Thursday, 8 May 2014

From Humble Beginnings

I'm currently reading a book called "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth Cline, which came out in 2012.  It's a bit like a drunken chat with a good friend, in that it could do with a good edit, but some of it is thought provoking.  It's a very good read on the bus in that it's in bite site pieces.

One interesting, unexpected side effect from the ol' RTW fast I'm on this year is that I seem to be thinking more about my existing clothes too.  So anyway, I went through my wardrobe and cleared out all the clothes I don't like, don't wear, don't fit, don't make me feel Ah-maze-bawls dahlink.  Liberating.

One such thing was this cardie that has been in my wardrobe for a while now.  It's cosy and soft, but long and too big and generally not flattering on me.  Exhibit A and B, below.

I wanted to keep the sleeves and hem band because these things make it look decent and not dodgey/homemade (as opposed to bespoke).  So, I simply cut off the two fronts t the shoulder and side seams.  Hey presto, flasher.  In fact, come to think about it, I look a bit like a flasher in the top photos... whoops, unintentional.

I shortened the cardie by folding up the extra and sewing a seam along the (existing) ribbing hem which meant that it was a secret, invisible seam.  Then, I laid out some silk and lace to make a new front.  It was about as technical as that.  I used the scalloped edge of the lace to be the hem and double hemmed the silk to make sure that the hem was at the highest point of the scallop.  

So here's the new, shorter length, shown below with the "has the camera remote worked" pose. 
To get a nice finish on the inside for the side seams , I sandwiched the cardie layer in between the lace and silk, and then turned it inside out through the neck (which I left open).  The side seams were sewn up as far as the underarm seam, then I pinned the should edges to the shoulder seams and then the sleeves were sewn to the lace.  I had to put some tucks in so that they would fit, but it works well with the design. 

The photo above also shows the lace in a little more detail - it is fine gauge net based lace, with gold threads in a few places.  Of course, the lace and silk aren't stretchy, so I made an opening on one shoulder seam, which is closed with snaps (one of them is left open on the photo below).  

And here is the finished article, and my smug face (and actually, with my blouse hanging out the bottom! not so smug now!!).
It's decidedly more me than before, and so it gets worn much more than the original version.  This took less than half a metre of nice material to make this top into something I wear all the time - you only need enough to go around half of you.  Might be worth considering before putting anything in the charity bag.

Rachel J

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