Monday, April 28, 2014

Refashion: New Sleeves for a Torn top

I have a bunch of long sleeves cotton knit tops in different colours that I bought 5 years ago that I wear throughout the Fall/Winter/Spring seasons. They are fitted tops that I layer with sweaters, cardigans, sweatshirts, sweater dresses, jackets, etc. When one of them got torn by a metal zipper of my hubby's jeans in the washing machine, my hubby kindly said that it would be 'okay' for me to buy a new top. But my first thought was, 'Yay! Something for me to refashion!' C'mon hubby! I'm a proud Refashioner!

So from this:

I cut off the sleeves just above the ribbed hole. And with some remnant yellow cotton ribbed knit, it became this:

 I quite like the brown/yellow combination. It looks like some designer top I have seen. I hope I can keep wearing this for another few years! Another top saved!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stash Busting: Fabric Scraps into Scarves

I get such a great satisfaction when I'm busting my current fabric/notions/pattern stash. And the satisfaction is even greater when I'm busting my stash of fabric scraps. I have been keeping 4 boxes of fabric scraps so far, hoping to turn them into something useful for other projects. They are all too small or narrow to be made into garments themselves.

I have been doing a bit of 'Spring Cleaning' of my current fabric/notions/pattern stash and I came across bits of scraps that I thought could make good scarves that can brighten my basic neutral outfits. I just cut them into long strips and used my serger to roll-hemmed the edges. That's it! It was so fast and so easy! I like fast and easy projects!! I hope I get lots of use out of them in the Spring and the Fall. Now I can't wait to sort through more scraps in my scrap boxes to come up with other scraps creations!

(Scraves from left: cotton/silk, polyester chiffon, cotton/silk, cotton)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pattern Review: Simplicity 5914 Skirts

Now that the weather is warmer, we can start sewing garments that show the legs, right? I don't wear skirts often (since I have to chase after my 2 willful kids all day long and bend down and climb up, etc.) but it would be nice to have some flirty skirts in my practical wardrobe.

I have an Inverted Triangular body so fluted or a-line skirts are better for me. This stash pattern Simplicity 5914 looked like a good shape for me.  I used size 12 which is my usual for skirts with the big 5 pattern makers.
I rummaged through my fabric stash and found that I had just enough of this antique gold brocade fabric for this skirt (this fabric was last seen as a dress in this post). I lined the skirt with Bamberg lining. It's super easy and fast to sew. I didn't even look at the instructions. This is how it turned out:

(I don't ever wear pants or skirts with the top tucked in. I just did that for this photo so the skirt top can be seen.)

Since the brocade skirt turned out well, I thought I would add a suit-looking black stretch cotton twill with the same pattern too (also a stash fabric and I had just enough for this skirt). A black knee length skirt is useful for all types of functions, right? I tried to be creative and used a stash black satin binding for the bottom hem to make it more interesting. However, I think it made the skirt bottom too stiff and not 'swingy' like the brocade one. Oh well! I'm wearing it as is anyway. I lined the skirt with Bamberg lining and this is how it turned out:

(See how the hem is stiffened by the satin binding?)

I am pretty happy with them. They are both actually very versatile: for the office, for a dinner date, for a school concert, etc - as long as the kids and I are not going to be deep in mud! They can be paired with a tonne of different tops, jackets, shoes, accessories. Hopefully they will become my wardrobe staples for a long time!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Refashion/Resized: RTW White Brocade pants

What says more about Spring/Summer than a pair of white pants/trousers? A pair of White Brocade Pants! Brocade as casual day wear has been in style for a couple of years now. I bought these too big RTW White Brocade pants at the clearance rack with the store gift card my friend gave me at  x'mas. It was a couple of size too wide but they were only $5.99!

Then I wore them inside out and used the usual PPCS (pin-pinch-cut-sew) method with these pants.

