The Refashioners 2018

The refashioners is every year the challenge, I mostly look forward to. Not only because for me is my chance to make something a little out of the ordinary but also to see all the wonderful creations of fellow sewists.  So far I have managed to participate once and my entry was only half of what I had envisioned. This year I followed a different approach, that of planning and starting early enough. Also trying not to overcomplicate my project.

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I made this Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress some years ago when the pattern was first released and I am ashamed to admit that I never wore, except to take photos for the blogpost. I had long decided, it was going to turn into a pencil skirt as there wasn’t enough fabric for anything else.

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When I made the Francoise dress, I used the leftover fabric to make a colour-blocked jacket, which you can see here. I liked the combination of the two fabrics and decided to repeat the colour-blocking for a skirt this time. The second piece of my refashion was a skirt I made around the same time following the tutorial by Cotton and Curls. This skirt was more fortunate and got a lot of wear, but it always felt a bit too short, so eventually it resided mostly inside my wardrobe.

 

One of the things that I love the most when it comes to sewing, is creating let’s say my own fabric by colour blocking or mixing prints. I know sometimes this yields pieces that a lot of people wouldn’t wear or wouldn’t know how to, but I feel I would probably die instantly if my clothes became too boring. For this refashion, I was hugely inspired by the work of Roksanda Ilincic and Fausto Puglisi. Looking at the fabric I had to play with I decided to to go with the dress and the yin-yang type of design.

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To avoid spending too much time with fitting, I used my tried and tested Lottie pencil skirt pattern, which came with an old issue of Love Sewing Magazine. I cut the pieces in stages, while laying them on the floor to see how I could actually recreate the design.

 

The suspicion, I didn’t have enough green fabric for the whole skirt, became a reality once the front of the skirt was lain on the floor. I’m always in denial when it comes to admitting, I don’t have endless supply of any desired fabric. At that point, I turned to my eternal inspiration Cate Blanchett who happened to be wearing this Roksanda Ilincic dress and decided the back of the skirt would be in the beige colour of the details on the front.

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I did a back pleat vent in green, so that everything was more coherent and also a green zipper, which I actually intended to make more visible than it is, in order to replicate that design feature of the original dress.

 

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Because I still had some leftover green fabric, I decided to go a little bit further and although I knew there wasn’t enough to make a dress, I thought maybe I could make a top.tempImageForSaveI unearthed another skirt, RTW this time, from the to be refashioned pile and used the Aimme Comme Marie Magelan pattern, which I had made a couple of times before.

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On the back I used a green strip of the darts part of the Francoise dress, which created a really nice effect, if I may say so. The ruffles of the skirt became ruffled sleeves.

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While finishing the above ensemble, I saw the below picture of the Marc Jacobs show and became slightly obsessed with this jacket. That was my chance to create something slightly crazier (because I mean the green skirt and top are quite normal haha)

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Two more garments came out of the pile in my closet, this time both RTW from H&M. The skirt is completely unwarned and have no idea what possessed me to buy it. The jacket, I’d say has served it’s time but never felt very comfortable or the right size. I wasn’t sad to lose either of them.

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I started again with the loved and tried a couple of times pattern the Jackie-O jacket, which again was free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine. My RTW garment was quite short and narrow to fit the whole pattern pieces, so I enhanced it by adding some faux leather from my stash.

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This particular process although quite time consuming, was good fun and I enjoyed the pattern puzzle I created. IMG_5995

The majority of the skirt was used to recreate the lapels, the cuffs and the facing inside.

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I used the sleeves of the original garment but tried to create a sort of a puff sleeve, in order to give more volume around the shoulders as per the original photo. However, I feel that it wasn’t a success. The buttons are from an old jacket and the bias tape around the lapels is the only thing I bought for this item.

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The back piece is mostly from the original garment with additional fabric on the shoulders. Perhaps this is more unconventional than the first refashion and maybe a bit costumy but I think it would make a great jacket to wear at a gig or with jeans and a t-shirt, with pop-corn on preferably.

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Sewing the scene: The Aviator

Last time sewing the scene was organised by The Unfinished Seamstress, the whole universe conspired against me to prevent me from participating. This year it did the same, but being determined to succeed, neither the hospital visit that knocked me out for two weeks, nor the nasty cold that followed it, were able to stop me.

