Make Do and Mend

Historically clothes were often remade. But somewhere along the way clothes became cheap and thus disposable and we stopped remaking them. Well, we also stopped making clothes (that’s a discussion for another day) and thus we lost the skills to make (or remake or mend) clothes.

The other day my husband ripped the elbow of his dress shirt. He has done this before and it always pains me to throw out an otherwise perfect shirt. This time I had an idea: why not use his shirt to make a shirt for me?

before

I laid the shirt out, cut off the sleeves and up the side seams, laid my pattern out (I’m using the Wiksten tank), and cut out the pieces. I was in a bit of a conundrum about the bias binding until I remembered the perfectly good sleeves (well, one of them was perfectly good, and the other very nearly so). Using the sleeves as bias tape also reduced my waste. cut

I pinned and sewed and ironed and sewed some more, and here is what I came up with:

I made some modifications to the pattern because of what I had to work with:

  1. The shirt is a little less full at the bottom than the pattern (because my husband is a skinny man). It still fits very comfortably.
  2. The last time I made the Wiksten tank I really didn’t enjoy turning up the hem. Since I was working with a shirt that already had been hemmed I kept the existing hem (even though it was a little different in shape from the pattern).
  3. The neck is a little higher – partly because I feel more comfortable with a higher neck, partly because I wanted a button at the very top of the shirt.
  4. The neck and arm holes are simply sewn over with bias tape instead of being turned under.
  5. I moved the pocket to the right hip area (and it’s a man-sized pocket so it fits ALL THE THINGS).

pocket

I feel so pretty and comfortable in this shirt! And I can wear it with jeans or coloured pants. And the pocket! Did I mention the pocket? I love pockets.

What would I do differently? Well, I somehow messed up the shoulder/back neck so it doesn’t hang well in the back. I need to raise the whole back panel. And I think I will end up putting in some bust darts because the arm holes are a little wide for my taste.

All in all I like it. Would I do it again? Maybe.

The Joy of Finishing

Ah, the joy of (finally) finishing something! Starting new things is always fun, but I tend to start lots of big projects and the middle always becomes a bit of a joyless slog (well, as joyless as crafting can be). I always forget how quickly sewing goes compared to knitting!

On Thursday I printed (and taped) the pattern for the Wiksten tank. Due to a problem with the printing size I had to do some math to make sure my shirt would fit. After mathing it was time to lay out fabric and cut. Scary! Eeek! Cutting was accomplished, I pinned, matched thread, and began sewing. The pattern is very clearly written with excellent photo instructions, and it has french seams. I adore french seams for the tidiness inside the garment. Thursday night I finished the basic construction of the garment.

shirt

Friday and Saturday I worked on all the edges and bindings. I think the finishing actually took longer than the construction, though all in all the shirt took me about 6 hours – and that is hand sewing. This thing is seriously fast, people!

I love it. Go buy the pattern and make your own, because this one is mine and I’m not sharing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make 20 more.

I’m quiet when I’m working

A few weeks ago I bought a few sewing patterns. I put off printing them because I don’t have a printer at home. Thursday was the day, though, the day I went to the print shop. I taped my pages together, laid out my fabric and cut! Then I sewed my major seams while on the phone with my best friend. This is the Wiksten Tank in a light cotton. It’s so bright and summery! I’m in love. This picture was taken before I finished any of the edges, so I will take some better ones soon.

shirt

I saw this book months ago at Barnes and Noble, but didn’t buy it. But then about a week ago, I did. Now I want to buy all the wool and make all the gnomes! They seem so fun and whimsical….

gnome

And look at this gorgeous salmon I made last night! It was delicious.

dinner

What have you been up to?