Category Archives: Mending

Me Made May 2017- My Pledge

It’s that time of year again! May is on its way which for the sewing community can mean only one thing-

‘I, Lottie of losori.wordpress.com (@lottieoflosori on instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade or refashioned item each day for the duration of May 2017’

Every year Zoe of So Zo What Do You Know runs a month long challenge to encourage makers to make the most of their handmade wardrobe. You can make your own pledge according to what would be the right level of challenge for you. Last year I was in a very corporate job, which is not something I sew much for, and so I went for wearing handmade over the weekends. You can find last year’s Me Made May on my Instagram or on the mmmay16 tag on the blog. However, new year, new city, new job, new pledge! Life in your twenties, amirite?

I am anticipating that I may be featuring a number of repeats this month, which is ok. About 30% of clothing in our wardrobes went unworn last year, and so it would be good to ensure I get good use from the items I have made. Similarly, it will help me identify where the gaps in my handmade wardrobe lie, in order to make clever choices in the future.

I will be posting every day on Instagram, but I am still to decide about the blog. I will definitely write a blog post at the end of the month about my thoughts, but would it be interesting to put the photos on here at the end of the week? If anyone has any strong opinions let me know, otherwise I’ll just make an executive decision.

If I am really struggling or my laundry grew too fast, I will count mended garments for a day, but I wouldn’t count them as part of my handmade wardrobe, as that’s just a way for me to prolong the life of my purchases.

You can follow my month over on my Instagram which you can find here, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s handmade creations!

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Altering a too small dress

Polka Dot refashioned dress (2)

Back when I was still at uni, I bought this polka dot dress from a charity shop. I loved the shape and the fabric, but it was too big in the bodice. No biggie, I thought, and took it home. One of the simplest ways to fit a dress which is too big is to sew in the side seams. However, this dress had a side zip, what I ended up doing was take it in at the centre, creating a centre back seam. It was an ok job, but I made the chest go the opposite direction and became too small. Here’s a photo of me wearing it last Me Made May.

As you can see; lovely dress, tight bust. I just kind of lived with it for a while, but more recently it became something of an irritation in the mornings. I don’t like having clothes which don’t fit, especially now I can fix that with sewing. Who’s with me on that one?!

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I finally sat down and assessed the problem. I had thought to leave the excess fabric on the wrong side of the seam, should I want to make any alterations. However, I had neglected to finish the seam allowances, and so that whole operation was rendered useless by the fact that the fabric had been shredded to pieces. My word past me, this was stupid. Why did you not finish the seams? Did you think it wouldn’t be affected by the cruel fate of the washing machine?

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Grumbling at my past over, I realised I would have to get creative to solve this fitting error. Luckily, that’s my jam. I dug a piece of black stretch lace out of my stash, and unpicked the centre seam of the dress. Next, I put the dress on and measured the shape I needed this extra piece to be. Well- I got Michael to do that, as I am no contortionist! A technique to gain fabric in a garment is to add a rectangular strip in the seam. However, this dress has a collar, which would have made doing that without ruining the collar very tricky. Instead, my idea was to create a lace keyhole insert.

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Having measured the positioning of the widest point, I pinned the lace into this opening, folding down the raw edges of the dress. I topstitched close to the edge of the dress around the keyhole, and finished the edges of the lace. You taking notes, past me? Oh, I guess you are….

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These photos were taken during a recent visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. I saw Gabby from Gabberdashery took over their Instagram recently, and thought I was due a trip to their textile section. I love how much better this dress fits me now, and the lace insert is pretty fun. It’s not something I would have gone for in the first place, but I like it. It’s nice that whilst solving the problem, I in fact created a welcome addition to the creation.Polka Dot refashioned dress

Mending: Space Dress Edition

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It’s no secret that I love my space print Lilou. So much so that I am seriously thinking about making another space printed Lilou…

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I learnt a lot of skills during this make, the main one being there is a reason patterns give a recommended zip length. I went for one way too short because it was in my stash, and as a result it was always super hard to get out of the dress. It was a proper, two person pulling and swearing job. Not the most glamorous of undressings…

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I finally got ‘round to unpicking the zip and replacing it with a dress length invisible zip. I’m still not perfect on the zip insertion, but I’m definitely getting better every time which is nice.

