SEWN: Refashioned 1970’s Inspired Midnight Bohemian Skirt

I am going to start by making it clear that this is not a style I usually go for. But when I found out about the #SewFrosting Challenge organised by Heather Lou (of @closetcasepatterns) and Kelli (of @truebias), I knew I had to make this.

This sad, oversized vintage 1970’s dress had been sitting in my wardrobe for the longest time since I got it. (Why and how I got it, I can never recall or imagine) I love the print of the fabric and the soft, slinky feel of the polyester, and I knew I could alter it easily to fit myself, but I also didn’t think I would enjoy it in its very form – a midi length, long-sleeved dress with a pussybow.

Obviously, sending this to the donation bin is like a death sentence for the dress (and the fabric). Who would save a dress like this except for someone crazy like me? So, I did what I had to do – I butchered it and then stitched it together again.

I wanted to stay true to the era (i.e. 1970s), so I decided on the following 2 key design elements:

  • bias drape
  • ruffles

The result? A skirt that is 1 part goth, 1 part bohemian, and 100% ready for disco-dancing. Here’s how the magic happened:

  1. Unpicked stitches for sleeves and pussy bow collar
  2. Unpicked stitches for skirt
  3. Cut skirt the following ways (while checking that the final measurements will fit around my hips and knees):
    • sloping from back to front along the waist (so that the front will end up shorter than the back, and for that faux bias drape)
    • sloping from top to bottom (so that the width around the knees will end up narrow than the hips)
  4. Stitched along dotted line
  5. Folded down and stitched along the dotted line to create an elastic casing. Insert elastic.
  6. Cut sleeves to get rectangular pieces
  7. Aligned rectangular pieces as such and stitched them together to get a long strip of fabric. (This photo shows 4 rectangular pieces – 2 from each sleeve. I ended up getting 2 more rectangular pieces of the same measurements from the fabric from the bodice of the dress.)
  8. Gathered the long strip of fabric and stitched it along the hem of the skirt
  9. Stitched the unpicked seam of the pussybow collar to get a belt

This project was so fun to make and I loved doing something different on a whim. Anyone else here taking part in #SewFrosting as well?

I had been in a weird funk with my sewing since making my wedding dress and I think I finally got my sewjo back with an unusual sewing project like this one! No patterns, no regrets – just all about having fun! xx

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MAKE DO & MEND: Pom Pom Heels

gwenstella made pom pom heels DIY

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY
A lot of people have asked me about my heels from the last blog post on my new Gwenstella Made 1950’s Style Country Garden Dress. I have been keeping quiet about it because it’s a DIY project that I have been meaning to share! I have had this pair of pink mid heels for a good 3 years or so and they have turned kinda filthy. When I say filthy, I mean.. really filthy…

The faux suede surface is scratched in many different areas, the soles have worn off, and the interior is slowly peeling away. It is tempting to simply chuck them away and get a new pair. But there’s still so much wearable lifespan to them and I hate to send them to the landfill so soon. Really, it’s still overall a very structurally-sound pair of heels. And so, obviously, I had to make do and mend!

gwenstella made pom pom heels DIY
I was inspired by a few different pom pom heels I have seen online, and I knew adding pom poms would be a super quick and easy way to make my heels cute again. This took me less than 30 minutes from start to the end. Here’s how I did it:

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIYMaterials:

  • A pair of heels
  • Foam soles
  • Yarn
  • Pom pom maker
  • Hot glue gun
  • Felt
  • Scissors

Steps:

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY1. Trim foam soles to fit the soles of the heels. Glue them in place.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY
gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY2. Make 2 pom poms. Trim them and make sure they look almost identical.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY3. Flatten a side of each pom pom and glue a small piece of round felt on the flattened side.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY4. Play around with the position of the pom pom on the heels. This is important as you want to make sure you get the right spot before securing it with hot glue gun. When you think you’re ready, secure the pom poms on the shoes using hot glue gun!

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY

I am so happy with how this DIY project turned out! This is also a great stash busting project for anyone who has too much yarn lying around, like me. I have a few other pom pom projects lined up for the blog. If you like pom poms as much as I do, you can look forward to seeing here! xx

MAKE DO & MEND: 1970’s Inspired Pastel Bohemian

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

As I bravely declared in one of my Instagram posts, one of my goals for 2016 is to work on more sewing projects. This includes altering a garment so it works better for my body and my current style, as well as dressmaking projects.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

This is an alteration project that I completed quickly in 2 nights earlier in January. Silly me, I got into the project so quickly I didn’t take a proper photo of it before the alteration. This 1970s pastel peasant dress is one of the vintage pieces that came with a vintage lot I bidded and won on eBay. It was too large for me and the original band around the top was losing its elasticity so I decided to unpick the stitches and reinsert new elastic bands.

