Tag Archives: Stash

Vintage Fabric, New Skirt

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It’s been busy couple of weeks so this is coming a little later than I expected. However, I am resisting the urge to apologize because it’s my blog and that means I don’t have to apologise for not writing this sooner.

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My mum was having a clear out and I managed to score a load of fabrics and notions out of it. This fabric went top of the pile because the print is absolutely gorgeous. It’s I believe an 80’s cotton, and I thought it would make a lovely skirt.

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I traced a pattern from a mid length skirt from my wardrobe which I love- it was payment for helping out at a vintage sale a couple of years back and I think it was handmade for a theatre costume. To save time and tracing paper I used the same piece for front and back of the skirt. I wanted a centre back seam for the zip to be inserted into, so I simply drew that piece on the fold, adding seam allowance around the edges. I then added another line with seam allowance on the centre seam. Cut out one piece on the fold, and two with the extra seam allowance for the back.

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I really had to squeeze this skirt out of the fabric, as I didn’t have very much fabric. Pattern matching be damned! However, I managed to get all the pieces which was a relief, including one waistband piece. I added a couple of inches extra to the length, in order to create an overlap for a button fastening. This was a feature I really liked in my original skirt.

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I love this skirt, and it was so quick to make. I am anticipating at least another one of these in my future! I wear this style a lot all week long, because it’s a really versatile piece in my wardrobe. Plus, I have the pattern piece ready and waiting now…

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I wore this to the cat cafe in Manchester last weekend and the combination of new vintage skirt and cat stroking times became very exciting to me-

We went to a cat cafe today and I think we're still giddy about it 😺😻😺

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Plus, it’s nearly Me Made May time! Please do come over to Instagram to follow my pledge and join in the party. It’s such a lovely time for the sewing community to come together and celebrate the fact that we made our own clothes!

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Altering a too small dress

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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

A Zip After My Own Heart

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It’s March! I’m not always wearing gloves because I don’t need them!

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Spring is certainly on this way, and I am feeling the spring clean, new start kind of vibes right now. As you might guess from the boxes in some of these shots, we moved a couple of weeks ago. The new apartment is lovely, albeit with a bit of a life of its own, plus we have a spare room now which means I have a dedicated sewing space! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys how happy this makes me. I’ve got a gorgeous project on the go and I’m loving that I don’t have to allow tidying time into my sewing time. Just shut that mess away for the day, and pick it up tomorrow. Amazing.

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Ooh, attractive. I love a girl with a jumper for a face. I also have a brand new job which I wish I could tell you about because it’s awesome, but I really can’t right now. Come back in a couple of months and I might be able to spill the beans… in any case, I’m feeling in a good place right now.

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On the subject of spring cleaning, I got rid of a lot of stuff before our move. We were moving from the south to the north of the country (shout out to those who relocate frequently, you guys must be machines), and so I didn’t want to take anything all that way I didn’t care about. This required a rather brutal look at my sewing stash. Here’s roughly what I was dealing with-

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Now I’m sure this isn’t as much as other people function with very happily, but for me it made no sense to keep all of this mess. I was hoarding old shirts and things, thinking ‘I could do something with this’- there to die in the corners of the cupboard. Here’s the steps I always take when decluttering-

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  1. Work out exactly what you’re dealing with. Take everything out and put it where you can see it all. This often seems overwhelming but it’s kind of necessary to get a bit shocked by how much stuff there is.
  2. Pick up your favourite things. For me, the fabrics I love, the refashions I can’t wait to stick my teeth into. These will definitely stay.
  3. Pick out the essentials. The tools and materials you can’t be without.
  4. Right, now onto some decisions. I go through every item, thinking about how it makes me feel. Am I excited to use it, or does it feel like a responsibility? There is no joy in keeping stuff which makes you sad. Obvious, but sometimes it helps to hear it again.
  5. Donate what’s left, or in my case donate/ send to textile recycling. Let your unwanted items run free, live a new life!

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Thanks for reading this slightly meandering post, where I’ve interspersed it with photos of what I wore today. The top is a refashion from last year, and the skirt is a new to me vintage red cord. Red cord skirts everywhere, please!

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I suspect this might be a handmade skirt, judging by its insides. It has a slightly wonky zip insertion after my own heart. I’m a bit out of practice with outfit shots, I started a bit self conscious. To calm myself down I took a deep breath…

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