The problem with sewing as much as you want

The only problem with sewing as much as you want is that you end up with lots of stuff. Lots of garments you loved to think about, plan out, and make reality.

But how much stuff does one need?

Not so much, I think.

When putting back in storage (finally!) my winter clothes and reviewing my possessions (which I am trying to keep to a certain minimum that still lets me discover new combinations and garments I love and not worn in a while), I realised I have a bit more than I really need.

Do I love everything I sew? I care for all of them, because I made them and I liked making them, but If I could give them away to someone who would enjoy them as much as I do, I would be just as happy. But I don’t feel like giving them away to someone who doesn’t understand their value. Do you know what I mean?

So what do you do with the too many garments you make every season? Do you keep them all? Do you have a friend with similar fashion taste to give them to? Do you just donate them?

I am also curious, what do you love most, the process of sewing or the final result?

 

 

 

A self-drafted floral peplum top

“Oh! A top with flowers”… my partner exclaimed when presented with this blouse.” But you don’t really do flowers…”

And it’s true. I don’t. Normally. Yet when I saw this fabric, a light and fresh cotton batiste it screamed of spring and pretty things. There was still snow on the ground then, but today it feel like a good day to share this without feeling spring will be jinxed and forever banished from Canada.

In a recent post, Portia was writing how sewing enables us to adapt trends (or in this case things that inspire us) and make them work for us. I like that.

floral peplum top 3

And I like how this blouse looks. It’s one of the few self-drafted patterns I that looks exactly like what I wanted. I even did a muslin for this. The construction is simple: a darted bodice that flares a bit from the waist down. The peplum is created with a few rows of shirring. The sleeves are set in and end just above the elbow. The neck opening is large enough to make any zippers or buttons unnecessary, which is a kind of simplicity I really like.

I initially went for 3/4 sleeves, but they didn’t balance well the bodice. It looked strange. Now looking at the photos I am wondering whether the blouse would look better with shorter sleeves… any suggestions?

floral peplum top_1

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-drafted

Things I wish I’d done differently: I could have made it a few centimetres longer.

Fabric: Cotton batiste, 1m  14 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 14 CAD

 

 

Tie Dye Flared Knit Top

This is actually a short sleeve top I made almost two years ago (!), I just drafted the pattern using a t-shirt I already owned and, instead of cutting the body of the top at the sleeve point, I continued the shoulder line, perpendicular to the neck line. I explained how to create the flare, in the How to make a flared waist tank top blogpost.

self_drafted_short_sleeve_knit_top_back

The construction is very simple: I first sewed the shoulders seams together, then the side seams. I then finished the flutter sleeves, the neckline and the bottom hem. Very simple and very practical.

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: self-made. Similar to this one I described here.

Things I wish I’d done differently: Maybe use a more drapey knit?

Fabric: 1.1 meters tie-dye knit I bought in Barcelona for maybe a couple of euros.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = a couple of euros 🙂

DIY Natural Beetroot Dyed Easter Eggs

If you’d like to paint eggs in a natural way this Easter, you could try this quick tutorial.

I first grated the beetroot and boiled it until it was done. If you don’t want to grate it, you can also cut it into chunks.

easter eggs with beetroot

I strained the beetroot, mix it with carrots and mayo and made a side salad 🙂 I kept simmering the remaining dye for 10 more minutes.

In the meantime, I boiled the eggs. You can also boil the eggs in the beetroot coloured water! I think the colour would stick much better (and they’ll be pink inside as well 🙂

how to color easter eggs with beets

I then mixed the natural dye with vinegar and let the eggs absorb some of the colour for about half an hour.

naturally colored easter eggs

The result is a pale pink, but I find it a great way to reuse what you have around the kitchen!

 

How to make a flared waist tank top (pattern drafting basics)

I wanted to show you a very easy pattern drafting for a top that flares from the bust down. To draft this, I first traced around a tank top I already owned and fit me well. The best top to trace from is a top in a similar fabric than the one you are going to sew you new top. If you’re using a woven fabric for your new top, use a woven fabric old top. If you’re using a stretchy knit, the more similar the stretchiness in your RTW (ready to wear) to your new fabric, the closest the fit will be for your new garment.

So, as I said, I just traced the tank top (you can use a t-shirt as well) for parts 1 and 2 in the pattern below and then for the pattern piece number 3, I added a curved wedge to the side.

You can move where the flare starts by marking your bust point on the pattern or have the flare start from the waist for a peplum effect. You can make it just a little bit flared, or design a very dramatic flare.

If you extend the top you can create a very simple trapeze shaped dress.

how to make a flowy tank top

That’s it for today. Happy sewing and pattern drafting 🙂

Later edit: I see that Caroline Amanda also published a hack of the Sewaholic Renfrew top, but in her wonderfully explained tutorial, the volume starts at the shoulders, and not under the bust like my top. Fun stuff!

Thick knit long sleeve tunic (a Mesa pattern hack)

If you’ve been reading my blog before, you might have noticed a lot of Mesa Love. Mesa is a basic, yet beautifully shaped, t-shirt dress pattern from from Seamwork Magazine. I love Seamwork Magazine. I love the simpler lines and how easy it is to modify them. It’s easy to be creative with a good base.

