Category Archives: Refashion

Sewn: A Stevie Budd Outfit, or Two

2020 was quite the unusual year, I think everyone can agree to that. It was memorable, albeit for all the wrong reason. But while many of my plans were cancelled (travelling, Green Day, Trevor Noah, just seeing friends and family), I can’t say that my year was bad. It certainly wasn’t good or fun, but I would say more boring than bad.

The colourblocked raglan

There was one good thing to come out of 2020 though, which was my discovering and falling in love with Schitt’s Creek! I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS!

I had heard of the show, but I couldn’t access it anywhere, until like September, when my local carrier started streaming it. It took a while, but I fell in love! And keep on falling with every episode passing. It has humor, both subtle and not so subtle, and a lot of heart. I’m at the point where I’m jealous of those that haven’t seen it since they have so much fun ahead of them.

The dark grey raglan

So, when making fashion inspired by this lovely, funny, heart-warming show, I didn’t turn to David and his amazing knits, nor did I look to Alexis’ boho chic wardrobe. I emulated Stevie. Unintentionally, but that’s how it turned out and I guess Stevie’s style is the most practical for me in my everyday life, especially now during work from home.

Also, coming of a stint of shirt making, I wanted to make something quick and easy, something I knew I needed and could be finished quickly. A bonus was that this was pure scrap busting, using my best pattern Tetris skills to eke out the various pieces, for the white fabric I had to sacrifice the curved hem. A couple of years ago I sewed a pair of leggings that I rarely wore – they became the light grey sleeves on the white/grey version. The dark grey is a leftover from a dress I sewed in 2019, which became my Christmas dress, 2 years running. Since I bought all of these fabrics in bulk at Ohlssons Tyger, I have no idea of the contents. I think the white and light grey are cotton/elastan, the dark grey might have some polyester and/or viscose in it. I haven’t done a burn test (do those even work on elastane fabrics?).

Full Stevie Budd outfit – all me-made

Just drop me off at Rose Apothecary so I can be BFF with Patrick and David. While I relate to many aspects of Stevie herself, I think my everyday commentary on life is more in line with Patrick’s. But I’m not making myself (yet another) light blue shirt. (Spoiler alert, I made a dark blue shirt to end 2020)

Now, the only question is, do I write something Schitt’s Creek related on the white top and, more importantly, what quote would that be?

Outfit details:

Tops: Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan t-shirts in mystery fabrics

Shirt: NL 6407 in plaid cotton

Trousers: Pinda Pants by Waffle patterns in stretch denim

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Refashion: A New Life For A Wonky Dress

Three years ago I went to the lovely Cape Cod for a family wedding. It was 8C and rain when we landed in Boston and for take-off, one week later, it was 35C and sunny. Quite the contrast! (This is me in Cape Cod, BTW)

The wedding was held at the bride’s parents’ house in Chatham and it was a nice affair. We were served lobster, which I avoided due to an allergic reaction the previous year (according to my cousin (MD) lobster contain an allergen that do affect everybody, it’s just the cut-off limit that varies for different people) and danced the night away. Or, rather evening since the kids were only 4 and 7 at the time. I had made a dress for the occasion, a dress with which I struggled immensely. It was a nightmare to fit.

The before. With a safety pin in place. And a dried-out lawn.

I have worn the dress since, but always with a safety pin holding the neckline in place and having such a solution meant I never really felt comfortable in it. Plus the waistline was wonky and I always felt like such a fraud whenever I wore and got compliments. People got fooled by the pretty fabric that this dress looked good. So, I decided a refashion was in order.

The after, front. Everything lays nicely no and I can move without fear of indecent exposure.

I internally debated on whether or not I should make a skirt or a “new” dress. In the end I settled on a dress, since I had enough fabric leftover to make a new bodice*. I used the Belladone bodice from Deer & Doe; I added length and removed the back overlay bodice, extending the underlay bodice to match the front shoulders. This meant I could keep the back v-line, which I like having in dresses. Instead of using bias tape as facing I lined the bodice in a thin voile, with interfacing around the neckline, for comfort and structure.

The back. I like back v-necklines. And I did the zipper better this time. *Win*

Since the dress was finished right before midsummer it accompanied me to a small gathering with friends and it held up fine for all classical midsummer games and dances. I would not have done the “little frog dance” in the previous version, but with this dress I had no worries that my boobs would pop out.

So, refashion success!

 

*Bodice in Swedish translates to “liv”. As does life. So in Swedish when I say I gave my dress a new “liv” it means both bodice and life. I do appreciate a good word pun!

