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?
 

Blue Cupro Portobello Trousers

I first want to apologise for the blurry photos – I’ve tried to photograph these trousers 3 times and these are the best of the bunch! Roll on Spring so I can go outside again.

I actually made these trousers back in October when it wasn’t as cold as it is now – I think these will have to wait until it warms up again next year as cupro isn’t the thickest of fabrics, but I think these will be great Spring/Summer trousers.

I made the size 10, the same as for my Carnaby Dress but if I make them again I will take them in a little at the waist as there is a bit more ease there than I like.

The cupro was from a random online shop and I ordered it as a possible lining for my Honetone coat, but it was too dull for the bright blue in the wool. But I knew I would use the fabric for something else – and here we are! It’s funny how now quite a few of the indie fabric shops are stocking cupro, but in January last year I couldn’t find many online shops selling it at all. It’s definitely a fabric I would use again – it’s nice and soft and has a lovely drape. I think it was a good choice for the Portobello trousers because the pleats on the front ended up nice and flat, without adding too much bulk.

I have a memory of taking quite a lot of length off the legs of the trousers, but annoyingly I didn’t write down how much – so if I make them again I’ll have to do the trial and error all over again. I wanted them slightly cropped, sitting just on top of shoes, as I don’t like trousers dragging on the floor these days. I don’t know if this length makes me look shorter, though? I have short legs proportionally to my torso and I’m only 5’3″ so I’m not sure what would be the best trouser length for me, but I’m also not sure how much I care about what length I ‘should’ wear – I can make trousers in any length I choose! 😀

I love how deep the pockets are. That’s definitely one of the best things about sewing your own clothes – you don’t have to put up with the tiny pockets you get in rtw trousers. I have a pair of black trousers from New Look years and years ago and I can get my hands in the pockets only to my knuckles. Ridiculous!

I have to say I’ve been impressed with both Nina Lee patterns I’ve made so far. The drafting is good and they fit me relatively well straight out of the packet. She has teased a jacket pattern coming soon and I think that will definitely be one I’ll be buying and making next year!

Have you made any Nina Lee patterns?

 

 

Art Deco Carnaby Dress

This is my first – and no doubt last – Nina Lee Carnaby Dress and I love it! This was one of my planned Summer makes and I did make it last month, but just as the weather started to turn a bit chiller. Hopefully I will get some wear out of it with tights and a cardigan in this Autumnal weather. I do slightly wish I’d made it without sleeves so I can wear it with a long-sleeved top underneath for extra warmth, but c’est la vie!

And it has pockets! I really like how they’re hidden in the hem seam.

The fabric is some lovely cotton from Sew Over It, which they sadly don’t have any more. In fact I got the last metre and a half/ 2 hours (I can’t remember which). When I first saw the fabric, I thought it would make great pyjamas, but they didn’t have enough left for the Carolyn Pyjamas.

I made the size 10 and the only change I made was to use an invisible zip instead of the exposed one called for in the pattern. I also spent ages trying to pattern match across the back seam and on the pocket seams but it didn’t seem to work as well as I’d hoped. I managed to just about get it to look matched across the back, if not perfectly centred.

The pocket seam is almost hidden, but again, not as well as I’d hoped. I think I just need a bit more practice at doing it – I haven’t done much pattern matching before, so I’m not the best at it!

I really do like this fabric – there will be lots of colours of tights and cardigans I can wear with it. And it was a pretty quick make. This was my first Nina Lee pattern (I have plans to make the Portobello trousers before the year is out) and I’m impressed. The drafting seems to be good – often I find sleeves and shoulder seams really tight, but this fits and is comfortable right out of the packet. The instructions were also really clear and easy to follow. Next time I might do the exposed zip she recommends as the instructions for that seemed really clear too. I would definitely recommend this if you’re relatively new to sewing, or if you want a quick make that will give you a really chic dress.

With this and my jungle print laurel, I have definitely rediscovered my love of the simple shift dress.

p.s. I might keep my eyes open for anyone selling more of this fabric as I would still like some really chic pyjamas – let me know if you see it anywhere!

 

 

#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!