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?

Roberts Dungarees of Dreams

After making my Roberts dungaree dress, I realised I wanted to make the dungaree version…….and it only took me 2 years to realise my dreams!

As with the dress I made the size 2 and the only alterations I made were to add a pocket on the bib, which I stole from the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern, and to make a turn up/cuff at the bottom. I used a tutorial from Amy Nicole Studio for how to do this – I think she’s a bit short like me, so it’s a useful tutorial if trouser legs end up a bit long! And luckily I love how they look!

If it looks like the side of the bib is sitting a bit funny under my left arm, it’s because that’s the side that has poppers on, to get in and out of the dungarees, and I was so desperate to wear these that I just safety pinned the side closed, so it’s looking a bit weird. And actually I can easily get these on and off without undoing the safety pin so I may just sew the opening closed, rather than wasting poppers I don’t really need to use.

I really love the shape of the back on this pattern (even with one of the straps twisted!).

And pockets! You can never have enough pockets in my opinion. And the pockets were particularly useful when I wore these to help my in-laws move house (what better outfit for moving things that dungarees!) so I could hold all the keys and my phone and my lip balm!

The fabric was the last of the leftovers from my suit which I made for the Sewcialite Soiree (which I’d already made a Cleo from!). I could really go over the top in wearing mustard corduroy now!

I used a couple of jeans buttons left over from my Morgan Jeans button kit for the buttons and they did keep popping off until I really, really hammered them on. There is quite a lot of strain on those 2 buttons, like the whole weight of the dungarees, so they do need to be securely on.

If I made these again (and I really want another pair) I think I might go full on Lucy and Yak and make loops on the bib to tie the ties onto. I think I’d have to lengthen the ties too, to give enough length to be able to tie them on.

As well as the left over corduroy, I had some of the birdy cotton lawn I used to line the jacket with, so I lined the bib and the pockets of these with it. I love those secret details, that other people don’t necessarily notice, but I know is there.

I think dungarees was one of those trends that I wasn’t too sold on when it first came back into fashion – though I had a pair of dungarees I absolutely loved and lived in when I was a young teenager! I feel like sometimes it takes me a while to decide if I would actually like a particular garment in my wardrobe – and I don’t want to spend ages (and money on fabric) making something only to realise it’s not my style and I don’t want to wear it. But I’m really glad I jumped on the dungaree bandwagon when I did!

Are there any trends you think aren’t for you, then 6 months or a year down the line you decide maybe you do like it?

 

 

Crepe Mercury Trousers

As I mentioned in my Summer sewing plans post, one of the garments I wanted to make was some Marilla Walker MercuryTrousers made from this lovely Crepe from Sew Over It. Although I’m blogging only blogging them now, I did make them in early September when the weather was still sort of warm, but I maybe won’t get much wear out of them until next Spring.

But I do love them! And the pattern was really easy to assemble, especially because there’s no fly or buttons – they’ve got an elasticated waist so they’re easy to fit too. I made the size 2, based mainly on my waist measurement because there’s a lot of ease at the hips.

These trousers have excellent deep pockets – now I make my own clothes, I’ve realised my ready to wear trousers (the few I still have left) generally have pockets so small I can’t get even my hand in them, let alone anything else I might want to carry round.

Having said that this pattern was  easy to make, that was definitely true but I made a really stupid mistake. I had been ironing cotton immediately before ironing the centre front seam and I didn’t adjust the heat setting and melted a hole in the top of the trousers, right in the middle. I’m not going to lie, I threw a little tantrum over it and stopped sewing for a while until I’d calmed down, thinking I’d ruined some not-very-cheap-fabric.

But when I’d calmed down and had a think, I realised I could just essentially chop the top off by sewing the waistband on further down the trousers than the pattern called for. In the end I only lost 2cm and I think the trousers turned out fine – the rise was high enough on me that the adjustment didn’t give me a wedgie!

I made the view with the pleats and the cuffs on the bottom, but in these photos I’ve folded the calf up because the trousers are a little long on my, but I really like them and I definitely think I’ll make them again. I really like the wide-legged view too, and I think a pair in some lovely linen for next Summer would be perfect! I also really like the top that comes in the Mercury Collection, so I might give that a go when it warms up a bit too.

I think this might be my favourite ever outtake by the way. You. Are. Welcome.


Have you made the Mercury Trousers? Or do you have a favourite relaxed fit trouser pattern?

 

 

#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?!

 

 

Summer 2018 Sewing Plans

Since I’ve been writing fewer posts, and sewing at a slower pace, it seemed silly to write monthly posts outlining my sewing plans, so I’ve decided to do it seasonally instead.

Apparently in the UK we are going to experience a 3-month long heat wave, which some people would call ‘Summer’ but that’s not a normal Summer for us – usually it’s warm for a week or two, then cold again for weeks. So since it’s going to be consistently warm for a couple of months, I need some clothes to keep me feeling cool.

My first plan is to make an Acton Dress, probably out of this turquoise viscose I bought online ages ago. I slightly went off is as soon as it arrived, but I’m digging the idea of a floaty Summer dress. I don’t know which view of the pattern to make either, yet.

My other option of fabric for the Acton is this blue cupro which I originally ordered as a lining for my coat, but which was too dull a shade of blue to work with the wool.

But I’ll probably use the curpro for a pair of Nina Lee Portobello trousers. I think it will be perfect for a Summer pair of trousers.

And speaking of Nina Lee, I’ve got plans for a Carnaby Dress made from this deco-ish style fabric from Sew Over It. I bought the fabric on a total whim, because it was almost sold out, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve already got this dress cut out, so hopefully I will actually get this one made. And I can probably wear it with tights and a cardigan in the Winter too.

And speaking of shift dresses, I’m giving the Colette Laurel another go, with the ruffled sleeves, which I now like, a year after they were in fashion! I made a couple of Laurels a few years ago but I got rid of them both as they were a bit snug and uncomfortable, so I’ve gone up either one or 2 sizes, I can’t remember which.

My final Summer dress plan is for this turquoise cotton drill (I think) Inari Tee dress. I actually cut this out last year and never got around to making it, so fingers crossed it happens this year. The fabric is years old – I bought it on one of my first trips to Goldhawk Road, when I knew very little about fabric.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t plan to make another shirt. I bought this peach skin from Fabric Godmother a couple of months ago and I think it would make a great Blaire Shirt by Style Arc. I might try to play with the direction of the pattern in the fabric, given that the seam lines are begging for it, though stripes would work better. Maybe the next one!

One thing I definitely want to make time to sew is a kimono from this Simplicity pattern I got free with a sewing magazine, I think Love Sewing. I have this lovely cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine, which I snapped up as soon as she got it in stock because I had tried to buy it last year but everyone was out of stock. I think this will be the perfect Summer cover up for when it does get a bit chillier.

Another buy from Sew Over It is this navy blue checked crepe, which I think will be the perfect fabric for a pair of Mercury trousers.

If you’re still reading at this point, you may be thinking that this is a lot of things to make for a Summer which has already started, and you’re probably right – I wouldn’t be surprised if this Salle Jumpsuit gets bumped again to next year. It’s already been sitting around, cut out, for a year, with the Inari Tee Dress.

I’m going to end this post with a plea – what can I do with this beautiful crepe (I think) from Sew Over It? It has a gorgeous drape, but I don’t want to make another dress as I already have probably too many planned as it is. I fear it is too jazzy for me to reasonably wear as trousers, so maybe some kind of top? I’ve got 2m. Suggestions very welcome!