The Refashioners 2017

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Let me start by saying, although I love the idea of refashioning and I´ve had quite a few pieces I kept to upcycle over the years, I have failed pretty much every single time. Not with the project itself, with actually sitting down and doing it. I was even surprised with myself when I decided I´m gonna actually give this a shot this time. So, one fine morning I went down to the one of three charity shops of my little town and scored a beautiful light green 100% worsted wool suit for the incredible price of E1.50.

Yeah, ONE EURO AND FIFTY CENTS.3

I mean, if I found a bolt of this fabric somewhere, the only thing stopping me would be the price! I knew I wanted to make trousers, cause where I live it´s cold and wooly trousers are the way to go. I played around a lot with different ideas, and I was super happy to find out I could put my legs into the sleeves up to knee height! So I had the lower leg of my trousers ready, and hemmed, and with buttons!

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Then I used the front pieces of the jacket for the front of the thighs. I wanted the pocket to be more towards the side, but the logistics of it didn´t work out. Now, I love that massive front pocket. Obsiously it is more decorative than functional but, that´s ok.

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The back of the pant I kept it pretty straight forward. I used the back piece of the trousers but fitted it to my body. It worked pretty well I must say!

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Then, the waistband. I knew from the beginning I wanted to make a feature out of the collar, and I´m very happy with how this turned out. There was some head scratching as to where to cut it and how to put it together but it all worked fine. The only bummer is that my (one and only) local habberdashery didn´t have a zip in the right colour, so that´s why my invisible zip is in fact, visible.

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All in all I´m super pleased with my first ever refashion! I enjoyed the puzzle process a ton, and I don´t think I would ever get a make like this out of a pattern. I did use a pattern as rough guide, the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. Also, there was a massive difference in the way I sewed this piece. Usually I sew quite fast and make good progress in my makes in the short periods of time I get for sewing. With this one, because there were no steps to follow and, let´s face it I was winging it every time, I only solved one “problem” at the time and then I had to walk away and let it sit. Although this was not satisfying as a rich and fast sewing time, it was super gratifying as creative problem solving time. A very different way to approach sewing, and I must say I loved it! And since then, I´ve been to the charity shop twice and scored a couple of pieces that I´m excited to transform.  This is a super win for me for another reason. Where I live there are no fabric shops (I know!) so it´s either fabric shopping online, or when travelling which I do of course. However, seeing thrifted items as fabric buying just like Portia talks about on the Love to Sew podcast, gave me a third option.

So thanks for this!

For all of it!

 

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A close up, and a reflection on my wardrobe.

Gosh it´s been long…

But you know, that ´s life. I moved countries, renovated a house, got pregnant, had a baby, bought another house and renovated that as well, baby is now 13months old and she has a nanny to play with some mornings, and I can maybe sew and blog a little bit.

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(She´s not happy cause I won´t let her get my phone.That´s all.)

To be honest, it´s not like I haven´t sewn the last two years. I have. I´ve done well given the circumstances. But blogging? nope. No time for that unfortunately. And I missed it, I miss writing and talking to people about sewing really. Instagram is great but the blog is different. And I know the new thing to do is vlog, but I like to write. And I don´t like to look at myself on screen (i can deal with some photos) or listen to my recorded voice.So I´ll stay oldfashioned, and just blog.

So, today I didn my summer/winter wardrobe change. It´s early I know, but I have transitional pieces that stay all year long and I don´t think I´ll be needing any of my really summery clothes. In the process, I decided to be ruthless and clear out as much as possible. So anything I´m not sure I love or I haven´t worn in a while goes to charity. I have to also explain a little bit the different divisions of my wardrobe:

  1. Winter Clothes that are nursing friendly (they came down to be worn)
  2. Winter clothes that are not nursing friendly ( they stayed in storage)
  3. Summer clothes (again, there are nursing and no nursing friendly but I just put everything together until next summer)
  4. Maternity clothes (I´m not done with having children so I need to store these too)

And here´s a picture of what I ended up with:

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I did some counting, and out of 77 pieces 30 are RTW. That means that 61% of my (current) wardrobe is memade. That ´s pretty good I think. The goal is 100% of course, but I don´t know if I´ll reach that, cause there are always RTW pieces that I love and want to keep. However all this, brought up a pretty big question. My wardrobe is lacking very very few pieces right now, in terms of necessity for everyday life, and as I ´m really trying to declutter and live simpler and with less, but I still want to sew for the fun of it,

WHAT DO I DO????!

