Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Something sweet for my sweet sister

I have FINALLY made something successful for my baby sister. She's a crucial part of this blog, although you don't see much of her. She takes all the pictures of me and most importantly, she's my brutally honest wardrobe critic, so I feel honored I was able to make something she approved of.

Well, I didn't actually make-make this, I re-made it. My mom has saved a bunch of dad's old shirts, some of which have never been worn because they were the wrong size. This was one of them.

The fabric is lo-ve-ly and this one was a true gem construction wise too. I'm bummed that I didn't take a before picture, but just picture my sister drowning in blue shirting. I started by cutting off the sleeves and I swear I heard a choir singing hallelujah. The arm scythes are ingeniously constructed so that there weren't any raw edges left! Sooo beautiful! Having said that, I don't envy the seamstress who has set in those sleeves.

I go about these kinds of re-makes one way - stick the poor customer in front of the mirror and start pinning away. It takes some time, because you have to pin the same changes to both sides of the garment, otherwise you might accidentally remove too much. You'll start at the top and work your way down.

This time the side seams needed the most adjusting, so I began with those. Then it was my sister who  came up with the brilliant idea to make a vertical seam that goes all the way from almost the back hem and over the shoulder. The shirt had existing darts that I deepened.

The most time consuming part of this project was moving all the pins from the right side to the wrong side of the shirt and measuring everything. I top-stitched the new seams so that they would match the original darts left.

I love the fit of this new tunic/dress/shirt! It flares out just a bit at the bottom which gives it a feminine air. Luckily for my sister the fit isn't spot-on for me - otherwise the shirt would have mysteriously gotten "lost" or "damaged" during the process and ended up in my closet!

Have you got any great tips for re-making men's shirts? I have a couple more left that I would love to get to good use!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

TNT-top in the making

Hi there guys! I have decided to make this pattern my TNT for sleeveless tops, even if it kills me.

A while ago I asked for your tips for finishing chiffon edges, and thank you so much for your advice. I decided to go the route of visible self-fabric bias binding, which has become a reoccurring theme for my makes this summer. I'll probably hate the look of it when I dig out my summer makes in a year, but what can you do.

Speaking of summer - where did it go so fast? We have had an unusually hot summer this year, and almost over night it turned into pre-fall. It's been raining for the past few weeks and temperatures have dropped drastically. This means I probably won't get a chance to wear my final summer makes anymore this year, boo! That also means weather inappropriate photo shoots, yay!

The construction of this top was nothing special, besides the fact that I used french seams for the first time ever on a project. I think I cheated though (because I'm lazy) and used a 2 cm seam allowance. I sewed the first seam with a 7 mm seam allowance (because that's the width of my presser foot) and the second seam with a 13 mm seam allowance. Okay okay, somewhere between 10 and 15 mm, well go with that. And I didn't trim the excess seam allowance like I think you are supposed to, because I don't mind a wider french seam.

The self-fabric bias strips were surprisingly easy to cut, but they didn't press well. After I attached the binding to the arm scythe, there was gaping under my arm pit that didn't exist before. What kind of fabric sorcery that is I'll never know, but I pinched out an extra centimeter from the pattern to be on the safe side.

The pattern is my first go at Simplicity, and despite all the tweaking I'm pleasantly surprised. I'll definitely be using Simplicity again. The pattern is from the German magazine Meine Nähmode issue 3/2014. The front is from model 11 and the back from model 12. I made some changes to the fit even before making a muslin, which then failed miserably. I thought the left over fabric I used was a chiffon, but it turned out to be a CREPE chiffon, which moved around when I cut it, resulting in total failure. The original seam across the front piece also looked stupid on me, so out came the tape.

I did the usual changes for me: removed gaping at the neckline and arm scythe, both in the front and in the back.

This is my final front pattern piece, which I hope hope hope fits me now.
My plan was to make a couple more of these for One Week One Pattern (which I haven't signed up for yet), but now that the weather has turned I'm not sure what to do. Blame the weather gods and not attend, or bury the tops under cardigans and scarves to fight off an inevitable cold? What to do...

PS. I know I'm rambling today, but I'm so excited for my planned fall makes! I browsed Burda Style last night for some blouse inspiration, because I think that's the way I'll go this fall. Loose-fitting blouses I'll wear every day...mmm... Suddenly fall doesn't seem so bad after all!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Instant happiness scarf

Some colorful silk - what more do you need to be happy?

This vibrant piece of silk had been sitting in my stash way too long. It was a gift from someone who in turn had gotten it as a gift from someone who had been to China. Apparently nobody knew what to do with this little firecracker. 

I planned to make this into a simple top and was waiting for the perfect pattern to come along, but I had my doubts about how much I would actually wear it. I love colors, and I even love all these colors separately, but all of them mixed together seemed a bit much to me (insert note here about how I live in a country where beige is the most worn color, besides black of course).

So it became a scarf! Excellent, because I wear scarves a lot, and since it's silk I can wear it all year round. Instant happiness!

I finished the outer edges with a rolled hem and took my time to get the stitch length and width right. Good thing that I finally bought those red reels of thread for the serger a while ago.

What about you? What do you do with a fabric in your stash that seems impossible to wear?

Friday, August 8, 2014

This is a totally different dress

Hi there! I'm back with a make from My summer project -list.

If you look at the before and after pictures, there isn't a huge difference, is there? But what if I told you that the only seams left from the original dress are the side seams below the pockets? That doesn't make any sense!

The original dress

The pattern is from Burda 6/2013, model 128. The most important change I made was to shorten the shoulder straps significantly. Originally, the dress was meant to be worn over another dress with a higher neck line. At the time that I bought this fabric, they were out of the white cotton that I wanted for the other dress, so I never got around to making it. 

Instead I wore this dress last summer with a tank top underneath, and loved it. It didn't fit properly though, which I this summer decided that bothered me too much. So I made some changes...

Since I had to cut into the shoulder seams, I re-did the finishing on the neck line and arm scythes with my newly found love, self-fabric bias binding. The original shirring at the waist was made by using elastic thread, and it felt uncomfortable, so I re-did it with an elastic band. I was supposed to add pockets to the original dress, but forgot about them and (true sewist-style) never went back and added them. But now that wrong is made right too!

Shortening the shoulder straps shortened the dress considerably. While I fear a serious Marilyn-moment in the middle of the street, my fashion advisers conspired and told me that the length is fine. It might be that they just want me to flash some senior citizens though... I'll never know. 

I was in a romantic mood and added some cotton lace band to the neck line and hem. Reminds me of the old regional dresses we have here in Finland, but I guess that's okay, it being summer and all.

Unfortunately, I don't feel as comfortable in this dress as I did last year. It just felt more relaxed before, so I'm not sure the changes were worth it. I think my biggest issue with this dress is the drape of the fabric. This cotton fabric has too much body which makes the dress poofier than planned. It has been nice to wear during the heat waves this summer though.

Anyone else suffering from re-make frustration? Or bad fabric choices that are impossible to fix?