pinafore pattern – cut from palazzos

I have been trying for a while to make an easy pattern for upcycling linen trousers. The trousers do make great shift dresses and cute tops (and I will be sharing patterns on these later – but I really wanted to make a pattern that was ‘an easy sew’. My first sews as a teen were this style of sew, and quick and done in a day!

pinafore dress (24)

I also get rather bothered by good quality items like wide leg linen pants,  left on a reduced rail, all because they are not the fashion – it just seems so wasteful. I don’t know if this dress is ‘the fashion’ but its a useful tunic dress, has pockets (bonus) and requires little sewing. It also uses up much of the fabric in the trousers so not bad for one euro. there are not darts and no zips so I also thought it a useful beginners pattern (I don’t think there is a need of buttons/buttonholes as I got this over my head without)

Interestingly I was in Ennis last Saturday week and popped into one or two charity shops. I nipped into the NCBI, and spied some coats. I tried (and bought) one and was talking to one of the ladies who worked there and mentioned I recut clothes. Of course in my evangelical way, I said if she wanted I would send her a link to the patterns. I tried to explain them, and said how one was how to make a dress from a pair of wide leg linen pants, as I keep seeing them unsold in the charity shops. She fully agreed (maybe she was being polite?) – eitherway, she got sent these links and I do hope they get passed around!

I put the sweater blocks up on craftsy also.  They are all just in size 12/medium as this is my general size. I do intend in time to grade them, but currently am more intent on drafting a more patterns for sharing!

The craftsy link to the patterns is here.

 

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2 skirts and a red raglan sweater.

Funny how sometimes when you change jobs, your wardrobe seems to alter a bit – maybe it isn’t that unusual but I was still surprised when I started working in my new job, that I started favouring wearing dresses and skirts more instead of trousers as in my last job. (Although, this is due to change this week as the temperatures have dropped to freezing so I will be in wool trews tomorrow morning for sure).

In November I made 2 new skirts. Both were made from discarded pieces in the Community Sew room discard box.

The Brown tweed skirt was made from a short piece – approx 75cm length It has a black line and some orange and yellow flecks so was fine to wear with a black polo.  I used the reliable vogue pattern – and it pretty much sewed itself. The pattern also uses petersham instead of a waistband so useful when there is little fabric.

 The Black skirt was a half made something and it was all black, it may have been a dress cut in half. It would not be my usual choice of fabric, and it also had some strange laundry instructions (ie do not wash) so I tossed it to the machine before I cut and it seemed to survive.  I recut a basic a-line skirt. I put a seam on the front to the side, so I could embroider some detail, originally it was to have a mock pleat, but in the end I just sewed it as a seam. I was going to embroider a geometric pattern in shades of pink and red but could not find a suitable motif so used this ‘spring’ one.

Both skirts work well with a black sweater, but I often find black a bit severe and thought ‘if I could only find a red sweater to recut….’ and sure enough, same day in the charity shop, I did! I got this ‘vintage’ one. It is a fine knit and was an XL. I had thought there was more wool content but it is 35% wool and 65%  somthing else/orlon (I was shopping without my glasses!)

I drafted a raglan knit block and recut the sweater. I had tried to figure a way to incorporate the neckline, but it did not seem feasible. It sits as a v-neck and was not that flattering. I had originally hoped to put the button placket to the back but it could not sit flat. So in the end, I had to cut it out, and sew a small seam in.

I did a wider slight funnel neck so I can wear a base layer underneath (it is not a warm sweater), and finished the neck and cuffs with a twin needle turn over hem.

I am going to do a scan of the raglan block and put it up with the patterns on craftsy as I am find these remade sweaters so useful, and a very quick sew. As well as which its a style of sweater I find difficult to get in RTW as they tend to be straight up-and-down, where as this one has a small bit of waist definition.

 

Anna Sui Denim Dress, Cynthia Rowley Black Blouse

Blouse and Denim Dress (2)

Cate at Vintage Gal had a wonderful post about Anna Sui in September.  I loved the dress she made from the Anna Sui pattern (vogue 1619).  I have looked (unsucessfully) for this pattern, but did get Vogue 1789.

