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.

 

Clap your hands – say yeah…..

I have a sweater that I wish to embroider, and this is not it!  This DMC motif came up on my facebook feed and I liked it for a sweater, but didn’t want to put it on the other project so thought if I saw a cotton knit in the ‘charity’, I would give it a try as I do little hand embroidery and had never done it on a knit…….

embroidered sweater, before and afterI used the Seamwork Astoria pattern (again) and modified it by lengthening sleeves and body.  This time instead of the crochet edging I hit on the idea of taking the ribbed cuffs and using them as the neckline – and yipee – it worked!  I also whipped it up in no time as I used the sewing room overlocker (I recently started volunteering in a community sewing room – its still in a development phase as only open a few hours here and there but will be interesting to see how it works out).  I still don’t believe I need an overlocker but am definitely finding them super handy for knits.

cutting-out-yeah-sweater

Figuring on transferring the design was a bit of a conundrum, and putting it in a hoop was a disaster.  I enlarged and traced the design on tissue and wanted to see if I could sew through it (of course I could but it kept ripping).  So in the end, I backed the jersey with knit vilene, and used the temporary fabric glue to apply the tissue design and it worked a treat.  (I got this fabric glue to help me machine embroider velvet so its great to find another use for it).  I put a board in the middle so I didn’t pick up fabric from the far side of the sweater.

sewingI did a basic chain stitch, and did Yeah in a paler shade.  I deliberately did not buy new thread as I wanted to use up what I had, but I think I should have done Yeah in more of a contrasting colour.  Some of the red floss, was a 8 strand that I was given with random left over craft bits, and although I got to use it up (I did 2 strands) it was very knotty so glad to see the end of it!

yeah-embroidered-sweaterI forgot how pleasant hand stitching is.  I am hoping the next sweater works well, its a wool knit, and so far the stitches seem to be drowning in it!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Sweater Remake


I got this sweater at the euro rail – its one of the few things I bought in a charity shop this year.  I am trying to get through what I have here – but I seem to make an exception for the euro rail – I often think these are the ‘no hope-ers’ and bound for landfill.  I love this colour, the fabric is cotton knit/ jersey.  The sweater colour is uneven due to wear and laundry, but to me this was part of the appeal as the colour now looked slightly textured,For the remake, I used the Astoria initially and also my own block.  It was all straight forward.  I added 5 inches to the length, and made the sleeves as long as I could.  I sewed it using the overcast stitch on the ‘new’ machine.  (so handy)

Cut out

 

Cutting Sleeve – I use bulldog clips to keep the two layers together, and it stops the fabric rolling back in.

I was unsure about the neck finish, and luckily I had some of the same shade in yarn, left
over from a previous project!  (its a colour I like).  I turned the edges and machine basted them, and blanket stitched them.  The trim is a mix of double and treble (uk) stitches.

Inside….

 

Outside…..

Love how it turned out -I cannot believe how quick and easy these types of sweater remakes are, (and the corresponding amount of sweaters on the men’s rail in charity shops).  I have a few more sweaters to remake soon, but I am hoping to try a few different finishes, like embroidered hems and embroidered embellishments….

 

use it or lose it – trousers to Astoria top

I have started this month with a tidy up…. of everywhere….. and trying to figure what to do next.



I did a check (again) of all fabrics and charity shop buys….. to figure a plan.
The plan is start using these up or donate back to the charity shop, which means to get trying the patterns I keep meaning to ‘try out’ and to stop shelving other projects to the back of the queue.

My sewing has taken a slow down due  I had pretty much stopped buying at charity shops some time back, as I found I was getting more than I could sew and was borderline hoarding!   My sewing slowed down a bit for a few reasons
was busy making the dance dress

  • I seem to have sufficient in my wardrobe (yup seriously and I love my new makes)
  • my soon to be grey hair has me wondering on whether is is worth making anything in yellow (my hair is currently in transition, with graduated roots in thanks to thoughtful cut by hairdresser kept it looking okay till christmas -however the roots are now just plain half and half)
the trousers
I bought these purple trousers sometime in the summer – for some reason on that day I bought three purple items from the euro rail and have yet to use them.  They are a 2 way stretch (barely) and a size 16 polyester.  I had thought to try a draft a pattern for a sleeveless shift, but then thought I could try the astoria pattern from Seamwork, and hope the fabric would work.  I had wanted to try this pattern for a while as there are some lovely results online (this being one)
the layout



As it turned out, there was enough fabric for the full sleeve (I thought I would have to do a two part sleeve)  All other pieces did have to be seamed!  I left the creases in place for the cut as they were my straight grain guide, and I ironed them flat with vinegar solution after cutting and left them to rest overnight.

