Saturday, 31 May 2014

Repurposed Men's Suit Trousers

I finally got around last week to repurposing a pair of old suit trousers I fished out of  the bag going to the charity shop. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but it turns out my boyfriend is only a little bigger than me round the waist so not much needed to be done to make them fit.

I forgot to take a 'before' photo I'm afraid, or any during the process, as I kind of winged it, but I'll give you the gist of what I did:

I used this tutorial to help with taking them in at the waist, although I found to difficult/painful(!) to pin the excess whilst wearing them. Putting them on inside out to check though is a great idea.

I cut them off just above the knee, and rolled up the ends rather than hemming them. Then I used the excess fabric to make 1.5/2" strips for braces. I folded them like bias binding, folding the raw edges to the middle and then the whole strip in half lengthwise so all raw edges are enclosed. Then I stitched as close to the folded edge as possible. I then used a contrasting white thread to do a decorative scallop stich down each side.

Lastly I attached a strip either side of the centre of the shorts, crossed them over at the back and then attached them to the inside of the shorts.

I do look rather like a lumberjack with this shirt on as well.... but that's okay... right?

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Great British Sewing Bee Pyjamas

My latest sewing project is also the first one not made for me. This was a fairly last minute idea for a birthday present for my man, since I'm forever making things for myself I though it was about time I made him something. However he wasn't overly keen on modelling them so its my legs in the photo!
I used the pattern from the GBSB book, and a lovely red white and blue checked seersucker for just £3.50 a metre. This is a very quick sew and easy to understand, however once again I did find a couple of times where the book could have bee more clear.

Pattern Description:
Loose fitting unisex pyjama trousers.

Pattern Sizing:
Unisex sizes S-XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, pretty easy, although I misunderstood the waistband instructions.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
How quick it was to sew, however I found the waistband confusing and made my buttonholes in the middle of the whole width rather than when it was already folded, which created problems later.
Fabric Used:
Checked seersucker
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did a narrower hem as they were for quite a tall slim person
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I'm planning to make some shorts for myself and a vest top, perhaps with elastic rather than a drawstring.
You can't really go wrong with these as they're not a fitted item of clothing. Great for lounging around the house in and cool in summer if made of seersucker. Drawstring was a bit of a pain to get through the waistband though!
Emily Kate

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Spicing up some Ballet Pumps...

Now this is a little bit of a cheat 'refashion' or 'repurpose' since I bought these shoes particularly for this, and from a High street store beginning with P to boot. I would have used a pair of pumps I already owned but since I wear them till they practically fall off my feet by the end of the summer, it was time I bought some new shows anyhoo. This is just a little way to jazz them up so your feet don't look like anyone else's!
I'm afraid there aren't any pictures of the process but it's very straightforward....
All you need is:
  • A pair of plain ballet pumps.
  • 2 strips of fabric in a colour that coordinates with the pumps, measuring 20" by 2.5".
  • Thread matching the fabric.
  •  a piece of lace ribbon no more than 1/2" wide, and 40" long.
First press the strips of fabric. Fold in half lengthways and press. Open back out and press each raw edge into the middle. Fold each end of the strips to the wrong side by 1cm and sew across. Now refold the fabric on the original lengthwise fold so there are no raw edges showing. Press and pin in place. Sew as close to the edge as possible using a zip foot.
Cut the lace in half so each piece is the same length as the strips of fabric, and pin to the fabric. Sew down each side as close to the edge as you can.
Now your pieces of ribbon are complete, play around with how you want to tie the bow, thinking about how it will look on the pumps. When you're happy take a needle and matching thread and hand sew the ribbon to the pumps, through the inside of the pumps. Do several tight stitches and then knot the thread.
Tie the ribbon and then they're ready to wear!
Emily Kate

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Great British Sewing Bee - Button Back Blouse Pattern Review

I've noticed that my post about the tunic pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee has been getting quite a lot a views recently, most probably all the people struggling with the facing like me and looking for answers! (and not finding any... sorry about that!) And I know when I am thinking about buying a pattern or stuck on a project, I always go to google to search for pattern reviews.
So since I was intending to do most of the projects in the GBSB book anyway, I've decided to make sure to post a review on each one so anyone looking for opinions on a pattern can get some answers.

I've been so excited about this pattern in the book, as it's a version of the Mathilde blouse by Tilly Walnes, of fame. I was going to buy the pattern so was super excited to find it was in the book. However I was a little disappointed to find it was the version without tucks, (which I really liked) but I guess this was to simplify the pattern a little. Since I love my finished version and intend to make some more...I can always do some with tucks too!

This was my first time using chambray fabric, which I found to be a lovely soft fabric and very easy to work with. It was also my first time doing puffed sleeves and buttonholes. I found the pattern walked you through set sleeves and gathering the puff sleeves quite well, but there was very little help for buttonholes and I didn't understand the section in the book relating to this. I found it pretty straightforward though after reading my sewing machine manual.

So here's my review:

Pattern Description:
Button-back blouse, described as fun, flattering and easy to sew. All of which I would agree with!
Pattern Sizing:
For women's sizes 8-16.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, I think so!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, very easy.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I looooved this pattern. Particularly the way it fits, its just the right amount of loose whilst being very flattering.
Fabric Used:
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I decided not to do the piping as I couldn't decide on a colour, and I also used 6 smaller buttons rather than 5 2cm self-cover ones as I had some beautiful Cath Kidston ones given to me at Christmas.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, definitely, maybe in a patterned cotton lawn next time.
I am very happy with it. The fabric is a lovely colour and drape, and it fits really well. The only issue I have was with the cuffs, which I found to be around an inch to tight meaning it is a bit too tight to go beyond my elbows. Who knows maybe I have chunky arms for a size 10?!
So there we go, this is definitely my favourite item in my wardrobe so far, perfect for wearing in Me Made May 14! 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Refashioned Men's Shirt for Me Made May

May is well and truly underway, and so far I have stuck to my goal of wearing one item made by my very own hands each day. Granted some days its been the same item, but that's allowed!

So my first Me Made May post, and first ever refashioned item, is this shirt.
In it's past life it was one of my boyfriends work shirts. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of what it looked like first, although needless to say it was rather roomy.

So what did I do?
  • I cut off the sleeves and the collar, cutting the front into a lower round neckline.
  • I took in the side seams and added (slightly uneven!) bust darts.
  • I was unsure what to do about the gappy-ness at the back of the shirt so added two small pleats on each side.
  • I made some bias binding out of a lovely light grey/floral fabric I used here, and used it to bind the neck and armhole edges.
  • Lastly I took off the old buttons and added dark pink ones matching one of the colours in the binding fabric.
It is still a bit gappy around the bust buttons so i'll sew it down on the buttonhole bands, as I can put it on without a closure.
Not sure the photo really does it justice, but it fits pretty well now and looks quite cute. So I think I would say my first ever refashion was a success!

Emily Kate