Saturday, 26 February 2011

Cardigan refashion and first day of M-M March

Me Made March Day 1 - Anna Tunic from Amy Butler made in grey wool mix suiting and with added patch pockets. Refashioned yellow cardie and unseen but underneath the tunic is my grey Nora t shirt.
Yellow and grey is a new favourite colour combination.

In the cardigan refashion I was inspired by this Michaeline cardigan from Kate Spade I found the UK size 18 wool cardigan in a charity shop in December and finally got around to refashioning it last week. I looked at Sigrid's refashioned t shirt project and cut up the seams. I got a bit carried away and think I cut up too many seams! I used an existing favourite cardigan to give me an idea of size and drew sewing lines with french chalk.
The Michaeline cardigan has a sweet asymmetric bow detail on the neck. I made a bow from the cardigan scraps. As I am an indecisive and changeable person I made the bow into a brooch so I wouldn't have to wear it always.

The first bow (pictured on the wicker background) I made was a bit big and looked like a comedy bow tie once I put it on the cardigan, so I made a smaller one.
The picture below shows the size difference.

I am happy with this cardigan except for the fact that it is quite see through and when I were my stripey t shirt underneath all the stripes show though!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Thrifty fabric

Barkcloth with a nautical pattern - love this.

I am back in the land of the internet-connected...phew...Devon was kind of hard work, with two kids, rain and Little I deciding to behave in that way only a three and half year old can.

Anyway, I have noticed a strange thing recently...since I stopped buying new clothes and cut back on other purchases, I have been given things...quite a lot of things. Is this some kind of karma? Or am I just becoming known as a repository for other peoples' cast-offs and rejects? By the way I am still waiting for someone to give me some new shoes, a an i-pad and a new phone (just joking). Anyway while in Devon I was given a very huge gift....or set of gifts...old fabric! Yay.
Check out these beautiful homemade dresses. The black print has cigarettes on it which shows its era. This lady was very petite and the dresses must be a UK size 6. I am in love with both dresses but don't think I can squeeze into them. Would it be sacriligous to make the dark print into a skirt?? The satin dress has lovely scalloped detailing bewlow the bust.

A quilting friend of my mum's had passed away last year and a while ago her son gave my mum about five bin bags of her fabrics. Last sunday I sorted through them...the lady used to make clothes got into patchwork and quilting so there was a huge assortment from fat quarters of quilting fabrics to tweed, and some of her old home made dresses. I sorted four bags for me to bring home...and then my mum's quilting group took a load for a charity sale.

Super cute bambi cotton flannelette

These photos are just part of what I hauled back. More to follow, there are lots of small pieces of lovely fabrics which I plan to use as pocket linings or facings. Lots of heavier weight fabric for bag making and even some liberty cotton for a dress. It all smells a bit fusty - what a shame you cannot do smellinternet)and is waiting to be washed and aired. Iam going to scrabble thorough to see if I can find any fabric to use as my lining for the U.P. dress project.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Drum roll....Refashion Co-op

A new blog about refashioning has just launched. Refashion Co op is a
co operative based blog for those interested in refashions. It came about from an idea of Eddie Duckling to have a replacement for Wardrobe Refashion.
There are seven editors of the blog which means each one takes a day a week to look after the site, answer comments and emails and do the admin. (Oh, yes, and guess what? I am one of those editors, I am usually there on a monday) This week each editor is introduced with an interview and pictures. There some amazing talented people there (...and no, I don't mean me)

Any one interested in refashions and with some creations to share is welcome to sign up as a contributor. You can check out at the blog, or email via There is also a facebook page and twitter too.
PS: Don't forget my giveaway see the previous post for details.

Friday, 18 February 2011

February Giveaway

A giveaway for February because it is cold here, grey, and depressing. Little I has a croaky voice. T has a snuffly nose. Mr Minnado just recovered from 2 days in bed with man flu and I am taking plenty of paracetamol. Oddly, having a giveaway is a cheering exercise. I plan a more exciting one for March (though perhaps my idea of exciting is no one else's) So apologies for blurry substandard pics, blame it on the lurgy I am fighting off.

