Saturday, 27 December 2014

felted sweater - new cushion



felted sweater remake cushion


This is part of my new years resolution, well not really, as I don't make them, but I do need to cover a sofa (for the past 6 years) and getting some domestic sewing done may actually get that in motion.  





This is another felted jumper and this one I did deliberately as I wanted to try out another crochet and felt idea, but I made it too small (I was impatient and should have laundered it twice  at a lower temperature instead of once at a hotter wash).  We had been given some grey felt cushions last year as a house-warming present, and they are really lovely but a bit too big sometimes, so this cushion should work well with them.







It really is just two squares and some strips...............................


felted sweater remake cushion




Saturday, 20 December 2014

scarf to shrug glove

I was to wear the Pauline Coat (now scotch-guarded) and blue dress to a Christmas dinner last week.  The dinner was at a hotel near us (a few minutes walk but longer in high heels).  As the coat sleeves are short, I would need gloves, and as the dress was sleeveless, I would need a shrug or cardigan.  I had planned to wear a black beaded cardigan, but thought this a bit dark (I was wearing nude slingbacks), and then I thought I could adapt this sequined scarf.  The scarf is a lovely shade but it has angora in it so I don't wear it too much (as I tend to wear scarves well wrapped around my neck, I now know that angora and lip balm don't really go well together) and the kind of scarf you pick up in the January sales - which is when I think I got this some time back.  
scarf to shrug glove

So I thought I could have a go at making a quick shrug.  I was hand-stitching, and then figured I would be faster on machine so I was a bit naughty (reckless even!) and didn't change thread, but it does show the stitching line - I have put a very rough drawing below that I did for a friend as she wanted to try it herself. (as she asked more than once 'but how did you do it' I figured it was easier to send a diagram which I now hope she can decipher!)
Basically, the scarf its folded in half lengthways, mark the centre back with a pin and then measure out about 22.5 cm each side and mark these with a pin.  I measured the scarf around my hand to get the measurement I needed which was  20 cm( 10cm from fold) The stitching is done at an angle and you can either do machine or hand stitch.



The shrug can be worn as a glove with coat, or tucked back to being a plain shrug when worn without.  The scarf measured 28cmx169cm inch long.   I have not trimmed the inside seams as it may revert to scarf yet.

so handy, can't believe I didn't make one of these sooner, and as it wasn't easy to photograph on mannequin, had to wear it myself (please excuse extra straps!)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

pullover to baselayer - raglan sleeve polo

I have this pullover/sweater/jumper in the to-do bag for a bit.  I had deliberated over a sweater dress, using the scarf to make an extension to the length, or Alabama Chainin inspired shrug/bolero (from scarf) and long skirt (from jumper)  As I haven't really worn the Alabama Chanin makes from earlier in the year it didn't seem like a practical solution, but what  I really need another base-layer with a funnel or polo neck to wear under dresses.  

The pullover was a funny shape and size, a bit dated and a bit big, and has a scarf attachment. The fabric is a 60% viscose 20% polyester-something and 20% wool so a nice mix of light and warm and perfect for a base-layer..  I get so cold and a base-layer with a polo,  will work under dresses, and over another baselayer (yup, I get that cold), as well as everything else!
upcycle sweater, refashion sweater, sweater remade

The funnel neck pattern I used in September would have been so perfect - except this brown pullover already had raglan sleeves, and I am finding with these remake projects, its better to work with what you have (sounds so obvious but I often forget the properties of the  fabric I am working on - and try to make it fit with the vision in my head).  I had to draft a proper jersey block as I have been using very old and badly drafted bits of paper for the last while.  I then made a raglan block,  and decided it may be best to do a raglan round neck and put a roll collar afterward (I had toyed with the idea of continuing up the seam to make it a funnel neck... )