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Here are a couple of photos to illustrate the fact that I mended my problems. This was before I went to work and still had that lovely morning glow/ stunned look. You’re welcome.

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Mending: Jumper Edition

DSC01070I am loving this weather at the moment! I’ve been spending my free time out and about enjoying the sunshine, so here’s a mend from the archives of my wardrobe. Although, while I’m writing this it has suddenly decided to bucket it down…

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I got this jumper years ago from H&M (where basically all of my shop bought clothes are from), and enjoyed it’s mossy look. It’s a lot older now, which means the bobbles have… created an even more mossy experience? That’s what I’ll tell myself anyway.

 

At some point, a hole developed at the collar, and I was also growing a little bored of the jumper. Was it time to say goodbye to good old mossy?

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I thought I would give a go at mending it, and did a rather messy darn. In fairness to me, this was in my early mending days. To hide the work, I decided to sew running stitch around the collar in blue wool from my stash.

Turns out, I like the jumper even more now, and I’ve kept it ever since. Good job mossy!

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Mending- Mender’s Game

Just a quick little fix here today. I have this terrible habit of fiddling with stray threads on my clothes. usually, they just come out, but sometimes it turns out it was the hem and I now have to go the rest of this party knowing I have ruined the hem of my dress. Oops. Easily rectified, although annoying as I could have easily prevented such a thing with not being so fidgety.

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Isn’t it such a pretty pattern? Luckily, fixing a hem is easy, especially when the raw edges are already serged and you have a press line to follow.IMG_1158

I did a messy slip stitch type thing by hand to sew it down, in a black thread so it’s basically invisible. Here is a trademark blurry photograph.IMG_1159

And there we have it, a dress rescued from the shame corner of the wardrobe and back onto the dancefloor! Or food fun feast with head bopping to Skrillex, whatever you fancy.

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Me-Made-May ’16- My Pledge

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Image from SoZo…

This is very exciting. For anyone who may not know, Me Made May is the creation of Zoe of So, Zo…, where you challenge yourself to wear and love your handmade wardrobe. Each participant sets their own specific pledge, and the idea is to challenge yourself to get your makes into regular circulation, and to work out any holes in your handmade wardrobe, therefore utilising your sewing time in the future. It’s such a shame to spend precious time and energy on making something which then languishes unused, or else just isn’t your style or fit.

I have been finding the lead up to MMM’16 incredibly useful for my sewing productivity already. I pledged to use up all of the fabric in my stash before buying any more, making me more inclined to finish off all those ufo’s I have stuffed into a bag and hidden from sight, spurred on by the knowledge that in less than a month I will be relying on these clothes to dress myself every weekend. I’ve been finding that in a lot of cases my makes have been just a couple of small steps away from completion. A hem here, a dart rejig there, and I suddenly have a handmade wardrobe growing in front of my eyes! It’s very satisfying.

So onto my MMM16 pledge-

I, Lottie of Losori, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear handmade and refashioned outfits each weekend, prioritising mended and then second hand clothes for the remainder of the outfit. 

So, to expand on what that means. I have decided to only apply these rules during the weekends because I have just started a kind of snazzy job where I need to wear smart clothes. I’m making wish list plans for some great office appropriate clothes, but right now I’m nowhere near being able to wear homemade more than maybe once a week, unless polka dot gathered skirts have suddenly become office appropriate whilst I wasn’t looking! Someone let me know when they do, please…

I will be trying to wear as much homemade (or refashioned) clothing each day of my pledge, and choosing my outfits based on those items. After that, I will choose from my clothes I have mended, then secondhand, and finally, failing the above, from the remainder of my wardrobe. The reasoning behind this hierarchy is to make sure I actually wear the items I have extended the life of. After that, buying second hand is a great way to recycle clothing by giving it a new life, and my pledge will aim to embrace that in my outfit choices.

