Sunday, 23 June 2013

Inspired to Refashion

I'm inspired ... by pretty much every post by Zoe; by Portia and her Refashioners; and many other bloggers out there. 

Up until this point I've made some purchases in charity shops - I've bought sheets that I've used as muslins, I made 2 bags out of a damaged floral tablecloth and I've found lots of zips, buttons and patterns that I've hoarded put in a safe place and am sure to use in the future.  However, I've never had a go at refashioning a garment.

Zoe told me to just go for it, that if I bought something from a charity shop and it didn't work out then the charity had benefitted and I might learn something along the way.  With such encouragement I decided to go for it.

This is what I bought ...

It was too big at this point as Doris is demonstrating very effectively but I could see it had potential,
it's not clear in the photo but the shaping around the neck and armholes was very flattering.

I was attracted to the print straight away, it's pretty clear I love orange.

I thought originally I'd just try and take it in - Doris modelled and I pinned, considered, contemplated the size of the print, considered where to put darts - and then just took the scissors to it!  This is so unlike me, I'm living on the edge!  Usually I have a plan and measure, measure and then measure to check.

£3.50 had gone to a good cause - if I managed to make a wearable garment then that was the icing on the cake.

Well not this time, I just guessed, went by eye and made stuff up as I went along. 

I loved the self covered buttons and loops - found a way to make them work - winging it all the way.

Despite my desperate sewing machine problems I managed to finish this and wore it to work last week.  It was touch and go - it took 45 minutes to get the lace on the bottom - would have been a 5 minute job but my machine wasn't having any of it.  I handstitched to get it finished.

I got loads of compliments at work - I'm so excited I told everyone it was a top in a previous life, I've had some very funny looks!

Drumroll please ... I know this isn't the best photo, I seem to have about 12 of me with my eyes shut/funny lighting etc - I really must try to do better.  Trust me, it looks quite nice on in real life!

I used plain black fabric from my stashed scraps to make the waistband and incorporated the original
covered buttons and button loops.  The zip was in a bundle I got for 10p each from a charity shop
about a year ago.  I had to buy the black lace but I like the way it finishes the skirt.

I will definitely, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, be doing this again.  :)

This is all I had left to put in the bin :)
I know I've got a long way to go to reach Zoe/Portia standards but I'm really pleased with this first effort.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Lessons Learnt - Me Made May '13


I feel like I've been absent for ages.  Thanks so much for lovely comments on our VW Camper Van trip - we had a blast!  The Isle of Wight was great, the weather was amazing - I may have bought some fabric - I know, hopeless case!

My granny stripe blanket looked perfect in the van - we didn't need it but our friends J&P
were very glad of it in the tent! 
There was crafting - this is J's knitting bag, I took some crochet.  One of the big
advantages of a camper van is being able to craft very comfortably on the go!

Life has been totally manic since we got back and I am having terrible problems with my sewing machine - I think she's on her last legs.  I've sworn, cajoled, cleaned and Googled.  I even sought professional advice, it's not looking good.  I'd planned on taking part in Karen's Pyjama Party - it isn't going to happen.  I have a pattern, stash fabric for 2 pairs (one for me & one for my daughter), a proper plan :(

When do you stop throwing money at trying to fix something and buy new?  And if I buy new what shall I get?  The options are mind-boggling.  She was a non-Valentine's Day pressie from P years ago - I'm gutted :(

So, on a more positive note, I planned to catch up on what I learnt from Me Made May ... this was my pledge