1) Simplicity 3622 pattern UK sizes 12 - 20, european 38-46. A pretty dress - for stretch knits, though views C& D can also be made in crepe fabrics, charmeuse, rayon. The pattern is unused. The photo isn't too clear but it is a pretty dress with a slight gathering under the bust, long and short sleevs with different options for cuffs and shapes.

2) Burda Magazine Autumn 2010. The images below show you the patterns.

There are some fab Heidi style childrens clothes in there. (Anyone else like Heidi books?)

I am away next week so I will leave the giveaway open till next friday 25th February. Just leave a comment if you are interested with a contact email. I am happy to post these anywhere.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

UP Dress Muslin

I sewed up my muslin for the UP dress. It looks a bit strange as it is made from two different fabrics. Sorry for the poor photo quality - it is overcast and gloomy here today. The above picture shows the side that will have buttons.

I followed the first steps of attaching the front and back panels, then I did the centre back pleat.

Then I skipped lots of steps and went straight to shoulder and side seams so I can get an idea of the overall shape and fit.

In the pattern layout instructions it says cut 2 back pleats but on the actual pattern piece it says cut 1. So I cut one and used one in my muslin. I cannot see where a second pleat piece would go.
I have found out some things:

I am unsure how to sew the pleat securely without it looking a mess.

  • I made the muslin too big...the measurements with the pattern are for the finished dress not the size it will fit. I made it XL size as I would prefer to make it too big and then scale down. I also think I am bigger than I really am. I am now thinking a lot about size and ease. I gave my muslin something like 9" of ease! I am getting a headache with this sizing. I found this chart from Butterick which looks useful. Anymore tips on how much ease to put into a dress? The measurements table that came with the Uniform Dress pattern are for the finished dress, not for the size it should fit.

  • I had to retrace all the pieces... This was not too bad and is all done now

  • I crawled under my bed and found I have used all my stash of lining fabric up, so will have to go and buy some lining fabric.

I am going to cut out the fabric soon but with school and pre-school on holiday next week I may have to slow down on this.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

UP dress fabric and Me Made March

Thank you for the comments about the UP dress sewalong. It is very nice to have support and interest. This is my first sewalong...I am hoping it will keep me on track and mean I finish the dress.

Here is the picture of the UP fabric. It is a wool/poly mix, machine washable and quite lightweight. I am hoping to make the facing/lining from some pink lining fabric I have in my stash. I just need to crawl under the bed to drag out the storage box and check if I have enough.

The UP dress sewalong has been set up with the hope we will finish our dresses in time for at least part of Me-Made March. Which leads me on to the fact that I am taking part in Me-Made-March organised by the amazing Zoe. Here is the pledge,

I, Debbie, sign up as a participant inMe Made March '11. I shall endeavour to wear two me-made or refashioned items each day for the duration of March.

I have tried to set more of a challenge by having two items - maybe somedays I may manage more. I know where I am lacking me-made clothes though is jackets (none), and trousers (1 pair). I am also a massive, daily cardigan wearer and have no me-made cardigans...thoguh I do have one size 18 woollen beauty awaiting a refashion.
My sewing box

If you are not familiar with Me-Made -March you can go over and have a look at Zoe's blog, and you can still see the May and September Flickr groups too. The discussions on the flickr group are good too, and I would recomment signing up to flickr if you want to participate more fully.

Here is a bit about my very own Self Stitched September from this blog.

Having taken part in Me-Made-May and Self-Stitched-September, I recommend joining in this project. I met new friends, gained a lot of inspiration from the outfits of other participants and taking my own photo each day was a whole learning experience of its own! I also liked being challenged to make the most of my exisintg wardrobe of me-made clothes, and to get myself out of my jeans-wearing rut. You don't have to do a daily blog about it, or a daily flickr post, the beauty of this challenge is the way you can adapt it to your own situation. March is an interesting month weatherwise in the UK - so well, we will see how I get on.