My aim is to record my weekend outfits on my instagram, and write up a post about them weekly. I don’t really want to super commit to that though, as I’m not sure how busy I’ll be in May, see aforementioned new job. Be sure to check out the action on #MMM16, for me one of the best parts of Me-Made-May is seeing everyone else’s makes out in the wild.

Thanks for reading, and happy Me-Made-May 2016! Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a skirt with no waistband calling to me…

(Mending) The Mend is Nigh

On the subject of unfinished business (see my last post!), I decided I would mend all of my boyfriend’s socks. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic. This was partly because I couldn’t stand letting those holes get worse and worse whilst I stood by powerlessly, and partly because I really enjoy darning in front of the telly. I’m still working my way through them, but here’s another I completed recently. On this sock there wasn’t an actual hole, but the heel was getting really worn and a hole was on the horizon. Something had to be done.

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This is some swiss darning, so I sewed over the thinned areas, following the shapes of the knit. I did it kind of double sized because the wool I had was reasonably thick. Whilst having a quick peruse on the internet I found a few tutorials on swiss darning, such as this one, which is a tutorial for making patterns over knitting, but the process is the same. I don’t think it’s the neatest but hey it does the job.

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I really like the back, it looks pretty cool. Plus, it’s reinforced a weak spot nicely, before the sock degrades more. IMG_1136

There isn’t a huge lot else to see about this mend so I’ll leave it here. I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend, and I’ll see ya next time!

Why I Mend

How cute is that featured image though? I don’t even care it looks pretty amateur, I think it’s adorable. This post is going to be a personal reflection on why I think it’s worth mending clothes. It is not meant to be preachy, or chastising those who don’t mend, it’s just my opinions. My opinions tend to be rambling… Thanks for reading 🙂

Mending clothing is not exactly seen as the cool, photogenic angle of the sewing world. It can bring up images of war time efforts and being deprived of new, shiny projects. But, the fact of the matter is that mending is such a vital skill for extending the life of clothes which used up so many resources to get into your wardrobe. My main motivators for mending (other than it being fun!) are financial and environmental.

Firstly, financial. I, as a lot of people, am not exactly rolling in dollar. But, I like wearing clothes. It’s kinda a practical necessity too, given how cold I am, like, all of the time. if I didn’t mend my clothes, I don’t have the money to keep replacing jeans, skirts and so on when they wear and weather in ways I could solve really easily and quickly.

So, onto the environmental. There has been a lot of talk recently about how needless consumerism cannot continue as it currently has been, most visibly in the media when the Head of Sustainability at Ikea said we in the West have ‘reached peak stuff’.  In very basic terms (and this is going to be very basic!), it takes a lot of resources to make anything you wear. There’s the production of the fiber,  the production of the garment, distribution, bla di bla di bla, you know the drill. Loooong story short, I want to respect the people and resources which enabled me to buy that skirt from a shop/ second hand/ whatever. As another point, when I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into making something, it would be heartbreaking to not be able to fix my pride and joy’s should I need to.

I mend because I like clothes, and more importantly I like my clothes. I want them to last as long as possible and I’m not going to let a hem unraveling or a hole developing stop me from getting the most out of my garments.

This post is going to be a springboard of sorts for future posts. I’m going to be starting a mending series, where I will put a spotlight on things I have mended in order to extend its life. Some of them will be big darns or holes, whilst others might just be resewing the hem or sewing on a button. Most of the time, mending clothes doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy, and I hope this series will help show that it’s so easy to make your clothes last longer.

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

 

My Style- Moving and a Pledge

Hello party people of the internet! I’m moving into a new place which means I’ve been without internet until today. I now feel super connected, the internet is wonderful. Never leave me, internet. As a result, I’ve not been doing much making of things, but I have been doing wearing of things. I mean, of course I have, I’m not an animal.