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My inspiration image was the same as the previous time. A still of Cate Blanchett playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Somehow Cate Blanchett features very often in my inspiration boards. I guess I like slim, tall figures who have no resemblance to my own, haha. If only I could grow longer legs… That aside, I consider Cate Blanchett an incredible actress and one of the most stylish women that elevates any garment she wears.

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As you can see, I went for the faithful interpretation, with the golf bat and everything. I really liked the style of all the pieces and although I will probably not wear them all together as in the pictures, I think they are very useful individually. The jacket has definitely proven to be so. It was made by my grandma a bit over 40 years ago and my mum wore it over her dress at her wedding reception. I was planning to make a similar jacket for the challenge using burda jacket 06/2011 #115B by refashioning one of my partner’s jackets which was too small for him but quite big for me. I thought I could bleach the jacket so that it turns white-ish, but it only acquired a slightly pink hue, remaining otherwise unaffected, despite sitting in bleach for days. At that point 1) I was running out of time, 2) didn’t want to spend more money ( I can be very stingy at times) 3) decided it was highly unlikely I’d need another white jacket at this time of the year, 4) the existing one would work just as well in terms of achieving the style of the inspiration image.

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The shirt is the burda pleated blouse 01/2018 #118B in a cotton poplin brown polka dot. It was really hard to find the specific polka dot in a different fabric, without breaking the bank. This is great but it’s a bit stiff for this shirt and you can see it creating a bit of a bulk inside the pants. Nevertheless, a perfectly wearable shirt, which I think will look great with a pair of jeans.

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This is only the third shirt, I’ve ever made and the first one I’ve ever sewn with pin tucks. I have to admit that once more the burda instructions for this pattern required a bit of imagination. The original pattern has 3 pin tucks but I had to make 4 as I ended up with some excess fabric due to my bad maths. The buttons are also meant to be concealed but I decided against it, since I liked the exposed buttons of my inspiration image.  I think I could have gotten away with the smaller size too, as I feel this is a bit too buggy for my taste.

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The back of the shirt features the usual pleat and is much simpler than the front.

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I still find sleeve plackets quite intimidating but these turned out nicer than my previous ones. I did put the fabric on the wrong side out though, so I cut another piece of slightly smaller size to the original placket and sewed it on top. I quite like the effect it’s produced, with the wrong side of the fabric underneath, creating a frame around it.

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For the trousers I used my TNT pattern the Megan Nielsen flint pants, lengthened for to about 8cm to work well with heels too. I followed the tutorial on the blog to remove the release tucks and convert to a flat front.

The fabric is a poly crepe, which is bit shiny but has this gorgeous maroon colour. Again it was hard to find a fabric in a similar colour to the original image at an affordable price. It seems like good quality and I like the drape and flow of it. This is by far my mostly made and worn pattern. You can see it here and I’ve also made a linen version, which hasn’t been blogged yet.

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‘Howard, we’re not like everyone else. Too many acute angles. Too many eccentricities.’

 

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Pulmu Skirt with a twist

I am not the one to give up on a project. Once I start something, I am determined to finish it, no matter how many times I use my seam ripper, no matter how many needles I break, no matter how many consecutive nights I sit on my table turn the sewing machine on and start sewing the same seam over and over.

I bought the pattern for the Named Clothing Pulmu Skirt about a year and a half ago. At that point, I was going through a phase of really hating PDF patterns, the assembling, the sticking and then the tracing and  finding a way to store them afterwards. Do I roll them? Do I fold them? Do I cut them up? So, I started working on it as soon as I got it out of the envelope that came through the post. I had seen the below look and the Pulmu Skirt was in my eyes the perfect candidate for recreating it.

