- Cut the waistband off close to the stitching
- Ironed new waistline of skirt and laid flat
- Marked a line 6″ from the top all the way across and chopped that piece off, leaving a piece of fabric to cut a new waistband from and the skirt portion, already constructed and hemmed
- Basted new waistline in preparation to gather and fit new waistband
- Using my waist measurement, cut a piece of elastic and a new straight waistband
- Stitched elastic together with ends overlapped so it has to stretch slightly to fit
- Serged waistband front and back together at the side seams
- Folded waistband in half and inserted elastic, pinning in place.
- Serged raw edged of folded waistband together
- With right sides together, zig zag stitched waistband to skirt
Confession: I probably should have lined this. I knew it while working on it, but didn’t have any on hand. Slow is a state of mind that’s hard to remain in while racing against a toddlers nap time. The zig zag stitch finish is sloppy but it’s okay because I’m going to add lining once I get to a fabric store then properly bind the raw edges.
I LOVE this skirt and I’ve worn it four times already as is, but it has reminded me of an article I once read about the fashion industry taking the ancient art of shibori and turning into a print. I realize one day this skirt should be replaced with a fully handmade version, from the dyeing process to the sewing. In a world where a child didn’t dominate my time, I’d prefer to grow the indigo and make my own vat…but back to my current reality: I’ve ordered a shibori kit from Dharma Trading Co and added the project to the end of my current list. I’ll be wearing this proudly in the meantime though, especially once lined and properly finished to my perfectionist preferences.
Here’s my favorite way I’ve styled it so far. I felt like a million dollars when I wore this on Mothers Day, even though it only cost me six! Bonus: looks pulled together, feels like pajamas.
- vest (Wet Seal, thrifted years ago, $1)
- shoes (Simple, thrifted, $2)
- cat shirt (thrifted and restyled, $1)
- skirt (thrifted and restyled, $2)
Once upon a time, I wrote enthusiastically about all the slow style posts I was planning on. They haven’t come to fruition, but I’m getting back to work on my original goals for the series and hope to have more thrifting, styling and outfit posts sprinkled in between sewing project features. One new development is this little bro turned 3 and he’s my new photographer! Although, I’m not above mirror selfies in a pinch.
For my latest project, I began with two organic cotton American Apparel T-shirts that my husband no longer wore after updating his business name and logo. I’d saved them with plans to dye them, but decided I liked the color for now. It’s similar to an old favorite J. Crew top that lost it’s life the same day as my toddlers first ER visit last spring, but that’s a different story…(the final images are true to color, it’s more mauve)
The idea of thread sketching my own image and text onto a tee has been marinating for a while but when I saw a T-shirt with a large moon printed on the front, the idea of using all the phases in a row along with a related quote came to me and I was off and running. Here are a couple images I gathered for this project. When I saw the quote “The moon made me do it” I knew that was the one, so funny…so true, haha!
I used the same pattern as my last two racerback tanks which was hand drafted based upon a shirt in my closet. Using raw edge applique and the scraps left from cutting out the tank, I patched over the front and back logos as well as a few bleach spots. I used french seams at the shoulders and side seams, then 1/2″ binding to finish the edges. Pretty easy, especially since this is my third version. I don’t have a pattern for the binding but based upon the success of my first and epic fail on my second, I was able to compare the stretch of this fabric to the other two and make an accurate guess. I think it came out perfect, although it was a bit stretched at the front neck by the time I took photos. #nursingmomproblems
To create the image on the front and the quote on the back, I used water soluble interfacing, freezer paper, a circle stencil and free motion sewing. For the quote patch on the back, I also used a piece of heavy weight stabilizer to keep the fabric sturdy enough for all the stitching. It was trimmed down to size after the letters were stitched. Once the shirt was complete, I threw it in the wash to remove the remaining interfacing. I snapped a few step by step photos as I worked:
I tweaked my pattern a little to bring the armholes up to hide my bra, which is great because my other two require cute bralettes that will intentionally peek out a bit and that’s not always practical. I’ve worn it a few times already and love it, but I’m still considering going back with darker thread to accentuate the moon images more. Maybe with hand stitches like my 3rd inspiration image.
This was a really exciting project for me because it was the first time I combined my art techniques with garment sewing to create a truly functional piece of wearable art. The cherry on top was accomplishing that with recycled fabrics that may have otherwise ended up as rags. I’m excited to delve deeper into this marriage between disciplines as I continue to create my handmade wardrobe. I know this piece is just the beginning!
I scored this crochet tablecloth for $1 at my local Wednesday flea market a while back so when Etimi over at The Secret Costumier invited others to play along with the #usedtobeatablecloth challenge, I jumped right in!
I wanted something pretty with a homespun vibe in a simple shape I could throw over a tank and jeans on a casual day or over a dress for a date night.
I picked up Butterick 6328 in a 3 for $5 sale with plans for a different jacket, then realized the front and back pieces minus the lining, collar, facing and pockets would work well for this project also. I cut View C Size 8.
I traced off a second front piece and sleeve in order to lay all the pattern pieces out on the fabric before cutting to work around stains and tears and utilize the scalloped edges for the ends of the bodice and sleeves. To construct the cardigan, I cut 1 1/2″ strips of matching jersey and made binding which was then hand stitched at the shoulders, side seams, sleeves and armholes. It wasn’t the original plan, but it required basting to keep all the layers flat and aligned and the basting stitches had to be so small that it was basically constructed when that step was done. Since the front edge was only a single layer, the binding was machine stitched there…not as straight as I’d like, but not horribly noticeable when worn.