Below is an Alabama Chanin sweater I made in February.  Its incredibly warm, but also the fit is not great.  I intended to try the idea again but try a boat  or scoop neck raglan sleeve as the round neck is a bit restrictive, the upcycle sweater is a thin wool, with cotton jersey under.  This was the first Chanin inspired piece I tried, and at the time I was gung-ho on making a dress.... until I did some stitch detail on a stenciled skirt - 2nd Chanin piece -  and realised my patience and endurance may not stretch to a dress just yet. 


upcycle sweater, refashion sweater, sweater remade


Saturday, 13 December 2014

vogue 5954 - mans shirt to vogue blouse - (mad about plaid)

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse




I was hoping to make this blouse for my sister, but she told me that it wasn't a style she would go for.... so I graded it down and thought I would try it.  I seem to be going through a bit of a plaid phase, (perhaps anticipating someone might get me the vivienne westwood book for chirstmas ......seeing as I have dropped enough hints), and I didn't even check if the pattern recommended plaid - and sure enough it didn't, but I was keen to remake the shirt, and keen to try pattern, and thought it could be handy to try, and if it didnt work out, then I would still have some good panels to rework.  nothing ventured......nothing gained............






vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

The photo shows a rough layout of the pattern - front yoke not placed properly yet.  I was a bit dim when I went to cut the back.  I thought I would be super smart and leave it a back button blouse - and I never checked the centre line, and the former front of shirt is not balanced on the centre plaid line - and the button down plaids didn't match - I hadn't noticed they did not line up - I just assumed they did - so I ended up sewing a back seam anyway (centre back seam is not centred technically).   Note- I only matched the plaid one way on yokes - centre line out (I matched the main part of blouse both ways), fabric for yokes was limited and I also thought as there would not be a perfect match either way.
vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse

The centre front yolk came out even enough, but I had to baste it (which is no bad thing and I should consider doing this more- that is, baste first, then sew, rather than sew, rip, sew, rip, baste, sew....).  I top stitiched the yoke panels, both back and front, and used lining as the facing on the yokes. The shoulder seams were never going to match.... and they don't There is a side zipper.  The fit is good, and it ends just below waist.  
It has a nice tailored feel to the blouse - and it has a great shape to it, and like a lot of tailored clothes, your posture improves the minute you try them on!

I don't know about the bow.... I think when the blouse is done in a silk, which I intend to try, the bow may work better then.    I would definitely do a button back from refashioning a shirt the next time.

vogue 5954 - mans shirt remade vogue blouse
On a completely different project, I am in a dilemma on where to start with this one

I got this plaid skirt some weeks ago.  Its wool, and I like the colours, and now the dilemma what to make.  I could do another plaid overblouse  or jacket, and I could also try a dress.... Hard to know as these plaid squares are big.  I was thinking of another coat as I have a black wool skirt and have black as sleeves and yoke and plaid as body (starting at armpits as opposed to bust in the photo below), and keeping the neckline round - and then I am thinking - o dear - another coat..........................


The skirt panels measure  120cm x 80cm (80cm is the grainline) x 2 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

butterick 5603 - the go-to dress

butterick 5603
This has really got to be the 'go -to' to dress.  I have seen it made up on other blogs and all styles and sizes are lovely.  My preferred variations are on the Julia Bobbins blog, and she also has an enviable figure and each version is stunning on her.  I was thinking of trying one of her adaptions, but I thought I best to just make it up as-is first, and then see if the straighter skirt would suit later.  I really like the waist definition on this pattern, it just flows beautifully.  I have a bit of a pet-hate with some waist seams on ready-to-wear dresses, they don't suit a lot of people, regardless of age or shape, and if you have a long or short back, or sway back, they will sit all wrong. 
butterick 5603 - the go to dress

I had made a version (or toile) of the dress from a bed sheet, and the shape so so so  flattering  - this version is a bit bland and probably trim etc could lift it, I don't think I will be trimming it, and have figured it could make a swanky set of PJs.  The shape of the dress was sufficiently fab for me to be on the look out for some fabric  because I really like the wider skirt .  There was no way was I going to get the cut from an upcycle, so I got some grossgrain on a mark-down (and later found flaws - ick) and went with that.  Its cotton grossgrain, so has a lot of body and limited give on the straight and too much on the bias.  I thought I would try bodice A as I like boat-neck, but I didn't like it for this dress, and there was enough fabric for Bodice B.  I think if I was using bodice A again, I would also omit the v back - and not because it was a messy facing to do either!)
butterick 5603 - the go to dress