Other Mesa-based garments I made:

Magenta knit mesa dress (no alterations)

Green textured knit mesa (modified)

For this long sleeve tunic I changed the neckline a bit by bringing in closer to the neck (to make it less boat-neck-shaped) and then lowered it a few centimetres.

mesa_dress_pattern_hack_long_sleeve_tunic

I lengthened the sleeves to make for a long sleeve top and I shortened the dress to just under the hip.

I used a double knit I found in the scrap bin at Fabricland. I like the scrap bin because I don’t feel so bad using beautiful fabric when I hack into patterns and try something new. I also aim to make garments that I will wear a lot and I only keep what I love, so this makes me feel a bit better if I have to end up donating a garment that looks good but I know I will never wear.

I also don’t make muslins, but rather try to fit as I sew, which is easier for knit fabrics than woven ones. I will aim for a wearable muslin if it’s the first time I work with a fitted pattern for wovens, but if it’s a tried and already customizes to fit my needs pattern, I will take the risk.

long_sleeve_mesa_tunic_back

Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Mesa (in my stash). I used an already altered version of this pattern (different neckline and graded in at waist)

Things I wish I’d done differently: cut a shorter neckline band. I want to see if the band will look better after the first wash and press, if not I might have to reinstall it.

Fabric: 1.1 meters textured knit 10 CAD

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = 10 CAD

How to tie dye fabric napkins with blueberries (DIY natural dye)

Have you ever tried natural dyes? Some of the natural dyes I’ve used in the past are coffee and tea. They give linen and cotton a wonderful vintage look.

This time I’ve tried blueberries. They always stain my fingers and they stained one of my handmade napkins recently, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I first boiled a cup of blueberries in water for around 30 minutes. I strained the berries and left the not dark red looking water, to which I added vinegar and salt to help set the colour on my cotton napkins.

Before submerging them in the dye, I’ve knotted and folded and wrapped my napkins. I wanted to see the shapes the dye would create.

I simmered the napkins in the dye water and then let them dry almost completely. The result is the pretty lavender blue on the napkins in this post.

fabric napkins 3

But does it last?

I didn’t want to use any other chemical than the colour fixative I already had at home (salt and vinegar) but you should be able to make your dyed fabric last longer if you use a mordant.

The napkins kept their beautiful lavender colour until their third wash, after which the fabric turned a light blue. I enjoyed them as they were, but for some people they might just look like stained napkins, which is probably why my partner had decided to use the precious blueberry dyed napkins as cleaning rags when I was away. 😮

So, in short, the result is beautiful, but the dye quickly fades.

fabric napkins shibori

Slouchy, cropped cardigan (knitted)

This is a slouchy T-shirt shaped open cardigan in stockinette stitch. It doesn’t get simpler than this. There’s no ribbing, no shaping, apart from the increase for the sleeves and it’s knitted in a cross shape, from the back piece, to shoulders and sleeves, to the two front pieces.

The fabric is lucky soft white acrylic that looks good over my mesa dresses. Being that the -28 C degrees weather doesn’t permit really permit non-warm layering, this will have to wait until spring, probably.

I keep thinking whether I should ad a closure of some kind or just leave it as it as.

white knitted crop cardigan collage

 

Oh, I almost forgot!

v

Upcycled: blue wool Oslo cardigan to tiny vest

As happy as I was when I first made this wool Oslo cardigan, and as much as I tried to wear it outside the house, the cardigan just didn’t work! It was just so itchy! It was itchy even on top of two layers, so lining it would have not worked.

So I washed it cold and dried it hot in the drier to see if the felted wool would be a bit less itchy. The cardigan was oversized so it worked, but alas, it was still itchy. I washed it with conditioner in an attempt to make it even less itchy, but that didn’t really make it wearable either, so again into the washing machine it went, to felt even more.

DSC_4942 copy

Miraculously, this time the fabric was nice and soft. So I cut it up and made this tiny vest. I used the felted wool sleeves for making guest slippers.

DSC_4934 copy

I sewed some metallic snaps to keep the vest in place.

I’m still not completely sure I love it, but it’s really warm and I’ve already worn it outside twice. It doesn’t look very bag with a dress either. And it all else fails, it’s a great little layer under my coat too.

Black Knit Skirt

I really wanted to make a simple knit skirt pattern for a while now. A couple of months ago I even wrote this post about 5 knit pencil skirts that inspired me. While I would like to stay away from a true pencil skirt silhouette, I like the effortless and fitted look of a knit skirt.

black knit skirt side

This is just a first try. I am not 100% happy with how it fits in the back, but I will wear it a few times and see what I can improve. Without modifying a pattern, this would look much better in a more structured knit, with less stretch.

black knit skirt back

Maybe it’s just the winter blues (or grays) but this skirt would be so fun in a bright or crazy-patterned fabric. It’s really comfortable to wear which is very good in my book!

Garment details:

Pattern: Self-drafted (a few hours of trial and error, but I can use this in the future)

Note: this pattern was designed with a thick knit with just 25% stretch. The fit is not the same with a knit with more stretch. This would actually work best with a more structured knit or a scuba.

Fabric: less than 1 metre black Jacquard knit 5 CAD

Notions: elastic, from stash.

Cost: 5