Let’s Make… Add Ruffles to Blouse

Once upon a time, I had a short sleeved blouse. An ordinary blouse made with stretchy fabric. It was comfy, but getting a bit old and having a mid-life crisis. Much like its owner. It was pretty much the right size, all that really needed doing was adjusting darts on the back.
But I wanted to make it less ordinary. So I decided to do the good old “add ruffles to blouse” -trick.
I took a long strip of fabric that tinted quite a lot towards blue, and cut it into four pieces.
I shaped the strips, and did a rolled hem on one of the long sides on each strip.
I pinned the strips to the front of the blouse, rouching them a little as I went a long. I sewed them on, snapped a picture, GIMPed it, and then my computer ate it. Very impolite on its part.
I left a gap between the ruffle and the button list.
… so that I’d have room for another layer. I pinned the second pair of ruffles onto the front, hiding one of the raw edges under the button list.
The other side was made differently, so I hid the edge of the ruffle with satin ribbon.
After sewing the ribbon on, it made a nice little detail.
And that was all it took. The blouse turned from meh to fun, and now I can’t wait to wear it again!
For the pictures, I paired the blouse with pants, but it works well with long skirts and corsets as well.
The ruffles give the blouse a feminine touch, and make it different in a very subtle way.
This trick works for all kinds of blouses. Try adding patterned materials, or making many narrow rows of ruffles with different fabrics!
Until next Wednesday.

Let’s Make… Boring Tee to Cool Top

Once upon a time, there was a T-shirt.
Now I’m not much of a T-shirt -person. There’s something I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable when wearing one.
Naturally, T-shirts are very common, and many find their way to me.
I see it as my sworn duty to give each one a makeover.
This Tee had a girly skull print. I liked it, and wanted to turn the Tee a bit more feminine. It was an almost perfect fit, so I didn’t need to take it in at the sides.
I started by folding the Tee with side seams facing. I cut off the collar and the sleeves, leaving a deep V-neck and a low rise back.
The easiest way to do this is to first cut off the sleeves, and then open the shoulder seams. After that, it’s much easier to get the Tee to lie flat on a surface. After, take any backless top, fold it accordingly, and use it as a pattern to find the right length for the back piece. The neckline is best shaped while trying the top on. You can cut it super low, or leave it higher for more coverage.
When opening the fold, I got a backless V-neck top.
Which naturally needed something.
I measured the distance from shoulder to back, and covered it with elastic band. I didn’t cut it, but used the same length of elastic to bind the back of the top. I left another bit of elastic to the other shoulder. These would later be used as straps. I used ordinary elastic band, since I’d accidentally ran out of all the nicer kinds. Elastic lace will look pretty as straps, too.
I bound the neckline with narrow elastic lace.
 I added two more straps to each shoulder, so that I had three pairs. I would have added some elastic lace to the straps, but, well, I ran out of that as well.
 I attached the straps to the back piece. As an afterthought, it might have been a good idea to make the straps cross each other… that would have given me a trendy cage-detail.
 The transformation didn’t take long, but did wonders to an ordinary Tee!
The top turned out nice and comfy, and with a subtle skull print, I can wear it without feeling like an exclamation point. Next time I do this, I’ll add an extra pair of straps (or two) and see how much fun can be had with crossing them!
Until next Wednesday.

Let’s Make… Sweatshirt to Skirt

Once upon a time, a friend brought me all sorts of discarded clothes. Among them was a hooded sweatshirt.
I don’t wear sweatshirts, full stop.
But the fabric was kinda nice, a thick, white jersey with a skull print.
So I asked the hoodie whether it might like to be something else.
It contemplated on becoming a shrug, and as I picked up my scissors, it shrieked.
“No! Wait! Skirt!”
Trying the hoodie on to see if I could fit my wide ass derriere inside it was a bit impossible, so I decided to risk it.
I started by cutting off the hood and the sleeves leaving a straight edge.
Then I cut off the rib. White is a difficult colour, and white rib was just too much.
And then I got to try it on.
And it fit!
I shaped the side seams to a curvier shape. I also shaped the waist a bit, making it lower in the front. This way, the waist will fit better, and the skirt won’t look like the front of it is taller.
 One of the sleeves got to be a waistband. I cut a strip from it, sewed short edges together, and folded it.
I pinned it to the right side of the waist with raw edges together, and serged the seam.
I got a tidy finish with minimal effort.
 I hemmed the skirt using a zigzag-stitch. It gives more than a straight stitch, and looks a bit nicer, too. And that was all it took. Two hours, including planning, photos, and sewing. I bet you can do it in one!
The hoodie got a new life, and I got a white skirt with skulls on it.
Until next Wednesday!

