Category: Clothes

Clothes I’ve Made and How Tos

Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing-Book Review

Gretchen Hirsch began her blog, Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing, began when she tried to follow the 1950’s book, Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing.  As well as sewing and fashion, she has written about gender and body image.  Her popularity grew and she ended up publishing several books herself.  Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, there are 14 projects inspired by the original Vogue book with patterns including.  They are all pretty vintage in style, but modeled by Gertie with her fuller figure and tattoos there’s definitely a modern touch.

I was given this book as a gift which was sweet.  But it didn’t take long for me to realise that none of the outfits suited my body type, style, or lifestyle.  And, while full patterns are included you have to trace them first before cutting out as they all overlap.  When I got this book I hadn’t used patterns in a book before, and just used single patterns that you can just cut straight out.  I understand why books do this, it saves a lot of paper and expense but it’s a real pain to use.  I attempted to make a skirt a while back but it ended rather disastrously and looked atrocious.  Although I really appreciate Gertie’s work this was not the book for me!

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Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt

Mum bought me ‘The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ a while back, when that show was the hot new thing.  I’ve only just got around to looking it over properly.  To be honest most of the garments weren’t my style but I wanted to give a couple a go.  It’s supposed to be accessible if you’re a beginner, and the leggings were marked as ‘easiest’ difficulty, so how could I go wrong? Continue reading “Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt”

Inkodye- Experimenting with Sun Printing

I bought some Inkodye about four years ago, and had a go then.  It’s a dye that reacts to sunlight or UV, and I was living in a shared house without a garden.  It meant doing this project in my bedroom next to the window and it didn’t really work.

It’s fairly easy to play with.  You do need to plan it a bit first though.  The most obvious idea is shadow printing.  You paint the dye onto the fabric in a thin even coat.  Then quickly place items with clear silhouettes on top.  Leave in bright sunlight for about 20mins.  It was really windy when I was out, so I had to weigh my fabric down with coins!  You don’t have long before the dye starts to react, so I arranged my items in advance to make sure I could put them on quickly after painting my dye.  You can see in the pictures above how the dye started to change colour in just a few minutes.  You can also see how I splatted the Inkodye over the table I was using!  I also got it on some of the plants in the garden.  Be careful not to get it on your clothes, I think you would struggle to wash it out.   

I used pieces of card cut into hearts, a key, safety pins, horse shaped paper clips, scissors, buttons, and film negatives.  The best results came from the heavier items that lay flatter on the fabric like the key and scissors.  The card hearts would have worked better but I used a spray bottle for the dye on that piece instead of painting it and that made it all splodgy!  The negatives did nothing!  They were too dark and entirely blocked the light.  What you can do it print an inverted image of a photograph onto a piece of acetate or the ‘Transparency Sheets’ that Inkodye sell.

Afterwards I carefully transferred the pieces of fabric onto a tray to bring them inside.  The dye is still light sensitive, so once you remove the items onto the white bits underneath with start to react and change colour.  I put them all into the washing machine as quickly as possible, with the special Inkodye Detergent.  My washing machine refused to obey my command immediately, and they were waiting inside for a few minutes before I set it going.  In that time I lost the definition of the safety pins and horse shaped paper clips.  It was fun to play around but I don’t think I am quite ready to attack another piece of real clothing.

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Tie-Dye Summer Dress

I did some tie-dye last year and wanted to do some again.  Instead of just another t-shirt I went for a summery, embroidered dress. It’s white, and somewhat see-through.  So I would want to dye it a darker colour anyway.

It’s from H and M but actually cost about £40 which seemed kinda expensive for something I had a good chance of ruining but it was 30 degrees and sunny, so I went wild.  Obviously the temperature has since dropped to about 15 Celsius since then but that’s British summer for you.

Possibly at some point the weather will actually get warm enough again for me to wear it?

Tie Dye Top Tips

  • Only use natural fibres, like cotton.  I think you can get special dye for synthetics but they don’t take the dye as well .
  • Wash the clothes before you dye them.  They put a water resistant coating on clothes, called sizing for some reason, which keeps them looking nice and prevents mold.  But it also stops the dye penetrating.
  • After you’ve done, use scissors to remove the elastic bands.  This is much easier than trying to pull them off and there’s less chance of the dye running.

What I did

I used Dye-Lon dye, and followed the instructions on the back.  That being to mix the dye in 500ml of warm water, and dissolve the salt in 6 litres of warm water.  Then mix together.   I used a light pink in one bucket, and a dark pink in the other.  As well as tie-dying, I wanted to an ombre effect.