Everything was pretty straightforward, although I think the bodice could have done with a better form of facing than lining in this instance, but its minor. I used the flash on the camera for two of the photos so the fabric looks a bit glossier than it is. My partner, James, thinks the bows look fiddly/silly, but I love them! I feel a bit like a walking 1950's pattern illustration wearing the dress, so that can't be a bad thing either.  Anyway, as the orange Pauline dress made its way to a friends wardrobe, this is my christmas party dress........ and I am well happy!

Friday, 28 November 2014

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remake a coat to a coat

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat
When I saw this coat - I was so pleased as there is a lot of fabric, so I probably overlooked both the fabric quality and a few stains (the trims of leather in it seemed to have put the original owner of cleaning it!)  The original coat  very much of its time, with lapels and different fastenings, the lining was anchored, as opposed to bagged (it was curious to see all the hidden bits of sewing and detail).  I took the coat apart and brushed it well, and steamed the pieces heavily with the iron and laundered the lining (I had decided to reuse it, as it wasn't too bad and I couldn't find a shade like it easily).

When the pattern was laid out, as usual there was compromise, the front of the coat was nearly on the straight so I lost a bit of space there, as the button detail tab on top used up extra fabric space.  The full sleeve would not fit, so I would have to take a chance with a cuff.  I was sure everything would fit, but I completely forgot about the underarm section. This just about fitted, but then the pocket seam would be tight.  I had thought if there was enough fabric that I could make it the original length which is mid calf, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it especially as there is only one button, so I decided on a finished length of 90cm/36", as this length is good with trousers.  In the illustration, the coat looks shorter than it is, the actual length of the coat is about 30cm/12" longer - mid-calf. In the end, I had to put a cuff on the sleeve to get the length, a small inset for the pocket recess, and shorten the coat overall.  
McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat

I interfaced all the sections, in the original coat, the fabric was supposed to drape so only the front was interfaced and the back interlined.   This coat is a wool cashmere mix (45% cashmere!) I don't think it was best quality cashmere and for that matter, wool, and also the patch pockets had left marks on the front, so i was also wondering if it would clean up sufficiently for a public outing!


The sleeve heads were very uncooperative this time around (as opposed to the jacket), and I was progressively getting more and more suspicious of the 'less than lovely' quality of this fabric, to the point of I didn't know who was having the attitude over ease, me or the fabric.  it was only when the coat was at the lining stage, I decided to try and match them once more and curved the point (the design element) on the rhs so it matched the other.  I don't know how noticeable the difference is, but I suppose if I can see it, then it will always bug me.

It was only when the coat was finished I realised I could have and should have inserted the sleeves  in on the flat, and then sewn the sleeve seam and shoulder seam as one.  I wore the coat out to lunch to 'road test' it.  Its a nice warm coat and worked well with a black polo and jeans.   I am also considering taking the sleeve off and re-doing if it is going to get out more, and will wait till the marks on the front (where the pockets were) become less noticeable (or see if they will).  
McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remake coat to a coat

There was only one real issue and that was when we left the cafe, some big droplets of rain fell from the awning outside on to the coat and it soaked immediately and made the coat look very stained, the marks dried and disappeared off in 20 minutes but looked so so grubby when it was wet - and as it rains a lot here, I was wondering on the practicalities.  The coat was fine when it drizzled so I don't know if somehow this coat was washed with detergent of some sort to make it so absorbent? or if this can happen anyway with camel shades ...... coat is now resting in my wardrobe for a few weeks and I will steam it again to see if the pile lifts up from where the pockets were, if it does, then I think I will consider re-setting sleeves...........

