Salvage September Project 2

Remember this dress?

Well, it went into the “remake it pile” when I purged my closet.  I initially cut it apart with the intention of making another dress, but that went out the window once I’d laid out all the pieces and realized only the skirt was really going to be salvageable.  Burda classics 0015 blouseSo I traced off this little sleeveless number from Burda’s 2012 FW Classics issue.  There was just enough to squeeze it out, although I did end up piecing some of the facing.

Liberty Bea

I lengthened the back by an extra 4cm, hemming it with right-angle corners instead of grading it to meet the front length.  It means I can tuck it in securely at the back, or, when it is left untucked, have sufficient coverage when I sit or bend over.

Burda Classics 2012 #15

I’m quite happy with this little top, especially the collar.  And quite happy that I have a garment which will see more wear than the dress ever did.

Tie front blouse


Salvage September Project 1

Back in Me-Made-May earlier this year, I whipped up a version of Vogue 1179. I used a poly-lycra roll end from my stash in a reptile-ish print.  But I wasn’t happy with it because it really needed an FBA to hang properly.  And I felt like a frump every time I wore it.  Definitely a wadder project, although I really really like the idea of this dress.  I just don’t feel stylish wearing it.  I even gave away my earlier red version because the fabric was only an 11 oz rayon-lycra and I felt so self-conscious wearing it.

MMM15 Day 27

So I took the latest rendition apart and saved the fabric by turning it into one of Burda’s shapeless boxy tops that take 30 minutes to trace, cut and sew (Burda 05/2012 #109+110).

Burda 05-2012-110

I’m surprised at this, OK?  I have never gravitated towards shapeless anything, but this was a gamble I was willing to lose.  I like it.  If it wouldn’t look weird, I’d wear this top three times a week. Why?  There is nothing special about it. It’s just an over-sized box with a wide boat neckline that can maybe sorta fall into a cowl-ish shape on the front.

Burda 5-2012-110 cowl top

I made it more interesting for myself by adding the shoulder ties and pulling them up to about a 10cm width.

Burda 5-2012-110 front

Lots of room in this, I think, is what I’m liking.  It’s not figure conscious, which translates to comfort, physically and psychologically, perhaps.  It was a good use of the fabric.  And now that I know I like shapeless tops and they don’t look as horrible as my mind’s eye insisted, I’m not afraid to try more.

Burda 5-2012-110 back

A Plethora of New Tops

MMM15 Day 12-2

So I’ve been sewing up a few new tops.  The first one is Burda 7/2012 #136, without the ties.  No comment on the ties.

134_0712_b_largeI’ve been wanting to use fabrics I’ve been collecting over the last few years, and this combination of 14 oz rayon-lycra jersey in oatmeal and the scraps from my chocolate Burda 1/2013 #119 seemed to fit the bill. The chocolate jersey is 11 oz, and it doesn’t have the heft of the oatmeal fabric, but it manages. The bands are cut on the cross grain, on a fold, so the folded edge is the neckline. I had to do some tweaking to get the angles of the shoulder, CF and CB seams just right in order to feel secure in this top. The neckline sits (quite) wide. I ended up putting bra keepers in the shoulder seams just for added peace of mind. If you look at the Russian Burda site, lots of versions of this sexy neckline just slip off shoulders coyly. I’m not so coy, so I made the shoulders secure.

Burda 7-2012-136 side

The next top is my go-to for tees.  I just love the fit, neckline and little gathered raglan sleeves of this design:  Burda 02/2013 #126.

I have two versions that are new to me.  First, the crocodile print.

MMM15 Day 6

And then the polka dot one, upcycled from my purged McCardell dress.

MMM15 Day 7

There was so much fabric in that skirt, that I also made a second version in a bigger size of Burda 09/2011 #106. I don’t know what it is about that dotty jersey, but I just love it. Must be the combo of chocolate and olive.

And last, but not least, this little number from Burda 06/2014 #103. 103_062014_b_largeI didn’t quite have enough linen fabric to cut the required length, since this came in a package of roll ends from EOS.  So I added tiers to the bottom.  It’s rather loose, contrary to what the photos look like, which is a good thing.

Burda 6-2014-103 linen top

Here’s a detail shot of the shoulder.

Burda 6-2014-103 liberty

The jersey is intersected by petersham ribbon, which has been edged with bias binding.  It creates a structure from which the jersey literally hangs.  Brilliant.

Burda 6-2014-103 trim back

I used a Liberty Arts Fabric print, and I cannot for the life of me find the name of it.  If you know, please share it in the comments!

