Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #10

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #10 was a fun repurposing job, turning an old adult England Rugby shirt into a pint sized version for the mascot!
Here's the XL shirt I started with, a bit grey generally and very discoloured under the arms but it has the all important rose logo.
Here's the mascot in his new shirt and shorts.
For the shirt I kept the collar and logo of the original shirt but cut the sides and bottom away. I used the bottom section of the sleeves to make new smaller sleeves, and coverhemmed the hem of the shorter shirt.
The shorts were made from a the lower edge of the shirt. 
With a stitched opening for the tail.
As this is a sitting bear I lengthened the back crotch and shortened the front crotch.

I didn't use a pattern for the shirt, just made it to fit the bear.
For the shorts I used New Look 6961 as a starting point then shortened the legs to shirt, angled the waist to give a longer back crotch/shorter front crotch and stitched round a hole I had left for the tail.

He can cheer the team at kick off. I'll come back and tell you if we won later on!!!

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #9

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #9 is a basic repair rehemming trousers which have come down.
The hem had come down on some RTW trousers. As it was 3/4 undone anyway I unpicked the last few inches to make it easier to rehem them.
I used the blind hem foot and stitch, starting at the inside leg seam.
It looks like this once complete.
Here's the stitching 
And the inside hem. No shot of the outside but there are tiny little 'V' shaped stitches which are not noticeable on a textured fabric like this. On a very smooth fabric they might be more obvious, but I like this as being quick, neat and secure.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #8

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #8 is an alteration.

It is quite hard to see from the photos but the front of this purchased knit sweater was longer than the back, (which might've been why it was in the sale). This might be good for someone with a larger bust but on me it was not.
This photo is from the back, showing the front being longer.

I wanted to keep what length I could at centre back so unpicked the original coverstitching, pressed it flat, drew a new curve with my French curve, cut it off and then rehemmed it with my coverstitch machine.
The front and back are now the same length and curve very slightly to the sides.

* note on unpicking coverstitching. 
It is in essence a twin needle chain stitch so if you can get it started the underneath thread will unravel for long sections, this goes for both RTW and home coverstitched items. I find where they have overlapped the stitching and unpick about an inch with my seam ripper. Then I get the underneath thread and try pulling it, eventually one side will start to come undone and I pull it as far as it will go. On this top I unpicked the overlap, the opposite side seam and one other place where it had caught, and just pulled all the rest.

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #7

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #7 is a drawstring bag made from a scrap of fabric and some ribbon from my haberdashery supplies.
This one is a good size for shoes, but I like to have them in different fabrics and sizes when travelling as they help keep things separate in my larger bag.

When I am sewing these little bags I finish the edges of the sides first (usually on the overlocker), then sew up the side seam(s) leaving a gap for the ribbon/cord to come out later.
Then I fold the top down and stitch to make a casing, and then thread the ribbon in through the gap left in the side seam round and back out again.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #6

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #6 DuckEgg hoody pocket fix, was a really simple one in the end, and took longer finding a suitable colour of thread than it did to actually sew it on the sewing machine.
This is the before shot, the stitching has come undone at the top of a kangaroo pocket on a casual hoody.
This is the after when I've sewn it back up (reversing over the edge a few times). I also stitched the same area on the other pocket as a preventative measure as the top stitch looked to have come out of that.
Now I am fully aware that this was an easy fix, and normally I don't bother mentioning stuff like this on the blog. However it has probably been waiting for that 10 minute fix now for over a year which when I think about it objectively is a bit silly. So once I've dealt with the backlog perhaps I need to schedule a mending slot once a month going forwards.

The hardest part of this fix was finding suitable thread which matched well enough for me to be happy with it. This flagged up that I keep thread in 4 places, and the embroidery thread and serger cones in particular are not very accessible. I used an odd serger cone in the end as the best match.

I might like some wall mounted serger cone storage (well away from light) but not quite sure what approach would be best. How do you store your serger cones?

Sunday, 10 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #5

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #5 is a no sew one, but has been really great for me so worth sharing I thought.

I have a lovely dark burgundy/oxblood leather bag which I started using again, but realised the existing handles were not quite long enough to have it over my shoulder. and when I went shopping it was rather in my way on my arm, as I prefer shoulder bags.

