Altering RTW, clothes-hacking and upcycling; whilst I have dabbled in all of these, they tend to be a little outside of my comfort zone. Whilst many discover a passion for sewing through altering op-shop finds, I have always preferred to sew from scratch, as it were. However, as I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few windfalls of pre-loved clothes from friends and family over the last year or two, I’ve slowly been building up my alteration skills in adapting clothes to my shape and style. Whilst I’ve now successfully reworked a few pieces with basic fixes, this time I took on a slightly more ambitious project!
I received this dress from my auntie a couple of years ago as she’d bought it online but didn’t fit. It didn’t fit me either, but she thought I might like to see if I could do something with it. I loved the fabric but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so it’s been lurking in my sewing cupboard ever since. Flash forward to just a few months ago, when I saw the fabulous Nora Finds wearing this Stop Staring dress on Instagram. My second thought (after, my god, I need this dress) was I’VE SEEN THAT FABRIC BEFORE. And, lo and behold…I’m convinced it’s almost an exact match!
Did anyone read The Crafty Pinup’s recent post about sewing and motivation? It’s a really great read with some excellent tips on helping you get your creativity back in to gear – which I’ve definitely needed lately! When there’s a fiddly or complicated project sitting on my sewing table, my sewjo can really take a hit – like with that silk trench coat from last year that’s still only about 30% done (I swear I will finish it…eventually…), or the green shirt dress that I cut out almost a year ago, started sewing up about six weeks ago…and just finished last weekend 😛 Still, I’m always proud of myself whenever I complete a project, especially if it’s one that took me a long time; and even moreso in this case, as I took the trouble to take my time and finish every thing really nicely – and I think the result it well worth it!
I have to say, writing this post I am feeling a little (very) nostalgic for my summer holidays – right now, cosyed up by the fire, I really do wish I was back in the warm weather, waltzing around in this pink gingham ensemble (i.e. one of my favourite outfits EVER).
I’d been wanting a retro outfit in pink gingham for some months now; I can’t remember the exact inspiration, but I’ve definitely seen a few repro pieces in variations on this theme before and knew that this was an outfit fantasy I had to indulge myself in. Accordingly I obtained a vast quantity of pink gingham from Spotlight and settled on a design. I wanted a dress, but decided to make it in two pieces as a top and skirt for greater versatility (a brilliant call, I might add). The skirt is a simple gathered circle skirt and the top is the bodice of B6167, modified to have a shirred back and a side zip (a “design feature” added when I couldn’t get the finished top over my head…whoops!).
I’m not even going to apologise for my extended absences any more readers – as I’m sure many of you will realise, med school take up *quite* a lot of my time, and frequently if I have a choice of how to spend my spare time between sewing or blogging about it – I’m going to choose actually making things! Still, I do enjoying writing about my creations and sharing them with you all (no matter how belated!), so I will keep trying to find a little time here and there to show you what I’ve been up to 🙂
I’ve been trying to practise a little of the “sew what you got” philosophy this year and make my way through stashed fabrics and UFO projects, and it’s been working pretty well (if you ignore the long-unfinished trench coat and shirt, which I currently am…). Generally one buys a bit of fabric because one wants to enjoy wearing it, so it’s always very satisfying to be able to do so once it’s made its way out of a long sojourn in the stash! I picked up this gorgeous piece of black and white floral print mystery fabric from a friend-of-a-friend’s de-stash last year, and I always knew I wanted to make a classic box-pleated skirt out of it. And I’m very satisfied with the result!
I’m still catching up on blogging a few old makes! This time I have another gift for my sister, her Christmas present – which I managed to give her on time I’m proud to say :p A dancer and committed gym-goer, I made my sister something I knew she’d love – some coordinating activewear! Obviously, this was quite a departure from my usual sewing fare of retro ensembles, ballgowns and lacy lingerie, so some research was definitely required. Fortunately DIY activewear is a sewing trend that seems to have caught on rather well, so I wasn’t lacking in resources! I ended up being quite spoilt for choice; after reading extensive reviews of some of the most popular activewear designers and patterns, I went with Jalie 3462 (Cora tights) and 2563 (sports bra and short tights). I chose the Jalie patterns for a few reasons: great and versatile designs (I particularly like the colour blocking options on the Cora leggings!), good reviews, amazing price and the huge size range (very convenient if I ever decide I want some too!).
I’m sure all of you would agree that those of us who sew our own clothes love little more than the satisfaction of adding little personal details and touches make our things truly individual. One particularly cool way of doing this is by using custom clothing labels! I’d seen other sewists add these to their makes before and been intrigued – they’re such a sweet touch which make the garment seem both more polished and professional and more unique. I’d been considering getting some of my own made for a while but not found anything that particularly caught my eye, when Abby from the Dutch Label Shop contacted me about trying their products. It seemed the perfect opportunity, so I was only to happy to take up the offer!
I feel I should preface this post by saying, no, I did not call this post about my sister’s pyjamas the cat’s pyjamas because I think she is an animal – I just wanted to use a cool bit of 1920s slang that was vaguely related to my post content 😛
Sooooo I think we all know I’m a bit of a selfish sewer – and I’m not ashamed of it! As many of us makes know, creating garments is hobby that takes a lot of time and skill, and as much as I’d love to sew heaps of things for all my friends and family, I barely have time to make the things I want for myself. But when it comes to gifts, I try and make a bit more of an effort – I really do love giving people close to me the special present of something that’s been made just for them. This comes with it’s own challenges – I tend to put off and procrastinate on making presents right until the last minute, as I’m always more worried about them not turning out well than I am about the things I make for myself. Usually, I do make the deadline – however every now and then I don’t: my poor, patient sister had to wait a whole year for part of her 18th birthday present! Still, I hope she thinks her custom tartan Carolyn pyjamas were worth the wait!