Two-for-One T-shirt Dress Makeover

maxidressHello there!  How’s your summer progressing? – Mine was going well, til I came down with a hideous cold and missed most of June!  But in between coughing fits and unspeakable snottiness, I’ve been sewing like a DEMON and I’ve got loads to share with you!  Starting with this, a rather-too-maxi T-shirt dress that I picked up in a charity shop for just £3.  As well as being tripoverly long for yours truly, the weight of that skirt made this cotton jersey pull around the least flattering parts of my middle.  So I set to work on it with Cosmic LuludressThat’s better!  All I did was chop it off at a length that still allowed me to bend down and do up my sandals decently, then turn up the hem and use one of the stretch stitches around the bottom.  I actually went for the same decorative stitch that I used on the purple ponte skater rather than the twin needle.  This stitch has a lot of stretch in it, and finishes the edge off neatly without the need for overlocking, etc.  Great for lazy sewists like me who can’t be bothered to change the needle!

And speaking of lazy… how’s this for a simple way to transform the chopped-off length into a skirt?  You will need: one elasticated waistband from a worn-out pair of PJ bottoms; lots of pins; five minutes or so of overlocking, and a puff of steam:CaptureWhoo-Hoo!  Funky little stretch mini-skirt!  Probably my ‘Most worn’ garment this last week as it seems to go with every T-shirt I own.skirt

Even for a slow-sewin’ gal like me this only took an afternoon and I’m very pleased to have two quick, cheapie wardrobe additions.  Just goes to show, sometimes the old ‘don’t throw that out, it might come in useful’ approach really does reap rewards!

Wishing you all a double-whammy kinda week  🙂

 

Day Trip to Fabric Heaven!

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Last year, my friend Mary and I planned to go on an indulgent, fabric-lovers day trip to Birmingham to visit the famous Rag Market and The Fancy Silk Store…. and it didn’t happen, for various reasons.

This year – IT DID!!!  Last weekend, we boarded the train with our sewing plans and yardage requirements and off we went!

Seriously, if you’ve never visited the Fancy Silk Store and you have even the slightest inkling of a Fabric Addiction, I urge you to go.  It is literally floor-to-cieling stacked with fabrics, on every floor!

Ooh, SO hard to resist going crazy and doubling my fabric stash in an afternoon!  But, I had a budget, I had specific projects in mind, and I DID manage to be fairly restrained.  I swooned over the batiks though, and first up was this soft, lightweight beauty, destined (I hope) to become the Kate & Rose Giselle Dressgreen&yellowbatikBut I couldn’t stop there…. this one has a bit more body and I think will make a nice strappy sundress.  (Possibly with shirring, if I’m feeling ambitious?)purplebatikThen over the road in the Rag Market, while M. was off buying gorgeous curtaining for her new pad, I spotted this fabulous, 70s-wallpaper-print pin cord.  Aha!  The very thing I’ve been waiting for to make this vintage 70s overdress for the winter.  See? – it’s all part of the plan, honest…cordAll in all it was a Grand Day Out and I think we may have to make this into an annual pilgramage.  And did I stay within my budget?  Weeellll… so hard to be restrained, plus y’know the Giselle dress requires elastic, so I had to buy a metre which put me over budget by….stashtastic…25p!

Wishing you all a Fabric-tastic Friday 🙂

 

Cosmic Lulu has landed!

cosmic luluSOooooo…. remember how I reported a while back that my trusty ancient Singer, Auntie Janis, was really beginning to feel her age?  – People, I bought myself a NEW SEWING MACHINE!!!  Say hello to the Viking Husqvarna E20, my new best friend!  She can do overlocking!  She has a range of stretch stitches!  She even has a built-in needle threader!  And yes OK I know, these things come as standard on today’s basic machines, but for me even being able to turn the stitch length adjuster and have something happen is a revelation!  And I thought ‘tension’ was just something you felt when you were top-stitching a neckline and your thread snapped for the third time…

I wanted a sewing machine that would be funky and versatile and just keep on going.  After much research, I opted for the Viking over a Singer and so far she’s been awesome, so I have named her in honour of Komet Lulu, the uber-cool bass player with Electric Moon!  I have it on good authority from a friend who’s seen them live that Lulu can throw out a mind-altering bass line with one hand whilst rolling an herbal cigarette with the other: ‘Nuff said.

