Halterneck top out of a scarf – beginners sewing tutorial

Upcycing scarf into halter neck top tutorial

This is a tutorial to show you how to create a summer halterneck top out of a scarf. It is really easy and suitable for beginners. This tutorial makes a halterneck backless top. You can use a sewing machine or sew by hand, as there is not much sewing involved.

Upcycing scarf into halter neck top tutorial
Continue reading Halterneck top out of a scarf – beginners sewing tutorial

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Upcyling charity shop clothes – easy no sew skirt alteration

I love rummaging through charity shops to see what I can find. I have brought home some awesome clothes for the kids in the past and things for the house. Quite often I find clothes that I really like but are the wrong size or not quite the right shape, so I have taken to upcycling them. Doing your own skirt alteration may be a bit daunting if you are not used to it, so here is an easy method to alter the length of a skirt that doesn’t involve any sewing!

This skirt caught my eye because of the colours and tweedy pattern. It was the right size for me but way too long. So here is my step by step instructions on how to shorten a skirt using the ‘no sew’ method!

 

The skirt before alteration
The skirt before alteration

1. Get the skirt length right

Use an existing skirt to measure the length.
Use an existing skirt to measure the length.

I used an existing (black) skirt that I have to guide me in the right length for my alteration.

Measure the skirt’s length from waistband to hem and then pin that same length along the fabric of your skirt to be altered. Try it on at this point as the waistband of one skirt might sit higher than the waistband of the other, which would result in the wrong length! It’s also worth trying the skirt on with the shoes you would normally wear with the outfit, as heels vs flats will make a difference in how the skirt sits on your hips.

Measure the hem allowance.
Measure the hem allowance.

Cut the excess fabric off, leaving around 5cm additional length for your hem. If your skirt is lined (like mine was) then just cut the lining to the same length for now.

 

Cut away!
Cut away!

 

2. Create the hem

Iron creases into your hem allowance to create the folds for your hem by folding the fabric up into the wrong side of the skirt. It can be easier to do this if you turn the whole skirt inside out. You want to fold the hem up about 2cm, iron it flat, then fold it up again, about 2.5cm and iron it flat again.

By doing this you will make sure that your hem is even all the way around and you can double check that the skirt length will be even all over, using a tape measure. Pop a few pins in and try the skirt on again.

Fold, iron, fold, iron
Fold, iron, fold, iron

3. Iron in place

Iron hemming tape in place.
Iron hemming tape in place.

Once you are happy with the hem length you can iron in the hemming tape (Wundaweb). Take care not to touch it with the iron as it can get very sticky!

 

4. Dealing with lining

If your skirt is lined you will need to lay it flat and mark out the final length of the skirt on the lining using either pins or tailor’s chalk. For the finished garment you ideally want the lining to fall 2-5cm shorter than the skirt, so cut away any excess and repeat steps 2 and 3 for the lining.

Because lining fabric is harder to work with I tend to pin it through to the ironing board to keep it in place better. For lining you want the hem to sit on the outside of the skirt so that any rough edges are away from your legs.

 

Cut away excess lining.
Cut away excess lining.
Pin the lining to the right length.
Pin the lining to the right length.
Pin lining hem.
Pin lining hem.
Iron into place.
Iron into place.

5. Wash and iron – finished!

The finished skirt!
The finished skirt!

Here are the tools needed to do the job with a link to suggested products on Amazon:

The Great British Sewing Bee and Gender Equality

Ladybird Ladybug Fancy Dress Costume

I’m a late comer to the Great British Sewing Bee, having missed the last two year’s of programmes, but what I am seeing this year is filling me with the joy of a neatly fitting garment.

It’s great to see essential life skills being applauded on TV, rather than the shallow fame we are fed via The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Sewing is a skill that every parent should pass on to their child, and I’m pleased to say that my kids can sew their own cubs/scouts badges on to their shirts (I say they CAN, whether they DO or not is a different matter!).

The programme’s website has some handy tutorials for people inspired to go on and try it for themselves, making it accessible to beginners.

I’m also really (pleasantly) surprised by the gender balance in the programme. We’ve got 4 men and 6 women as contestants, and one of each as judges. This is great recognition by the BBC that sewing machines and haberdasheries (like the kitchen) are not the exclusive domain of women. There are some real stars across the board, so it is definitely not a case of the women overshadowing the men.

I’m really getting into this series, and it’s inspired me to get on with my sewing jobs, so get ready for some sewing related posts!

The Contestants
The Contestants
The Judges - May and Patrick
The Judges – May and Patrick

Free pattern for Craft Pocket Tote Bag

free pattern craft pocket tote bag

I tried to find a little bag for my daughter to hold a load of knitting and craft items for Christmas. The few bags I found in the shops were either expensive or quite fuddy-duddy in design – not suitable for a girl (or a grown-up who likes a bit of style).

So, armed with a pattern from Better Homes I have designed and created my own. I had to adapt the pattern as it was the wrong shape and size for what I wanted, although it was broadly the right design of bag. I also had to convert it from inches to cm as I am a metric lady!

The fabrics were bought locally, and are similar to Cath Kidston designs and are by Clarke and Clarke. It took a little while to adapt the pattern but all in all it took me about two to three hours to make this. At points you are sewing through lots of layers of fabric, which is the only tricky bit.

Free pattern craft pocket tote bag
Plenty of pockets!

I have adjusted the sizes so that there is less fabric wastage as I have enough fabric left over to make another one!  You could add pockets on the interior by sewing more fabric on to the main bag pieces before you sew the two together.

I have since made another one in red dotty PVC fabric as a present. PVC can be tricky to work with as every stich punctures the plastic so you can’t unpick if you get in a mess! The up-side is that here’s no need for iron-on interfacing as the fabric itself is firmer.

This free pattern is attached as a PDF below. I’ve added a great fabric selction to my store for easy linking.

Please share your photos of completed projects!

Craft Pocket Bag Pattern

 

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