New Look 6262 in African Wax Print

This dress was inspired by all the Christine Hayes Emery Dresses I’ve been following online. But my when my regular online pattern retailers were all out I just couldn’t wait so I picked up New Look 6262 from a Spotlight sale. It’s an unlined dress with 4 versions all with gathered a-line skirt and finished with a neckline facing.7Modifications- I made a muslin (size 12, version B) because I wanted the bodice nice and fitted and I know I want to make it again in a sleeveless and maybe a midi length. I had to raise the waistline a couple of inches and I added a little ease to the sleeve cap because it was pulling slightly across the high bust. I think I’ll add pockets for the next one.2Fabric- my sister bought this gorgeous print back from a London trip especially for me. This is my second time working with African wax (first make here). As with many African wax prints added time for pattern matching was essential due to the large repeats. I was so careful about this stage but I still managed to mess it up. If you’ve got a keen eye compare the front and back centre line and you’ll notice what I did.1I’ve haven’t been able to find many bloggers who have made this pattern so here are just a few:  Oh So Pretty‘s two makes of version B, for the French speakers among you Petit Poisson Rose‘s lovely navy number and check out the gorgeous collar detail on Needle and Thread‘s V-neck version.3I’m really happy with how this dress turned out, which means I’m sure you’ll be seeing at least another one sometime soon, although I’ll have to add it to the long list.

Men’s Shirt Refashion (part 2 bottom half)

So, here is the companion piece to my last men’s shirt refashion. I hope you recognise the blue linen… yes, it’s the bottom half!  The top half started life as a medium men’s shirt in 100% of the most gorgeous cotton, it was so well made and the white buttons (which I used all of on this make) were beautiful. It was almost a shame to cut it up…almost. This dress was very much inspired by Grainline’s Alder shirtdress pattern which I do intend to make because I love her patterns and they always work really well for me.fullConstruction – I removed the sleeves of the olive shirt and cut the bodice using McCall’s 6696. I agonised over the horizontal seam; should it sit above, at, or below the waist??? It’s always a danger with colour blocking like this that you end up looking cut in half and a bit stocky. I decided on ever so slightly above the waist. I’d love to hear your preferences on waistline placements for loose fitting dresses and tops BTW.backI was thinking about adding fish eye darts around the waist but decided a simple box pleat at the centre back was enough to cinch in the waist without busying up the colour blocked seam.pleatI had to redo the button placket on the bottom half linen section because the detail was different (you can see it here).4I bound the armholes with drafted bias strips from the discarded sleeves. The original linen shirt had a straight hem but I added a slight curve up at the side seams which I think was a nice addition. You can see I’m sticking to my “loose waist=shorter hemline” rule a little more for this make (I know the last one was a midi length, still works though I reckon).

2Refashion tips I learned on this make:

  • When secondhand shopping for refashion pieces look for quality of fabric.
  • Because the olive shirt was a medium I made sure to unpick the armhole stitches instead of cutting them off like I did on my first refashion. This makes sure you get the most out of the fabric, you never know, it may come in handy.
  • Unpicking serged stitches is a massive drag.


Men’s Shirt Refashion (part 1 – top half)

Let me assure you all I have been sewing lots of thing I just haven’t had a chance to photograph anything, it’s always the hardest part I find. This little dress was a quick refashion that was completed for Repurpose Reuse Refashion way back in August.1Following Sally’s advice from her top 5 refashion tips to go for big sizes so you’ve got lots of fabric to work with I bought an XL chambray linen Country Road men’s button up shirt for $4.5First off I unpicked the sleeves and was all set to cut a sleeveless version but I noticed that if I took the side seams in as is it created a nice cap sleeve. So I just flattened it out, turned under the seam allowance of the armholes then joined the side seams.3The bottom half was a rayon/spandex remnant I got from The Fabric Store. I had no idea what to do with it but I loved the colour and have always been a big fan of rayon (my April Rhodes Staple Dress is rayon jersey, so gorgeous). It was a bit sheer so I decided to fold it in half along lengthwise and attach the cut seams to the waistline leaving the fold as the hemline. Kind of like a bubble skirt without the pouf. 2Well chuffed with the result of this experiment, I love the colour combo and the skirt construction. Happy to report I’m getting more confident with following my sewing instincts.

