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My handmade wardrobe year – June

This was really the month I thought I may fail at not buying any clothes and only making them. But no!! Not even a sniff of a purchase. The warm weather always inspires a wardrobe clear out and desire for a few new seasonal additions.

I am feeling quite proud of myself that I have managed to keep an eye on the diary, weather and all other wardrobe changing factors and planned my makes to ensure no last minute dashes to the shops!

The main wardrobe addition this month had to be the Sew sociable challenge set by Tamara at the last event. She asked participants to up-cycle a polo shirt or polo shirts into a ladies garment.  I didn’t allow sewing teachers or sewing professionals to enter the competition but we were allowed to do it for fun!

I struggled to find any polo shirts in charity shops and then bingo …a rainbow of polo shirts in Loros in town. I bought 6 shirts with the plan to use 3 and another set in case it all went wrong and I had to do it again!

I knew exactly what I wanted to do, the idea was one that arrived in my head at 4 am the morning after the last event. Then kept me awake until I had worked it out! I have a standard woven basic vest pattern that fits me, so I split and spread this pattern to make a flared vest shape and then drew some random panels on the front and back.

I planned to use the polo shirt placket at the back neck and convert the collars into a corsage to be pinned at the point of the panels. I made my tonal green polo shirts first.

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I was really happy with the end result. The biggest challenge was trying to fit the panel patterns into the polo shirts. I also had to think about the upper edge of the placket and reduce this so it didn’t have to much fabric above the upper button. Then ended up removing the upper button to allow me to finish the edges with bias tape.

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I made the corsage from the collars, but when I pinned it on to the top it was to heavy and sagged dramatically. I unpicked it and reduced the width of the collars and then it worked beautifully…phew!

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While on a roll I decided to make my other polo shirts into the same design. I decided if I didn’t strike while the iron was hot these polo shirts might end up just sitting there doing nothing! I wanted to make a top I would wear for more than one night and I felt I had achieved that so I was happy to make version number two….

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My favourite colour is green but I loved these berry colours together, so this was the one I wore to the event.

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I am a big believer in getting the shape right and amending the pattern on a style that you would like to make more than once. Second time around you have done so much of the ground work you can make it again so quickly!

Of course I needed something to wear with this top so I dug around for a piece of white linen I bought ages ago. I had planned to make a pair of trousers with it last summer. Now that I have my curtain trouser shape that I like I knew this would be a fairly quick and easy project.

The one thing I never like about white trousers in VPL. Intentional or not I don’t like the look. White trousers no matter how dense the fabric always seem to have this problem. I decided to line them. As they will only ever be worn in summer I chose to line them in 100% cotton lawn so they remained relatively cool to wear. This did create more work but it was worth it….definitely no VPL!!

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On the subject of reworking a pattern more than once….I developed this basic woven semi fitted t-shirt shape based on one of my favorite purchased tops. It has been mentioned in a few of my wardrobe posts and finally I have finished it …

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It is a very simple and classic shape. I used beautiful Liberty cotton lawn, I think the print really speaks for itself. I have some plans for this shape to become a mini course, I hope to show you and explain more about this idea in my August wardrobe post.

Another item that I finally got finished is this apron back tunic dress, I played around with proportions of this several times before finally cutting it out in this dark grey linen that I bought from Stuart’s on Leicester market…

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The back is a fixed wrap. I found it difficult to decide how deep to make the wrap, I wanted it to look obviously wrapped but also not to open and exposing. I plan to wear it with a top and leggings so I think its OK  The test will be wearing it.

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I decided to make matching fairly narrow binding which was a slight challenge in linen, I just about managed it…

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And lastly I finished my ombre patchwork panels. I am now going to wash them before making them into a garment. Quite excited to see how this works. The process so far has inspired some more ideas along these lines. This has to be the ultimate environmentally friendly garment as its will be purely made from scraps and old unwanted garments.

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Have you worked out what garment I am going to make?

The month ahead. I plan to return to my jersey wear experience for my next makes. I want some quick and easy holiday makes. Oh and of course a new dress for Sew sociable. 🙂

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

2 Comments

  1. Gill Hutchinson on July 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I love your wrap dress, did you make the pattern or is it a bought one?

    • juliaclaridge on July 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Yes its my pattern, I am thinking of running it as a class, in adult and kids sizes

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