Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Gaping Waistband

Hello Readers. Do you ever find a great pair of jeans that seem to fit except the waistband? That waist hanging open in the back is not going to work.

I really wanted these black jeans because they were very dark. My current black jeans are old and very faded. I could dye them...or I could make these jeans fit a little better.
(They are a little long too. #shortgirlproblems)

I started by making new side seams to take the hips in a little. This won't fix the fit problem entirely. It is just a start.
The right leg looks much shorter. I swear my legs and the legs of these jeans are the same length in real life.

The way I like to fix this kind of fit issue is with tucks in the back. I fold the jeans and stitch narrow triangles that start at the waistband and taper off down into the pockets. Sometimes I cut off the excess fabric inside and sometimes I leave it there. I just want to be comfortable. If it feels bulky, I remove it. If it doesn't bother me, I leave it there.

 Having the tuck end under the pockets helps hide them. I want my jeans to look normal and plain in the back.

I was pleased with the new fit at the waist. I don't like to wear belts very much so these needed to fit well around the waist.

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself.
 *Year end update-I still use this method to make the waist smaller on pants. It always works well for me.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Black and White and Vest All Over

Hello Readers. Do you like vests? They come in handy sometimes when it's cold. They are an extra layer for warmth but the arms are still free to move around. Today's post is about such a vest.

I didn't start with a vest. I started with a quilted jacket. It had a very wild black and white paisley pattern with black trim. Don't stare at it too long, your eyes will cross and you'll get dizzy. The sleeves were too long on me. (The story of my life.) And the quilting made this jacket a little stiff. It didn't stretch at all and it didn't give me room to move freely.

When I looked closely, I saw that the trim was really just simple black bias tape.

It was really basic bias tape, just like I had in my sewing supplies. That means I could shorten or alter the sleeves of the jacket and add this bias tape. It would look like it was never altered at all.

I considered shortening the sleeves but I decided that the pattern was a little overwhelming and the sleeves were not really comfortable so I removed the sleeves completely.

I pinned some black bias tape around the arm holes. I knew that the quilting inside would want to come out of the bias tape so I used a lot of pins.

I tried to be extra careful and sew very slowly so I didn't lose control of all the layers.

It was easy enough to finish. I went to work just like this. And at work I realized there was a flaw in my design. No pockets. They gray jeans I was wearing didn't have real pockets either. It was annoying. I am out here adulting, I have to carry stuff, I need pockets.

I still had the sleeves. I had planned to make a couple little cosmetic bags out of them. What if I made pockets instead?

I did just that. Here is a picture of a pocket about to be sewn on the front of this vest.

The wild paisley pattern makes it hard to see the pocket.

Here is the truly finished vest with pockets. I attached them at an angle because it was easier than trying to make them perfectly horizontal and parallel to each other. It is also the direction my hands would naturally fit in the pockets.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mad For Plaid

Hello Readers. We are in the middle of a severe cold snap where I live. I mean really cold. Like the air hurts your face when you go outside. It is harsh. So it's the perfect time for some wool clothes. I found this wool skirt at a clothes swap. (Free for me!)

It was new with tags on. And it was from J.Crew. I never spend money on nice clothes like this but I really like them. This was very soft, thick wool. It was pretty and warm. It was in perfect condition, so I got to work. 
(I always wash things from swaps or thrift stores before I wear, store, or refashion them.)

I decided to cut the skirt much shorter. It was easy to work with because the fabric was heavy and easy to sew. It was really stiff though. It didn't have any give to it either.
But what about that extra piece with the fringe?

I wanted to make a scarf that wrapped around my neck once. When I started playing with the material it looked a lot like a shawl. My daughter said it looked like the perfect outfit for a bagpipe festival in the Scottish highlands. I wasn't planning on going to a bagpipe festival anytime soon, so I tried to tone it down.
I folded the fabric under and made it more narrow. I also took some fabric out from the back to make it a little shorter. I wanted it to wrap around my neck once, and not hang as long as a traditional shawl.

Here is the finished outfit. I liked the slightly smaller scarf, but it still has a shawl-like look to it.

I think I might want break up this set and to wear the scarf by itself.
(No bagpipes in sight. Although I am Irish and I love the sound of bagpipes.)


Where did I get the coordinating shirt? It was from last January. It was a big cozy sweater that I made smaller. It ended up in my daughters closet for quite a while. When It came back to me I decided to remove the cowl neck so I could wear it with this skirt and scarf I was making.

I simply folded the cowl in and stitched it down. It was easy and I just cut off the extra fabric. It was a tight knit fabric and it didn't fray at all. You can always refashion an old refashion.

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Gray Tunic That Couldn't Handle Me

Hello Readers. This post started with a need to mend clothing that I ripped. It was two rips actually. We all tear our clothes once in a while right? This one was a doozy.

I have had this cotton tunic for a couple years now. It is nice and soft and it is great for lounging and being comfortable. It was neutral, it went with everything... It was perfect.
 But it didn't have any stretch. That will be important to the story later.