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And I got pretty close with this wool crepe version, the look of which I loved.  The problems though started once I began sewing the lining. Whatever I did, once I attached the lining around the vents the main fabric would pull up. I tried everything and in the end, I just decided I couldn’t fix it. The ladies at Named Clothing were most helpful and they advised that part of the problem might have been the fluidity of the fabric I was using and I agreed. However, as this was a project for a specific occasion, I ran out of time at this stage and the skirt was moved to my UFO pile, where it still lives to this day.IMG_9376

Despite the fact that I already had a semi-failure with the skirt, I decided to give it another go, this time in an Irish linen, much stiffer than usual linen. As I only wanted the skirt, I didn’t bother at all with the lining (which wasn’t necessary anyway) and instead finished the raw edges by binding the seams with bias tape. You can see the result here

Almost a year later, I decided to go back to it as part of my make nine list, because I simply couldn’t stomach the Pulmu failure. While pregnant, I made this tent dress which was worn only once more except for taking the blog post pictures. There seemed to be enough fabric to make a skirt but not enough for this particular one. As I love colour blocking, I thought I’d use the dress fabric for the back and the front and some plain black cotton sateen for the side panels and I think the result is great.ORG_DSC03752

Filled with determination, I spent a few nights, inserting and re-inserting the lining and the outcome was always the same as the first time I sewed the skirt, FAILURE. I don’t know what the problem is, I am probably doing something wrong, because the pattern is very well drafted. Perhaps, it’s the fact that I had to shorten the skirt quite a bit, as my height is nowhere near to a tall Finnish lady, haha! I don’t know what it was, but whatever it was, it tipped me over the edge. I was literally standing with it over the bin ready to send it to hell, when I had a revelation.ORG_DSC03778

I loved the shape of the skirt and the fabric too much to throw it away, so I cut out the part of the skirt from the vents below and replaced it with a gathered piece made from the contrasting fabric,

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For me the way it turned out is perfect. I don’t know if it feels a bit out there, personally I find it very cool and unique. I guess I’m also not one for quiet clothes, I like them when they are at least delightfully peculiar, so it’s true to my aesthetic and style. (too much project runway, I tell you)

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Needless to say that this was my last attempt at sewing the Pulmu skirt. I will consider this as one more of the make nine list ‘done’ and get on with the next project.

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And you, at what stage do you say enough is enough with a handmade project that isn’t behaving?

 

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Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

It seems there’s no need for umbrellas anymore, but head over to Minerva Crafts Blog to see how me and my umbrella tested their wonderful cut-our scuba.DSC_1863

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A Handmade Birthday

As a child, I always remember having had a birthday party. When I was very young it was mostly family, but we were so many children in the family and then it was friends from school, the neighbourhood and my parents’ friends’ children. It was always the same set up, the same children and me in a lot of pictures a bit unhappy. Perhaps I had understood already that growing up was a trap and resented it happening anyway.

When my son turned one we threw him a party, with no specific theme and a mixture of guests. He didn’t really understand what was going on and he also seemed quite dissatisfied that all these people had invaded our house. So when the time of his second birthday came a few weeks ago, I decided against a party. I still wanted to give him a special day though and even if he doesn’t remember it, there are photos and videos to prove that it happened. Ah, the joys of  the digital revolution.

As he is currently going through a massive obsession with trains, I concluded that this was the best theme for his birthday. Pinterest, my trusted source of inspiration didn’t disappoint this time either.

I wanted the day to start as soon as he would come out of his room. We have a big collection of toy trains already, so I put some of them on each of the steps leading to the living room, certain they would catch his attention and he would follow them all the way to the bottom of the stairs.DSC_1759

There a set of railway tracks waited with more trains leading to the living room and the train carrying all the presents.

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Initially, I wanted to make the main train completely out of boxes, like all the amazing trains I had seen on Pinterest, but unfortunately I had to use whatever was available in the middle of the night, which is when I do these projects usually. I was never an especially morning person, but life with a baby has forced me to become fully nocturnal, haha.

I used some leftover cardboard boxes to form the top part of the engine, where the driver sits and my two trunks to form the rest of the train. The wheels were made from paper plates, leftovers from his 1st birthday.

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I covered everything with red wrapping paper and some Thomas the Tank Engine paper. I also used these transparent but filled with confetti balloons pretending to be smoke coming out of the train’s chimney. I made a paper chain with some more Thomas paper to connect the two carriages. I couldn’t bear cutting a window on the cardboard box at that time of the night so I outlined it with some ice cream sticks and hang a small Happy Birthday bunting for decoration.

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As you can see in the picture the space at the front was filled with more presents, which also helped to stabilise it.

