Sew for Victory completed

Sew For Victory

Ready for the warforce. Sew for Victory blouse with black pencil skirt.

Just before the deadline I’ve completed my Sew for Victory blouse. Initially I was planning to make a top and bottom, thinking a month gives me plenty of time to sew. Well no, not combined with essays, exams and other uni stuff. Also I think this blouse has given me enough skills to show off; sleeves, collar, button holes, tucks, gathering, fit, it’s all in there.

This was the second time I attempted attaching a collar, no idea how I did it first time, but got many a confused moment this time, think I spend an evening staring at the pieces, assembled it to only take it all apart the next day. Think I sort of know now how it’s done, but help is welcome. I’m still not a big fan of this collar, the attachment is fine now, they’re just a bit too pointy and big for my liking, but it is more 30/40s style like this.

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Straight line down the sleeve!

Back blouse

Neat matching up stripes and gathering, no?

I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t have bought this shape blouse in a shop. Not that I don’t like the end result and won’t wear this one (because I’m wearing it right now and loving it). But the tucks that make it tight at the bottom and wide in the body did feel strange to sew for me. This pattern is perfect for big boobs, which I don’t have so there’s just a lot of fabric flapping about.

If I were to make it another time I’d find a way to use less fabric, but maybe keep a little more down the bottom. The puffy sleeves and big collar are both probably period appropriate, but not my style so I would cut on them too. (Guess I’ll be using a lot less fabric.)

Having said that I’m very proud of my sewing skills on this blouse, practiced a lot of skills and think they came out pretty good. Though the bottom darts felt strange whist sewing, wearing the blouse with a pencil skirt they make perfect sense to ease it under the skirt and make it nicely puff above.

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Oh yes I’m happy with my new blouse.

Finally I’m very proud in the make-do-and-mend style, apart from the pattern that I bought at Wearing History, I haven’t spend one penny on this blouse. Already had the fabric, waiting to be used and the buttons are from a button card that I once got at a flea market and used for display.

x Ilse

Meringue skirt

Dear me it’s really been too long since I last posted something. Though that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting still without crafting. As the weather seemed to have skipped winter I’ve already started on my summer wardrobe.

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For christmas I received the ‘Colette sewing handbook’, I would recommend it to anyone starting dressmaking. It is loaded with instructions, tips and tricks on dressmaking, from reading a pattern, altering to techniques and 5 lovely patterns to put what you’ve learned into practice. I started at the very beginning with the first item: the meringue skirt. Now I’m usually one for wide layered skirts and this one was a lot more figure hugging. Continue reading

Easy make: skirt from old dress

In a vintage shop in Amsterdam I found this dress in the discount pile. The top had some holes, but the skirt still looked fine and fitted perfectly.

VOC dress before

At home I cut off the top, put some stitches at the top of the zip so it would stay put and technically the skirt was ready to wear. However I found it a bit too short so I added a white border at the bottom to give it a bit more length.

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Voila from a shabby old dress to a brand new skirt in less than half an hour!


VOC skirt after

Ps. Who else is excited Downton Abbey has started again, my perfect watch while crafting.

VOC skirt make

Sewing boxes

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In my opinion you can never have too much sewing equipment and therefore also never enough storage. I found this little red sewing box at a charity shop the other day. It was in need of a new coat of paint and one of the wooden bits on the side was broken so I could take it home for a mere £1.

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The next day at a flea market I found another sewing box, completely filled with crafty bits and bobs. I picked it up for £5 and didn’t look until I got home what was actually inside. Going through it I could throw most of it away -short strings of thread, mysterious plastic circles- but it also had everything to make a tapestry, who knows I can give a go at that one day, and a ‘woollen-flower-maker’. In the bottom was written ‘April 1960’, so guess thats when the box was first purchased.

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It had a lot of scratches on the top, so I decided to paint both sewing boxes. There was some white paint lying about, so used that. 2 weeks later I still haven’t repaired the small one so I can only properly open half, but the big one looks as new again.