Saturday, 22 November 2014

pillar to post, cardigan to poncho

Some years ago, I learned how to crochet properly.  and the one thing about crochet, for me at least is, it instills patience, and shows that all mistakes can be undone.  Another nice thing about crochet is that you are making the garment and fabric up at the same time and if you crochet in the round, you can try on as you go and wear when you do the last stitch!  

Crochet turned out to be easier than I thought, the big bit is learning to hold the yarn correctly, its like the tension control of a sewing machine, (thanks to Collette Burke for showing me that) and after mastering that and the chain stitch, my sister Eithne (a left handed crochet-er) showed me the double and treble stitch - all you need is to know are the 2 stitches, and everything else is a variant after that.  

I was very precious of all pieces crocheted at first but over time, if I didn't wear them, they were frogged and remade to something else,all garments becoming functional storage for yarn!  It is not to difficult to unmake a homemade item, but its a bit trickier to undo a store bought, so I rarely try.  When I saw this cardigan in the charity shop I was drawn to the quality of the yarn , the cardigan was a bit pulled in places, and also.had a stain, but when you unravel yarn, these parts can be taken out then.  This cardigan yarn was quite luxurious being a mix of cotton, silk and linen, so it would drape well (cotton) and have some warmth to it (silk) and yet have a coolness (linen) - the best of all three, so worth a try.  


It came apart well enough, there was some yarn lost due to a strange stain on sleeve that didn't come out.  The cardigan was machine knitted with two shades of yarn (you can see there is a small piece beside the balls of yarn), the darker yarn stayed at the front and the lighter to the back so when it unravelled, I got the two yarns together so its more of a tweed effect.  I could have split them back into two, but that would have halved the amount so I thought the tweed would be fine for a multi-functioning poncho wrap, and perfect for my sister Eithne who is blond and suits these shades, and also dislikes wool (in scarves as they can be scratchy), and likes the drape of cotton, and has some very early morning starts this winter.


so with the help of buttons,  its now a shrug, poncho, cardigan, scarf combo.....................the photos below were taken in natural light, so are slightly darker, whereas the ones on top were taken with flash so are lighter.  the silk in the yarn reflects light easily.


Pattern Download - Click on    pillar to post    to download -please note this pattern is a first draft.  I have put it in chart format as I prefer charts. I have done some small charts of the pattern, and not the full thing, so you can increase the diamond pattern to the amount you would prefer.  There are written instructions for the charts on the last page.
 .

Saturday, 15 November 2014

the dreamstress deco echo - scarf to top

the dreamstress deco echo - upcycle scarf to top

the dreamstress deco echo - upcycle scarf to top


Strictly speaking this was not a scarf to a top, but it was an intended scarf/wrap and then it languished in the stash.

I had seen this blouse/top a few times on line while I was looking up 1930ls blouses and came across this lovely site - The dreamstress.

It is a very effective pattern for using up small amounts of 'precious fabric'.  I had a metre of tie dyed silk devore, and I had cut in half along the centre as at one time I intended to make a wrap (this has been in the 'curated'  stash for over 10 years - good grief).  I used the devored half to make this top. (the other half will be a  used for a smocked top - I hope).  

Its a cute top, and as its made from rectangles - pretty quick to assemble - which is a nice change as I seem to have found some lengthy projects lately which are taking longer than they should!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

issey miyake - one and one more (dress to a top)


issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats

There are so many brilliant blogs online, and some many tallented makers, more often than not, I want to ditch what I am making and make what they have shown, and this happened after I saw the Issey Miyake top some time ago on Handmade by Carolyn..  The fact that it wears well tucked in and out, was a bonus, and it had an effortless quality about it.  I wasn't sure it it would suit me, but it had such a simple look, I figured it was worth a go.  