Clothes is what I like making. Maybe the occasional bag, or quilt or craft project. And the occasional baby thing or hubby make which is fun too. But I also want to try new patterns, and work with different fabrics and make all the things! But I don´t need all the things, can´t stash all the things, and can´t afford all the things.

I came up with a few solutions to work around this situation, and to allow myself to sew garments for myself.

  • Work out what is really missing in my wardrobe, by looking into what dresses and what combinations of separates I have at the moment and what could fill in the gaps to create more outfits with less pieces.
  • Look at my RTW pieces, the role they have in my wardrobe and try to replace them with memade. This is also the place to try new patterns!
  • Improve my construction process for better quality garments, use techniques that take more time but end up in a higher quality garment. That way I get to play more sewing and end up with a final piece that lasts longer and is prettier.
  • All this means also better fabric and pattern buying decisions, and pattern/fabric matching. I am on a fabric buying ban until I use my stash however (even if I do cheat a little every now and then).

All this applies to my knitting of course. So this winter I think I will just knit one pullover for myself, the Lemongrass by Joji Locatelli, and I´m doing this as part of the Joji Fall KAL. It´s already cast on and going pretty well!

As to what will show up here? Well, I´ve got lots of makes that have never been blogged, and I´d like to talk about them. And other things to come….We´ll see!

Glad to be back…

love all around

Ma

 

Cascade skirt in action!

It’s been super long since my last post, and I am preparing a come back with updates and projects of all sorts but I just could not wait to show you this:

 

So Lou Is, is my awesome sister, and this is the video clip of one of the songs from her debut album “Dragons”, available on spotify and itunes. And yes I am biased, but I love it, as well as her voice and talents and as I know the background too, her integrity as a person and an artist.

But what does this have to do with a sewing blog? well, look closer after about 2:40 and you might recognise the skirt design, aka the Cascade skirt by Megan Nielsen, stitched by yours truly! Louiza (or Lou Is) did me the honours of choosing to wear the skirt I made for her last year as a christmas present, for her video and I could not be more proud.

As for the sewing details, it is made out of a silk crepe de chine like fabric, a size small and I’ve shortened the back length  a little to make sure it does not get in the way of dancing (this was made for tango dancing- one of our mutual passions). And I don’t know about you but I absolutely love it!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kielo 1 and Kielo 2

Hi again!

Wow, we’re on the last week of Indie pattern month! It’s really gone so quick and it’s been so much fun!

And before I show you my second Kielo, I am just so thrilled to have won with the first one !!! thank you all so much!!

So here’s take 2!

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As soon as I finished the first one I started dreaming for other versions, and the one I could not get out of my head was the open back, which through the non-stop thinking about combinations etc also transformed into a colour blocked one.  The fabric is cotton jersey, the grey marl I bought in Athens in May and the black one I bought here, especially for this project and I am so happy with the quality and service (and price!).

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For this version, I cut the back piece on the fold but cut a wedge out from the nape to the waist to create the back opening. I left the back slit out but opened one on the side seam, to make walking easier. If I can’t walk easy in a garment, I am not going to wear it, so not an option there! Unfortunately the back is gaping a little, because of my flat back not that I overstretched the fabric ( well..) which I should have adjusted but my first version is fine so when cutting my second one I did not think of it. It’s a loose back and I like  it for a summer day/night but it does need a special bra, if I don’t want it to show.  I also sewed the side seams one inch higher than the mark, because without the full back the whole dress was pulling forward more than it should. Now it stays where it should and everybody is sufficiently covered!

