Fashion Revolution, Chevron Patch Skirt

It has been rather hectic the past 2 months, sewing, working and home renovations.

Back in January, I had been wondering what to do with my sample sews and had considered taking a stall again at the market. I also wanted to do something for Fashion Revolution week. I find fashion revolution week (when viewed in the context of sewing)  rather poignant as there was a time when sewing and sewing machines represented a type of freedom for women as they got their own machines and worked as home sew-ers, and now these sewing machines ‘enslave’ so many other women ( With fast fashion you trap a generation of young women into poverty. 75 million people are making our clothes today. 80% is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old. – forbes)

So I thought I would approach one of the shops I frequent, Cope Charity Shop.

Cope Charity Shop is really beautifully presented, and you have to remind yourself you are in a charity shop as it is laid out so well, it really has a boutique-shop feel, and they take great care in the shop with the displays, I always admire how fancy it always looks. They also have a reduced rail (€1 rail) where I buy a lot of clothes from, and I asked if they would like to have these makes and sell them in fashion revolution week.

Luckily, Allison Currah, the manager, liked the idea. I gave her the general idea of what I had (mainly blue and white makes). Allison kindly arranged everything else including the display and the publicity,  and arranged some great photos of the makes. This is one of the press releases here. Cope Charity Shop have also been doing daily tips this week for fashion revolution – which I think is great as I think the fashion revolution message is a rather dour message in the face of so many bright cheap clothes.

Allison had previously offered un-sale-able denims, which I originally was reluctant to take (they were the ‘synthetic’ indigo and cheaper forms), but ended up re-evaluating this, and though using this denim would be a good challenge and also a more realistic upcycle that the choicer pieces in wool that I normally nab at the charity shop.

So I drafted up a patchwork skirt. I originally planned a few different types but thought in the end to stick to one and make a few.  I adapted a skirt block by moving some darts to make equal size panels and then adding a 45 degree cut. As its denim the bias angle is stable, and I like these skirts made up either as a high contrast sew, or a tonal.

I made 6 extra denim pieces for the event, although I had planned about 12! 4 patch skirts, one Anna Sui Vogue and a Chevron dress. I also was time poor and with builders on the way to renovate our home so in the end.

The pattern for this is on craftsy for free download, with the sewing instructions. I did not get to take many photos of the process but I do hope the ones I have with the directions are clear enough to follow. The pattern does not have seam allowance in it, and have each panel on an A4 sheet so it will be easier to download, size and add seam allowance (I hope).

front and back 1

Its a nice sew (I think) as it was a tidy cut as each piece is small, and it lends itself to being sewn in stages, which is rather handy as I was distracted by all building works

Home Renovations – Not too much to say on this, except someone who lives in this house and is not me, who thought it a good idea to live in a house while builders were in excavating, and putting up steel and tearing out bathrooms and kitchen leaving a fine layer of dust everywhere (including my lungs) . I now feel like Lady Macbeth constantly cleaning my hands any chance I get.

Most of it has been fine but there were a few shockers (bathroom joists were failing fast –  The builder did comment, that it was most unusual, and he never saw one so rotted through, like all the way rotted……, and from his tone, I  don’t believe this was seen as an achievement in any shape or form.)

Now its all coming away, I am distracted by the wallpaper underneath…. and I do hope in 2 weeks time it will be hot and cold water, and no more takeaways…….

 

 

 

Advertisements

so many plans – so many patterns

It is also technically still winter  (Met Eireann/our weather board class December January and February as winter in Ireland) so I also see it as a time of semi-hibernation and taking it easy – January is definitely my tiredest month, probably because if also feels like the darkest one.

So rather than try and make a tonne of stuff (as if) I figured it would be a lot more productive to get all my favourite patterns that I actually own (as opposed to covet on etsy) and make a top ten to sew for the year from comfort of the sofa. So gathered em up, and then whittled down to a few that I have clothes that could be remade this year. (I do also have plans for a few self drafted ones too).