I have started working full time and decided to make a few pieces of  winter work as this time last year I worked in a store with a ‘uniform’ so made some pieces to fill some gaps.

In all I have made 2 skirts, 2 sweaters, one blouse (this one), and one dress (this one).

Anna Sui Vogue 1789Vogue 1789 is a really useful pattern.  There are 4 different styles of dress and some made for knits, and some for woven.  I made view C and managed to eek it out of just over a metre I think.  The yokes are cut on the bias and the other main detailing is the darts and seams are top-stitched. I went rather ahead of myself when I cut the pockets and decided in my head it was a double welt pocket and then changed to what it should have been after cutting one, and ended up with uneven pockets.  I ended up darning these and turning the pockets to patch pockets and am still pleased with the dress.

The other nice detailing is the zip goes half way up and the yoke is a 3 button close above. I did the buttonholes with the singer buttonholer, this attachment is so worth getting, my husqvarna does nice electronic buttonholes but I find the singer ones as good. Besides making a ‘haimes’ (translates as mess) of the pockets, I am rather pleased with the dress, the cut is very tidy and effective, it sits just right. I hope to try the apron style next.

The other pattern I tried out was the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8264.  Its a much simpler pattern and I picked it up on a whim from ebay. The illustration shows a pleated collar and cuff as well as gathered, but the pattern is for a gathered , which I didn’t like as much.  I got the black off-cut in a charity ship for €2.50 and used half of it to cut this blouse.  Not too much to say, it was a quick sew, although I have yet to wear it as the shorter sleeves seem more suited to Spring.  The funny thing is, although I keep thinking I must make more blouses, in truth I rarely wear thing with collars besides base layers or sweaters with polo necks!

My other sewing has been my Christmas sewing and this year I used old denim jeans to make ‘hotties’.  I put it to a photo montage as the local ‘health food’ shop asked how I made them when I popped in to get the wheatgrain.  Funny how things turn over.  15 years ago I was in the same ‘health shop’ trying to figure which grain to use and the store assistant advised me, and fast forward (a bit too fast) and this store assistant last week didn’t realise you could make them with grain and asked could she put it on the stores facebook page, I did a small photo montage and steps for them.  (I sometimes do find it strange when I get these remarks re when you say you make or sew…. but then figure I did something similar when I was 15 and I kept repeatedly saying to my friend’s mother…..’you really made this mayonnaise…..that’s amazing…..’ and I think now with hindsight she must have wondered did I think everything came from a jar.)

This one I showed was rather plain here, but basically I will cut the legs of jeans about 12 inches long and sew one end and half sew the other, half or three-quarter fill with grain and sew up the ends (or lazily top sew it all shut as I do!).  The ones I made as Christmas presents I embroidered with initials so my niece and nephews don’t fight over who’s is who’s.  I use denim as its much harder wearing that the pretty cottons I used use! I use 750 g oat groats/wheat grain per bag, and heat for 2-3 minutes.

heat pack how to

five minute frock and blinged bag

The frock and the bag are not a set, and the only thing they have in common was that I rushed them off before my 5 day work week routine began.  I was a bit frantic trying to ‘finish’ projects before part time work status ended, and I got these two out of the way.

 

The five minute frock was pretty much that! I had found a wallis maxi polyester skirt on the reduced rail (€1) in the charity shop and picked it up with the intent of maybe making another skirt, for the new job.  Some days later I wondered if I cut armholes in it would it make a dress? I did and it was.  I wore it for the day to see if it was comfortable to wear – it was – so shaped the armhole cuts to curves and hemmed them, and sewed down the elastic waistband which gives a slight structured boat-neck collar.  It also can technically be converted back to a maxi skirt later …..should it be needed!

 

 

The blinged bag was a whim.  I had picked the bag up for €3 in a reduced bin.  I figure it was reduced as the lining was shredded and the bag, while being a functional black, was also a vinyl bag.  I had been rather inspired by Kate’s cross stitching (at our knitty-stitchy group that meet up in Carrolls pub, Dominick St Wednesdays if anyone is in Galway and wants to pop in!) and Lulu Guinness Handbags when I planned this bag.  What I had not realised is that Kate makes cross stitch look easy, which it is not.  I had trialed a few cross stitch hearts and they were disastrous…..so resorted to a few hours on the embroidery machine and did this one!

