When one of my best friends announced she was pregnant I knew immediately that I wanted to sew a quilt for the little one. My experience with quilting is rather limited. After a tedious project in high school I was convinced I hated quilting. Matching up all those seams seemed to be impossible and I am too much of a perfectionist to be happy with un-matching seams. It then took almost 15 years before I considered quilting again.
Through the online sewing community I was introduced to the fascinating world of quilting and learned that there were really modern designs out there. Seeing quilts pop up at various garment sewists’ blogs made me curious to give it another try. The perfect occasion came around when my boyfriend became a godfather for the first time and we were thinking about a present for the baby for the christening. By the time we had collected all the materials we had one week until my boyfriend had to leave for Germany which meant we had to power through a whole weekend to finish it. It came together surprisingly quickly, it just does help immensely when two people are working on it at the same time. While my boyfriend was cutting and ironing I was sewing it all together. The design was the same as the one pictured only with slightly different colours.
Designwise I was inspired by Katie’s quilt, I just love the geometric design. I tried to find a triangle size that allowed for enough pattern play but wouldn’t lead to a crazy amount of work. In the end I settled for triangles with a base length of 20cm which lead to final quilt size of approximately 140cm x 90cm. For the construction I didn’t really follow any instructions. After cutting the triangles, I randomly sewed together squares out of 4 triangles and using a cardboard template checked if they were all the same size. I then laid the squares out and rearranged them until I liked the design. Then I sewed together rows and attached one to the other. Stitching in the ditch I sewed the top layer, batting and bottom layer together. This part was surprisingly time consuming. As I followed every single seam I had a lot of rows to sew along. I finished the quilt with some store bought polka dot bias binding. I attached the top bit by machine and secured the back with invisible hand-stitches. It took me two full evenings watching Netflix to finish it, but I like that it looks very neat. The first time I was a little bit nervous throwing the quilt in the wash (apparently this is the thing some quilters are most looking forward to) but it came out looking nicely crinkled.
The quilt pictured is now my second quilt. I took a lot more time to do this one and finished it over a couple of weeks. It matches up pretty well, even though the perfectionist in me still finds some seams that are a little bit off. I just tell myself that this is how the recipients will know that the quilt was hand-made. I have to say I enjoyed the quilting process more than I would have expected. There is something incredibly therapeutic about repeating the same step over and over again. And I love the final result. It feels modern and reminds me of some of my favourite Danish designs. I must have subconsciously been influenced by my year in Copenhagen. Now I only have to find the time and muse to make a full size one for our sofa.
So here is the thing, I have never participated in a sewing-related challenge before, even though I love following them online. So when the Refashioners 2015 started I was really excited and loved reading the blog posts, especially because some of my favourite bloggers were participating. Still it took several calls for submissions from the community until I asked myself, why not join the fun? It’s not that refashioning is something I am not familiar with. I love flea markets and charity shops and have refashioned lots of clothes, mainly tapering jeans or shortening skirts but I tried my hand at a couple of men’s shirts as well.
So I decided to go for it and once I had made the decision I started plotting. I had a look at a couple of shirt refashions on Pinterest but quickly realised that I didn’t want to feel like I had copied someone else. So I went straight to the charity shop and tried to find a shirt that inspired me. Originally I had wanted to play with stripes (I just love Dixie’s shorts) but since I couldn’t find a nice striped shirt I settled for this chambray one. The shirt has a very nice quality with lots of details like cute little tags and embroideries. Since it was a size L and had long sleeves there was a lot of fabric to work with and I decided to make separates as I am loving the coordinated separates trend. I went for top and skirt as the shirt already had a nice curved hemline which would work well for a skirt.