I made the blue top some time ago,   It was an inexpensive polyester, and has a peach-skin finish.  I top stitched the folds, as in Carolyn's blog, and while it was tedious, it is also very practical.  It launders a dream, the top photographed on mannequin is just out of laundry with no ironing.  It is incredibly comfortable to wear (and I would agree with Carolyn comment of it looking very 'arty'), and I have worn it a lot, and thought it could be good to try and make up another, my sister had commented that the front opening would look better if the opening was not as low down, and I also had the tension a bit tight on the top stitched pleats. 


issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats





 When I re-read the post from Carolyn's blog, and read the comments,  one comment mentioned permanent pleating and showed a photo of her own pleating (which looked amazing), so I decided I would make another one with no top stitch in silk (bit risky on silk as it seems its not the easiest to perma-pleat)


I had a purple silk dress to refashion.  Its a dress I got years ago, and haven't worn for a long time, so thought it would make a good candidate for another top.Basically it is a pinafore style dress with soft pleats at top and each side of the dress was the exact amount of fabric I needed for top!
issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats

I made the purple top, hemmed, and put the front and back opening on each side, basted the pleats and pressed them (see below), I bar-tacked the pleats and did the side seams, the shoulder seam, and removed the basting.  The pleats move so beautifully and the fall of the pleats work so well, and really shows the fabric at it's best.  I am now trying to find an excuse to make another polyester top with permanent pleats, as in the 'pleat test' this came up the best.  


The Pleating

issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats

The solution I used is about 50:50 vinegar to water.   After basting,  I spritzed the silk well, put a press cloth over and spritzed that, and pressed till dry, and repeated.  Both pieces were done flat on a folded duvet cover on the kitchen table, and both pieces were left for a few hours resting after pressing.  I did a quick press the following day on a polyester scrap and silk scrap - they got half the treatment of the silk and then only rested for 10 minutes before being gently hand washed .  The polyester held the crease very well (i gave a final press at a high temperature), the silk not so well, but the crease marks could be seen, which meant they could be placed back while the silk was damp.  (As I tend to spot clean/hand wash and steam clean silk - bought a whirlpool steam clean unit years ago, probably indulgent at the time, but after having it for more than 10 years, its brilliant - I figure the purple top should be easy enough to maintain?


Saturday, 1 November 2014

felted school jumper to toasty toes

Some years ago, some school jumpers in my sister's house got a bit too small too fast, my sister sourced another school jumper with less wool content (no wool), and I said that I would make something out of the felted ones - 4 years ago..... and I finally have.


make pair of slippers from felted jumper




I tried out some slipper patterns, and found a very good tutorial online (link here).  The first pair I used a school jumper and the sole was more jumper, 2 layers of curtain interlining, and a mock suede upholstery swatch I was also given a long time ago.   The tutorial online, the maker used some wool insulation, which looked brilliant, but I haven't a clue where it could be got. 


make pair of slippers from felted jumper




These slippers were too light!  My toes were frozen, so I had to up the ante, especially a my old slippers I had been wearing were falling apart.  But when I looked at the old slippers I noticed they had a plastic-y underlay type layer in them, so slippers #2 had extra linings and underlay.  
make pair of slippers from felted jumper





Slippers #2 are super cosy, there is a layer of wool, interlining, underlay and suede and they are also wool lined.  As the soles were getting a bit thick, I machine stitched an outline on the base to keep all layers in place before I sewed uppers and soles together.  I blanket stitched one and machine stitched the other. The blanket stitched ones are probably more comfortable but now that I am wearing them I notice the difference less and less.  The became incredibly comfortable incredibly quickly and they are now the slippers I wear.




I was explaining to my nephew Alex how I had made slippers from old jumpers on the phone. Alex (10) was very skeptical so I asked if he wanted a pair, and slippers #3 are for him - I used some of slipper#1 so I would have 2 monograms (on very obviously off),  lined in the plaid from last weeks overblouse, and an extra layer of wool in the sole (so that is 2 layers wool, one underlay, one interlining, and one mock suede sole) should be super cosy.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Simplicity 3636 - plaid skirt to plaid over blouse

I have now decided that overblouses are the best ever......... now that winter is coming, and jumpers are beckoning, an overblouse is a lot smarter (than some of my jumpers anyway) and I just love the pockets.  The style of this overblouse is not unlike a 'kinsale smock' (or fishermans smock), and its perfect 'transitional' wear, when its too warm for a jacket, but too cool to not wear one.  I had hoped to use up a red plaid from stash but there wasn't enough (but I have a plan for that) so I decided to use the plaid from a pleated wool skirt I got a long long time ago, adored the colours but couldn't think of what to do with it. 

