The I Love This Fabric Refashion

I don’t do much thrift shopping anymore, but I still have a pile of clothes for refashioning possibilities.

There was less fabric than you might think to work with in this size small rayon dress with a shirred top and high-low hem.  I almost left it behind, but I loved the two tone print.

Because it was truly small, I didn’t cut it apart at the side seams because I was afraid it would become too narrow at the bust and hips when resewn.

As the photo shows, I simply cut off the top, cut a scoop for the neckline, cut down 10 inches for armholes, sewed the shoulders, and cut a new hem.  I finished the neck and armholes with ready made bias binding.  I needed every bit of length for the front, which is a little shorter than I would like.   I didn’t add any dart shaping so it’s free flowing from the bust and hangs away from my body. I like the longer back.

This refashion was completed last year.  Next up, my first project in 2018.  I finished something in January from my make nine list! Can you guess which one?

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A Look Back and On To 2018

As I was thinking about what projects I wanted to work on in 2018, I made a collage from 2017:

A few haven’t been finished, and a few are unblogged.

Lucky Lucille hosts the make nine challenge on Instagram and has very helpful questions to consider when choosing your projects. I’ve seen a lot of make nine collages for 2018, but my list is a little different.  It’s more general and individualized, so no photos.

For quite some time, I’ve had in my mind a desire to make two hybrid projects, blending sewing with embroidery, and with crochet.   These are hard to get started on, because some planning, experimentation,  and decision making are needed first.  Summer sewing is always in my queque, throw in some embroidery, and a few little projects, and that’s it.

I’ve never made a proper button-down shirt with a collar with a collar stand, so I might attempt one to expand my sewing skills, even if it’s a sleeveless shirt.

  1. embroidered blouse
  2. crochet yoke tee
  3. summer pants
  4. raglan tee
  5. embroidered kitchen towels
  6. basket quilt from previously embroidered square
  7. refashion (I know, so vague)
  8. button shirt, maybe with collar
  9. Christmas sewing

So, you might see these projects completed and blogged this year….or maybe not.

Do you make these kind of lists?

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas Sewn Up

I was sorry when my neighborhood little thrift store closed at the end of last year.  I had found lots of old patterns, fabric, and clothes to refashion there.

There were some boxes of stuff for free out front, and like a parting gift, I came home with a pile of Christmas fabrics.  They are mostly printed panels which makes for quick projects.  Every year I plan on making a project or two.

This year I made pillow covers and a stocking.

How cute and festive are this doe and buck?

I paired them with this thrifted corduroy fabric and two red zippers from my stash.

This was my first time making zippered pillows.  I used this tutorial from Design Sponge to get going on the sewing.

I shortened the zippers, and prepared to sew them in the bottom of the pillow. The idea is to make the zipper a few inches shorter than the side of the pillow, sew the little bit at the start and end of the seam, changing to a basting stitch for the length of the zipper.  Then I pressed this seam open, and centered the zipper on it. In hindsight (ha!) I would have put some fabric glue to keep the zipper in place over the seam and prevent shifting while sewing both sides of the zipper down.  Next I unpicked the basting stitches to open the zipper. To finish, simply leave the zipper partially open for turning and sew the other three sides.

I didn’t bother to buy pillow forms.  Instead I just put these on two 16 inch couch pillows I already had.  Very convenient! I also like that they’re not overstuffed like the pillow form I used last year for my quilted tree pillow because the flatter surface is better for showing the design.

A stocking  shape was printed on Reindeer Tales fabric.  I only had to cut out the two sides and sew.  I also added a white craft sherpa fur that I doubled for the top of the stocking and used to make a hanging loop.  The stocking is huge and won’t hang right unless it’s stuffed with tissue to keep its shape, but it’s cute as a gag stocking for someone who has been very good!

This photo shows the vast size of the stocking.

 

Both the corduroy and faux sherpa created annoying bits of fuzz all over the place.  I made liberal use of a lint roller to keep my work surface clean.

Thank you to my model, Sparky, for making these projects look better.

I wish you happy holidays, happy sewing and making, and to all a good night!

TNT Tee Slashed

The monthly theme for the Sewcialists blog this November is TNT patterns. TNT stands for “tried ‘n’ true”.  They are the patterns that you have adjusted the fit on and can quickly make up multiple times.

