Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Check coat - UFO finished for New Year 2020





I started this coat in the summer of 2018 thinking it would be quite nice for Autumn but not warm enough for winter. I cut out the check part and it was meant to be part of the capsule wardrobe. Well that was that. I stopped then and it has remained most of the time on my sewing (dining!) table ever since. I did move it most weeks to clean and to cut out new things or to trace patterns but sewing.......NO! It just ended up back on the pile.






So its been here for ages. I have made lots of excuses for not sewing this up - most notable the truth - that I did not have clue what to use for a lining. I sewed the outside part but since I had nothinhg for a lining I just kind of ignored it till last summer.

According to my pattern it needed to be a stretch fabric for the lining but nothing in my stash seemed suitable. Then in spring 2019 it was still unfinished and I bid on loads of Ebay fabric and won most of it which is most unusual in itself. I was after neon brights. The same seller listed a neon yellow, neon pink, neon coral but I never expected to win it all so then I bid on what on my screen looked like another bit of neon yellow. Then I won them all. Its quite good really that this bit of bright yellow was not the same fabric as the neon yellow cos then I would have had 7m of it. I am unsure what I could do with so much over-bright fabric. They were just in fashion then but who knows for 2020. Mind you I am quite sure I will find uses for all of ths fabric haul.


The lining fabric I used in the end then is a stretch scuba type of crinkle stuff. I hate the right side but have (extensively) got into using the wrong side to make all sorts of things which you can read abut in many many previous blog posts.

I will not bother to link back because you can pretty much select any post with stretch fabric to see what I do with that stuff.





The photo of the coat on the floor is rubbish I admit, but my house is small, and there is really no where I can actually lay something this big so that you can see it all at once.

Anyway back to the lining fabric which I think is a kind of scuba and is, when reversed, very good as a substitute for the performance types of fabric used by companies like Rab to make their somewhat expensive polyester jackets. Right side I hate the stuff. Wrong side I will not say love it but my intention to never ever buy more was dashed as I found ways to use it. It seems to contain lycra and wears well even on the reverse though the reverse is more delicate that the crinkle front. It does make for extremely warm excercise leggings though. The outer layer is a very thin and lightweight fabric with stretch widthwise but not lengthwise. I made a skirt from it previously. With a lining from this scuba fabric it becomes more substantial for a lightweight coat.
Ignore what I am wearing underneath this. I had one of those days you have where nothing quite matches but you wear it anyway😁
So I ended up with 4m of normal yellow and 3m of neon yellow so plenty yellow fabric really. Especially since I am not that fond of wearing yellow!

I do like fluorescents though. I made a couple of items last summer in yellow, pink and green fluorescents but never used the bright non-neon yellow and so far I still have the neon coral as well. Roll on spring for that one!

The non-neon yellow was lying on my sewing / dining table. As my partner who was sick of me trying to decide on a stretch fabric for a lining for this coat and asking him if this or that fabric would work best, said "why don't you use this bit of bright yellow for that" so I did.

Finally, in spring 2019 I found a lining fabric, cut it out and started to sew. As usual the Burda instructions are terrible but I muddled through. Then half way through construction I decided to add a hood. Its not part of the Burda pattern but I reckon I will wear this far more if it has a hood. Its a very lightweight mac type of garment anyway so will be worn in spring now, or maybe even on cooler summer days, and later in 2020 in the autumn. The hood is from New Look 6142 in sixe XL which I used to make several hoody's for my partner. Its a basic hood and has no pull cord or elastic but will  make the coat just a little more wearable for UK spring and summer weather. I think it was a good addition. I sandwiched it between the outer and lining layers of the Burda pattern pieces and it seems to work well.


So I cut this out nearly 2 years ago for a would-be summer mac for work. I have finally sewn the last bit of hand sewing this week which is round the back vent.Two years for what is really quite an easy item to sew!

Unfortunately it was quite windy when the photos were taken which has meant you get to see wind-blown pieces rather than how it actually looks. The back vent is nigh on perfect honest. I am not so happy with the puff-ball effect hemline though. Thats an accident.The outer fabric is too light weight for this garment I think. But all the checkes pretty much line up all around thecoat so just for once I have managed to accurately pattern match. Shame its pretty much a throw away coat really but thats the very light weight fabric I used for the outer. Still it will give me an extra something for this spring. And I can get away with it for work even if its imperfect.