And the top picks werevogue 1

I am not too sure if I will get a make with this one. I love this era of Vogue illustration, and had been thinking of a high neck blouse as an alternative to polo necks. I also have a flimsy chiffon ‘play suit’ which may work if I try a sleeveless version of this? otherwise I am sure there a few other contenders I can try.

hollywood

The hollywood pattern I have a long time. I was full sure I was going to make it straight away when I got it, but no….it has languished. The main attraction was that the top uses little fabric, and I have some of my ‘precious’ silks that can get used here.

vogue 2The Vogue blouse I got before  Christmas. I was also given this stripe skirt by a friend, I am not too sure if I will make the sleeved version from the stripes, so I am also thinking of maybe a plain colour ……..vogue sybi

Sybil Connolly blouse, I have wanted to make a Sybil Connolly pattern sometime. I am a bit fascinated by her (especially after seeing her tweed patchwork full length 1950s skirt) so I am trying this blouse as I have an odd polka dot dress which I have not got a clue what to do with.

coats and jkt

Style Arc – Katherine Daze made this coat, and when I saw her coat I thought the ‘Jimmy Hourihan’ coat I had waiting could be used. I really have not a clue if it will work as I took the coat apart ages ago and its folded away…..

Vogue Moto Jacket – I thought some wool mens jackets could be upcycled with this one.

Simplicity Coat Pattern – I have a navy wool coat which is waiting a long time, and it has similar lines.

blaire

Style Arc Shirt – I only picked up this pattern to save on some postage when I bought the other. I have some cream silk shirts to re-cut, and thought to use them here, and a chance to use up more of the squirreled away silks

vogue 3

I hope to try this vogue pattern with a taffeta bridesmaid dress I was given

advance

I also have a charity shop wedding silk suit…….Its amazing the amount of flouncy-fancy-only worn-once-pieces that are in the charity shops, and I thought this Advance pattern could work here.

simp

The one I am working on (slowly) at the moment is this cute top- The pattern was a gifted trace that I have been meaning to make up for ages. I got this raw silk bridesmaid skirt (I assume) last month. I adored the colour and was rather impressed with the amount of bias in the fish-tail skirt, perfect for the collar.

I have a few more self drafted patterns to test out and share….but for the moment, I am in no rush!

It has been a good way of getting a plan going for the year, as I got to tidy away the pieces and patterns I won’t be working on and have the ones I will work on to the fore….

And I also got to fold my stash of charity shop buys….(a good start is half the job)

sew cupboard

 

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.

 

double denim skirt – The refashioners 2016

My workroom has become awash with denim……between the last few makes, I have also been picking up more jeans from ‘the euro rail’ (yup the local charity shop had to reduce all jeans to 1 euro to clear them out a few weeks ago….on one hand I gain by getting so much raw material so cheaply, but on the other hand it shows the levels of overconsumption…)

I had been meaning to try a skirt, as I have a good few dresses for winter, but want to try a skirt so I can mix and match with trousers and sweaters.  I had doodled about some ideas, and in the end the main contenders were…………………….

the refashioners 2016 Upsew Skirt ideas

It was pretty much playing about with some graphic shapes, the first being ‘the drawing exercise’ (is it a silhouette of a couple or a candle-stick…) and  then going between 2 colour and 3 colour options. I decided to go for the jigsaw idea, though now with hindsight, I probably would have found drawing 3, 4 or 9 easier with the straight lines.

 

The dark denim was from a dress I did last year from a pair of jeans, I didn’t wear it much and figured most of it would go into making the skirt.  The light denim was from another pair of jeans from ‘the euro rail’ (the reduced rail).   I used an a-line skirt pattern I had, and divided it into 3 parts along the dart lines.  I added the shapes to one side, and added seam allowance onto that.

 

 

The centre front and other side ended up being joined together and cut rather crudely from the dress front and dress back as there was insufficient fabric.  It is not on grain but the seam line is relatively evenly matched and I figured I could get away with it given the fabric weight, and weave.