In a first step I tried to figure out the shortest skirt length I could get away with and cut the shirt in half. Then I took off the sleeves and the collar. First I wanted to get rid of the collar but it just felt wrong to throw away something that was so beautifully constructed and I decided to use it as a design feature. I then interfaced all the skirt pieces to give it a little bit more structure. Using one of my favourite miniskirts as a guide I added darts in the front and in the back and took in the sides. For the waistband I decided to use the collar. As this obviously wasn’t a giant’s shirt (and I am not that tiny either) the collar was way too small to fit my waist. Looking at the rest of the shirt closely I realised that the cuffs had almost the same width. So I cut the collar in half, added in the two cuff pieces and the waistband was born. I kind of love the quirkiness it adds to the skirt, at the same time I feel like wearing a huge shirt around my waist and am tempted to add a bow tie to complete the look ;-)
To finish the skirt off I added another button hole to the bottom to avoid indecency and put the two pockets on the back. First I thought this might be a little bit too much but in the end I really like the 70s look it gives the skirt.
For the top I was left with not that much fabric. Even though I wanted to go for a cropped look, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable with showing that much midriff (I find it rather fascinating that British teenage girls don’t seem to have that problem at all). Luckily the sleeves provided enough fabric to add a decency-hem to the bottom. I love the look of botton back tops but never make them due to all the effort they involve. This time the botton band was already there and I just had to use it. So I turned the top around, which left me with a slightly awkward looking front yoke. I’ve been seeing lots of tops lately with similar features but never felt drawn towards this look. Here I tried to embrace it and it is actually not that bad after all.
In the back I cut the strips from the sleeves at a slight angle and left the sides where they meet at the button band open. At the top I added one of the little buttons from the cuff to close it. It is still visible where the pockets were attached to the shirt, the fabric was slightly darker below and the holes from the stitches are still visible. It doesn’t bother me that much and I hope that with wear and washing the difference will not be that noticeable anymore.
So this is it. I have to say that this was by far the most elaborate refashion I have ever done (it took me one evening and one morning to finish it) and I really enjoyed it. I realised that with refashions I like to not have a detailed plan but let the garment and the different design features inspire me. I loved how one thing let to the other and that I ended up with two garments that I can see myself wearing a lot (however probably more as separates than together). Thanks Portia for giving me a reason to work on my refashion skills!
What a better way to start my blog than with my favourite sewing project to date.
Like a lot of people I was shying away from making jeans. Too much work, too complicated and I didn’t even have the problem to find store-bought jeans that fit. I always thought it just wasn’t worth the hassle. And then Heather Lou released the Ginger pattern and it was love at first sight. For weeks I plotted the perfect jeans, collecting all the supplies. For the fabric I even sent my boyfriend to my favourite fabric store back in my home town. Even though he doesn’t know anything about fabric he came back with the most perfect stretch denim, with enough yardage to squeeze out two pairs.
While I was most drawn to the high waisted skinny leg option I decided to start with the lower rise stovepipe leg version, partly because my boyfriend is not a fan of the “old women’s trousers” that have populated my closet over the last years and he made these jeans possible after all. As the fabric was a real bargain I skipped the muslin and dived right in. I did however baste the pieces together and made some adjustments, mainly curving the back yoke and the waist band more. Thanks to the great sewalong, putting them together was a breeze. Even the description for the fly front was totally fool proof.
Trying to slow down my sewing process these days it took me around a week of after-work-sessions to complete them and I love how they turned out. They are really comfortable but still look put together. The only things that I would change next time is to do a darted waist band (the extreme curving meant that the front bit is cut on the bias and stretched out a little) and adding a bit of length to the legs.
For my second Ginger I decided to do the high waisted skinny leg version. Naturally I was too lazy to print and tape the second pattern so I just raised the waistband and tapered the legs. I worked like a charm and they fit beautifully. As I needed a pair of jeans that I could get away with wearing at work, I chose the top stitching thread in the same colour as the denim and I really like the clean look.
Both pairs are holding up really well. The high waisted version even survived a day of cycling through Paris. I love how some garments are connected to lovely memories. Happy sewing!