 

I finished sewing most of this in probably, August 2019 but never got round to the hand sewing of the back vent. I could not work out how to do that by machine. Since I really hate hand sewing I left it and despite it being the right weather for this in Autumn I never finished it. Being unable to sew with a sewing machinefor the last few weeks does indeed have some very few advantages. It made me get round to hand sewing at last.

Its definitely got a few imperfections like I have a tuck in the bottom of the lining on one side which you can see on the photo on the floor, but when worn, or even hanging up, no one other than me is going to notice that. I am not good at adding linings probably because I need more practice. I have not made many items that are lined.

I am despite the obvious imperfections happy to make this at last. I am very happy to finally get rid of this from my sewing pileas well. I am sick to death of moving it around and dustig round it. I feel I achieved something by finishing it rather than just sticking in the plastic storage box which is hidden in my airing cuboard with the rest of my UFOs. Interestingly all my UFOs are coats and jackets!


I am also very happy that the two fronts ended up exactly the same length. And I will have a nice lightweight work mac for spring and summer 2020.There is one slight problem with this coat that it should have been a puffball. Or at least it would easily lend itself to becoming a puffball coat because of the very lightweight fabric I used. You can see how the outer layer almost puffs around the bottom in the photos. I actually own Burda's puffball mac pattern as well ( the Tikva Trench ) so I am seeing this as an opportunity missed. It does though make me now desire to make the puffball coat in the near future. Maybe with a definite intention to finish it in reasonable time, or at least certainly to make it faster than I managed to make this mac.

I have a few things I can make from the rest of the bright yellow fabric as well so it will not be wasted and for £2 it was a real bargain - even if it is bright yellow. If nothing else it will make for a wearable muslin fabric for future trials of patterns.


Bracken

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Orange fluffy jumper






































I knitted this jumper whilst recovering from the hip replacement operation. I needed to do something creative and was unable or rather not allowed to do sewing, so knitting seemed a great option.
 yarns were

The orange fluffy mohair type yarn - I say type because I do not think there is actually any real mohair in this - was bought from Ebay a few years ago when it came back into fashion. Its meant to be original 1980s yarn. I believe the seller because the modern stuff is usually much more boring and pastel colours than the older 80s yarns were. They were BRIGHT. Because there were no labels I was unsure of the metre-age and I had two very similar yarns so alternated with 6 rows of the darker colour and 4 rows of the brighter but the knitted pattern had a repeat of 16 rows so the colours are not on the same part of the pattern each time giving a more random look. I like the overall effect though it turned out when I finished I could have stuck with just one of the colours. Never mind I can make something else later. Now I have an idea of metre-age too so it will be easier to esimate. The original magazine pattern uses a yarn with small slubs or bobbles and thats what this stuff has too so it was a good match.

I collect yarn. Similarly, to my fabric stash, but I rarely do anything with the yarn whereas I do use the fabric regularly. Mostly, my yarn lives in two large storage boxes in the loft. And by large I do mean large. One is actually a plastic box meant for storing garden implements in (outside in the garden) so is a mini shed. It does work wonderfully as a yarn box 😊. I put it together up in the loft. There is a window in the loft though it has never actually been converted into a room, so I need to keep the yarn etc in the dark. Luckily all this yarn does not really weigh much!

Well whilst recovering I was unable to get into the loft and my lovely long suffering Mick went retrieving it all for me. I mention this because it really not a small thing, and for him was difficult and loads of hassle, but he did it for me anyway. If I ever need the other hip replacing I will have to think ahead better and make sure everything I may need is within easy reach. This last time I never did. It meant for lot of explaining about things and where stuff is stashed. Also, he now knows just how big my yarn stash really is and thats never a good thing!





The jumper is from an ancient 1980s knitting magazine - Sandra - which I bought new (in October 1985) and have never knitted anything out of. Until now that is. I own loads of these.

Just look at the price!

You know I thought this was expensive back then. I was 21. I thought buying one of these took a big chuck out of my available spends. can you beieve that?

Yes, its something all the oldies seem to say, but its also true.
One of this years resolutions is to make something from every sewing and knitting and crochet mag I have lugged around with me for most of my life. Many I have never even tried to use. They just collect dust and take up space. Time to make it worth owning every single one of them. 

