LastMinuteLucie and the search for time

Archive for the ‘dressmaking’ Category

Laptop Luxury

I am supposed to be sorting paperwork, but as I was up as early as usual, I have spent 2 hours finally making the laptop case that’s been in my head since Christmas.

I had been carrying my little laptop round in a padded envelope for a while and I thought to myself,  ‘why not make a case from it?’

Of course, lovely as padded envelopes are, I am a fancy fabric girl and ( a shock to you I know) I had kept a dress of my daughter’s, (already upcycled from Lovely Husband’s Great Aunt’s skirt) that she had grown out of. The fabric was too gorgeous to give up so I decided to use it for this project.

I discovered some co-ordinating lining fabric in my stash and basically made a pillow case to slot the opened up envelopes into. Then I folded and sewed the edges together and turned it right side out to make a pretty padded envelope before topstitching some of the edges to hold them in place. A piece of elastic I’d saved from the waistband of a garment too worn to give away was perfect for holding the flap closed and to finish off I raided my braid box.

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The bonus is that my little laptop can no longer lurk in dark places, laughing at me while I search for it – this bright wrapping will make it easy to find!!

 

 

a silk purse out of two sows ears

I have continued to have a lovely time going through my make do and mend box and now own several more wearable pairs of trousers and shorts after some mending and cutting – it’s amazing how easily you forget what you own when the items are languishing out of sight.

In amongst the waiting items were two of Lovely Husband’s old grey t-shirts. He had a habit of buying lots of the same item in the past which turned out to be great for me when he put them out for the second hand bag.

With Oldest Daughter on her summer holiday earlier than Youngest Daughter I decided to find her something creative to do, so I gave her a heart shaped stamp, some fabric paint and the t-shirts (with cardboard inside) and told her to stamp away.

When the pattern was dry and ironed to fix, I used the t-shirts as fabric to make her a new summer dress. I literally laid her favourite dress onto the t-shirt; first the top half (adding a few inches as she is ever-growing)

dress4

and then the skirt part onto the second t-shirt. I had to wiggle it about here to make it fit, so the swish is slightly less, but it still works.

I then simply sewed the pieces together and hemmed the skirt, neck and armholes.

dress dress2

As you can see it looks pretty and fits well. I think oldest daughter is pleased.

 

busy busy busy

I cleared out my craft corner (again) recently, trying to make space for the paperwork I know will be part of my new course.

This meant I unearthed my sewing machine from its corner and yesterday I set to on my make do and mend box.

In one day I managed to:

shorten/adjust two dresses

fix and line my favourite handbag

adjust a t-shirt for a better fit

repair my horribly torn pyjama trousers

hem smallest daughters school trousers for next year

In addition I rediscovered a much loved linen jacket. It had torn and worn cuffs so I hand pleated 5 metres of cotton ribbon, cut off and reapplied the cuffs and then applied the ribbon to the bottom hem and cuff ends. Here is the gallery of work:

Fotor0716225620

Am very happy.

Summer Skort – an upcycling challenge

It’s Half Term! Huzzah!

In reality this just means I am only working two days instead of four and have had to organise childcare, however, it does involve a Bank Holiday, so all is good.

I am a winter skirt wearer – when tights can be worn without comment. The reason for this is comfort, but I love the idea of summer dresses and skirts.

Halfway through yesterday I decided I had time to try and make something that has been rolling round the creative space in my brain for a while – a skirt with shorts underneath; so I took that pair of trousers with inside leg wear (aka a hole) and a top that I no longer love as much (but still love the material) and made it.

Here’s what I did:

First, I cut the legs off the trousers at the point where they had worn. Fortunately for me this was at a short shorts, rather than a hotpants point  🙂

shorts shorts3 shorts4

Then I cut each of the detached legs open at the inside seam and opened it out and cut the top at the underarm point – I ironed them after this photo…

shorts5

The next step was to create a piece of material long enough to give me the opportunity to try a pleated skirt, so I cut the top into equal pieces and sewed the pieces together alternately, then trimmed the length.

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Joining the pieces gave me a circle of fabric to pin to my shorts. This was the most time consuming part. I pinned and unpinned several times using my trusty dressmaking model. The hardest part was deciding how high to pin the skirt so I got a flattering length. I basted the pleats and, after a few try-ons, I pinned and sewed the skirt to the shorts using a zigzag to try and flatten the top edge a bit – I have enough bulk of my own…

shorts8shorts9

I am pleased with the result. It looks the way I imagined it and it is comfortable to wear. I won’t worry about the summer breeze and flashing my knickers and I have the comfort of a pair of shorts. I won’t be wearing it to any events, but it will be great for ordinary days out and for popping to the beach etc. Roll on proper summer.

shorts10

 

 

 

 

turtle neck to cosy hood

It’s been horrible here – days of wind and rain after a promisingly sunny start to February.

Some years ago my sister in law bought me a fleece scarf/rollneck/tabard affair. It was a glorious purple and a lovely idea, but I hardly ever used it because (and here is vanity from a woman who never carries a brush with her) getting it on and off gave me Einstein hair.

So, now my girls ‘borrow’ all my hats on a regular basis and never put them back in the drawer, I thought I’d change this purple piece into a hood and scarf that I would use.

Here it is in it’s Before photo – beautifully modelled by my wonderful mum:

scarf

As you can see it has the rollneck thing going on and the scarf piece at the front has a matching bit at the back. Anyway, I unpicked one side then marked and pinned a hood shape in the other:

scarf4 scarf2

I stitched the shape and cut off the excess material before trying it on for size:

scarf 5 scarf3 scarf6You can see here it wasn’t quite unpicked enough to sit neatly on the nape of my neck so I unpicked it further after marking with a pin where it should go to.