I recalled I had a soft tying belt for a leather coat in a similar colour, but didn't use it as the coat has no belt loops and looks better without it.
I added a plain silver key ring to each of two of the D rings holding the original handles, looped the belt through and knotted it. I now have a soft shoulder strap for the bag, which makes it much nicer to carry. If I change my mind in future I can remove the belt and key rings with no damage to the belt or the bag, but in the meantime I am using the bag and enjoying it!

Some sewing on the next one honest!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #4

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #4 is using scraps and haby from the stash.

I made a whole load of mini bunting to decorate my bathroom and tie in with my blue towels.

It was fairly fiddly, and some of the points are not that great.
It used multiple different fabrics in shades of blue, beige and white from the scrapbox.

I made my own template for pennants which are 2.5 inches tall and 2 inches wide plus seam allowance. They were deliberately small as I was using them in a small bathroom in multiple places.

Each flag has the same fabric both sides, stitched, turned, pressed, topstitched and then arranged semi randomly. I sewed them onto premade bias binding which is perhaps a little wide for the teeny triangles but was what I already had.

It gives a really fun feeling to the bathroom which makes me smile. I used double sided sticky tape to attach to the blind, mirror and etc.

Friday, 8 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #3

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #3 is a super simple one.

Sometimes when I am out walking I prefer a hat to a hood or umbrella. However the hat sometimes blows off in the wind.
I had saved a section of dark green elastic cord from some walking trousers and used it to make a cord to hold the hat on.
I pulled the lining away from the hat and then used a narrow zigzag to attach the elastic cord to the lining.

I mostly wear it with the cord tucked under my hair, but if it gets more blustery I can tuck the cord under my chin for extra security.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #2

RePARE #2 is probably mostly an Alteration.

I had this fleece which had gone shorter and wider over time. I reshaped the side seams and wore it, but found the sleeves (and body) were a bit short.
As it had a black zip, I thought a black and red jacquard knit would work well for bands at the wrist and hem.
I think it works quite well. The bands are 6 inches wide. I cut the old hems off as they were quite worn and replaced them with the new bands, adding a bit of length in the process.

This could be used to lengthen garments which are a bit short (e.g. growing kids) and/or replace worn cuffs/hems.

Another RePARE coming soon.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

ReP-A-R-E (RePurposing, Alterations, Repairs and Embellishments) #1

I'm working through a number of ReP-A-R-E projects as my sewing room is overflowing with them.

ReP  - RePurposing
A - Alterations
R - Repair
E - Embellishments

ReP-A-R-E #1 is a RTW dress which is just a tiny bit short for me. So this is probably an embellishment (though its sort of an alteration as well).

The dress had a black mesh section at the front neckline with silver and diamante bead decoration.

I decided therefore that echoing the black with a black stretch lace on the hem would work colour wise and also with the level of dressiness.
There was just enough of the stretch lace left over to also trim the sleeves so I did that too for continuity. The lace came from my stash of haberdashery and it was great to use it all up!

The stretch lace was hand sewn to the inside of the existing hem whilst watching TV. It had one edge which was straight so was easy enough to sew little slip stitches.
I'm not a very fast hand sewer but I'm pleased with the end result of this one.

Another RePARE soon.


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Character costume

My friend B has been invited to a Murder Mystery party, where each of the guests has a character. Hers appears to be a nun though it later turns out she is not. So she wanted a nun costume with a few wrong bits to give the hint.

She is a much smaller size than I am, so I took a few measurements and chose styles which didn't need a lot of fitting.
For the main dress we used Simplicity 8055, cutting a 10 in the upper body, flaring out to a 12 at the hips.

I added 14 inches to the length of the dress and 9 inches to the length of the sleeves. This gave a long dress with long sleeves.

I added self drafted godets in a contrast red fabric at B's request. There is one in each side seam and a third in the centre back.

For the white collar, I made a polo neck poncho from a white knit fabric, using Simplicty8376 as a starting point.

I traced off the upper front and back and extended the shoulder line and added a curve. I also cut the neckband much deeper than the pattern to give a polo neck (turtle neck). I finished the edges with overlocking.

