Showing posts with label dress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dress. Show all posts

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Funky dress - upcycled of course

It has become a bit of a habit around birthdays for me to have a chat with my sister to consider what I want/need and eventually revert back to fabric.  She is a star and pops along to local charity shops and hunts till she finds me some fabulous fabric that I can upcycle for myself.  Yay - permission to indulge absoloutely granted.
This year was no different so I was presented with this fantastic polka dot fabric!  I love it!

I wasn't too sure what to make but then decided to go for a completely random approach and chuck it onto the mannequin and just see where I ended up (as demonstrated below - clearly very technical!)

I don't really do well with patterns - possibly because I don't really do that well with being told what to do - and tend to go off pattern all the time anyway!  So I just went with what felt right.  I decided the larger dots at the bottom decreasing as it went up worker well and with the amount of fabric it had to be a dress.  Once I started adding shape by pinning in some darts I had begun to get an idea of how the dress would look.

I would absolutely recommend having a go at something like this!  First of all it gives you absolute freedom to do whatever you want, second you don't have to buy a pattern and if you use upcycled fabric it is likely to be cheap and cheerful and if you end up with a disaster then you haven't lost too much!
 This dress started off as a duvet cover and with some snipping, pinning and tweaking turned into a dress that I will absolutely be wearing!  What do you think?

A bit of a dark picture there but an idea of the shape of the dress. I'm really happy with the way the sleeves worked so well even on a mannequin - I have to admit to being a bit afraid of sleeves so going off pattern was a bit nervy but they seem to have worked well!

It is so comfy and I love the neutral colours that can be dressed up with a fun, bright necklace or bracelet.
What a great birthday gift!  The fun of opening it to find gorgeous fabric, the dreaming up of a project perfect for the fabric, the sewing and now the wearing!  Talk about the gift that just keeps on giving!

Have you made any clothes by using a mannequin?  Do send them over so I can share them too!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tunic top

Today I had some unexpected free time - glorious right!  I did some cleaning - made a few bits for selling and then decided I really needed to make something fun for me!
 I was given some gorgeous Nigerian fabric by a friend of mine a little while ago and it has been sitting in my fabric stash being sadly neglected.  So I decided to have a pinterest search for some inspiration.  I have a board on there called stitchspiration and seem to pin many things on there but not actually create any of them.  I set to work making this fab tunic top which I have had on there a while back.  The picture on pinterest looked super easy and it really did take me only about an hour to complete.
 Here is the link so do pop across and like, follow or comment on this blog it is fab!

Here is my finished project

What do you think?  I like the shape and the fit is good but there are a few things I would change for me.  I think I will adapt the sleeves on this top as they feel a little big to me - I will probably just create more of a defined sleeve.  The other thing I will do if I make this again is make the bottom flare out a bit more into a bit of a dress style.  Those things really are just personal preference though!  This is definitely a pattern I would recommend - especially if you are new to making clothes it is so simple!

Send me your pictures of how you get on!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Searching for inspiration

I have been quiet on the stitching front this week - somehow lacking inspiration and the ability to get going with new projects.  I don't know about the rest of you crafters out there but every now and again I feel that I just have no idea what to do next - or if I do I lack the motivation somehow.  Usually this is fixed by being around other creative people and spotting some fabulous fabric.  So today - before I disengage with society for another round of night shifts - I headed out to Southsea to wander with a friend.
 Vintage dress on and I was ready to go.  This dress is always a particular favorite of mine as it started off as a size 20 and a bit of snipping later - teamed with my chunky belt - and there you have it a light and easy to wear vintage style dress.
 The Love Southsea market was on in Palmerston Road and as always it was filled with wonderful people making wonderful things.
  One stall in particular stood out and it was run by Busy Bees who work at The Beneficial Foundation.  They are creating fantastically professional and creative products and working really hard to create jobs through social enterprise.  The stall was friendly and bright and I honestly could have bought a whole load of things but haven't really organised myself to think of Christmas presents just yet.  So I bought a hand printed card that will be a thank you to someone.  A bargain of a price and I love it.