4Next up -the other refashion I made from the bottom half of the chambray shirt.

Selfish Sewing Week- Adelaide top by See Kate Sew

It’s that time again, Selfish Sewing Week brought to you by Imagine Gnats and Kollabora! So many fabulous makes and new indie patterns I didn’t even know about are making their way onto blogs all over the place. And guess what, you all get the chance to win one of 40 new indie patterns, you heard right! Click here to enter and win big.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOut of all the patterns on offer to the featured stitchers I decided on the Adelaide top by See Kate Sew, love the details on the pattern- front bib with ruffles, bust darts, cap sleeves, back key hole with elastic loop and shank button closure and neckline facing. I don’t think there is anything else like this out there at the moment, I get a real librarian chic vibe from her patterns.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the sizing I decided on the small even though my bust measurement sits at the top end. It fits great but it is snug around the upper bust but that’s on purpose, any looser and it might look a little boxy I reckon so I’m happy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only modification I made was to take 3″ off the length, I’m a little short in the waist so this is a usual adjustment for me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe elastic I used for the key hole loop is a little thick but it was in my stash and it does the job. The button I used was leftover from my sleeveless Grainline Archer from ages ago.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabric I chose was sitting in my stash, it’s an old thrifted Bonds doona cover from The Salvos, I love the pink and grey together. I just knew the stripes would go really well especially with the ruffles. Cutting it out was a pain though, I had to do it on the floor single layer to match up the stripes, but well worth it. I really like the pattern to fabric combo I’m calling it my circus top though, it’s a little Big Top isn’t it? I’m going with it.
Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.31.08 amI didn’t have any issues with this make, it was really fun and interesting. I hadn’t sewed a keyhole facing before and I spent a bit of time getting the ruffle on the front distributed evenly. Plus being 100% cotton it sewed and pressed really well which is always nice.

Big thanks go out to Imagine Gnats and See Kate Sew, I just love Selfish Sewing Week. Don’t forget to upload your selfish makes on Kollabora to join in the fun and good luck in the giveaway.


Repurpose Reuse Refashion Winners Announced!

Our esteemed judge has sweated over all your fabulous entries and come to her conclusions, an unenviable task I might add. Congratulations everyone and thank you all so much for your contributions. Sally has generously guest posted for the announcement so let’s get on with it shall we?

First of all, thank you very much to the 35 entrants to the competition. The standard was very high and I really enjoyed looking through your innovative refashions! If you haven’t seen the entries, take a look at the Flickr group here:

Anyway, I know you are on the edge of your seats to find out who won the prizes. So without further ado…

Drumroll please…

The ‘Best Use of Dye’ award goes to….

Sue at Fadanista ! Sue bought three similar T-shirts and dyed them all the same colour to make this fantastic easy-to-wear dress. Congratulations Sue!t shirt dressThe ‘So Simple but So Effective’ award goes to…

Amy at Craft & Thrift ! Amy cut up the front of her jumper and used velvet ribbon as a facing on both sides, then added buttons and buttonholes to her new cardigan!jumper to cardiThe ‘Fearless Use of Bleach’ award goes to…

Almost a Hippy ! She made this really striking dress by pouring bleach freehand over this little beauty. It’s sensational!bleach dyedThe ‘Most Interesting Thrifted Fabric’ award goes to…

Lady Lauriston for this sweater-to-skirt refashion! Some of the most interesting material I’ve seen and it made a really great, versatile skirt. Well done, your Ladyship!jumper to skirtThe ‘Creative Use of Multiple Garments’ award goes to…

Meggipeg ! She used Vogue 1316 to combine fabric from four different sources into this incredible tonal grey dress. Outstanding work, Meggipeg.15060409845_9dc31aae84_zThe ‘Prom Dress to Red Carpet’ award goes to…

Michelle at made this stunning crop top and pencil skirt outfit for her daughter Mori from a thrifted prom dress. I particularly liked the contrasting topstitching. Congratulations!15081223091_f15c97176b_zThe ‘Chic But Thrifty Wedding Guest’ award goes to…

Gema at ! Well done Gema on transforming this rather plain dress into something spectacular. That yellow colour is fantastic, what a great find!14785905157_3d250db34b_z14785782389_2263050bcb_zWinners, please email Amy at sewamysew1 [at ] gmail [dot] com and she’ll let you know which pattern you won.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you to everyone who entered or supported the competition by spreading the word. I hope this has encouraged all you sewists to give refashioning a try!