The waist also came with a tiny and frail elastic thread that wasn’t really doing its job anymore, so I also took that out and put in a thicker elastic band around it. I am pretty proud of how neat the gathers around the waist turned out!

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Left: The altered dress on the mannequin
Right: Close-up of the gathers of the waist on the right side

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Left: Close-up of the bodice
Right: Close-up of the top band with elastic inserted on the inside

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Thick elastic band on the waistline on the wrong side of the garment. I’ve taken a bit of the sides in after sewing the elastic band… bad planning…

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the width of the waist and the dress turned out a little baggy even after inserting the elastic band. I fixed that by taking in the sides a little. No way am I going to unpick all 3 rows of stitches in the thick elastic band! I know that sounds awfully lazy, but I swear I do more unpicking with dressmaking projects when something goes wrong.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

I know it looks better on the mannequin, probably because the mannequin has a bigger bust than I do…. Yes yes yes, on hindsight, I probably should have measured the width of my chest and width of the top of this dress, and altered the sides accordingly.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Experimenting with elastics in this project was fun and I am pretty happy with the way it looks on me right now. Pop on a large sunhat and coordinating accessories, and I am ready for a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park.

xx G

 


Wearing: Vintage 1970s babydoll peasant dress (eBay), white sunhat (Target Australia), white clip-ons (thrifted), white necklace (nondescript shop in Sydney), vintage white purse (thrifted), retro square sunnies (ASOS), vintage-inspired huaraches (ASOS) 


More Make Do and Mend projects on the blog right here

MAKE DO & MEND: Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned

Getting the size of my wardrobe in check has always been a challenge for me. Month after month, there’s always bound to be a couple of pieces of clothing that I no longer fancy. And once every few months, I impulsively shop for mass-produced clothes from online shops because of the silly hankering for something rather new and fancy to become part of my daily ensemble. Sadly, love at first sight often only lasts for up to 6 months.

However, I must say that my shopping habits have improved markedly from my reckless days as a uni student. As part of my personal pilgrimage to achieving sainthood in being a conscious citizen of fashion, I often turn to the good ol’ make-do-and-mend. In other words, I put my amateur sewing skills into good use and turn something old into something new.

I have had a couple of projects in the past such as turning an XL denim shirt into a skirt and adding strips of jersey for a military inspired tank. But for the remainder of this year, I have resolved to make more radical alterations (and buy less mass-produced clothing items).

Behold! My first make-do-and-mend project of the year. This is a 1950s style kimono blouse that was inspired by the vintage sewing pattern Simplicity 4538.

Simplicity 4538 Vintage 1950s Sewing

(via)

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned

I was struck by the ingenuity of this pattern when I chanced upon it on Pinterest and had to do a lot of thinking before embarking on this project (since I don’t have the original pattern). My fabric stash contains no jersey material because I have no serger (yet), so re-using a preloved T-shirt was an obvious choice. Lucky for me, my boyfriend has lost quite a bit of weight recently and has a few T-shirts that no longer fit him *insert devilish smile and shiny scissors here*.

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned

Before

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned

After

Materials/skills needed:
1 old large T-shirt
A pair of sharp scissors
The ability to sew a straight line on the machine

Steps:
The steps are as easy… (no serger required).

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned StepsStep 1: Cut the top of an old XL tee off, leaving only the rectangular piece of fabric

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned StepsStep 2: Sew the top of the rectangular piece of fabric, bearing in mind to leave about 6 inches of opening at each end. These openings are the armholes, so you might want to adjust the opening according to the width of your upper arm.

Step 3: Cut a vertical slit from the bottom of the shirt to just about the middle of the fabric.

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned Steps

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned Steps

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned Steps

Step 4: Fold a small 0.5 cm edge towards the wrong side of the fabric/old tee and sew as marked in the picture.

Step 5: Wear it with pride! Put your arms into the armholes, making sure that the vertical slit is at the bottom (i.e. it will end up being on your back and just above the butt). Be sure to check out this link to see how it is worn!

Vintage 1950s inspired Kimono Blouse Make Do and Mend Refashioned

Please bear in mind that I am quite petite and my bust is non-existent, so the fabric from a super large T-shirt is sufficient to maintain my modesty. Busty and larger girls might not be able to recreate this from just an old tee. But hey, combining more than 1 T-shirt or using your own roll of jersey fabric works too!