Here's the ripped part. I bent down and my back end ripped through the back. Did each of my butt cheeks rip through the fabric? Yes. Yes they did. I couldn't believe it. One rip would be bad enough but two? I felt betrayed. By the tunic and by my bum.
 This was around the holidays and it made me feel like maybe I had eaten too many cookies. Maybe I only had myself to blame. Thanks goodness this happened in the privacy of my own home.

 Warning: Not strong enough to handle my bum!

 I did what anyone would do, I got mad and later I cut off the ripped part of the tunic. There seemed to be enough left to make a shirt. So, that's what I did next.

Instead of folding the edge under to finish the hem of the shirt I decided to add some of this gray cotton lace that I had in the sewing stash. 

*Actual sewing of gray lace to gray shirt.

The lace seemed to go with the shirt so well that I added it to the sleeves and the neck too. You can't have too much lace right?

To go with this "new" shirt I made some "new" pants. This pants had a great striped pattern but they were really baggy and looked like part of a 1040's gangster costume. 

 I thought a skinny cigarette pant would be nice for those stripes so I used some skinny jeans for size. I traced around the pants that fit and used the marks to guide my sewing.

I finished this outfit just in time for the first snow of 2019. I think this one will have to wait for better weather. I can't shovel out in this.
 You might think this picture looks a little off. I edited this picture so I looked taller, younger, brighter, smarter, stronger... everything.
( My bum had just ripped through my clothes so I had enough of reality.)

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Sleeve Shirt

Hello Readers. I can be kind of rough on my clothes and things can get damaged. (I could blame the kids and the dog but I am pretty clumsy all by myself.)  When there is a problem, there is usually a way to repair and mend things. Today's post is such a case.

I had this beautiful ultra-marine blue color dress. I really love this color. It was a little big but it was in fine condition. I also had this patterned blouse. It was the one with the problem.

 This blouse was super cute but it had a hole in it.

It had a hole in the front. Can you find it in the picture? It was right in the chest area. I could have tossed it in the trash but that would be a waste. I liked the pattern too much to just throw it out. And it had that pretty blue color in it.

I cut the puffy sleeves off the blouse and that cute little bow at the neck too. It is almost impossible to even see the bow, it blends in with the fabric so well. I was going to put those sleeves and the bow on to the blue dress and make a shirt.

This blue dress was not the shape or style I wanted for those sleeves, but it was a great starting place to make something new. I started by cutting the short sleeves off the blue dress. I also took some extra fabric out from the back too. There was already a seam down the back of the shirt so I used it as a guide to make the dress smaller.
 I wanted a more narrow fitted style shirt. I thought a fitted shirt would highlight the puffy sleeves nicely.

 This left me a sleeveless style tank top. I decided to make the shoulder straps shorter too. I wanted a higher neckline.

 I used a t-shirt that fit really well as a size guide and marked the blue shirt so I could make new side seams. I could not find my chalk so I used a sliver of white soap.
 It works great to mark fabric and it washes out because... y'know, soap.

 I stitched the sleeves from the blouse onto my "new" blue shirt and I had a great new long sleeve top. I added the little bow too, and you can actually see it so much better now against the blue material. I didn't need to shorten the shirt at all. When I make things tighter, they always get shorter too. I can't explain exactly how this happens but it always seems to work out like that. 

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Bandage Waistband

Hello Readers. I think it's time to put together an outfit. Why did I title this post "The Bandage Waistband"? You'll see very soon.

I was not feeling this shirt because of its sleeves. The sleeves were not meant for me. They were really long and wide at the wrists. My sister-in-law J. handed it down to me. (Thanks J.) That beige color was such a great neutral and the fabric was so beautiful. Surely I could do something with it.

I also had this very pretty sweater all the way from Paris thanks to my daughter. I really liked the colors off the sweater with the color of the shirt.

So this cool shirt with the really long sleeves would be a skirt. It would be great. I cut the shoulders and sleeves off the body of the shirt. I didn't want to make a casing for an elastic waist, that would use too much fabric and make the skirt shorter. I was going to attach the elastic at the top. I wanted 3-4" wide beige elastic to blend in with the fabric. When I looked on Amazon to see if such elastic existed, it suggested...

Elastic bandages. You know the kind you wrap around a sprained ankle. I was not expecting that. It seemed a little weird but I had several in my first aid supplies. I could use one for free! (Free is my favorite!)

I had a lot of sleeve material left over and it occurred to me that pockets would be a very useful addition to the skirt. Who doesn't want pockets? I cut the ends of the sleeves off, and used them as pockets. The size and shape are already perfect and all I had to do was fold the cut edge under and stitch it down.

Here is the skirt with its bandage waistband. It was very soft elastic and it went through my machine fine. I wish I had thought of it sooner. (Thanks to Amazon for the idea.)

The finished outfit turned out great. And I was right, pockets are always a great idea. 
We had some warmer weather so this was nice to wear but now a winter storm is coming.  I need to put this away until it gets warm again.

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