Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Monday, June 29, 2015

That Downton Dress

The Downton, or twenties dress I am making for my friend progresses along.  I finally figured out how to cut it without having odd seams everywhere.  Here is a shot of the lovely fabric.

The drape on this is incredible.  It will be like wearing a silk scarf.  Of course to cut it, I had to rip out the fitting muslin I had made.  Here are some shots of the cutting table in progress.

The first step post cutting was to apply some wash away stabilizer at some detail points on the main front piece.  I used this for the shoulder pleats, the torso pleats and the front slash points.

I can't wait to see the finished garment on my friend.  This dress will complement her striking coloring.  BUT, this will take a bit of time.  I want it to be beautifully constructed as well.  Anyone have some tips for working with lightweight, drapey fabrics?  The stabilizer is certainly one great help.  Please feel free to share!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quick Sunday No-Sew Craft

The hubby is watching a man movie... so, I'm free to craft!  This happens rarely on weekends, so I threw together a quickie.  I acquired this frame at a yard sale.

And, I had some printed burlap left over from another project.

While thrift shopping earlier, I had also gotten some cute fabric strips.

So I threw them together with an old Yale safe key found in our house when we moved in.  Here's the result!

Not bad for a few spare minutes!  Hope you're having an excellent weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One Thousand Followers on Pinterest

An extraordinary thing happened the other day.  I reached one thousand followers on Pinterest!  For some, this is but a paltry number.  For me, it is awesomely exciting and nigh on unbelievable.  I am very grateful to all of my followers, on this blog, via Bloglovin', Google Plus, Facebook and Pinterest.  I love "talking" to you, and I love all of your ideas, too.  Thanks for being there, and thanks for taking a small amount of your time to interact with me!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Dress from a Japanese Pattern Book (in English)!

I have a fascination with the many pretty Japanese pattern books available now in English.  I pin them to my Pinterest sewing board, Sew Inspired. I collect them (I think I have a half dozen or more). But, until now I have not really tried to sew anything from them. I love the simple yet elegant lines of these patterns.  I admit I was a little intimidated by the talk online that these are difficult to sew.   I decided to ignore all naysayers and start with the Sweet Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori.

The patterns that come with these books are generally to be found in a pouch in the back of the book.

One needs to remove the desired sheet, flatten it out, and trace the desired pattern pieces.  I used freezer paper, which is one of my favorite pattern papers.  Keep in mind that the patterns are without seam allowances, so you'll need to add an allowance to each pattern piece.

The pattern I chose is IC, a loose fitting dress with french sleeve and lovely pleats at the neckline. I used an adjustable blind hem foot to make perfect little pleats.

Here is the finished dress on Betsy, my trusty dress form.

This dress was fun to make, and not at all difficult.  I am loving how it came out.  I wore it out to coffee yesterday, and I can tell it's going to be a staple part of my summer wardrobe.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!  Have you tried Japanese sewing pattern books?

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Home Dec Project

I am still working on the Downton Abbey gown my friend commissioned me to make for her.  I'm trying hard to wrap my head around how to cut it.  The fabric is not very wide at all and most of the pieces are to be cut on a fold... I'm still thinking about how I can incorporate a second fabric yet maintain a cohesive and relatively period correct look.

So, of course I took on another commission from another friend. this to do a window seat cushion and pillows.  The fabrics my friend picked out are SO cool.  A bright squash yellow velvet, a stately grey velvet, and a midcentury looking bark cloth.

I decided to tackle two round bolster pillows while I ponder my dress dilemma.  First I made a pattern for the ends, and cut two from the yellow velvet.

I made contrast piping with the colorful fabric and made the pillow ends.

I put a zipper into the seam of the roll.

And, one pillow off the assembly line.  Many more to do, but it helped get the dress dilemma off my mind for a bit.

Hope your Monday is going well!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Free Pattern Review: The Port Elizabeth Top

The Port Elizabeth Top is a cute boxy cap sleeved summer top available as a free pattern download on BurdaStyle.  It is certainly more work to find the free patterns on the BurdaStyle site these days, so it helps to either know the name of the project you are looking for and search it, or have the direct url of that project.  This link will take you to the page for downloading this pattern if you are interested.  The top was drafted by Sarah Magill, a UK designer who sells more of her designs on Etsy, and has an interesting blog, Goldfinch and Eagle.  Here is the line drawing of the top:

A nice thing about this top is that it is so simple and versatile you can do virtually anything with it in terms of personalization and variation.  I know!  You're sold already, right?

The first step, of course, is to download, print out and put together your pattern.  This can be daunting if you have not put together pdf patterns before, but this would be a great pattern to start with, as it lines up easily.  With this, or any other pdf pattern, it is crucial to line up the pattern lines very carefully when you are taping your pattern together.  Small errors at this phase can affect the whole outcome of the garment.

Once you have your pattern taped together, cut it as you would any other pattern.  The directions included with this pattern are succinct and complete.  The printout says "very basic, because it's free!"  I chose to make several variations, or upgrades to the pattern to suit my needs and purposes.

First, I drafted neck facings to finish the neckline instead of using the recommended bias tape finish. I did use self bias to finish the armholes.

 I have boatloads of trims I've acquired at yard and estate sales over the years and this lace just seemed perfect to accent this fabric, so instead of joining the front seam as instructed, I added lace.

And, my last variation was to add a faced hem, instead of a turned one.  I wanted a little extra weight at the hemline.

And there you have it!  The Port Elizabeth Top, free on BurdaStyle!

Do you have favorite free sewing patterns you've used?  I'm planning to do several more reviews of free patterns.  Especially if you're sewing to be frugal, free patterns can be a terrific headstart!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Preserving (Recent) History: Pattern from Loved Dress

Once upon a time I had a dress that I just loved.  It fit and flattered perfectly.  It was from Chico's and was made of a comfy, breathable and packable rayon.  I could add a jacket for office, or a cardi for evening.

Then, one day, it ripped along a seam line in several places.  Reparable - yes - probably by replacing the whole seamline.  I can't just sew a new seam, as then it would probably become too snug.  So, my first step was to make a pattern from the old dress, though I added quite a bit toward the hemline, to make a trapeze fit.  I want to use it to make tunics.

Next, I made a muslin, which I plan to wear as a nightgown.  I used leftover fabric from a sheet set I picked up at a garage sale.  I had used the flat sheet earlier to make a dress.

It was also a great opportunity to practice self-bias binding...

 and using my narrow hem foot!

That was both fun and practical!  Next up, a top from this pretty fabric!

Thanks for coming by!