Friday, 11 February 2011

UP dress sewalong

I agreed to do the UP dress sewalong with Ali from Wardrobe Reimagined, and Ms Quietandsmalladventures back at the end of last summer. We all had delays in receiving our patterns so finally this week we started it. One of my many obsessions is the idea of uniform, and having an everyday dress. The Uniform dress can be worn backwards or forwards and has a detachable collar. I am planning to make several different collars to use with my dress. It looks really complicated but I am hoping that by breaking it down into small steps it won't be as tricky as it seems.

If you want to know more about the Uniform Project, Ali posted a video or here is the website for the Uniform Project.

The pattern comes on one huge sheet of paper, causing slight panic in my mind. After much thought I decided to trace the pieces just in case I need to alter sizing, and also so the pattern can be re-used by someone a different size. I also decided to do a muslin of the main body of the dress to check size and fit. I started tracing on sunday and still haven't quite finish. My struggle at the moment is where to put all these pieces of paper! I have roughly cut out each pattern piece and labelled it before tracing, then refolded I am currently stashing them in the cardboard envelope the pattern was posted in. Each traced piece is going in a see through zip lock bag.

Ali has posted about her trouble choosing a fabric. I too have ummmed and aahhed over this. I decided I would go and buy some fabric, yes, from a real life fabric shop.

The original UP dress is black and made from a cotton and silk mixture. I was not sure about making it in black so I opted for a grey instead. Still neutral but not so severe. And I hope it will go with lots of cardigans, boots, tights etc in my wardrobe. However, the grey I chose has a faint blue stripe...once I got home I thought **** stripes and princess seams....yikes. I then kept thinking about going back and buying the dark indigo fabric I saw there, but I don't have that much money to spend and I think I am going to try and cut out the grey fabric and work with what I have got.

I am unusually for me making a muslin first to check the fit and sizing. More on this next week.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Finished Ruffle Shirt

I finished the bulk of this shirt about three weeks ago and then had a long pause due to lack of buttons. I used the Built by Wendy Sew U book's shirt pattern and based it upon the ruffle shirt. The fabric was from a bag of fabric remnants that a friend gave me for Christmas. It is a cotton/poly mix I would guess. I wanted to try out a shirt pattern and thought I have nothing to lose using this fabric.
At first I made it with long sleeves but they just looked so very wrong,so I chopped them off and added elastic in the casing to make them a bit more gathered. I wanted to make fabric covered buttons then decided I was too lazy. But a trip to a haberdashery convinced me to make them as there were no buttons I could find that would suit this fabric colour (also the prices - 65p per button!) These buttons are so small that it was a really fiddly job to do them but I am pleased now with the result.

The pattern was easy to follow, but the only thing I would say is you don't literally follow one set of instructions, but go through the shirt chapter in the book, finding the relevant sections to this shirt version and pick them out. So I did have to engage my brain. Just a little.
Some pics of it on me soon, it is just a bit cold here today for short sleeves and I just realised Little I has repainted the bathroom sink with pink toothpaste, so I must go and do some cleaning.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Thrifty 365 challenge

I posted this post or a version of it on sunday morning and it disappeared (so frustrating) here I am trying again. After not buying any RTW clothes last year I decided to join in with Sarah's thrifty 365 challenge.

She is something of a creative powerhouse, I don't know how she manages to do so many challenges and sewalongs along with the rest of her life! Her challenge gives me the chance to carry on with what I was already doing last year (ie not buying new RTW clothes) but to expand upon it in a coherent way and to examine further our spending habits as a family. Other bloggers are also doing this, such as Ms Scruffybadger and of course Ali is examining her consumerism and working out what to buy through her Fashion on the Ration challenge. Zoe has already sparked interestng debates in her comments section with her thought provoking articles.
Red dress for £2 - it is huge and currently a bit grubby but I think it could have good refashion potential. Look at the great button and pocket detailing.

