Alter It August-ish

Back in August there was an Instagram challenge (I can’t remember who ran it, sorry!) to alter the homemade items languishing in our wardrobes so they all could get a new lease of life.

I thought I would do a little round-up of the things I altered – I didn’t realise it would take me this long to get around to it, but oh well.  I’ve also altered a couple of things since August so I’ll share them too!

The first change was a super easy one – these are my Mercury Trousers before:

You probably can’t really tell what was wrong with these, but basically the elastic in the waste band wasn’t tight enough so the trousers just didn’t feel secure, so I never wore them.

It was such a stupidly simple alteration, I should have done it ages ago, but at least it’s done now, and I did them in time to wear them during the Summer quite a bit.

Another easy alteration, and basically the same one as for the Mercury Trousers was to take in the waste of my Portobello Trousers:

You can kind of tell in the before photo, above, that the waist has a bit of ease, but this was made worse by my previous job working in an upholstery fabric shop, which involved lifting 20kg rolls of fabric all day every day, so I ended up losing an inch from my waist and hips (so most of my trousers are now too big).

Again, this took, like 10 minutes and meant that I had another great pair of trousers to wear in the warmer months.

A slightly more involved alteration was this coco top that I made a couple of years ago and basically never wore because the neckline ended up really stretched out and I think the fit looked funny in such a lightweight fabric – also I have a long torso and this top just emphasised that!

So I chopped 9cm off the bottom of the top, leaving a 1cm hem allowance. I used this offcut to make a neckband, which I made 6cm shorter than the unpicked neckline, which turned out to be a good guess! The neckband was 1.5cm wide (I wrote myself notes and I don’t know if this means it was 1.5cm once folded in half or not – I think when folded in half.)

This alteration took maybe half an hour and I ended up wearing the top loads in the warmer weather – and there are some blues in the pattern which perfectly match the portbello trousers, win win! A whole new outfit with very little effort!

And now onto the items I’ve refashioned/altered since the end of Alter It August. I was looking at my wardrobe, and realised I almost never wear any of my dresses – especially now I work in a bookshop, I would feel very overdressed compared with how most people dress. I love the 2 scuba ebony dresses I made (blue, gold) – well I loved the fabric – but I realised I would get much more wear out of them as tops, so I spent a couple of hours measuring them to the length of the top version of the ebony, cutting the skirt off and hemming them into tops.

I’ve already worn both of them twice, so I definitely made the right decision!


The last item I’ve recently refashioned/altered is my chestnut sweatshirt. I know the lovely main feature of this pattern is the tie detail in the back, but I made a bad choice of fabric for my ties – I used a cotton, and not a jersey. I also always felt a bit cold in it, even though the fabric is a really thick sweat shirting, because of the gap in the back.

So I unpicked the back facing, removing the ties and cut a semi-circle to fill the gap, stitching it in place and restitching the hem on the neckline.

The piece I cut maybe makes me look a little like I have a hump, but I much prefer the filled in back and I think I’ll get lots of wear from this sweatshirt now it’s pretty cold again in the UK.

So here is my little collection of refashioned me-mades and I’ve got several new items to add into regular rotation in my wardrobe.

Do you ever alter things once they’re finished? Or do you, like me, tend to move onto the next new pattern instead of making a tiny change to an already finished make?
 

#2018MakeNine recap

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while, and now we’re well over half way through the year, but I thought I would check in with myself to see how I’m doing with my #2018MakeNine.

I felt like I had made several of the things on my list of 9, but it turns out I’ve only made 3!

I’ve made the Marilla Walker Honetone Coat, 2 Closet Case Patterns Ebony dresses (1, 2), and a Nina Lee Carnaby dress (which I haven’t blogged about yet).

I sort of nominally planned one make per month and I was doing okay……until March apparently! I meant to make the 2 jeans patterns in April and May but I haven’t got around to either yet.