Plaid is a tricky one.  Its not the hardest to match off once you decide where the match points should be, but when its off - its really off  (the last worst match plaid I saw was 'Wolf of Wall st', Leonardo diCaprio's Prince of Wales suit).  When learning factory cutting, we had to do plaids, and cut them in layers of 20 plus careful laying and planning is key and then it should all work out fine.  I cut this top on the fold, but I can understand some people prefer to cut plaid on one layer only, the reason I don't is that I am more afraid of cutting 2 left fronts or something by forgetting to turn pattern pieces over.
simplicity 3636 plaid skirt upcycle refashion to plaid blouse


I decided to put the main dark stripe as centre, as this gave the most fabric and I suppose 'technically correct for plaid' , however the side seams would be three square sides but it looked fine at that so I cut in. 

So when I was cutting this, I matched my centre front and centre back lines at the same plaid point for the vertical and then worked up from hem lines, checking then, the underarm match lines and the lines at the shoulder each side of the neck.  As this was a simple cut, this was straight forward enough but I had to pin it plenty for sewing to make sure the squares didn't stray.   

So after all of this, I must have been a bit slap dash with darts and then one of my darts was slightly off, and fixing a slightly off dart is a lot more difficult than fixing the one that is miles off!  (and ironically you could spot the slightly off dart a mile off). 
simplicity 3636 plaid skirt upcycle refashion to plaid blouse

The buttons were from the button tin, originally from black coat .... .  I was going to include a collar, but the collar for this was designed to sit flat, and it looked a bit off, if there was sufficient fabric I may have tried one that stood up a bit, in the end, I used the collar as the facing.
skirt upcycle to long sleeve tee



I made a long-sleeve-tee to wear underneath - its a funnel neck.  I did a basic pattern draft for it, and used a viscose jersey skirt -the weight and drape of this fabric was divine.  Its was very quick, draft, sew, wear and I will be making more of these. 



Friday, 17 October 2014

and now for something completely different - replacing an irish dancing dress skirt

There are few things I know about Irish dancing dresses,  

1 -they are an acquired taste, 
2 -solo dresses are very very expensive even second-hand, and 
3 - I now also know that it is worth getting the dance instructors opinion before you commit to buying a dress.  


replacing the skirt of an irish dancing dress
The dress was bought second hand and it pretty much fitted my niece Donna,  so the deal was done, and then shown to her dance teacher.  The dance teacher wasn't crazy about the dress (understatement) and said the skirt  definitely 'had to go', 

My sister Eithne, suggested to the dance teacher could she just get her sister (me) to do it and the teacher (horrified) said that doing dance dresses is not like regular dressmaking and they should look for the a person who did dance dresses..................... which was fine, except it was difficult (impossible) to find someone to alter a dress they didn't make, and I said I would give it a go if they were stuck, stuck they were, so I got to do the dress, and then I got a bit (lot) nervous!

My sister had gotten the loan of another dress for me to inspect how they were made, and there was a big difference, as this dress was made by someone with future alterations in mind, whereas Donna's dress wasn't (Donna's dress is a manufactured one which is done in pieces and then skirts matched to varying styled bodices, and then decorated, which is effective for the manufacturer but not for the alteration, as among other things, the crystal decoration at the end of the bodice and the embroidery meant that the skirt would also be hand sewn back on).  We were also changing the style of the skirt, which with hindsight was foolhardy at best.

