Sunday, October 23, 2016

MAGAM Oct Dress done!

This turned out to be quite a quick and easy dress to make. It took just a little bit of time to match the plaid but overall it's not bad at all. I made slight alteration to the pattern. I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 sleeve length. I eliminated the front split neck.

The green brown plaid fabric is quite drab. So I searched through my stash notions and found some remnant green bias tape from x'mas, and some black buttons.I flattened the green bias tape and sewed it onto the centre front. I sewed buttons onto the tape so that it looked like a faux buttoned placket. Then I bound the neckline with the same green bias tape. I thought it looked alright until I put it on me. Somehow I thought it looked a bit matronly. I don't know if it's because of the fabric pattern or the trim/buttons that I added. What do you think?

I wore my purple tights and knee high boots to make the dress look less matronly. I wore it out today and it was very very comfortable to wear.

I still have some of the drab knit left. I'll see if I have enough to make a jacket. It would be fun to get another chance to brighten the knit up with other remnants fabric/notions in my stash!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

MAGAM October Plan - Another Butterick 5146 Knit dress

While working on the x'mas presents for other people, I had this urge to make something for myself - yes I'm a selfish seamstress too! the MAGAM (Make A garment A Month) October theme is 'One'. The way I interpret this is a 'One pattern Many Looks'. I looked at my tried and true dress patterns and chose Butterick 5146 again - the same pattern that I used for the September MAGAM dress.

I dug through my huge fabric stash and found this brown/green plaid knit that I have had for 10 years. It's time to use it! It's not the most attractive fabric but it's perfect for Autumn/Winter garments. I thought I could somehow brighten up the drab colour a bit with my huge stash of notions.

I looked through Pinterest and found a few plaid dresses as inspirations:

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

The dresses are very simple but I simple dresses are usually more versatile for different occasions which is what I want with the garments I make. The only thing that is slightly challenging is probably having to match up the plaid pattern. Hopefully the dress will sew up easily and quickly!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Holiday Sewing Projects - the Planning Phase

Yes I said it! It's time to plan my X'mas sewing projects. I always try to sew/make some of the X'mas projects for my family and some of my close friends. My kids, my husband and my mom always get some handmade stuff from me each x'mas. This year, however, my mom-in-law actually requested that I make a pair of palazzo pants for her for x'mas (I didn't suggest it). My nerves!!! I said I would do my best and if she didn't like the pants, she didn't have to wear them. She has very specific ideas and measurements so I will have to make sure that I reserve lots of time to sew those pants!

My kids always get new pyjamas from me. My son has really outgrown the PJs that I made for him a couple of years ago (I made them super big then). My daughter has lots of gently used clothes from my friends so her need for PJs are not as urgent. I have lots of cotton flannel in my stash so the PJs project should be quick and easy. I also have lots of fleece in my stash so I may make some fleece vest/jackets/pants for them too.

My mom likes wearing vests for layering so I should make her a couple of vests in different fabrics/colour.

As for my husband, he actually has too much clothing (his mom bought lots of clothes for him over the years that he never wore) so I'm not sure what to make for him. Any ideas?

For my brother and sis-in-law, I always try to make some home decor soft furnishings for them because they really like shopping for clothes themselves. I think I have some nice home decor fabrics in my stash?

As for my close friends, I usually make bags for them and their kids. Tote bags are great for moms. Smaller bags are usually welcomed by kids. I guess I'll see what I have in my fabric stash first.

So there you have it. I have lots of things I have to start sewing right now if I am to finish everything before mid-December. What are you sewing for this holiday?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September Dress - Tried and True Butterick 5146

I have been sewing lots of dresses since I started sewing in the late 1990s. It's funny because I was such a tomboy growing up that I would burst into tears if my mom force me to wear a dress (other than my school uniform). But now I find that dresses can be extremely versatile for difference occasions, different weather conditions and of course make getting dressed in the morning much easier (yes!).

For September I made a knit dress with a remnant medium weight, cotton check double knit that I bought 7 years ago. I used a tried and true Butterick 5146 which I have tweaked to my body shape. I have used this pattern for this dress and this dress.

I shortened the waist, made the deep v-neck less deep and made it a short sleeves dress. There is a little bit of excess fabric at my back due to my sway back but I'm not going to worry too much about it. I contemplated making patch pockets for the dress but I thought it would make it too casual looking.

I wore the dress out already and it was super comfortable. Another easy to wear dress that I can use for the office, for leisure and for 3 seasons!

