Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A little bit of lace, a moth-y refashion!

I have had this lovely angora dress in my wardrobe for years.  However a couple of years ago I lived in a house with a serious moth problem.  I managed to get rid of the moths when I moved out but I was left with some very upsetting holes in my beautiful dress which made it more or less unwearable :(

However, in a ruthless wardrobe cull earlier in the year I decided this dress either had to be refashioned or go into the recycling (luckily I still desperately wanted to keep more or less as it was or it could have become one of the many pairs of cosy mittens I have made so far this year). I started by darning the moth holes but some of them were really big and even if you are better at darning than I am, those big darned patches are never going to look that attractive so I needed something else to make this dress fabulous again.

I found 3m of off-white, stretch lace trim in my local fabric shop for 60p!  I couldn't believe it, this was exactly what I needed.  Along with some chunky vintage buttons I had found in a charity shop for 50p, I had all I needed to make my dress a thing of beauty again.

There are a few holes that are not actually covered by the lace, particularly in the back but I took care over the darning and I hope they're not too obvious.  Can you spot them?

I hand stitched all the lace so it was a bit of a labour of love this refashion but I have worn it out a number of times now and always get lots of compliments on it.  I love it and to be honest it is much more me now, I don't often wear plain, simple clothes (although there are those who argue that I should) and the trim makes this dress into something that is much more my style while still leaving me with a dress that is smart and elegant (or at least I think so), not bad for £1.10!

Happy new year everyone!  I hope everyone has the new year festivities (or not) planned for this evening and that 2014 is a wonderful year for you all.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a lovely few days with family, friends, lots of food and of course sewing related presents!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A wonderful French present

I'm lucky, I have a very lovely French lady in my life who I look on as a second mother.  She is my mothers best friend and is brilliant at knitting and sewing and gives me lots of dressing, sewing and knitting tips (even when they are not necessarily asked for).  She has been telling me for a while that I should wear more empire line dresses and now this arrived in the post:

Isn't the packaging lovely.  Although I like being able to get pdf patterns instantly, I love the beauty and romance of the paper patterns and their packaging.

Look it arrived from France by snail mail.  I'm really excited to try this out but I want to do it the justice that it deserves and I'm a little swamped by Christmas sewing at the moment so it may have to wait for the New Year.

Merci Maman Odile!

More haste, less speed

The sewing blogging world has gone silent or is full of posts about how we're all in a mad panic to get everything finished in time. I definitely fall into the later category. Did anyone watch the The Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special (those who haven't watched it should definitely check it out) with joy but also a little bit of sadness that there is no way I will have a chance to even attempt any of the lovely things they were demonstrating between now and Christmas. Maybe for Christmas 2014!

Being under serious time pressure is making me do silly things! Look at this:

This is the second seeing machine needle I've broken in a week! The first one, in fairness was not my fault but this one was definitely a case of too much haste. I'd left a pin in what I was sewing and the needle didn't like it. Oops! 

Hope your present buying/making is going a bit more successfully. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The problem with christmas shopping

Ok so I'm sure most sewists/sewers/stitchers have this same problem but I've got a serious problem at the moment.  I went out to buy fabric for some Christmas presents and when I got back I had this:

The two on the left are the materials I bought for presents and the FOUR(!!!) on the right are for my stash! Clearly I haven't quite grasped the 'presents are for other people' concept. This is not just me is it? Do the rest of you buy self presents when Christmas shopping too?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

What would I Iike to be sewing? Simplicity 5424

Last time my Dad came to visit, he brought me this wonderful herringbone tweed:

Its hard to see from the photo but its a brown and cream tweed with some little flecks of autumnal colours running through it.  My Dad appears to live in a fabric tardis, it's this old family house and generations of the family have been buying fabric for things and when my Dad turns something up in a drawer, he donates it to me.  I'm definitely not complaining, especially when the donation in question is this lovely tweed.

The Simplicity 5424 dress has been on my to make list for ages and I really need some more warm, winter appropriate clothes.  So this is what my lovely tweed is destined for (I know tweed is not a conventional choice for a dress but I'm hoping I can get away with it as its not a very heavy tweed).