And another big thanks go out to our sponsors who generously donated their awesome indie patterns for prizes. And… that’s a wrap for Repurpose Reuse Refashion 2014. 

Refashion Inspirations – A Top 5 Guest Post

Another guest post from Sally of Charity Shop Chic to inspire you with your refashion projects for Repurpose Reuse Refashion this month. Just click on the image to check out the full post. Take it away Sally;

Need some ideas? Here are some of my favourite refashioning projects from my own wardrobe to help you get started.

1. This men’s jacket refashion was inspired by a Stella McCartney jumpsuit. Although it was quite an involved tailoring project, I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot about tailoring in the process.1 collage2. This trench coat was sent to me as a challenge from another blogger. I love a challenge and spent hours transforming it into something Kate Middleton-worthy.2 collage3.  A moth-eaten wool kilt didn’t seem like the most promising material, but I made it work by freezing the fabric and cutting around the holes.3 collage4.  I loved the print on these silk trousers. There was so much material left that I worked it into a simple top for a matching summer outfit.4 collage5.  Another designer-inspired look, this project was a real challenge. Draping and patternmaking combined to create this unusual shirt. 5 collage

Now if that doesn’t get you excited and inspired to get your refashion on I don’t know what will. I’m really enjoying my foray into refashioning this month, it’s really testing my fitting and problem solving skills in particular. I love that it’s making me a better sewist.

Don’t forget entries close September 1st and winners will be chosen from the Repurpose Reuse Refashion flickr group so upload your before and after shots to win a whole bunch of indie patterns people!

Refashion #1 An Exercise in Imperfection

I wanted to start off with something simple and practical for my first refashion. I’ve had this top in my wardrobe for more years than I care to admit. It’s too big but I just love the cowl neck, the colour and come on, who doesn’t love paisley? It’s a little too 70’s for me as is and it’s too big, I don’t know why I’ve held onto it for soooooo long.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Plan-

  • Take the shoulder points in and bind the armholes with self bias binding cut from the sleeves.
  • Add vents to the side seams to make it fall straight instead of blousing around the hem.

Simples.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVents, check. I just unpicked the seams and overlocking stitches and turned the seam allowance under and topstitched. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter I took the sleeveless off I realised I had to take the gathers out of the yoke seam in order to attach the bias binding to the armholes smoothly. So far so good….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I took the gathers out of the yoke seams and re-cut the armholes they turned out a bit too big (excuse my pit). It means I have to wear a camisole underneath it but that’s ok, I’m totally new at refashioning and I’m learning as I go.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven with it’s armhole imperfections I call it a triumph. It’s not going to languish in the dark corners of my wardrobe any longer, and that’s what Repurpose Reuse Refashion is all about.  I totally love the fabric and will now get actual wear out of it! And, electric blue paisley….. hello?! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t forget to upload your refashion before and after shots onto our Repurpose Reuse Refashion flickr group to be in the running to win some great indie patterns.

Top 5 Refashion Tips – A Guest Post

To help us all get started with Repurpose Reuse Refashion this month I asked our esteemed judge and inspiration for this fab competition Sally from Charity Shop Chic to do a quick guest post sharing with us her top 5 refashioning tips for beginners. Just click on the image to check out the full post. Take it away Sally …

1. Use your imagination. Just because something started out as a dress doesn’t mean it can’t become a jacket, or vice versa.

jumpsuit collage2. If in doubt, go bigger. Look for garments bigger than your size so you have plenty to work with.
grace kelly collage3. Keep your eyes open for garments with unusual or embellished fabrics that you wouldn’t be able to find at the fabric shop. For example, I particularly like working with ‘ethnic’ garments.

african collageembroided collage4. Combining pieces of more than one garment – whether the fabrics are co-ordinating or contrasting – can increase the scope of your projects considerably.

print top collagewhite t collage5. Don’t forget, no-sew projects are possible too. Reaching for the dye (or bleach) is a great way to give new life to a garment and a great way to get creative.

dye collageClockwise from left 1, 2, 3, 4.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and expertise with us Sally. Hope everyone is getting super pumped about their refashions, I’d love to hear your ideas! I’m almost ready to share my first one with you all very soon, eek!!

