Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Men Sweater Refashion

I inherited this shrunken thrifted men's sweater from my hubby. I had always wanted to have a black v-neck sweater that loose enough for layering, something that I can wear with leggings casually, but not too loose that it looks sloppy.

This what it looked like on me before:

I used a well fitting knit top as a guide to narrow the body of the sweater as well as the sleeves. Since I wanted to be able to layer this sweater, I cut it a little wider than the knit top.

Next I tackled the very tight v-neck. I used chalk to draw where I wanted the v-neck to be. Then I used a piece of wine colour sweater knit scrap in my stash to re-establish the neckline.

And this is how it looks after the refashion:

I am happy with this easy refashion that can be done in 1 night. This is an easy to wear casual top for cooler months.  There are more stuff to be worked on in my to-be-refashioned stash. Time to fine my next project!

Monday, January 16, 2017

My failed UFO is finally completed!

I finally finished my failed UFO from 2016. I added a Bemberg lining, black grosgrain ribbons to the cuffs, the pockets and the front opening. Then I added thick black satin straps for the closure. All these came from my existing notion stash. I didn't want to spend extra money decorating this jacket.

I think I had improved it a little. I had to grit my teeth the whole time to get this finished because I still don't like the colour on me. It's too close to my skin tone. It was quite a challenge to finish this jacket. I'm planning to donate it.

From this:

To this:

I still have some of that beige wool blend fabric. Perhaps this is a good opportunity for me to try to dye the beige fabric into another colour. What do you think?

My Pattern Review is on

Friday, January 6, 2017

I have entered the UFO contest!

I have entered the Pattern Review UFO (Unfinished Object) contest! I usually don't leave a lot of UFO sewing projects. I prefer getting projects finished. However, this last April I created this horrid horrid UFO:

I was 'traumatized' by this Fail that I decided to leave it unfinished and moved on to other more satisfying projects. But this thing is still hanging in my sewing room taunting me about my Fail! :-) So I decided to use the UFO contest to motivate myself to correct this Fail and finish the jacket somehow. Hopefully this process will not be too painful and I will learn something from it. Now I need to figure out: how do I salvage this monstrosity?
Do you have lots of sewing UFOs in your stash?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top projects of 2016

I forgot to do a post regarding my favourite projects of 2016. There are many projects that I like but here are the top 6:

6. Girl Fleece Jacket
I made this jacket for my daughter as a x'mas gift. Unfortunately I didn't measure correctly and it was a bit tight on her torso and arms. I found this remnant purple fleece in my stash and saved the jacket from a complete fail. And thank goodness my daughter likes the change!

5. Chinese Cushions to Chinese Jacket Refashion
I was pressed for time to find a Chinese style jacket for my son's Chinese New Year party. After searching around town for 2 days in vain, I decided to turn these 2 Chinese cushions into a simple Chinese style jacket in 1 night. Just in time for his party!

4. Purple Silk Tunic to Dress Refashion
I thrifted this XL tunic a few years ago and had little idea what to do with it. Then I decided to make a dress out of it with a scrap knit band at the bottom. It's a beautiful purple that I like and it's super comfortable to wear for eating a big meal!

3. Self-drafted woven slim trousers pattern
I had long struggled to make trousers that fit nicely at the back. They always look baggy no matter what I did with the patterns. But then I had the 'a-ha' moment when I put the trousers on backwards by mistake. Now I have this nice fitting slim trouser pattern that I can use again and again!

2. White tweed Chanel-esque Jacket
I have never had a white jacket but this remnant sparkly tweed in my stash was just enough to make this little Chanel-esque Jacket. I wore it to a X'mas party and got compliments for it. It has just enough sparkle for special occasions but not too much that I can wear it on a daily basis.

1. The Red Cashmere jacket Refashion/Alteration
This is my most favourite project because I learned a new technique that can be applied to a lot of my own jackets as well as helping friends/family to alter their jackets. I have to thank Angela Wolf for this!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

First Refashion of 2017! Actually a Re-Refashion

Happy New Year Everyone! Since I learned how to alter shoulder seams on jacket late last year, I couldn't wait to practice this skill again. This cotton purple jacket was thrifted and refashioned previously:

It was too loose on the back. I removed the lining stitches and deepened the centre back seam to achieve a better fitting jacket:
However, I didn't wear this jacket much after the refashion. The shoulders are still too big and the long length didn't make it easy to wear with everyday clothes. So I decided to refashion this refashioned garment.

I narrowed the shoulders using the same technique as the red wool jacket. The shoulder pad was huge! Then I shortened the hem to just below the hip. I think it's a lot more wearable now:

It's really difficult to take a good indoor picture with such a dark velvet fabric.
I am quite happy with this. I think this jacket is now more versatile for dressing up and down. I can wear a tshirt with jeans with this jacket, or I can wear a simple black dress with statement necklaces with it.