Even with Burda I seem to just use a couple of mags. The 11/2016 I have nearly made everything from, yet I must own 40 more that I have never used. This year I am using all of them to justify my owning them. Or at least I am going to start working through them because I suspect using them all in one year may prove a little too timeconsuming for the available time I have to sew and knit. I am giving this a go anyway.


This is the magazine picture of this jumper which is somewhat deceptive. I normally just knit until it fits and is the right length etc. This time I exactly followed the pattern. It measures what it should do though it looks longer in the above picture. Maybe the model was short?  It looks a bit shorter on me thats certain. I had enough yarn to continue but lost confidence and followed the pattern rather than measuring against me. Its probably much better for work to have it as it has turned out really because it will look good with work clothing, but I had originally intended to make a large baggy play jumper to lounge about it. Of course it may stretch a bit though hopefully not too much. When I began I expected this to be harder to knit than it turned out so that was a big plus. Its just a lace pattern really and no cables which I thought would make the zig zags.

If you own this magazine there is a mistake in the pattern chart - see below:

I am now going to make a few other jumpers from different Sandra issues. Hopefully they will all turn out this wearable.

Bracken

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Polka dotty dungaree skirt


My partner reckons I am getting a bit "Arty" with this mix of clothing. I never till now thought of myself as at all arty. Still maybe all the creativity is finally working 😉

I made this skirt at the same time as my dungarees. Its a very basic pattern. Well not even a whole pattern because I only used the front of section of New Look 6230. I did this before when I made my fluorescent green outfit back in summer 2019.

When these pictures were taken I still needed my crutches. Now I don't.

This skirt is a bit shorter than my green one. I won't be wearing this for work so prefer it a bit shorter. Its a scuba fabric so very warm. I did not have enough scuba for the straps though so they are faux leather. I think it works despite the simplicity.

Or it maybe that simplicity of the design is why it works?

Its worn with my black and cream one shoulder tops. You can read about the one shoulder tops here:




Now my hip is done I want to be me again. No more hiding behind old lady clothes with midi skirts down my calves. I always, all my adult life, like either very, very long skirts ankle length skirts or at least ankle scimming or very, very short skirts. I reckon at 55 I will not wear quite so short a skirt as I did at 20,  but I can still do this sort of short skirt so thats what I am aiming for.


Its got an elastic waist. Not really sure it needed that and perhaps draws the waistline in more than it needs. But I added the bib and braces as an after thought and topstitched round the waist above the elastic. I am not sure that was the best decision but despite this I do like the fact its a dungaree skirt.
 
The braces make it a bit different which is nice. They're a bit creased but I do not like risking ironing faux leather. The bib is really a bit too small I think ( and not quite rectangular!) but it was the very last bit of scuba I had so that was that. I could not even choose to line with different fabric and make it bigger since its made of an offcut which meant its a weird shape and unless I added a seam down the front of the bib there was no other option. In the end I opted with a slightly small bib and self lined it. It does work. I love the scuba fabric for this. It does not crease and is so very warm. And its a fun fabric which I will not wear to work so why not?
Its a bit cold for the time of year wearing this and I am having to wear it with leggings rather than tights which I admit does ruin the look a bit, but I am still so far unable to put my tights on and leggings go on easier. Once I can use my leg properly again I shall more than likely wear it with tights because it would look better. I do not mind really, though must admit having invested in 4 pairs of warm tights it is a bit frustrating.

I am finding recovery from my hip replacement is actually much slower and much harder than I envisaged. Its not that I have a leg that is swollen now because the swelling subsided a while back, but just that I am unable to reach the foot and bend properly despite being signed off by the consultant to do that now. Hence no tights!

In fact I kept getting dressed with a wet foot which is not nice due to not reaching properly to dry myself. You just do not think of these small details when you agree to have an operation. Not that I regret it, because I think the surgeon has fixed me! The pain is mostly gone. Other tha from the op itself anyway. I suspect most of what I am having painwise is from muscular recovery and the bone knitting to the implant.

They say 6 weeks recovery, but when you are actually doing the recovery that is very optimistic. If I had the kind of job where I could work from home I reckon I could do that. Unfortunately I don't!