I’ve also decided to swap out the Victory Patterns Hannah Dress for the Style Arc Blaire Shirt. I have quite a lot of dresses in my wardrobe but I mostly wear separates, and mostly trousers and shirts (or other tops when it’s hot). And it looks like most of the last part of the year will be making jeans and trousers, which I do desperately need in my wardrobe.

I planned to join in with 3 of the Sew My Style projects and so far I’m not behind, as the bag and the bra are towards the end of the year. Although I did make my Kalle Shirt, I didn’t make it in time for the deadline, but I did make most of it in the right month.

How are you doing with your plans for the year? Are you as behind as I am?!

 

 

Gold Scuba Ebony Dress

Basically as soon as I finished my blue brushstrokes Ebony dressI ordered more scuba and made another one (though it’s only just making it to the blog)! I possibly love it even more, because of the amazing fabric and the fitting tweaks I made.

I bought the fabric from Sew Me Sunshine but they are sadly now out of stock – though I’m not surprised as it’s so nice. Fabric Godmother do still have it in stock, though, if you want to get your hands on some. I first saw the design as a cotton and was tempted to get some but wasn’t really sure what to make so I was thrilled when it became available as a scuba.

I made mostly the size 2 again, as with my first version, but I retraced the sleeves and armscyes in a size 6 as the sleeves were soooo tight in the size 2. I also again reduced the seam allowance to 0.5cm instead of 1cm to give myself even more room. The sleeves and shoulders definitely fit better on this version, though the other version is totally wearable. I also want to make the Ebony tee (probably in the cropped length) so I’ll probably make the same adjustment, though with a stretchier jersey it might not feel quite as restrictive – scuba has a relatively low amount of stretch, at least judging from the 2 I’ve used.

I still love the swingy shape of the Ebony – it is one of my favourite silhouettes out of everything I’ve made I think.

I sewed the dress on my sewing machine, with a zig zag stitch and then overlocked the seam allowances. I finished the hem and neckband with my trusty twin needle. I can’t quite get the tension right on my overlocker to feel like I’m happy sewing actual seams on it – also having had to unpick some overlocking before, I make too many mistakes to not stitch things first on my machine and then on the overlocker. Am I just being a wuss?

The only slight downside of this dress is that I recently changed jobs and am now working for a furnishing fabric company dispatching fabric (living the dream!) so I’m no longer based in an office and am lugging around bolts of fabric all day so I don’t know how much I’ll wear this. Though I’m tempted to wear it anyway, once the weather warms up a little – my workspace is really cold and I’m currently wearing 3 layers to work so this may not be warm enough until Spring finally arrives! I’ve realised I have lots of handmade dresses, so I can’t not wear any of them! Though I’m definitely going to focus on more casual basics and separates for the rest of the year.

 

 

Brushstrokes Scuba Ebony Dress

This might be a record – I finished my first Make Nine pattern in January! And I love it. As you will have seen from my makes for January post you’ll know I’ve actually already made 2 Ebony dresses, both from amazing scubas.

The scuba fabric was from Fabric Godmother and it is possibly the most expensive fabric I’ve bought, but I had to have it! I think the design was available in cotton or another fabric and I thought about getting it. wondering what I would make – then it was available as a scuba and I snapped some up on pay day a couple of months ago. Since Heather Lou made her Ebony in scuba, I couldn’t get the idea of a copy-cat out of my head. And I’m so pleased with the result!

The pattern is the Ebony tee and dress by Closet Case Patterns and is designed really for drapey knits, probably in a lighter weight, but I Think it works in scuba too, as you get more of an idea of the swingy shape.

I made the size 2 because I figured basing the size on my bust measurement would be fine, as it gets wider as it goes down the body. But I know from other patterns that generally my waist and hip measurements (27″ and 37″ respectively) are a size or two bigger than my bust size (32″) so I maybe should have gone more on the waist and hips size as the sleeves were waaaay too tight and pulled a bit across the shoulders.

