Friday, 29 May 2015

Upcycled Jeans

I am a great lover of charity shops but every now and then the bargain price tag and time constraints add together to equal hasty decisions.  I bought a pair of jeans over a year ago in a charity shop for about £3.  I jumped at them because they were flares and I can't resist a good pair of flairs.  Only problem was they were a bit short and when I washed them they got a bit shorter! So after a year of never wearing them I finally decided that skinny jeans don't have to be floor length so a bit of a conversion was in order.

So this is where I started - a fab pair of jeans but way too short for me!
 I turned them inside out and unpicked the hems of each leg.  This is really important as skipping this step leaves an untidy finish.
Once I did that I marked out where I wanted the trouser leg to be.  At this point I measured so that I took the same amount of fabric off on the inside leg of both legs and then again the outside leg of both legs.

And then comes the moment of being incredibly grateful for my overlocker.  On jobs like this it makes things so simple and so much more professional but in half the time.  If you don't have an overlocker you will need to use an overlock stitch on your machine.  A french seam is not going to work on heavy denim and certainly not for skinny jeans.
At this point I tried them on and made a couple of adjustments.  
 Then re-fold the hems back up exactly as they were.  The denim here held the creases perfectly so not measuring required I just followed the lines that were already drawn out for me,  Then I sealed off the overlocked stitch at the top of each seam.
And there you have it a new pair of jeans that I can actually wear!  Perfect with some ballet pumps . . 

 or a chunky pair of Doc Martens.

 As much as I hate to let a good pair of flares go I know that there are plenty more charity shop treasures to be had and these trousers will get much more use.
 I love a good upcycle :) 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Cardigan upcycled from a skirt!

This week has been a slow sewing week for me - filled with good intentions after a lovely birthday weekend I came down with a cold and resigned myself to making it through work and settling on the sofa when I was at home.  That said I did continue to work on the project using my Grandmas' old skirt.
 She didn't want it anymore and kindly gave it to me to use as fabric.  I loved the swirls and the general print and originally thought I would just make it into a skirt that fitted me.  But then I saw someone sporting a fabulous jacket made from a similar pattern and was immediately inspired.

I lay out my fabric - trimming the edges and the waist band to see how much use-able fabric I had left.  Despite my grand ambitions to do something structured I realised fast that I needed to change that plan because skirts actually aren't that big.

I decided instead to go for a smaller version of the slouch cardigan that you can check out here

I followed the pattern from my original cardigan but made it about 25" by 35".  Once I tried it on I realised I needed to take out some of the length because the sleeves had way too much fabric in them for being such a cropped cardigan.  I snipped away and ended up with this!

So easy - so slouchy and so comfy - which if I am really honest is super important for me when it comes to clothes.  I've already worn it to work, out for a coffee and just as a quick throw on jacket as I head out the door when the suns out.

This is why I love upcycling - an old skirt that is no longer wanted and doesn't fit turned into something useful, wearable and funky.  

Next project has to be something more ambitious but I have to fearing ruining some of my gorgeous fabric.  Watch this space to see what happens next . . .

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Birthday Love . . .

I have become another year older and in celebration of that fact so many friends and family have showered me with love.  Some of that love came in the form of gifts and I have to admit that if I didn't know it already I certainly know now that sewing must occupy a fair amount of my conversations.  There was a certain sewing theme around many of the gifts I received so I thought I would do a little show case of the loveliness.  I also gave the blog a little spruce up to mark the occasion - what do you think?
First off are the lovely patterns that I was given this year - so exciting to be able to use these for many years to come!

 I now have such a super array of patterns to choose from I am really not sure where to start.  The sewing bee was absolutely right up there in the best programmes to watch for me and I am just as impressed with the book.  A huge amount of patterns from the very simple to quite complex is crammed into the book - in fact the only thing missing was a pair of woman's trousers.  How very convenient to have also been gifted a lovely pattern for them!  I have the Prima pattern for trousers already but really wanted to make a more fitted pair as well.  This pattern is perfect for just that.

The shirt dress

So after posting a dress out of a old shirt that I made on facebook a lot of people commented so I thought I'd share the process.  The idea came from seeing a similar picture on the page below.

So I started off with a mans shirt - this idea works great for recycling as all the parts of a shirt that wear and look old like neck and sleeves you cut off leaving behind perfectly good fabric.  As I'm quite tall (5ft8")  I would wear mine as a tunic rather than a full dress so you want to ensure the shirt you choose is a size that means it is as long as you want it.  If its too long that's easy as you just turn it up but too short is harder to fix!

For this you will need a shirt, a measuring tape, pins, thread, scissors and a sewing machine/needle.  A machine will make it a lot quicker but there is no reason why you can't do this by hand.