SWAP: Summer 2020

My summer plan for 2020 is bittersweet. Like anyone, anywhere, the Corona virus has an impact on my life. It’s not a major infringement, but plans that have previously been made are cancelled and that is sad for me. As I am a person I can keep many thoughts in my head at once so I do understand why these things are cancelled and cannot be done and be sad for me, I can also look at the big picture, the scale of the global pandemic; the lives lost, the economic setbacks, the consequences of isolation, and realise that my sacrifice is quite small. I stay home to flatten the curve, in solidarity with those who need to fight in the frontline.

Thing is, I had so many fun plans for this year; I was going to go see Green Day and Trevor Noah. For the summer we had rented a house in Italy and I had planned to do an interrail trip with the kids through Germany to get there, learning about history and culture. While none of this is officially cancelled yet, I think it’s pretty safe to say that none of it will happen. Before the corona virus made its way across the world I had bought some fabrics and had ideas for a travel wardrobe, that would take me through a city vacation and a beach vacation. But, you know what? There will be a summer no matter what! Plus, the time when I sew with a series rolling on the tablet is a great escape from the constant corona feed that is perpetually ongoing. So, I will sew those clothes anyway. Because I need the outlet, because I need the hope that this too shall pass. Here’s what I plan to sew:

The plan!

Yes, my drawings suck. Let’s move on from that. And see below for fabrics.

I figured I need some neutral tops, so I planned to make some in a linen knit. However, I am now a bit concerned that the linen is too thin and will be too see-through. The other top is the Lane Raglan from Hey June Handmade, which I won in an Instagram giveaway and I hope will make it here during the current circumstances; for this top I have a striped viscose knit.

The skirt, which I already finished, is a lovely floaty number with plenty of details such as pin tucks, pleats and gathers; the fabric is a poly/viscose twill.

As for the amazing white/blue/yellow viscose knit (I seriously love that fabric!) it will be a dress for the beach, a coverup if you will. I haven’t decided on the pattern, I have a tank dress pattern, but I’m thinking if I should have something to cover the shoulders.

The purple tree cotton (organic!) will be a “Sew Many dresses” dress, I’m thinking the basic bodice, U-neckline and pleated skirt, maybe sleeves.

I thought a bum bag, in purple with gold details, would be perfect on our travels this summer, and maybe it can make itself useful in other adventures.

Lastly, my refashion of the plan. I sewed this dress for a wedding 3 years ago and struggled to get the fit somewhat OK. I still tug at it whenever I wear it, so in the refashion bin it went. There is a piece left so I might be able to make a new bodice, maybe I could even keep the back bodice?, or I could make it into a skirt. We’ll see where the creativity will take me.

The fabrics!

And, while I have already made that skirt, after I put the plan on paper I got another idea. So, currently I’m sewing off the plan, a jacket (Simplicity 8610) in a mauve gause. I’ll be back on track soon enough…

The unplanned project (really hard to capture the mauve colour)

Completed: Spring Plan 2020

In my wardrobe planning FB group, we are to plan our sewing for each of the four season. So, from January up until now I have been sewing on my spring wardrobe. Part of the rules also stipulate that you need to present the outcome by the end of each period. That time is now!

Drawing is not of mine competences

From January to March I’ve been sewing to fill my spring wardrobe. Usually I don’t make a mini wardrobe in my plans, but rather work to fill identified gaps. In parallel we are also working through the wardrobe architect series, having a virtual get-together every two weeks to discuss the topic at hand. It’s interesting, but also nice to virtually meet the other members, especially in these days when other social interaction is sparse.

I had planned to sew a variety of clothes. From lounge-wear, to a party skirt; from work-wear to a sentimental skirt. I also hope to include a refashion project in every plan. In the end I sewed 6 of my 7 planned garments.

Completed Plan

The year started out strong with the rectangle skirt, which is now my go-to lounge at home. In fact it’s also my work from home skirt as it is really comfortable but still dressed. The dropped sleeved shirt (not blogged) is also comfortable and I love the sheer voile, but it’s not 100% me. I wear it and will keep it, but I won’t be making anything else in this style. Plus, I don’t really care for the dropped shoulder sleeve on me; I have two blouses with them now, that’s enough for me.

I did sew the trousers, but ended up a dud. Not even good enough for lounge-wear. I couldn’t get the angled seams good, I misjudged the width of the elastic for the waist so they keep riding down and in a moment of “let’s just get these done” I cut some holes in the fabric in a botched attempt to level out the hem. Too bad, since I liked this pattern and I need trousers but maybe I should stick to something a little less technically complicated at this point. While I changed the pattern for the curtain skirt, I did use my grandmother’s fabric to make a skirt. My wrap cardigan also got a makeover and is now a front open cardigan instead. I decided to push the Brumby skirt into the future; I still need that type of skirt but I didn’t feel inspired to make it with many events being cancelled.