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I stitched everything with a narrow zigzag on my sewing machine, and finished the necklines, armholes hems and all with a twin needle. Now, twin needles have a personality of their own if you know what I mean, and that was a bit of a process but with patience and good steaming, all the seams and stitches are set fine 🙂

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I am super happy with both my Kielo’s and I promise you they won’t be the last ones!

Thank you everyone for reading, and for The Monthly stitch girls for organising such a great month for all of us!

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Tania+briar- separates together?!

Hey ho!! I’m back, much much sooner than I thought.

This is the second week of Indie Pattern Month and we’ve got Separates to play with.

My inspiration came from fabric choice, again a buy in Athens on my recent trip, and again, a viscose but this time woven. My first instinct was for a Cascade skirt as I ‘ve made a few but have none in my wardrobe?! but then, I saw Megan’s  tutorial on how to make Tania midi, and  I was sold! For the top, the Briar is my preferred t-shirt and a pattern that fits me well. Also the hi-low hem goes well with the high waist of the culottes although I do prefer it tucked in. In fact, searching for a top pattern for Tania, most people out there match it with briar, not randomly I’m sure! The fabric for the top came from my stash, a very light cotton jersey that is super soft and lovely to wear. I’ve made several briar’s and one and a half Tania (the other half I managed to stupidly destroy), so I was well comfortable with both patterns.

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For the culottes I followed Megan’s tutorial  version 1, and added apparently too much length. My culottes ended up maxi! I like them though, they have awesome flow and it’s not so hot where I live which maybe will give me a little more wear time. So I kept the length and to make sure they stay as long as possible I did a baby rolled hem- with a special machine foot, which probably took 1/4 of the time regular hemming would take with two wide circle hems.

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I kept about 8″ of ease in the hips on size S when modifying my pattern and I used size M waistband (for space for dessert ;)) Otherwise, construction was super smooth, used an invisible zipper that went in nicely on first try and is-in fact- invisible! I pinked and overlock-stitched all the seams on my sewing machine to finish the insides.

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For the top, I have to be honest as most of my sewing gear is still in boxes, I had to trace the Briar out of another version I have in my current limited wardrobe. But that was easy. I’m pretty sure it is size S. I knew I didn’t want sleeves and that I would add the cuffs from the contrast-culotte fabric. But, I did not have the binding pattern piece which makes it a little random to get a good finish on the neckline. Obviously I had to do it twice! The first time my binding was too long and it was not laying flat. Second time is much improved after a lot of pressing and topstitching ( I love the contrast blue!) but it is what one might say- a kinda sexy neckline. I left the hem raw because it is nicer that way with this light fabric and I don’t think any other finish would actually achieve a clean look.

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All in all, I do love this outfit 🙂 I can wear the pieces together or combine them with other garments , and I’m pretty sure they will both be great staples for the summer!

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Thanks for coming by, and hope you’re having a great sewing summer!

Manouela

the Named Kielo

I managed to seeeeeeew!!!!!!!

Massive smiles here guys….after so long without sewing, with piles of freshly bought fabric in Athens and a long list of new patterns to make in mind, I finally pulled up my sleeves, packed my bags for holidays in almost no time and spread my sewing gear in the living room for a total blast!

The pattern? A total outsider, the Named Kielo.

I think this is one of those patterns that you either see it or not. It is a strange shape, but actually once done and wrapped and all, guys! SECRET PYJAMAS!!!

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The fabric, bought in Athens, viscose jersey, incredibly soft and dreamy,  with great drape. I knew it had to be a simple dress to show the colour patterns, but not too simple, cause well, life should be interesting! My first inspiration was Burda 7059 that I ´ve made before and love, but then, Indie Pattern Month! Hello?!! So I kinda profited the sales, and got a cheeky little pattern for myself also apart from the awesome trousers patterns I received in the swap.

