Hello Kitty Cat

kitty cat playsuit

My daughter has a cat project at school and they should bring all sorts of cat related things.  They can even bring their own cat but that’s not an option here, our cat is a little like Garfield, seriously fat but hardly that funny.  I thought a cat mask would be cute and it was actually on my things-to-do-in-this-life-list.  An easy sewing tutorial that will find its way to our beloved costume suitcase.

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Some Cat mask sketches…

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Choosing the right pattern and fabric. (This book with Katharine Hepburn in it was laying around, just thought it would make a nice background)

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The cat mask is made in two separate pieces so I don’t get all confused with the eye cut-out when turning the fabric inside out .  I stuff both pieces and sew them together by hand. Finishing it off with a lace trim and some sequins and finally adding an elastic band to keep it in place.
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And why not make a complete set?

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We have a black and white cat obviously…

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My Kitty Cat pinterest moodboard…

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The little little black dress

tutorial LBD little girl  black buttons

Here it is, (finally, after caught up with work) : ‘the LLBD’.  It started with some leftover black buttons, some yards of black popeline and the urge to combine this somehow.  I know, using black for a little girl is somewhat unusual but this dress looks so adorable on her.  It’s amazing how this easy pattern resulted in such a well fitted dress, and in my mind it’s the LBD ‘Audrey’ would have liked as well.

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IMG_5676      IMG_5677  pattern lbd

The few measurements I took were her tummy, neckline and the length.  I started from a rectangle based on the dress length and the skirt width.  Half way the rectangle I marked the waist and from that point I drew the bodice shaping a smaller rectangle.  Then adding darts, a neckline and armholes.  Easy, no?

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For the back I copied the front pattern, adding 1cm of seam allowance at the centre back.   I made a facing for the neckline and armholes.

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When cutting the pattern I cut into the front part until the dart.

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The  waist is gathered to fit the bodice and sewn together.  Afterwards I sew the darts.

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This looks nice already, doesn’t it?

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I sew the shoulders and facing.  It would have been easier to use a binding to finish the dress but this way I create a more sophisticated look.

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I sew the side seams and hem.  I prefer a hem with enough seam allowance,  5cm for this dress.

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I added loops at the shoulders to narrow the shoulder width. To make this dress more glamorous I sewed on large black buttons around the neck opening.  These buttons never seemed to have found there way back to the original clothes but hey, this is much more fun!

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Love You Audrey, xxx

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Old one out, new one in!

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There are dresses hanging in my wardrobe for ages waiting to be worn again.  I keep pulling them out and hanging them back, wrong colour, wrong shape, wrong something are keeping me from wearing them again.  I never get rid of them and it seams funny somehow in this throw-away society and fast fashion decade.  It’s against my nature and my love for clothes to remove them but keeping things is also holding on to the past.  Sometimes it’s good to let go though, finally I will repurpose this lime dress.  My daughter will look absolutely stunning in this colour.

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I start by comparing all measurements of my dress with her dress.  I think it’s good to keep as many seams from the original.  It will spare me some time but also avoid damage on the fabric.  I decide to keep the original neckline because of the pleating and the back slit.

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The front and backside of the dress are separated by cutting the side seams and shoulders.  As you can see the lining is still fixed at the neckline.

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I cut of at the shoulders to make a smaller neck opening.  From the new shoulder I measure the total length (+3cm seam) I need for the little dress and cut of the hem.

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To make a smaller armhole I have to reduce the width. I’m cutting of at the side seams.

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The neckline was still too big and I resolved this by adding an extra pleat with a topstitch on both sides.  When repurposing old clothes you need to be inventive and find creative solutions because the dimensions will never be perfect.  That’s what’s actually the most fun.  You can never entirely predict your end result.

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The most tricky part is to assemble everything in a beautiful manner.  I close side seams from the outer shell fabric and the lining separately.  After that I finish the armhole by stitching the fabric and the lining together from the inside.

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The neckline was still too wide, I added more pleats at the middle front and topstitched it.