I have a stash of 1970s patterns which were given to me by a friend of my mums who used to make lots of her clothes in the 70s and was roughly my size. She clearly had a similar style to me as well because I love almost all of them, how lucky am I?  I used one to make my parasols in the park dress in the summer.  Definitely I think some more will appear on here. 

I do have one question though.  Were people in the 70s really short or was it just appropriate to have A LOT of your legs on show?  I measured this twice and it seemed like it might be a fairly short  but decent dress on me but having made 1970s dresses before I have added 7cm to the pattern.  This made my skirt pieces look really long but better that than a dress I can't wear later.

All my pieces are now cut out and good to go but sadly they are probably going to stay like this for weeks as Christmas is coming up scarily fast and I have a ton of Christmas stitching to do.  I'm sewing like a total obsessive and I can't blog about any of it yet as that would be a massive spoiler.  Watch out for the gift posts following Christmas!

Talking of Christmas presents, has everyone seen the AMAZING giveaway on Tilly's blog.  How wonderful would it be to win this?  Go and get entering. 

I'm off to go ice skating now, stuff the Christmas presents.  Happy pre-Christmas celebrating people!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lady skater take 2

So as I mentioned in my last lady skater post, this pattern/dress is amazing.  It comes together so quickly and easily.  So here is my second lady skater.

And now a little bit of silliness!

The only problem with this dress is that the blue polka dot jersey was such rubbish quality that its really bugging me to wear now.  I have a very sad suspicion that this dress is going to end up on the refashion pile soon. However, I like the colour block concept of this dress so I'm sure another (better quality) version will be on my cutting table soon.
Thanks so much to Leonie who took my photos and bossed me into good positions to show off the dress.  Your photography skills exceed mine by a hundred fold! 
Have a good week!

Monday, 18 November 2013


My sewing machine is currently broken!  Don't know how this happened, the poor thing is probably overworked!  So it has had to go to sewing machine hospital.

In the meantime and so that there is a hope of me finishing my Christmas presents in time, my lovely mother has leant me hers.  The only problem is her machine scares me a little, it's very old and weighs a ton and has many more dials and stuff than mine. However I just need to suck it up and read the manual and get on with it! 


Wish me luck. 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Blogger swap!

When Miche at buttons and birdcages posted that she and Martyna from Spoolish were hosting a giveaway, I knew I wanted to take part.  I love Miche's blog and her refashioning style and was really pleased to be introduced to Martyna's. 

I was paired with Kristi from Alligator toe.  She is so cool and I have loved getting to know her a little.  I had a lot of info to go on as Kristi has lots of resources, like Pinterest as well as her super great blog.  She just had to rely on my fledgling blog and our 'getting to know you' emails but look how great she did:

When this parcel arrived I curled up in bed all excited like a kid with a Christmas stocking.

Look it came from foreign lands:

Kristi sent me a postcard of California (where she's from) which I loved, a letter (more on this in a minute), buttons, a Burt's bees lip balm, nail polish and a tote bag she had made herself.  What a great package! 

These buttons were my favourite and I already have a use for them in mind!

I love Burt's bees but I've never used their lip balm, this one is awesome and its tinted! I really don't think we can get this one here and I'm already obsessed!  Obligatory pouty,  lip-balm modelling photo:

The nail polish is called English rose which is appropriate considering where I live and my colouring.  I painted my toes and fingers instantly (and then did the washing up so destroyed my finger nails but the toes are still perfect).

Modelling my new shopping tote!

Ok so Kristi wrote me a lovely letter, which looked like this:

The envelope opens up so the letter is on the inside of the envelope and it unfolds like an old-fashioned letter which was written on paper and then folded up and sealed with sealing wax.  I thought this was amazing and totally charming.  However when I waxed lyrical about it to everyone, they all were like "duh, Alexa, that's airmail paper" (or something, clearly I didn't listen very hard).  However I still think its really cool and I plan on ignoring all who rain on my excitement. 

I loved getting my parcel from Kristi and getting to know her (hopefully this will continue post presents) and I really want to see what the other bloggers exchanged. 