For the cake, I made a set of cupcakes to resemble train wagons. I used this Marry Berry recipe for the cupcakes. 

DSC_1752I started by sticking marshmallows to the sides of the toothpicks in order to make a stable base for the cupcakes.

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Then added some icing on the outer sides of the marshmallows which served as a glue to stick the oreo wheels on. DSC_1754

I couldn’t find any biscuits or crackers big enough to hold the cupcakes, so instead bought some garibaldis, which came into two connected pieces and sat perfectly on top of the toothpicks.

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Thomas the Tank Engine drove this train too, accompanied by some minis. I had to make this from the previous day, which resulted in the Oreos not being as crispy as the first day but still quite tasty. If you do have time, take them out of the packet the same day so that they remain fresh.

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And here is my little man before he blew the candles. Behind him the permanent pile of unironed clothes.

I was very pleased with the train surprise and so did he. I am now thinking of next year.

And what about you, do you have themes for your children’s birthdays and what was the best one so far?

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Le 601 DP Studio

I don’t remember how I came across dp Studio Most likely someone posted it on Instagram, I checked it and it was love at first sight. Such unique designs for modern and clever garments. Needless to say, I wanted everything from that first collection. How could one resist to the shirts with the bows, the colour blocked skirts, the interesting and unusual cuts. For me the stand apart from all other pattern houses, but that’s purely because they speak to my escapist tendency and they lend themselves to dreaming of editorial photography. The pieces themselves as they appear on their website are highly editorial, And now I’m going to turn off Project Runway.

Out of all the beautiful patterns I chose Le 601, a shirt with flounces and big sleeves, a bow in the back and an oversized look, which doesn’t seem to appear on their website anymore. The packaging was equivalent to the quality of the designs and the instructions are both in English and in French.

I must have had the pattern for nearly a year before I actually started working on it. Part of the delay was the absence of appropriate fabric, part the fact that I found the 21 pieces that consisted this garment quite daunting. As my free time has almost disappeared, since the birth of my son, I have noticed that I approach with fear any sewing that will require days for me to trace and cut, let alone actually sewing. Make Nine was a good motivation and decided to do this as my first project as at the time it looked that spring was on its way and I could soon wear this with a jacket or just on its own. I couldn’t have been more wrong as a couple of weeks in and snow returned to London. It took me about a month of night sewing to finish it and it’s not without its problems, but here it is in a phone call with fashion paradise,

img_0045-2.jpg\I found the frills a bit intimidating due to the their volume but I ended up really liking that feature. It may look too much but I can assure it’s just right.

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The pattern calls for overlocked edges on the frills but I decided to use some bias tape instead for a more polished finish and I think it worked great. One thing, I didn’t see mentioned in the instructions was the need to gather the frills before attaching them, so initially, I didn’t do it and it shows at the front.

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My other favourite feature of the pattern is the collar, which is one piece of genius design. I mean it ties with a bow (or not) at the back, how cool is that? It was a bit tricky trying to add the collar to the collar stand and finish it in such a way that it looks polished, so I had to unpick a couple of times, but we got there in the end.

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The fabric I used was a very light weight chambray that might have been a bit too light weight for this project. It resulted in ripping at places, while I was unpicking it and the slits of the sleeves, somehow expanded. I tried to solve the problem by unsuccessfully installing a placket from various tutorials. Well, my dear placket we will need to meet again in the near future. The stripy fabric there adds a nice detail, but I’m not sure, I’d like to draw attention to this failure. The main problem with this thing chambray though, is that it creases like crazy and all the lovely features of the shirt make ironing it an onerous task, as one of our editors usually says.

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Another element I completely missed in the construction process was the concealed buttons at the front. So carried away I was by the beautiful design and my desire to finish it quickly that I just didn’t even remember reading it in the instructions but it is there. And because I hate buttonholes, I still concealed the front closures by sewing some  snap fasteners. Far from perfect result, but it will do for now.

DSC_1810I will call this a wearable toile and attempt another version in the future, hopefully before next winter, but for now I’m very happy, I made one at least of my make nine. There is already a very good possibility, I will not make all of them, haha.