This is the first time I´ve used Named patterns. They come in a range of sizes, but only two sizes are nested in one file. I ´m lucky cause I´m either a 36 or a 38 and these two come together but I guess if you need to grade between more sizes it would be a little complicated. Once printed and taped together, you have to trace the top parts of the pattern pieces and then flip the pattern and trace the bottom parts. I do enjoy the puzzles of patterns so that was not an issue for me, but if you ´re the kind of person that hates tracing-piecing-taping etc keep in mind there ´s a little bit of work there. The work after that is just plain EASY. One piece for the front, two pieces for the back, and two ties.  Four darts and then straight -long!- line sewing. Dress? Ready!

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I did no modifications for fit, I measured the pieces against my body measurements and went for it. I cut size 36 and it works perfectly. The darts sit right and even my normal sway back adjustment was not necessary. The only thing I did was to take 10cm off the bottom to shorten it. That way I kept the hem a little wider than designed. I sewed everything with a contrast blue thread and a 0.5 wide zig zag stitch. I varied the length between 2.5 and 3 depending on the seam. For the hem I turned under twice and stitch, for the armholes and the neckline I stabilized with fusible web just because the fabric is thin and slinky. I did not finish any edges for three reasons, 1 no added thread bulk, 2 no need -gotta love jersey and 3 my overlocker is in a box in the attic for the house we are refurbishing.

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I worked calmly, but non-stop. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes. Yes. You read right. For a whole maxi dress. From cut to finish.

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I will make this again, for sure. I plan a black version. And a much shorter as a top version. And maybe even a kinda open back one but I ´m still working on that. Maybe for one pattern two takes?! 😉

Moves and patterns and no time to sew..

Hello! How are we all doing?

Well, it’s been a bit of a chaos around here! I’ve moved countries, went from the UK to France with a 3-week Greece break and it’s been great!

I’m now in France, enjoying blue skies and green grass views rather than grey skies and buildings, and the only thing I ‘m reaaaaally not happy about is that I don’t have a sewing space and that most of my stuff are still in boxes and I have not -freaking-time to sew. Arghhhh!!!! Of course that’s for a very good reason, since him and I are refurbishing a little house we bought a few months ago and so we’re in a temporary flat for hopefully another month. That means at least another of month away from full on sewing. But then….ooooh…..then….how much to do!!

Which brings me to the the Pattern Swap!

What a fantastic idea! seriously the whole thing was so much fun!! I must have somehow communicated that I need trousers patterns cause both my swap and paper pattern buddies sent me trousers. So I got the Alpi Chinos in pdf and the Ultimate trousers in paper. Now, I looooove the Alpi, and I do hope I can make it work well- I have 2-3 fabrics in mind already from my stash and I can’t wait to get going! For the ultimate trousers I’m not so sure. I already own a burda pattern that is pretty similar and they both miss two crucial elements for me: waistband and pockets.  I have a long pelvis so waistbands and in fact a wide help balance this out, and then, pockets in trousers, need I say more? In any case, I see the ultimate trousers pattern something like the Ultimate infinity trousers, a canvas you can do whatever you want with once you get it fitting right, of course. But Craftsy has a brilliant class with a brilliant teacher and so I’m sure the Ultimate trousers will live up to their name for me, as they have done with so many others out there!

Unfortunately I doubt I’ll have anything ready for Indie Pattern Month, although I have sooooooo many ideas….

Now, the other thing that I’m completely bumped out for not participating is Me-Made-May 2015. You see since about the middle of April, I’ve been with basically a suitcase. And although more than half of the garments in there are me-made, well they ‘re in  serious rotation and so my me-made-may is basically one week and then all the same all over again. I played for the first week and then gave up cause I was bored with my pics- let alone anyone else!

Anyway, that’s my news for now and I hope soon I’ll have some pretty clothes and some pretty pictures from my new environment to show you! For now just enjoy my current living room view 🙂

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Love all around,

Manouela