I made the Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark for the fourth time.  The pattern is free when you sign up for her newsletter.  It is a basic tee with an extended shoulder providing some coverage without having to insert sleeves.

I made the first three using the fabric from thrifted X-large men’s tee shirts. The white one has a curly lettuce hem on the sleeves and bottom. I made them in a size large, changed the neckline to be less wide, dropped the shoulder 1/2 inch, and added 1/2 in to the hip.

I have been wanting to try a color blocked version.  I was inspired by Bust Your Scraps on Sew Everything Blog, and Shop Your Stash on Wendy Ward’s blog.

I had a thrifted piece of knit fabric I bought for 50 cents that I wanted to combine with some black knit fabric I already had.  The dotted black and white fabric is a little dizzy but I thought it would be perfect as an accent fabric.

I pondered some possibilities.

I went with #2 as I was already smitten with Wendy’s striped and solid version, and had saved it in my Pinterest likes.

When I first started sewing I thought place-on-fold pattern pieces which look like half pattern pieces were weird.  I wanted to draw out the other side too.  Well, to make  the front of my color blocked top, I did just that.  Then I drew my slash line and added a 1/2 in seam allowance.

This knit fabric was harder to sew than the tee shirt jersey I had used before.  It was stretchier.  I don’t know but I’m guessing it may have some lycra or spandex content.  At first I thought it might be interlock, but it curls.  Jersey curls, and it curls to the right side of the fabric.

I didn’t know which way to orient the fabric for cutting and I didn’t have selvedges to give me a clue.  I read a few refresher articles referenced below.  I cut the tee out with a rotary cutter with the greatest stretch going horizontally across the body.  I switched to a ballpoint needle, put on the walking foot, and sewed with a zigzag stitch of roughly 1 and 1/2 to 2  stitch length and width.  I also made a binding strip which I sewed to the right side of the tee’s neckline.

So good so far.

Then I put in my stretch twin needle for the hemming and top stitching.

Yikes!  The  tunneling was so extreme it looked like I had a piping cord in there.  I decreased my tension, but the tunneling was still noticeable.  I was planning on top stitching the shoulders and the diagonal seam but decided against it.  I have  gotten perfect results with the twin needle hemming on previous tees, so I assume my fabric was to blame.

Still, I love it!

 

It looks dressier than the other tees I have made.

It’s so striking on the hanger. What do you think of the asymmetrical look?

 

The articles I used for reference:

The Seasoned Homemaker – Intro to sewing knits

 Sewing with knits : the details

Lladybird – Conquering knits

Tilly and the buttons – How to cut knit fabric

  Sewing knit fabric on a regular sewing machine

 

A Sleepset and Other Things I Didn’t Like

I sewed a cami and shorts sleepset from a sheet.  I made the exposed bias binding from cotton fabric.  I made both top and bottom in a large size for comfort.

The camisole is the Sew Loft Diana cami pattern, formerly free, and still available from the link on the page.  It has a racer style back.  I had trouble with the joins of the bias tape, and it’s a little messy.  The center vee in the front was made from a continuous piece of bias tape and it doesn’t lay flat when worn.  For a sharp vee I think two separate pieces intersecting in the dip are needed.  I didn’t follow the pattern instructions for the bias binding.

the back view

The shorts are the the women’s pj shorts free pattern from Life Sew Savory.  I also applied the bias binding to the leg hems, and I changed the  waistband to a simple inserted elastic band. The fit in the backside is not roomy enough on me to be super comfortable like a bed item must be.  I didn’t make a sheet mock-up, because Iet’s face it, I was already just using a sheet!

So there are a few things wrong with the cami and shorts, but I learned I don’t need perfection for a garment to be wearable.

I just have to want to wear it!

And in this case, I don’t.

Why does that happen?  Sometimes it’s the style, sometimes it’s the fit, sometimes it’s the fabric or a combination of these.  Sometimes it’s just a feeling.

There are times that I make a muslin of a pattern, the fit is off, and I decide I don’t want to continue .  Other times I stall in the making of a garment; it’s not looking good and I don’t want to even try to fix it.  That was the case this summer with a knit dress I was working on, but abandoned.  It’s rarer for me to finish sewing an item, and realize it’s not for me.   Even though I made it for me – ha!