Two Fails equals One Success

Once upon a time, there were two pieces of clothing I’d made.
Or tried to make.
A top that just didn’t feel right, and a dress that failed miserably.
I liked the fabrics on both, and decided to salvage them.
I cut the yoke and straps off the dress, leaving a loud orange hem. I really like the colour, and I love the print, but alone it’s very, very orange. Combining it with a black top would hopefully tone it down a bit.
I cut the binding off the collar, and shortened the hem of the top.
I had to make the hem a bit narrower to avoid a bulky waist. After pinning it down, I got to thinking.
It’s always good to take a “let’s design this thing”-break mid-project…
The yoke of the dress was made with two layers of orange. There was just enough to make cuffs.
And the hem of the top was just wide enough to make a sewn in belt.
And I had a bit of underwear lace stashed.
So what if…
I folded the cuffs after sewing the long sides together. This way, they’d look nice and tidy after just one serged seam.
With right sides together, I sewed the cuffs on. The seam is completely hidden, and the folded edge needs no finishing.
I attached the sewn-in belt the same way: fold a strip of fabric, and pin it to the hem with right sides facing and raw edges together.
 Before serging, I pinned the hem on, too. One seam is plenty.
After turning the dress right side out, the belt sat nicely at the waist, hiding the seam, and adding a nice detail. This can also be done with elastic band, or even lace.
Speaking of lace, I pinned a piece of it to the neckline. Right sides together as usual.
After serging, I top-stitched the seam down. Looks pretty, and since the elastic lace is a little bit shorter than the collar, it keeps the fabric in place, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally showing too much skin.
 I did a basic rolled hem with my trusty serger, and that was all it took.
 The finished dress is comfortable, pretty, and very easy to pair with long-sleeved tops under it, or cardigans over it. I’m completely in love with it, and hope it gets a lot of wear this summer.
Until next Wednesday.

Dress-Mod with Shredded Detail

I happened upon a dress at the flea market. A simple, black dress made with polyester lycra. At the cost of 1€, I couldn’t leave it there.
At home, I tried it on, and found there was room for two!
I could have just re-shaped the dress, but that would have meant losing some of the length. So I dug out a discarded turtleneck, and asked if it wanted to play, too.
I cut off the straps on the dress, leaving a long tube. I also shortened the top, and cut off the collar.
The dress was really big at the waist, so I took it in at the side seams. As I am blessed with a wide ass child-bearing hips, I had to make the seam a bit dreastic in shape.
With elastic fabrics, this works. With non-elastics though, it’s better to not do this.
 I attached the bodice to the hem, and sewed a strip of fabric in to soften the seam.
The extra bit of fabric looks like a sewn-in belt, and reduces the eye-sore-effect excess seams tend to have.
 I bound the collar with a narrow strip of fabric, and top-stitched it down. The basic T-shirt collar is easy to sew, and works well in simple garments.
The dress covered me from neck to toe to elbow, and I felt like a nun in it.
So I decided to add a little something.
I tried the dress on, and marked four lines with safety pins.
 Then, I folded to bodice, carefully aligning shoulder and side seams. I pinned the four lines again, making sure they were even.
 And then I cut.
I made the cuts in a soft V-shape, and smoothed out any sharp corners after the initial cut was made.
 I gained a slashed front that gives the dress a bit of drama.
This fabric manipulation trick works with all kinds of jerseys. Before cutting your top up, make sure the knit will hold!
 The finished dress is narrow and tight, but the elastic fabric makes it super-comfortable.
While I was at it, I made another dress using the same method of combining two garments. I’ll show it to you next week!
Until next Wednesday.