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This is my journal entry for this project and the plan is to do the same for all the rest. Personally, I think this is a great pattern, very well drafted and packaged, that does require some attention to detail and a bit of experience. But don’t let that ever intimidate you. IMG_8265

 

 

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A Failed Challenge, Four Successful Garments

It’s been ages again since I updated this old space. I do wonder sometimes, if anyone reads the blogs ( I still do from time to time, but not as often as I used to) or whether we all hang around at IG looking at lovely pictures. ( I do that too, more often than I used to). I did however make among other things, a nice dress from a 70s pattern, the first non-contemporary pattern I’ve ever used. You can read all about it on the Minerva Crafts Blog.

Back in March, I think, I decided that I wanted to take part in the Dress Like Your Grandma Challenge,  organised by Tanya of Mrs Hughes, not so much for sewing something vintage, but more as a tribute to my grandma.

Going through some of her old pictures, I chose the below as my inspiration, because I loved the short jacket and I though that she looked fierce and she is, trust me. I also loved the story behind it. During my grandma’s wedding, her godmother gifted her the fabric out of which the dress was made. The tradition was that it was laid on the shoulders of the bride and the groom, as if it weaved their lives together. It was a silk red fabric, which must have made the scene magical.

I knew from the beginning that I wasn’t going to replicate the dress, because I was not going to wear it and I really wanted to create something that would appeal to my style. I also knew that I wasn’t going to use silk, as I didn’t want to ruin it. I bought a fuchsia poly crepe for the dress part and a blue Irish linen for the jacket. As I didn’t want a full circle skirt, I looked for something that could imitate the volume of the skirt at least. That’s when I came across Megan Nielsen’s absolutely gorgeous Flint Pants. I wanted, however, to stay true to the shape of the dress bodice and for that reason I used Simplicity 1587, view B, as a top for my pants. There was no doubt from the moment I saw my grandma’s photo, I was going to use my all time favourite, the Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns. But despite all my planning, disasters did happen and I never managed to take part in the challenge, as by the deadline all I had was un-hemmed pants, a horrendous top and the blazer just cut out.

I initially hated the pants and it was only after they had a press with my mum’s high pressure steam iron (it’s old but it works miracles with pressing) that I realised how delightful the Flint pants were.  So delightful that I made a second pair, straight away.

 

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It always surprises me how different garments can look, when using different fabrics. The second version is in a thicker, less flowy fabric and holds the shape of the trousers better. I don’t know which one I like the most, I guess each to its season. Haha.

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I cut size xs and didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern. I loved making them and now I’m considering a shorts option for winter to wear with tights. They are so effortless to construct and the instructions are just perfect, so well articulated. The no zipper closure is also genius, because I hate buttons, but I hate zippers more. I did put the buttons on the inside, as I wanted to keep it clean on the front.

I finished the raw edges with the overlocker and this particular pair is on constant rotation. So comfortable. I don’t fall in love with a lot of patterns but this is one of them. Do try it. I think it will also look great as wide leg pants, not as wide as the culotte, style.

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Of course, I couldn’t leave the Bellatrix unfinished, since it had already been cut. I cut again the smallest size, but shortened the bodice and omitted completely the pockets to resemble the one in my grandma’s picture. I must say, I love the outcome, although a bit shorter than initially intended. This has also been worn very often at work.DSC_1473

The Bellatrix is a lined jacket but as this is linen, I decided I could skip that part of the construction. I finished the raw edges with bias binding, which looks great in my opinion.

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For some unknown reason, maybe because it was a present, I got too much of the linen fabric and as I like a suit, I thought I’d team the Bellatrix with my nemesis at the moment, the Named Clothing Pulmu Skirt  I have developed a love hate relationship with this unbelievably gorgeous and clever pattern. You have not seen darts like these before. I won’t talk a lot about it here, as I’m intending to do a separate post for this pattern.

 

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I think it is the perfect match for this cropped Bellatrix. DSC_1472

It is a very flattering piece from the front, the back and the side. The later being the highlight of the pattern. The side panel and slit are insane. I didn’t use the belt this time, as I decided, I prefer the skirt without it.