Burda 6-2014-103 linen top back

I love the linen jersey.  It’s so light and comfy and luxurious.  It was a PITA to cut, though, because the grain was all skewed.  In retrospect, I coulda/shoulda used petersham in a more contrasting colour to make the binding pop a bit more.  But this is subtle, and I’m happy to wear it, as I am all these new tops!  I did make up one more top in a coral jersey, but the pattern (and solid colour) was all wrong, so I thrifted it.  Well, five keepers out of six ain’t bad! And I’m happy to be sewing my stash!

Do you like sewing new tee patterns, or go for TNTs?


So I finally got around to purging my closet the other day.  It’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a few months, mostly… well, because I’ve expanded slightly, and things that should be wearable, aren’t.  It felt good to sort through everything and make some decisions.  Ruthless decisions, I might add.  Garments were sorted into “doesn’t-fit-and-I don’t-care” for giving away; “doesn’t-fit-but-it-may-before-I-die-so-I’ll-keep-it-because-I-really-like-it”; and “alterations required”.

This is my “keep” pile.keepI confess to never wearing two of the three silk blouses in this pile.  But I like them, and maybe they’ll be wanted someday.  Most of what’s in this pile has been blogged in the previous couple of years.  But it doesn’t fit either my lifestyle or me these days, so it’s going into storage.  I just can’t part with garments that I’m proud of from a construction point of view.  Perhaps they’ll be used again in future….

This is the “alteration” pile.  Only six garments made it into this lot.

alter pileI can’t part with Liberty fabrics, so I’ll be changing up the ‘Bea’ dress on the left.  It’s got about 2 yards of fabric in the skirt, so I’m sure to remake it into something useful.  The ‘Hurren’ dress still fits, surprisingly.  I didn’t wear this at all last year, but, again, it’s Liberty, and I just can’t bear to part with it!  I’ll probably shorten it by 3 inches and change up the sash/belt.  The batik dress… I’m so in love with the fabric that I must find a way to use it again, albeit a small amount (about 1 yard total).  And on the right is the McCardell dress. I intend to remake the skirt, which has about 2 yards of fabric in it, again. The dirndl look isn’t flattering anymore. And two silk blouses that need a remake or slight tweaking.  Again, it’s the fabric that’s calling to me….

I sent one very large bag out of the house with no regrets.  I’m strangely exuberant about all this sorting.  The doesn’t-fit collection has been making me miserable for a long time, knowing the garments don’t suit lifestyle or me right now, and it feels good to get them out of sight (and mind) and open up some space for new garments.  It also gives me ‘permission’ of a sort to add to my wardrobe, something with which I struggle, since I really am trying to be driven by necessity for the most part, not want, in my effort to be economically and (I like to think) globally mindful…. in my own small way.

Don’t get me wrong!  I love to dress up and “feel oh, so pretty”, but seriously…. there’s not a place to go. It brings to mind a series of billboards from about a decade ago here in my local city, for one of the larger malls.  They consisted of a young mom all dolled up perfectly in pretty dresses, makeup and stilettos, cleaning a toilet, crawling on the floor after a toddler and changing the oil in her car.   As much as I’d like to dress like the ladies who lunch all day, it’s completely impractical and unnecessary for my lifestyle.  It’s taken a long time to let go of wanting to dress up all the time.  I have always been the overdressed person at “______________” (pick a function), because I like dressing up.  And I confess to finding some kinds of materialistic excess pretty and attractive (who doesn’t like a shoe collection? the latest makeup look? another bag?) but very irresponsible, and, (finally) quite unnecessary.  I don’t need a new wardrobe every season.  I love to build clothes that will last, not wear out or be dated in 5 years.  But this means collecting if I’m going to keep sewing, and my conscience bugs me about what it calls ‘hoarding’ sometimes.closet

So…. all that to say, I’m happy with the holes in my wardrobe!  Between my rather empty closet and Me-Made-May ’15, I’d say there’s plenty of incentive to shop my stash and get sewing me-mades that fit both me and my life.

*If you’d like to join in, click on the image above.  It’s linked to the sign-up post over at SoZoWhatDoYouKnow.

Thanks for the ideas!

When I posted the double giveaway at the beginning of December, I asked entrants to share what they did with me-mades they fell out of love with.  Now, apart from having people comment on something specific vs. random comments, I really did want to know what you all do with things that you hate now, after being in love with either the idea, the fabric, or the result for a little or a long time.image Because this is a problem of mine.  I do love to sew.  I love to try new patterns.  But I confess to being an incredibly lazy sewist, which is probably why I’ll never master that copy of a McQueen or Westwood garment that I would love to waste 10,000 hours creating for my closet.  This inherent laziness produces a lot of clothing, which is wearable in the mass-produced ill-fitting RTW sort of way, but becomes abhorrent after 5 or 6 wearings to the woman in the mirror’s keen observation.  Or is it comparison?  Y’know, to all those beautiful things you see walking down the runways that would be perfect in my life.  I usually send all unlovelies to the thrift shop, only, if I’ve really fallen into abhorrence, after cutting out my label.  I mean, I wouldn’t want said ugliness traced back to me, right?  So I was thrilled with some of the ideas from those of you that left comments.  Here are the ones that alighted little light bulbs over my head:

Aaminah says: One of the ways I recycle clothing I no longer find useful or just don’t like anymore is to cut up the fabric and turn it into something else. Right now I am in the midst of doing just that for sewing purses. I really want to start getting into refashioning clothing though.

