Posts filed under ‘Sewing’

Still Here…

Things have been crazy busy, what with school, work and my internship. Sadly, the one area of my life that has been neglected is my sewing and knitting. I did manage to finish this blouse several weeks ago. It’s made of some challis that I got on sale at Hancock Fabrics. I can’t remember the pattern but I will post the pattern number when I am able to look for it. It was relatively easy to complete however, the pattern called for much more fabric than I actually used (nearly double). So, alas, I have quite a bit of leftover fabric from this project. Has anyone else had this problem? It seems to me that most patterns I use call for much more fabric than they actually require. I hope it’s not just me…

Here is the completed blouse:


Some details include an empire waist with ties and puffed sleeved. I did some minor alterations to the pattern, including raising the hem about 3-4 inches so that it was a more attractive length.

I have also finished two knitting projects! Posts to come, soon. Another thing that is totally sucking away any crafting time is my new obession with Ravelry. I know I am probably a little late in joining this community but I am totally hooked! What a great concept for a website, it’s so inpiring to see such a collection of talent. If you haven’t already and you’re a knitter or crocheter, check it out. You will not be disappointed.

It’s been six months since I joined Wardrobe Refashion and I am happy to say I have not purchased new clothes, however I am saddened to mention that I have barely made any new clothes, either. I have plans, big plans, but they are often hard to execute due to lack of time. Anyhow, in honor of my sx month pledge I have included some fun refashioning tips from a vintage sewing book that I own. It’s the Singer MakeOver Guide (circa 1952) and is full of wonderful tips to take your outdated wardrobe into a new season. Make sure to click on the photos to see the large view. Enjoy!





March 25, 2008 at 5:53 pm 1 comment

Worst blogger in the world…

That’s me. Sorry it has been so long since my last post (Christmas!), but as always, I’ve been busy with sewing and regular life. I’ve completed a couple of new projects, and have a dozen or so on the “To Do” list. I finished a brand new dress to wear for the holidays from Simplicity 3535 “Project Runway” pattern. The pattern was fairly easy to follow, considering all of the possible alterations/changes one could do to it. The photo makes it look slightly “Little Home on the Prarie”, but I assure you, it is a very modern, chic dress.


I’ve also recently finished a reconstruction…remember this dress?

Vintage Blue Roses Fabric

This dress was made years ago, and incidentally was never finished. It is made from some delicious vintage fabric that I could not possibly give up, so I used a new McCall’s pattern to make this stylish top:


The collar is made in chartreuse green silk duipioni that matches the green leaves in the fabric perfectly. As you can tell from the quality of these photos, I still need a digital camera. Any suggestions?

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I have finally cleaned and organized my sewing room. I bought an inexpensive bookcase and organized my fabric stash like this:


That’s just yards of fabric that I washed, ironed and measured, and then rolled on to a piece of cardboard and secured with quilting pins. Very simple, and it keeps my fabrics organized and accessible. I also keep track of my inventory by pinning a small piece of paper to the front of each mini-bolt with the amount of fabric as well as the fiber content.


I keep my patterns in little plastic shoe boxes that I purchased at Target for $1.99. I also keep larger patterns or “patterns in progress” (those patterns that I have already cut, but have not yet assembled) in large zip-lock bags so that the contents are easily seen. I also made custom tins for notions, needles, and thread. Having a clean and tidy area to work is the best thing for creativity. This new system is very inspiring, I must say.

I will post again soon, as I have several new projects in the works, a new knitted sweater (so close to being done!), new links and a new tutorial in the works for you!

January 24, 2008 at 9:30 pm 7 comments

‘Tis the season…

for new coats!

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. School and work take up loads of time. I have been working on a few new projects, and now that the weather is dipping into the low 50’s, it’s time for a proper winter coat!

I started with a light holiday jacket, from this pattern:


The finished product (sans the buttons and some light finishing):


Front view


Side view


Back view

The Pattern: Simplicity has just put out a new line of sewing patterns that are “inspired” by Project Runway, where they have a basic style that you can customize with ribbons, different lengths, cuffs, fabrics, etc. to make it your own style. At first glance, the pattern is a bit complicated to understand, but after a few moments of reading (always read your patterns completely through before beginning your project!), it was  a cinch. Cost of pattern: $1.99

The fabric: I used a wool blend that has grays, blacks, and shiny gold running through the plaid. It was 50% off, so the outer fabric was $7.00. I used a shiny butter yellow charmeuse for the lining (polyester) $3.00.

Notions: Thread and buttons (vintage) from my stash.