 

I used a screwdriver to loosen the bag, and made a new lining.  I then embroidered the vinyl, and then got the gutterman glue, put it together again and hoped I did it right.  I get a bit frantic towards the end of fixing the bag into the clasp again as i am always convinced it will fall out or I will have missed a bit, but this is the second one ever I have done and both have been fine.

 

The motif I downloaded for free (and edited it to make the single smaller hearts) and when I find the link I used, I will post it here!

 

 

 

embroidered wool coat

I don’t know if this is a general habit for others, but often if I am working on a long/boring/difficult project I start to plan a nice/interesting project in my head and this project becomes the treat that I can look forward to.  So while I was plodding away with the Irish dance costume, wondering when it would all end….. I was planning to embroider this coat on the left below.

embroidered red coat

The coat is a nice quality wool, and in its day, it would have been a mid-range coat with a basic (ie not satin) lining, although the wool by contemporary standards is excellent.  It had the 80s shoulders (big), a generous cut in all (I think everyone wore big jumpers in the 80s too).  It didn’t sell for €20 didn’t sell for €10 and I bought it at €2.  I was never too sure on the colour as it was a dull rust red so I left it for a while until I figured what pattern to use for it.

I used simpliciy pattern 6733.   The cut is similar to the one I drafted last year, but the simplicity pattern has no darts, and a bit more generous in the cut, and I managed to squeeze it in.  The cut was quick enough – centre front and buttonholes and pockets carefully lined up and cut (and useful to have them all done) – back equally easy to line up.  The sleeves were a squeeze and I find this each time I recut a coat, so as long as I got 2cm past hem line, I could do a faced hem!  The collar was part cut from collar and I cut as short as I could so I would have sufficient fabric for a hood.

I dithered over the design.  Originally I was going to go with one colour only and do a grid of this motif, but it did look and feel a bit bland – a friend of mine suggested the scale of the design was insignificant got me thinking a bit more and I went searching for a another motif so with some other tiny scraps I did another test using this new motif, and loved it as the red and pink seemed to lift the colour and I could do some borders also.  I used motifs from embroideryonline.com.   Originally I was going to try and do a tiled design but once I did the finished the large motifs and placed the half motif I figured it looked a bit busy so left it.  The coat  has 2 borders – one in red, and the other in brown, and there are 8 large motifs around.  The sleeves just have the borders, and I used standard sewing thread for the embroidery.

embroidery  samples

final motifs for embroidered coat

Out of the left over fabric, I recut some back and side facings, and reused the lining, and also cut a hood.  I did not re-cut the lining as the cut was so similar to the coat itself, I just took it in a bit at sleeve head and sides.  I did use some gross-grain ribbon on the hem to give a make a bigger hem, and I like the way the ribbon looks on the inside – I also put my label on the lining with the original! (these are school labels – and I am finding them useful especially for knits so I know the back and front!).  The hang loop was reused.

 

 

The hood was a tighter cut, and I had tried to make it more dramatic originally, but when I tried it on I did not like the bigger hood at all, and as the idea of the hood for me is practical, the bigger hood has less weight and would probably blow off occasionally so I trimmed it and had to use some embroidered scraps in the edging.  I put poppers along so its not detachable.

embroidered coat with hood and without

Verdict- so delighted with the coat and wearing it loads.  This red, despite my original misgivings,  is a perfect shade, and the embroidery seems to ‘lift’ it.   It nicely replaced last years red coat which I did not wear that much as the red was a bit overwhelming for me.

I did a stall at a local market and sold some makes and last years red coat was sold.  It a great shade but too bright for me.   The stall was a bit of an experiment as sometimes donating back makes to the charity shop potentially increases their workload, and it could be interesting to find out what people think of the remakes directly.  I priced the makes at secondhand clothes prices – as charging labour time would have been unrealistic,and I wanted to clear the excess makes.  I see these makes as sample sews and considering doing a stall occasionally in the future as I like the making but sometimes I make more than I wear and and sometimes, I make for an experiment.