I cut the skirt, and underskirt, the underskirt took 7 metres of net which then had to have 7 metres of bias binding cut from the skirt fabric, pressed, and sew on.  The underskirt was probably the most actual work, whereas the overskirt was the fiddliest, and the scariest!  The original idea was to go with gathers, but they would not behave correctly so I  made them into soft pleats.  If I knew this ahead, I would most definitely have done it differently I would have done the soft pleats and machine sewn them down to just before the bodice join.  Its hard to know really as I fitted the skirt in the way the manufacturer originally had it (it was an actual skirt at a few inches up from bodice seams at sides and one inch up from bodice seam at front - , but as I changed the amount of fabric in the skirt so it was harder to 'control'.  The fabric is a dance fabric, its not satin and won't take a crease, and happily springs back into shape whether you want it to or not, but has an iridescent shine with orange running through, and is very light, so it was vilene backed.  The pink in the group photos is the correct shade.  
replacing the skirt of an irish dancing dress


In the end, it ultimately has worked out fine, and it was a steep learning curve for me, and it seems to have gotten the dance teachers approval - so alls well that ends well (except I have volunteered to make a new solo dance dress for next year................ oops!) 


Friday, 10 October 2014

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, coat to jacket

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket


About 6 months ago, I  was in a charity shop and spotted a coat for 2euro. now this particular coat was - a dated cut(huge shoulders), dated colour (green), and dated buttons (they were everywhere), but it was also wool cashmere and that started me on thinking about the challenge of refashioning these coats - the quality of the fabric was brilliant, and wool is a nice obliging fabric to sew - (having said that, if I was asked 10 years ago to recut a coat or suit, I would have run a mile) Now,  when I say these coats, I do mean plural, it became a slight digression (obsession)  for a few weeks and I ended up with 6 coats, 1 black, 2 navy, 1 bottle green, 1 fawn, 1 camel.  At this point I was also thinking I should start sewing or draw a halt, so I took one coat apart, got a bit overwhelmed, and thought I would work up some smaller projects, and then revisit the idea, which as it happens is how this blog evolved - these coats. 

And then I spotted this Pauline Trigere pattern on etsy,how could I not?


McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket
When I  took apart the black coat, there was a lot less fabric that i thought.  the extreme shoulder shaping was helped in part by inconvenient (to me) darts.  I got the jacket cut from it though, and only was compromised by back facing which was cut across, but then wool is so obliging!  

Sewing it was relatively straight forward.  the original coat  was interfaced in most parts and I managed to keep the interfaced pieces to the back and front, but part of the back sleeve had some at the seam, so I added some to the other sleeve to balance it - I should have interfaced whole piece, it makes little difference but if i was doing it again, this I would do (and now that I have typed it, I am wondering why I didn't) .  The nice curve detail in the sleeves worked out beautifully, they were set in and sit at the shoulder and the neckline is wide, it feels a bit like a wearing a cape, and not unlike the matching dress, the cut of dress and jacket seem to ensure correct posture when you wear them.   I was able to flat construct the lining sleeves, as the sleeve head would be hand stitched to the facings.  

I probably got a bit too confident and also wanted to have it finished that evening so I went straight in to the buttonhole - the only buttonhole - and even while I was doing it, something felt amiss....... I tried it on after, and there it was, the buttonhole was on the left, and then for some really really odd reason, I thought I could fix that later, and I would put the button hole in the other side - which I did, crooked and out too far - so I left it for a few days......



McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket

I decided that poppers were the best alternative, and made a bow to cover one buttonhole and put a strip over the inside one.  All in all, it looks fine, and I would love to say this is the one and only time I have gotten left, right, wrong side, right side mixed up but I will get to do it all again when I get to make the coat version!

Friday, 3 October 2014

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Dress skirt to dress

This is the most expensive pattern I have ever bought! ..... and I am beginning to be a fan of Pauline Trigere.  I also love coats so thought at least this was a 3 for 1 pattern.  I also thought I would do the dress first as it was probably easier than jacket/coat.(not so famous last words)

The bodice takes up a little bit more fabric than you would think (or I would think), so getting the right fabric, with right amount from a secondhand piece of clothing was the next hurdle (as in the pile of stuff on the chair beside mannequin).  I did have an orange wrap skirt 100% viscose which I did first and then a blue silk wrap skirt as the next one.