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And finally I make a tunnel at the waist for the fabric belt.  I start by making a buttonhole at the middle front in the upper fabric layer.  Then I stitch on top of both layers (lining + fabric) creating a tunnel.  I shortened the original belt length and pull it trough the buttonhole.  After that I finish the hem of the fabric and lining separately.

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My little girl has a new dress to enrich her wardrobe and it doesn’t seem like there’s something missing in mine.

xxx

Made By Me

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Refashioned bangles

I’ve been working on several projects the last week and it seems like I’m not getting anything finished.  So while my sewing machine is doing overtime I’m posting something without electricity, just a bit of sewing by hand and using my beloved tube of Pattex.  My bangles are totally ready to get a new skin!

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I measure the total width of fabric I’ll need for covering the bangle.  I’m including 2cm extra for seam allowance.

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I’m cutting a piece of my beautiful Zara scarf.  Don’t worry, I’ll be fixing it as before!

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The fabric is glued onto the bangle at one side with some tape so it doesn’t slip whilst sewing.

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Using small hand stitches I’m covering my bangle hiding the seam allowance at the same time.  When I’m finished sewing I twist the fabric around until the seam is hidden from the inside.  My matching bangle is finished!  Up to the second one…

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A piece of real snakeskin I bought some years ago on a flea market has finally found its purpose.

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I measure the bangle and cut 2 strokes out of the leather not adding any seam allowance.

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Yep, Pattex again!

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I’m pulling the skin around the bangle and leave it to dry.

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I take the second piece and cut the edge following the structure of the skin.

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As I’m sticking on the other piece I try to match the snakeskin pattern as well as possible.

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I cut the loose edge every 1,5cm towards the bangle and smear on some more glue.

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The strokes are pushed tightly against the inside of the bangle on both sides.

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Mixing and matching it with my other bangles…or pumps for that matter…

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My 30 minute dress!

30min dress

This must be the easiest dress I’ve ever made!  I created a tube dress in a navy cotton single jersey and finished it off with a sparkling trim.(bargain of last weekend flea market visit).  This fabric doesn’t need a lot of finishing and allows me to cut the hem without seaming it.  I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to flaunt my new dress!

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Dit moet echt het eenvoudiste jurkje zijn dat ik ooit maakte!  Ik creëerde een buisvorm in een donkerblauwe katoenjersey en bovenaan werkte ik het af met een blingbling boordje (rommelmarkt koopje van vorig weekend).  Deze stof heeft weinig afwerking nodig dus onderaan heb ik de stof afgesneden zonder om te zoomen.  Nu nog wachten op de juiste gelegenheid om met mijn jurkje te paraderen!

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I use a firm stretch knitted fabric with a total height of 1,30m.  The width is 22cm smaller than my actual hip width to create a narrow tube.

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I create a tube by sewing both sides together. (I surge the seam but a zigzag stitch is fine too)

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On the top I fold the tube downwards about 20cm to make it more firm.  I fix the fabric with a small stitch onto the seam.

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I’m gathering the tube lightly at the side seam.  This will make the tube dress a bit shorter and easier to keep pleats in position.

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When I turn the dress inside out with the right fabric side up it looks like this.  This becomes my back seam.

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Finally I add some sparkles.  This is a beaded ribbon I have sewn on by hand, I’m using it only at the front side of the dress because it’s a non stretch.

flea market finds

Last week’s flea market bargain: a pleated tulle ribbon, a pearl beaded collar, leather embossed flowers, an organza collar and the blingbling ribbon for today’s dress.

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Get the most out of a little piece of fabric…

my little girls printed dress

A little piece of cotton fabric was elbowing for weeks to get out of the shelf.  When I bought it I imagined a cute 50’s dress for my daughter, you know, the kind of dress little girls like to spin around in, and the kind of dress that reminds me of my own twirling as a child. Unfortunately, When I got home, ready to make my beautiful dress, I noticed the fabric width was too small for my design. So goodbye dress, goodbye sweet memories, or maybe not?  After a great deal of thinking I came up with the idea of using a seam at the center front of the bodice.  And actually it was a change for the better…

