Thursday, 30 April 2015

2015 Design / Inspiration Challenge - May

Hello hello!

May's challenge is to create 3 - 4 mix and match pieces that work together. 

In the sewing-blogging world, May is pretty much short for 'Me Made May'. For anyone who isn't up to speed with it, Me Made May is a challenge initiated by Zoe Edwards of 'So Zo, What do you know?' to wear more of your own hand made stuff for a month. 

It seems a reasonable extension of that idea to look at how we plan projects, and aim to create a set of 3-4 mix and match pieces to link stuff up.

That may sound ambitious, but this includes things you have already made. So if you have something which you like, but don't wear because you haven't got anything to wear with it, this is the month to create something that will link up your creations. Perhaps you have a shirt you love that doesn't go with any existing skirts. Or maybe you need a bolero to wear your summer dresses in transeasonal weather?

For those who are patchwork/quilting orientated, look at creating items which go together in a space - so 3 cushions that co-ordinate, or a table runner and placemats. Or perhaps a bag and co-ordinated accessories?

Either way, the goal is to have 3 - 4 handmade items that work together, either all at once or mix and match.

That's it!

These styles from Simplicity 1467
Due Date: May 27th.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

April Challenge - The Reveal

The internet is a wild and untamed place. Sometimes it leads you places you didn't expect to find yourself.

In my case, it's frequently ends with me watching puppies sneeze on youtube, and then questioning whether I'm wasting my life. But this month, my internet friends took me to visit Skirt Fixation

Firstly, can I say I <3 a good fabric swap, and this gets even better. April made her upcycled skirt from a skirt sent to her at random.
Hats off to her, because she didn't even get fussy about what she started with, she just rolled with whatever came her way! Extreme upcycling?

Check it out, in full detail here. Really, check it out because it is easily as compelling as adorable youtube puppies, but instead of feeling like you're wasting your life, you'll be all inspired to make ugly things look good again.

Jennifer found this beautiful bright curtain panel at the local thrift store and made a shirt out of it. She used an online tutorial and make her first shirt ever! Whoot!

Jennifer says it "Turned out pretty good, but the 'rough draft' fits better lol..still learning!"

One of the loveliest things about recycling clothing is that it gives us permission to jump in and try something different, in a way that brand new fabric kind of doesn't. Where the new stuff says "Are you sure you know what you're doing?", reclaimed textiles seem to say "GO on! Give it a go!" 

I got into it and completed *two* projects this time.

A little bit of 'I like this owl but don't fancy the lumpy shape it gives me' tweaking.

And some more involved remodeling of a dress which included some hideous embroidery.

I mean seriously, what were they thinking?

Stars, birds flowers and hot pink skulls removed, I reworked it into a much more wearable skirt.

I love a good upcycle!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Improving a Skirt Length - How to Turn a Curved Hem.

Tweaking the length on a skirt can make a huge difference. 
This is a charity store skirt - and a quick fix just by taking up the hem. 

Maybe it's an obvious thing to say, but if a skirt has a job at all, other than to maintain modesty, it is to make your body look it's best. When you choose or make a skirt, the skirt's attractiveness in it's own right is secondary to how it makes you look when you wear it. (You're the star, not the skirt.)

I don't have great legs, for the record. But that's an insider secret. I pretty much always put my hems just below the knee, because that is a flattering line for my figure. I don't wear mini skirts. It's not because I have a moral objection or any such thing - it's just that I don't have the pins for it. If you have amazing legs you might be able to wear any length. If you don't, play around and find the sweet spots. The best skirt length for you is the one that gives you great legs. Regardless of what's in fashion. 

Anyway, enough about my legs. I always think when you purchase something, you need to think about what it could be, and not get too fixated on what it is. Which in this case isn't great.

So I did a quick chop and fix. When I say quick, I still mean I did it properly. Here's how to turn up a curved hem.

I cut the skirt to the desired length (determined by pining and modeling in the mirror) + an  allowance for hem turning. I'm going with 2cm.  

I then did a long stitch half the width of that hem allowance (so in this case, 1cm).
 I turn and press along that stitching line.

 I then turn a second time, pinning at intervals.
 This creates a bit of a loose edge, because the outer edge is longer than the space I'm folding it into.
So (here's the clever bit) I pick up one of the stitches I made earlier with the back of the unpicker, and gently (not breaking it) pull it out a bit to tighten the thread.

The thread pulls the fabric in, and creates a nice smooth hem. The extra fabric is softly eased into the hemline. The section on the left is pinned, but I haven't pulled the thread yet. On the right I've pulled it to lie flat.
 I can manipulate this gently to sit neatly, and then press it. 
 And then I can sew along as usual.
 I stitched double just to be fancy. I then remove the gathering thread.
 And there we have it. A nice smooth curved hem.