 

irish dance dress – the long way round

The making of this dress was epic and not in any good way.  I hadn’t realised how lucky I got with the last dress until I was in the thick of this one,

Last June, red was the chosen colour and I tried out some threads on it. The original motifs looked stronger in white (agapanthus leaf) however  Donna (niece/dancer) seemed to like the idea of a celtic motif and I got this one from Embroidery Library.  I had trouble with it from the start and could not get the outlines to work but as it was ‘voted’ a favourite with the outlines, I had to go with it. I tweaked it a bit to get it to fit in.  I figured I could make a simple collar out of ovals and crystal bling-stones could be set into them.  I was not overly enamoured with the whites as I tried out some more samples – then changed to some yellows oranges and reds and it all looked so much better, and it was the last week of August!  I was confident in the pattern as the dress I had made last time still fitted well so I could use the same pattern – my niece however had grown 5 inches!!!! and is no longer 5’3″ but nearer 5’8″,

1 embroidery testing

a mix of embroidery sampling – the lower LHS has a yellow outline on white in the middle  as a trial….

So once the colours were figured, I raced on ahead and the bulk of the embroidery took 7 days – except for the neckline which I ‘designed’ on the Sierra Software – which turned out to be easier this time than the last time as they had a software update.  However the skirt didn’t work like I had anticipated.   Donna had wanted a stiff stand out skirt and I was unsure on how the ‘classic’ one was constructured and the way I figured I would do it didn’t work – and I never did a ‘toile’ so was working on the real fabric all along.

And then after sending some pictures of the embroidery front –  Lisa/dance teacher asked for some changes to the centre front embroideries after I sent on some rough photos – she (rightly) felt the centre front needed definition and could I do an outline in lemon….after the lower bodice was cut

Irish Dance Dress Construction

initial pinnings

I was flumoxed and took a few days to figure what to do and took a break.

The Skirt – I did locate a pattern called guna rince and it seemed like the answer – which it was in part.  It had a pattern and instruction for the underskirt and corresponding overskirt.  I ordered it.  The pattern was what I needed but as the fashion here is for a shorter skirt longer bodice I adapted it a bit by shortening the skirt, and also had to tweak it so it would accommodate the cut skirt I had done.  I used Vilene S80 on the stiff underskirt, and basted interlining of sew-in heavier vilene M12 to the back and a double layer of vilene M12 on the front skirt.

3 construction Irish Dance Dress

The top LHS is the right panel of the back of the dress – the ‘fashion’ here now is no cape/braith at the back but to heavily embroider it in an ‘unexpected’ colour with less bling

The additional embroidery – The issue with the outline was that its not easy to fit in another embroidery after the fact and I did digitize a line on the Sierra software and kinda lined it up.  The difficulty for me is that the hoop on my machine is 150x230cm so the centre front motif took 3 hoopings originally and the outline took 4 and the fabric was pretty stressed by the time, I also figured covering the spaces with some bling would conceal.

The long way and the wrong way

So in all it took 5-8 weeks – the first 2 weeks of August I was only dabbling, and the last week of August I did most of the embroidery. Most of the dress construction was done in the last 2 weeks of September.  It was all rather stressful, as for a while it seemed everything that could go wrong did,   The bobbin tension of the machine was not great throughout, and I had to keep an eye on it.  I am still not sure what went wrong but it got half fixed with changing threads, dusting after each embroidery, and John in the Singer Centre Waterford posted up a new case (which still has not fixed it but helped a lot).  I bought the machine off him originally and cannot recommend him highly enough.  They really offer a great service there, and just plain lovely to deal with

I was also running out of embroidery thread a lot faster than I thought (there were over 600,000 stitches) so had to get WM Trimmings in Dublin  to post extra down from Dublin – They really are a wonderful shop – and both times I phoned lunchtime, and the thread arrived in the post the following morning! (local fabric shop does not carry the shades or the larger spools of thread).

Hindsight

should have made a toile – are these the ‘not so famous last words’?  as I hadn’t realised that the new fashion amongst Irish dancers here is a much shorter skirt (about 4 or 5″ from centre V)   and longer bodice – and I should have added 1.5″ more to the bodice length- my skirt length is 6″.  The dress pictures Donna had sent that she liked had a mix of skirt lengths and she never pointed out specifically till the end about the length.  It was not a deal breaker as the main request was a stiffer skirt.

