Thursday, 30 March 2017

91: black lacey top from scraps

I had lots of bits left over from my lace sides leggings and lace front top I made a couple of weeks ago. These scraps were quite big bits or so I thought at first. I cut a decent top similar to these tops which I made a while ago and wear loads despite the design being so basic.
Maybe that's why I wear them so much?

Anyway I was sewing this top together when I came across a really bad fault in one sleeve. When I looked closer the lace was actually coming apart into two bits. Not good because I have no extra bits of this fabric left. So what to do? I decided to cut the sleeve shorter and saved the lace edge. Then I realised I will need to do both sleeves else they will not match. Shame because the other was perfect. Still no way round this if I am to save my fabric - which was not cheap so I am not happy! Especially since when making my first top I also found a fault which I had to alter the neckline to get rid of! Now I feel ripped off with respect to this fabric. It was from ebay but from someone who I usually have had a good experience buying from.

I am wearing my Green Faux Leather leggings with it here which I made a while ago here:

 Then further inspection shows a similar fault straight across a body piece. I say body because the front and back are identical. So I add a seam here thinking it will become a back yoke. You can see where I had to add a seam on the back here and just about see the sleeve seams as well. There are two on each arm which round about evenly divide the sleeve into 3 bits.

Then I decide to reattach the faulty bit and have long sleeves since this top is now made of small strips anyway. I added lace from offcuts to the hem which when making my top and leggings I had deliberately saved to use later as edging. And Voila!

Its far from perfect but I am actually quite happy with this. Its a nice lacey top for spring despite being made from bits. And strangely you cannot really tell unless you look very closely!
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Thursday, 23 March 2017

90: Quick Kimona Jacket

This top was made from a second hand scarf / pashmina. I actually started to make this at least 5 years ago. At that time I used my caravan as a sewing room but in winter it became too cold. I gave up on this ages ago and it just got stashed with - well my stash of fabric. The only reason I got it out was because I decided to oil my overlocker since it was sounding a bit laboured. I was worried about over oiling since I have done this before and it might ruin something I actually want so I decided to use this as scrap to practice on. Well once sewing I just carried on and there was no oil to worry about. And once together it seems a shame not to finish it so I used beige satin floristry ribbon which I bought from somewhere ages ago I have no idea what it was for and its just sat there for ages. Beige is not a favourite colour so why I bought it I have no idea but it was perfect for this since it picks up some of the pattern on the fabric. Its actually a lovely embroidered fabric. So quite by accident really I have made a summer jacket/top. I am surprisingly taken with this. I have never bought or made a kimono before. so its a good addition as well and it gets rid of some stashed fabric!

I am still experimenting right now how to wear this but it looks good with a belt as above or just tied with ribbons as here:


I regret not putting an extra set of ribbon ties on it though but since they were sewn into the edge I have decide to leave it at that. I do not think my ribbon edging would survive being unpicked and re-sewn so its better just left alone.

 For four squares of fabric I was going to scrap it turned out pretty good. I just should have shaped the neck a bit better but then you can't have it all ways!
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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

1987 vintage belt fixed

I bought this elastic corset belt in about 1987 at the very latest. Possibly earlier because I seem to remember it being Adam and the Ants in the charts when I went out wearing it. It was the end of the New Romantic/ Goth era. It came I think from Miss Selfridge. Its a black bonded leather edge with a metal buckle and elastic. I always loved it but probably about the mid 1990's the elastic became so old and stretched it was no longer wearable since it was so big and baggy it was actually bigger than my hip measurement. I wish I had taken a photo of the old belt but I never did. It was just a stretched mess though.

But I kept it. Because I am a sentimental fool. Of course I always new it was fixable but I never really expected to get round to it. Then at Christmas I stocked up on elastic off Ebay and bought this extra 1m for this belt. The elastic is 12.5cm (5inches) wide. My buckle though, or rather the bonded leather it is attached to is just 12cm wide so slightly smaller. It took me a while to work out exactly how to do this. there is the obvious bit of unpicking of the old stitching.

So once I had unpicked the old stitches I threw away the old elastic and I inserted the new elastic between the two sides of the bonded leather bit. I am sure there is a proper name for the piece I am talking about but I have no idea what it is so sorry about that. To sew I used the heaviest needle I have and sewed every stitch by hand, as in using my hand not the machine pedal to make the needle go up and down through the belt, to sew the stitches. It was very slow and I currently am having physio because of problems with my hand so was probably not the most clever thing for me to do. It took two days for my hand to recover!

But here is the result:

 This is the front.

Unfortunately I never took all the old bits of cotton out and then sewed over them which means they are pretty much stuck in place! You can just about see where the old stitches join the new.

It took ages to sew this back together.

But eventually I did it.