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Een klein stukje stof lag reeds een paar weken te dringen om uit de kast te komen.  Toen ik dit stofje kocht had ik zo’n schattig jaren 50 jurkje voor mijn dochter in gedachte, zo’n jurkje waar kleine meisjes graag eindeloos mee rondzwieren, zo eentje dat doet denken aan mijn eigen ronddartelen als kind . De teleurstelling was dus groot toen bleek dat de stofbreedte van dit mooie katoentje ter smal was voor mijn ontwerp.  Vaarwel jurkje en vaarwel zoete herinneringen, of toch niet?  Na heel wat gepeins kwam ik dan op het idee om met een middenvoornaad te werken voor het lijfje.  Dat bleek achteraf nog een heel leuke inslag…

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This is the pattern for the bodice of the dress.  I used the following measurements for this pattern: Chest width: 62cm – Waist: 56cm – Shoulder to waist: 24,5cm – Armhole: 11,5cm – Neckopening: 14cm – drop by 5,5cm. This is for a size 3/4 years old.  I add 1cm of seam allowance and 3cm at the center back with buttons.

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I copy the pattern for the facing and lining.

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This is my magic bucket of fabric leftover. I found this nice red cotton for the lining, a perfect match!

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So this is how it all comes together.  I draw chalk lines for the skirt of the dress: 2 pieces of 33cm (includes seam allowance 1+3cm) and all that is left of the fabric width.  I draw another chalk line at 7cm to make the fancy trim at center front seam.

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The trim is finished at one side with a roll seam of 0,5cm.

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I use my iron to make pleats.

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All pieces are sewn together, the outer shell and the facing/lining exept for the center front.

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I pin the trim on one side of the bodice and close the center front.

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Now I fix pleats in opposite direction with a top stitching.

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I sew the outer bodice and lining bodice together at the middle back and I close shoulder seams (bodice and lining separately)

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I close the neckline of both layers.

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I close armholes of both layers on front and repeat this for the back. I stitch from the inside, not as shown here!

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For the skirt a close side seams (not the center back) and gather the pieces for the skirt to match the width of the bodice.  For this particular fabric I’m using pleats again instead of a gathering.  I attach the skirt onto the bodice outer shell. Then I fix the inner shell by stitching from the outside on the seam between skirt and bodice. (to hide inner seam)  I’m closing the lower part of the skirt at center back and finish the hem.  Finally I’m adding buttons and buttonholes at center back.

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sketch 50's dress

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Upcycled leather skirt

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I love to stroll around on markets, always in search of vintage belts, purses and gloves.  Last week I found this lovely leather skirt in superb condition.  The seller, a very proud lady, said she used to wear this and maintained it with leather grease as she saw me looking at it and touching the leather.  I just couldn’t resist to buy it and because she was so persistent about the good quality I couldn’t haggle either.  She’s probably very good at selling her things… Anyway, a leather mini was still missing in my wardrobe!

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Vlooienmarkten afstruinen is echt mijn ding, altijd op zoek naar ceintuurtjes, handtassen en handschoenen.  Vorige week vond ik dit fantastische koopje, een leder rok in super conditie. De verkoopster, een fier madammeke, vertelde me dat ze deze rok vroeger droeg en onderhield met ledervet toen ze me zag kijken en het leder betasten.  Ik moest die rok kopen en omdat ze zo overtuigend was over de goede kwaliteit durfde ik niet meer afdingen.  Ze is waarschijnlijk zeer winstgevend in de verkoop van haar spullen.   In ieder geval, een mini leder rok ontbrak nog aan mijn garderobe…

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Determine the desired length and add 3cm seam allowance.  Use chalk to mark where to cut.

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Fix the hem with Pattex.  Maybe leather glue would have been better but this worked really well.  Don’t overdo it though.  Fold over the seam allowance and press well to get a nice clean seam.

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I could have stopped here and that would have been great too but I decided to add something extra.

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Why not use the hem leftovers?

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I want to use the back finish of the slit in the front.   I cut the hem in 2 equal pieces.  They are pleated and sewn on just below the waistband. Not that easy to stitch but with some patience and good needles…

leather peplum close up

picture leather peplum

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