I think the fact I am much younger than, for example my Grandma who was into her 80s when her hip was done, meant in my own mind that I would recover very easily and its really not so easy as I expected. Despite the consultant signing me off from the "precautions" - bending over 90 degrees etc - I am not actually able to bend that easily. My lower leg is "dead" so I am unable to kneel easily. I am doing physio to sort that though.

I am also still fainting and therefore unable to drive (legally), which I need to be able to do to get to work and really cannot take the risk of killing someone else or myself so its really not worth risking driving but I am still stuck and reliant on others. My BP, which is apparently naturally low anyway is just taking ages to return to normal, so every now and then it drops and I just go out - as in faint - which is embarrassing as well as totally inconvenient. Last time was in front of the entire physio department. I suppose at least I was in the right place! I am now taking iron since a blood test said low haemoglobin levels though my Doctor did not seem worried. I invested in iron anyway and have taken it since.

My operated leg hurts, I do take pain killers but the pain is still there. I am not able to walk as well as I thought I should do and as I said I cannot yet put tights on. I suppose realistically the bone has to grow over the implant and the muscles have to recover. Its very frustrating anyway. I can walk downstairs now but cannot get upstairs. I make daily attempts to walk up and down stairs. Down is not bad at all but upstairs so far is impossible. Physio encouragingly tells me its normal. I simply cannot control my leg very well and it collapses. Thats not too bad on the house stairs because they are carpeted but I would not want to fall flat on my face on a public staircase. Thats going to hurt!

So I have yet to even attempt to sew. Its 8 weeks now, the day I am writing this. Since I still have to lift my operated leg with my hand to get it to where I want it for example when putting shoes on. I can now tho do socks which just a couple of days ago I could not do myself so I am definitely getting better steadily. I would have been better off if this had happened in summer because it would not have been icy in the mornings so reducing the risk of falling which I MUST NOT DO. I could have worn walking sandals with velcro fastings all the time and I could have got back to work more easily I think. Note to self - have the next hip op in summer then!

Anyway, I reckon I may have to wait a couple more weeks yet to be able to operate the sewing machine foot properly. At least now though, I can get in and out of the shower, so thats a real improvement. Our shower is over the bath. I have yet to try to have a bath because I think I may end up stuck.😉

I am hoping in a week or so my physio will pay off and I will start to be able to walk properly again. I actually ditched my crutches for a few days and ended up with terrible pain in the unoperated leg so saw my doctor who told me to go back to using my crutches again. Its hopefully the pressure on the unoperated leg causing pain rather than I need a second operation. Time I suppose will tell with that one. I am sure my hip replacement is actually a great success because it turns out there is only 3mm difference in my leg length which is a relief and means I do not need a built up shoe or in sole to raise it.

Moans over! 

In the meantime my sewing project ideas are growing and I'll be hard put to decide what to make first. I went through some of my stash the other day which was not easy because you need to bend to get access BUT I have some lovely black sequin fabric in my stash so have been going through lots of Burda mags hoping to decide what to do with it. I have owned it at least 3 years so probably should find a way to use it. Also I think sequins work not only with Christmas festivities but also into January with knitwear and as you know, I have been knitting. I will let you know on that one once I decide what I am making. With luck I should be sewing again soon.

And just to finish off another photo of this skirt. 

I am pleased with how this turned out.

Thanks for popping by
Bracken

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Project planning for 2020 - list of intentions - sewing

Now we have had the New Year its time to make a list of what I need to make this year.

To be honest when you are not able to sew at all its very frustating so whilst I was recovering from my op, I needed to do something and all it was that was possible was to just plan what I want to make and I have spent the last few weeks looking through my Burda mags - and other sewing mags - to decide what I want to make when I could sew again. Now I can sew so onwards............and its 2020!


A major intention this year is to make less but make more useful stuff and maybe take longer over making things and to try to get a better finish. I currently equal most RTW clothing finish wise which makes me happy, but could make my clothing a bit more upmarket now I think which would make it very nice to wear even if others cannot tell that its better made. I will know.


So here goes with my aims:

Sequin wide legged trousers - I have about 3m of black sequin fabric ( non stretch) which has been hanging round for several years, so I want to make something from it that I will actually wear, and not just another party dress which will end up in the wardrobe taking up space and get worn at most once a year. And, I really do need to stash-bust since we are thinking of moving house. I am thinking of wide legged trousers because it has very good drape and no stretch at all. The sequins are a dull black not shiny so I reckon for summer festivals and maybe January weekend shopping they will work fine and I will actually wear them with denim etc for normal casual daily life even if sequins are not everyones cup of tea!

