Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Peasant Shirt

I got a lot of compliments on my shirt at work today.

It started out with a £2 purchase on my lunch hour last Tuesday, for this shirt:

I chopped off the top along the yoke line... 
(Errol is such a photobomber)

And into a peasant top.  I also cut off the cuffs, and made a sash and flower from cut-offs from the lining from Kevin's Santa suit.  I added straps on the shoulders to hide my bra straps (which has always been my argument against peasant tops)/

And... about an hour's work for...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

For Kevin

I bought this shirt quickly, not even looking at size, while Verity wreaked havoc on the rest of the charity shop.  She ended up with a Hannah Montannah guitar and microphone.  I ended up with this shirt, which is the perfect colour for Kevin (it totally matches his eyes.  My husband is so hot.)

However, when I got home, it didn't fit him very well:

(yes, that's Errol trying to hold hands as Kevin tries to look tough.  My men are so cute.)

The shirt was too small around the neck, fine in the shoulders, then too small in the chest and front.  Strangely, it was long enough in the arms, which doesn't happen very often.

I found a shirt that had a stripe of a similar colour, but was a "short fat man" shirt as Kevin calls them.  I stole the collar, and then took some of the fabric to make bowling stripes down the front and free up the chest a bit.  For some reason, the back had the pleats sewn down, so I un-picked those as well, giving a bit more room in the back.

Now we have a great fit in the front and back.  Most importantly, Kevin has a shirt that fills the office requirements of a collar, but manages to actually give him a bit of originality!

(I didn't notice before that he isn't smiling in any of the pictures.  I swear he's happy about it!)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Christmas Sewing Part 1 - Santa Suit

When I was a kid, we had a Santa suit that my grandmother had made.  My dad would wear it while he handed out gifts.  Good memories.

Of course, once I had my own family, I wanted our own Santa suit.

I bought one.  It was too small for Kevin, and there was no love sewn into it.  It turned into a battle whether Kevin would wear it at all.

This year, I decided to make a suit for Kevin.  

First things first: the pattern.  I got the Simplicity pattern, as it seemed to have more choice than the others I saw.

Then the fabric. In line with my determination to make as much from second-hand fabrics as possible, I got some velour curtains off ebay for £8:

They were a bit worn in places and had been poorly re-hemmed at some point, but that just adds character!

After a wash and an iron, I cut out the pattern for the long Santa jacket (I didn't have enough fabric for the short jacket and trousers).  I decided to line it with some satin I got online, and then decided to make Kevin some trousers for underneath the jacket out of the same fabric.  Finally, I got some trim and fake fur (Kevin requested fur that looked more like wool than soft fur, so that's what we got).

Some interim pics:

And the real test - Christmas itself!

The whole suit cost about £30, and looks awesome.  Totally worth it.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Aaaaaand... restarting

I did very little sewing for about 2 years.

I made lots of babies. I changed lots of nappies. I read lots of books. I sang lots of songs. But not much sewing.

Then my daughter hit the "I'm a princess" phase. I had no idea that to be a princess, you have to change your dress every 10 minutes. And only clean, long dresses will do. Preferably expensive dresses.

At first, I tried to diffuse the situation by using an old skirt to make her a mermaid costume for Hallowe'en. I thought it was awesome. Shirring is so cool.

She wore it for a good 30 seconds (while I took the pictures), and then started to scream, because she's a princess, not a mermaid.  The costume went into the dress-up box, and comes out about once a month.

Then she asked for a bridal gown with one armhole.  She was very determined about one armhole.  It wasn't princess-y enough, so I had to make another layer for it.

By now, it was getting cold, and she kept insisting on wearing summer dresses outside.  So I used this tutorial with some second-hand skirts a couple of times (it may not have helped much with keeping her warmer, but I had fun doing it!).  None of these dresses cost more than £3 to make...

Through this work, I cam to some realizations - once upon a time, I enjoyed sewing clothes.  However, fabric is expensive, and you often don't get quite what you want.  Then you have spent a bunch of time and money on something you don't like.

On the other hand, I hate shopping for clothes.  

Shopping for my daughter is a nightmare, because she wants pink dresses with frills and sits down and screams if I buy her anything else.  I have never even tried to take her into a changing room, so size is a crap shoot.  

Shopping for my husband requires a lot of persuasion and pre-shopping so that he can do man-shopping and feel efficient.

Shopping for myself is even worse of all.

  1. I would need to get enough time away from the kids to do it.  Not sure when that could happen. 
  2. I am a really odd shape & size (this may be true of all women).
  3. When I do get something, it often doesn't fit once I get home.
  4. I have had 2 babies in the last 3-1/2 years.  I have gone through a lot of sizes in that time.  Anything I bought pre-family doesn't fit.  Anything I bought post-baby doesn't fit.  Yeah, anything I ever buy doesn't fit.
  5. I'm cheap. I'll admit it. I hate spending money on clothes.

So, my New Year's resolution was to continue to alter clothing from second-hand stores for myself, my husband, and my kids.  I need to learn more about tailoring and pattern fitting - I suspect that understanding more about my body shape and how clothes fit will help with making clothes I can love.

I am not going to update this blog every day, or even every week.  But hopefully, with time, I'll get a catalog of alteration ideas for kids, men and women's clothing.