So if you see the Busy Bees anywhere else do make the time to check out their stall as it was definitely the one that stood out for me today.

On from the market and we did the wander of the charity shops where I picked up some gorgeous floral fabric.  Hopefully soon to be made into something gorgeous.

All that wandering has truly worn me out today but what a lovely wander it was.  Hopefully I will get my stitch on in the week and have plenty of little projects to share with you all.  Enjoy your weekends everyone!
x x x

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Back to it!

In recent weeks I have been busy making all sorts of bits and pieces in preparation for an upcoming craft fair.  It's been fun and I have loved how productive I can be when I am making such small thing.  But with London Fashion Week going on and watching what some people have been up to creating outfits out of donated clothes I realized I miss making clothes!

  Oxfam Fashion and Back of the Wardrobe collaborated today to recreate the styles that were being sent out on the runways.  All their styles were made from pieces in the charity shop!  It is inspiring and shows that it can be done - we don't have to spend huge amounts of money or accept un-ethical shops to wear clothes of a certain style or trend. Here is a link to a picture of one of the styles they re-created but check out the full story on twitter.

I love clothes but I hate so much of what clothes represent in our society - exploitation of others, disposable society and pressure to conform.  That is just one of the reasons I love charity shop shopping so much.  But I'm also creative and I love to change things to fit who I am.  So back to it I went today.

A lovely chat over tea and cake with a friend, a speedy peddle home on my trusty bike just beating the rain and I headed up to my attic - let the fun begin!

This was my starting piece - something I got well over a year ago and intended to re-create it for a friend.  It has sat buried in my sewing pile for ages - finally it was time to get stitching and give it some life again!

A cute vintage fabric with a nice skirt and button down top.  Unfortunately for the person this dress is intended for the large size is too big and I generally wanted it to be given a bit of an edge.

I cut the sleeves and edged them to create a slight shoulder - adding a cute button on each one to finish it off.
I then added the fabric I had removed from the sleeve to the collar to give it a neater look.  I took the sides in and added a fabric belt to be tied round the waist.

Here is the transformation!

A fitted dress which maintains its vintage style while showing off a bit of body shape and complimenting the figure!  I'm happy with it and really enjoyed my afternoon crafting clothes again!  Once I give this dress away I will try to get pictures of it being worn by a real person! :)

Let me know what you think and send me your upcycle projects!  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Charity shop delve

I love a good charity shop delve and headed out today for a gorgeous day out for much nibbling, chatting and charity shop shopping with a great friend.
I found some fab fabric and bits and pieces but started off the day at home unearthing a treasure I'd bought months ago.
A trip out wandering through fratton dipping in and out of shops I stumbled upon a gorgeous dress.  How much - £1 - bargain!
I took it home tried it - loved it - and burried it.  Something wasn't quite right.
This morning I pulled it out my wardrobe and set to work.  I pulled out some old boning that was bent to such a strange angle it definately did nothing for me.  A simple unpick and re-stitch did the trick.
  Then I took the pointy top and folded them over to create a shape I like better over the bust.  A quick stitch and I was away.
  I didn't have the good sense to take a before photo but thought I'd share with you the after photo.
  It just shows if your willing and able to put in a tiny bit of time and effort those bargains are still out there to be found!

Post your charity shop treasures too! :-)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Summer dress

So following on from my last post I've been making a summer dress for a toddler.  The pattern is versatile and can be adapted to anyone of any size - adult or child.
To make this you will need a sewing machine, measuring table, thread, scissors, shearing elastic, a safety pin and fabric of your choice.

You need to start by taking a chest measurement from the fullest part of your chest.  Then follow this simple formula that I found in this fabulous book

Chest measurement / 4 = x
Chest + x = y
y / 2 = z

So for my dress for a 3 year old the chest is 53cm and z = 33cm.
That is the width of the top of your fabric and makes the top of the diagram - now follow the diagram below.