Are you thinking about making a similar one? Let me know because I’d love to see your version! I have another large T-shirt with wide stripes in my stash.. and I might just make a striped version like the one on the cover of the sewing pattern!

xo G

DIY: Casual Military Refashioned Tee

Hi guys! Here I am with another refashioned tutorial! Do you remember about my tank top that was ripped by the washing machine? Well, I used the bottom hem of the tank for the Rosette and Lace Refashioned Tee. But I still have a large piece of that lovely stretchy knit fabric left. So, I’m using it for this project!

Military Epaulette Jacket by 2treasurehunt on Etsy

This Military Refashioned Tee is a design that is inspired by those military coats with majestic epaulettes on the shoulders. I have had this black tank for quite some time and wanted to add something to it. The “Air Force” iron-on patch is something that I added after getting the black tank top. But even with that, I never really had a real kick whenever I wear this tank. It was a very very plain and boring military tank top. But now that I have added the “epaulette” on one shoulder, I think I’m ready to become a revolutionary and show it to the rest of the world.


So, are you ready? Let’s go!


Materials:
Unwanted tee/Knit fabric
Tank top
Scissors
Sewing needle and thread

Steps:
1.Get 2 pieces of knit fabric. I got mine from cutting off the bottom half of a ripped tank. 
2.Cut the knit fabric into strips of about 1 cm wide.
3. Pull the ends of the strips so that it curls around breadth-wise as shown in the picture
4. Sew the strips around the joining seam of one of the shoulders of the tank. The strip can be sewn to the tank top at its midpoint or at 1/3 of its length. You can also try to vary the point where the strip is sewn to have a messier look. Don’t try to make everything too neat!
5. You should get a sizeable tuft of… fabric strips on one of your shoulders.
6. Grab some strips and tie them into braids to create greater volume and an even more interesting look to your DIY epaulette!
7. Get another strip of fabric of about 2cm wide and sew it around the other shoulder.

8. Viola! Get a beret and strut your stuff like Che Guevera.


So after 2 refashioned tutorials, I still have quite a bit of my ripped tank top left! Hmm… I wonder what else I should with it…

DIY: Rosette and Lace – Refashioned Tee

Wheee! Another DIY post! These babies just keep rolling in, don’t they? I am loving this winter break.


I’ve been thinking of doing a simple refashion project for a long time. Then something happened and I HAD to do it. No prizes for guessing what it is because I’m going to show you the pictures of the rather unfortunate incident.

Yes this is what the washing machine did to my tank top. It ripped it right across at the back! And how unfortunate that it’s not located at some place where I can do some strategic sewing or patching. Oh whatever. 


What is done, is done. So I simply cut the strip, gathered a few beads, a section of lace … and got this after less than 30 minutes.



So, if your washing machine is also an angry, tank-ripping machine, come follow the steps and create your own refashioned Rosette and Lace Tee!


Materials:
Plain top
1 strip of t-shirt
Pearl and clear beads
Lace
Sewing needle and thread


Steps:
NOTE: You may want to practice the steps and see if you like how your rosette looks before attempting to sew it into position.

Sorry about the orientation. That’s Blogger trying to smart and rotating my pictures…


1. Cut the bottom of your tee (the hem) to yield a 36cm strip. You can use a longer strip to make a bigger flower or a shorter one to make a smaller flower.

2. Fold down to create a triangle at one of the ends. Sew into position.

3. Crease the lower part of the strip and fold it towards the triangle. Sew into position.

4. Crease at a lower part along the strip again, this time a further distance away from the 2nd crease. Sew into position.

5. Turn the strip towards the first triangle to cover the bottom part of the triangle. Sew into position.

6. Crease and turn it anti-clockwise. The first triangle should be partially covered. Sew into position.

7. Fold the strip down while turning the strip anti-clockwise. Sew into position.

8. Continue folding and turning at random and sew into position. You should get a rosette that looks something like this. It’s ok if your rosette looks lightly different from mine. That’s the beauty of it! 

9. Sew the rosette onto your plain top. Don’t sew it all around the edges because we need to add the lace! Sew beads to the centre.

10. Get a section of lace. 

11. Fold the straight edge of the lace left and right like an accordion. Sew it in place.

12. Tuck the folded bit of the lace into a corner of the rosette. Sew it in place.

13. Tuck the 2 ends of the lace under the rosette and sew it in place.


There you have it, a t-shirt flower with lace as its leave. (^_^)


Hope you like it!


P.S.: Ok, so you may be thinking that I still have the rest of the tank that I have not cut and used… Well, I’m keeping them at the moment and waiting to see what comes to my mind. I don’t want to waste an inch of the tank!!!

DIY: Varsity Cardigan

That’s me wearing my new Varsity Cardigan and my geeky glasses. 