Verdict 

I was so relieved when Donna tried it on.   when I saw her moving/walking around in it the hang and movement of it was good – and she seemed to move well/confidently in it – although I could swear she grew another inch since the beginning of the summer.  Lisa (Dance Teacher) has given her seal of approval so all good.

 

The Bling

My Sister, Eithne, is brilliant with the bling – I really don’t know where to start – or end.  She tells me it’s because she goes to so many feis’s (competitions) but I really think its more than that.  Luckily she will bling it – and hopefully I will have a competition dress photo soon!

meanwhile – here are some photos from when we were trying out different stones

4 bling

The Cost

The cost of dresses can run into about €2200 and the costs of this dress without bling ran to about €250 which included – I bought 5m of fabric and I have 1 m left over.  I could have bought less originally but I did need some to sample and am happier to have 1m left as this wa

  1. Fabric and lining – 80
  2. embroidery designs approx – 30
  3. threads approx –  approx 60-80 (yes really!!! )
  4. vilenes and stabelizer  – 40 (I did get too much
  5. machine needles – 5
  6. zip and bias binding – 10
  7. pattern – 40

The bling will cost about €150-200

What now

I am going to toile the Guna Rince pattern as when I compared the two – mine has a higher armhole and different darts so I am curious to the fit – and I also want to get a better pattern for the next dress and figure the shorter skirt long bodice.  I happen to have a cream fabric here that could work as an alternative and work on it slowly over the next few months – but as cream is not a good stage colour I will see if it mixes well with jade? but as one dress is done, there is less pressure now.

I am also keeping the embroidery machine out for the moment – as in order to keep my sanity with the dance dress, I started a side project of another coat so half way through that – and seems to be going to plan…….seems to be

 

 

 

 

Shirt Blouse Pattern

When I first started this pet project / blog, my mini-ambition was also to develop a set of patterns suitable for upcycling clothes, and it seemed to keep falling by the wayside.  I did up one last year….and its still on rough paper (but I hope to get that drafted and tested in the next month)

Two months ago, I changed jobs – I went back temping –  and wanted to make up some new ‘work’ tops.  When I used temp years ago, I would wear skirts more, whereas this year I have pretty much been wearing cigarette pants all summer, and wanted to make up a few ‘prepier’ looking shirts/tops to go with them.  One was this butterick shirt, which I made from a pale blue linen.  The one think I hadn’t thought of, was to cut the front up-side-down on the men’s shirt as the buttons go the wrong way!

butterick shirt upcycle

Anyway – while it has been a useful addition, I wanted a top with no collar, but still ‘crisp’ looking.  I had a white dress shirt from the sewing room in the cupboard and ran this one up.  I was very pleased with it, as I managed to get the whole top out of the shirt (and still have some usable scraps left – cuffs and collar).  I took off the pique panels and used them for the yokes and incorporated the button holes as a ‘feature’, and did a slash opening at the back.

I was very happy with the construction – its a lined yoke, and slash opening back, and sleeves are sewn in flat, and there are a small amount of gathers at the cuff of the sleeve.

white shirt upcycle

I then wondered how adaptable the pattern would be, and as I had a few stripe shirts in the workroom, so I started to experiment with some mix and match there (I had planned to use these with the teens in the sew summer camp) so started taking them apart and sampled up a few – tweaking as I went along, the main tweak really was adding shoulder darts.  I am rather pleased with the patchwork-ed ones and am now foisting some of the makes on friends, as I got carried away with the making…..

shirt blouse - upcycle shirt

 

So-with the making of the new Irish Dancing Dress looming I spent last weekend drafting and had it scanned yesterday.  I put it on craftsy and its free, and hope to have an A4 version up by the weekend.  I am hoping the explanations of each step is sufficiently informative without being too simplistic.  I have found in the sewing room – that I tend to assume that ‘everyone’ knows this – but then remember or am reminded that not everyone learned to sew in school etc.  So if you have any comments tips on the instructions and pattern if you wish to download/read/use, I would be delighted to hear them.