The review of this pattern is here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I have joined Sew for 30 for September!

Sewist-extraodinaire Star's Threads suggested the 'Sew for 30' challenge for September. I have joined this challenge as well. As per her blog post:

'September is National Sewing Month in the United States.  We all lead very busy lives and finding time to do the hobby we love can be difficult so I'd like to encourage everyone to "Sew for 30 minutes" everyday during the month of September.   It's amazing what you can get done in little increments of time!  A seam here, a press there and before you know it - you have a brand new little something!'

So for this challenge I will try to sew for 30 minutes every day during the month of Sept. I have missed some days already but I'm not going to worry about it. We are going to be extremely busy this Autumn with home renovations, helping some elderly relatives move homes and the usual hustle and bustle with children. I'm going to try my best to get some sewing time each day to relieve the stress.

For past couple of weeks, I was able to sew some simple projects:

1. Girl applique t-shirt - My daughter wanted to have her t-shirt applique'd with her age for the school's photo day. So I used remnant fleece to make a number and sewed that onto her chosen t-shirt:

2. Boy applique t-shirt - my son also wanted the same thing done to his t-shirt for photo day:

3. Hello Kitty pencil bag - my daughter wanted a new Hello Kitty pencil bag for the new school year. So I just used remnant fabric and a thrifted zipper, traced the kitty shape and 'embroidered' the shape onto the bag. I also embroidered her initials at the back of the bag. Way to bust some fabric/notion stash!

4. Sweater knit skirt refashioned - I say refashioned - well it's really just adding a side slit to  the skirt. I like the glittery wool sweater skirt. However, it's not too comfortable to walk in (as I like to speed walk/march). So I decided to just carefully take out the yarn on the side seam up to just above the knee and voila! Much more practical skirt for me to wear this autumn/winter.

I'm pretty happy with the little projects I have completed so far. Hopefully I'll be just as productive for the rest of September!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Refashion: Lounge singer glittery dress to Lounge singer glittery top?

I have been sewing but just didn't have time to post anything yet.  My last post was about this silver glittery knit 'lounge singer dress'.

Sarah Liz and Jenny O kindly suggested that I refashion it into a top. I did just that and here is the result:

It's okay. I don't love it. Perhaps it will look better under a jacket or something. It says 'lounge singer top' to me. It may look better with flowy black pants and heels and some accessories but it will still look a bit like 'mother of the bride' outfit to me. I don't know. I guess I can always donate it. What do you think?

I have plans for the bottom of the dress that I had cut off. I'll make a glittery skirt for my daughter. I know she will like that.

I suppose with refashioning, you win some and lose some! ;-)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Back to School = Back to Sewing!!! Vote Keep/Refashion/Donate

August turned out to be a very very busy month with the kids and the family. I only sewed ONE THING and it turned out to be a fail that needs fixing. Boooo! Anyway, now that the kids are back in school, I have a little breathing room for myself to sew again! Yay!

This month will be a busy month for sewing because there are a number of things that I MUST SEW for my kids. My daughter wants a new pencil case, the kids want t-shirts with their age applique on them for photo day, hubby wants me to alter his shirt, I have tonnes of things of my own that needs altering, etc. Not exactly the most fun or creative month for sewing but probably very productive.

I'm also cleaning out the different piles of 'things' on the floor of my sewing nook. I couldn't find my swimsuit fabric so I didn't make a new swimsuit as I had planned a month ago. I say 'pile of things' because there seems to be scrap fabrics mixed with made garments that require fixing/refashioning in the same pile.

First up, this sparkle knit cowl neck dress that I made years ago from a New Look Pattern. I thought I had donated it already! It fits fine except the cowl doesn't seem to drape right so I just wear it off 1 shoulder slightly. I don't have any fancy places to go so I don't know what I should do with it. What do you think: 1) keep as it; 2) refashion it to something else; or 3) donate it to a charity shop?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another Swimsuit? A Gallery of what I have made so far

I'm back! We had family visiting us the last little while so I had done no sewing nor blogging at all. And now I'm itching to make another summer garment - another swimsuit! I know I have already made several but for some reason I just feel like making another one. It feels like after I had made one swimsuit and learned much from the experience, I just want to apply the knowledge and make more in different styles and colours.

I swim at the pool all year round and at the beach quite often in the warmer months. So I'm not opposed to making another suit. These are the swimsuits I have made or refashioned thus far:

A RTW refashioned swimsuit. The body was too long so I cut it to make it look like a mock tankini. Good for swimming.