 This is the back

I didn't quite line the stitches up with the old stitch holes on th back but it won't be seen.

To get the elastic to fit since it was slightly wider than my buckle I folded the edge under at the bottom.

I am so happy because after all these years and several house moves I have my old belt back. And it is even in fashion! And it actually fits me better because the original belt was always a little too big and this one works.
which I love but could not till now figure out how to make it feel "mine" work.

 Ignore my ugly RTW trousers. I was doing a temporary office job in a Press Office and needed to wear " Business Dress".

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

89: Fishnet T shirt

Another very quick make. This piece of fishnet has been lying around for a while. All I really did was fold in half and overlock all the edges. In fact the neck s a bit askew but whatever, it kind of looks ok with such a simple punk influenced design. The front and back is one piece so it has no shoulder seams.

Here is is worn over my black dress which I made here:

This is a nice little T shirt. Definitely goes along with my authentic me desires!

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

88: Red velvet top

Well this is yet another item, number 105, from Burda's November 2016  magazine, which I am still obsessed with! There are a couple more things I intend to make from that magazine yet so probably its the best value Burda mag I have so far bought.

This top was not as easy as I expected. I should have used my initiative and cut the front as two pieces because with this fabric you would not have seen the seams much and it would make it much easier to put together. Its the front slit I found the most difficult part. The rest was pretty easy. It still was a relatively simple top.

Trouble is I feel kind of Granny-ish in it. Still you can win them all and I love the fabric and it will be a good top for the office if I pair it with plain black trousers. I just hate air conditioning since I spend my entire life feeling cold it seems, so this top should keep me warm and still look dressy I think. I left off the waist tie and just made it as a shirt. What can I say. Its a nice comfortable easy to wear top.

 I need a different bra obviously without a racer back but otherwise this top is OK and its unusual with all the slits. A good addition to my work wardrobe I think


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Sunday, 5 March 2017

My Waistband Sewing Block!

I was looking back at some old posts and came across this one:
Its just over a year since I wrote this and I do still feel like this. I have sort of achieved my own authentic look though over the last year. But I have very few posts to go now till I get to the 100 Garments. Of course I am not going to give up sewing and have seriously been enjoying taking part in sewing challenges with other people from the world sewing community and I am not intending to just give up on this because I get to 100 garments. You know it seemed a huge amount when I started. So anyway being authentic. Yes I am getting there. I have rediscovered myself though still have several unfinished but ongoing projects which when I do get them finished will define me better or my clothing style anyway. Right now I seem to have a waistband block. Like writers block but mine is waistbands. I have 5 items of almost made clothing and every one needs a waistband. How this has come about I do not know, They are not even all needing a button, One is just an elastic casing but still it sits there waiting for me.

I was also waiting and looking forward to Me Made May 2017 because last year I was scratting around for anything I had made and finding it quite difficult. This year should be easier but I am now job hunting. That means it depends on where I end up working as to whether I can really take part. Of course there is always weekends. I am sure everyone who sews who wears uniform for work has the same problem.

I have just about written my thesis and got my last bit of funding 28th February so I MUST find a job before the end of March and it doesn't matter what it is because I only need to bring in a small bit of money to just about survive. We do have some savings but not enough for a whole months bills. We bought as much food as we had money for yesterday to try to take us through and to be honest we really should eat the huge amounts of things like flour and lentils we seem to keep stashed at all times. I suppose times like this is why you get that huge food stash. It means you will survive. I reckon we can go for a couple of months although it may become very boring. We need a food clearout though.
I went to an agency for Temping the other day but it has not so far come to anything so right now I am trying to finish off my thesis - waiting on supervisors to read it as well so its kind of ongoing and also applying for jobs which seems to take so long. Of course this is the real reason why " mature" people (Ha am I mature?) do not quit their regular job to go back to Uni and do PhDs. Its the real reason people stay in nice safe secure boring jobs. Well too late for worrying now I just must get on with it, finish and get a job. I have so far avoided burger bars and cleaning jobs but that's on the list for next week if nothing else comes up. I have done both before - don't get me wrong and I am not proud, but I was hoping for a different kind of job. I know loads of PhDs have done cleaning though and in the end I need to pay my bills.

So back to being authentic. I think I am getting there but there is still room for improvement. I need to do some pattern tracing again. I am kind of hoping TMS April is going to be tartan but with a great competition happening as well that may not come about. I have some tartan in my stash! Could be good though I have no idea what I would make with it.