Now should I continue to refashion/alter all the not-quite-right jackets in my wardrobe?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sewing Resolutions for 2017

I am not really big on New Year Resolutions, simply because I don't really follow them. So I suppose my 2017 Sewing Resolutions would be to get out of my comfort zone and do something different or learn to make something new, for example:
  • new types of fabrics
  • new sewing techniques
  • new types of garments
  • new combinations of skills
  • new sewing patterns (my own patterns or whatever patterns I have in my stash that I haven't used yet)
I am happy with the sewing projects this year and I have learned some new techniques (e.g. I just learned how to narrow the shoulder seams on a 1990's jacket). I'm looking forward to learning more of everything regarding sewing and refashioning in 2017.

I wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy 2017!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Sewing Project for 2016

The year is coming to a close. I managed to squeeze another sewing/refashioning project before New Year's Eve. This is a very well made, good quality jacket that I thrifted a couple of years ago. It's a beautiful true red, cashmere blend jacket, made in Canada in the 1990s. The fabric is really soft and extremely warm. I wore it in the office with layers underneath and I was sweating profusely.

The super broad shoulders and the crop length made my body look even more top heavy than it already was. The sleeves were too long also. A Refashion/Alteration was in order.

I watched a video of Angela Wolf narrowing a jacket's shoulder seam and I thought I could try that with this jacket. There is a very good tutorial at this blog: So this was my plan to alter the jacket:

I opened up the lining seam and found that the jacket was indeed very well made. It has custom shoulder pads and proper sleeve heads:

First I took out the very wide shoulder pads. Then I tried on the jacket and basted the new shoulder seam. And eventually I sewed and steamed the new shoulder seams in place.  Then I chopped off the sleeves and made them 3/4 sleeves. And here is the resulting garment:

I think it now looks better for my proportions. I'm happy to have a better fitting, warm and colourful jacket for the cold months!

Now I need to dig into my to-be-Refashioned pile and see what I can fix/refashion next!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 6th handmade gift plans - tweed sparkly cushions

As mentioned before, I have too much fabric in my stash. When I dug into my stash I found this plaid sparkly tweed. I decided to make a pair of cushions for family members who have a grey decor. It's difficult to see in the photo but there are silver threads running through the fabric. I figure that black and white cushions will go with any decor. I hope they like them!

Another great stash busting x'mas gift!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 5th handmade gift - another children gift

The weather has gotten really cold here with very high winds. I thought I would make a very warm vest for my daughter since her body is not the best in regulating temperature.

I dug out this fleece backed faux sherpa material in my stash. I made a winter coat for my son when he was a baby. I knew this was going to be a very warm fabric.

I drafted the vest pattern myself and used lapped seams to sew the thick fabric. My daughter went through my button stash and chose these mismatched buttons for the vest. She has been obsessed with dressing like a 'lamb' so she made sure that the vest was reversible. And here is the final product:

My daughter wore it out and thought it was very warm. I still have some of that fabric left. Perhaps I will be able to make my son something too!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 4th handmade gift plans - almost finished

I almost finished the 4th handmade holiday gift. I say almost, because my mother-in-law has to try the trousers on before I can tailor them to her body and finish everything. The hem is serged and the waist already has an elastic inside.

Well, it's nothing to look at right now hanging on the hanger. I can't wait to finish them!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 4th handmade gift plans - a challenging one

The December theme for the Make a Garment a Month group is 'Dreaming'.  So I guess that includes both 'sweet dreams' and 'nightmares? Just kidding. However, this next handmade gift will be no easy task.

My mother-in-law asked me to make her a pair of dressy palazzo pants for x'mas. She gave me a pair of moderate stretch knit pants to make my pattern. However, I couldn't find any suitable fabrics in the colour she wanted at my fabric store. Instead, I bought this very drapey, non-stretch grey wool crepe fabric in the colour she wanted:

Since I bought a non-stretch fabric, I modified my initial pants pattern based on the moderate stretch knit pants:

I hope I made it too big because then I can tailor the pants to her body. If it's too small then all hope is lost.

I'm also very nervous about this because her weight tends to fluctuate a lot. Moreover, she is not the most patient client and is not used to 'bespoke' garments that requires time to tailor to fit. I guess I'll have to pack my sewing machine and supplies when I travel to see her for the holidays.

Wish me luck on this one! ;-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Holiday 2016 Sewing: 3rd handmade gift finished! Fleece jacket saved!

I finished the 3rd handmade Holiday gift! This fleece jacket for my daughter should have been super easy and quick to make. But alas! I made a mistake when doing the measurement. I thrifted this Out of Print Simplicity 4895 a couple of years ago. I thought I should use it before my daughter grows out of this pattern. I made some quick measurements on the paper pattern and chose size 6, thinking that it should fit my daughter with a little room to spare.

After I cut out the yellow fleece and sewn up the seams, I had her try the jacket on. It was quite fitted on her and she actually had trouble putting it on herself. I forgot that there was loft with this fleece and she was suppose to wear long sleeves shirts under this jacket.

I didn`t want to just give up on the fabric and throw the whole thing into the trash. I dug deep into my stash and found a wine colour microfleece. I cut strips of about 3cm width out of this wine fleece and sewed the whole strip from the wrist of the jacket all the way down to the hem to enlarge the armhole and the side seams:

I also used this same fleece to bind the edges of the entire jacket to make the enlargement look 'intentional'. I used a thrifted zipper as enclosure. I'm happy I saved this jacket and now it's a unique gift for my daughter!