Sewing your own clothes

There is something very satisfying about sewing your own clothes. Not only is it cheaper then buying clothes from the shops, it is also a lot easier than you think and quick too. The best thing about making your own clothes is you get exactly what you want. I am no sewer, and I don’t use patterns because I find them too hard to understand most of the time. I just wing it. Some would say my methods are crazy, but I will show you how you can make a pattern from an existing item in your wardrobe and sew it in an afternoon.

sewing machine

I went to the local fabric shop the other day and picked up a couple of fat quarters and some fabric to make a dress and a top. I am lucky to live close to the best fabric shop on the coast. The fabric designs are exquisite, its very easy to spend an hour in there browsing the shelves full of gorgeousness. The fabrics are not cheap, but good quality cotton so I don’t mind paying a bit extra for it.

fabric

I have a halter neck top that is well loved and worn, and is beginning to fade ever so slightly. I wanted to make a top in the same style in my chosen fabric. I grabbed a roll of baking paper from the kitchen, laid out my top and traced a front and back piece for my pattern.

tracing a pattern from clothing

I cut out the fabric, creating one front piece and two back pieces, as in my original top. I sewed it all together, and here it is.

halterneck top

Luckily the original top was a simple pattern to copy. I wouldn’t be brave enough to choose anything more fancy. This top also has no zip, so its super easy to make. Just cut and sew.

halterneck top

Can you believe this style of top costs $69.95 in the shops (about 37 pounds)! This one cost me $20 to make and took 2.5 hours from start to finish, including tracing and cutting the pattern and fabric. Not bad for an afternoon’s work. Maybe you can have a go at making something from your wardrobe. If you are nervous, use a cheap fabric from a bargain bin at your local store to try it out first. Good luck!
T x

Advertisements

Five on Friday

Hello! So nice to be joining Amy for her Five on Friday link up again after the UK summer break. We are getting some nice spring weather here in Australia and some much needed rain. Our water tank is overflowing and things are looking nice and green.

I have a red and white theme this week, as all my projects this week featured those colours. Firstly, I made the yummiest strawberry ice cream from the strawberries we picked at the farm last weekend. They were getting a bit too mushy for normal eating so I tried this strawberry ice cream recipe. It worked out beautifully, although my picture does not look like the one on the link. I think its because my egg yolks from our eggs are so orange they have muted the pink strawberry colour. I have made strawberry ice cream before but it didn’t work out so well as it developed ice crystals and had an icy crunchy texture. This one is much better.

strawberry ice cream

 

I made my first dress this week for my daughter with the fabric I bought last weekend (remember the fabric splurge). I didn’t use the scary simplicity pattern in the end, but made up a modified version of a pillowcase dress. I am very happy with it and I think B is too. I originally made it with a straight hem border, but it didn’t look right, so I unpicked it and made a ruffle hem instead which is much prettier. I found some great tutorials on the net for making a ruffle hem and actually, I remember learning how to gather fabric many years ago at school, I had just completely forgotten. The best and easiest tutorial I found was from make it & love it, and I thank the lovely lady for posting such great instructions and pictures. I will finish the dress off with a little belt made from the hem fabric, as B wanted an elastic waist but it won’t work as it is a reasonably snug fit (I had intended for it to be much more flared). A little belt should pull it in nicely.

ruffle hem dress

 

I have started making some crochet christmas decorations. I can’t believe how quick and easy they are. 30 minutes and they are done! I made this little christmas tree.

crochet christmas tree

 

I also made a star, but ran out of yarn before the last point, arghh!

crochet star

 

Finally, our mulberry tree is bearing lots of fruit and we have red berries all over. I have never had mulberries before so I’m looking forward to experimenting with a few recipes for these. If you have any good mulberry recipes and don’t mind sharing them that would be great. I’m hoping they will make a nice jam.