I still want to do some leather ( faux) clothing because I have loads in my stash and love to wear it and it really should be worn I think. Also I am not sure how long that kind of fabric will store and stay in good condition. I still want a kind of sportswear look which I think is evolving. My coat is STILL not made. Recently because all I have had time for is my thesis I have just made mostly very quick items. Now I need to submit at least and then get my free time back again so I can make some decent summer clothing. Mind you I will still have my Viva to go through which I must admit to dreading. Scary to have up to 8 hours intensive verbal examination! Still I always knew it would come one day. First though I must finish writing asap and submit. Then start to revise for it.

I missed out completely on TMS February  - Sewing  from the Decade of your Birth. I was keen to do this one so may have to do an end of month entry because I have a Burda 60s pattern book and there is something I really want to make from it so I could do that as an amnesty project. I loved seeing everyone elses entries.

So plans:
At least two leather tops or dresses. I have never had a leather top but always fancied one so may as well make this while I have some fabric to do it.
A Rara skirt for summer in leather - after reading all the people who have slagged of the 80s I just cannot resist this one. I know its called the worst decade of fashion ever but I was young then and I loved it. I also very much loved the open free world we lived in when it was normal to know transsexuals, gay people were suddenly not in the closet, men wore makeup and stiletto heels - straight  men because I dated several. I just remember Velvet, leather and lace as being the main fashion trends with stillettos and winkle pickers. Fantastic music. Everyone was broke but it did not matter or maybe that is what caused it all. What a time to be young. The 90s was also good  and then I had left home and was free of parental influence. The 90s was Acid house and free festivals for me and that also was a wonderful time. Sadly as I got educated ( mid-90s) and got employed I seem to have had such a boring life. When I was really poor, unemployed and unemployable I was so much happier, free and had a better life. I did not own anything really. Then I sewed lots. Most of my clothing was made from second hand curtains and table cloths bought at jumble sales for a few pence. I had no patterns but still managed to make things like jeans from old curtains and people admired them! I seriously do not have that skill now. I think necessity is the mother of invention probably applied very strongly there.

I ramble!
I am thinking of this skirt which I got free some years ago from They don't seem to give as much away these 120-0313-b_largedays though. Tiered Mini Skirt 03/2013 #120
I think this would look great in faux leather. I have dark green, navy and some red. I probably will go with navy though I think.
And I need a few summer tops and I need some more "respectable" office wear.
And most of all finish the pile of waistband sewing sitting on my table!

Perhaps I should try and read my own blog posts from a year ago more often. Its kind of a diary really. Probably very good to look back at what you wanted then and did or did not achieve and if you still want the same things now. As it happens yes I do. Very much.

And if anyone who reads this does want to go to Uni and do anything, Degree, HND, PhD or A levels whatever and is feeling they are too old. DON'T. Just do it. I am slightly worried what will happen next but really life is good, Exciting and you know what is weirdest? I just spent nearly 4 years doing a PhD and it has been fantastic. I was 49 when I started so pretty old even for a  mature student and I feel so much younger now. When I first arrived at Uni I felt old and faded. It took a year for me to stop wearing my boring black office trousers. Then I began the blog and began sewing. Its like being there and defining myself by my study has changed who I am age-wise. I got younger in the last 4 years not older - in attitude and looks though I cannot say the face has not aged. That's life! and despite my current money problems I am so glad I did it. And I am not financially secure, I have no savings really and yet I know it will all be OK and all work out. No idea if I will actually get the PhD but then thats the risk and its worth taking just for the experience. You wanna go back to college? Do it!
Thanks for reading what has turned out to be a very epic text based post.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

86: Black and yellow leggings and 87: Sports top

  I really wanted to have a go at making some sports type of clothing. This is yet another pair of Butterick 5788 leggings pattern.

You can see the other versions here: and here:

This time I have used stretch black lace over fluorescent green/yellow with black lycra for the main back and front centre panels.

The top is not a sportswear pattern but I did not own any so I used Butterick 6134. The top as you can see here is meant to have a funnel neck which I was quite keen on but things did not quite turn out as planned.

 Image result for Butterick 6134

I scrapped the first top and made a second, because the first example came out all twisted. Unfortunately after getting it all together reasonably well ( its still not perfect but its wearable), I realised the front had a fault in the lace just below the neck. Well you cannot really have a more noticable place to have a problem so what to do?

You can see here how bad it was and no way could I get away with just leaving it. So, I carefully cut a lower neckline and still managed to keep the back neck higher than the front. I am quite pleased with myself about this hack in fact since usually I would make a mess of something like this but it worked really evenly.

I cut it lower and added a strip of faux leather which is an offcut from a different project. It works quite well and I think gives nice touch.

This is the back view. I think its acceptable though maybe I should have made the ankles a bit tighter. The leggings are kind of trouser-y rather than dancewear-y. I wore this just once so far and despite it being freezing and snowy on Saturday it was lovely and cosy. Also I have not yet seen anything like this outfit in any high street shops which makes me very happy when I am wearing it!

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