My first self-made swimsuit! Kwik Sew 2690

My 2nd try at Kwik Sew 2690 - Love!
Kwik Sew 3503 - The horizontal neckline and the floral fabric makes me look wider.
A modified Kwik Sew 2797 - My most beloved swimsuit. I wear this all the time because it's easier to get in and out with the front zipper.
A refashioned old RTW swimsuit. Unfortunately it's still a bit loose - not practical for swimming.
So there you have it! Although I have made/refashioned quite a number of swimsuits, I really only wear 3 of them for swimming - the teal one, the red one and the black/white one. I feel like I can still improve on the designs even further. For example, one piece suits are great for actual swimming and slightly holds in my mommy tummy. However, it's not so great for going to the washroom or doing a quick change at the beach. Also, some sort of zipped pocket would also be nice for the key to the locker.

After looking at tonnes of pictures at Pinterest, I have to figure out how to choose the design of my next swimsuit to the following:

A simple tankini top with high waisted bottom?

A zip front swim vest with bottom?

A regular 2 piece bikini with a matching rashguard on top?

Or a Swimdress that can be worn as a top or a dress with a regular bottom?

What do you think? What would be a good design for my next swimsuit that I can actually swim in?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MAGAM July Refashion: Chiffon Scarf to Date night dress + 2 scarves

My July MAGAM project is done! I have transformed my thrifted $3.99 chiffon scarf into a dress! This was a big chiffon scarf with a giraffe print on it:

I was pondering whether to make it 'practical' or 'whimsical'. In the end I decided to make it practical so that I can wear it  for a variety of occasions and weather.

I used my tried and true thrifted pattern McCall's 8048 from the 1970's. It's a pullover, slightly a-line dress. I made a white table cloth lace dress with this pattern previously.

I serged the sleeves and neckline edges with roll-hem and used the original edge of the scarf as the hem. It came together really quickly (I like that!). It's a bit loose and breezy on me. I thought it would be perfect for a hot summer night. Perhaps even a date night?

I have styled this with a thrifted necklace, a thrifted bracelet and a thrifted patent leather heels.
And here is why I would style this for Autumn:

I have styled this with a thrifted leather jacket, thrifted leather boots and a self-knitted cowl from thrifted yarn

I can't wait to wear this out this summer! Plus I have made 2 identical scarves with the remnants of this project:

I plan to wear one and give the other to someone as a gift. I'm pretty happy with what I have done with this 1 big thrifted scarf!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I'm back and sewing - ideas for a new project

I was sick with a flu for a week and then I had to catch up with all the errands and chores that I didn't do during that week. But now I'm back and sewing! I made some shorts for my kids with remnant fabrics as well as another remnant fabric tote for a teacher.

I thrifted a bunch of stuff to be refashioned this past week. Some of them are really promising, especially this:

It's a polyester chiffon big scarf that I can make into a dress or top. I looked through the web and found some inspirations for this piece of fabric:


Elie Saab RTW Pre-Fall 2013

What do you think? Should I make something 'practical' or 'whimsical'?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Teachers Appreciation Bags 2016

I have finished my 2016 end of year Teachers Appreciation bags. As with last year, these are made with upcycled, salvaged materials (old jeans, salvaged straps, thrifted zippers, old bed sheets, curtain remnants, stuff from the scrapped box, etc).

I'm quite happy with them. I'll let the kids decide which bag will go to which teacher. I hope the teachers like them!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MAGAM Joyful June Refashion: Purple silk XL tunic to Dress

I thrifted this purple silk XL tunic 2 years ago at my local thrift store. I was going through a 'silk or cashmere' phase and I acquired lots of silk shirts and tunics for refashioning. I thought it would be perfect for the Make A Garment A Month Joyful June theme.

As seen in the photo, it was loose and long but not long enough for a dress. The neckline was too wide as well. The sleeves were too long and wide.

First I narrowed the body quite a bit to make it breezy but not too loose. I cut off quite a few inches off the sleeves to make it a cap sleeve dress. I wanted to add a band to the bottom to make a loose pullover dress to wear in the summer. I looked through my scraps box and found this band of leftover wine colour knit. I had just enough to make a narrow band for the bottom hem.

As for the neckline, I just made a small 3cm box pleat in the centre front  for about 3 inches to narrow the neckline a little bit. And this is the result:
I should have ironed the dress before taking the picture!

I quite like the look because it looks like those vintage dresses. If I had to make it more fitted, I guess I can wear a thin belt:

What do you think? Belt or no belt for this dress?