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This particular version is a bit on the tight side, but allows walking and sitting comfortably. I cut the smallest size again but I think I should have gone one size up at parts. I didn’t even attempt to line the Pulmu skirt as previous experience ended up in a nightmare, but finished it in the same way as the jacket. It is linen after all.

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So I may have failed in the dress like your grandmother challenge but managed to make four dress like me pieces. Bonus they combine well with each other. (minus my face in these pictures)

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A quiet book and a refashion

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, taking part in IG challenges is a great way of discovering new people and blogs to follow. It was during the Moneta party that I discovered the Sewingmamas Project organised by The Dancing Dressmaker and Pilar Bear. Each month they pick a sewing project for the little one and his/her mum. The projects for March  were a quiet book for the little one and a refashion of an RTW item for the mum. I decided to join mainly because I’ve always wanted to make a quiet book, so more effort was put in that than the refashion.

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As it happens with most of my projects, I had a lot of ideas for the quiet book and the problem is that I wanted to do all of them, so in the end I settled for an alphabet quiet book with removable letters and their representations. Of course I should have started making this probably last year to have it all finished by the end of March, hence I will only show you the beginning of it. All the materials are from my stash.

The only thing I bought was some velcro. I have tons of this grey bias tape, so I thought I’d use it as a finish, but it was a bit sad as a colour, so I treated it with some fabric paint. Still don’t like the result, so I think I will use a different finish for the rest of the pages, when I get to completing them.

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I did draw some of the things myself and some others were part of a samples book that a friend of Leandros’ grandma found in the rubbish and saved it. I love C & D pages.

When I drew the elephant balancing a ball on his trunk, I immediately thought of circus and my little elephant performing his tricks, so the curtains seemed very appropriate. I have also added some texture to the elephant ear.

I somehow thought that the little one was going to dismiss the book but I couldn’t be more wrong, he really enjoyed pulling out the letters and the animals, although I have to admit he was mostly obsessed with pulling the duck’s eye. He hasn’t succeeded so far.

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Now on to the refashion. This is a cheap dress I had bought at Asda. It was too big and I only liked the flowers. It ended up being a permanent resident of my wardrobe. I found it the perfect project for the refashion. At the end of the day, if it didn’t work, I wouldn’t miss it that much. And I can tell you it didn’t work.

I knew from the beginning, I wanted to make a top. so I thought I’d go for one of these parts that have been added to the stash and never quite made it to the top. This time it was the Simple Sew Patterns Key Hole Blouse that came free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as I hoped. The hole was a bit too low which meant that you’d have to wear a top or something underneath, if you didn’t want the whole world to look at your boobs.

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I decided to try and fix the hole and after a few failed attempts, I simply covered it, with a piece of fabric that I thought worked as design element rather than a cover. A bit of hand embroidery, admittedly not very good and some mother of pearl buttons.

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However my modifications caused the fabric to pull around the neckline and the bias binding just doesn’t sit flat. It’s not monstrous but I don’t like it.

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I love the side view, but the fabric I have used at the bottom isn’t of the same weight and of a shade of black that looks washed out. I finished the hem with bias tape and I don’t like that either. Suffice to say I will not be wearing this top, there’s nothing I like about it and I feel I wasted my time by trying to fix it. In the bin it will go.

On another note, all you mothers who sew a lot, I don’t know how you do it, because every time (every night, I should say) I decide to sit in front of my sewing machine, some disaster will hit either me or the little man. I like slow sewing but this is beyond slow now. How do you do it? Btw, I’ve also gone back to my full time job.

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Moneta: Murder and Resurrection

With a stream of threads hanging from her clothes, the woman with red hair walked out of her front door and disappeared in the anonymity of a rainy day. If someone had noticed her, they would have seen the bags under her eyes, the look of both disappointment and frustration, someone might have even stopped her or laughed at her as she was still wearing her silk carolyn pyjamas, which didn’t really look like sleep wear bar the print of unicorns on them. But one of the advantages or disadvantages of the big city is that nobody notices you and so she carried on walking uninterrupted, towards the park and from there over the bridge, further and further away from home. She was carrying only her  credit card and one pointy object in the pocket of her Minoru jacket.