The others participating in the blog were Miche and Martyna (see above), Louise, Sally (this was the only other person who's blog I knew before, and I love it), Zhenya, Lisa, Katie and Kristy (who doesn't have a blog).

Happy weekend all!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Super cosy refashion

This post is not just inspired by but totally ripped off from So Zo's post on recycled mittens.  I even used the same pattern from fibersandtwigs etsy store.

I have shrunk quite a few of my lovely warm cashmere/wool jumpers in the wash recently and really wanted to do something with them. Plus when my Dad came to visit recently he donated some old and holey jumpers to my refashion stash. 

( since I was quite clearly inside I'm not sure why I had my coat on in these pictures)

These are so easy to put together and a really quick and fun project. 

I used a lovely soft, cosy cotton, viscose and angora dress for the lining. I loved this dress but it was only meant to be hand washed and guess what I did. The exterior is made from a proper old man jumper (thanks daddy) and a red jumper which was originally mine (but again, me and my washing machine had a falling out over it). I used old socks for the cuffs.

I had intended these to be a Christmas present but they're so lovely and snugly that they've become a winter present to me!!!

Just a word of warning: the pattern says to mark the right side of the fabric if its not obvious to ensure you get a right and left mitten. I ignored this advice and this is what happened:

Silly Alexa! Oh well I was planning on making lots of these anyway. I'll just have to make sure the next couple are just left hand mittens! I loved these so much that I have been shopping again at the fibersandtwigs store so look out for some more cosy refashions coming soon.  

Just as an aside, what is the difference between refashioning and upcycling?  I have a sneaking suspicion that what I've done here actually counts as upcycling. On that note, I'm off to google it!  

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Jumping on the lady skater band wagon

So it has already been very well documented in the blogging world that the Kitschy Coo lady skater pattern is amazing.  I'm just adding my voice to this, it really is AMAZING!

I had never sewn with jersey before but there are so many great blogs out there with super helpful tips, so having spent a lot of time reading, I jumped right in.  Also the tips and beginner instructions that come with the pattern are ace.

It may have been beginners luck but this dress came together with no problems what so ever (at least on the stitching front).

In my usual impatient style I did not make a muslin. I figured that as I picked up my fabric for £3 a meter, it could be a wearable muslin. However, I did have to underline it as it was super thin. Even with an extra layer of fabric, I still had no sewing issues! Definitely a testimony to all the great tips out there. Thank you blogging community. 

However, this make was not totally without irritations. I managed to make a very silly mistake through my own assumptions. I have a really long body and always have to lengthen the bodice of patterns, so I jumped right in and lengthened this bodice by 5cm. As you may be able to see (or then again maybe not) from the photos, I really didn't need to, I'm not a massive fan of the dropped waist! 

Sorry for the rubbish quality of the photos. My camera is playing up and I took almost 100 photos even to get these ones!

I took this one just to show off the daisies. When I saw the fabric, there was no way I was going to resist. I had to have a daisy dress!

Just for fun, a twirly photo to show off the skirt. 

This pattern is going to become a staple, I have already cut out and started a second one! So watch this space. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Spotty refashion

I had last week off and was planning to conquer my total ignorance of jersey!  I had this pile of fabric to play around with and was all set to go.

And then I got sick!  Really, really sick and so this pile of jersey has rested in tact and I have made no progress in my jersey skills.  So that update is for another day. 

However, I do have a little refashion to share.  I went to a People Tree sample sale recently and picked u this spotty dress for a fiver.  However, the zip in the back was broken and it was a really odd length.  One new zip (at 56cm this was the longest zip I have ever seen!) and a little hemming and I had one new dress. 

I'm attempting to get to grips with the timer on my camera and also how to set up the camera so here are some better shots taken by my lovely sister on a visit to the natural history museum to see the wildlife photography exhibition. 

I recommend anyone in London to go see the exhibition, its really beautiful and definitely these guys know their way round a camera much better than I do.

As its almost Halloween, I thought I'd share one of the first selfie shots that I took:

Apparently I've joined the ranks of the undead!!!

Hopefully I'll be back with some slightly more exciting makes soon.