This was nearly complete a week ago but I was unhappy with the fit because of how much the fabric sags so I removed the armhole and shoulder binding, chopped two inches off the shoulder of each bodice piece, an inch off the sleeve caps and put the binding back on a second time. Truthfully, my alterations didn’t feel like the correct way to go about it, but because this fabric is so forgiving it worked out just fine.
I’m pretty in love with it, but may end up taking it apart again to remove width from the side seams and sleeves to get a closer fit. I’ll decide after wearing it a while if it feels too fussy…like if it slides off my shoulders while chasing a toddler on the playground…
I paired it with my cat shirt (which I LIVE in), a thrifted pair of jeans I scored a few weeks ago for $8 and ankle moccasins I’ve had over 5 years now.
Today I finally set up my tri-pod and figured out how to operate the timer on my camera. YAY! Next time I’ll shower and style my hair so I don’t have to chop my head out of the photos, lol…baby steps.
Summer fun has had me away from my computer but I’ve actually finished two projects since checking in here last. These projects started with a vision of a complete outfit including a racerback tank, lightweight kimono style cardigan and sashiko mended jeans, but the pieces will also mix and match with other things in my wardrobe.
Since I wear my cat shirt 3-4 times before laundering, I need another similar item for the summer and when I saw this 4XL 100% cotton screen printed t-shirt at the thrift store for $2 it was love! I roughly traced the cat tank to copy the fit and then cleaned up the pattern later. I would typically cut the pieces on a fold, but I find for upcycling graphic shirts, it’s easier to use a full pattern piece to place the image accordingly. When doing so, I realized the image was too high to keep the original shoulder seams (which is ideal), so I had to improvise and piece together the straps.
So…the straps. I pieced them together in order to center the graphic and was all pleased with myself using this as an opportunity to add design details (the 3 stitching lines across the strap). Then I attached the neck binding. It was too long and sagged terribly. Had a date with my seam ripper and the second attempt was still a mess. I could tell the worn cotton couldn’t handle the seam being removed and re-sewn a third time so I was forced to cut the entire binding off, losing width all the way around. My solution was to sew stay tape around the neck and armholes, roll to the inside twice and top stitch. This was mostly successful, but now that the strap was thinner than planned, the topstitching overlapped. Had I used matching thread it wouldn’t be so noticeable but I was feeling confident and thought contrast would be fun. Luckily, when I’m wearing it, it doesn’t scream “home sewing fail” like this close-up photo does and it was a good learning experience. I ended up using stay tape around the bottom and hemming in a similar fashion and I really like the way it hangs and keeps it’s shape, so not all was lost. I’ve worn this multiple times already styled a few different ways: for the beach, a typical day with my toddler and a date night. Very functional and I love the print which looks just like my home in Ventura…still trying to figure out if it actually IS a photo of Ventura. Not sure yet.
Now for my simple summer kimono. I used one of the many tutorials on Pinterest and basically cut a rectangle with a slit up the middle and a sloping side seam to create a sleeve, added some french seams and basic rolled hems and called it good. It took all of 2 hours from start to finish. I bought this fabric 16 years ago when I was a fashion design student at one of the shops in the LA garment district that sold $1/yd fabric with a 3 yard minimum. Pretty cool such an old cut looks so current and that my taste has stayed so consistent! The photo’s from Instagram, but when I went to take a proper photo my camera battery was dead to I decided to just use this and get on with more sewing 🙂
Back with my first refashion of the series. There’s something so good about these tee shirts, but also so bad, am I right? Well, I saw a gray eagle version transformed into something wearable, cool even, at a little boutique downtown…for $78!!! I’m not cheap if something is well made and will get lots of mileage, but for a tee shirt refashion when I know how to thrift like a pro and sew? Nope. Picked up this gem a week later for $1 in all of it’s thick cotton glory. I’m a cat person for life (as is my husband) so YES!
It was boxy, had a terrible drape, and was totally unflattering, but it’s a great color with a nice subtle tie dye effect and unique playful image. This cat deserves at least 2 lives (haha, nerd alert!)
The original plan was to tailor the tee down to a nice fit and flare racerback tank and finish the edges with lace. I chose this crochet lace from my stash but thought maybe it was too cute paired with the cat so I dyed it dark gray to tone it down. Then I top stitched it onto the raw edge which stretched the neck out and made it unwearable. Not only that, the inside wasn’t finished to my liking so I tore it out was back to the drawing board. (I never snapped a photo of the gray, but you can get the idea here)
I ended up encasing the raw edges with some gray jersey I had in my stash. Scrap from the removed sleeves was used to add a little extra flare to the side seams. Darts and side seams are all finished with my serger so on the inside it looks pretty darn close to RTW, except the top stitching on the encasing didn’t land perfectly on the inside ditch all the way around. Something that would have made this perfectionist quite happy, but overall it’s very nicely finished and should hold up to lots of wash and wear.
I’ve already worn this a half a dozen times and received compliments every single time. I got called a nerd once (endearingly by a friend), but that only made me love it more! In terms of slow fashion, something that excites me about this shirt is to see it go from thick heavy cotton to that authentic perfectly worn look over time. A look only achieved through dedicated wear of a beloved item. I can see this someday with beautiful hand stitched mending and patches, filmy and comfy as pajamas…but these things will come with time. Right now I love it just as is.
I plan to get myself in front of the camera to share how I’m mixing and matching my new pieces, but this week I only got as far as realizing that we do in fact own a tri-pod before switching my focus to teeny tiny dressmaking. That said, there’s a good chance some sweet little dolls will make their appearance before I do 🙂