In this case it’s a combination of the fit and the fabric – it doesn’t feel nice enough to me.  In the future, for elastic waist shorts, I will use my basic pants block that I developed through fitting a muslin.  I used it for my gingham pants and 2 pairs of shorts that I love to wear.

I moved on to the tank top I’ve been wearing during this very hot October.  The tag is so off center it’s almost comical.

Not perfect.  But I like it!

 

 

 

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Last Tank of the Summer

This post has a deceptive title. Actually, it’s the first knit tank top I’ve ever made, and it’s not summer anymore.

I used McCalls 6846 which is for woven fabrics, and I also used another tank top for comparison.  I liked the cut-in shoulders on the back of view A.

I used the fabric from an XL tee shirt.  Size medium in the McCalls pattern matched up at the hips to the large size of the Kirsten Kimono Tee which fits me perfectly, but the side seam on the top part of the pattern was larger on the McCalls.

It gaped greatly under the arms so I had to keep taking it in.  That’s also my dilemma with ready to wear: having enough room for my bust while having a close enough fit in the underarm.  This is the fit on a Hanes small size tank I own:

It has sagged terribly!  I’m talking about the shirt, not my arm – ha.

I wear tank tops at home and to walk the dog twice a day for 6 or 7 months of the year, so I would like to be a little more presentable.

The seams were stitched with a zigzag stitch.  I used the  stretch double needle to topstitch over the neck and armhole seams.  I trimmed close to the seams on the inside of the shirt.

I didn’t cut the binding cut very straight, and the whole time I was making this I was wondering if it was going to work out, or be itchy around the binding.

And the verdict is: I like it!  I’m wearing it!  It fits!  It’s comfortable!

Before I made this tank, I worked on sewing a few things that didn’t work out.  Next post, I’ll share what I learned from this.

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Instagram and Summer Wrap-up

After reading the same few sewing blogs, I set out to broaden my horizons and discover other sewing bloggers and viewpoints.  Time for me to learn something new!

I read Saturday Night Stitch/Hila’s post about Instagram and decided to give it a try.  There’s lots going on in the sewing community on Instagram: #memademay, #sewphotohop, #sewcialists. Popular posts get hundreds of likes!  It’s a fantastic place if you like to look up makes of a pattern like I do:  there are 7,000 posts for #gingerjeans (a Closet Case pattern) and 4,000 posts for#monetadress (from Colette Patterns).

I like figuring things out but I was really thrown for a loop when I tried to set up my account.  I couldn’t even upload a profile picture from my computer.  It’s an app meant to be used on a smartphone.  I take some photos with my phone but not ones of me wearing my makes.

Google:  How do I post photos to Instagram from a desktop computer?  I learned that there is third party software available to install, and then I found out about Instapic, an app I could install on my Windows 8.1 computer.  Done!

I was able to upload my first post with a few hashtags added:

 

Looking around Instagram, I noticed many of the popular patterns this summer are shirtdresses, wide legged cropped pants, and tops with a boxy silhouette.  Linen is the fabric of choice, especially white or neutral shades of linen.

Which silhouette do you like to wear?  I usually wear a fitted style, and have even added my own contour darts to patterns.  I’d like to think I could have that effortless, minimalist, chic look wearing the boxy style like Ute.  In the past,  I’ve avoided that style thinking I’d look like a blob, but I’m willing to experiment.

I’m enjoying browsing, but I haven’t posted much.  I’m still thinking about what kinds of photos I want to post.  Maybe more of what I’m working on and what patterns or fabric I’ve bought.  Maybe some of the nature pics I like taking when I’m out walking.  Like these:

 

I was also inspired by Naomi Sews post on pattern storage, and her beautifully organized and color coded “popper wallets”.  In American-speak they are poly envelopes with snap closures.  I’m using more pdf patterns, and I’d been putting them in kitchen plastic baggies and then stuffing them in various places.  My order was delivered just before 8 pm, and I spent the next hour happily filling and organizing several of my new envelopes.

The envelope is transparent enough for me to see that I labeled the pattern wrong.

While writing and editing this post, the season officially changed from summer to fall, but I’m going to be stubborn and leave summer in the present tense.