I placed the jigsaw shape side over the dark denim, pinned in place, and top-sewed in place – I was more organised with the second jigsaw panel, I clipped the curved edges before I turned it over with a tacking stitched, then pinned and top-stitched  They are not perfect curves, but as it was a bit of an experiment, and a casual skirt, I am fine with this (and given my increasing need for glasses, I probably am well able to overlook it!).  I used a zip from one of the pairs of jeans, and the inside leg scrap from the light denim for a curved waist facing.

Its a knee length skirt, and probably best suited for summer.  Knee length is a funny length for me, I am experimenting teaming it up with different shoes/boots/tops and have not settled on a ‘winter’ look, as tights look a bit odd from the light denim sided….. but I don’t want to cut it short either…..

Iam also thinking of trying some of these graphic skirts for some wools off-cuts, which would work out well indeed.

 

 

 

 

grey skirt to grey dress (and still a grey skirt)

When I was 20 I went inter-railing and had my rucksack packed with stuff, including vintage dresses (3) and floral McHammer style pants (it was the 80s), leggings and lots of teeshirts, plimsoles and sandals…… and a few basics.  We met lots of wonderful people and I loved it all.  I remember meeting one girl, who had a much smaller and simpler rucksack, metal water canteen (like from the army) and who seemed to have a total 2 jersey skirts and 3 tee shirts and each combination looked so effortless, and ready for all occasions….. and funnily enough when I was working on this skirt, and how to make it multi-functional,  I thought of her (and how much I would like to inter-rail again….)

 

The skirt was in the charity shop, beside a rail of 1euro coats (seriously a whole rail)…. I adored the charcoal shade, and I wasn’t sure what it was, skirt or dress.  Its a bias cut, and had a half bubble effect at the front hem (elastic was sewn inside on the front hem), and there was one belt loop at the back –   I tried it both ways, as a dress and skirt and it seemed to be both.

I had a feeling it was a never-worn-sale-buy, and when I took it apart, sure enough, there was a green sticker that some stores use on the label, and no wear signs at all.  The skirt was a zip to the side, and both side seams sat a bit more towards the front, with the right side more so.  The back had two long darts, and a belt loop over one.

I put it on the mannequin a few ways, and finally decided on

  • taking out the elastic on the front hem, and re-heming the lining, and the front of skirt
  • make one strap which would tie with buttons, and go to a v shape at the front
  • to put a second belt loop on the back, over the other dart
  • to put a button hole under each one
  • to have a loop on the inside middle front of the skirt and to run the straps through this

I took some fabric from the belt (nearly half) and folded it over and sewed to make the strap.  I got the flattest buttons from the button box and used the super buttonhole maker (but still lined up one button-hole slightly off).  I undid the front loop and redid it.  Originally I didn’t like how the stitching showed, but after finishing, I also noticed that sewing the loop to the facing didn’t secure it enough, and also the dress sat up at the front, when I put the dress backwards, it sat level at the hem, so I resewed the loop with more even stitches, as at least its was now to the back!  The waist darts of the skirt, now acting as chest/bust darts!

 

I have been wearing it as a dress and I love it….I prefer it un-belted but have the option to belt it, and  I am still figuring a top for if I wear it as a skirt (thinking of maybe a white vest or a wrap top?)

 

I am rather chuffed to have a new summer dress as a few of my summer clothes got re-donated as they don’t really go with grey hair (creamy yellows).  I am finally getting used to the new hair colour as its now evening out and growing longer, as I love the texture of my own hair (dyed hair has the texture of a fake wig) but as I only really see myself in the mirror twice a day, it still takes getting used to seeing photos of myself!