I, Jacq of 'A Good Talking To' blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13.  I endeavour to wear 4 me-made or re-fashioned items each week for the duration of May 2013
  1. Seeing the things other participants have made and worn is so inspiring - I'm really glad I was part of this, even in a small way
  2. If I average out my me-made items I totally hit the target - I might have cheated a bit and worn 5 one week to make up for the pathetic 3 the week before but it's the total that counts - right?
  3. I thought I'd have sufficient garments for the weather in May - I didn't!  I realise this is because the weather was unseasonably rubbish (hail stones and sleet - seriously?) but it does show that most of my makes are of the 'fair weather' variety.  This makes no sense given our climate in the UK - none whatsoever
  4. I had several things I didn't wear - that's because I've actually made some progress with my sewing.  This is staggering to me, I haven't made that much but I look back a year and think 'I could do that better now'.  I could be demoralised about this - I'm not, it's spurred me on.  Get me with my 'positive' head on!
  5. I need a plan, my wardrobe needs to work in a more co-ordinated way.  I'm thinking that in future I'm going to ensure I can style everything at least 2 ways to get maximum use out of all of my efforts
  6. Dresses are an outfit in their own right - if only I could master the FBA I'd have instant outfits.  Of course, that would be why conquering my bust is my Sewlution - I should get on with that, I have dillied and dallied, shillied and shallied. 
  7. Apparently I have a 'style' - I am officially gobsmacked (look in the dictionary for a definition of 'gobsmacked' - I'm pretty sure there's a photo of me!).  My colleagues knew when I was wearing a me-made garment and not because it was obviously homemade.  I am bemused but pleased!
  8. Refashioning - I need to get my head around this.  This links to (4), I have things I could wear if I tweaked them a bit.  And I have a pile of stuff that could be made into something else.  I can't abide waste so this makes sense. 
  9. I'm swamped by my 'stuff' - that's why I've joined the Style the Stash Sew A Long.  If I can link this to point (5) then I could tackle several challenges at once.  I've nearly finished my June item - it awaits buttonholes - I know my machine will chew my fabric so I can't finish it
  10. I have lots of beautiful patterns (some could say too many if they were being harsh!).  I need to stop making the same things over and over and tackle something new.  I'm stuck, time to move on
  11. If I love something I wear it over and over.  And I feel good in it.  I should make stuff I love.
  12. This is hard to admit but I need to take photos of myself in my outfits.  Oh boy, was that informative.  Totally out of my comfort zone but really helpful and best at the end of the day so that I can see how it holds up to real life.  If I still love something when it's rumpled and I'm looking knackered then it's a winner!
  13. Orange works for me!

Of course, I need to make a decision about my sewing machine before I can do anything else - any advice would be very welcome ...


Saturday, 1 June 2013

21st to 31st - MMM '13 - The End - Phew!

Photo courtesy of

Well, I got to the end...

MMM ’13 – 22/05/13 for evening Crochet Club get together – New Look 6007.    I did not expect to be wearing this during MMM but we had sleet and hail stones!

This is my Harry Potter cape - previously blogged.

MMM ’13 – 23/05/13 for training Q&A – McCalls M5934.  Very easy make, I started this months ago and then stalled, MMM gave me the push to finish it.  The fabric is an odd texture, no idea what it is, I picked it up in Japan for Y980 (about £6).  It’s not great to work with, which is probably why I stalled.  I think if I’d had my overlocker then it would have made easy work of this.

 I chose this vent design, the fabric wouldn't have worked with the gathered version.
 I've pretty much decided this is a bit too big - now need to psych myself up to take it in!

MMM ’13 – 26/05/13 for gardening– 70s A-line skirt pattern again. This is the same pattern as I used for my red skirt, this is the version I made first. The elephant fabric cost me £8.43 for 1.5m. This was about the 4th thing I made and I was really pleased that I managed to make the elephants line up perfectly – small steps! When I made this one I added inseam pockets – I love pockets but I don’t think they help the way the skirt hangs. However, we spent the day with my nephew and niece and, at 5 and 2, they love the print!

28/05/13 - MMM '13. 'Michelle' skirt from Burdastyle. Made in April '12, lined with a recycled sheet!
1.8m of Cecilia fabric from Ikea cost £5.38 (used remnants to make pj shorts).
29/05/13 - MMM '13. Colette Sorbetto made in Feb '12, the second thing I made I think.
 0.7m remnant, £2.80 from John Lewis. Added 'Mena sleeves' and neck facings.
  Ideally would be a little longer but ran out of fabric!

31/05/13 MMM'13 - Red A-line skirt and White Sorbetto, worn previously this month. 
I look terribly wrinkled, end of a manic day and then I built a tent in the garden - obviously!

MMM '13 has been really informative, I have a whole list of things I've learnt ... but I'm not going to get into that now.  I have plans afoot for June (including PJs and the Stashbusting Sew A Long) but everything is on hold.  I can't think about Plans or Schemes or my 'What I've Learnt' list because we're off on holiday - woo hoo!

And not just any holiday ... I am fulfilling a childhood dream ... my Christmas present from P .... hired for a week ...

Zebedee - hired from the wonderful  Vanilla Splits in Sussex

I am so excited I can't express it properly.  Is he a beauty?  We're off to Brighton tomorrow for one night and then we pick up the van and we're heading to the Isle of Wight for a week with my bestest buddy and her hubby.  It's going to be hot and sunny - I've decided!

See you when we get back - I'll bring everybody a virtual stick of rock!