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ps. Grandmothers tip on getting paint off your hands: rub them in with butter. I didn’t believe it at first, but it works really well and as a plus it doesn’t dry out your hands (like most chemical stuff does) it actually moisturises your hands at the same time as well. From now on I always have a pack of butter when I go painting.

Tool apron

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I have just started working at the theatre festival ‘Parade’. Walking around all day you want to keep your hands free, but not have a bag over your shoulder all the time. My -very practical- colleague wears a tool belt, but as wearing jeans is painful enough for my fashion sense, you won’t find me dressed like a handyman.

Inspired by the bar staff I made myself an apron to stuff my tools etc in. I used oilcloth fabric, as it’s sturdy, waterproof and easy to clean. I worked off the edges with bright blue bias binding and made a wider white bias binding for the ties. The side pockets are perfect for a bottle of water and my phone. In the centre I sewn an elastic band to organise stuff.

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For the rest of summer I’ve got the most cheerful tool belt and always everything by hand, and I don’t need to worry anymore if my skirts have pockets or not!

 

Make Do: Caravan curtains

For this summer I have bought a caravan. More about that later, but one of the first things I’ve done to make it a bit more me is taking off the shabby grey curtains and replacing them with some self-made ones.

The colour scheme for the whole caravan is pink, blue and green, and for the curtains I bought a couple metres in a fresh apple green checked print.
The fabric itself is fairly see-through and as the main thing I’m intending to do in there is sleep I bought white blackout fabric to line them with. I bought the blackout fabric online and was a bit worried it would be a strange texture or not very blacking out being white, but it’s absolutely perfect. It’s a bit heavier which is good to keep the curtains straight and doesn’t let any light through.
Caravan curtains are not the easiest to find ready made and as I’m not dirty of a little needlework I made them myself, and its not difficult at all! Here a little tutorial how to make them. Of course its still the same concept for making full length curtains in your home, with or without the blackout lining.
Materials needed:
  • Your curtain fabric. This doesn’t need to be specifically for curtains, I bought some simple cotton from the market.
  • Blackout fabric (optional). Preferably use a complementary or lighter colour than your curtain fabric so it won’t shine through.
  • Bandex, or other kind of band. It’s basically a band with 2 or more strings that you can pull to make folds in your curtain and they often have little loops you can put hooks through to hang the curtain on the rail.
  • Thread in a complementary colour. I went for white.
  • Sewing machine, measuring tape, pins, maker, etc. All you need for any sewing work.
Step 1: Measure the size of your curtains and cut the fabric.
If you already had curtains hanging its easiest to measure those.
If not, measure the window/rail and add 5-10cm on either side (I’d go for 5 on small caravan curtains, but 10cm in your home). This makes sure you won’t end up with a gap between the curtains.
For the hem add another 3cm on the sides, 10 cm on the bottom and an optional 3cm at the top (I folded the top as the fabric was frail and to keep both layers together).
For example: my window was 50×70, so I cut out 58×83 of fabric.
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Cut the same size of blackout fabric. As I found this fabric very slippery and the checks where easier to cut, I first cut the checked fabric, pinned this on the blackout fabric and then cut it out. This way its also already perfectly pinned together for the next step.
Step 2: Pin and sew the fabrics together. (Skip this step if you don’t line your curtain)
If you are lucky enough to have an overlocker its best to stitch the layers together. If not, use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine or another strong stitch that will keep them together.

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Step 3: Hem the sides.
Iron and stitch the hem by folding the edges double so you won’t see the raw edge anymore. Careful with the blackout as thats usually not very resistant to a hot iron. If you do it neatly you should end up with a 0.75cm hem.
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Step 4: Hem the bottom.
Do the same with the bottom, but fold it over wider so you have a larger hem, of about 5cm. This will make the curtain heavy at the bottom so it hangs neatly.
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Step 5: Hem the top (optional) and stitch on the bandex.
As the bandex will cover the top you can just fold over your fabric and stitch the bandex on top. With the bandex make sure you cut some extra so you can still reach the strings (optional, I just used it for the hoops).
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You have now finished your curtain!
Give it a last press, hang the hooks on and slip it on the rail. Et voila: you can have a lovely sleep in the dark.
Curtains