Lastly I opened the side seam on the waistband and inserted an elastic into the back waistband. My weight can fluctuate 4 or 5 lbs during the course of a month (PMS time) and my waistline expands with it too. So an elastic back waistband is always a safe thing to do for me for these non-stretch fabrics.

So here is the final result:

It's not a big refashion but I'm happy with how they turned out. I hope I don't get them dirty the first day I wear them out!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1688 Cynthia Rowley Jacket

So here is the final product of my MAGAM April post. It's been a while since I have sewn with a more recently released pattern, instead of sewing from my pattern stash that are all Out Of Print years ago. It was a $1.5 Simplicity sale that I couldn't resist. The little crop jacket caught my eye in this pattern. I found some remnant of this red heavy linen in my stash. I made a not-so-successful dress from this fabric before. I just had enough of this fabric for a short sleeve jacket.

I cut a size 14 (I'm usually either 12 or 14 for Simplicity patterns). I first pattern fit myself and the jacket was short, even for a short waisted person like me. It was just above my short waist. So I added 5cm to the lower band, cut a short cap sleeve, and drafted front and neck facings since I didn't want to add a lining for a breezy summer linen jacket.

The jacket went together fairly quickly. I didn't look at the instructions since the pattern pieces spoke for themselves. The fabric was a bit stiff and there seems to be a bit more ease at the sleeve cap so I added a little inverted pleat at the top (a total improvisation because of my lack of skills). And this is how it turned out:
You can see that the back is quite loose fitting, which is fine with me. Of course being the oddball who can't follow rules, I added more features to this jacket - inseam pockets:

And here is the little 'dimple' (inverted box pleat) I added to the top of the sleeve cap:

I can see this jacket  being very useful for layering over sleeveless dresses, tank tops for this spring/summer. It actually looks nice enough for the office too. Here is how it looks with jeans:

I'm happy that this little jacket turned out to be a wearable muslin. And I was able to use the stiff red linen remnant too. I think I may just tweak this pattern a bit to reduce the boxiness at the back. I am itching to sew this pattern with other fabrics in my stash too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I just joined Make a Garment A Month!! My MAGAM plan

As soon as I found out about the Make A Garment A Month (MAGAM) community, I wanted to join it. I really enjoyed reading all about the fantastic sewists' projects and their final products. I realized that I also make at least 1 garment a month. I just wanted to be a part of it. And now I am! Thanks to Sarah Liz for organizing everything!

For my MAGAM project for April, I think I'll make a jacket for Spring that can be worn in the summer as well. I recently bought some newish sewing patterns (as opposed to sewing with patterns that are 6-14 years old) and I am liking the look of the jacket on Simplicity 1688 by Cynthia Rowley. It looks like a boxy little jacket that I can wear with jeans or a dress.

 I'm going to use stash fabrics as I really just have too much of a fabric stash. This red medium to heavy weight linen may just do the trick. I used it last year for a pullover dress and that didn't work too well. But the weight might work well for a jacket. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is Spring Sewing Month!!

Is Spring finally here yet? In my part of the world, you just never know. Right now I'm still seeing snow out on the sidewalks. I remember one year when it was still snowing in the first week of May, and then the next week it was between 5-10 Celsius, and then the week after that it was in the 25+ C. So Spring was only for a few days between Winter snow and Summer heat!

Since Spring is so short here, I'll concentrate on making summer clothes and layering (jackets, cardigans, etc) on top in case it's not warm enough yet. But the colours will definitely be more cheerful than the usual black, grey, navy, dark greens that I wear all through Fall and Winter. And the fabrics will be lighter and airier. I can see polka dots, and florals too!

Here are just some of the spring/summer looking stuff in my fabric stash and my refashioning stash that I'm considering working on:

(from left clockwise: patterned silk, brocade, teal silk, red silk, white embroidered linen/cotton, red linen)

Do you have a long Spring season in your part of the world? Do you have a specific Spring Wardrobe? How is your Spring sewing coming along?