Tag Archives: dress

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

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Happy Birthday Blog!

This post has taken me a long old time to write. Do you ever feel like you’ve been experiencing too much internet? I just felt smothered by it. So, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, stopped refreshing the Guardian homepage every three minutes, and tried to spend more time doing other things. I’ve started learning the Ukulele again, having stopped after a very short burst about four years ago. My apartment is also now many bags of junk lighter, having gone through a donation spree. It’s felt good; necessary. Next, I’m going to clear out my fabric cupboard (yes, I know!), as it’s been making me feel more sad than excited. Sometimes a good cleanse can be useful for the creative soul.

Anyway, onto the purpose of this update, which is that my blog had its anniversary last week! Happy Birthday blog! Losori started a year ago now, and my goodness what a year. I am so glad I started this blog all that long year ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, commenting or saying nice things in real life. There was a time that I didn’t feel confident telling people I liked to sew, or god forbid knit. I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops in the real world, but I’m feeling way more happy about my passions, and I do talk about them, both chatting to people and right here on this blog. One thing I didn’t anticipate is pride. I’ve been starting to feel good about making things and sharing them. Every new make is a little story of my process, and I actually get really excited about sharing that with the world.

Just to get vaguely personal, it’s been a rough year. I think it has for a lot of people. And this blog has actually been a bit of a rock for me, even if it might not look that way from the outside. I’ve been able to dip in over the year, adding to my writing, taking better photos, and each time feeling like I have achieved something, even in a small way.

I thought it would be nice to have a look at the hits and misses from my very first blog year, so I hope you enjoy.

Hits-

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First, the highlights. This year was pretty much the first one where I had both the time (sort of…) and the resources to sew, so I definitely saw my skills improve over the course of these 12 months. My favourite make this year, to no one’s surprise, has to be my space dress. Nothing has made me feel so proud and happy to wear. Do you ever put something on and it actually feels like it accurately represents you and who you are? Somehow, this dress does that. I’ve ordered a long invisible zip for this dress so soon it won’t take two people pulling to get this dress off…

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My Megan dress is again, not perfect, but I actually wear this to work and no one gasps ‘Gasooks, this woman is wearing an outfit made on her kitchen table. Cast her to the flames!’ They haven’t said that because I don’t work in a anachronistic medieval witch hunting club, but also because it legit looks like a well made item of clothing.

 

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I have knitted intermittently over the year, leading to my biggest project which was my owls jumper. I love this jumper, it’s so soft and chunky and lovely. The only thing with it is that it’s a little snug ‘round the neckline getting it on and off. Did I cast it off too tight? I’m not sure, but probably.

 

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And lastly, just a couple of other makes I’m especially pleased with. My America dress is just really cute and fun. I used to love this dress in its original form, and it’s great to still be able to wear it in a new way! Lastly, this nedroid costume was very easy but very effective. I liked being a bear and a potato.

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Misses and eh’s-

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I made this scalloped skirt as part of a facebook group’s challenge and whilst I enjoyed the process, I really can’t get along with the finished product. It doesn’t have a strong waistband so it sags over the course of a wear, plus the scallops always need ironing which just irritates me. These, combined with the fact the design causes so much upskirt with even the slightest breeze, makes it my top miss of the year. But, as a plus, it was my first time with buttonholes which was fun.

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This sleeveless Mimi blouse is a funny one, because I kind of like it, but am also not sure at the same time. The fabric choice isn’t really right for the pattern, and if you read back over my post about it, I was kind of cobbled together from a load of mistakes. But then it looks ok in these photos. I’m going to give it until next summer and see how it holds up with the rest of my wardrobe.

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One day I randomly got some pictures taken of me in a vintage inspired outfit, and thought it might be good to put on here. I then went on to do a couple of My Style posts, but to be honest I never felt altogether comfortable with this category. I think it shows in the photos. Compare my body language to in photos of my space dress, for example, and there’s a whole world of difference. I’m not going to get rid of them, as it seems dishonest, but they really aren’t my best work. 

And that’s been the year. Generally a successful one for makes! I’m very much looking forward to the next. Once again, thank you to you all, and I look forward to the next year of creativity!