Hello everyone! I’m kind of excited about this DIY tutorial because I think it’s kind of the first refashion tutorial that I have done. I know I’ve done the slashed tee tutorial but that’s just a really simple thing that has been replicated throughout the globe. This refashion project, on the other hand, is something new.


I was inspired by the many varsity cardigans that I have been seeing online lately. Also, I currently into geek fashion. Remember my Geeky glasses DIY and knitted Pencil Scarf? So I though of that plain, boring (and cheap) cardigan that has been lying in a lonely corner of my wardrobe, and decided to make varsity cardigan out of it!

Ralph Lauren’s Cotton Varsity Cardigan (via)

Materials

1. Plain cardigan
2. Ribbon
3. Iron-on patches (you can use either numbers or letter!)

Note: The colours of the ribbon and the iron-on patches should be similar and complementary to the colour of your cardigan 🙂

Steps:

1. Get your cardigan and make sure it’s clean.

2. Prepare your materials.

3. Cut your ribbon according to the diameter of the sleeves and pin them in position. You can position them according to your own liking, but I think it looks the best when it is placed near the armhole. You can also make 3 stripes instead of 2!

4. Fold the ribbon inwards to create a neat joint. I positioned the joint at the same place where the seam of the sleeves is for a neat finish.

5. Sew the ribbon along its 2 sides. I used black thread because my iron-on patches have black borders as well. 
OR 
Stick the ribbon in place using Heat N Bond! I wished I had some… but it’s all right because the sewing actually gave the stripes an added effect as well. So it’s really up to you.

6. Iron on the numbers/letters of the OTHER side of the cardigan. Hang your varsity cardigan up and admire it. 

7. (OPTIONAL STEP) Watch Taylor Swift’s ‘You Belong to Me’ MTV. It has a college-related theme too! HAHA.

Important note: The cardigan that I used had a loose fit, so the sleeves don’t really stretch much when I am wearing it. If you are using a fitted cardigan, I advise that you use a stretchy ribbon because the ribbon limits the extent where the sleeves can stretch!

Wheee… I am looking forward to wearing my new varsity cardigan to school! (^_^)v


DIY: Slash your old tee into a new one!

Materials needed:

Old, plain and boring tee
A pair of sharp fabric scissors
Fabric carbon paper
Rollers
Pins
Measuring tape

Slashed tees seems to be in season right now…
And SO! I decided to make my own!



Step 1: The most important step! Choose your tee very carefully! 100% cotton tees will definitely NOT work as they tend to fray after cutting.
Do try to experiment with the excess fabric at the hem area to see if the fabric fray after cutting. Usually the stretchy tees are the ones that don’t fray after cutting.


Step 2:
After deciding on the tee, it’s time to start drawing the lines for cutting!
Fold the tee into half by aligning the hem by the side together. Align the front and back of the tee well and then pin them in place.


Step 3:
Start drawing the lines! I used washable fabric carbon paper and a roller. Fabric chalk is tricky to use on stretchy material.
You an decide on the length and width of the cut that you want. For my tee, I did 15 slits at the back, with each slit measuring 4.25 inches long (8.5 in when you unfold the tee), with the spacing of 1 inch for each slit.
Use a SHARP pair of scissors to make clean and straight slits!

Step 4: Repeat for the front of the tee! Due to the scoop neck design of the tee, I only made 13 slits for the front of the tee.

Step 5: Last but not least, make 2 slits on the sleeves as well! (If you are using a tee with sleeves)


Step 6:
Pair your brand new tee with a contrasting tee inside and show it to the rest of the world! (^_^)v

DIY: Origami rose in a stalk

The origami rose is an all-time favourite and it’s creation is truly ingenious. But one thing I didn’t like about the origami rose is it’s hollowness. So I tried modifying it and added a stalk to it.
Make a single stalk or an entire bouquet!

Supplies:

Origami paper
Blue Tack
Green wire (or a wire wrapped with green floral tape)
Pliers
Craft Glue


1. Create the origami rose from the instructions available here:

It can be quite difficult to follow initially, but with more practise it will turn out better.

2. Get a short length of green wire or any wire wrapped with green floral tape.

Make a loop at one end using a pair of pliers.

3.Wrap some Blue Tack around the loop. The amount of Blue Tack should be just enough to fit into the rose to make a sturdy rose.

4.Cut a smaller square piece of origami paper (with the same colour as the rose) and poke through the centre with the wire.

Wrap the paper around the Blue Tack.

5.Then fit the top of the wire into the hollow rose. Adjust the amount of Blue Tack until desired result.

Apply some glue to secure the wire and Blue Tack with the hollow insides of the origami rose.

6.And a sturdy origami rose is done!