Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sweaters and Skinny Jeans 4

Hello Readers. This is the last of four sweaters and skinny jeans post. If you have had enough of these basic clothes, don't worry, this is the last of it. I have made some nice progress in my stash of refashion clothes so I can move on to other things. Today's sweater is a 2XL men's cotton V-neck sweater with some nice blue stripes. I have a confession; these are not truly jeans, they are more like dress pants.

First, let's work on this sweater. It is too big obviously but I really like stripes. I began by putting it on my dress form and pinning the sides. I needed to remove some fabric to make it fit me well. I pinned and pinned and then stitched new side seams. I used a zigzag stitch to stop the fraying and so it would have a little give when I put it on and off.

Here is a picture to show what I removed. The dog was really sleeping in my way but I took the same amount off both sides.

The arms were much too long. I cut the wrist binding off and moved it up the sleeve. I reattached it and cut off the excess fabric. The stripes influenced the placement of the binding. I wanted to keep the light and dark blue pattern so I attached the dark binding to a light blue stripe.

I did basically the same thing with the biding around the bottom of the sweater. I didn't want the sweater to be longer than hip length. I used a zigzag stitch to secure the raw edges so they wouldn't fray. I attached the dark blue binding to a light blue stripe to keep the stripe pattern going. I kept the sweater big enough to wear over another shirt because it's COLD out there.

These dress pants/trousers/slacks, whatever you want to call them, are too baggy. They aren't awful but I want to make them more fitted, like a cigarette pant. I narrowed the legs and shortened them a bit as well.

Here you can see what I removed from the pants. I was cautious and did my best not to make them too tight. I gave them a simple hem at the bottom and that was it.

I love these new pieces. I really like the dress pants, I don't have anything like them in my closet. I am pretty sure I can wear them year-round with tons of different tops.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sweaters and Skinny Jeans 3

Hello Readers. How are you today? This is part three of my series of sweaters and skinny jeans. This gray sweater is crazy, fuzzy, and way too big. It is the kind of thing I love to find at clothes swaps and thrift stores. I have never seen anything like it anywhere. It made me want to refashion it into something more wearable. I love a challenge.

Look at all this fuzzy goodness. How could I resist trying to make this sweater my own? I briefly considered making a Muppet costume but decided against it.

I put the sweater on my dress form inside out. I started pinning the sides so I could figure out how much I needed to take it in. I used some hem tape to make it easier to stitch through this gauze thin knit sweater. I knew my sewing machine wouldn't handle this material well. (It's been acting up.) I made the sweater more narrow by removing some fabric from each side. I made the arms more narrow too. 

Here is a picture of one side after I cut off the excess. I intended to cut off the sheer lower fabric and leave the seam so it would be easy to finish the bottom hem. I accidentally cut off part of the lower seam and had to cut the whole sweater all the way around to make it even. Oops! I was really disappointed in my carelessness. I had to make a new hem at the bottom of the sweater and I had to stitch it by hand. All the fuzz would be difficult to sew through with a machine. It only took a few minutes of hand sewing though. I need to suck it up and stop whining about hand sewing. (And probably some other things too.)

These sleeves already had these little buttons and straps (Actual name unknown to me.) to hold the sleeves up. After I narrowed the sleeves to a better fit I liked the look of these so I left them untouched.

These white jeans were a hand-me-down. White is a little surprise in the winter but this denim is heavy and thick. I liked the fit in the waist and the hips but the legs were much too long. I wanted to make more skinny jeans (It is the theme of these posts after all.) I used a pair of jeans with a good fit as a pattern to decide how much to remove from the legs of these white jeans. As usual I went over the new side seam twice for security. 

These jeans were still too long and I shortened them even more. 

This new outfit is more wearable now. The sweater is a more classic shape but it is still unique and fuzzy.  It looks more appropriate, it fits better, and I am not lost behind all that sweater. The jeans are simple and classic and I can tuck them into my boots for warmth and to keep them white pants out of puddles and winter slush. 

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sweaters and Skinny Jeans 2

Hello Readers. This is my second sweater and skinny jeans post. This black and gray outfit didn't need a dramatic refashion, it just needed small changes all over. It had the possibility to be great but there were so many things that bothered me about it.

The sweater is a nice light weight wool blend. It fit great and I liked the stripes but, the loose turtleneck was a little tall and in my face. It wasn't tight but it was stiff and it would brush my jaw line every so often. that was annoying. And the sleeves were too big. The loose bell sleeve is a cute idea if you have long arms. If you have short stumpy arms like me, this type of sleeve is just a cruel joke. I can't even push the long sleeves up because they are too loose. 

I narrowed the sleeves from the elbow to the wrist. That way they won't hang over my hands. It was very simple. The sweater doesn't fray when cut so this is an easy job. I cut the turtleneck off. I left the seam around the neck in place so it would hold its shape. I didn't expect the scoop neck to be so low. It was too a bit too revealing and would need a shirt under it. It wouldn't fit as well with a shirt under it. So...

I decided to add a little coverage. I turned the shirt inside out and pinned some lace on the front. I hand stitched it in place and cut off the excess. The lace won't fray so there is no need to worry about the raw cut edges. 