I already made 2 tops from the sequin fabric:
 https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2016/12/76-sequin-trimmed-t-shirt-top.html

 https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2016/12/77-playing-with-sequins-blank-slate.html


The sweatshirt type top works great. Less so the blank slate top because the fabric has no stretch making it somewhat hard to get on and off. I probably should either recycle that or send to charity for someone else who can fit into it better than me. 

Anyway back to my trousers idea: maybe I can make these using Burda 7122 which I love all 3 previous pairs I made and also know the correct size now and being an expensive fabric I do want these to work,  or maybe the Jamesia free pattern from Mood because I have only used stretch fabric so far and omitted the zip but it is actually designed for wovens so would work and since its flared would be a nice on trend design. Its also pretty easy to sew which is a bonus. The Jamesia though will be more risky due to my only previously making this as a stretch pull on pair of trousers rather than woven. Also I will need to line these trousers. Sequins without lining are uncomfortable. Both above tops have a lining.

You can see my previous wide legged trouser projects here:
Burda 7122  here:
https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2017/08/navy-blue-work-trousers-from-burda-7122.html



Jamesia here: https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2019/11/sequin-trimmed-flares-from-mood.html

Though they should look more like the ones below. You will have to excuse the crutches, these photos were taken straight after I had my op. I do not think they show the flared legs too well. Also both are made in stretch scuba so not quite following the real Jamesia pattern hence would be more risky making this sequin fabric as a Jamesia. I may try though because I do like the below photo:


I also have some very nice heavy black lace thats been hanging round for quite a while. Its does not quite look right as a top or dress when I have been experimenting and I have been trying to decide what to make for ages, so now maybe for this summer I should also make some wide legged trousers (with shorts lining) from black lace - again Burda 7122 or Jamesia?

I think I am getting a theme here which is good. I definitely helps to write these ideas down.  It also begins a new wardrobe idea which hopefully I can build on. Though so far I am only thinking of "play" clothes but its still a good start.

I also want / need to make another pair of camo track pants. I have the fabric and the current ones are wearing out. I love them so much but they have gone all pilly though still have a lot of wear left. These had (for me) too high a waist line so I need to lower that if I use the same pattern. Not sure whether to actually repeat my current pair which is a Lekala pattern, or use a different pattern though.
Camo track pants info here:
https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2017/01/82-cuddly-camo-for-me-too.html
But I may instead use the free yoga pattern I used for my black yoga pants because its more fitted and very comfortable. https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2016/02/22-plain-black-yoga-pants-made-in-rush.html
I have made this pattern several times now and its always a nice one to wear. I have to decide yet which way to go here because theres also a lot to be said for a basic loose fitted track pant to lounge about in and the look is quite different to the more fitted yoga pant. I do not expect I have enough stashed fabric to make both so its one or the other.


I really also want to make a fourth The Vampires Wife style dress - I intended to make this for Christmas, but other than wash the fabric I have not proceeded so I want to finish this. I will be using my own blocks for this one as previously.

Another thing I must do is finish my half made orange cotton spider print dress which is a summer dress. I started this last summer and its still only half sewn. This is McCall's 6740. Its half made so currently a UFO. Thats possibly my first make despite it not being suitable for the cold weather. It just has to go if you know what I mean. The whole time I could not sew I looked at it on my table and its bugging me now that its still unfinished. And if I complete it now I get a head start on my summer wardrobe after all. More on this dress in the next week or so. It should hopefully help to get my sewing kick started. Its very strange that before my op it wasa doddle to just sew anytime. Having had 3 months off I now find my sewjo has totally diminshed which is very annoying. I have read this on other people's blogs but never experienced this myself until now. I just cannot quite get going again. That in itself must be a New Years resolution I suppose!

Then there is this pattern:
Slim tapered pants -Pinda- (size 34-48) PDF + paper patternI  want to use my indie patterns which I bought a few years back, I think in 2014, so have had this ages. They were bought with the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month challenges and I have yet to use most of the patterns I invested in.

