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.

 

toasty sweaters and plaid skirt

 

I have been sewing quite a bit lately, and as I am easier sewing than writing about it,  I am only getting around to this post now…..(I never liked writing in school – I can touch type, but the minute I start I seem to forget what I meant to say.) Conversely,  this blog has been brilliant for me to have a focus my sewing projects – so I have grouped the last few completed sews!

As usual, my great sewing plan is shifting, which is usual, as sometimes when I take apart items there is less fabric than anticipated (ie what worked out perfectly on paper is compromised in reality).

The first for remake was this fine wool dress.  This dress was on the clearance rail in the charity shop (still can never believe what ends up on this rail).  The dress would have worked perfectly if it was either 1983, or I still had a 23″ waist, and as neither was true, I thought to try out the SewHouse7 Toaster Sweater.  The only cut issue was the sleeves, but I figured I could cut them and sew with minimum seam allowance so I trimed half the seam allowance from the armholes of the arm-scythes also, and I would also have to leave the plackets in place on the sleeves until the end.

purple-toast - sweater upcycle

I don’t know if this is the same for everyone, but sometimes I will sew like its a race to finish…..and not try on till the end (how bright is that) so all was well until I tried it on pre-hemming, and noticed that a sleeve was in backwards….. the placket was the wrong way, but I also noticed the funnel didn’t sit up at all as the knit was so fine, and it was inclined to stretch across, so I decided to pop some iron-on vilene to the neckline facings.  The sleeves are very long so I just hemmed them and put a button to stitch a ‘closure’.  The hems are a herring bone stitch, I tried a few and this one seemed to look best on the fabric.

I was curious how it would look on a heavier fabric, and had been dithering over the re-make of this bobble wool cardigan. It was a cardigan coat which was donated to the charity shop without its collar (poppers for it still in place) and had been much used so it was a bit pilled, a bit pulled and had a few holes.  It is 75% wool and the fabric was still in mainly good shape, despite dragged buttonholes!

bobble-toastOriginally it was to be a simple sleeved a-line shift with patch pockets based on a tunic pattern from 2 years ago, but I wasn’t happy with the way how it would  cut out and patched together.  Luckily I left it fro a day or two as I decided to try the toast pattern again.  Realistically I don’t need this many sweaters, so I was also deciding on who to try and give them to (still working on this) but I also really like these sweaters.  I was well glad I didn’t do the tunic as there would have been too many seams and the bobbles in the fabric shift a bit while sewing.  Toast#2 worked out well with the heavy fabric, both sweaters are lovely and incredibly quick to run up.

And there is fabric left over from both! I am thinking of a tablet sleeve from the bobble leftovers.

I had also ‘pulled’ out the embroidery arm of the machine as I have to do some Irish dance costume tests, so I started messing about with motifs and what else it does.. (and then got even more way-laid by embroidering tea-towels – housewarming gift to a wine sommelier! I have put the photos below).

embroidered tea towels.............

The scallop skirt I made last year I love, but the grey feels a bit severe and ‘work-y’ so I gave it to my sister (so far a hit).  I had this plaid scrap.  Its a funny plaid, originally I thought it was from an old school uniform, but the wool is such a fine quality, I now don’t think so.  It was from a bundle of wool scrap in the charity shop and ther was less than a metre with two chunks missing.  I patched it back together and cut the pattern out.  I did embroidery on the skirt but I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted or what way it would turn out, but I also knew thinking about it would not achieve much either.  Its done now and not what I wanted.  Originally I was going to pattern the motif but changed to a more concentrated motif.  I shoulda / coulda done a more grid or linear one, and think I would have preferred that, but am quite happy with this.  I love the simple shape of the skirt.  Such an effective pattern.