Sew stylish- Dubrovnik

As promised, here are some snaps from my holiday in Dubrovnik. This isn’t a travel blog so I won’t bore you all with too many details about the place itself. Basically, if you like ice cream, blue seas and beautiful roofs, go to Dubrovnik like right away. It’s awesome.

This holiday was a great last swan song for a lot of my summer wardrobe for this year, & I think I saw them off well.

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Ha, look at my funny face. Here I am on the main street wearing my sorbetto top & a refashioned skirt. This skirt used to be a dress I got years ago from Primark. The pattern remained adorable, but the body grew. However, I just did the same thing as with this skirt, & a new outfit was made.

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Next, we’ve got this refashioned America dress. I love this outfit, it’s so fun to wear. Also, one day I will get a good full length picture of me wearing this dress, but this holiday was apparently not that time.

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You may well recognise this next outfit, as it’s the one from my last blog post here. We’ve got my sleeveless Mimi blouse paired with this refashioned liberty print skirt. It’s a real pastel fest here.

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Finally, I wore my space dress on the last day. I don’t have any full length pictures from this trip so go click that link if you want to marvel at that awesome print.

 

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We had a wonderful time & you should all go to Dubrovnik. Go to Mea Culpa, get a pizza bigger than your leg, & say hi from me.

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Refashion a Dress into a Top

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Another day, another dress to refashion. Following hot on the heels of my dress to skirt refashion, here’s one way to transform a stretch dress into a top. This dress was donated to me a little while ago, & I loved the cute collar & print. However, due to many years of wear and washes, it was way too short to wear as a dress comfortably. I saw that this dress would work so much better as a top, & as a bonus it’s a super easy process!

One of the easiest ways of refashioning is to use existing clothes to help with sizing. In this instance I put one of my best fitting stretch tops on top of the dress, lining up shoulder seams and edges.

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Next, I marked an inch below the hem of the top. This is to allow for folding the raw edge up for the hem. If you have any doubts about the length, overestimate. You can always take more off, but it’s a lot harder to add length on! I marked this line with tailor’s chalk.

Next, I cut the dress. The way I did it was to cut the front, then the back, to make sure they line up evenly.

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Turn the dress inside out, then pin the raw edge up, wrong sides together, by 1 inch.

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My carpet needs hoovering often, on account of all the wool which ends up there…

Now you just have to sew the hem. I used a jersey needle and a zigzag stitch. In order to ensure the hem doesn’t stretch out, keep the fabric nice and loose as you go around, don’t pull.

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All done! I keep saying I need more tops in my handmade wardrobe, so I’m grateful for more additions! I like how this top falls, it’s quite a floaty jersey. In these pictures I’m wearing it with some jeans I fabric painted clouds on, painstakingly, last year. It was worth it though, I like them so much more now. Full refashioned outfit, yay!

 

Refashion a Dress into a Skirt

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I found this lovely dress in a charity shop. The fabric is so cute & the style reminds me of an Emery dress which is great. I tried it on in the shop and the arms seemed a little tight but I thought I could deal with it. Fast forward to the next time I’m trying the dress on, & I fear I might have to cut myself out of it.

Having ripped the armhole in my escape, it’s clear I can’t wear this dress. Unless… it’s a skirt! This is a super easy refashion. The dress had a gathered skirt, and basically all I did was create a waistband out of the bodice.

First, work out how wide you want your waistband, then cut twice that length up from the skirt. I went for a couple of inches. I had to cut through the zip which extended into the bodice.

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Next, I used my zipper foot to sew down the edges of the zip. Check the zip still works fine!

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Then, I folded the waistband down onto the skirt, wrong sides together, tucking under the raw edges and pinning them in place.

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Lastly, I stitched in the ditch (sewed with the right side up onto the seam between the waistband and the skirt) and I was done!

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If you want a slightly more rigid and strong waistband, you can interface it before stitching it down. I wasn’t too bothered/ was too enthusiastic about how quick a project this was turning out to be!

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Now, let us all go forth and make dresses into skirts.

Spaced

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I made a dress of space! I’m so excited about this one. Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog post, whether on the blog, social media, or in real life! You’re all brilliant and lovely, and I’m glad my sentiments on not succeeding resonated with people.

