Liberty nights

I’m publicising my nightwear again. Completely decently I promise. Fine lawn is cool to wear and folds up small and light for travel. Add a busy print and it’s more decent in the opacity sense. Liberty Tana is of course perfect. I made a kimono style robe for summer traveling some years ago from a beautiful orange tulip Tana. I’ve been wanting a gown to go with it. I decided to use some of the left overs from the lattice patchwork, including the tulip print.

While working on the lattice, I found this second hand purple dress. It didn’t fit, but I rather thought the fabric might be Liberty Tana. It was home made, so no label to identify it. I now think it probably isn’t, but it’s very close in quality.

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I used a little of it in the lattice. I deliberately kept the skirt whole, figuring it would be good for something needing acreage. Then I realised I could build a patchwork bodice, and use the skirt for this gown. I got a few squares out of the purple, enough to tie the bodice in visually. Measure the pattern. Work out a good size for the squares and how many are needed. Start laying them out:

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Assemble the rough shape. This is for the front.

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Then cut the pattern out of it, cursing when you realise you need to put darts in it.

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Assemble the bodice, all with flat felled seams to keep it single layer and minimum weight, maximum cool. Adjust the skirt so it can be attached flat to the bodice. To maximise fullness neatly, I put an inverted pleat at centre back. The hem is the original with a bit of tweaking where I redid the seams.

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A quick pic of it on. It’s baggy deliberately but the colours, though strange, work for me. No smile, I had a grump on.

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The neck and armholes are finished with teeny straight grain facings, a trick I’ve adopted from my medieval costume work. It uses little fabric, is fairly quick to do and strengthens the edge.

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Here it is with the robe over. I’m pretty happy with it.

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and a gratuitous label shot. In this case the label is recycled from a now too small shirt.

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Reworked Hair Sticks

About six months ago, I nearly jabbed a friend in the eye with my hair stick when turning my head for a hug. I decided that my over long and too pointy hair sticks had to go or be altered. I’ve put aside some of the metal and plastic dpns* I was using and have had fun converting a couple of wooden ones and paint brush handles into appealing and somewhat safer hair sticks.

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The only one that went as planned was the white pearl stick. That was a worn out paintbrush with the ferrule pulled off. Sanded back, coated with white gouache paint, said paint rubbed off as much as possible with a damp cloth, let to dry, then varnished. I’m really pleased with the effect.

The wooden dpns were much more troublesome. That wood turned out to be very brittle, so I couldn’t achieve plan A. The shorter one splintered several times during both sawing and drilling before I gave up on plan B and came up with plan C. I’m amused by the piercing effect. Hoping that one is in fact long enough to function properly (edit: Woot, it does)

This is a better shot of the first two I made:

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A demonstration of one in use:

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The smaller paint brush one was previously my favourite hair stick in it’s paint brush form. I didn’t want to clean it up too much so I didn’t at all. I just pulled the ferrule off, glued a wooden bead on the end and gave it rough coats of black, then gold acrylic paint. I love the finished piece despite the grungy handle.

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*dpn=double pointed (knitting) needle.

A Remodeled Wisp

I was wanting another evening dress. I hadn’t been able to settle on a plan for any of the new lengths of fabric from stash. I was however suddenly struck with an idea for remodeling a frock that has been languishing in the wardrobe for a few years. In one day I had the inspiration, cut it up and remade the outer dress.

This is the bodice, firstly after I hacked the skirt off. Silly me forgot to take a proper before photo. Then with the vintage lace separated out for reclamation. That waist section was a little too tight when I first made it and is now even more so. Drat the effects of advancing years.

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The fabric is so lovely, it’s worth reworking it so I can wear it.

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I found enough left over fabric to cut a new bodice. Short waisted, cross over. Based on the T bodice pattern I’ve used for several dresses. Not sure if I’ve posted any of them here? I’ll look later and maybe update. Anyway. I sewed that up the same morning. Then I regathered and attached the skirt, with a facing behind to form a drawstring channel.

It’s crinkle silk chiffon again. Working with this stuff is sort of like sewing air. The sewing itself tends to go fairly smoothly I find. It’s the handling and fabric placement that takes extra time. I do recommend using silk sewing thread. It blends with the fabric, doesn’t fight it.

Here is the resulting wisp of a frock

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Obviously I can’t wear it like that alone. The original frock was fully lined. So I reclaimed the lace trimmed skirt from that and made a new slip on bodice from a coordinating rayon lining fabric with the reclaimed lace strips for the neckline.

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Silly me sewed the back of the slip bodice on inside out. I decided it wasn’t important enough to be worth unpicking. So if I haven’t got my hair down, the label will be visible through the floaty frock. Oh well.

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And here they are together. Floaty, comfortable, sleeved and less formal than the original, if a bit less flattering perhaps. One wearable dress from an unusable one.

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Pink!

Some months ago, my niece pointed at a picture in a book and said “I want that one”. I didn’t see the picture, but I’m told it was a bag made from a pair of pink jeans. I needed to organise a present for her and this is something well within my capabilities. She may not even remember the picture, or the wanting, but I hope she likes it anyway.

An opshop provided a pair of size 8 ladies jeans in brilliant pink. I chopped them below the fly, inserted a rectangular base and handles, cut from the legs.

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I then put a coordinating lining in.

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I left the button and fly functional for fun. Then I realised that gave access to the space between bag and lining for the putting of things, and a five year old would. So to prevent the inevitable struggle of having to get them out again, I sewed through to catch the placket closed. Pity I didn’t think of this until the lining was in, so that stitching shows on the inside. Oh well. If I ever make another I shall try to remember.

