28 October, 2011

successful refashion! man's shirt to a woman's top

Well hello there! Sorry about only revealing the lower bit of my face - have had a shocking haircut, and am hardly ready to face the supermarket, let alone the world wide web ;)

There's been some sewing going on here, brought on by our recent hot weather.  In a moment of desparation I found myself an old shirt of Mr Pickles' (in the charity bag). Grabbed an old favourite dress and two and a half hours later, voila! A new top.
Firstly credit where credit is due. I spotted these images on pinterest and have been thinking about making something similar ever since....

sewing class dress

So here is my first bash a sewing tut! I think now I could knock one of these tops together in very little time, given that most of my two and a half hours was spent scrunching up my face, tilting my head, wondering if this was actually going to work out...

But before we begin, some warnings...

1. I am a super-beginner sewer
2. I have no sense of what may be considered "right" or "wrong" in terms of terminology, techniques, etc
3. I failed Textiles and Design at school, two years in a row. My teacher, Mrs Button (her real name), was very concerned that I was not going to find myself a good husband.

So, here we go ;)

Step 1.
Find yourself a men's business shirt that is too big. Lay it flat on the floor, facing up.

Step 2.
Get a favourite, non-stretch dress, with a shape you like. Lay this on top of the shirt and use as a pattern template - don't forget your seam allowances! Cut the sleeves to the length you would like.

Step 3.
Create the neckline of your top. I look terrible in collars, so removed the collar altogether and cut the front and back pieces to the neckline shape I wanted.

Step 4.
I did a tiny rolled hem/seam (sorry! don't know the right terms) on the neckline, and sewed up the front  centre join up to the second button - I still needed to unbutton the top button to slip the top over my head.

Step 5.
Try on for size. Stitch up the side seams, making any adjustments before you go to the next step. I did the same rolled seam/hem thingy on the short capped sleeves. I found this a bit fiddly and tricky - there is probably a much better way to do this.

Step 6.
Now you can have a look at the shirt length. Mine was too long for a top and too short for a dress. So I chopped it. But I still wanted the rounded bottom, like you get in mens shirts. So I used the shirt's original bottom to take the curve and then transferred this curved line higher up the shirt. And then I trimmed the excess and created another rolled hem along the bottom.

Step 7.
Next stop, show and tell to someone who'll listen, followed by a walk out and about to show off your talents! Oh, and of course, a celebratory Tim Tam.
Will try to get hubby to take a glam shot of me later in the week, wearing the shirt in question. Perhaps pre-drool/snot, play, rolling in the grass etc, unlike in the first shot in this post!

Chat soon lovelies

18 October, 2011


Okay, I am a lot less productive than I would like to be on the crafting front. And today's post is really just a chat about nothing much - cute toys on the internerd, new books on the shelves....
However, big news!!! We have decided to move (again) --- this time to the country. The Southern Highlands of NSW beckons, so we are working out a way to be there by January next year (in time for the new childcare/working year). We are a restless bunch.
The boys are growing. The Gherkin has discovered Patti LaBelle and is in love (his spontaneous dancing to her album this week was amazing), and Little Pickle greets his dad by singing "Daddy, Daddy Cool". Too funny.

Oh! and The Gherkin met the lovely Justine Clarke at a recent concert. They spent their time after the concert comparing outfits. The Gherkin is a shy wee thing, and she gave him loads of time to warm up - we were very grateful.

I have found a cute cute cute site that translates text into old school library catalog cards --- here's a fun one made up for the hubby. Not sure how I might be able to use this, but...

Have just noticed I got our wedding date wrong! Hilarious (only out by four years...)

On other distractions, I have also found the site (that probably everyone else has, too) Two of Us. Heard of it? If not, the concept is, you take an image of your smile, send it over the internerd and instantly get one back from a stranger. That's it. I thought this was a really cute, fun idea, until I tried to send a photo of my smile... apparently my smiles are not convincing?


--- this looks like a genuine smile to me?

Perhaps I have struck a problem for people with gummy smiles? I remember some years ago when my brother and I were getting professional photos taken for our mum and dad, we were told by the photographer to "turn down the gums", as our gums were "reflecting the flash" and "ruining the photos". This led to many year of awkward fake smiles in photos... only now am I getting my real smile back.

Perhaps for Two of Us I should try a smile with low levels of gum exposure? It's just too sad offering up your real smile and getting back: "we're using a fancy machine to make sure you're smiling, and it appears you are not. Perhaps you should try again?"

My gummy smiles were returned as unsatisfactory by the machines (five times) - perhaps I will try with my mouth shut...

Really, all this smiling at the computer - I really should have been sewing!
Here are the books I have been reading this past fortnight - hooray for a great local library!!! (And at least I have been reading).
Stitch Style Bags: 20 Fashion Knit and Crochet Patterns (C&B Crafts)  

Chat soon lovelies xx
ps. for those interested, the closed mouth smile didn't work either... that said, it was a shocking fake!

11 October, 2011

sticking to a (yummy) budget.... oh, and more crochet

Today I bring you delicious leftovers! And a new crochet pattern discovered.

This week, we revisited our family budget. Because we have now been on one income for more than 18 months. And this wasn't part of our plan. However, daycare waiting lists being what they are...

So working to a budget are we! How do we do it??? Leftovers (oh, and staying in, and opshop adventures).

Yummy. Leftover pumpkin risotto, wrapped around a small cube of mozzarella, crumbed, fried and served with salad and veg... delicious! Anyone who might call them balls would have to be completely delirious (try square, flat, misshapen head... etc etc), but they were yum, and loads of fun for us to eat with our fingers with our wild boys, "stretchy cheese" ooozing out of the balls as we bit into them.

On a completely different note, I have also been go go go-ing for it with crocheting for Christmas. Yep, it's October! So what better thing to be doing than crafting up a storm for the lovelies in my life

I found the pattern below in another gorgeous vintage crochet book - Motif Crochet, a Coats Sewing Group Book No. 1010 - that Ipicked up at the opshop for just 50 cents - hooray! This motif comes from the Motif Stole on page 12, however it has another life intended, as crocheted coasters. Gorgeous. I'll make a set in this wool, but would also love to see this motif in a range of brights.

Other crafting has been underway, a stretchy dress refashioned for the summer, etc etc .... but more later (rest time is over for another day).

Chat soon lovelies xx


to my other half who puts up with the mess, makes me happy and keeps me sane.
to my beautiful boys who give me so much i want to remember and make the everyday something to treasure.
to my mum who alway let me play with fabric and the good scissors, and who knows a lot of songs.
to my dad who was always happy for us to make a mess and who laughs at us when we deserve it.
to both parents for making sure i still got the work done.
to my dear friends for listening and for sharing the laughs.
and, to you for visiting!