My friend gave me this 100% silk blouse which was cut on the bias but there was zero ease around the bust area.
The sizing in this blouse was XL but the dart was really small and I can not imagine are many XL women for whom the dart would be correctly positioned.
I decided the fix would be to add a little more ease down the side seams, increase the size and position the bust dart.
Un picking the side seams and original dart was straight forward enough but revealed there was very little side seam allowance.
I made a new dart by pinning using a mirror. The bias cut fabric meant that the two sides often looked asymmetric when I was trying on, so I just had to trust to measuring to get it right.
I selected some lace trim to add into the side seam. The lace only added around 2 inches of ease in total because I had to use some of the original seam allowance to join it, at least with the bias cut there was no fraying.
I also added some different lace at the front bottom edge to make up for the fabric taken up by the larger dart. I suppose the side lace is meant to be functional and the bottom lace is meant to be decorative.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a refashion like this so felt the pressure was on to produce something with a good finish as I’ve done a lot of sewing and gained experience since.
I bought this beautiful vintage dressing gown at a market in Bath about 8 years ago for £15. By vintage I mean before clothes even had labels, the only label was this one. The lack of labels and the design make me think it is pre 1960’s.
I loved the unusual curved shape of the patch pocket.
It’s had light but regular wear for 8 years but the fabric is fragile and has deteriorated, holes started to appear, it got to the stage where it was unwearable.
It’s difficult to see here but the seams had been sewn with a very long stitch, maybe even 5 mm, which I would use as a tacking length, and the edges had been overlocked with a much darker thread.
I decided that a lining to take the strain, was the answer, in the form of a man’s shirt. This one was £2 in a Traid sale 53% linen 47% cotton, brand is Reiss.
I cut off the collar, button plackets, and cuffs.
Then sewed the shirt onto the dressing gown like a lining, with zig zag stitch. It was quite a pleasant project, lots of freestyle sewing.
I am now wearing the dressing gown again, and the Reiss label is useful for hanging it up by.
I bought this skirt on a whim for £7.99 from Oxfam, a bit pricey if you ask me, but that’s Oxfam for you.
It was originally from the mid range ZARA brand, I liked the colour and the style, it looked in pretty good nick in this year’s colour of purple.
There was one problem, it was in a size smaller than I normally wear, but I knew I could fix that.
I would normally wash anything on my normal cycle before working on it but the laundry instructions for this garment were, shock horror, ‘do not wash’ – silk, should have known. Well here was a dilemma, only a few days before a trip on which I wanted to wear this skirt. It didn’t smell, there were no obvious stains so I decided to work on and wear it as is ie unwashed.
The style was flared panels with a secondary flared band at the hem. Easy to make bigger just by shortening the skirt and therefore enlarging the waist a couple of inches.
Deconstructing a commercially produced garment is quite interesting. The waist of this skirt gave up various items of piping cord and binding tape as I continued to unpick it, they will be going in my stash.
In the end, weary of unpicking just cut through the top 1.5 inches of the top of the skirt, outer and lining fabric combined, but unpicked around the zip. This immediately unleashed the unruly nature of the slippery silk fabric and lining. The new waist was turned under by about 1cm a couple of times to secure it.
The skirt ended up a bit shorter but I am a bit short so this wasn’t a problem.
The lining ended up sticking out from under the hem a bit, so turned it under to solve. Those commercial manufacturers don’t miss a trick, I could see that the stich length was time and thread savingly longer on the hem of the lining.
The zip was tucked under and finished with a couple of hand stitches and it was ready to go.
I wore the skirt for the planned trip to Florence
Next to my fabric stash is a smaller but longstanding yarn stash. I’ve had some of this stuff for 20 years and asked myself ‘if not now, when?’
So I’ve been through a bit of a knitting phase and produced this from some brightly coloured 100% cotton yarn bought a long time ago.