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I then hemmed all the raw edges on my machine.

scarf 8

Now I have a scarf with a hood attached I can go out in the blustery wind and keep my head, ears and neck warm!

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I’m very glad to be able to wear it now – it’s such a cheering colour on a dull day.

Cat cushion-Challenge 5

I am really on the repair/upcycling challenge this month!

As with my younger daughter’s panda hoodie, my older daughter had a grown out of hoodie with a cool motif on it.

This time I decided to marry it with a cushion she already had – a lovely checked number which, believe it or not used to be a pair of shorts I actually wore. (I do worry about my younger self sometimes – and sometimes I admire my ability not to care what anyone else thought…)

The cushion had originally been made in a hurry, but now I had time to recut the fabric so it would be a slightly squarer cushion. I cut out the motif and I was ready to go:

Slide1

I applied the motif using the same powder as I had used to repair my trousers and then I stitched by hand with a running stitch, to make sure it stays on:

Slide2

All that was left to do was stitch up the cushion, replace the cushion pad and, because I was feeling lazy I stitched up the bottom on the machine as well:

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And here he is complete:

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Cool.

Hoodie to cushion-a tutorial

So here I am at January Challenge number 4 on the 25th of January – with a tutorial. Hurray!

This time it is a pink hoodie my daughter got for Christmas 2012 and has now grown out of. She loved the picture however, so I said I would make it into a cushion to add to the collection on her bed.

I loved the shape of the Panda so I decided to keep this as part of the cushion design. I pinned the front and back of the hoodie together, drew a line an inch away from the panda and then cut out the motif:

panda panda2

I then put the pieces right sides together, pinned and sewed a seam all the way round – leaving a couple of inches open at the bottom for stuffing:

panda3 panda4

before turning it right sides out I clipped the edge all the way round because it is curvy. This gave me a better edge:

panda5 panda6

I decided not to go for toy stuffing or cushions stuffing. While making my sewing mat I realised I had an entire drawer full of offcuts and fabric bits and pieces that I will never use. I cut these up and used them to stuff the cushion:

panda7 panda9 panda8

When I was happy with the stuffing I sewed the bottom up by hand:

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My panda cushions is heavier than a normal cushion – so he is a kind of cushion/toy combo. But he looks great, my daughter loves him and, although I kept a garment from the second hand bag I also have plans for the hood, so the hoodie didn’t die in vain… 🙂

Handbag makeover-challenge 3

Continuing on the theme of the month, the repair and upcycling basket, next on the agenda was a handbag I bought in a second hand shop in the summer.

I needed a little handbag while I was on holiday, just to hold the old purse, phone, keys and specs and I found one for less than £5. Ok it was khaki and it had HOOCH embroidered on it, but it did the job for the week away.

When I came home my bigger and much loved usual handbag broke. Aaaargh! Since September I have been using my summer purchase (and starting to really dislike the embroidery and the useless flappy inside pocket) so I decided to do something about it.

Here it is pre scissors and unpicker…

handbag

It took me quite a while to get rid of the embroidery, but I persevered because I wanted to use some iron on transfers I had. I also took great pleasure in cutting out the useless flappy pocket.

handbag2

I chose tree and plaid motifs that went with the khaki and followed the instructions very carefully, because I am apt to rush… As you can see I was successful.

I was going to buy some co-ordinating ribbon to rebind the edges, but during January Challenge 2 I rifled through a forgotten bias binding stash and serendipitously found the perfect colour for my bag too. Result!

I am pleased with it overall; the colours work well and the binding really pulled it together –  I’d  still rather have my old, bigger bag though…  😦

handbag3

Feeling keen:January Challenge2

I thought, as I had tidied my craft space, I would get the sewing machine out of it’s hidey hole and into use.

It makes a bit of a rattle on the table so the first thing I wanted to make this year was a mat to go underneath it.

With my upcycling challenge in mind, I got out all the smallish scraps I had from old clothes and donated bits of cloth. I looked around for a template and found a handy square envelope, then I got to work cutting 12 squares for the top of my mat.

Slide2

Then as neatly as I could, given all the different fabric types and my tendency to rush, I sewed the squares together 3 x 4.

This fitted neatly under my machine and then I had a brainwave. In my stash had a piece of practice quilting from a class I took some years ago (it’s the wiggly embroidery on the right there). I added this to the end of the piece, to make a place to stick pins, lay scissors etc.

I used an old fleece blanket for the filler and the legs of lovely husband’s trousers (left over from making them into shorts!) for the backing. I pinned carefully and then sewed simple lines through all the layers.

Delving into my sewing box I found an unremembered selection of bias binding inherited from lovely husband’s great aunt. I trimmed the edges with this and now I have a beautiful quilted mat that stops my machine being noisy and holds my pins while I sew.

Slide1 Slide3

other January challenge posts : darn it! January challenge 1

Darn it! January Challenge 1

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that play on words 🙂

I have designated January as the month for upcycling and repairing as I have a large pile of clothing requiring one or the other and I thought it was about time I got underway!

My newest jeans (bought in July) have started to wear at the top of the inside leg – trousers always wear here which is annoying, but at least it’s fixable.

I used Wenko Stoff-Fix to iron a piece of old blue bandana on the inside of the leg where the holes were beginning. I then tried my best, with ordinary thread to darn the right side of the jeans leg. You can see by the photo that I am not particularly skilled. I just wanted to make it stronger.

darn

After that I thought why not add a bit of pazzazz to the area, embroidering lighter blue flowers – ok I’m likely to be the only one who knows it’s there, but as Elbert Hubbard said, “Art is not a thing, it is a way.”

darn2

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