Bonus garments! (Aka. other stuff I sewed)

Finally I made the grey Briar as on overlay top. It’s good that I planned it as an overlay as the neckline was quite wide as drafted and is prone to fall off the shoulders. In addition I made yet another Briar, in denim jersey (seen with the denim skirt above in a work from home pic, yes my sewing room is now my home office), a striped denim top, which I think will be great for summer, and a wrap top in rayon jersey, with just enough details to keep it interesting. Both the two last pieces are from Burda 02/2020.

 

My spring sewing, which became a bit too focused on the warmer parts of spring, but still pieces that I wear and like to wear. If we forget those trousers ever happened…

Sewn: The Curtain Skirt

This project is near and dear to my heart. After my grandfather passed away 2 years ago, we had the task of cleaning out his and my grandmother’s (who had passed 5 years earlier) flat. We took one weekend, my cousins, my aunt and uncle, my dad and my sister, and spent it in their flat, sharing memories and mementos, telling stories and reminiscing. An interesting detail was that we all had connection to different things and stories to share and others had forgotten about.

And yes, I made that top as well. Pretty happy with the top/skit/belt styling here.

Anyway, my grandmother was quite the crafty person. Having grown up as the eighth of nine siblings in a contract family, statare in Swedish. Due to the conditions as well as WW2, the whole family was told to make do and mend. She enjoyed working with her hands, as did her mother, and tried many ventures; sewing, crocheting, weaving, lace-making, knitting and quilting. She continued to learn new things, she took up quilting in her 60s because she wanted to learn something new.

If you’re wondering about that right hand side blur – my phone slipped in the case.

While sorting through the linen closet we came across these curtains, which were woven by my grandmother with an added lace edge, crocheted by her. While it is a curtain fabric, I wanted to keep it and make it work for some sort of garment, most likely a structured skirt due to the nature of the fabric. It took me a while to find that pattern and then it took me some building of courage to cut into the piece of fabric. Luckily, my aunt cheered me on as she wanted the fabric to be used rather than just lying in box somewhere.

Pleats in front, double darts in back

I went with a skirt from Burda 01/2020, number 111. I like the Burda patterns and came across a few magazine in a Facebook pattern group, so I decided to expand my collection. This skirt features pleats that go all the way up into the facing, which leaves an interesting visual effect. Pleats and darts, as in the back (double darts! Great fit!), don’t usually involve the facing, but in this pattern both do extend to the self-facing, which makes for a pretty good fit. I shortened the skirt a bit, which I had to decide beforehand since I wanted the lace edge for the hem and omitted the belt loops and self-belt. While I think I will be wearing the skirt with belt, due to its shape I think the belt will stay put. Otherwise, it is an easy add on, should I change my mind. I also added a cotton/poly voile lining, due to the weave being a bit loose and, well, white. I just sewed it onto the self-facings, added the darts and pleats and sewed the side seams really long.

The double darts make for a great fit.

I’m glad I finally dared to cut that fabric and I hope my grandmother likes the idea of cutting her fabric up in order to make something I’ll get a lot of use out of. My aunt texted me a newspaper clip, with the final line saying that we should honor the artisan by using their things, so she approved of my decision. And every time I wear this skirt I’ll be sure to send my grandmother a thought, wherever she is.

 

Sew For A Change – August

For the month of August the theme in Sew For A Change was recycling. We were to set ourselves three goals on how to improve our recycling. I must admit that it was difficult to find three challenges as we already have so much in order (we have organised a great system, the kiddo knows what to do (or asks if he’s unsure), our food waste is turned into biogas by the waste company). But I wanted those ten points… My challenges were:

 

  • Recycle textile

I did not know that textiles could be recycled. So far for me they have only gone in the waste bin. Another lesson learnt during Sew For a Change! I have not investigated if our recycling station has textile recycling (since everything is picked up at home, we hardly ever go there) . However, I did learn that there’s a home décor store, Hemtex, who has textile refashion and gives a voucher to be used in the store on your next purchase for each bag you hand in (50 SEK on a 300 SEK purchase). As someone in the Facebook group mentioned, I don’t think they considered a bunch of sewers seeing this. I have now organized (not very well at the moment, two bags in my sewing room, one with scraps and small bits to go to textile recycling and one with bigger pieces to be donated to the kids’ pre-school (if they want it, otherwise it will be recycled the old fashioned way).

