After a Fashion?

 

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The inside of my winter wardrobe.

I don’t often post on this blog: I’m usually to be found thinking about quilts at She Sews You Know , but as my thoughts are wardrobe related I thought I’d write them here.

Lately, I have been reading a few things about minimalism, capsule wardrobes and having the clothes you need for your life. Project 333 is one you might like to look at if you are interested.

There is nothing minimalist about my wardrobe. Running kit, scruffy clothes for walking the dog and cleaning out hens are all in drawers and of course there is the extensive laundry pile.

There’s also nothing fashionable about my wardrobe.

This is still my favourite coat and it makes me easily recognisable. No one else has one like it and that’s my aim where possible.

There are only two items hanging there bought new from shops – a green maxi dress bought in Berlin and a camel maxi coat bought about fifteen years ago. There isn’t much of a colour theme: if I think it suits me I will wear it. Sometimes I find or make a piece and it has to wait a few months until I find or make a piece that goes with it.

I recently filled up a bin bag of clothes for the charity shop – I make mistakes and I go off things. I’m hoping there’ll be other people out there who aren’t too worried about up to the minute fashion so they’re not wasted.

 

This is my evening skirt, made of silk, lined with silk and worn once, maybe twice. It didn’t get added to the bin bag because I’m planning to reuse the fabric for other projects. The silk top is already in the unpicking pile.

I am trying to build a wardrobe I can actually wear year in year out until it wears out – I get fond of clothes and I don’t want to trash the planet. I love clothes  but I don’t want to be dictated to. I want to wear clothes that represent who I am, brighten up my life and let me get on with that life.

I’d love to hear from you if you are working on the same lines…..

Norma x

PS. Yes, still wearing them!

 

Refashioning old silk shirts and scarves

1990s silk shirt

This shirt is made from lovely soft silk.  I think it dates from the early 1990s and I bought it in a charity shop.  I repaired and wore it a few times but decided it would be better turned into something else.  There were quite a few worn patches to avoid so I had to make something small.

Silk shirt refashion 1

Made using an old pattern  from Sew Hip magazine. I had to  make these in four pieces but French seams make them very comfortable anyway.

And then I got carried away.

Silk Knickers 1

The broderie anglaise pair are from a silk shirt I made but hardly wore because the colour doesn’t suit my face. Ok as knickers though.  I’ve got enough fabric left to make another pair from that and from the delicate silk scarf I used to make the other pair.

I can’t do much sewing at the moment because the room I use is being redecorated & everything is bagged up for sorting.  I’m looking for new storage & I’m going to reduce what I have. A year of mainly using my stash doesn’t seem to have made much impression on the mounds of fabric bits I have.

And here is the top I made over the Christmas holiday……

Burda top in needlecord

Top is Burda 2934.  Another version shown here.  This one is from a  needlecord remnant I bought from Ditto when I went to a drawing class in Brighton just before Christmas. The remnant wasn’t quite big enough so I used some stash fabric for the facings & bias binding.  I will try to remember to do a close up photo as I think the conrast actually improves the look of  the top.

Thanks for all the suggestions about my 1970s dress.  I am going for mini length with three quarter length sleeves.  Roobeedoo suggested the longer length dress might make me look like a lady vicar & I think she could be right. I am going to the Goldhawk Road shops tomorrow to try to get some fabric.

Victorian Refashioning and Making my own Moisturiser

A friend gave me bound volumes of Girls Own from 1880 and 1881 and this lovely skating party drawing comes from them.

About once a month there is an article called “Seasonal Dress and How to Make It”. It assumes the reader will be making her own clothes and will be anxious to stay in fashion.  There are descriptions of what materials to buy, how to alter last seasons clothes to suit and of course, some bossy stuff about what you actually need and what’s suitable- nothing changes does it? It’s definitely the best bit of the magazine though.

Making Shea Butter Cream moisturiser this morning.

The finished – if slightly messy – product.  This time I managed to make it without getting the grittiness I had last time.  Maybe I made more effort with the whisk?  I’m not sure. I’ve made lovely shea butter lip balm from this book.  That was successful first time.  The moisturiser takes less time to make than mixing a cake and there are no parabens in it.

I have just cut up this silk skirt.  I made it about 10 years ago and I think I’ve worn it twice.

I was going to make a patchwork skirt from silks but I think I prefer velvet. I’ve got one old velvet skirt to cut up but I’ve got to look for a few more colours before I can start.  This fabric is going to be cushion covers.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

New Coat at Last

I’ve finished! And I love it!

Back view

Collar close up. I’m afraid my dress form is a bit ropey – sorry about the strange effect.

Front close up.

I know it still buttons on the “boy’s side” but I don’t care about that – my 1940s library book says that button holes should be sewn up and remade on the opposite side.  I think the binding is a good enough distraction.

The book also says that the lining should be opened and the side seams tailored to fit.  I thought the coat looked fine in a loose silhouette. It’s good for getting lots of warm clothes underneath.

What I did:

Mended the back and covered it with binding.

Shortened the sleeves and added binding.

Added binding to the pocket openings.

Changed the buttons.

Added decorative buttons.

Added binding to the front openings.

What did I use?

The binding is a blue wool melton. I used what was left over from this quilt.

The buttons were all used before on other clothes.

I’m linking this to Lakota’s Ta Dah Tuesday.  Why not pop over and take a look at the other projects there – always fun!

A 1930s Sewing Machine and a Coat in Progress

This lovely 1930s machine was a gift and I think it is wonderful.  It is the only one of my 1930s machines left.

At one time I had four sewing machines but I sew in a very small room and I could hardly move.  Now I have only this one and a modern Pfaff.

This sewing machine can get through horse rugs without difficulty and yet it sews lightweight fabric really well.  A real treasure!

This what I’m working on at the moment.  It’s a man’s wool coat torn at the back. I’m hoping to get a coat for me out of this.

The before picture.

It’ll be a long time before I show the after photos, I think.

More Dyeing

Cotton jumper with crochet inserts, hand dyed using Dylon’s Bahama Blue.  I love this colour!

This was the jumper before dyeing.  Nothing really wrong with it, but it didn’t get much wear.

Now it will get lots of wear!

My linen trousers were also hand dyed.

I am still concerned about the ecological damage done by dyeing, but so far I have been unable to find any better method.  Suggestions welome!

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