Category Archives: Thrifting

Bird of Paradise Shirt Refashion

It’s another “I love this print” refashion.

I knew which thrift store shirt I wanted to make over to wear this spring.  The soft rayon print has big bird of paradise flowers and also a background of vertical blue stripes.  I like it even in its original XL size as an overshirt, although that armhole depth is super deep.

I used New Look 6598, the view on the bottom right with a collarless v-neck and short sleeves, for my pattern pieces. I like the way this style of shirt looks like a jacket.

I had to place the front piece in the best spot to use the existing button placket.  The problem that resulted was a large space in the middle of the bust with no buttons.  If I were sewing a shirt from scratch, a button would be placed at the fullness of the bust to prevent gaping.

What to do?  Lean closer and I’ll tell you: I sewed a secret button.

location of secret buttonhole

I sewed a buttonhole between the buttons and a button on the inside of the shirt on the buttonhole side of the placket. It is invisible when buttoned as the button is on the wrong side of the shirt.

I remembered seeing this technique on Handmade Jane’s blog. It works well, although my shirt should have more ease over the bust.

I sewed bust darts, and omitted the waist contour darts and the back tie. The v-neck was a little awkward so I also added the tiny neck button from the original shirt at the top of the shirt for more coverage.

 

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No Fuss Quick Raglan Tee

I got out of the habit of sewing after the holidays, and didn’t plug my machine back in until January 20th.

After writing my 2018 Make Nine list to get me motivated, I decided to start with an easy tee.  I had taped the free pattern by It’s Always Autumn together previously. Then on a windy Saturday I cut and sewed to completion my first raglan! This was my first ever one day project, and after this instant gratification I understand the allure of sewing with knits.

I wanted to make the baseball jersey type of shirt and found a XL tee for the body and a size small for the sleeves.

I find using the fabric from thrift store tee shirts to be a cheap and practical way of sourcing knit fabric.

I made a few small changes to the pattern taking away 1/2 inch from the length of the raglan, and adding 1/2 inch to the hip.  I used a rotary cutter which made cutting the bodice front, back, and sleeves so quick and easy.  I cut the elbow length sleeves.

I put in a stretch needle and sewed with a zigzag width of approximately 1.5 width and a 2.5 length. I have a manual machine, so I’m just twisting a dial.

I love Autumn’s method of attaching the neck band.  Instead of measuring the neck and using a mathematical calculation to figure out the length of the band, I simply stretched and pinned the unjoined band to the neck, and sewed it together where it meets in the back.

Another no fuss technique I used was to bypass the double needle. Instead I used the same zigzag stitch to hem the sleeves and top stitch around the neck. No changing the thread either.

I loved this sporty look so much I decided to do it again!

This time I cut the shirt tail hem of the pattern, and short sleeves.

This shirt would look more dressy made in one fabric, but I was enjoying coming up with the color combinations too much to stop.  I didn’t buy any new tees;  I was working with the colors I already had on hand.

These shirts already feel like old favorites.  They’re a hit!

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?

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

 

Vintage Embroidered Pillowcases

I bought a set of pillowcases for $1 each at the thrift store.  They aren’t quite plain; they are stamped with a sweet design of a girl in a heart of flowers.

One of the reasons I think the pillowcases are vintage is that the fabric looks old and  feels like 100% cotton.  The pillowcases don’t have any tags, and the inside seams look different from modern cases.  The style of the design also looks like it’s from the 1950s or 60s.

What floss colors would you use?  I got out all my variegated pinks for the flowers.

I put tissue paper between the hoop halves to protect the fabric, and then tore it away from the center.

I embroidered back stitches, lazy daisies, and french knots.

I decided on a single ply black thread for the outline of her skin.  While I was stitching her, I thought she looked like a lamb with hooves.

I had a little bit of what knitters call second sock syndrome after finishing the first.  I changed the color of her dress for the second one.

 

Tastes have changed since these were sold. Do these pretty ladies have a place in the modern world?  I admit that I folded the pillowcases and stored them away after finishing them.

Would they still be considered vintage even though they’re newly embroidered?

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Button Front Denim Skirt Refashion

I found some great 1970s skirt patterns at my small neighborhood thrift store.

I also bought this long button front denim skirt with pockets there.  I want the basic a-line shape of the first pattern but this time I’m taking a shortcut using this secondhand garment.

Look closer:  I’m not wearing it!  I’m just holding it up to my waist because the skirt waist is itty-bitty tiny and mine no longer is.

So I cut out the pockets and snipped all the way across to get rid of the tiny top which left the skirt with a huge waist.  I unpicked the hem just at the side seams and cut my new a-line shape keeping the width at the bottom and narrowing at the waist to a just right size.

Before sewing, I switched to a denim needle on my machine. I added two darts front and back.  I struggled with reattaching the pockets.  They had a long opening like side seam pockets but they were inset pockets folded over.

Sometimes it can be easier sewing from scratch than trying to figure out how to rework something.

On to the waistband, which I cut, interfaced, folded over, and sewed on.  I attached bias binding to the raw edge.

The last step: making a new buttonhole on the waistband.  The top buttonhole is horizontal, and the rest are vertical.  A horizontal button is more secure, and can take more stress.

I finished by top stitching the top and bottom of the waistband.

And there you have it : a basic casual classic  to wear about town.  Like this:

I feel like an editor for a fashion magazine setting up an outfit shot.  The little patchwork denim purse is also thrifted.

How I wore it:

Or as worn with another of the kimono sleeve tees I made from a big thrifted tee shirt.  The tee is actually a pretty aqua shade but the sun is bleaching the color out in the photo.