I’ve been making patchwork!  And applique! And yes that is another Lady Skater dress you can see in the background!  All to soon be revealed, once BT fix my bloomin’ internet connection…

Wishing you a very cosmic week! 🙂

Yes, I’m wearing a sheet

and the last time I had my photo taken in one, it had holes cut out for eyes and I was probably about seven (and there may have been a pumpkin lantern involved as well)!Sheet2

But after a bit of fiddling, I managed to sort out the fit of the sleeves on the Simplicity 2174 and I must say, I’m rather pleased.  I’m particularly happy with the fit of the skirt, I was a bit dubious about the pockets (with my tum I don’t need any extra bulk in that area!) but I think they look pretty good.  In fact I’ve grown quite attached to my ‘Charity Shop Blue’ sheet version, even though it’s only machine basted together and there are some wrinkly seams here and there.  I think you can see where…    Sheet1

So yesterday, I started working on the dress itself!  I spent hours jiggling the pattern pieces around my scanty length of fabric, but after making some sacrifices to the Goddess of Sleeves (again!),ShortSleeve I have my pieces cut out and am ready to start stitching.  I’m very excited to be finally making a dress from this fabric, I absolutely LOVE it and the contrast fabric I’ve used for the facings (which you might recognise from here) goes with it perfectly.  It’s all looking very pink in the sewing room at the moment!CuttingTimeRight, that’s enough for today, I’m off to watch the Sewing Bee prelude show now – Yay!

 

First sew of the year

For the past week I’ve been getting stuck in to making a muslin for my first sewing project of 2015, the Simplicity 2174 ‘Amazing Fit’ dress, which I’m planning to make as part of my Stashbusting Sewalong pledge.pattern&fabric

I’ve had this gorgeous piece of Jenean Morrison fabric for almost FOUR years, and always thought it wold make a fabulous smart-casual dress.  Originally I was going to go for the Colette Laurel, but shift dresses are proving a pain to fit on me since my weight gain and body-shape changes, and after two frustratingly disastrous muslins last year I gave up and the fabric went back in the stash!  It’s been there so long, I actually forgot I only had 2½ yards (WHY didn’t I buy more??), so I’m going to have to be a bit creative with my fabric layout if I want to squeeze this dress out of it!  But never fear!  I have some lovely pink remnants in my stash that I can use for the facings and pockets, haha!triallayout

Now, I’ve been reading good things about these Amazing Fit patterns over at the Curvy Sewing Collective lately, so I thought I’d give this one a go.  I must say that up until today, I was REALLY pleased with the way the fit was going.  I graded the D-sized bodice pieces from a 16 at the neck/shoulders to a 20 at the waist and have only made a few minor alterations.  I took out a small amount at the top of the side seams (so as not to repeat my Sweetheart Sundress issues!), took ½” out of the bodice length and dropped the bust apex by 3/4″.  Overall I was very happy with the fit of the bodice, and the skirt fit beautifully out of the packet, with no alterations needed – whoohoo!  I was almost beginning to think I could dispense with those pesky 1″ seam allowances when I cut the actual dress from my skimpy bit of fabric.

HOWEVER.  Today was Sleeve Day.  Oh dear.  Everything was going so well…  I always have problems with sleeves!  Too tight all round, too much gathering (which is meant to be ‘ease’) at the top, and now my amazing-fit bodice pulls across the top of the chest.  Sigh.  Tomorrow’s another day…sleevesArgh

I’m not sure I can face re-drafting and cutting another bodice for the muslin, so I’m going to try to fiddle with the seam allowances and see if I can make a bit more room in the armscye that way.  But those sleeves will have to be wider when I make the real thing!

Wish me luck 🙂  I’ll let you know how I get on soon!

 

Stashbusting Sewalong 2015 – I’m in!

Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge Button 2015.pngOkay, I KNOW I said I wouldn’t be making any New Year’s resolutions or anything like that, but when I read about EmSewCrazy’s Stashbusting Sewalong on Béa’s blog this week, I couldn’t resist!  I’m as much of a fabric junkie as the next girl, despite my meagre budget and attempts to keep my hoarding under control.  So this is the PERFECT challenge for me!

Given how spectacularly I failed to rise to the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge last year (I sewed NO vintage patterns and ONE vintage fabric), I’m wary of setting my bar too high this time.  I’d really like to actually complete this challenge: not only to ‘clear the decks’ of fabrics that I’ve had for ages, but also because I do pretty much LOVE all the fabrics in my stash and would be so happy to be wearing them instead of sighing over them!

So, here’s my pledge: “I, Sarah Star, commit to using at least 5 fabrics from my stash for dressmaking projects in 2015, and I also commit to not buying any new fabrics until I’ve completed at least 2 projects”  

Anyone else joining in? – Would love to hear your plans! 🙂

2014: Makes and Moments

Ah, it’s that time here in the Blogosphere, when the hols are over, the New Year has arrived, and we look back fondly (or not so!) over our favourite stuff from the past twelve months.  I’m not much of one for making resolutions (apart from resolving to hibernate during January!), but I do enjoy reading the ‘annual reviews’ on people’s blogs so I thought I’d do one of my own, with just my favourite Makes and Moments from each month…

All in all I’d say it was a pretty colourful year!  And despite the ups and downs of my health, I still managed to do a lot of making and get out and about a fair bit, and share a lot of laughs with good friends and family.  And I’ve loved posting here, sharing all the highs and lows of my year’s creative adventures with all of you!

Thank you so much for reading – here’s to a Big Fat Funky 2015! 🙂

 

Vintage sewing patterns treasure trove!

reposted from 27 Oct 2014

Remember last month, I mentioned that I’d spent a happy evening rummaging through a treasure trove of vintage patterns at my friend Jas’s?  Well I also took LOADS of pictures to share with you!  CHECK THESE OUT!60s&70s Along with a gorgeous batch of funky 70s wear, I also fell in love with a whole bunch of Vogue Designer originals from the 60s, and even some 40s and 50s lingerie patterns that had belonged to Jas’s mum, with all the pieces and instructions (not that they gave many!) still complete:40slingerie

We managed to find a few of these older ones on Vintage Pattern Wiki, but the daywear dress below left, with half the number missing, we couldn’t track down.  Judging from the style I reckon it must be 1950s.  Any info, anyone?50sDress&slips

Now, what about these Vogue Designers from the 1960s?  Here’s a Belinda Bellville from 1969.  She was the founder of Bellville-Sassoon, went on to design for the likes of Princess Di and was responsible for that pink number she wore on her wedding day. Think I like her 60s styles better!belindabellville

Or this Oscar de La Renta from 1968.  Look at that styling – straight out of a cult 60s movie or what??delarenta

This next one by French design house Patou, was featured in the trendy French magazineL’Art et la Mode in 1964, as shown in the repro by Paper Pursuits belowPatou1432

vogue1432inmag

Jas was obviously fond of Galitzine (inventor of the palazzo pyjamas in 1960), and has a whole bunch of her designs from the 60s and 70s.  Here are three I really love:galitzine1648galizine2123

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The top two are from 1968 & 69; this last one has been hard to date, but I reckon early- to mid-70s.  It just oozes that lazy-but-glitzy-but-slightly-sleazey 70s style!

And now we’re on to my favourite decade, how about these great vest ‘n’ flares combos from Simplicity?  Gotta love a pattern that calls for ostrich feather trim on your trousers!70sSimplicity

And finally, could it be that Vogue were plagarising  channelling their own classic Stan Herman design from 1975 here, famously modelled by Billie Blair – what do you think?!V1169

70shoodieI hope you’ve enjoyed these little highlights from a truly amazing vintage collection.  Many thanks to Jas for sharing them!

Now I’m off to rethink my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge yet AGAIN….

 

PS – many apologies to commentors whose comments were obliterated in the Blogmove Disaster – please do feel free to re-post!