Thursday, 18 April 2019

Upcycle: Blinging up a denim vest




This project was a favour for a friend. She had a denim vest she likes to wear whilst motorcycling, but she found that the original buttons were too time-consuming for adding or subtracting quick layers for the weather. The goal was to replace the rivet buttons with a zipper and add some sparkle to replace the crystals in the centres of the old rivet buttons.

The first task was to remove the original buttons. This. was. not. fun. AT. ALL. And it left nasty holes in the denim that had to be stitched up. Like this.
The next step was stitching up the buttonholes. Easier than mending the rivet holes, but still not fun. And very unsightly.

To cover the darns, I fused herringbone twill tape to the front bands and stitched it down on both edges.

The next stage was to attach this decorative zipper with sparkly teeth.
Finally, I attached buttons to both bands in the place of the original buttons and button holes.
And here's the final result: 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Boys' vests - McCall M7223

After seeing their the vests I had made for their older brother (Version 1 & Version 2), my younger sons wanted something similar for their wardrobes for Sundays and special occasions.  Enter McCall's M7223, a boys vest with four variations, long tie, bow tie, and cummerbund.

I first made one for my youngest son, who is more-or-less a nine-year-old version of his older brother's build. I opted for the V-neck version, but without the faux pocket welts.  I used an Indian-style polyester brocade with a fancy border print.  I modified the layout to take advantage of the denser pattern along the front opening.  The lining is a pewter-grey bemberg rayon I had lying around from another project.  I thought it gave a nicer finish than plain black.

Obviously, he had a growth spurt since I took his measurements  :(


I also made one for my middle son.  Unlike his brothers, he is less lanky and more compact of build. What surprised me was his choice of colour.  Since he normally opts for browns, greys, and muddy olive drabs, his asking for a green vest was a pleasant surprise.  So, of course, I had to pick the brightest, most heavily brocaded green in the store.  There was enough fabric left to make a matching tie.
Blue brocaded with silver, Green brocaded with silver and gold.
All dressed up for a family wedding.
I pretty much made everything according to the pattern directions -- except for the ties on the backs of the vests: the brocades frayed too much to stitch and then turn them, so I pressed the edges into the centre then stitched the folded edges together.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Girls' blouse and shorts: McCalls M6951

Late in the summer for this post, but I finally got the photos finished for it.  My daughter needed shorts and a top that was something other than a T-shirt, so we picked out McCall's M6951, which is a blouse with two variations, shorts, pants, and an elastic-waist skirt.

Since the shorts were the higher priority (and the harder item to fit), I opted to muslin them with some navy poly-cotton remnants from the stash.  That way, if they needed extensive alterations, I wouldn't be out of pocket.  Going by the measurements, I cut the body of the shorts in a size 12, and the waist in size 8.  I opted to add contrast topstitching for a denim look (see close up detail later in post).

To size the body of the shorts to the waist, I added small pleats to the front and darts to the back.  (The original pattern instructions called for the body to be eased into the waist).


I made the second pair of shorts in a light-weight cotton twill that she chose.  I repeated the top-stitching detail, and added pre-gathered eyelet lace trim to the hems.  She chose to wear them to summer camp, and apparently everyone wanted a pair.  Heck, I almost want a pair myself.



She chose the sleeveless front-tie version of the blouse and a small-scale floral cotton.  This was a simpler make, cut in a straight size 8.  Instead of using purchased bias tape for the armhole finish, I made my own from a piece of the blouse fabric, but otherwise I made up the blouse according to the pattern instructions.  I used my narrow-hem foot to turn and stitch the lower hem.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Men's Vest, Second Edition

A couple of years ago, I made this vest for my son.  As there was plenty of the brocade used for the lining left over, we opted to make another, this time a dressier version, with the brocade forming the outside this time.  The lining and back were made of black Bemberg rayon, which is a terrible nuisance to work with, being so slippery, but which has a wonderful silky hand to wear.