Originally I was to grade it also, but I was running out of time, and if my niece (irish dance dress) finds out I am doing extra-curricular activities – I thought it best to finish what I had, and get onto that!

 

Nehalem pants – a job for a featherweight

I got this Nehalem pants pattern last year and spent an afternoon taping pages together, and then, couldn’t figure a fabric.  I got this 1.5m of this light cotton (I think, has a linen quality but dont think its rame) in a market in Leeds in May and thought to finally sew them.

nehalem pants (8)

They sew up so fast – an afternoon, and the only adjustment I made was to place the tie an inch lower (hollow back).  They are very practical (pockets and front seam which acts as a fold guide).  I find I prefer to wear them with the waistband folded over, and if I was to wear the other way, I think I would make thicker ties for it.  The only real issue I had was that the tops I had didn’t really seem to work with it – I was wearing the gathered sleeve t from the last post, but then I remembered my ‘smocky’.  Its a top I bought when I was 15, and I have photos of me wearing it for the next 10 years and some.   I think it retired to my sewing basket in 1996 as there is a tiny hole in it and I was going to repair it and yet never did/could.  So happy to wear it again.

Looking at the photos just there unsure how come I am squinting into the light – I look asleep…..and it wasn’t even that bright this morning…

And the Nehalems were sewn on a featherweight! I have acquired one and can so see the appeal of them now.

featheweight

Some months ago I was in a local charity shop and got talking to the manager Aileen.  We were talking sewing and she asked me to look at some machines for their value.  I looked at 2 and cleaned them and got one working and then she brought in this case….. and it was a featherweight a bit worse for wear.  Cracked lacquer, damaged case, rust on the tray but luckily none on machine – the chrome on the needle plate is damaged.  There was an issue with the bobbin which would be expensive to fix.  I explained (too much – her eyes glazed over) to Aileen that it was a lovely machine but as it would be expensive to fix I could not offer her much -she was happy to take 30 and I kept telling her she should really advertise it for more money (how pathetic am I!).  So I brought it home.  Cleaned and tidied case as much as I could.

  • which was using metal polish on the spare bobbins as well as some attachments and the tray to clean off the rust (some attachements were in a box and they were fine)
  • Metal cleaner on the latches etc of case – one latch is a bit buckled but it does have a key
  • PVA on the case where the vinyl was torn and bubbling
  • oiled everything – which in turn made the cracked lacquer less obvious
  • cleaned bobbin case as it had dirt preventing the bobbin sitting in

and justified getting it fixed by Morgan as there were a few things still off with it (crack in the bobbin case holder and tension spring gone) for 160euro incl parts –  and I was also rather chuffed that Morgan was enthusiastic about its repair (he kept telling me normally he would never give repair advice but did I know these were a really good machine….and told me about a matching iron they made for them….) and when I got sewing on it….it sews a charm – and I can see why the fan club exists for this machine.  The stitch is like the elna (technically the elna may be slightly better), and the machine has a lovely noise/rhythm – it reminds me of my favourite GIF (both sooo cute)

giphy

 

Its also very portable.  I have started to bring it to the community sew room for me to sew on if there are not enough machines as its light enough to put in a bag. (less bulk that way).  I also justified spending 160euro on the fix as I had taken a second job, and I was going to sell the 99k (now sold).  However, since I also had to drop one of my jobs, as I was working 2 part time jobs spread over 7 days a week and getting very tired, so I have now changed jobs from retail(job 1), back to clerical work (job 2 which is temping part-time).  The change is good overall, and now I have time to start on the new irish dance dress……….which technically will be my main job for the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick remakes – T and Shirt

I was asked to help with a workshop a youth group was running locally.  The ‘summer camp’ was going to try and combine fashion along with eco-sensibility – by both discussing the negative environmental and social aspects of fast fashion as well as facilitating the attendees to make their own fashion by handing over a fiver and getting them to go to the charity shops and find some clothes that they would wear or upcycle!

I thought I better do some quick sews to show them pieces that can be done with very little sewing and cutting.  I found a shirt and tee in the sewing room box (a lot of unsaleable pieces from the attached charity shop end up here so some have holes some have stains….).  The big T had some small holes and the design was badly faded, the shirt had a stain to the front.