The Pinda pants pattern by Waffle Patterns is high on the list here but I own several others too so maybe some of them for summer. This I think will set me a serious challenge with all the details in this pattern but thats a good thing isn't it!


One problem with Pinda which is why its taken me this long to try it,  is I have no suitable fabric so it will not prove to be a stash- buster but rather a stash builder because I always buy extra and to think of no is just silly, and that means it must go down the list a bit because I need to reduce my fabric stash by at least 50% by the end of 2020 so we can move house more easily. Also we are probably going to downsize so may not have the space for a fabric stash at all. Thats besides the hassle of more stuff to move and its never easy to move house.
Noelle

Underwear! - I really need some, so intend to do some further experiments with this. Not sure about which patterns to buy yet though.

I love the free Noelle bra I made a while back so maybe a few of these. Hopefully with better finish on the next few as well - well you got to aim for a better standard of sewing haven't you! The first one is far from perfect.

I also made some knickers a while back that worked well though the mermaid scale fabric was not really stretchy enough so I intend to make some more of them using better fabric. https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2019/08/mermaid-underwear-braugust-my-first.html
















Sportswear- nothing new here because this seems to be on every New Year list I make and I will definitely manage this one


Sportswear tops: I want a few versions of this red top because I wear it all year round and even get away with it with posh work trousers. The cuffs keep my hands warm when typing in winter at work and since no one has commented, it obviously passes the work clothes test.

I reckon one version thats multi coloured for play and a couple of plain ones for work. You can read about the red top here:
https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2018/10/view-b-mccalls-m7261-sportswear-pattern.html

And I want to make at least one more of the colour blocked sportswear style leggings. Similar to these ones I think:

I have some bits left over of high lycra-content velvet which would work for these and be a bit different to normal sportswear leggings but should function just as well because the fabric is dancewear grade.


https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2019/01/sportswear-leggings-for-january.html


Other than that I am experimenting with knitting at the moment. I made several knitted jumpers recently and am pleased to have them so want to make a couple more. This will take me longer than sewing though. It is a massive ( yarn)stash buster though so I am continuing with this even though it eats into my sewing time. Also I really need a few warm jumpers and prefer hand knitted to sewn.

Finally ( for now at least though I am sure I will add to this list as things happen and ideas come to me) I also want to continue my experiments with leather and faux leather and have been given several old items to cut up. This is a challenge and I am not yet sure what to do with these so have no plans other than to do something with this freebie. I'll let you know once I have an idea.

Of course there are also several UFO's stuck in a plastic storage box on the floor of my airing cupboard, that I should attempt to finish as well. These include a body which would be useful and would fit into my underwear project I suppose, a red velvet winter coat and a short brocade jacket which was cut out at least 3 years back and still has the paper pattern attached so it is probably ruining a precious pattern being stuffed into the storage box, so I should try to get round to that for spring too. I won't bother linking back to these. The coat and jacket are somewhere in previous posts but may still be on the list next year the way its gone so far with them. The body I have never till now talked about but that I would like to finish. It just needs leg elastic and some popers so its very silly to still be sitting there. I was working on that just before my op which is why it is still there. More on my body once I finish it I think.

I think as a few aims for the upcoming year this list is realistic so I will for now leave it at that. Then when I come back to this every now and then in 2020 it will not seem to be too unrealistic and daunting. A previous year when I got round to looking back it was so very off-putting I nearly gave up sewing so this needs to be short and possible rather than just me dreaming about all the lovely patterns I own. There are really only 3 pairs of trousers, 1 pair of leggings, 2 dresses ( one almost made already), 3 tops and some underwear and the vague idea of the Pinda pants so thats a do-able list I think.

Other than this, I probably need to clear out some stuff from previous years to make space for this😊

What's on your to do list for 2020?
Bracken

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Upcycled real leather green skirt


I was gifted this really quite horrible 70s suede skirt.


And made this from it:




Its because of my experiments upcycling other skirts that I got offered this but this one is actually leather not pleather. It sews very similarly though and maybe slightly easier than the fake.


I do not generally use real leather ( being as its an animal product and I am supposed to be veggie!) but decided since it was offered it for a gift, that perhaps I should have a go with this because I am sure if it works out and I cannot handle wearing it I can certainly find someone else who would like it. Also its ethical to reuse this rather than send it to landfill where it takes up to 50 years to decompose and this is thick old leather so probably it really will take ages. And most of all of course this was a challenge.