Coolest cassette leggings for coolest toddler
Coolest cassette leggings for coolest toddler

 

  • Refashion usable textiles

You know those garments you’ve made that you for some reason don’t really like or have no more use of? We all have those, right? Even if I don’t want to wear them myself, there’s something difficult about throwing out the clothes I’ve made with my own two hands. However, I found no difficulties in chopping them up for clothing for the kids. It was quite liberating actually, making a new home for my discarded clothes. The nursing top, along with the remnants of the fabric, became the coolest leggings ever for Little E, she also got a new fall cap in the dress fabric. I have always taken out zips and buttons, now if I discard something I will see if I can make use of the fabric as well. Also, I cut off a torn pair of the kiddo’s jeans to make shorts. As for the back of the cut off jeans, I made patches for another pair of torn jeans. Recycling at its best!

Jeans recycling
Jeans recycling

 

  • Reduce waste.

Even if we have a pretty good recycling system, it is always better to reduce waste altogether. In order to reduce glass waste and transport I have filled the freezer with blackberries, for my winter needs of berries and I have pickled beets (ecological and very locally produced (our backyard)). It was all put in jars and containers we already had, thus reducing waste. I have bought myself a moon cup, let’s I hope I’ll like it as much as many others! I held on to the plastic bags that the kiddo’s underwear came in, perfect for hanging on the desk while sewing and using for threads. Before throwing something out in the future I will see if I can find other use for it.

Yum, blackberries!
Yum, blackberries!

 

As for shopping: Nothing! To be honest I don’t miss browsing the chain stores anymore. I don’t want to look like everyone else. However, I find thrift stores extremely inspiring and it’s a good thing they’re quite inaccessible for me otherwise I’d shop till I dropped, which is not the point of a consumption challenge. Now I feel I’m at a point where I can dress fun and varying, while adding pieces one by one through sewing. Thrift shopping has allowed me to try new silhouettes and shapes and has given me a clearer view of what I want and wear. Win-win! I also gotten into buying household items at flea markets, especially things that I don’t have an urgent need for (on my fall list I have lemonade pitcher, a cake plate, pearl necklaces (for crafting pearls) and kitchen towels to make fabric napkins).

 

My new thread collector, used to hold underwear
My new thread collector, used to hold underwear

Ingoing points: 48 p

Star challenge: +10 p

Outgoing points: 58 p

One last confession before I leave you. In my teens I used to watch The Bold And The Beautiful. Yes. Therefore I cannot think about recycling without thinking of Sally.

Sew For a Change – Recycling

The theme of August is recycling. Both in Sew For a Change and in the Reuse/Refashion/Repurpose challenge as hosted by Amy. I will combine these two.

We were challenged to find three areas in which to improve our household recycling, with tips on areas given by Alexandra. The challenge for me is that we already are pretty good at recycling our trash. We get everything picked up at home, we just do the sorting and put it in the bin and then gone! We have a good organization under our kitchen sink with bins for metal, paper, waste, plastic, cardboard and food. We take glass out pretty quickly without storing it. The kiddo knows that different trash goes into different bin. (He was all sorts of confused on vacation where we had only one bin and he had to throw his juice box in with the waste). However, most of my fabric trash ends up in the waste. No more! Here are my three challenges:

  • Recycle textile. I will give some scraps to the kids’ (yes, kids in plural, little E begins next week) preschool to use in crafts. If they don’t want it I will take it back. As for the rest I will put in in textile recycling, I know a few chain stores that have this option, I don’t know about the recycling centre as we hardly visit anymore. But my scraps and leftovers will be used somehow. I will also put up an extra bin in the sewing room so I can separate my fabric scraps from regular trash.
  • Refashion usable textiles. Yes, another textile point. Clothes I don’t wear will be donated to charity (or sold if I think I can actually make some money). Those I don’t want to donate, i.e. stuff I’ve made poorly, dirty, stained etc. I will try and make use of. I will hold onto buttons and zips for further use and try and use the fabric in a clever way. So far my Cassette nursing t-shirt (in which I nursed little E) has become leggings for little E (very circle of life), my discarded Envy dress became a beanie for little E (using a free Stoff och Stil pattern).
  • Reduce waste. Even if we have a pretty good recycling system, it is always better to reduce waste altogether as well as using what we have and what nature can give us. This has been an excellent year for blackberries so I have picked and stocked up my freezer with blackberries to use in the winter, meaning I won’t need to buy berries in the winter, I’m using jars and pots we already have and there’s no need for transport. I will also pickle all those red beets in our garden, they will hold up and again no need to buy pickled beets! To reduce my personal waste I will invest in a Mooncup, let’s hope I’ll like it. I will try to fulfill my needs with what I have (for example in order to recycle textiles I must in my sewing room separate fabrics scraps from other waste – I won’t buy anything new for this). We already use reusable shopping bags for grocery shopping, otherwise that’s also an idea to reduce waste.