As a quick recap, I bought a single duvet and pillow set secondhand from a charity shop. Second hand duvets are a great source of fabric. They’re easy to deconstruct, cheap, and quite often provide immediately complementary fabrics. In this instance, both sides had this starry pattern, but one side had these planets and galaxies and meteorites all over. Ooh it’s so fun I love it.

I decided to make the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch, with the bodice in the ‘plain’, and the skirt in the planets. This is partly for balance, and partly because it would have been a squeeze to get it all from one side of the duvet.

In terms of fit, I lowered the armholes by a couple of centimeters, as they always seem to be coming up tight ordinarily. I didn’t draw the new armhole that neatly, but it’s ok. Next time I’ll be a bit more careful, as I am finding my bra strap escape from the sides.

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Here I am, wearing the dress with starry earrings because theme, and socks and brogues because it was a full day in Central London people, my feet need that comfort.

After my last blog post, I adjusted the back centre seam, and the fit is much better. Also, pockets! Which are easier than I thought they were, thanks Tilly!

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Amusingly, I didn’t have a long enough zip in my stash, and I couldn’t be bothered to wait. The dress comes on fine, but getting it off… takes a bit of time. It’s fine though, and if it ever becomes more of a problem I’ll just replace the zip.

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I wore it this weekend to London for a birthday lunch and I got loads of compliments. A hen party on the train was very impressed, to which I would say that drinking from wine glasses at 11am on a rickety train is more impressive. I mean, I couldn’t do that. These photos were taken outside the British Museum which was heaving but still cool. No space, but that’s ok.

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Despite all it’s imperfections, I feel great in this dress. That’s what it’s all about in the end, right?

On Not Being Good

Have you ever been really enthusiastic about a project, then unsure if you’re good enough to execute it properly? I have been working on a dress for a little while now. It’s a really exciting project, one where you eat supper double quick to get more time to sew in the evening, then end up hunched over your machine with tummy ache from eating too fast. But I was determined.

The project in question is a Lilou dress from Tilly and the Button’s book Love at First Stitch. It’s made from a space themed duvet cover I found in a charity shop and immediately saw as a dress. I have been excited about this creation for weeks, impatient for the day it finally exists in the real world and I can show it off to everything. Look, tree, I made a space dress! Hey, cat I see on my way to the shops sometimes, I made this, isn’t that cool?

It is cool. It’s very cool to make one’s own wardrobe, to customise your clogs into your exact style. However, we might not be very good at first, and this can be hard. I am most definitely a beginner. This dress is my first lined item of clothing I have made, and you can tell my inexperience easily. The main problem is this-

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Having attached the zip, I tried the dress on for size, and found it to be way too big in the waist. It doesn’t look too bad in these photos, but when I tried it on I felt so unhappy with the fit I almost immediately ripped it off me and threw the dress into the corner. ‘It’s not right’, I declared, ‘It should be better. I should be better.’ I stared at the wonky zip, the off shaped chest, and the glaring sizing problem. It was ruined, and I had ruined what I was so excited about.

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I left it for a bit until I had calmed down, and then tried it on again. I assessed the situation, and it really wasn’t as bad as I had made it out to be earlier. Yes, the fit isn’t great, but the centre back seam can be taken in and it should be fine. I had to tell myself to stop seeing the imperfections as failures. You’ve only been sewing solo for a short amount of time, I mean this is your third dress ever! Stop expecting yourself to be perfect straight off.

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I haven’t got a finished dress to show you. I’m still working on making it wearable, but I wanted to write this intermediary post to say that it’s ok to not be good. You don’t have to be good at the thing you’re doing right away, or even after a while. The important thing is to keep going. Keep writing, or sewing, or whatever creative endeavour it may be. I’m going to keep sewing dresses with planets on, wonky zip be damned, because I’m passionate about sewing and I love the creative process. I’m going to leave you with this quote by American Radio Personality Ira Glass (Who I freely admit I had never heard of until two days ago, but the sentiment resonated with me) on why you need to keep creating, even if you think what you make is no good.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Ira Glass

 

Me-Made-May ’16 Weekend’s 3 & 4

Apologies to anyone who saw this post before it had any words on it- I was trying to get to grips with the WordPress app on my phone and I pressed the wrong buttons. This weekend’s Me-Made-May weekend round up is a double whammy. Work and other projects have been taking up most of my energy at the moment.