I took it to bits completely first, to play with the bits and see what I could do.
 
This had to be ripped appart properly. You cannot just force or rip the seams as I found out when I tried because leather rips so do it the long way with a proper stitch ripper is the only option. I actually did consider just chopping off the bottom and shortening this because it did fit me,  but I just hated the pockets. They were so weird. Not sure you can really see from the picture but those pockets just had to go. They are kind of inserted under the outer skirt and on show. I then decided that it would be better to change it completely rather than just cop out and turn it into a basic 60s flared skirt. It would still have been horrible if I had done that and I wanted it to be more than that and this was a chance to really remodel something and a totally new sewing adventure for me so take appart it had to go.



After playing with the bits for a while I decided to make a wrap skirt from the bottom half of the skirt. I then decided to add a 70s style punk side zip. I remember being very jealous in the 70s/early 80s of other girls who had skirts that had this kind of fastening. I never had one. So this is transitioning from early 70s Hippy style to late 70s/early 80s punk style by the looks of it.

I decide I could reuse the waistband but I would have to chop it down the middle to half the original width. I also had to fit it around my zip. I had to piece it as well but it works.


You can just about see where I marked the position of the pockets using chalk

So next, pockets and can I somehow use these?

 I realised I could re-use the pocket bits to make cargo style side pockets. the pockets that are now on the outside were originally inside the old skirt. At this point nothing had been sewn, I was just playing around with the bits and I started to use chalk to mark where things needed to end up. It was all a bit tricky really but very much fun.

So then I sewed. I started with the zip because if that went wrong it was a rethink time. It worked. Its not perfectly flat but looks OK when on me. Next time though I think I would sew the zip flat as an exposed zip with the tape edge on show rather than flipped over on the outside if you understand what I am talking about here. It works though and I am happy with it. Being leather it will mark if unpicked and resewn so best left if it works.

The pockets are not quite identical having originally just been linings, but I decided to resist trying to recut them and used them exactly as they arrived. They look surprisingly Ok and now my 70s/80s punk style skirt looks more 90s. So far so good.

Then the hard bit - the waistband.


I positioned the bits and had to think about how to do this for a couple of days. I had to join it either side of the zip. Its imperfect but looks OK and works very well.

In the meantime I decide it needs a lining so I use a bit of lining salvaged from a maxi skirt I shortened a while back. Its pink satin so a nice contrast to the bright "fairy" green colour of the suede. The original skirt had no lining.






Its not a perfect lining job and needed a tuck in the middle to make it work and I could have done this better really. I just used what was already hemmed and its was not quiet a perfect fit. It was the lazy option but the end result does look fine and only I can see where I tucked it.  With the lining sandwiched betweeen the outer skirt and waistband I decide this could possibly work. I sewed. That went on OK. Sewing the second hem though where I folded the waistband over itself to encase everything was not easy so I had to go very slowly. I still broke a needle but luckily had spares. You need a heavy weight needle for this. You can buy proper leather needles but I did not use them. It may have been easier to do this if I had had some. I had to cut the waist band to get it to look OK on either side of the zip and its defo imperfect but works well enough for me. Oh and I used a walking foot for the entire project. I learned to do that with my previous upcycling to make the flame skirt and star skirt but the material I used for them was much thinner and easier to sew than this heavy real suede is. I think this slips less though.

I tried it on and yes I feel I can do this now. Its looking quite acceptable, but I need some how to make the wrap section stay put. How?

I tried to hand sew hooks and eyes. Forget it. Far too painful - on my hands that is! It would have taken ages even if I could endure the pain of being stabbed as I push the needle through this suede. So then, I think, how to do this?

There was a small bit left over from the lining so I made two ties and added these to the inside so I can tie the underside of the wrap and then zip the outside.
 
And yes, this is a successful as an upcycle, and its something I would never have intended to make or expected to work so well.

Its really good when you get gifted an item like this because it does make you expand you skills and think outside the box. Especially when you would never even consider buying your starting item.

 So heres my skirt again.




 I am actually going to keep this after all despite its made of leather and me supposed to be a veggie 
- for now at least.

Happy New Year!

Bracken