I have had these stretchy faded jeans for a while. They almost fit but the lower leg is too loose. It isn't quite a straight leg and it's not a skinny jeans fit either. I simply took them in on the sides. I took more off the lower leg, it needed to be tighter to fit smoothly into boots. I thought about distressing them. They are so faded, they would look good with some holes and tears. I didn't because it is just too cold for that. I would freeze.

I was pleased with the results. These two items went from things I wouldn't want to wear to things I will wear a lot.

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sweaters and Skinny Jeans 1

Hello Readers. I hope you are doing well. I am in the middle of new year cleaning. I am trying to make my way through a small collection of sweaters and jeans/pants. They all could use some refashioning so, here is the first outfit. 

I started with a big navy blue cardigan. They are great for cold days to layer over another top. But this one is a little plain, a lot plain actually. I wanted to jazz it up a little by adding something useful. Pockets! I also want to make the sleeves more fitted so they do not hang over my hands .

I love hand-me-downs. These jeans were given to me. (Thanks Sue!) They have been waiting for me to put them to use. I removed the pockets from these beige denim jeans. I just unpicked the stitches.

It was easy pickins. (haha) Anyway, They are ready to attach to my sweater. I pinned them in place.

I stitched over the original stitch marks on the pockets. This was a super easy way to add pockets. I was inspired to add these pockets because of a sweater my daughter has. It is the photo below on the right. Her sweater is a bit more posh with faux leather pockets. Mine isn't an exact copy, but it's close enough for me.

Copy sweater.                                         Original sweater. 

I took the sleeves in a couple inches at the wrist. I also took a little off the upper sleeve and the body of the sweater. I like the loose fit but when the sleeves are too big, it just looks sloppy.

The second piece of this outfit is a pair of mid-rise corduroy pants. These fit of these pants is so awful. The word depressing comes to mind. Why bother fixing saggy pants like this?

I look like a grandpa. Yikes.

They are soft and warm for winter. In a bright light you can see the pattern of the fabric. It is a much more subtle pattern in natural light. I don't have anything in my closet with this pattern on it.  These are nice pants and they want to fit better. They just need help.

I decided to make these into a skinny jeans kind of fit. I want to be able to tuck them into boots. It's winter, I'm cold. I want multiple layers, thick socks, and warm boots. This is an easy fix. I do it a lot. 

After trying them on I found that they were too high at the waist and there was too much room in the crotch. That is an easy fix too. I just made a new seam on the inside of the legs by following along the original seam. I stitched over this several times so it would be strong and secure. (I don't want to split my pants in public.) I also shortened them a bit at the ankle.

The new fit is much more flattering and feminine but it's still comfortable, casual, and easy to wear.

These corduroys have serious stretch. I love that. 

That's all for today. I hope you are cozy and warm where ever you are. 

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Itchy Sweater Purse

Hello Readers. Do you have a wool sweater that you never wear. I had this pretty, gray, floral sweater. It was really warm but I hated to wear it because it was so itchy and scratchy around my neck. Life is too short to be uncomfortable and I always found something else to wear on cold days. So what should I do with the sweater?

It fit well and it was in great condition. It was 100% wool, that was why it was so warm. If you check the care directions it will say not to machine wash and dry it. That will cause wool to shrink quite a bit. (Sometimes people do this by accident, or so I hear.)

I washed the sweater in hot water and dried it on high in my dryer.

As you can see it shrank a lot. Not only is it smaller, but it is thicker now too. The material tightens up and creates something really easy to create and play with. The wool is strong and tough. It needs no lining and it won't fray at all when cut. I have seen bags that were crocheted with wool yarn and then shrunk. That works too, if you can crochet. 

I started by cutting off the arms and neck band. This sweater is open in the front, I will have to connect the front and close it.

I turned the sweater inside out and stitched the two front pieces together. I also closed the bottom of the sweater. It looks like a little shopping tote bag. I cut the shoulders of the sweater more to  begin make two narrow straps. I also cut some extra pieces. I need to make longer straps so I can carry this purse over my shoulder and I am going to add a pocket to the front. I like a place to put my phone and a pocket will cover that big seam in the front of my new purse.

I hope these pictures help you see how I put it together. The pocket doesn't hide the entire front seam but it covers most of it. I added the button that was at the neck of the sweater. I used the seam from one arm as a closure around the button. It was thick like a piece of soft cord after washing and shrinking. The back of the bag was plain gray. 

I used one long narrow piece of sweater material to make a long shoulder strap. I connected the two little shoulder pieces from the shoulder area to the long narrow extension piece. One strap might need some reinforcement so I added some black ribbon to the underside of the strap. the wool material is really strong but over time it will stretch and it might get longer than I want.

The shoulder strap looks twisted but it lays flat and snug over my shoulder.

This is a picture of my mom at Home Depot. I tried to get her to take my picture but she couldn't use my phone very well. She kept taking video. I have a 10 minute of video of me telling my mom to take a picture, "Just touch the little camera icon Mom. Just touch it. The little circle with a camera in it." Oh, well.

I made this blue bag 4-5 years ago and it is still in good shape. It was a ladies sweater and it had a zipper down the front. I used a long piece tied in a bow to cover the top of the zipper where I cut the neck of the sweater. These bags have the most comfortable shoulder straps and they don't seem to slide off my shoulder. 

Thanks for reading, now go make something fun for yourself.