Monday, February 28, 2011

3 shrunken sweaters - Project 1

What can one do with 3 shrunken men's sweaters? Make a sweater dress of course!

Sweater 1 - midnight blue merino wool polo style sweater
Sweater 2 - wine lambswool sweater with several moth holes
Sweater 3 - dark burgundy thick wool sweater

I thought the colours were quite complementary and a 3 tone sweater dress might be nice.

1. I decided that the merino wool sweater should go on top (not itchy to the skin), then the wine sweater (still not itchy) and the thick burgundy one should go to the bottom.

2. Cutting away!
3. Sewed the 3 pieces together. Trim the sides to make it a straight tube of a dress to accommodate the baby bump. I will probably have to tweak it after giving birth.

4. Voila! Another easy refashioned wool sweater dress. The only thing is that the wine colour part seems to highlight the bump a lot. Never mind. After the birth, I will trim out the sides and add a belt or something. It's difficult to take a good picture that reflects the true colours of the dress.
There are still lots of material left from these 3 sweaters. More projects to come.....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Computer sick too - Plus a Kameez Refashion

It's not just me who had been sick - my computer has a virus too! It's being fixed right now and I'm borrowing someone else' computer for this post. Geez! This flu season is affecting everyone and everything! LOL

I have done another refashioning project. It's an off white cotton eyelet kameez that I thrifted a few weeks ago. It is calf length and has some cheap ribbon and rainbow coloured beads sewned on it and some of them have fallen off. The 'embellishment' is not really my cup of tea but I do like the eyelet fabric.
1. The first thing I did was to take out the ribbon and the remaining beads. Now I could see that it has a pretty neckline and the edge of the sleeves are scalloped.
2. Next I looked into my trims stash to see what I have that would go with it. I don't have much. Nothing looked right until I saw a bit of remnant X'mas trim I bought 6 years ago. I sewed it onto the centre of the tunic. I tried adding other trims to the rest of the neckline but had to rip them out because they distracted the eye too much from the pretty neckline.
3. I thought this looked fine - a nice and simple trim for a pretty eyelet fabric. My hubby thought that it looked like a tie.

So here is my question: What do you think? Does this kameez need more embellishment? If so, what would be your suggestion? I look forward to your comments!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sick parent sick kid

My little boy is having his first ear infection plus bronchitis! Oh poor kid! I am pregnant and sick - not a good combination. And it's difficult to take care of a sick kid when I'm sick too. I hope that we can all get some good rest this week and hopefully by next weekend we will all be better.

I heard so many stories from other moms when all their kids were sick at the same time. I guess that will be coming for me soon........

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I have joined Refashion Co-op

I have joined Refashion Co-op blog as one of the contributors. I was a big fan of Wardrobe Refashion blog and was sad to see it go. I have been so inspired by all the talented people in the Refashioning community. I made some of my refashioned clothing using similar methods seen on the Wardrobe Refashion blog.

I'm so happy to see that Refashion Co-op is continuing with the Refashioning movement! Check it out on: and get your own inspiration!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shrunken sweater refashion

I have a beige Gap kids sweater that I have worn for the last 12 years. It was a well used, well loved sweater. I wore it when I was living and travelling all over Europe. I went skiing with it. I wore it during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I have lots of pictures with this sweater on.

I have washed it in the washing machine in cold water a few times (no dryer) and it never shrank. Of course the one time I asked my hubby to do the laundry I forgot to tell him about the sweater. He put it in the dryer and it shrunk both lengthwise and widthwise. I thought, oh well, may be I can refashion it into something for my son. I put it in the 'refashion pile' and forgot about it.
I looked at the sweater today and got an idea. I have always love sweater dresses (no effort, all in one dressing - what's not to like?). I have this black wool/acrylic long sweater skirt that I thrifted a few weeks back in the refashion pile. Hey I heard colour blocking is in vogue again this year! So I took out the tailor chalk and scissors and started the sweater dress refashion project.
1. First I put on the sweater inside out and use the chalk to mark where I want to do the cutting.

2. Next, I cut off the bottom of the skirt to where it hits my knee. This gives me plenty of black knit material to add to the sweater top. I also took out the elastic waistband of the skirt.

3. I cut the sweater where it was marked.

4. Now comes the fun refashioning steps. I added a black knit panel in the middle front of the sweater because it's too tight. I cut and sewed the cowl neck to the sweater top. I attached the sweater top to the skirt. Then I cut off the sleeves and attached a band of the black knit to the sleeves.

Voila! A unique, made to measure (even for the big baby bump!) colour block sweater dress in a few hours! I'm very pleased with this. I finally get a sweater dress to wear while pregnant! I will probably have to make some adjustments to it after giving birth.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby quilt playmat finished!

I finally finished the quilt/play mat for the new baby! I decided used all existing scraps and trims for this project. I made a quilt/play mat for my toddler too before he was born (see this post).

My hubby chuckled when he saw the finished product because he recognized all the scraps from various clothing/nursery decor projects that I made for the family. I'm glad I saved all the scraps that were too small for clothing but were good enough for making this quilt! Nothing wasted!

I personalized the quilt with the green pear applique again because it's kinda significant for my husband. His family name 'pear tree' in French. So I tried to add that applique to a lot of things I sewed for the kids. I made the applique out of scrap green linen that I have.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another thrift shop refashion - From Skirt to Top

I found a wonderful blog by a very talented French lady. She transformed a pleated knit skirt into a fashionable top! I went to my local Thrift store today and found this pleated skirt:
It is made with acrylic and nylon (not the best material - in fact, it ravels!) and it doesn't flare out as much as I would like. Nonetheless, I thought it would be a fun practice until a better skirt comes along.