Let’s Make… Add backlacing to a blazer

Once upon a time, I had a corduroy blazer. I found it at a flea market many years ago, and figured it would fall apart a month later. H&M had made the blazer with quality, though, and I’ve worn it with joy.
This spring, however, the blazer felt a little too snug. Might have been the pullover I wore under it, or maybe it shrunk (ladies do not gain weight so it can’t be that), who knows, but still it felt uncomfortable.
I wasn’t ready to let go of it, so I gave it a makeover.
To make the blazer a bit more roomy, I opened the center back seam. The collar I left untouched. There was a slit on the hem of the original blazer, so the edges were uneven. I straightened them by just cutting off excess fabric.
I tucked in raw edges of fabric, and top-stitched both sides. The corduroy was light, and starting to show signs of wear, so I didn’t want to strain the fabric with eyelets.
I still wanted the back to have a lazing, so I could alter the size when I’m wearing more beneath. Cheap satin ribbon is perfect for this purpose: though it can’t handle washing, it looks nice, and holds well when tied.
I decided to go with buttonholes.
I marked their places on both sides of the back, and made them as small as possible.
After, I could just lace the parts together. The detail looks pretty, and gives the blazer both room and versatility.
The blazer fits well now, and I’m really happy with the result.
 Though the change wasn’t too drastic, it still helped prolong the life of a garment.
The lines of the blazer are soft yet androgynous. I like to pair it with hems both long and short, and flowing scarfs to give it a more feminine feel.The laced back is also a feature on a freshly launched sewing pattern. I had found a little piece of patterned wool fabric from a flea market, and turned it into a snug-fitting blazer with a laced up back and low-cut collar. Check it out, and tell me what you think!
Until next Wednesday.


Once upon a time, I had a basic satin corset. I made this a while back, wore it once, and found it boring. It sat in my closet for a long time, ashamed of itself, until I dug it out for a remake.
I tore out the binding and the bone channels. The corset had steel bones and a purple lining, but no front closure. Putting it on was slow (I usually take the laces off, put the corset on backwards, lace up, turn, and tighten) and the front felt a bit… well, flimsy. I liked the shape and construction, although the whole thing was a little on the loose side.

I had steel boning and black, stretchy satin stashed, along with a tube-ful of large buttons.

Since the corset was a little bit too big, I cut the front open, planning to do a simple button-up closure. As I placed buttons on one side of the corset to see what they’d look like, I decided they were too big to sit comfortably on just one side. So I tried a different approach.

Asymmetric buttoning is a bit of a pain to create: one needs to measure and re-measure carefully, but I managed to get the loops done with just two takes.

Starting the remake process, I thought I’d give the corset black bone channels. Rummaging through my stash, I ran into the remains of the purple lining, and thought what the hey, might as well give the thing a bit of colour.

At first, I thought I’d hide the channels in the front, but they looked too nice to conceal.
I ended up tucking in the satin, and leaving the purple channels out. I liked the contrast, and did the rest of the channels the same way.
Originally, the corset didn’t have a modesty flap. I undid a seam in the back, and added a flap. I’m still undecided on the whole concept of modesty flap, but trying things out never hurt. Much.
While sewing on the bone channels, I added stripes on both sides, and four little loops on one. The stripes bear no real purpose, but the loops are good for hanging chains from. Just in case one feels the need to get caught on every chair and door handle. Who knows, there might be a handsome Goth just waiting to bail a girl out.
I bound the corset with the black, elastic satin I originally planned to use for the bone channels. Although there’s a slight difference in shade, it works better than the purple fabric would have: an elastic binding gives much more than bias tape ever can, and feels better when worn.
The remake did wonders to a discarded corset, and I’m super-happy with the results. A bit of effort turned this from “so going into the bin” to my new favourite.

Until next time!