 

red skirt – made from a swatch, a scrap, and santa trousers

Kathy’s swatches are never far from my mind…………well they are in plain sight all the time in the workroom, and I wanted to try a skirt with the embroidered linen pieces ( as in February’s skort, which did not turn out as well as I had hoped due to the differing fabric weights and is most probably heading to become a cushion if I ever get started on the domestic sewing.) The embroidered swatch has a lot of weight and stiffness in it.  

skirt from a swatch


The polyester crepe trousers are not really santa trousers, but as I got them in the charity shop on a euro rail a week before Christmas, all I could think when I saw them was Santa pants.  The fit of them and cut is lovely, but I think the colour as trousers could be a challenge for some, me included.  The weight of the fabric is good and seems to fall well so I figured it should work with the linen.  The trousers had a strong crease, and I ironed/pressed it flat using a 50:50 vinegar water spitz.


The ever versatile vogue pattern 7776 was brought out again – the back panels were cut from the back of trousers (pattern placed ‘up side down’ so side flare of skirt was going towards the crotch.  I had to make an educated guess on the grain as the crepe was not going to rip correctly, so I chalked a line and laid the centre back line on this.


I sewed the front panels together before cutting the front as I wanted the front darts to be in the crepe, not the linen piece.  The front darts panel was cut from trouser end piece, and cut on the ‘cross grain’. I thought the crepe and linen mix was a bit flat, so I had a scrap of embroidered raw silk I put at the end.  I had toyed with including it on the back skirt but didn’t,  I pinned some across, and it seemed to be the same difference whether I did or not, so I used it to face the hem on the back of the skirt instead.  I put the skirt together to make sure it hung correctly, and then I top stitched, added zip, hemmed, and then made the facing and lining attached.    The lining is from another skirt.  Whenever I take pieces apart, the linings are put into a bag and I can take them as I need them, and the left over reds….. they will make a handy addition to the planned patchwork!

Overall, the skirt has turned out perfect, the back hem is basted and I will let it hang for a few days.  The weather here is still very cold so it will not get out for a few weeks yet!

a month of swatches – skirt and skort

So the month has come to an end, and as its march next, so making way for some green makes!

This week I finished a skirt and nearly finished the skort  I had to launder both skirt swatches before I used them and thankfully neither shrank, so it was off to a good start.

The skirt was made using the vogue pattern 7776, and a pair of black trousers, pretty straightforward as this pattern uses petersham instead of a waistband (big plus, easy and comfortable), and I reused the zipper from the trousers.  I joined black fabric to the swatch in straight edge strips and then cut out the skirt front.  Its a nice skirt and worn a bit (constantly) last week!  

swatch skirt


The skirt put me in a very optimistic mood and this as well as some fine spring weather, had me making the skort.  I was cycling a few days ago and the weather was so sunny (not warm just sunny) which put me to thinking of making the skort in the same pattern.  I used a linen/viscose skirt for skort back and shorts front, and had to make the short backs from another piece of linen from a pair of trousers (same shade and weight and as they would not be seen I felt ‘safe’ enough)t , and the swatch made up the front flap.

swatches remade to skirts



swatch skirt


I am a bit / lot / seriously unsure on the skort.  The heavier weight of the swatch by comparison to the linen may or may not work, I put some interfacing on the pieces around to work better with the panel  The instructions were a bit fiddly and I am unsure if I did the hems the correct way. so I have basted hems for now.  Its not summer for a long time yet so plenty of time to figure final details.  The front of shorts, back of skirt were made from a skirt, and the back of shorts were made from a similar shade and weight of linen (linen trousers).  

The closure will probably be a button at the waistband as I think putting buttons on the lighter fabric could pull on it.  I will wear it about the house when the weather warms up and figure it then.    I am still undecided on the front section, as I don’t know if it looks too much like patchwork? However, as its a summer skort and a lot less revealing than my tennis skort – so perhaps a lot more practical. 



I have still plenty of swatch books! and and will probably be dipping in here and there for the next while – the black bag contains potential projects…………….. which means the mannequin will no longer be covered 24/7 in clothes and swatches trying to get colour matches