This August join me for Repurpose Reuse Refashion! (and win some great PDF patterns while you’re at it)!

Inspired by the lovely Sally from Charity Shop Chic and her new pattern company Capital Chic (check out my pattern testing makes here) I wanted to come up with an idea that would celebrate her and her exciting new endeavour. Cue…… Repurpose Reuse Refashion! A month long competition encouraging all you sewists to look deep into your UFO pile, WIP pile, scrap pile, existing wardrobe and/or op shop to give something preloved a new life and save it from the rubbish heap.RRR logoFirst of all huge thanks go out to the equally talented and lovely Carmen Hui for designing this stunning logo. Isn’t it just beautiful?! She’s a wonderful illustrator and also whips up a mean summer dress.

Entries must be either:

  •  A charity shop/op shop/thrift store buy (finished garment, curtains, bed sheet, silk scarf etc) sewn into something new.
  •  Something from you or somebody else’s wardrobe that is headed for the charity shop sewn into something new.  Basically taking something from the dark and dusty back of the wardrobe and returning it to regular rotation e.g.
    • sleeved into sleeveless
    • maxi into mini
    • pants into shorts
    • dress into skirt or top
    • men’s wear into women’s wear etc etc
  •  An unfinished or failed sewing project turned it into something wearable instead of throwing it out.

Participants are asked to upload their before and after images onto this dedicated Repurpose Reuse Refashion flickr group and from there the winning entries will be awarded in early September by Sally herself (the queen of refashioning in my eyes) for the most innovative transformations. Entries close 12 midnight August 31st Sydney time.

Prizes include your choice of PDF patterns from our generous sponsors:sponsors logosCapital Chic, Tessuti Fabrics, Measure Twice Cut Once, Imagine Gnats and Closet Case Files.

Excited much? Forget about it!

All refashions are welcome from the crazy and unrecognisable to the thrifty and practical. My hope is that this will be a great opportunity for us all to inspire each other by sharing upcycling ideas in one space and to celebrate the creative, economical and environment art that is refashioning.

Now, I’m a real newbie to to all this having only started sewing a year and a half ago so I will be learning along with you all. Keep your eye out for refashioning tips and guest posts throughout August… oops I mean Repurpose Reuse Refashion Month (as it shall now be known).

I hope you’re all as excited about this project as I am and you’ve got tonnes of ideas percolating already. I just can’t wait to see all your transformations.

100% Japanese Baby Doll Dress

I am so in love with this gorgeous dress I can’t even stand it! I have so many projects to shoot and post but this one jumped to the top of the queue as soon I finished it last week. There have been a heap of babydoll dresses popping up on pinterest lately that have inspired this make.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Miss Matatabi announced this past June Nani Iro month I took it as a sign that I should purchase some of the latest collection. I really wanted to make this yellow polka dot Pierre Pocho double gauze into a Japanese pattern, so as soon as I saw this cowl neck drop waist dress from Stylish Dress Book -Clothing for Everyday Wear I knew it was a match.pattern imagesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern recommends using a cotton voile so the cowl neck sits heavy and drapes but I just love the structure the double gauze gives it, it sits up so beautifully.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo visible stitches! I hand sewed all the hems while sitting in the winter sun on my day off, so lovely. The double gauze is perfect because you can catch the stitches to the under layer so they aren’t visible from the outside. I really should hand sew more, it’s really worth the extra effort.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI only used the top section of the pattern and just cut 2 rectangles for the gathered skirt. I had planned for the waist to sit a bit higher (more at my true waist) but I don’t mind how it turned out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was reading this Sallieoh post where she writes about moving more toward fitted silhouettes since embracing her curves. I feel like I’m moving in the other direction, I always thought loose fitting shapes were not for me and my curves but now I’m into them. I think the trick is that you have to keep the skirt length short, you can’t lose the waist AND the legs, it’s one or the other I reckon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnybody else loving the new Nani Iro collection?