To reinforce and support the Bemberg (and to make it easier to work with), I interlined the entire thing with pieces cut from a poly-cotton bed sheet too ugly to see the light of day, but which was stable enough to help the entire project move forward more smoothly.

Once again I used Burda 7799, this time without the pockets, lapels, or back half-belt.  I used buttons that coordinated with the silver-white in the brocade.


As you can see, it turned out quite well. The next version will probably have either bound or hand-worked buttons as I work to improve my skills and expand my sewing lexicon.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Polka-dot Portrait Blouse

With spring in the air, it was time to start thinking about spring/summer clothes, especially tops, of which I never seem to have enough.  I spotted a gorgeous polka-dot polyester crêpe de chine with a navy ground and dots in off-white and a blue that reminded me of Delft porcelain, and, what's more, it was heavily discounted ($4.20/metre, instead of $14).  This fabric didn't speak to me.  It sang like the Vienna Boys' Choir, speaking of interviews and summer barbecues and Audrey Hepburn elegance.

What to make from such a versatile fabric?  Nothing but an equally versatile blouse would do, namely, The Portrait Blouse from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

It whipped up really easily, even having to do my usual full bust adjustment and sewing the side zipper, hem, and armholes by hand.  I used a lightweight sew-in interfacing on the neck facing, sewing it to the outer edge of the facing wrong-sides together and turning it right-side out to enclose the raw edges of a fabric that had a tendency to fray a bit.  All in all, it turned out quite well, and I definitely will make it again, maybe a whole collection of them for summer in a variety of lightweight drape-y fabrics.

As you can see from the photos, it goes really well with the pencil skirt I made last month, but I can see it going just as well with jeans or trousers, too, peeking out from under a blazer.


Monday, 21 March 2016

More Purple: Girl's Easter dress

It started with a library book.  Girl's World, by Jennifer Paganelli.  

I started looking through it with my daughter, and she expressed an interest in one of the dress patterns included in its pages, namely "Mary's Fancy Sash Dress".  

A few quick size and yardage calculations later, I found myself in the fabric store looking for coordinating fabrics that wouldn't immediately alienate a ten-year-old girl who has expressed strong dislike for any colours that she deems "girly".  





I ended up with two nicely coordinating purple quilting blenders:

 I only made one minor change to the pattern, using the bias binding facing the neck and armholes on the outside instead of the inside.


Since the skirt was quite long, I took a 1" deep tuck around the entire skirt.

Beginning 1" above the stitching line for the tuck, I also added three rows of trim, two of 1/4" satin ribbon, and one of 1/2-inch bias binding of the sash material.

Once everything was completed, I had a happy girl in a pretty dress.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Purple Pencil Skirt

Or finally, a postable project.
Well, I finally finished one of the personal projects I've had in mind, the high-waisted pencil skirt from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  I copied the pattern nearly a year ago, I've had the fabric in my stash for even longer, but it finally all came together.

It started with a thrift store find, several metres of a purple-grey suiting-weight satin-weave mystery fabric in a shade somewhere between dark slate blue and muted purple.  It might be wool, it might be acrylic or polyester, but I liked the hand and the colour (and the price, of course, appealed to my Dutch sensibilities).  I made up the skirt in a straight size 16, with only minor alterations (shortening the back darts and moving the front darts to a more flattering position for me).  I also opted to forgo the high-waisted look in favour of a straight 1-1/2 inch (3.8 cm) band.

The hardest part was trying to match thread and zipper, since the colour is not really a fashionable shade right now. I finally opted for dark grey.  Oh, and trying to work around a series of regular holes along the centre fold of the fabric, which had probably been a mill end.


This is definitely a skirt for wear with heels, and if I were making it for someone with even slightly shorter legs, I would definitely either shorten the skirt or put in a deeper hem, since it hits me (with a 33-inch/83 cm inseam) just below mid-calf.  The other issue I have is that the hem tends to bind my stride a bit. I will wear it as is for a while, but I'm thinking I will either need to shorten it a bit, or add a vent to the centre back seam.