Luckily I had sewn the dress on my sewing machine, and then neatened the seams with my overlocker, rather than sewing (and trimming) the whole thing on my overlocker. I generally do this anyway, but particularly when I haven’t made a pattern before. Having tried to unpick overlocked seams I like to stitch with my normal sewing machine – and a zig-zag stitch – first so when I inevitably make a mistake, it’s not such a ball-ache (or such a waste of thread) to fix it. This is a very long way of saying I reduced the seam allowance on the sleeves and under the arms (the sleeve seam and side seam are sewn in one go so making adjustments is comparatively easy) to 0.5cm instead of the 1cm included in the pattern. I think probably if I had used a drapey, stretchy knit as the pattern demands, I wouldn’t have had to make this adjustment, but since scuba isn’t as stretchy (kind of like a ponte) it did feel really restrictive.

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you like swingy dresses and it’s a great pattern to show of a fairly large-scale print as the pieces are so big and there aren’t any darts or anything to break it up.

Handily the thread I used for the twin needle top-stitching was the left over thread from the 2 mini chestnuts I made for my friend’s daughter. I got the fear about making 2 so bought 2 spools of thread and barely used one. But luckily it meant I had 2 spools ready to go for the twin needling!

There isn’t a huge amount more for me to say about this dress, except I love it. And I love the pattern. I might give the other versions a go – once I finally get around to making some high-waisted Ginger jeans, the cropped version might be a perfect pairing for them.

Have you sewn with scuba? I was a little scared but it’s really easy to work with as it’s like any other stable knit. Do you love Heather Lou and Closet Case patterns as much as I (and the Love To Sew Podcast!) do?

 

 

December & January Makes and February Plans

I haven’t done one of these planning posts for a couple of months, but I want to get back into the routine so I’ll be more mindful and thoughtful in my sewing. December wasn’t super productive for me, what with Christmas and everything. I think I technically finished my New Craft House Party dress in December, though made most of it in November.

I did make the only 2 presents I successfully made in December – I also made another moss skirt for my sister, but it didn’t fit her because I forgot that the last time I made it, I reduced the seam allowances. I did make 2 Mini Chestnuts for my friend’s daughter and this Harry Potter tote bag for a secret santa present. The tote bag might have actually sneaked into January – I’m sure I’m not the only one who loses track of time over Christmas and New Year!

My first make of 2018 was my Chestnut sweater, which I blogged earlier this week. I really do love it! You can read about how much and the gorgeous snuggly sweatshirting I used in the post.

I also made 2 Ebony dresses from 2 different scubas and I love them both! And they’re really quick to run up.

I made half of a linden sweatshirt, but I was using a not very stretchy ponte for the sleeves, the neckband, cuffs and hem band but it wasn’t anywhere near stretchy enough to work for the neckband so I put it to one side and started on another project. I’ll probably finish it off this weekend.

And finally last month I made most of this spotty melilot shirt, which I’ve been planning to make for a few months I think. I’ve just got the collar stand to stitch down and topstitch, and then the buttons and button holes. I really do like shirt making, it’s so satisfying when all the pieces come together and you get to do some lovely topstitching!

So onto my plans for February. I’m going to finish the melilot and linden, hopefully in a single morning. Then my main plan is to make a coat – my first proper coat. I refashioned a coat a couple of years ago but there was none of the structure you actually need in a coat, the lining is just cotton and rolls to the outside of the coat because there is no facing.

As per my #2018MakeNine the pattern I’m going to use is Marilla Walker’s Honetone Coat.

The fabric I’ve got is some lovely electric blue and black wool I bought from Barry’s fabrics at Sew Brum. I don’t have any lining fabric yet – I want it to be the electric blue colour but I haven’t found anything I like so far. I also don’t really know what kind of fabric would work well as a coat lining – I don’t want to use that cheap acetate lining fabric. Any ideas of a good coat lining, I would be greatly appreciative!

I think this is the least I’ve ever planned for one month, but I want to take my time with the coat so it’s something I can wear for a long time and in cold weather – I might try to underline it with thinsulate or fleece or something. Again any tips gratefully received!