

Meanwhile, back at Lauraville, other challenges were underway: namely, a karate seminar and tournament, for which I travelled interstate. (Oh, woe is me, I had to go to sunny central QLD where it’s practically still tropical. It was snowing in parts of NSW, that same week. I was certainly not complaining about the heat 🙂

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Anyway, I won that particular challenge and have been selected for the National Team. Go me.

To round out the month I then had a week’s holiday up at the home place.

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Now, I took a sewing kit with me. I had a week of absolutely nothing but hanging out in the bush, miles from town, with my Mum & my sister, but do you think I even looked at the sewing? Nope. My mum has pay tv. And that means an endless supply of Stargate, Doctor Who and Antiques Roadshow. No sewing. I was a total couch potato.

Needless to say, I got back from my holiday, got back to work, got back to training, started the plaid shirt but didn’t finish it before the end of the challenge month. Le sigh. I’ll share it with you anyway.

So last Friday I cued up a couple of episodes of Arrow and spread my fabric all over the loungeroom floor.

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Not really all that bothered with the grainlines, am I? Not when I’m refashioning, no, I’m not. If it makes you feel better, I lined the yoke. The orange fabric was a bit lighter than the wool-blend plaid so I used some of the skirt lining to stabilise the yoke.I used the sausage roll technique.

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Makes it look nice and tidy on the inside, too.

The top was pretty simple. I had some trouble with the placket – the instructions I found a little confusing and the diagrams were not much help. (Searching for tutorials did lead me to some interesting discoveries about the SU&S patterns, though.)

And then I messed up the button placements. I wanted to use five buttons, because mine were smaller than the ones recommended, so I re-measured the spacings and did the buttonholes before putting the rest of the shirt together, following the instructions. But I missed the bit that said ‘now cut off 5/8″ from around the neckline edge’. Whaaaat? Why would you do that? Why isn’t the pattern, the pattern? Why am I cutting bits off my garment at this point? Shouldn’t the pattern JUST HAVE THAT NECKLINE ALREADY????

Okay. I’m okay now. Luckily I hadn’t cut the buttonholes, just stitched them. So I was able to unpick a couple of buttonholes and reposition them, and I only ended up with four buttons. It still looks a bit wonky, and my necklines don’t match at the top either. The pattern instructions (which by this point were getting the stinkeye, bigtime) called for bias binding, but I didn’t have enough material to make bias. I was able to squeeze out a narrow facing though, so I did that.

How cute are my plaid buttons??

How cute are my plaid buttons??

After all of that, though, I quite like the end result!

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So what do you think? Is the plaid bad? Or is the plaid rad? (I just had about twelve terrible rhymes run through my mind, but I won’t torture you with them. Bwahahahahaaaa.)

Okay yes so my last post was, er, last year…. I know, I know, I know. I’ve had stuff going on. Stuff like this:

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However, that was back in November, so not really much of an excuse!

Anyway, I may not have been posting, but I haven’t been idle. Here’s a refashion I did back in December. I couldn’t decide what to wear to the office Christmas party, so I made two tops and a pair of pants. See? That’s why I haven’t posted. Too busy makin’ stuff!

Not long ago, the clever girls over at Spit Up & Stilettos had a bit of a pattern giveaway, which I totally took advantage of. (Free patterns? I’m there in a flash!!) One of the ones I snatched was the Isabella Tank, a sleeveless top for woven fabric.

After downloading, printing, slicing, matching up and sticky-taping the pattern, I made a couple of adjustments for my curvy hips and waist, then went to town on this delightful little number.

Pink polka dot top

It’s hot pink. It’s polyester. And it has teeny tiny polka dots. It also had awesome shoulder pads and boring plastic buttons, but I got rid of those quick-smart.

It took a little creative engineering, but I managed this:

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Not enough shirt fabric for the facing, so I used some white silky lining fabric from my stash.

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The front pattern piece came out of the back of the shirt, but the back pattern pieces were slightly too long for the remaining front sections of the shirt. So I thought to myself, if I’m gonna add some length, it’ll look more deliberate if it’s longer. So I gave it a bit of a mullet hi-lo hem.

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And a cute little heart-shaped button for the back neck closure.

The pattern fits really well – the adjustments I mentioned earlier were pretty minor. The instructions were clear and the garment was pretty simple to make up. I’m definately looking forward to trying the other patterns from SpitUp&Stilettos. Has anyone else tried any of their patterns?

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