I made the pattern to the envelope size, even though I am size or two larger on hips (classic pear).  The skirt fits me - but just about.  I thought if I made it to the envelope size it would give a truer indication of design, and then either i could finish for someone else to wear or use the fabric for something else.  

The orange dress has the perfect weight for the dress, and ultimately the only issue I had were the facings - I used interfacing on autopilot where I shouldn't have, and they did not fit as well (I cheated and used a seam on centre back and front).  Straps are still pinned on as the facings will be redone.
Pauline Trigere Dress, McCalls 7530, remake a skirt to dress


The dress is flat-lined which is something I have never done before (strangely enough), and it gave good weight and form  to the bodice, which is a simple but a very effective cut.  The fit of the bodice is great especially when you consider there are only 2 darts used.  There is a short underskirt underneath, and a waist stay.   The skirt has a small amount of gathers so I thought up-sizing would be little issue and if anything should be easier as there would be more fabric to gather in larger size.
mccalls 7530 pauline trigere refashion skirt to dress

The blue dress is a light silk (so I starched it plenty before I started!).  The interfacing went on easily by stretching the bodice, and I decided I would also add the pockets for this dress (so handy).   I am still undecided about the blue dress as the silk is so light I now think I could have used a heavier lining fabric, whereas the weight of the orange dress is perfect.  I am unsure also about the extra gathers and wonder if soft pleats could work better.......................  so I didn't hem this one yet either!





Saturday, 27 September 2014

Ann Adams 4602 - duvet to dress

Ann Adams 4602  - upcycle duvet to dressI had been looking at this pattern for a while and I love wrap-arounds, skirts, dresses, tops -  The duvet had two lovely faded shades and the blue over-lock edge suited so to include this detail in  the dress I made some with blue piping with bias from some blue scrap I had and and yarn (which I made into piping cord by zig zagging a few lengths of 4 ply together and then covering with the blue bias strip)


Ann Adams 4602  - upcycle duvet to dress



I wanted to see if lining and or making it reversible would work - it didn't really as it was too heavy, and the fit of the dress is not a snug as i would like.  The curved back looks attractive but it has 'nowhere to go' or be attached to, I think the straps and curve could be altered here.  I am thinking of trying something similar in time and shaping the back differently - I would also shape the front bodice a bit better as it is made for a more matronly bust, what I really liked though was the skirt as it has a kick out in the front seam and gives great flare.............   

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Simplicity 1178 halters and weskits - from pillowcase to halterneck

More pillowcases to tops.  I did some rough sews of these two as I liked the look of the halter.  The cream halter has a low back and the blue halter/weskit has none!  I did make up a halter for a friend since and brought the back up more, so to allow for bra.  Cute pattern, ends at waist so it needed to be adapted for contemporary wear - I just lengthened the sides and darts.  The blue halter is similar to a temporary beach top you can fashion from scarves but has nicer shaping, again, would work very well adapting into a dress in a 1940s style.................

remake upcycle pillowcase to halterneck simplicity 1178

Butterick 2704 - pillowcase to top


butterick 2704 upcycle pillowcase to blouse


Butterick 2704 -so much in one pattern.  I have made the coat, top, beach dress, and trews (so only skirt, shorts, and jacket to go). 





I saw these 2 pillowcases, and adored the vivid design, what I hadn't factored, was that the design and grain would not run true to each other, and in order to get the cut from the pillowcase I had to sew the pillowcase halves together and work with what I got, its really only near the hem the design join wavers and it is (I hope) barely visible.  In fairness, this was the only problematic bit, the rest was a breeze.  The top has no fastenings, but a wide neckline, and the hem is just below waist, and is fully lined, so no facings - very cute but needs a lower hemline (or complimentary fabric added on?) if worn with jeans as it is a bit short.
butterick 2704 upcycle pillowcase to blouse