I then got a bunch of elastic bands and attack the dress.  I somewhat randomly grabbed little sections and elasticated them.  I did do a boob check, to make sure I wasn’t going to end up with targets on my breasts, and I tried to get a mixture of large and small sections.  Once you’ve done about half the dress it becomes pretty hard to visualise what the finished product will look like.

I held the dress under the warm tap for a few moments to dampen it again.  Then I dunked the top half of the dress in the light pink.  I left it in there for over an hour, swishing it around every so often to make sure it would dye evenly.  Then I pulled it out, turned it upside down and dunked the bottom half into the hot pink.  Again I kept that in for about an hour.  I didn’t want a hard line between the two colours so I wiggle it around in the darker pink a bit to get a blurrier line.

After taking it out, I poured the bucket of dye in the drain outside.  Then I ran the dress under water and gently squeezed the water out.  I kept the light pink section at the top at all times, so the darker pink wouldn’t drip down onto it.  After rinsing a few times, I used some scissors to carefully cut the elastic bands off.  Then I threw it into the washing machine, by itself to wash off the remaining dye.

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Turning a Long Sleeve Top Into A Short Sleeve Top

I bought this long sleeve top about 3 years ago in San Fransisco. I liked the fact that it was long sleeve, and also looked like pajamas!  It was one of the few things I bought that actually also made sense in the UK weather, unlike the very tempting summery items they were selling in California.

Buuuuut…the sleeve ripped on the right side around the elbow.  And everytime I put it on I put my arm straight the hole making it much worse.  So finally I decided to do something about it.  Inititally, I wanted to keep the cuff that was at the bottom of the sleeve but move it upwards.  But that proved too complicated for me.  Obvs the sleeve was a narrower at the bottom than the top so moving the cuff up would have been fiddly, not very neat, and I wouldn’t have been able to fasten it afterward.

So instead, I just cut the sleeves short to T-shirt length, and hemmed them.  Pretty easy in the end.

iron-on patch

How to Use An Iron-On Patch- Cool NASA T-Shirt

I picked up an iron-on patch on my recent trip to America, it found it really easy to use.

The NASA t-shirt is super ‘in’ right now.  But I didn’t feel I could buy one without having visited something NASA related.  Like wearing a band t-shirt because it makes you look rock ‘n’ roll but you’ve never listened to the music.  I’m not planning on joining NASA anytime soon, but I have now visited the Smithsonian Air and Space museums in Washington DC and Virginia.  It was the Virginia one that I bought this $6 iron-on patch from.  Back in the UK I bought a t-shirt from H and M for £3.99.

iron on patch

I tried the t-shirt on first to eye-ball where I wanted the iron-on patch.  Then I laid it out flat and placed down the patch.  I placed a piece of cotton fabric over the top (you could use a pillow case).  Then put my iron on the hottest setting and placed it down over the patch for about 45 seconds. iron-on patch

Don’t use steam, and don’t move it back and forth!  Then I turned the t-shirt inside out and did the same thing again.  And that’s it!  Pretty simple, and it’s stuck fast as people said in the 1840’s.  I feel like this post has had a lot of anachronistic slang…  This cost me less than £10 to make, I’ve seen them online for as little as £15 but a lot that were over £30.  So I feel I’ve got a pretty good deal, and it’s a wearable souvenir of my trip.

iron on patch

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Upcycled Pink Shift Dress into a Spring Top

I’ve been doing some upcycling! I have had a pink shift dress hanging around which did not fit because shift dresses are designed not to fit.  I bought it because it’s hot pink and I had a discount. So I upcycled it!

upcycled pink top

It was a little tricky as the dress as pockets in it.  I cut the bottom off, then unpicked the stitching around the pockets and removed them.  Then I stitched the sides back up again.  I used the hem from the dress to hem my new top.

I’m not sure what the fabric is but it was reflecting the sunlight like crazy!  It’s actually a slightly darker colour in real life.  But anyway, less than a week before I head to the Americas I now have a jazzy pink top to wear.

Halloween Costume Idea- Cave Girl

I always want to do something awesome for Halloween and it never really happens.  The internet tells me I can make a mummy costume, or become a lego version of myself with only my innate make-up ability and 10 minutes.  That way ends in disaster.

I also want to go for something scary, rather than all the silly popular culture inspired ones that proliferate the interwebs, but that limits the options further. I went for something in the middle, not a witch or vampire but also not a humanoid emoji or confectionery item.   I chose cave girl. Continue reading “Halloween Costume Idea- Cave Girl”