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‘It was the husband, who found the child playing on the floor with the dissected body,’ said fashion detective Ariadne Overlock to her colleague sewing inspector Sophie Bias. ‘He claims that last time, he saw the dress in one piece on the dress form. Apparently his wife was getting it ready to go to some party, the Moneta party he said, at the weekend,’ she continued.

‘Where is the wife now? Why has she done this to the poor dress?’ Bias asked.

‘She’s disappeared. When the husband woke up, she wasn’t in her usual spot in front of the sewing machine and nowhere else in the house. He claims to have called her a few times, but there was no answer.’

‘Hmm, what has happened here?’ Bias said looking closely at the dress, she hadn’t even heard her colleague’s reply. ‘It seems, she started unpicking the dress but then gave up and simply cut the overlocked seams. The waist and the hemline look as if they had been tortured for hours. And the threads, they’ve been splattered all over the kitchen.’

‘Yes this is what I thought as well. If only the child could talk, he must have seen everything. The husband mentioned that he sits next to his mum playing quietly when she sews,’ Overlock added.

‘And the murder weapon, it’s nowhere to be found. Could she have taken it with her? Let’s seal off the place, send the husband and the child to the hotel and I will call the team to come for a more detailed inspection,’ said Bias and her mind had already moved to other matters like the coffee she still hadn’t drunk.

…..

It didn’t take long for the investigation team to arrive at the crime scene and get on with their tasks.

‘The murder weapon was definitely sharp scissors,’ said the coroner, I would place all my bets on Fiskars and I’m pretty sure they are still in the house. The seam ripper was only what started the torturing.’

A photographer took a picture of the stretched body and the ripped hem, whereas the rest of the team, were combing the house for the murder weapon.

‘I found it, I found it,’ shouted a man from the bedroom upstairs and he was soon seen descending the stairs, holding a pair of Fiskars scissors.

It was at that very moment, the front door opened again and the red headed woman entered her house. She didn’t immediately notice the yellow tape in the corridor, nor the man who had just come down the stairs. She did, however, notice all the people in the kitchen going through her sewing stuff. Moneta was still on the kitchen floor.

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‘What the he…’ she managed to utter before ten people turned round to look at her. The coroner reached for his phone and before anyone had the chance to move, had Bias at the other end of the line.

‘Hold her there, I’m on my way’ she said and hang up the phone. A little while later, she and Overlock were interrogating the woman with the red hair.

‘Why did you do that?’ Bias asked and pointed at the body.

‘She wasn’t good enough,’ replied the woman, ‘and in any case, I’m planning to fix her.’

‘I think, she’s beyond fixing,’ Overlock added. ‘Tell us what happened.’

‘A day ago, this poor soul, was a lovely dress hanging on my mannequin,’ the woman started without any protest. In her head she hadn’t committed a crime after all. ‘I was so proud of the dress, it looked so beautiful, until I tried it on. What mostly bothered me was the fact that some of the gathers were not sitting properly and they created weird pleats in the back that I really hated. Even if I oversaw the pleats, it was too short and I just didn’t like it. So I did it, I grabbed the seam ripper, and started unpicking, and because I had never been patient enough to unpick the overlocker seams, I took the scissors and simply cut them off. This of course resulted in the waist of the skirt becoming slightly bigger and the bodice slightly shorter, but only slightly so it was ok. I took some more of my clear elastic, gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice. Going back to it this morning to fix the short hem, I noticed that the seams were visible, and not hidden between the bodice and the skirt. I wanted to pull my hair, if I could see it, it meant other people, could too. This time I didn’t even attempt to use the seam ripper, instead I went straight  for the scissors and just chopped the dress. I showed no mercy, I was so mad at it. ‘

‘Where did you go after that?’ Bias asked.

‘I wasn’t planning to leave it tortured and dissected for others to find but when I reached for some more clear elastic to right all the wrongs, I realised in horror that I had run out, so I went to the local haberdashery to buy some more.’

‘And did you?’

‘No, I didn’t because as it usually happens, whenever I really need something they never have it.’

‘So you will not be able to fix the dress, which means you have to come to the station with us.’

‘No, no wait I will fix it, I will use the regular type of elastic, it won’t be perfect but it will be good enough. Please, I’ve been planning all week for this party.’