The first box is for the smocking so for a three year old I did a length of 15cm but you need to decide how long you want the smocking to be for your garment. Then continue the box down to equal the length of your dress ( for me it was 46cm top hem to bottom hem ).  The wings on either side are coming down so the bottom point is a third of your Z measurement on both sides ( for me 11cm ).  Adding this gives the dress a full skirt which really adds to the finish.

Mark this pattern out and lay fabric out.

Cut out the fabric to the shape above twice ensuring you leave a 2,5cm seam allowance on top of all your measurements.  Now you have two pieces of fabric in this shape.

Place the fabric so that the right sides (or part of the fabric you want to be the outside of the dress) are facing together.  Now sew the seam along both sides using a straight line stitch.  You will need to seal the raw edges of the fabric to avoid fraying which can be done using an overlocker or a simple zig zag stitch.
You now should have something like this.

Complete a hem along the top and bottom of the dress.  Do this by folding over around 1cm of fabric and stitching around the fold.
Then repeat this process again folding the fabric over.  This time ensure your stitching stays the same distance from the edge of the fold as this will show on your finished garment.  This will result in no raw edges and a neat hem.

Now you move onto the smocking - prepare your machine as explained in the last blog post.   Now sew a line along the top of the fabric about 0.5cm from the edge and when you reach your starting point guide the machine around a cm below your first line and continue.  
Use the back stitch setting for a few stitches at the start and end of your smocking.
  Your fabric will gather more as you continue.  Try to make sure you keep sewing straight and don't allow the fabric to bunch under the needle as this will show.

You now have a finished garment if you chose to make a strapless dress however I have chosen to add some simple straps to finish it off which makes this perfect for a child running around in the summer.

You will need to decide for your pattern how long you need your straps to be but for this dress I have made four strips of 25cms long.  I cut strips of 4cm and folded them over so the right side of the fabric was facing each other.
I then stitched a straight line around a cm away from the fold.  Trim the raw edge and you will have 4 strips like this.

Now take a safety pin and attach to the end ensuring you are not too close to the edge as then it could fray.  Push the safety pin into the tube and begin to thread it through.  This is fiddly and requires some patience (you can also buy a hook that makes it easier).  As the safety pin comes through the other end the fabric should easily turn until you have a neat tube.  If you find the tube gets stuck just pull it gently in the opposite direction so that you remove the bunching and begin again.

Tuck in the raw ends and stitch.  Now attach with a straight line stitch to the top of the dress matching the distance from the seams on the front and the back of your dress.
Trim your loose threads and you have a great dress that you made yourself!  The sleeves fasten at the top in a cute bow.

I hope you have a fab time making this!  It's such a satisfying project because it doesn't take too long but looks so professional! Share your pictures when you finish and get ready to proudly say 'I made this!' :-)

Sunday, 30 June 2013

I love smocking!

Summer is here - for this weekend at least! And the arrival of sunshine means light flowing skirts and summer dresses.  Yay!
The simplest way to make one of these is using smocking which I LOVE!
It adds a professional, finished look while creating a good fit.  When I wear something I've made and used smocking people are the most surprised that I made it - yet it's so simple!

So how to smock . . .

You need a sewing machine and some shearing elastic ( usually 70p or there shouts).  You simply want to wind the elastic onto your bobbin taking care not to stretch the elastic.  This must be done by hand and not using the machines bobbin winder. 

Now use a standard cotton thread for the needle and thread the machine as usual.  This thread is going to show so choose an appropriate colour for your garment.

Now start sewing - you want to start with your skirt or dress already hemmed at the top and your seams complete along both sides.  So you should have a tube of fabric that seems a bit big for you.

Start about half a cm from the top and keep sewing round.  As you meet the line of stitching where you began move slightly down so you continue your stitching about a cm below the last line.
You can keep this going for as long as is required - a skirts waist band would be shorter and a dress would need a longer stretch of smocking.

  This should create a gathered effect as seen in the skirt I posted a photo of.
I LOVE the effect of it and think it is just so simple to learn and make.

So get practicing and in the week I'll post measurements and a full how to guide of a cute smocked summer dress - perfect for little ones and adults alike.

Who knows maybe the sun will last that long for all you UK readers :-)

Till next time - happy sewing!