Buying only second hand clothing or making my own clothes has quickly become the norm for me and it is odd how it has become just part of life for me not to buy new RTW clothing. Here in my cosy little corner of the internet it seems that lots of other people are in agreement but out in the Real World, not many of my friends and acquaintances do buy second hand.

Anyway, looking back at January I think I may have fallen into a pattern of buying too much even though it is second hand. The only bits that are not useful though are the teacups...they are just pretty.
So this is the spends for January,
  • Ikea duvet cover and pillow cases to use as fabric for sewing £4
  • It's the pink /red fabric under the teacups in the photo.

  • Two small wooden cd racks for childrens' story cds. £1 each
  • Green and white dress - on examination I think this one was home made.

  • Two 1960s/70s dresses £2 each - great for a refashion

  • One pair jeans for me £3 (worn a lot already)

  • Three canvas belts 50p each for bag making
  • One chess set £3 (Teaching T to play chess last year was a great, great, great idea but we had a cheap plastic set and have broken and lost several pieces)
  • Two teacups and saucers £1

The dresses and the tea cups came from a nearly new sale that is held once a month for a local church. I blogged about it in December, I saw the green and white dress in December, didn't buy it and then thought about it for the next month! The sale has clothing and household stuff, videos, toys, shoes and bags. One of the best bits about it is that when you come to pay, an elderly man with a big beard and not many teeth sizes up each purchase before declaring a price. An elderly lady writes all purchases down in pencil in a note book and does her sums. This is the kind of shopping environment I like! Plus some more elderly ladies are on hand to serve tea and cakes.

And just a note - have other UK residents noticed how charity shops are changing? Not all, but some are becoming so smart, with colour coded clothing displays, and increased prices. A friend of mine who is a veteran charity shopper thinks it is due in part to Mary Portas's BBC series, unfortunately I don't think you can see this anymore on the BBC iplayer but here is a related news article (and another interesting critique here) last year on revamping charity shops. I still like the junkier, more eccentric charity shops which have a distinct whiff about them.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Notes of a novice seller

I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks. Magpie Mimi and I have been chatting about supporting each other with branching out into selling stuff that we have made. Any one else who is interested in joining in please leave a comment here or over at Mimi's blog.

Look I even made my first ever teeney weeney blog button to go along with this project! That was a learning curve in itself.

I am hoping that by doing a regular post on this I can push myself to make progress and not just give up. I am not setting out to tell people how to sell or how to set prices (there are lots of resources out there already for this) but sharing experiences as I go along, and hopefully we can also read Mimi's experiences too and any others who want to join in.

So, when I say selling "stuff" that is quite vague. Well, I have a box of bags that I cut out three months ago to stitch up. I love making bags, I love planning the construction and working out how to make different versions of them. Most of my bags are from re-used fabrics and some are for kids, some for adults. I have been making bags on and off since I was a teenager.
A long time ago I did a a painting degree, and I have sold paintings, prints, cards and brooches that I have made in the past, but not for a long time and being a procrastinator I have been thinking about and planning this for a long time. A by-product for me of having an artschool education is that I am imagining the crit before I have even made the objects.

To give myself the momentum and to stop me from procrastinating into oblivion I have decided to post about my progress and experience in this new venture once a month, right at the start each month. If anyone else wants to join in and share experiences, please do...come know you want to. Mimi and I did discuss starting a blog just for this purpose but we have decided for the time being to stick to each of us writing about it on our own blogs.

This is my step plan for February:

1. Get my new sewing machine (thanks to my Christmas presents from family and Mr Minnado I have scrabbled up enough money for a new-to-me sewing machine) - done it today!! More news to follow

2. Get out the box of half made bags and FINISH them before starting any new bags

3. Get out the sketchbook and draw designs for applique

4. FINISH the half made brooches

5. Book a stall at a local village market

6. Research local craft fairs for summer Well, now I have gone public I had better get on with it.