Friday, August 21, 2015

Recycle Runway Challenge - Part 2: Refashion - Blazer

This post follows on from part 1

The Blazer;

Jacket - Before

Jacket - After

I've been a bit obsessed with antique military style jackets, but haven't been able to justify making one yet so this seemed like a good excuse to play with the idea.

I cut off about 6" in length and removed the lining. Fitted it by taking in the side seams and princess seams which also narrowed the shoulders. Straightened the front of the jacket by removing the lapels and added a button band. Shaped the hem to add the points and used red felt to overlay the collar and the sleeves. Added shoulder epaulets made from the welt pockets and red piping to the hem.

I managed to cover the old buttonholes up on the front with braid but you can see where I zig-zagged them closed on the inside.

I used a hem facing - seemed the easiest way to finish off the shaped hem and then I handstitched down the lining.

The chinese knots are made from braid which was fused then hand stitched to the front of the jacket. The buttons were from my stash.

I was really impressed with the shoulders and sleeve cap supports inside the jacket - I've been annoyed at how mine have been collapsing and after looking at this I have been way undersupporting the sleeve cap. This had a layer of horsehair (or hessian?) and then another layer of a thick wool felt that was doubled over and stitched to the shoulder pad.

The front button band was too thick to try and sew buttonholes so I use press studs. Mine have always looked crappy but this time I followed this video of Susan Khaljie's, I used 2 strands of upholstery thread which had been waxed and they turned out pretty damn good if I do say so myself!

The only thing I wish I'd done differently is make this to fit me, not the daughter!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Recycled Runway Challenge: Part 1 - Refashion skirt and shirt

This ended up being a huge post so I've split in into 3 parts

Our local library runs a sewing competition each year, the idea is that you get a bag of 2nd hand clothing and have to refashion it into an item of clothing or outfit.
In my bag of clothes I got a kilt, 2 shirts and a blazer. After a lot of sketches and googling images I decided on a military/punk look (though my daughter reckons it looks like a weird school uniform!) and managed to convince the daughter to model for me.

The Kilt

This was a pretty basic refashion - All I did was shorten it and removed about 3" of the front overlay plus moved the buckles. The fabric is a scratchy wool that pressed like a dream and completely hides the hand stitched hem.

The Shirt

Before - Shirt 1

Before - Shirt 2
After - front
After - back

Shirt 1 - Cut off the sleeves, added princess seams to the front and back, shaped the hem, used the fabric from the sleeves to make an overlay for the back with the eyelets in it.

I used the shirt 2 as bias binding to finish the arm openings and the hem.

Most of the time taken on this was in the fitting, I pinned out the princess seams on Amber and had to refit them a couple of times. The back overlay I used muslin pinned on to get the right shape and fit then cut them out, interfacing the inside facing where the rivets are attached.

The fabric is a poly blend so it was really hard to get a smooth press with it, it still looks a bit wrinkly.

We did a trial outfit run and after seeing it on her I shortened the hem another 2".

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ginger Jeans: Pull-on version

I've been loving all the ginger jean variations and really liked Gillian's article about turning them into pull on jeans with an elastic waistband.

Same adjustments as last time.

I used bengaline from Spotlight and sewed them up the same as normal, the bengaline doesn't actually have as much stretch as my last denim pair so I let the side seams out through the thighs and hips. I'd taken out a side seam wedge last time too and it was a bit much so the pants feel a little twisted, I'm halving it for next time.

In Gillians tutorial she says to add extra length so the waistband hits at the natural waist. Really take notice of this because I didn't originally and they looked like wrinkle city. Once I unpicked it and added a new waistband with an extra 2" in height they are not trying to creep upwards anymore and are sitting a lot better!

I added rivets in an attempt to look more jeany (is that even a word?)

I really like them with my Simplicity 2446 blazer (and its how I'd normally wear them)

They were a fun experiment, I'd definitely make more but I'd double check the stretch next time and add some fitting allowance because these are a tad tight!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Grainline Studio 14001 : Morris Blazer

I love me a knit blazer - my unofficial work uniform is ponte pants and some form of drapey cardigan so when I saw this new pattern on Instagram I got it straight away.

I made a quick muslin to check for fit and then cut into my good ponte. I still had to do a bit of fitting as I sewed. I thought I could get away without a proper FBA and just use a cheater one but you can still see a lot of draglines in this blazer. I added an armhole dart which helped but on my next version it will have a proper FBA which I reckon I'll rotate out into princess seams.


  • Size 14 through the shoulders
  • Graded out to a size 18 from the underarms and down
  • Dropped armholes by 1"
  • Changed the armhole shape
  • Added a dart at the armhole
  • Shaped the side seams

Material is a purple ponte from Clear it and a black ponte from Lincraft. I used a knit weft interfacing on the facings. I had a bit of buckling happening at the front so I stitched down them down. Its still buckling slightly but I can live with it. I've seen this on a few knit version made up, seems to be the difference in the weight and stretch of the facings to the main.

The instructions are pretty good. I did change one thing though - it has you turn under an edge on the facings and stitch them down, I serged the edge and didn't turn it under before topstitching to reduce bulk. The sleeves are sewn in the round rather than sewn in flat. This does allow changes and adjustments to the armhole shape and it does feel like you have more movement but I'd still prefer to sew them in flat!

I will sew it again - in fact I've already cut out my next one with a couple of changes. I've worn this version all day today though and its seriously comfortable!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Simplicity 2446: Denim blazer

This is the second time I've made this pattern (first time was in a ponte) and I'm really happy with this version. I made a couple of fit changes and also made this one unlined.

The jacket looks slightly too tight in these photos. I wanted it to be very fitted as I'll most likely wear it open all the time (of course I forgot to get pics of my wearing it open, d'oh!) The sleeves are full length too, but I like them rolled up more.

There were a couple of fitting issues last time - mainly the excess near my arms/upper bust. I'm happy to say this was fixed by taking out excess length above the bust which also helped the lapels to sit smoother

I added an extra button which makes the front look more balanced.

The fabric is from Lincraft - its a thin stretch denim. I got it at the last sale and thought about making pants with it but its too thin and I'm glad I held off because its an awesome jacket material.

Original adjustments;
  • View C
  • Size 18 with a C-cup
  • 1" FBA
  • 1" upper arm adjustment

New adjustments:
  • Added 1" to sleeve cap length
  • Removed 1/2" length above bust
  • 1/2" swayback adjustment
  • Added a centre back seam
  • Added 1/2" to side seams because this fabric wasn't as stretchy as the ponte
  • Added width to the forearms so I can roll up the sleeves

I do have some bunching behind my neck so I'll be taking out a wedge next time and I've added some length to the body and sleeves.

Happy sewing!