Monday, 30 May 2011

Crazy sleeves to cap sleeves…

The college I work at has a fashion department and not surprisingly I’m quite friendly with the members of staff who work there. Every year they have a sale of old student work but inevitably some things don’t sell and those in the know get to rifle through the pile and take their pick.
I got this shirt and a few other things too – boy, does it have crazy sleeves but in every other respect it fits fine.
All I did was rip out the sleeves (which were huge, that’s about two feet of sleeve right there) and follow Rosie’s easy peasy tutorial on Craftster for making cap sleeves.
And this is the result:
Much cuter and more wearable!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Sewmamasew giveaway day!

Hi everyone, I’m not participating myself (it crept up and I missed it!) but you should pop over to Sewmamasew to see the master list of blogs that are hosting giveaways.


You only have a couple of days to enter all the giveaways so you’d better get going!

Honestly, there are some beautiful things out there, and hey you might not win but I’ve already found several blogs I’ll be returning to that I didn’t know existed before.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Long and unwearable to short and cute (with a tutorial!)

Look at the fabric of this skirt! Once again I grabbed something in a charity shop that didn’t fit because the fabric was so lovely. It’s too small in the waist, to long, there is a button missing and some of the fabric is torn around where the buttons were sewn on. Apart from that, it’s gorgeous!
Fleurs, fleurs, fleurs, Les Anemones!
First thing I did was remove the waistband – sometimes that’s all you need to do to ease a tight skirt. If you have a skirt that is too small, you can lay a skirt you have (that fits you well) on top of your too-small skirt to see how much of the waist you need to remove to make it fit.
Once you’ve removed your waistband, normally you can just hem the top and say-no-more but this fabric is a little flimsy and I wanted the waist to be a little more substantial.
I traced the curve of the waistband onto fusible interfacing and cut a piece an inch wide. I ironed this onto the top edge of the skirt.
Now you need to fold down your waistband and sew. Because it is cut on a curve, I needed to do a bit of snipping…
And then iron it down…
and sew…
If you are feeling fancy, you can ignore this last step and trace the line of your new waistband onto some stiffer fabric and cut it a strip an inch or so wide to make a facing. You can then sew this to the skirt face-to-face, fold it to the back and hem neatly. This way would be much neater on the inside and you could use something contrasty and exciting! I’m a bit lazier than that though.
Because I had cut off the top button on the waistband I needed to add another and this meant another buttonhole. I won’t bore you with a how-to because the interweb is littered with them.
Et voila, it fits!
And after cutting it down to knee length and a hemming session later…
I love my new summer skirt, now if we could only get some warmer weather!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Pintucks in corduroy?

This skirt was waaay too big, and dull. You can see where I had put a box pleat in the front but I didn’t like it very much so I unpicked it and started again.
I saw this idea in Sew Subversive and thought it might work even though the cord is very bulky.
I kinda like it. I sewed the pintucks down with contrast stitching so they face the middle and yeah, it is a little bulky but I much prefer it to how it was before.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Refashion a lampshade, a mini tutorial…

Remember this lampshade?


I bought it ages ago for 50p, and although it had a small tear in the back I had to buy it for that fabric. Well that was 2009, and since then one of the metal arms broke and tore the thing in half.
I took the lovely torn fabric off, intending to attach it to some plain fabric to reinforce it, but when I washed it this happened:


*sob* I was so careful but the fabric was very old and it fell to bits in the water. Only one thing to do – use the fabric as a pattern and make a new one!


I had a scrap of Sanderson-type upholstery fabric that was just big enough to squeeze the two pieces from.

This is important! Because the lampshade curves in two directions you need to cut the fabric on the bias to make it work. Trust me.

I cut the two pieces and used French seams to sew up the sides but you don’t have to do that, it just makes the inside a bit neater and stronger.


I then unwrapped all the tape from the top and bottom of the old shade.


Because one of the arms was broken, I got out my trusty brazing torch and fixed the bejingers out of it. I also reinforced all the other flimsy joints while I was there.


When the frame had cooled down I gave it a clean and gave it a coat of matt white Plasticote.


Replacing the tape. You need to wrap the whole top and bottom rail with tape so you have something to attach the fabric to, and you have to wrap it very tightly.

If you need to add another piece, sew it in place to start.


The wrapping all finished.


With the fabric in place on the frame before sewing. You can see that it is slightly too wide, but also slightly too short. When you stretch the fabric to fit it to the frame, it will become tight as a drum and fit the curved shape better.


Fold the fabric over the top slightly and hand sew it to the wound tape, keeping all the stitches on the inside. Make sure the seams are running along the arms of the frame so they don’t show when the light is lit.

When you’ve sewn all around the top, pull the fabric tight and pin it at the bottom. Start at one arm then pin on the opposite side. Move around the base, pinning as you go, making sure the fabric is pulled tight. When you're done pinning and are happy, sew it the same as the top.


You can see that by pulling the fabric really tight it fits to the frame. This only works if you cut the fabric on the bias because when you stretch it one way it becomes narrower the other.
Because the wrapped tape is really tight, that fabric ain’t going anywhere!


The finished lampshade. Lit, you can barely tell the difference between this one and the last one and even though the fabric isn’t quite as nice, I’m pretty pleased with it!