IMG_5581 mulberry tree

Have a great weekend!
T x

Strawberry picking and a walk in the rainforest

I wish I could say we grew these ourselves but alas no, we picked these at the strawberry farm down the road. The kids had the best fun trying to find the weirdest, freakiest strawberries to pick, and there were plenty.

strawberries

Next weekend marks the end of the strawberry season were we are, and next friday its strawbfest. Strawbfest is a fundraiser for the local school, which is next to the strawberry farm.

strawberry picking

The farm donates a couple of truckloads of strawberries to the school. Parents and kids all muck in to pack and sell them during strawbfest, which goes on into the evening. How nice is that!

pick your own strawberry bucket

Its funny, but I was here visiting last year when strawbfest was on and I viewed the house that became our new home on that day. I can’t believe it was a year ago. It also means its one year since I finished work in Sydney and started preparing for our tree change. Time flies when you’re having fun!

view kondalilla

On friday Hubby and I had a rare day off and decided to do the Kondalilla Falls walk, as we’d had heaps of rain, we thought the falls would be positively gushing. Sadly part of the track was closed due to fallen rocks so we couldn’t see the falls. We could do part of the walk though, which was wonderful. We walked through the rainforest which was cool and lush and full of bird life.

kondalilla track

Along the way we came across little waterfalls tumbling down the rocks.

falls

waterfall

The forest was so green and fresh after the rain that had fallen the previous night. We spotted this little wallaby quietly nibbling near the track. Can you see him amongst the bushes?

wallaby

Afterwards we were famished and headed over to Montville for a pub lunch and a spot of shopping. Unusually just window shopping for me while Hubby went and bought two shirts and a pair of shoes! I made up for it on saturday though and had a fabric splurge. B wanted me to make her a dress, falsely thinking my new found sewing skills displayed in the making of my halterneck top now meant I was some kind of expert. We bought a dress pattern, which on first inspection looked simple.

simplocity sewing pattern

Once I pulled it out of the packet though there was an alarming amount of bits to sew together and lots of curves. Also an alarming amount of fabric required too. Something to do with the flared skirt apparently. We ended up spending 70 bucks on fabric!!! I wouldn’t buy a dress for that much! The fabric is gorgeous, but I did start panicking a bit.

chevron pink fabric

After sleeping on it I decided to make a much easier dress for B, an adaptation of a simple pillowcase dress with a waistband to give it some shape. Luckily she approves of this idea, which means there will be enough material left for a dress for me too! I can justify the splurge if I can get two garments out of it. Phew!

I hope your weekend was a good one 🙂

A handmade halterneck top

I decided on the spur of the moment to make a dress! Then I thought it might be a little ambitious for me, as I am not a sewer and barely know how to work a sewing machine. It could also be disastrous if I bought material for said dress and then stuffed it up, so thought a top would be a safer and cheaper option. I ventured off to the local fabric shop and found this cute cotton print.

cotton fabric tiny red print

Cotton is great for this climate and I loved the tiny print. The ladies in the shop were really helpful as I had no idea how much fabric to buy (note to self, measure oneself first before going shopping). They did a quick measure, and suggested 70cm would be plenty for me as the width was ample to work with. It cost me 16 dollars and I was a happy bunny.

baking paper pattern

I got home and had to make a pattern for a halterneck top with a simple drawstring tie fastening. I used the basic principles found here on bored and crafty, showing how to make a halterneck dress. I would just make the top half. I measured myself and traced out a pattern onto baking paper then stuck it onto my fabric with sticky tape ready to cut. I found this way easier than pinning.

cut out halter neck top pattern

I cut, pinned and sewed, really just making it up as I went along. I even sewed darts for the boob allowance! I don’t think I got them in the right place in the end but the finished top fits me nicely.

drawstring halterneck top

Photos taken by my littlest one who had to stand on a chair to get the tie fastening on my shoulder in shot.

cotton drawstring halterneck top

Now, I have a question for you sewers out there. How do you deal with darts when you have to sew the front darted piece onto the back piece? I cut both front and back fabric pieces symmetrically so they were the same size and shape but when I came to sew them together the back was longer than the front and the shapes wouldn’t match up. I had to add darts to the back peice too so it would fit. Any explanations very welcome for future projects 🙂

I am very happy with my top. It only took me half a day to make from start to finish! I might just make another trip to the fabric shop. Hubby is away again next week so while the cat’s away…