The T

grey tee shirt cut out

The front print on this was faded but was not as noticeable on the wrong side – which I used as the right side,

  • I cut it up and rough cut a tee-shirt shape from the front and back and shortened the tee shirt
  • cut a slight curved arm-scythe. I used one of my own tee’s as a guide.
  • I sewed the shoulder seams together
  • I trimmed the sleeves into as long a rectangle shape, and joined each to a rectangle made from the front and back trim from the bottom of the tee – with the original hems left intact so they became the finished edge of the new sleeve – I gathered the sleeves and inserted them flat
  • and over-locked the sides together and twin needled the neckline and hem.

grey tee after (1)

The hem and neckline were turned over and finished with a twin needle!  The sleeves in this are very dramatic, but its a great tee, and I have since tried another with smaller sleeves.  The sleeves here were made from the 2 rectangles cut from the bottom of the tee-shirt only.

G Star T upcycleG star t upcycle

The shirt

There are a few upcycles around for this style of gypsy shirt, but I wanted to show shirring as I find it so useful, effective and fast.

shirred shirt upcycle to summer top

So for this I cut the shirt above cuff and placket, and around the neckline (which was just under the yoke of the shirt at the back, and over-locked all edges.

I then did 3 lines of shirring…. which equated to one bobbin full!  I later put in some at the hem.

Both took less than an hour each.

The workshop was last week and it was so interesting and so hectic – I did 3 afternoon sessions of about 2.5 hours and it was non-stop.  There were 7 attendees and a great mix of ages and fashion styles, and they were all incredibly enthusiastic.

Few had really sewn before and the nice bit about the making were all were happy with making in general and setting a realistic standard (I think sometimes teaching adults to sew is more difficult as some expect to have a store bought finish and feel defeated when it comes out otherwise.)  Anyway this was just as well as they all seems to have picked up very tricky fashion fabrics at the charity shops.

 

My ‘Anthro’ crochet beach dress

My favourite way to finish sweaters is a crochet edge, one reason is its incredibly quick way to finish, and the second is it gives a sweet hand-made touch – the last one I did was a navy cardigan – I don’t have the before photo but it was a zara long cardigan which was rather jaded looking and languishing on the ‘euro rail’ (reduced rail in charity shop). (I have put a small ‘how to add trim’ or ‘how I do’ here)

I had thought a few times of trying crochet trims on tee-shirts but never did – until this ‘Anthopologie’ number popped up on my pinterest feed the Xanthe dress.

I follow Anthropologie on Pinterest, and I only got to visit the store for the first time in York.  It was interesting but slightly boring, the huge whale made from denim was brilliant, but it was really racks of the same clothes.  I think I have gotten used to charity shops with where everything is different and requires a look, that I sometimes get bored in shops!  I didn’t see this dress when I was there, but it did pop into my feed a week after I came back.  I really loved the fresh look and colours and thought I should try something similar.  So a few days later when I was in a charity shop, I got this jersey skirt and its a perfect colour (although a small bit light).  I cut the waist-band off, cut a ‘vague’ underarm curve to give illusions of sleeves, and then a neckline.

Originally this dress was to be whipped up in no time, and use some left over yarn. I blanket stitched the neck and sleeves and did them first in a mix of single, double crochet and fillet stitch.  but this was not meant to be, I was nearly finished when the weight of the yarn had the dress stretched to mid-calf.  But as I was happy with the dress besides…………I went out and bought the yarn in 4ply, and started all over again.  This time I flew through it as the stitches were worked out.  I pretty much went with similar patterns to the original, I used some fhdc’s here and there, and I am unsure how the braiding was done on the ‘Anthro’ dress, but I did a foundation chain, and threaded it through the white fillet.  I tightened the neckline but I am thinking of making it big again after seeing the photos, it was more boat-necked before hand.

 

There is something so perfect about crochet summer dresses, especially on a warm day, as they are incredibly comfortable to wear.  I don’t really like to sit in sunshine so generally use this sunhat every summer if I sit ‘out the back’.  (when I say every summer, I mean every summer for the past 27 years…… probably my best buy-it-once buy)