 

Do you think my three areas are enough to warrant me 10 points? Do you have any tips regarding recycling? Can you help a mooncup newbie out?

(Oh and my life is not just about Sew for a Change. I have a few creations to blog about, but when I went to take pictures the camera batteries dies (in both cameras!). So hold on. A sundress, a Tee and a regular dress is on the way! As well as musing topics related to sewing)

Creation: Midnight Sun Shirt

In the spirit of Sew For a Change I decided to mend and make do. This led me to cut up one of my me-mades and make myself a shirt.

Midnight Sun Shirt (12)

The long wrap dress was made from a wrap top and was ill-fitting and I felt very hausfrau when I was wearing it. I was never really comfortable in it. The fabric however is a lovely cotton poplin that is wonderful to wear, so there’s no way I would let it go to waste.

Violet Dress

I cut off all seams and just used the piece for a new pattern, the Lily shirt (same pattern as dress above, only shortened) from Jenny Hellström’s book Sy! Från hood till skjortklänning. In the book she instructs us not to mess with darts and rather take the clothes in at CB/CF and side seams. But, after my Rule Britannia dress I was on an FBA high, so I tried that out. It’s not a perfect FBA, the vertical darts runs from the bust to the waist, so it was a bit hard. Even if the fit is not spot on, I think my attempt of an FBA made it better than using Jenny’s idea. However, she wants everyone to sew and that you could be a beginner and making her projects and I honestly don’t think FBAs are for beginners, they come at a later stage and shouldn’t hold back enthusiam.

Midnight Sun Shirt (14)

I was a bit short on fabric so I had to cut the collar in halfs and set a seam at the CB. It’s not that noticable. Also, I had no fabric for sleeves, so a sleeveless shirt it is. I used black bias tape for facing the armholes. The belt is a leftover from the fabric’s stint as a wrap dress and I like it with the shirt too so that gets to live on as is. Plus, do you see how well my shirt gos with the matching Midnight Sun Skirt?

Midnight Sun Shirt (9)

This was a rather quick make, I can’t belive how fast it took me to sew this up (the buttons were hand-stitched on during that fatal Olympic hockey final). The instructions tells us where and when to sick-sack/overlock the edges and we are only instructed to do so for the seams that get a lot of strain. That saved me a lot of time, so let’s hope the shirt doesn’t fall apart.

Midnight Sun Shirt (13)

Mind you, this fabric is not black, it is blue, so what do I have? Another look for #SewBlueFebruary! Here’s a closeup of the collar as well. image

Sew For a Change

With all the stashbusting I can’t join I feel left out. However, thanks to a good link about an FBA tutorial, I found a new blog and a new challenge. The Sew For a Change Challenge.

It’s two Swedish bloggers behind this challenge, Alexandra and Malin. The challenge is about sustainability in what we buy and wear. At the beginning of the year each participant is given 75 points to spend on fabrics and any items of clothing, with different costs for different garments. Through monthly challenges we can receive extra points to spend on other things. All rules can be found here.

This challenge is actually perfect for me since I’m allowed to shop my stash for free, but it is not forbidden for me to buy new fabric, as long as I stay within budget. Also, second hand shopping is encouraged since it is free, but again, I’m not forbidden to buy new items within my points budget.

So, this is what I will be doing during 2014. A new challenge, I like it! And I’m so committed that I’ve already got the badge up, see right column.

Striped Shirt Refashion – Stuck

I haven’t been doing much sewing lately; I had one week vacation by myself with the kiddo and then we went away for a week. The fabrics I bought during the sale haven’t even been touched (except for the Satin). In June I was working on a shirt refashion, but now I’m stuck.

My problem is the darts. I love how the darts are sewn and they shape the fabric wonderfully, however they sit too low on me. I started unpicking them (hard work as each dart had four seams) but as can be seen above I’m left with small holes where the threads used to be. Even after steaming they are still there. Plus the threads were secured really well and it was hard to get them out without ripping the fabric.

My next idea is to cut the darts off and hopefully still have enough fabric lengthwise to make the shirt fit. I would probably need to take the side seams off yet again as the darts are not at the same height back and front.

Right now I’m at the point where I feel that everything I do moves me back in the process. Hopefully I’ll get a shirt out of it in the end – I have a new idea for this shirt, although I don’t know if it’s doable. Otherwise it’ll just be a tossed shirt in the learning experience pile – don’t buy shirts with darts!