A Mistake!

Completed SureauThis is it: Robe Sureau complete.  But I won’t be showing any photos of me wearing it because it looked awful.

I did make a toile but thought it looked silly on me because old sheets aren’t always very flattering.  Unfortunately, it just does look ridiculous on me.

I did everything I could to save it – added bias trims, tried various buttons – but I think the basic shape is just wrong for me.

Remains of the Sureau & Day 13I didn’t want to discard it completely, so I removed the top, changed the zip and added a waistband.

Me Mades: Purple wool teeshirt,newly refashioned skirt, shoes.

Linking to Visible Monday. Why not go & take a look?

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To Dye or not to Dye?

Like lots of my other clothes, this skirt was dyed by me. I think dyeing is fun.

The original linen skirt

I did a few other things to get the end result, but I thought it might be interesting to talk about a few of the problems associated with dyeing garments.

The garment may be a natural fibre but often the thread or the lace or binding isn’t.

This top stitching was very visible after dyeing because it doesn’t use natural fibre thread.

I unpicked it and sewed it in a matching thread. As the top stitching had sewed the pocket shut, this was something I needed to do anyway.  Another solution might be to dye something a slightly darker shade than it is already – the stitching doesn’t show up so much.  I liked the contrasting stitching on the waistband so I didn’t change that.

Failure! Machine dyeing a garment is a problem for me.  My lovely turquoise skirt shed colour on the sofa and I couldn’t do anything about it.  I think that’s because my washing machine is computerised and decides on water levels and length of cycle based on the weight of the fabric.  Maybe there wasn’t enough water or time in the washing machine to dye the skirt properly.  I’m pretty sure I followed the instructions….

Felting! Wool garments boiled up on the stove in the dye pot often felt.  Sometimes I want felt, but mostly I try to change the garment some other way.

Shrinkage! Yes, that happenned to me although it is unusual.  It didn’t matter really but I was glad I tried that skirt on again before I cut off six inches.

Zips never dye in my experience; they are always made of pure manmade fibres. If it will be visible and I can’t face replacing it then I don’t waste time on dyeing.

Buttons don’t usually dye either.

Paler result than expected – I’ve often tried to dye more fabric than the instructions recommended.  It often gives an attractive result.  Occasionally the fabric has an unexpected manmade element eg. polyester cotton when I thought it was pure cotton and it too comes out quite pale.  Sometimes thread and trims on a natural fibre garment are a natural and manmade mix.  This can produce lovely results.

The skirt is an odd colour – a red skirt dyed blue will be a shade of purple. I have had a few fun results with my colour combinations.

My hands got dyed! I didn’t put the rubber gloves on from the very start.  I’ve learned my lesson!

Is dyeing eco friendly?  To be honest, I suspect it is not and I worry about that.  It might be better not to dye at all or maybe just use natural dyes.  I am going to look into this so watch this space.

Linen skirt again! 

This was a beige cotton cardigan

Grey linen trousers dyed navy – they become sailor trousers and I wear them a lot

New Life for Old Jeans

Jumble sale jeans that don’t fit, shrunken (well maybe!) jeans, jeans battered beyond mending, or any sort of old jeans – I’ve had them all. I’m trying to avoid throwing my old clothes in landfill so I’m always looking for new uses.

The skirt was made from the leg fabric of two pairs of very old jeans. Some bits were too worn to use so had to be cut away.

Back view

To start: cut the tops off and then cut away the leg seams. There are four pieces of fabric from each pair of jeans.

To straighten up the fabric cut off the hems from each piece and use a rotary cutter and ruler to make oblongs following the stright grain.

Look for the lengthwise lines running down the fabric – this is the straight grain.

Take out your skirt pattern and work out what would look best for each piece – I alternated colours.

Sew your pieces together lengthwise until big enough to cut out each pattern piece. I used jeans thread to top stitch those extra seams.

Make up the pattern exactly as usual – or not if you prefer.  My pattern had a button front and I wanted a short front zip like most jeans skirts have.

Decorate! I used the back pockets from one pair of jeans to make decorative pockets for the front of the skirt.  I also top stitched lots.

The end result

Unloved skirt transformed

Me Made May Day 29 – my new top

It’s a bit crumpled after a long day’s wear but it’s set to become a favourite, I think.

It was this skirt:

Me Made May Day 8

It was ok but I’d rather have something I can wear more often.

I cut off the waistband and opened the back seam.

I cut the fabric into two equal pieces – a back and a front.

I cut the front into two and made a button band.

I narrowed the back by making tucks from the top to the waist.

I added waist tucks to the front  to give a bit of shape.

I drew around a dinner plate to get the neckline.

I made this the same way, but had a lot more fabric to work with:

Made from a charity shop skirt.

Refashion a Dress into a Tunic

I don’t wear dresses very often so I’m always looking for new ways to use them up.  I think this is one of the simplest ways to refashion a dress.

I started with this dress.

I used the measuring guide on my sewing machine to get a straight line of stitching. 

 I cut the dress just under the stitching.

I tried it on for length and did the same again to get the best length for me.

Next, I marked and machined the hem.

  Finished tunic.

The dress becomes useful at last.

William Morris and Me

Quilt made from William Morris prints.

I love William Morris. Not just the famous prints, but his writings too.  Remember that famous quote?

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (Hopes and Fears for Art).

I would love to live up to that in my everyday life.

Every so often, I start looking around the house with that saying in mind and getting rid of things.  I don’t get very far. I class as useful things that make me smile, or give me a warm feeling, or at least brighten up an otherwise dull room.  One day I shall do it and my house will be transformed. One day…

Anyway, the Me Made May challenge has really got me thinking about my wardrobe rather than my house. Some pieces I would class as beautiful, but they are usually evening wear and I don’t get to wear them very often.  I need more useful clothes.

Dress form modelling evening clothes.

It’s pretty scarey to see yourself in a photograph everyday. Those trousers are too baggy, that colour is too dull or those pieces don’t go together. Some of my clothes are neither useful nor beautiful so something had to be done – I need more useful clothes.

So, last week it was wide leg trousers to narrow leg:

Me Made May Day 14

This week I’m having a dyeing frenzy.  A grey linen shirt, however beautifully made, just doesn’t look good on me.  So now it’s blue and looking much better.

A “natural” cardigan just doesn’t suit me.  I didn’t make it, but in the right colour it could make some of my me mades look more pulled together. So now it’s terracotta.  When spring really arrives it will be another way of wearing this refashioned skirt.

These pale grey trousers are way too smart for my life; I’ve worn them twice, perhaps three times in a year.

 It’s a pity to put in all that effort and still have nothing to wear, so now they are navy and I’m wearing  them.  Hooray!

Me Made May Day 16

So, I’ve thought about my wardrobe, put in a bit of effort and I’ve got a few more clothes to wear for Me Made May and, I hope, for future months.

Shrunken cashmere sweater to neck warmer

I like neck warmers better than scarves – they don’t come open so my hands are free & I can easily bring them over my ears to keep the cold winds out when I’m cycling. They are also really easy to make.

Sarah very generously gave me a stripy cashmere sweater that a previous owner had more or less felted.

I cut off the sleeves & the top of the sweater just under the armholes and finished the edge with a fairly wide zig zag stitch.

The wavy edge became the bottom of the neck warmer & looks rather like a frill. 

It goes with my new (to me) coat and I can cycle without the ends of a scarf drifting out into the traffic.