Earlier in the year I treated myself to a sewing alterations course with the lovely Emma from Oh Sew Vintage. Emma makes amazing reproduction vintage dresses and I was luck enough to get to know her through our local WI branch, the Herts Belles, where she is our very efficient secretary. For me, the aim of the course was to learn how I could alter some of the amazing clothes that I find in charity shops that just aren’t the right size.
When I get a moment I will blog about the course itself and what I learnt, but I’m delighted to say that what I did learn that day has given me the confidence to look outside of just my size range in charity shops and as a result I’m finding some brilliant things.
A month or so ago I spotted this floral fabric on a rack and initially assumed it might be a Liberty print. No such luck as it was actually Marks and Spencer, but I still really loved this pretty floral and at only £2.99 it had to come home with me. Being a size 20 ladies blouse I wasn’t too sure exactly what it would be turned into, but a little skirt for Little Miss C was one idea.
After looking at it at home for a while, I decided that what I actually wanted to do with it was create a little summer top that I could pair with jeans or some cropped trousers. I recently bought a nice top in Sainsburys and fancied trying to make something in a similar shape.
I started off by lying my Sainsburys top over it and pinning where I felt the new side seams should be. I decided to keep the existing shoulders and tops of the arm holes and just put in a new seam up each side and whilst doing so just modified the bust darts slightly so that they still ended in the same place, but took account of where the new side seams were – and hence the front and back pieces still lined up at the bottom.
There is a chest pocket on once side and as the new side seams didn’t cut into it I just left it in place. Ideally the fit would have been better if I’d totally redone the bust darts, moving them up a bit and deepening them, but doing so would have cut into the pocket and it just made it a bit of a faff.
I cut off the sleeves just inside the shoulder seams and then simply turned under the raw edge and machined round. Not the sort of edge that would impress Patrick and May on the Sewing Bee necessarily, but it certainly does the job.
To stop the button front gaping open I did an extra line of machine sewing up the front on the edge of the button band – hence securing it closed. I stopped three buttons from the top so that there was still enough space to get it over my head. Ideally I would have secured one button higher as the incorrectly positioned bust darts mean it can gape a bit between the top two buttons that I do up, but if I had done so I would have never got it over my head again!
I’m really really proud of my finished result. It’s the first time that I’ve done more than just take in a skirt, or turn up a hem and it’s really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Seeing as this all also took only about an hour and a half it’s also given me a lot of confidence to try out things like this and not be afraid of the results. It seems really appropriate therefore to join up with the new monthly Trash2Treasure linky that Fiona from Coombe Mill has just launched. It’s the prefect place to see a bit of upcycling and you surely can’t get any more make do and mend than this!