And the backside:

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I reckon it came out quite well. It occurs to me that my old jeans would make good grocery bags made up like this with a squarer base. I wonder if I’ve kept any?

Rescue to fill a need

It’s winter here, and I decided it was time to bring out my hand pieced silk cushion covers. However, I was missing one for the set of cushions I like to have in the living room. I didn’t want to take time to make another from scratch while I still have the lattice quilt in progress. Hmm. Then I remembered I had these little hexagonal ones I had fallen out with. The purple colours don’t work in the room. The right hand one has good colouring but made me thing instantly of a car company rather than the trefoil-esque motif that it was intended to be.

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After some thought, I decided that if I chopped that right hand one down the middle, split the two halves and did some sort of infill, it would serve the desired purpose with a relatively modest amount of effort.

This was the result:

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I’m moderately pleased with it. It does at least stop one’s brain going straight to the car company. I’d rather have used colours for the infill rather than black and brown, but I felt that heavy silk would perform better and these were the only two pieces I had.  It was still quite a bit of work, maybe a day’s effort all up? I make the fronts of these covers as tiny quilts. The batting evens out the texture and the quilting supports the fragile silk. They have proved more robust in use than I originally feared.

Anyway. It gives me the cover I wanted to work in with the other three and the original cushion gets to see some service. The red and turquoise one second right is not my work but that of a friend, made for me many years ago.

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A Little Augmentation

This is the original of those fabric bags I’ve been making. I decided to add internal pockets so that it is more useful as a travelling handbag. I have also shortened the strap because that had been so annoyingly long I had knotted it up.

I’ve sized one of the pockets to hold my passport and phone.

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This would have been SO much easier if I had thought to do this during construction in the first place. I had to carefully handsew through only one layer of the bag so that the stitching doesn’t show on the outside. Well, I could have done it on the machine, but I didn’t want the ugly stitching lines.

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Here is the bag from the outside. Looks no different.

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I still might make myself another, but later.

Lacy Handbag Resurrection

A few months ago, a friend invited me over to go through her remaining fabric stash and take what I wanted. Very generous. Amongst the bag of bits I took home was this old hand crocheted bag that had seen better days. I wanted to have a go at making it both useful and pretty again and give it back to the lady.

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You can see above that the outer section of the lacy edge was quite badly damaged. My first thought was to fix that by sewing it together, using beads to enliven it. I started doing that but the fibres were just falling apart as I worked. So instead, I decided to snip off the worst of the damage. Thankfully the crochet was worked in rounds so taking off the outer section was easy.

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Here it is sans damaged section.

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I was sad about having to lose that lovely depth of lace trim. So to both replace the fancy and give back some weight and drape, I decided to sew the beads all around the edge. Besides, doing that was fun. The beads are a mix of ones I had in my stash.

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Beginning the bead trim:

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It needed a strap. I was a bit stumped for what to use until I thought of plaiting one from a mix of almost right colours. Thread from my stash. I think it looks quite good.

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Then I built a liner for it. The blue silk I hand dyed. I had hoped for a more purple colour, but this is what I got and it’s pretty as is. The green is lightweight cotton drill from another friend’s stash rejects.

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It has a pretty zippered pocket in a mix of colours

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Then I stitched the liner to the lace outer around the opening edge. I forgot to get pictures of that. Here is the whole thing finished though:

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and a good detail of the beading with the liner in place

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She should have it by now. I very much hope she likes it.

Pearl Hair Stick

I’ve been wanting an elegant hair stick in nearly white. I’d still like one in mother of pearl or bone. I’m pretty pleased with this transformation though and it gives me a usable thing in time to wear with the ivory silk frock.

I started with a broken bamboo knitting needle. I’m really not sure why this was still living in my needle stash and hadn’t been thrown out, but I’m glad it was. I cut below the split with a fine hacksaw, took the edges off with a file, then drilled a hole in the end with my tiniest drill bit. The drilling was the bit I was most doubtful about and in hindsight, I should have waited the filing until after the drilling, but it worked more easily than I feared.

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Then I took a hatpin blank, being the strongest headpin like thing I had. I drilled out a large pearl in stages with my tiny finger drill until the hat pin fit. Cut the hat pin to length so it went as far into the stick as possible with the pearl just resting on the end. I had meant to glue the pin in, but I used another piece of soft wire to stop it wobbling and the resulting interference fit was pretty tight, so I’ve left it like that rather than risk messy glue residue.

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Voila, a pearl tipped, fairly elegant, pale hair stick.

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It is really a few cm too long, but it works and is pleasingly shiny.

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A small but pleasing transformation

This is a post from March 2016 that I wanted to bring over. I wonder, do I have any new readers?

This was an opshop find that I pounced on to replace my old favourite gardening jumper*. Same colour, a little larger, far fewer moth holes, but with a stiff scratchy zip. I cut the zip out, stitched up the resulting two layer edge and put two buttons with loops as the new closure. I’m so pleased with the transformation. From a harsh, cold, modern look to a soft, warm, old fashioned one. Much more appealing to me anyway.

The end result:
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reconstructed “before” shot with the zip just placed in position.
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*a lovely soft Burberry one found in a charity shop in Edinburgh, dahlink.

A long delayed remodel

This ex garment has been hanging around my house for years. It used to be a babydoll top, you can see the remains of the centre front neckline at the top of the picture below. The shape was awful on me, but it’s pure cotton and the lace pattern in the knit was so lovely I refused to throw it out. I’ve been meaning to make into a skirt, and today I finally did.

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Edit: look what I found in the photo files! It seems I chopped this garment up in November 2011.

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Chop the top off, remove the buttons, sew the fronts together, fold the top edge over to make a channel, thread with elastic and voila, a skirt and a cute one if I do say so.

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