Tag Archives: bow

Sew simple

It may not be apparent from my previous posts, but I absolutely ADORE all things vintage. This IS apparent however, from my taste in both men and clothing. HA!

I often want to buy vintage items but find that they are often too big and not always in the best condition – depending on where you buy from.

So, in keeping with my see-it-and-make-it-myself philosophy, I saw a vintage skirt that I just adored and decided to copy it to my size and modify it slightly to my style.

This is my inspiration..

From Sew What

Its a vintage wool number with a zipper in the back and pockets I think. I loved it instantly but it was both not my size and a bit too expensive for my liking. I decided to make one for myself. I chose to make it in red twill, having wanted to make a red skirt for a while. I was in a bit of a hurry for some reason so I used a side zipper and skipped the pockets. I think I might replace the zipper with an invisible one soon. Maybe.

From Sew What

I cut out two rectangles to a suitable size, usually guestimated by how wide I want the circumference to be at the bottom. I then edged all sides with a zig zag stitch, since I don’t have a serger, and hemmed the bottom of both pieces.

I then randomly picked one of the pieces to be the front and went about duplicating the pleat.

From Sew What

I basically did a large box pleat, the “box” facing in and folded in as much as was needed to reduce the waistline to the right size, plus seam allowances. I pinned everything in place and moved on to the back.

From Sew What

At this point I was still distrustful of machine basting, so I hand tacked and gathered the back piece and again, gathered enough to reduce the waistline down to the right size, plus seam allowances.

Next I hand tacked both front and back pieces together and inserted the zipper.

From Sew What

After hand tacking and making sure I was satisfied, I finalised everything with proper machine stitching.

I then moved on to the waist band. Having learned my lesson from my first skirt, I kept the zipper closed and stitched the waist band around the tube of the skirt to get the right curvature.

From Sew What

I hand tacked, first on the inside, folded over the band and then tacked the outside. I tried it on to make sure it was proper and then finalised with machine stitching. Yes I hand tack or baste a lot. I prefer it to pinning…for now.

At this point it was pretty much done. I trimmed down the waist band and added a few hand sewn snap buttons on the side to keep it down.

All I needed now was the bow.

Since I’m stubborn and unreasonable, I did not go back to look at my original inspiration and roughly measured out a rectangle, folded it in half, stitched it up and made a bow. It turned out to be bigger than the original skirt’s bow and sagged somewhat on the sides. I decided to just go with it and instead of permanently attaching it, I added a brooch pin and made it detachable, in case I suddenly decide bows are dumb. I have been known to suddenly decide that, among other things, jean shorts, dungarees, harem pants and camo mini skirts are dumb. Which really, they are once you’re out of college and not working as a talent wrangler on Canadian Idol. So I’m never sure enough to commit to permanently attaching things.

Once I pinned on the bow I was done and I’m actually quite pleased with how whimsical and over the top it looks with the over sized bow. I’m going to wear it with a polka dot top and exposed seam black stockings. 😀


From Sew What

Sew far, sew good…

For my next project, I knew exactly what I wanted to make and exactly what fabric to make it out of.
So, I made something completely different instead.

Once I picked up my predetermined fabric for its predetermined purpose, I decided that if I saw ‘something pretty’ I would buy a metre and keep it aside till I figured out what to do with it. At this point, I also decided that I am now a little old lady that buys pretty things and squirrels them away for ambiguous, undefined purposes.

‘Something Pretty’ was not only seen, but instantly demanded my attention and edged out ‘predetermined’ on my ‘must sew’ list. That, and the fact that ‘predetermined’ was to be a lengthier project and after the arduous day and a half I spent on my skirt, I wanted instant gratification.

In the back of my mind I had the beginnings of an idea for a nice summery printed cotton top that unlike all my other summery tops, would have sleeves. I saw this fabric and the idea instantly clawed its way to the front of my mind…

From Sew What

Its a pink-coral-orangey kind of fabric and the hippy-ish print reminded me of my mommy – two very good reasons to buy it.
Something else mommy related is the idea for this top. You see, I chose to copy or at least somewhat mimic a lovely satin top I already own – a quick and easy trick my mommy used often when she sewed our clothes as kids, and has very recently advised me to do as well. Said satin top looks like it is made from a single piece of fabric, folded and cut to shape – even the sleeves are done from that one single piece. I followed suit.
Since it was to be a loose top, I did some quick rough measurements, folded and cut out the basic shape and hemmed the sleeves first.

From Sew What

The sleeve shape is just barely there, as in the original, but the final effect is quite pleasing. The neck is cut much smaller than it will eventually be, as I usually cut small slits on the four corners of the hole and fold inwards to hem V necks.

Next, I hemmed the bottom into  a wide channel, to allow for elastic to pass through later. I tend to work on the ‘finishing’ as I go along, so as to allow myself to sew in simple straight lines as much as possible. Hand sewing has its limitations, as does my patience.

From Sew What

Not the most dramatic change, I know. Thereafter however, it was just a simple matter of sewing up the seams and hemming the neck line. In order the prevent fraying, I blanket stitched the inside seams and made a solid joint, being careful not to sew past the hem channel, so as to leave a clear path for the elastic. Once the elastic was run through, I was pretty much done!

From Sew What

I chose to cut an inch deeper in the front to distinguish the neckline from the back and added some previously bought, tiny, almost indistinguishable beads that happily happened to be the exact colour of the fabric.

From Sew What

Upon further reflection though, I felt the top too plain despite having started out with that exact aim in mind. I then chose to add a self coloured sash to it for flounce. Instead of sewing it all together though, I used my newly discovered hemming tape for the first time, which I kind of consider cheating. However it was 3am and I think by then only the purchase of an entirely new item of clothing might be considered cheating.

From Sew What

At this point – and by that I mean this very point in time as I sit here typing this- I realise I could have simply made a longer sash, used it as a drawstring and avoided the hassle of reopening a side of the hem to insert, sew and secure the two separate pieces of sash. I will console myself by fooling my brain into believing that this would not have in fact created the desired effect I was looking for.

Once again, I model for lack of a dress form. Really.

From Sew What

And voila.
I love the big bow on the side and once I wash it and the starch leaves the fabric I think it will fall a little better. It turned out almost exactly how I imagined, mistakes and all, so this time around I learned nothing really.

I hope to wear it with flared bottom jeans or walking shorts soon to debut it on styleperdiem.com.