Cute or creepy?
Here’s a tapestry I found in a thrift store on a recent weekend trip to Stockholm. It shows two children with a lamb and some Swedish writing saying something like ‘Ba Ba White Lamb’. It’s currently draped over an armchair but I’m thinking of turning it into a cushion or putting it into a frame. I like the naive style and bright colours, but I can’t quite decide if it’s just a bit odd. What do you think – cute or creepy?
This skirt began life as a M&S jersey dress from the eighties. Bought in a charity shop for £2.99, I loved the fabric but the style was quite dull (a simple tunic dress with the elasticated waist) and the top was fairly moth eaten. Taking inspiration from a lot of the cute button up skirts in the shops and my floral Butterick 5285 circle skirt, I decided to refashion the dress into a skirt.
Had I known we were going to start a blog, I would have taken some before and after shots, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to picture what it was like before.
I started by chopping off the top and cutting the skirt down the middle. Turning over each raw hem, I reinforced each side with some sturdy navy blue jersey. Using the waistband pattern from the Butterick 5285 circle skirt pattern which I knew fit well, I then made a waistband out of the same navy jersey – making sure it was a couple of inches longer so I’d be able to overlap the skirt at the front – and reinforced it with interfacing. I then gathered the skirt following the circle skirt method (though it isn’t as full as my other skirt as there wasn’t as much fabric) and sewed it onto the waistband. I used the automatic buttonhole setting on the sewing machine to create button holes along one edge of the skirt and then covered some buttons with the navy jersey. I’d never covered my own buttons before, so bought a button covering it from John Lewis, and was surprised by how quick and easy it was to do. The last step was to sew the buttons on, and voilà, my very own button up circle skirt.
Pattern: Altered version of the Butterick B5285 skirt
Fabric: Beach lounger print jersey from an old M&S dress
Time: Four evenings (although could probably be done in a couple of hours in one sitting)
What I liked about it: The fun fabric
What I would change: The stitching alongside the buttons – it’s so wonky!
Last week I combined training for a marathon walk I’m doing in October with a trip to browse fabrics at Walthamstow Market. It was a lovely 1 and a half hour walk from Islington, going through Stoke Newington and then across the Lee Valley and Walthamstow Marshes. The Lee River is so peaceful, like a slice of the countryside dropped right into London .
Lee River Valley
Fast forward two hours and I’m struggling under the weight of the 30 or so metres of fabric I managed to buy. Walthamstow Market is a little like Primark – so cheap you end up getting carried away and feeling guilt pangs shortly afterwards.
I first went to Walthamstow Market a few months ago, inspired by other sewing blogs like Tilly and the Buttons, Did You Make That? and Carly Makes Stuff. If like me you’re relatively new to sewing and scared of ruining beautiful expensive fabrics through your haplessness, then Walthamstow Market is the place for you. Fabrics range from 50p per metre upwards, with some shops not stocking anything that costs more than £5/m. Naturally this means quality isn’t, but there are good buys to be had. There are about 5 – 6 fabric shops in the market as well as a couple of stalls and a couple of shops and stalls selling trimmings – zips, ribbons, buttons etc.
All I wanted was 2m of fabric for a work dress...
So what did I buy? Blue cotton twill (£2/m), which has a good weight to it so would make a nice bright Colette Beignet skirt, a denim look synthetic jersey (£1/m) that I’ll probably use to make something from the Built By Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book, a mystery red fabric (£1) for a winter work dress with vintage-look Vogue Pattern V8615, a red stripy polyester (£1.50/m) for a gathered skirt and a broderie anglaise type fabric (£1.50/m) for a summer dress. Oh, and an old sheet from a charity shop which I thought was ‘vintage floral chic’ but my sister just thinks is daggy. I thought it could make a cute dress.
Vogue pattern V8615 with red fabric
Floral sheet from charity shop
If you’re after some cheap and cheerful fabric, then I’d definitely recommend a trip to Walthamstow Market. Just try and remember what you went there for in the first place.
I found a metre of this fabric in the sale at Liberty’s and immediately thought of the free Colette Sorbetto
top I’ve been wanting to make. I love this print, and despite being alot more expensive then most fabrics I usually buy I think it was worth it in the end.
I wasn’t sure if the pattern would suit me as I’m on the bustier side, normally I try to wear things that are more fitted, but I was pleasantly suprised by the fit.
I kept the pattern simple, I really like the embellishments that others have done but this print is quite distinctive already. I did lower the neckline an inch or so to try to make it more flattering.
Pattern: Colette’s free sorbetto pattern
Fabric: Peacock print tana lawn from Liberty £11 for a metre
Time: One evening spent cutting out the pattern and sewing the main part of the top and one evening to make and attach the bias binding.
What I liked about it: The fit – it looks better then I thought it would. The fabric – the sorbetto pattern was a great simple pattern for this distinctive print.
What I would change
: I might try and make my bias binding lie flatter – it does gape a tiny bit. Also I think I would be tempted to make it an inch longer . I also really want to make one with sleeves perhaps like Mena from Sew Weekly’s Sunny Sorbetto
Kirstyn’s first real dressmaking attempt.
This is dress A from the Built By Wendy Built By You Simplicity 3964 dress pattern.
I used some cotton I found in my mum’s stash which she has had for years. The one I used for the body is a smaller ditzy print and the fabric I used for the collar, sleeves and trip had a bigger floral.
I’m pretty pleased with the results. I added on the trim as I wanted it to be a bit longer but actually quite like the effect. The pattern was fiddly for a beginner in places (the binding was so narrow and really tricky to get right), but I’d definitely make it again.
I didn’t bother making the waist tie it suggests you make, but usually wear it with a belt.
Circle skirt A from Butterick’s 5285 pattern. Made from a cheap floral polycotton bought at Rolls & Rems in Holloway as it’s a trial.
Quite pleased with the result though I haven’t finished the top of the zip very well and the tops of the zip are ever so slightly sticking out. It was very quick and easy to make up.