Friday, 18 September 2015

Green Plaid Skirt

A couple of years ago I had a period when I picked up a lot of fabrics (mainly old curtains, sheets and the like) in the local charity shop. It got a bit out of hand, with me bringing home stuff I had no idea what to use them for, and therefore I gave myself a one year shop stop on fabric, which I kept – go me! I’ve become much better at controlling myself because of it, so I can recommend that to anyone suffering a similar problem – I know there are plenty of you out there ;) But that still left me with lots of fabrics that needed to be dealt with. I bought them, it would feel very silly indeed if I didn’t use them for anything. None of them was too horrible, but a few would not have come home with me, had there been prettier alternatives.

Recently I decided to make a skirt from a tablecloth that had been weighing on my conscience. Though I liked the pattern, the bright green is not the first colour that comes to mind when my wardrobe (or home décor) is concerned. Still, I decided to make it work. 

The skirt is constructed from two panels of fabric, pleated to a waistband. It closes with two buttons and buttonholes at the left side, and have a huge pocket in the seam at the right side. I made two tucks close to the hem of the skirt, for visual interest and to help keep out the fullness. The hem has a wide facing of plain off-white cotton.

This is mostly machine sewn, another pat on the shoulder for that. I’m actually beginning to appreciate my machine. Still, a few things just look better when made by hand.

I took these pictures a few weeks ago on one of the last summer days. It’s now decidedly autumn, my favourite season. I have become quite fond of this skirt, and when worn with more sober coloured cardigans, or white delicate blouses, it still “feels like me”. I sometimes wonder if I should have made it a tad shorter, but I love long skirts, so I’ll keep it as is.

At the moment I’m working on several projects at once, not all involving sewing, besides being there for my family. I almost feel bad for posting so seldom, but I have much to do, and less time to do it in, so I’ll just have to do my best. There will be updates on them when I have the time.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Fuchsia Dress Makeover

When I was expecting B, I bought a dress. I don’t often buy dresses, preferring to make my own, but once in a while it happens. It has been used a lot since, mostly during my two pregnancies, but on other occasions as well, as it’s very comfortable, and cool in summer. However, it had a few issues. For one it was too short. I don’t wear clothes shorter than below the knees, and, as even skirts of that length show off my stubby legs to disadvantage, I most often wear them a fair bit longer than that. When I’ve been heavily pregnant the dress became almost indecently short in front. As a result, it has always been worn over a longer skirt, like it is here.

 Aren't the mice adorable? I made them for Halloween last year
and liked them so much I just had to leave them out.

Second, the neckline was too low in front, especially when the bust increased a size of five during pregnancy and early nursing. I needed to wear it over a tank top so as not to fall out during those times. (Alas, the difficulty of being "well endowed"; the slightest décolletage will make you look like a wannabe exhibitionist, at least if you're wearing anything more supporting than a nursing bra.) Also, the elastic was too wide, making the neckline warp in a weird way where it curved.

 Third, the sleeves where a bit too short for my liking, for a similar reason as the overall length.

After thinking the dress needed a makeover for the past four years,bu never getting round to it, I finally decided it was time. I found a piece of fabric in my stash, a gift from a friend, which would work well. There was just enough of it to make the changes I wanted.

I unpicked the seams at neck and sleeves, and removed the elastic. I cut the neckline a bit lower at the back and sides, as that was high enough already, but left the front be, as I wanted that raised. In retrospect I could have cut away a bit more at the back and sides. I then stitched a strip of the new fabric to the edge, and inserted narrower elastic. I did the same for the sleeves, except that I did not cut them shorter.

For the skirt I just sewed a strip to the hem. I didn’t have enough material to make it curved like the skirt, so I had to very lightly pleat a straight strip. Not the neatest job I've ever made, but it does the trick. I can now wear the dress as it is, with only a light petticoat under it – the material is quite thin. 

 I wish the sleeves were a bit longer though – as it is I still prefer to wear a cardigan with it. 

Yet, all in all I’m pleased with how it turned out. I did all the sewing by machine, a very rare thing for me. As I did, for once, make a New Year’s resolution this year, to become friends with my sewing machine, it felt very nice. I have another dress like this one, in a greyish black, that also need a makeover. I must consider how I want to go about that, as I want a slightly different design than to this one.