Tag Archives: cottagecore

Refashion and repeats

I haven’t had the oomph to tackle anything big this fall, despite digging out some fabrics I’d like to use and some intense fall wardrobe capsule fantasizing. But words like “cottagecore” and “historybounding” have been inspiring me, and I’ve been puttering at an assortment of little things.

Tyo was looking for an elf-y white shirt for her Hallowe’en costume, and didn’t find quite what she was looking for in the house. However, her search inspired me (a few days after Hallowe’en) to pull out an old shirt my husband had retired as the sleeves weren’t really long enough. It was a bit of a romantic style, purchased from one of those booths that sells Central American hand-crafts at various festivals many years ago, with a bit of embroidery and a lace-up neck opening, but a standard round shirt collar and shirt cuffs. Since it became too small for my husband, it’s been kicking around in the “not in use but too cool to throw out” pile. (This pile is Too Big. But that’s another issue for another day.)

I cut off the sleeves just below the elbow. In hindsight maybe I should have cut them not quite so short, but I was thinking of Tyo and she finds it annoying when puffy sleeves flop down over the cuff, and her arms aren’t as long as mine. I hemmed the edges into a casing and added a narrow elastic for a blousy sleeve.

Also can I say I’m LOVING this outfit a lot more than I thought I would?

Then I cut a wide scoop neckline, starting just above the top of the neck lacing. I used one of the sleeve off-cuts to cut a series of on-grain strips, connected them together and pressed in the edges with a bias tape maker, and used that to bind the neckline. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the squishy, heavy-gauze type fabric curved around the neckline, even when cut on grain, but I should have stay-stitched or even slightly gathered the neckline first as the same squishiness of the fabric let it stretch out quite a bit under sewing, and the resulting neckline is a bit wide and deep for Tyo. It works ok on me, and hopefully will be ok for her—worst case I might unpick the back neck and add a pleat there or something.

Despite how long it took me to write all that, the entire mod was probably done in under an hour.

As I was musing over the shirt refashion, I still felt that I wanted a light/neutral coloured top with actual swishy sleeves, so I decided I needed another Adrienne Blouse. My previous versions are red and black, in heavy rayon knits. This one is a heathered oatmeal colour cotton knit, not nearly so drapey and a bit thinner, originally purchased from Blackbird Fabrics. I’m relieved to say the sleeves work just as well in this fabric, and the body still fits nicely (with just the right amount of ease). The elastic I used in the shoulders for this one is VERY firm, which makes the neck a little higher, and I wouldn’t mind if it were a smidge lower, but other than that I’d call it a pretty flawless make. There’s nothing like a TNT pattern when you just need a win. (Also, I’m going to be so sad when the big sleeve trend passes. I’ve always kinda liked puffed sleeves, and it is glorious to finally be able to revel in them without feeling slightly guilty that I’m too old or dignified for them.)

The only change I made with this version was to remove the extra sleeve length I had added. It’s not a huge difference in the look, and it saves a few inches of fabric. I’m excited to try it with some skirts and belts, but of course the twins goobered something dark right on the front about five minutes after I got home from it’s first wear, so my pictures are pretty limited.

So basically I just want to dig through my closet and play dress up figuring out all the possible outfit combos with these things… and I mean the twins would be all over the pulling out part, but they are still not too fond of the cleanup parts.

2 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Adventure skirt

This skirt comes from the confluence of a lot of things. I miss my old wardrobe. I’m so sick of living in leggings. I wanted to work with some linen—I’m craving the feel of a crisp natural fiber against my hands. And I guess the Sewcialists’ Zero Waste sewing month (that’s how long sewing this has taken) wormed itself into my subconscious, because even though I’m not usually thrilled with the practice of zero waste sewing, I wanted to try a really low-waste approach to this skirt.

It’s also taken a fuck load of time to complete, one seam (or even half seam) at a time, as the twins are VERY busy these days and we’re all worn out with winter and isolation, so it’s been hard to ask for more alone time to sew when everyone else I can ask is already at their limit, too.

The fabric was a big piece of extra-wide linen from Pure Linen Envy. I had ordered it hoping to make a bed sheet, but the 208cm width wasn’t quite wide enough for a queen size bed, nor is the fairly loose weave really ideal for bedding. But it wasn’t overly expensive for the size, and since it hadn’t really worked for its original purpose, I didn’t mind sacrificing it for something kind of experimental.

I started by calculating out the measurements for a trapezoid skirt. This is the low-waste method where you cut trapezoids in alternating directions, and then flip them around so the narrow ends make the waist and the wide ends give you the skirt’s flare. I could go into how I carefully decided on my number of panels, divided my waist measure by that, and then figured out how wide the bottom could be given that waist… but then my plotting onto the fabric wasn’t terribly precise (not least because my fabric was really wrinkly because have you ever tried to iron 2m wide linen while two toddlers are trying to climb the ironing board?!?) and then the resulting skirt wouldn’t have been quite as full as I wanted. So I cut another set of panels, planning an assortment of pleats to fit the waistband… so really there’s a lot more “than art” in this than science. Which is fine, really.

I had a lot of fun playing with pleat ideas, and then I had the idea to add adjustable pickups, which I’ve wanted to do for a steampunk feel of skirt for a long time. Big patch pockets as well. In my head there were elements of asymmetry as well, but I may have kind of blinked in that staring contest (although due to my rather haphazard cutting and equally haphazard pleating there’s some asymmetry for sure.)

I spent a lot of time faffing about, well, all the details, and in the end it’s fairly simple.

The big patch pockets (which are set way too low to be truly functional but I’m not moving them now) are simple rectangles. I sewed some big, gorgeous, heavy shell buttons on them for decoration, which made them sag awfully, so then I added some tabs with buttonholes.

For the pick ups on the front, I used a 3/4” twill tape (tea dyed to be a little closer to the warm brownish beige of the linen) and some little brass D rings I stocked up on way back in my Fabricland days. And I still have lots more… After mentally planning all kinds of elaborate methods, I just tied some lengths of narrowed twill tape to the top-most D rings. It works.

I very carefully didn’t make the waistband of the skirt too tight, and now I think it’s too loose. I will try just adding a second button, though, so I can adjust it through the day, because I notice that what feels comfortable in the mornings these days can be way too tight as the day wears on. The wonders of getting older, I guess.

Leveling the hem was a bit of a nightmare. I’m not good at leveling hems at the best of times, and my simple trapezoid cutting plan inevitable created long points at the seams and shorter spots at the middle of the panels (and did I mention there were 14 panels?), and it’s probably still not that even, but if you notice you can just keep that to yourself, all right?

At the risk of this post getting way too long, I’ll say a few quick words about the top. It’s from an older Burda magazine, and I made it before to go with another skirt and failed to write about it then. I used it again this time for two reasons: 1) it was the general style I wanted, and 2) the pattern was already traced. Obviously, I’m a bit bigger than last time, so I needed to upsize a bit. I added some with to the side seams, and did a wee bit of an FBA along the princess seam (which didn’t work out terribly well as it doesn’t run over the bust—I should’ve done an FBA using the tiny dart. In the end I was a bit over-generous, and had to take in quite a bit, and it just doesn’t sit as nice as I wish it did. Particularly, I was paranoid about making it too tight, so I may have erred on the side of too loose. I’m also debating adding some boning to the seams to keep it sitting a bit better. Also I didn’t stabilize the curved seam on the sweetheart neckline, which is ok now but we’ll see. I do like the binding finish I added.

The kids have informed me that the whole outfit is “cottagecore”, which I’m going to run with. It’s a lot of fun, especially the swishy skirt.

1 Comment

Filed under Sewing