Bias looked at her in disbelief for a few minutes. ‘Ok,’ she finally said, ‘but under one condition, I will stay here and watch you.’

‘No problem, but I will need to be given my scissors back.’ The man who had found them, handed them back to her.

First she cut two pieces of fabric as wide as the width of the front and back bodice and as long as the length of the bodice she had chopped off. When she attached them together it looked something like this and she was quite pleased with it.

Having cut the size xs to start with and having chopped the waist twice, she had ended up with a much larger waist, that even if she wanted she wouldn’t have been able to gather to the original size, so she recut the skirt, sewed the pieces together and after gathering it with the white elastic, she attached it to the bodice. It wasn’t perfect but looked much better than the previous version. Then she hemmed it and finally attached the collar, in a contrasting fabric, as she had originally dreamt, but had failed to execute.

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When the husband and the child returned from the hotel, the police had sent them. The dress was no longer a corpse, it had miraculously amended itself.

‘Mummy will go to her party,’ he said to his son.

So she did and boy could that dress swish.

 

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Bell sleeve top and stash busting

Hello world again. How long has it been since my last post??? At this slow pace perhaps I should be changing the name of my blog to The Eternal Summer Stitcher, as I seem to be stuck in that season and you never know despite my efforts, it may be next summer before I post anything else, haha!

I don’t like making excuses (you know the usual, motherhood and life in general) I’d rather make things.

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And although I wasn’t actually making anything, I ended up thinking about sewing a lot, especially since the last months of maternity, being unpaid, means I can’t (rather I shouldn’t) buy any fabric. The latter hasn’t been necessarily a negative thing, as it made me look closer at the fabric I already own and how I could use it to satisfy my creative hunger. What you see in this picture is my whole stash, ( I know some of you are laughing now, thinking this isn’t a stash, but I tend to buy fabric with a project in mind) plus some garments waiting to be refashioned or mended. There is one order  in the post for a specific project, but apart from that I will not be buying any fabric, until I have sewn every little piece in these boxes and if I say I bought some, feel free to tell me off. There isn’t a time limit on this self appointed challenge. I do hope though that I will manage to go through most of the boxes during this year?  I have a feeling it will not always be season appropriate either, but we will see some winter in this blog eventually, perhaps during summer.  If  anyone wants to tag along ( I doubt it) and do the same, please feel free.

dsc_0837Not from the very old stash is this top, which I was meant to have finished before Christmas to wear at a special occasion, (my sewing went so wrong that I ended up buying a whole outfit for that haha) but I only finished it last week. It’s a wrinkled something fabric bought surprisingly   from John Lewes(the one close to me has a very boring collection of fabrics) for £12/metre. I bought only one metre, so I had to be a bit creative with the cutting.  As you can see there is gold in it, but it’s quite discreet to allow me to wear it outside the Christmas period.

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I have a thing about big sleeves, despite them not being functional when you need to hide them in coats during the winter, and the bell sleeve trend made me go a bit cuckoo. The base for my top is the Aime Comme Magellan top from Aime Comme Marie. Having sewn it before, I knew it fitted and possessed all the qualities I was looking for. I omitted the ruffles and lowered the neckline, I also added a not centred pleat, which didn’t quite work the way I wanted it to.

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I finished the neckline with bias binding, which also didn’t work as I managed to stretch the neckline a bit and now it doesn’t sit flat, maybe a heavy necklace will help keep it in place. A good steam, improved it a bit but to be honest, I’m not that bothered, it’s all part of the process. The hem and sleeves were finished with a rolled hem, the first one I’ve ever done kind of successfully.

dsc_0841The buttons are again there purely for decorative purposes as in my previous version. I love fabric covered buttons, they are a nice detail that adds a bit of class to any garment. dsc_0860

The actual bells are sewn by two pieces put together but thanks to the wrinkled effect of the fabric it’s hardly noticeable.

I haven’t got anything else to add about this top except for when something isn’t meant to happen it just doesn’t. I was going to sew this the night before flying to Greece, but guess what the little one decided that he wouldn’t go to bed before midnight. I came back and finished it in an evening, (with minor things having gone wrong) because  I didn’t need to wear it anymore haha. Do you ever get these moments of garments that they don’t want to happen, no matter what you do?

 

 

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