Saturday 14th

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Eurovision day called for a red, white and blue theme. This is a darn comfy outfit. This skirt was made during a very low time of my life so it’s extra fun look means a lot to me every time I wear it. It’s made from a second hand baby duvet and a remnant I got from John Lewis years ago. I followed Annika Victoria’s 30 Minute Skirt Video Tutorial which is great for when you want to make something to wear, but want it quick and easy.

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… I saw a bird.

Skirt: Handmade (unblogged)

Top: Second hand

Cardigan: Second hand

Shoes: Docs

Sunday 15th

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This top is my first refashion. I bought it second hand, removed the sleeves, resized and got rid of a load of sequins. All by hand. Yeah, this was whilst I was in halls at uni and didn’t have my sewing machine with me. It has french seams and everything! Impressive work, past me.

Top: Handmade (unblogged)

Trousers (not pictured): H&M

Saturday 21st

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This outfit is basically the same as the first time I styled this skirt. Not sorry. Also, although this skirt is cute and it was fun to make, it did not do well in the winds the day threw at me. Also, those scallops would definitely benefit from an iron and I just do not want to do that.

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Hmm, looks like my hair didn’t do well in the wind either.

Skirt: Make Thrift Buy Community Challenge- Scallops

Top: H&M

Cardigan: John Lewis

Sunday 22nd

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This was a lovely day, so some outdoor photos! Man, photos look so much better outdoors. This dress was one I found in a charity shop and had to have because polka dots, and refashioned to fit. It isn’t a perfect fit (the bust is tight, as you can see in these photos), but I like it for now. If it ever gets too much, it’ll be pretty easy to make this into a skirt.

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Sometimes I think I should post nice photos, and sometimes I like not being perfect.

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Dress: Refashioned (unblogged)

Cardigan: White Stuff (which I changed the buttons of. I love doing that on cardigans, such an easy transformation)

Shoes: Docs

Bag: Second hand

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I hope you all have a good week. See you later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me-Made-May ’16: Weekend 2

This weekend was so summery, it caught me off guard. I felt like I needed some kind of official email or something in advance, telling me tights weren’t needed.

Saturday 7th

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On Saturday I took Michael on a surprise trip to see Matilda the Musical on a gloriously sunny day in London. I brought a cardigan and a jacket AND wore tights which was definitely overkill. This dress was the perfect level of whimsy for today, except for the moment when I went to order our food at a pub and my top button popped out which had no whimsy in it whatsoever.

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Dress: Refashioned America Dress

Bag: Cath Kidston

Sunday 8th

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Sunday was spent not wearing tights and celebrating my brother’s birthday. The grainy photos here were taken at the end of the day when it was dark. This kind of thing tends to happen at the end of the day. This skirt was perfect for the weather, floaty and light and ever so soft. What I am realising very quickly is that I really need to make more tops. I have a lot of me made skirts, but nothing to wear them with.

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Top: H&M

Skirt: Refashioned Peep Show Shirt

It was hot. See you all next week.

 

Me-Made-May ’16: Weekend 1

Weekend one of Me-Made-May is over, so here is a little round up post for it. In case you don’t know what on earth I am talking about you can find my pledge here.

For all of you which follow me on Instagram (and thank you to all those who do, it’s really lovely to have that support), you would have seen these already so I’m going to make these weekly posts a chance to talk a bit more about the outfits, and anything I might have learnt along the way.

Sunday 1st

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I was rather caught off guard on Sunday, having actually forgotten that this weekend counted as part of Me-Made-May, which was rather foolish of me. Luckily, I was already wearing my mismatched socks. These were lovely and cosy for a lounging day.

Socks: Mismatching Regia Socks

Jeans: Secondhand

Top (not pictured): H&M

Monday 2nd

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My newly completed Megan dress! I posted about this on Monday so I shan’t say too much about this now, except that I really like the dress.

Dress: Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress

Cardigan (not pictured): Secondhand

And that’s it for now. See you all next week!