The astoria is a one-hour sew, which would be right, except for I sewed a sleeve in wrong side out which I am part blaming on the shocking amount of Italian sweets I have been gorging….

The top is nicely fitted.  I find it slightly too fitted for what I wear but this is also probably due to the fabric is not a 4 way stretch (its not a great 2 way stretch either).   I am glad to have it as reference for a cardigan I am going to upcycle as the sleeve fitting of the Astoria is really lovely, it sits just right, so I am hoping it will work for a slightly thicker knit/actual knit.




As I seemed to be on a bit of a go slow with crochet this January, I got some gumshoe books from the library – there were about 10 curse words in the book I just finished and some previous reader blacked out each one! strange……..but even more unexpected was the first result back on a google search on ‘defaced library books’ (I was wondering if there was a actual term for it, and it turns out there is –  6 months…)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/14/joe-orton-defaced-library-books


Happy Christmas – with or without christmas jumper……

The Christmas jumper just wasn’t going to happen – so I have decided to frog it.  Its a pity as the stitch finally worked out for a raglan, but its too bulky.  I may try the stitch again in the new year. 


 Meanwhile, I am thinking of making a swink , which has a knitted collar and cuff, and seeing as I just learned to knit a few weeks ago at the sew social.  My first knitting is below and the dropped stitches are where I was attempting purls…… and when I cast off I used a crochet hook.  Currently I am practicing some knitting before I start the sweater to make sure I can knit, as I am still unsure as what to do with dropped stitches and I certainly don’t understand the book instruction! The second swatch is my second practice.  Half way up, I decided to try seed stitch and I am not sure what I did wrong yet, but I had to unravel that row and start some plains and purls to get used to knitting and to be able to recognise the stitch (still all looking the same to me!)


I started on another up-sew, of an old cardigan.  Its a primark from some years ago, and I used wear it in the summer, its incredibly thin, and has limited life left in it but I really like the colour, and remaking will extend the wearing of it.   I have to stitch down the neckline, and fix the hem yet.  It will be a rather light sweater.  I had to make the front from three pieces as taking the pockets off made some holes, and the ribbed panel at the front of the cardigan became the centre back of the back and the side panel in the front!  I used a basic jersey block and left the sleeve seam intact and just reattached the sleeve at the armhole.

 



I did manage to get my cards made and printed in time for international post dates.  When I used make my own cards first, I used make a lino or etched plate and print on the press (one year I even printed wrapping paper!), but in the last few years, I found the best cards were also the quick doodles/sketches I did in my notebook and since then, I do a drawing, scan and print…………..

my favourite card done in the last few years is still this one….. (I  finished it in photoshop and I should have done it by hand) it reminds me of the ee cummings poem, I carry your heart in my heart








Merry Happy Christmas!

felted school jumper to toasty toes

Some years ago, some school jumpers in my sister’s house got a bit too small too fast, my sister sourced another school jumper with less wool content (no wool), and I said that I would make something out of the felted ones – 4 years ago….. and I finally have.

make pair of slippers from felted jumper



I tried out some slipper patterns, and found a very good tutorial online (link here).  The first pair I used a school jumper and the sole was more jumper, 2 layers of curtain interlining, and a mock suede upholstery swatch I was also given a long time ago.   The tutorial online, the maker used some wool insulation, which looked brilliant, but I haven’t a clue where it could be got. 

make pair of slippers from felted jumper





These slippers were too light!  My toes were frozen, so I had to up the ante, especially a my old slippers I had been wearing were falling apart.  But when I looked at the old slippers I noticed they had a plastic-y underlay type layer in them, so slippers #2 had extra linings and underlay.  

make pair of slippers from felted jumper






Slippers #2 are super cosy, there is a layer of wool, interlining, underlay and suede and they are also wool lined.  As the soles were getting a bit thick, I machine stitched an outline on the base to keep all layers in place before I sewed uppers and soles together.  I blanket stitched one and machine stitched the other. The blanket stitched ones are probably more comfortable but now that I am wearing them I notice the difference less and less.  The became incredibly comfortable incredibly quickly and they are now the slippers I wear.





I was explaining to my nephew Alex how I had made slippers from old jumpers on the phone. Alex (10) was very skeptical so I asked if he wanted a pair, and slippers #3 are for him – I used some of slipper#1 so I would have 2 monograms (on very obviously off),  lined in the plaid from last weeks overblouse, and an extra layer of wool in the sole (so that is 2 layers wool, one underlay, one interlining, and one mock suede sole) should be super cosy.