I had to rip out the waistband because the elastic was serged right onto the band and it was way too tight for my hips. I folded the bottom of the top up and inserted my own elastic. I cut out the arm holes and sewed together the bottom of the skirt, leaving only a neck opening for the head. And now it looks like this:I'm pleased with my quick and dirty initial effort. I'm very pregnant right now so I may have to tweak the top later after giving birth (e.g. the length of the top and the gathering at the bottom). It took about an hour to do and now I have a new top to wear for my baby bump! I think it goes with the necklaces I made too! :-)

Merci beaucoup km17!!

Sewing room inspirations

I just found this site with lots of real people's sewing room photos. I have just downsized my sewing room into a sewing nook, and I'm still trying to maximize the space within this nook, especially the wall space. Hopefully I'll get some inspiration from this site.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dress form or no dress form? That is the question

I'm now contemplating whether to have a dress form for myself or not. I am a self taught sewer and have been winging it for the last 14 years or so. I thought may be it's time to go to the next level and get a dress form.

I have a non-standard body shape to begin with so fitting is always difficult. A dress form may help make this easier. I have read a lot of postings on the web for making my own dress form with tape (but that would require hubby's help and I'm not sure if he has the patience to help with it). A store bought proper dress form would be good but they are generally quite expensive.

In additional to that, I don't really have a lot of room in my sewing nook for a dress form! It's cramped enough as it is. I'm pregnant right now so there is no point in making a dress form or take measurements for myself right now. I guess I'll wait another year and see.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Green Jacket - Simplicity 3962

I also made this jacket before I was pregnant. I bought a lot of this beautify green blue wool blend a few years ago from the cheapy bin at my local fabric store. It drapes beautifully and it has a subtle sheen. I have made a couple of jackets and pants with this fabric for work. I thought the big brass buttons would contrast well with the green/blue fabric.

This jacket is based on Simplicity 3962. This pattern actually includes pieces for B, C, D Cup sizes which is excellent (no need for me to do the FBA!!). I made a size 14 and did the usual short waist adjustment. I like the shawl collar. It's very flattering. I omitted the tie back, although I think that the tie back would add an interesting element to the jacket. It was a very straight forward jacket to make.

Again, I wish I had taken a picture of me wearing the jacket before I was pregnant. You just have to take my word for it that it fit very well! :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New quilt/wall hanging for Toddler

My toddler is starting to be really interested in learning the Alphabets and numbers. So I looked and looked for 2 weeks for fabrics that have big alphabets and numbers on them. Unfortunately, there wasn't much and most of them were too girly for my boy. Eventually I found this cotton flannel panel at a specialty quilting store:
I am not a quilter at all. I just tried to put the panel on top of quilt batting and put the backing on. Before I sewed it, I laundered it. Perhaps that's why the panel is a bit skewed? Should I not have laundered it before sewing? I don't really know. Cotton Flannels do tend to get wonky after being washed. Oh well!

The store also has a girly version of this. I bought it and made another quilt/wall hanging for my future new baby (possibly a girl).

My son seems to like the quilt/wall hanging. He points to the letters he knows on the quilt/wall hanging all the time. He has learnt almost the full set of alphabet! Now I just need to find non-girly fabrics with big numbers on them....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sewing book from the library

I found this book at the library that gives me all sorts of ideas for refashioning. It's an out of print book called 'Singer Creative Gifts & Projects Step-by-Step'. I have bought other Singer Sewing library books and I really liked them. This book teaches you how to felt, how to add trims, how to make special frog closures, etc, etc. Too bad it's out of print because the text and the pictures are clear and concise. I guess I will have to keep borrowing it from the library.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Navy flouncy jacket - Butterick 4863

I made this Navy wool flouncy jacket before I was pregnant. I liked the look of the flouncy opening on the pattern. The wool has been in my stash for a while. After cutting the fabric, I decided not to make the flouncy sleeves because I thought they would look too fussy on me (the flouncy neckline/opening was enough!).

I used my serger to roll hem the edge of the sleeves and the flounces. This style of princess seams allow me to make chest and back adjustments easily (I'm not good with doing FBAs). I did a short-waist adjustment as well. The instructions were easy to follow and the jacket didn't take long to make.

I'm very pleased with this jacket. I usually don't wear very frilly things but this jacket has the right amount of frill in a conservative fabric. I have worn it with jeans and dresses and it's very versatile.

I wish I had taken a picture of me wearing it before I was pregnant so you can see how it fits on me!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

T-shirt Refashion - Simplicity 4699

My hubby gave me a bunch of his old t-shirts that were too short for him, or they have been washed so much that fabric is damaged. I made some stuff for my son out of them and now I've made myself a little tank top. It's based on the tank top in Simplicity 4699. I like this tank because the straps are wide so you don't have to worry about the bra straps being seen. I also like the print and the colours on the front.

From this:

To this:

An easy peasy top! I'm saving this top for the summer after my new baby is born. I have a lot more ideas for the other old t-shirts. Can't wait to bring them to life!

A Glamourous little jacket - Butterick 4664

I made this a while ago for a X'mas party that didn't happen. It was based on a pattern I bought a few years ago, Butterick 4664. The fabric and lining are both from my stash. I got the small piece of brown faux fur from a cheapy bin at my local fabric store, and the lining is Bemberg.

I made Jacket A (Medium) but eliminated the collar because I thought the thick fur would make me look like I have no neck. The neckline turned out to be a little bit too wide for me, so I just added a button hole and sewn on a rhinestone button to narrow the neckline. The original pattern called for a ribbon closure. All in all it's a very easy to make jacket. Although I must admit that I really don't like sewing with faux fur. The cut fur was everywhere, including my nose, and made me sneeze constantly during the construction! I'm just glad that this is now done.

I'm very happy with how this turned out. It's very soft and very cozy to wear. Now I just need to find somewhere posh to go to.........