Recycling into another garment or item is a great idea, one that I have done perhaps a handful of times in my sewing life.  But the practical side of me says, “You already have an overflowing stash,  and you’re going to add to it?”

Sertyan says: I would love the fabric. I sew for my little girl and currently myself. If my little girl outgrows her clothes, I don’t think I will give them away, I will keep them as a keepsake! Hopefully when she’s older I can show it to her and let her reminisce.

This I have done, and will continue to do with the garments that I truly am pleased with.  And that means the interior, construction, finishing and fit of the garment.  Oh, and the fabric must be something extra special.  I have given a lot of the dresses that I’ve made for my daughters to my mom, who has handed them out in Haiti over the years.  But I have kept some in my cedar chest for the little people in my future.

Mary says:   Hi TiaDia~ I sew a lot, and tend to give things away in batches. I donate to the Crisis center in town, as women arrive with only the clothes they are wearing. Sometimes I will make up a baby outfit, or a small child’s tee to add in. I like to “give back” to these organizations, and I like to keep my closet spare. I use half of my small closet for clothes, and half for accessories.

Now this was a brilliant idea.  Why haven’t I thought of this before?  There is a shelter very close to my home that we have helped in other ways, so why wouldn’t I think of doing this before?  Perhaps because I think my clothing is a bit out there sometimes.  I mean, how practical is this dress, for example?

And I do like to keep my closet manageable.  I do not have the space to keep a museum of outfits, and although I sometimes think it would be fun to keep some things for my kids to wear or laugh at, the practical part of me wonders what the value is of storing something for 30 years that isn’t a collectible Prada or LV.

SewLindaAnn says:  I would love the fabric, it’s beautiful. What I did with unloved anymore items would depend on the fabric and sentimental value. If it was very loved I would make patches into a pillow or something to remember it by. If it would work, I’d cut thin strips and use it to crochet small rugs or creatures. I do love re-purposing my stuff as well as others discards.

Hmmm…. strips for crocheting.   Now I do know someone who likes to crochet. This may be an idea for future rejected projects.  And do have this ridiculous idea that all the fabric in my scrap box will be used to make my children crazy quilts one day… when they leave the house… and go to university.  Or something like that.

Judith says:  Well, first of all they get delegated to the ‘one day’ pile – you know the pile you think that one day you may come back to, when hopefully you give them a second chance! If they sit in that pile way past their use-by-date then they are given a quick trip to the local charity store – surely not everyone would dislike them!!!

The “second chance”.  I have done this occasionally, and have two recent items in this pile.  The first is the fringe dress.  I hate the neckline.  It does nothing for my face or arms, for that matter.  This was in and out of the thrift pile several times until I came to the decision to re-do the neckline.  Probably as a very deep scoop.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll salvage the fringe and thrift the dress.  Or maybe thrift the entire thing. image And the pants made from the same chocolate brown fabric.  image I just really hate the fit of these pants.  I’m going to redo them into capris like these ones. And the shirt was recycled, too.  I just tired of the colour combination and loudness of the print, never mind the ill-fitting through the bust because I was too lazy to do the FBA side seam darts and gathered the fabric into the side seam instead!!!

mireillemcguire says:  hello! I try to give things-i-used-to-love to friends who’d appreciate them. Barring that, there is a thrift organization that offers a quarterly pickup. Sometimes I have charity-remorse and think mournfully of things I’ve given away

Now I have had charity remorse.  Specifically wide leather 80’s style belts that I have longed for years after giving away.  But clothing?  Well, the only thing that I wish I hadn’t thrifted was a black taffeta ball gown skirt that I used for performing years ago.  I have wished that was still in my closet the odd time.

Gill says: I tend to cannibalise(!) anything I no longer wear! I take off all buttons,zips etc and the garment is cut apart and goes into my scrap basket to await the perfect project!

I do this all the time!  Well, when I don’t actually give the entire garment away.  I like to re-use notions when I can.  The sewing hobby is expensive, especially when you put the time and effort into making a garment that should have been muslined in the first place, but wasn’t.  🙂