 

plaid-scallop-skirt

 

and finally – I got a new shears! (yipeeeee) The small Janome set I have are still good despite the taped handle, and not retired just yet.   I have been trying to buy a proper shears for some years but never found one I liked that cut right and felt right.  When I saw Ernest and Wright were to be at the Knit and Stitch this year, I hi-tailed it up and bought this…. and 2 other smaller fancy ones (I could have bought everything!).  I had dithered between the 12 and 10inch but as my cutting table is small (160cmx90cm) and my cuts are small (ie, not long lays of fabric) so I would be lifting the scissors more, I settled on the 10inch (which is realistically a better weight for me).  Its gorgeous and incredibly comfortable and love using it.  My brother in law saw it later that day, and called it a ‘colt 45’….. (I was feeling very smug indeed).

Claires Scissors and the Colt 45

 

 

 

 

 

Another Slouch Sweater – Maroon Merino

I hadn’t intended on making another sweater, but the longer the winter goes on, the more sweaters I need, and also this sweater pattern I adapted is perfect for me.  It sews up quickly, and layers well.

I got this sweater a few weeks ago, and only for the label ‘100% fine merino’ I would have left it there!  As it already had a good ribbed polo, I decided to work with what I had rather than take it apart fully.  I cut off the sleeves and cut the sleeves keeping the original seam in the sleeve rather than lose 1cm by resewing.  I cut up the side seams.  Before I cut, I double checked where the centre shoulder was by trying it on over my head, and this corresponded with how it folded when lain flat.

 

I cut around, and sewed the side seams to underarm and inset the sleeve, and I added a pleat to the ‘cuff’.  All of the cut and the sew to this point took less than 30 minutes!  I tacked sleeve hems and sweater hems and pressed them, and finished by using the twin needle.

 

 

Love how it turned out.  Have yet to wear it layered with the floral blouse but know they will make a good match!

I have a few other makes half done, and in between I moved the site to wordpress (so the half makes are still half-made).  Really glad I did as I never got a proper working template with blogger.  My bloglovin profile was updated too, but I was unable to transfer the subscribers from feed-burner.  I don’t know how well the subscriber form works on WordPress yet, as one email worked on it but another didn’t….so if anyone cannot subscribe and would prefer email, just let me know!

 

 

 

pullover to baselayer – raglan sleeve polo

I have this pullover/sweater/jumper in the to-do bag for a bit.  I had deliberated over a sweater dress, using the scarf to make an extension to the length, or Alabama Chainin inspired shrug/bolero (from scarf) and long skirt (from jumper)  As I haven’t really worn the Alabama Chanin makes from earlier in the year it didn’t seem like a practical solution, but what  I really need another base-layer with a funnel or polo neck to wear under dresses.  

The pullover was a funny shape and size, a bit dated and a bit big, and has a scarf attachment. The fabric is a 60% viscose 20% polyester-something and 20% wool so a nice mix of light and warm and perfect for a base-layer..  I get so cold and a base-layer with a polo,  will work under dresses, and over another baselayer (yup, I get that cold), as well as everything else!

upcycle sweater, refashion sweater, sweater remade


The funnel neck pattern I used in September would have been so perfect – except this brown pullover already had raglan sleeves, and I am finding with these remake projects, its better to work with what you have (sounds so obvious but I often forget the properties of the  fabric I am working on – and try to make it fit with the vision in my head).  I had to draft a proper jersey block as I have been using very old and badly drafted bits of paper for the last while.  I then made a raglan block,  and decided it may be best to do a raglan round neck and put a roll collar afterward (I had toyed with the idea of continuing up the seam to make it a funnel neck… )

Below is an Alabama Chanin sweater I made in February.  Its incredibly warm, but also the fit is not great.  I intended to try the idea again but try a boat  or scoop neck raglan sleeve as the round neck is a bit restrictive, the upcycle sweater is a thin wool, with cotton jersey under.  This was the first Chanin inspired piece I tried, and at the time I was gung-ho on making a dress…. until I did some stitch detail on a stenciled skirt – 2nd Chanin piece –  and realised my patience and endurance may not stretch to a dress just yet. 

upcycle sweater, refashion sweater, sweater remade