Category Archives: DIY

Guest blog: The-Thrift.co.uk

upcycling-before-after

Just a quick note to let you know I’ve got a guest post up on Barnardo’s ethical shopping blog The Thrift, giving you some upcycling inspiration to take a vintage dress from drab to fab!

Giving old clothes a new lease of life is one of my favourite things and so simple to do, even if you don’t own a sewing machine. Let me know if you give it a go.

Valentines Fashion DIY: How To Make a Heart Pocket

heart-pocket-DIY

Happy love day friends. Whether you’re partnered up or not (who cares!) I wanted to share a bit of sewing love with my first ever DIY fashion tutorial on this here blog.

I’m planning on doing more, so watch this space, but I thought I’d start with something simple… and heart-shaped of course.

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What I Wore: Reworked Vintage Co-ord

Co-ordinates (or ‘co-ords’, or ‘twosies’ as I’ve also seen them called, but let’s agree to never call them that, ok?) seem to be all the rage at the moment. I can see why, they’re SO comfy to wear and make a nice change from a dress – plus, you have a top and a skirt or shorts that you can mix and match with other pieces of clothing, making them a really versatile addition to any wardrobe.

I’ve got a tutorial in production to show you how to make a co-ord from an old dress (watch this space!) but for now I wanted to share with you a really quick rework I did recently to take an old outfit and make it into something instantly more wearable.

vintage-coord-before

Co-ords are nothing new, as this little 80s paisley number shows though back then it was called a ‘suit’. All I needed to do was shorten the hem on both the top and the skirt to create something that retained its awesomeness but just made it, well, a little more awesome.

I simply tried it on then decided where I wanted to crop the skirt and top to (I mark these with a few pins, it always helps if you have someone handy to help you out with this!)

Next I worked out my seam allowance (tip: follow whatever the manufacturer has used) and add this measurement on to the bottom of where I want my new hemline to be. Then I’m left with how much I can cut off. I then used the double-folded hem method expertly explained here and sewed it on my sewing machine.

vintage-coord-finished

This outfit came to Amsterdam with me, and was perfect for exploring on foot in the hot summer weather (which seems like a distant memory now we’re well into autumn, brrrr!)

P.S. Excuse the mirror selfies, I was missing my tripod.

What I Wore: Reworked Watercolour Dress

One of my favourite things about reworking and updating vintage clothes is hunting for the perfect new project to work on. There are a few things that make me pick a dress over all the others. A unique detail or an unusual pattern are the key things, but if you find a piece of clothing that is well-constructed it is all the better.

I picked up this frock from St Ann’s Hospice in Stockport for a whole £8. I just loved the abstract watercolour like floral print, but also it is really well made, with a bit of structure in the corset and a nicely gathered waist.

watercolour-dress-before2

Somebody had already shortened it at some point, saving me a job, but there was still some work to do. Those big puffy sleeves were a bit too 1980s prom/bridesmaid dress for me.

I had two choices here, to reduce the sleeves or remove them completely. I went for the latter as I wanted to make the dress as simple as possible and let that lovely fabric take centre stage.

Removing sleeves is one of the simplest things you can do to transform a dress, but it’s not always quite as straightforward as just unpicking a sleeve and creating a hem. You often need to reduce the armholes and, because this dress was a little too big for me on top I needed to reduce the amount of fabric in the top half.

watercolour-dress-modification

I also chose to create a facing, rather than a visible hem, but fortunately there was more than enough fabric in those sleeves to create one.

The result is a rather nice little summery dress which I wore for my birthday meal.

watercolour-dress-after

What I wore: Reworked Lanz Originals vintage dress / Gold bow necklace, Ladybird Likes / ASOS sandals (last year)

What do you think? Do you modify your own clothes or would like to learn? I’m thinking of sharing some tips on the blog of simple alterations you can do. Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’d like to see.

DIY Fashion: Update an Old Blouse

Sometimes you find a vintage or second hand item that has the best colours, pattern and some sweet features (hello collars!) but the style is just a little, well, frumpy.

Recently I was lucky enough to hit the motherload of discounted Japanese vintage blouses. I love everything about this one, but the arms are too long and the whole thing just swamps me a bit.

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If you have a top or blouse that fits the bill, today I’m going to tell you how to give it a quick update – NO CUTTING or machine sewing involved. There’s just a little bit of hand sewing, so it’s totally reversible (good if you’re just borrowing it, hehe).

What you’ll need

  • Blouse (of course!)
  • Matching cotton or polyester thread
  • Sewing needle

For mid-length sleeves, the ultimate quick update you can do to give it a slightly more contemporary edge is roll the sleeves.

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  1. For an even turn up, fold the hem back on itself on itself once, then as many times as necessary to achieve the length you want. It can help to get someone to do this for you whilst you’re wearing it, then pin to make sure you don’t forget.
  1. Now to get it to stay in place. Take a length of thread and tie a double knot in the end and thread your needle.

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  1. Find a spot on the centre top of the sleeve where the back of the cuff meets the sleeve. Sew from the inside of your sleeve out – so your knot is hidden – going through the top of the cuff and back down. It only needs to be a tiny stitch, so it’s barely noticeable. Repeat this 2-3 times. When the needle is threaded inside for the last time, tie off with a double knot.
  1. Repeat on the underside of your sleeve.
  1. Then repeat 1-4 on the other side.

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Finally, another nice touch for summer is to take your blouse in at the waist with a simple knot. If, like mine, your knot won’t stay in place, put in a few small stitches to hold it.

Et voila! One fresh and funky (not frumpy) new blouse to stay cool in this summer.

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I must say, this one looks particularly lovely with my mint green Ladybird Likes heart collar clips.

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