Total cost of holiday jacket: $11.99

The pictures make it look very homely, when in fact it is very flattering and adorable!

Here is the pattern I am using for my next coat:


I am doing this in butter “suede”, with no applique and covered buttons. Post to follow soon!

I learned a nice little tip while beginning the above coat. I just bought a brand new iron and like a fool, I accidently ironed the wrong side of some fusible interfacing!! A quick search on-line led to this great tip:

1.) Lay out a brown paper back flat on the floor or ironing board.
2.) Cover with several tablespoons of table salt.
3.) With your iron on its highest setting, iron the salt in a circular motion.
4.) Continue to do so until all of the burned interfacing has been removed.
5.) Let iron cool and wipe with soft rag.

It got rid of the melted interfacing in seconds! My iron is back to new.

November 28, 2007 at 6:42 pm 3 comments

Refashioned Sweater into Cardigan

I finished a couple more projects over this weekend, including a refashioned sweater into a delightful cardigan! I am still new to blogging, so I am not sure how to put this tutorial into a seperate page (so those that are not interested don’t have to read a super long post!), but I will figure it out soon enough. The project took approximately 2.5 hours to make, and was really fun to do. If you’re interested in a tutorial, see below. If not, here are some before and after pics:


Before, butter- yellow, yet boring cabled sweater…


Snazzy new cardigan!

(Read on for tutorial….)

Materials Needed:

  • One sweater that fits you well (crew neck or V-neck)
  • 1/2 yard complimentary fabric (cotton works best, look in the quilting section for inspiration!)
  • 1/2 yard light-weight interfacing
  • complimentary thread
  • 4 or 5 matching buttons, depending on size

Total time: 2.5 hours
Total cost: About $3.50 (for fabric; sweater, buttons, interfacing, thread were in stash!)

Step 1:

Prewash and iron all fabric, including sweater. Measure the neck circumfrence of sweater.


Measure the length of the body of the sweater so you know how long to make the button bands.


Step 2: Cut your pattern pieces. I used  a peter pan collar template for my collar, but you can use any kind of collar you desire. For the peter pan collar, cut 4 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of interfacing:


In addition cut 4 pieces of fabric that are 2.5″ in width and the length of your sweater (mine was 18″, so I added an additional 1/2″ for seam allowances). Cut two matching pieces of interfacing.

(Totally unrelated – my kitten was begging to come in and help me sew <I never let the kittens into the craft room – disaster!>, so I let her in and she instantly fell asleep as she watched me press pattern pieces)


Step 3: Iron interfacing to pieces of matching fabric. You should have 2 interfaced collar pieces and 2 interfaced button bands.


Step 4: Match un-interfaced pieces with their interfaced counterparts, right sides together. Pin and stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance.


Step 5: Trim edges on button bands, and notch edges of collar pieces, so that they will lie flat when turned right-side out.


Step 6: Turn pattern pieces right-side out, top stitch if desired (I recommend this).  Press pieces to set stitches. Set aside.

Step 7: Cut a 2.5″ strip out of your sweater, making sure it is centered.


Step 8: Pin button band pieces along center seams that you just created, right sides together.  Do the same for the other side. Stitch, staying close to edge and press seams towards body of the sweater.


Step 8: Pin collar pieces to inside of collar seam, matching front of collar so that it sits near the button band. Pin, and stitch in place. Press seam down towards the sweater, flipping collar to other side of the sweater so that the right side shows.



Step 9: Mark out placement of button holes and buttons on button band. If you have an automatic buttonhole maker on your machine, use that. Add buttons to other button band so that they match up with holes. Press button bands and collar. You may want to use a few anchoring stitches to hold collar in place. That’s it!


You could now add matching sleeve cuffs, pockets, or whatever else you want to do.


Close-up of button band.

Let me know if you have any questions or if I can clarify anything. Happy sewing.

October 28, 2007 at 5:36 pm 31 comments


In conjunction with my Wardrobe Refashion promise, I have recently completed a few new refashions for my wardrobe. Lately, I have been aware that I have a lack of shirts to wear. Luckily, after sifting through my “to-do” pile (it’s huge), I found several dresses that I could refashion into shirts to incorporate into my everyday wardrobe.

First, I had this super long (to the floor) knit dress that I bought at an expensive boutique for $4. It was on super clearance because the bodice was tearing and the dress needed repairs. I liked the fabric, so I bought it but never did anything with it. A year later, I fixed the bodice and chopped off the skirt to make this:


A  super comfy, light-weight knit cami. I also have plenty of leftover fabric to make something else.