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Shirt and Jumper- H&M, Trousers- Uniqlo, Coat and Brooch- Second Hand 

 

I call this look ‘Ok all of my stuff is everywhere on the floor but I have to leave the house to work out the bins I can’t look too terrible I guess’ It’s pretty simple but does include a dearly beloved wool cashmere angora coat and some of the most stylish trousers to ever feature an elastic waistband.IMG_1107

Look, the sun! Don’t stare directly at it, it might get shy and go away again. I love my new Docs but I wish they weren’t still at the destroy your feet stage.IMG_1108

This brooch was my mum’s and shows that she is a member of the Puffin books club. It’s so cute.

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Jumper and Jeans- H&M, Shirt- Second Hand, Shoes as before

My second look here is called ‘Ok I won’t be wearing these shoes out because they hurt but I still think they look good so let’s pretend it’s part of the outfit’. IMG_1110

Here you can see one of the patches I’ve put on the jeans where a hole appeared. It’s a spotty fabric, and I like them.IMG_1111

So, this leads me onto the second part of my post. Now, I don’t have a huge stash of fabric/ wool, but moving made me realise it’s still too big. So, I have decided that until I work my way through my existing collection, I am not to buy any new wool or fabric. I will allow zips, buttons, etc, if that’s needed to be able to use what I already have, but I’m hoping the restriction will force me to look and actually use what I have, rather than let them languish in a cupboard.

That’s it for now, see you again next time!

 

Mending: Awkward Jeans

I like to think of myself as a pretty cool person. I wear clothes made out of duvets, knit jumpers with owls on them, and watch videos of roller coasters I’m not ever likely to ride. But occasionally something happens which shakes my perfectly awesome image. I was showing off my yoga skillz in my favourite pair of jeans, when, during the demonstration of the tree pose, there was an almighty riiipp…

IMG_0920Oh dear. I suffered a rather embarrassing tear in the crotch area. These jeans were second hand to begin with and had been worn a great deal by me since then, so some may say it was only a matter of time and I should cut my losses.  IMG_0921I think differently. Jeans often don’t fit me very well but these fit me great, plus the grey seems to go with pretty much my whole wardrobe. Plus, denim has so many environmental problems, it seems important, in a small way, to make these ones last as long as possible. So, I endeavored to mend them. The best thing for this would be a patch. I didn’t need it to look amazing, since it would be a bit odd to have a decorative patch, er, there. IMG_0922You don’t need a lot to patch, and since this will be primarily on the inside of the jeans it doesn’t have to be a beauty, either. You will just need some fabric (enough to cover the hole and similar to the fabric of the garment. So, keep woven with woven, stretch with stretch, thin with thin and so on. This method works best on woven fabrics.) pins, and a needle and thread. Oh, and some scissors too. IMG_0923Pin the fabric to the wrong side of the jeans (or whatever you’re patching), making sure to cover the hole completely.IMG_0924
This is what it will look something like on the right side.

IMG_0929Then, starting in the middle of an edge (it’ll make the end smoother than fiddling about with starting at a corner), sew the patch on. I used a blanket stitch but you could probably use a backstitch and be fine, if you wanted. The fabric I used for the patch was a bit prone to fraying, so I thought this would help it stay intact the best.IMG_0931This is it finished on the right side of the fabric. I could have made the stitches more even and smaller but to be honest I don’t mind too much, and it’s not like anyone will see the stitches unless I feel an urge for the yoga again.IMG_0933To reinforce it, I back stitched over the edge of the tear, at the point at which the fabric is sturdy and unbroken. This is to prevent the tear from getting any bigger. I also did a few stitches across the black woven threads which remain (I think they’re the weft? I always get the two confused), to anchor them down a bit too.IMG_0934And this is what the back looks like. It took me no time at all and now I can wear my favourite jeans again without fear of over exposure. Excellent.