Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Refashioners Challenge and The Stylish Dress book

Hi there.  After my last post about my flagging sewjo, I've made an effort to prioritise sewing.  Even if I could only sew every other day for 15 minutes at a time, I felt that was better than not at all.

As I have been making lots of silly mistakes over the Summer, I wanted a project that was easy skill-wise and very little financial risk. Enter Portia Lawrie's Refashioners challenge to create a new garment from jeans. I watched her series with interest, and thought the garments created were outstanding; but, I did feel  a lot of them were rather wasteful in the number of jeans used to create one garment - in some cases nine pairs were used!  Lots of fabric must have ended up in the bin, which I felt rather went against the spirit of refashioning.

I wanted to limit myself to using only one pair of jeans, and I was lucky enough to find a huge pair (size 42 waist) for just three pounds. I felt if I mucked it up, I'd only be wasting three quid and only one pair would end up in fabric recycle. So, worth a go.

As I didn't have the energy to spend hours on a new-to-me pattern or work out free-hand pattern making, I spent some time looking through patterns I have used before, and that were ready to go without alterations. I plumped for Dress D from The Stylish Dress Book. I have made it three times before; it's straightforward to make and I know the shape flatters me.

I unpicked rather than cut the seams, so I was lucky to be able to fit the pattern pieces on the legs. Unpicking also created these funky looking features at the side seams where fabric that was originally within the flat felled seams is now on show! I rather like the effect.

The other features I really like are the dark patches which were originally hidden beneath a pocket. I think having the different tones of blue looks fun.

In an attempt to use as much of the original jeans as possible I re-topstitched one of the pockets and also wanted to use the waistband as the hem - much to my delight it fitted perfectly, I added the little leather tab too, but I'm not sure if that isn't too much?

I am really pleased with this dress; it was a slow process, as I found it hard to motivate myself. I am so glad I did, though, as it feels wonderful to have made something I enjoy wearing. Did you take part in the challenge?  I'd love to see your makes.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Finding my sewing self again

Hello sewing friends. I hope you've had a good summer. We have had one of the best summers for many a year; the kids are at that age where they can be a real joy, and need less constant supervision.

We've had a wedding to attend, met with many old friends, swam in the sea almost daily, been on a camping trip, holidayed in a castle, and generally had a fabulous time.  But in all the excitement I lost my sew!

I did make a few things:

This dress was run up quickly as a birthday present. It went down well, but I did not feel the love - it was more of a chore.

I have also made shorts for my little girl, which I love, but they remain unfinished despite only having the elastic to go. There are other UFOs too: a top, a blouse and a dress! It's so unlike me, and I don't like this lacklustre feeling. With each project there has been a mistake, or a few, as I'm too tired to sew properly, and a lack of inspiration has seen all these languish un-sewn.

Luckily, I have lovely Instagram friends who have given me advice and support. I feel so buoyed by others' confidence. I am inspired to try the re-fashioners challenge with a £3 pair of jeans, so if it goes wrong like those other projects I haven't lost much. Will report back...