Lurking in the pile was this all black, shirtdress with a HUGE circle skirt. I thought the dress was cute, but it was so heavy and black that it made me look like I was going to a funeral. I cut off about 12″ of the skirt and then removed some of the volume by removing strategically cut triangles from the skirt. This created a little blouse that will be perfect for everyday wear:


The “to-do” pile also contained this dress that I created from a vintage Butterick pattern, however it came out way too big and I couldn’t decide what to do with it.


 So I turned it into a fresh new top:


I also tailored a pair of stretchy, flared jeans into skinny jeans!


And that’s all for now! I am slowly working through the pile. Lots more in store, with a couple of tutorials on the way as well. Sorry about the bad quality photos, I really need a new digital camera! Any suggestions?

October 24, 2007 at 5:48 pm 5 comments

Life always gets in the way…

…of crafting. Sorry I’ve been away. Busy with school, and other menial life tasks. I have found a little time to sneak in some sewing, and I am always knitting something while I watch TV at the end of the night to unwind. I recently finished knitting these little gloves from Knitty. I used the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. A lovely yarn, it only takes one skein of yarn, or in my case, a little bit over one skein. I extended the glove to make it longer for those colder nights, but if you follow the pattern exactly, one skein of yarn will do it! That means these glove only cost about $7 to make, and about 2 hours of your time. They make an excellent gift, as well.


I will be knitting a couple more pairs of these babies for friends and classmates.

I am also working on a lovely quilt (that’s what you see in the background!) for my etsy store that I recently opened. There is nothing there yet, but I intend to choc it full of handmade goodies, including this lovely, queen-sized quilt…


It’s made with the most deliciously soft burnt orange “suede”….I would like to keep it for myself. I will post a photo when it is complete!

Lastly, I am working on a couple new jumpers for Fall, with this pattern:


It is the easiest pattern I have ever worked with, I think I whipped this gem up in under an hour! It was a teensy bit too large for me, so I have some altering and finishing to do, and then, another post with photos. Promise.

October 17, 2007 at 4:27 pm 2 comments

See? I still make stuff…

Yes, I know. I’ve been away for a little while, not my intentions but that’s what happens sometimes. The good news is I have a few new projects that I’ve finished as I enter week #2 of my Wardrobe Refashion. I am happy to report that I have not purchased any new clothing, however, I did break down and buy some new fabric….oh well.  On to my projects!

I made a simply short jacket with kimono style sleeves from this pattern, view A:


I thought I would really love it, made up in some steel blue corderoy fabric.


I have not finished  it yet, I still need to hem the edges and add a button at the collar. It didn’t take me very long, although the directions could be a bit more explicit. I don’t love the way it looks on me; it is just super baggy (that’s the style, Erica…) so I may play around with it a little more.

short_jacket2.jpg and one more…. short_jacket3.jpg

Secondly, I made a dress from this pattern:


Yes, of course I know that isn’t a dress pattern, per se, but I just did a few simple changes and voila! A new dress:


Details on the changes: Very simply, you extend the hem line from the bodice to any length you desire. I added 9 inches to mine and it hits me right at the knee.


Make sure you cut both your front and back pieces to the same length. Then you can finish the pattern with the normal instructions. I love this pattern! I am not so crazy about this particular fabric pairing with this dress, but it fits well. I would love to create a knit dress with a different fabric for the collar and sleeves. This pattern is really adaptable and is a great purchase. I can’t wait to make something else from it.


Close-up of bodice

One last thing! I knit a handbag from a Knitting Daily pattern (if you haven’t signed up already, what are you waiting for?). I chose Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Rose. It was only around $5 for two skeins and I didn’t even use all of it! The bag knit up rather quickly, seaming and lining took about 2 hours. Although the pattern called for knitting needles instead of binding off, I decided to do the latter and attach a vintage button for closure.


Things I would change? I would make the handles shorter, make the bag wider and shorten this as well. It is really roomy, though! I can’t wait to use it…

To line a knitted bag, I just measured some fabric (you will only use about 1/4 of a yard) with my knitted bag piece comme ca,


And then press down the top edge to conceal any raw edges:


And then handstitch it into your bag. Tres simple.

I know this post is just overflowing with photos, but here is one more. My new fabric purchase, Amy Butler Nigella. This print is HUGE and I have 1 1/2 yards from a 64″ bolt, plenty to do a number of things, but what should I make?


On a last note, I need a new digital camera. xo.

October 8, 2007 at 7:56 am 6 comments

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