I thrifted two necklaces and combined them to make a neckpiece.
I made a headdress from a square of fabric with one corner cut off and the opposite corner rounded. This was stitched to a headband sized to B's head.

It was a lot of fun making this and I have edited the post to show B wearing the outfit. The party is in a few weeks time.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Using Husqvarna Viking 190 selectronic

In May 2016 I bought a second hand Husqvarna Viking 190 for £45 from a charity shop.
Whoever donated it had thrown away the special bobbins it uses and I had to research to find which ones to buy.
This sort of put me off using it, but recently I wanted to switch between two different thread colours a lot and decided to thread it up and use it. I'm glad I did as its absolutely lovely to sew with.
It works well except for the light (the pincatcher was already attached)
One needle plate, a standard foot and the bobbin case were on the machine, and the items above were included in a small bag in the accessories area. The item at the top right seems to be some sort of  foot on a bent wire with a screw to attach it.
Here are the bobbins I bought for the machine. They are Hemline bobbins for Husqvarna machines made before 1990 (not the green ones) and the models are listed on the back of the packet if you zoom in a bit. They work really well and have enabled me to use the machine so I am happy enough with that.
I managed to find the manual, interestingly here it is called the
Operating Manual for Husqvarna sewing machines OPTIMA 180 & 190.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Quick homestyle sewing projects

I've completed a couple of quick homestyle projects.

Bottom of small pouf
I used the original base I cut for the Closet Case Floor Pouf, cut a plain top the same size and used some large upholstery scraps to make 4 side panels. It's about 15.5" high. (It was originally taller but I cut it down to a better size).

Top of small pouf
I've skipped the piping and you can see it does not look as smart. This time I've filled it with an old beanbag (still in its cover) which makes it much lighter and easier to move.

** A couple of thoughts on the original pouf after using it for a few days. It is really heavy. I used stretch denim for 3/4 of the panels. They stretch out in use and the pouf distorts a bit. The covered button looks good but is really hard underneath my legs.

The second project is so easy its hardly worth mentioning, but I find it so useful, so others might too.
It is a long thin bag for holding rolls of Christmas wrapping paper (holiday gift wrap).

It has a squared off base and a ribbon loop for hanging. I hang it on a hook in my understairs cupboard. It is a simpler version of the cream one I originally made in 2014, which was not large enough for all my rolls of paper.

I've now got Christmas gift wrap in the tartan bag and birthday/plain in the cream bag which avoids them getting squashed and makes it quicker to find the right paper for the task.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Teal Simplicity 8175 Midi Skirt

I used Simplicity 8175 as the starting point for my skirt, but its not an accurate review of the pattern.

I had some fabric left from cutting out the Burda Teal trousers which looked very skirt shaped to me. Of course there was not enough to fully cut this pattern with its curved waistband and so on so this is what I did.
Used the main front and back pieces, but cut the front on the fold and added at the upper edge where the deep shaped waistband would be (removing seam allowance of course). Marked darts to go back to the original shape.
Used the pockets from New Look 6216 (which are one piece) which I cut from lining and then added a strip of teal fabric just for the pocket opening (stitched on top).
Added a full lining, moved the split to the back as I had cut the front on the fold.
Cut a narrow straight waistband, which I did need to piece at the end for the underlap.
Invisible zip inserted at the back between the skirt and lining, and a button and buttonhole on the new waistband. Omitted the tie belt.
It is now a very classic lined skirt, though in a midi length.

I started this a couple of weeks ago and it was interrupted by the PR Sewing Bee, so good to have got back to it and got it finished.

With the Ink coloured knit top
 Side showing pocket
 Back showing zip and button
 back on hanger
 Front on hanger
 Lining back
 Lining front

I also went back and altered the teal knit trousers by removing the waistband, cutting off excess length and reattaching waistband. These fit better now but are still very casual.

Here's all the teal pieces so far.

I did wonder about even more so dug through the fabrics
top left - knit fabric in 2 shades of teal could be a casual tee
top centre - stripe woven could be a blouse
top right - light background with teal print for a knit top
bottom left - ink satin (so not really teal!)
bottom right - dark teal knit already used for a tee (could be a dress)