sew. much.

I’ve been sewing a lot lately.  Just before my birthday, I had mentioned to Dave that I wanted my birthday present to be a shopping trip to get some new things that were a bit more versatile (classic basics, if you will).  So I started to search the interwebs and had some ideas pinned on Pinterest, when I suddenly realized how expensive my birthday request was potentially going to be.  I decided that many of the things I wanted could be easily made, so I took birthday money from my parents and bought as much fabric as I could possibly muster (you can get a lot with a little if you search long and hard).  Also, because patterns are friggin expensive, none of these were made with a pattern.  Everything was drafted by me.

The first outfit is something that is inspired by a 1950′s tweed suit that I already own (much like this one, but it has a velvet tie at the neck, and the skirt is a circle, not pleated)…but it doesn’t fit me anymore (goodbye 16 year old figure).  I decided against a jacket though, because A) Too tricky without a pattern. and B) I just really wanted a tweed vest.  The fabric I found had wrinkles added to it, and I’ve yet to get them out completely (the vest is a little smoother than the skirt…but that’s because it’s a LOT of fabric to iron. PS if you know how to get out stubborn wrinkles from wool…telllll meeee.)  I still have a bunch of this fabric left over and I plan on making something like this dress ( I actually have a pattern for this).  The blouse was one of my birthday presents, and is silk…and lovely.

This skirt was inspired by one from modcloth.  But it was to expensive for my liking, and I I knew it would be easily made.  It was originally supposed to be a full circle, but I didn’t get enough of this fabric, so it ended up being a half.  The top was one of those things that just emerged as I sewed it.  It started just as a t-shirt…then I decided to add the peter-pan collar (it’s hard to see, but it’s cream lace).  And then I gathered the sleeves and added a cuff, and then added the buttons to complete it.

This next top was based purely on the fact that I can’t get enough of blouses with bow ties on them.  End of story.  It’s a simple blouse with flutter sleeves (they look funny in the picture..erg.)  The black circle skirt is probably one of my favourite most versatile things I made.  It falls just below the knee (which is my favourite length for skirts) and it is so flipping fun to wear.  It’s impossible to not want to spin in circles when you wear this thing.

I made this outfit in September, but I haven’t shared it at all, so I’m including it.  I was inspired to do this skirt by something I saw a girl wearing at the beach in the summer (mostly because it had a big bow in the back and I loved that).  It’s a dirndl skirt (a big rectangle, gathered at the waistband).  The fabric I found at the thrift store, and had bought it originally to do pillow covers.  So I now match with my throw pillows.  Heh.  This blouse took me about an hour to make and it came from not wanting to wear what was in my closet.  I had this fabric from the thrift store and thought this would be the perfect project for it.

The back bow tie is my FAVOURITE part of this silly skirt.  Love it.

And finally…this blouse was inspired by this top from modcloth.  Much like a lot of the things I make, it changed as I made it.  I hate making sleeves, so I just left them off, and then ended up liking the silhouette they made.  I had these black buttons and black seam binding leftover from another project and used it to finish the top off.  The fabric is a cotton remnant that I got for $3 (I still have about 2 meters of it left).
Altogether fabric for all of this totalled about $70 (that is also including thread, zippers, lining–which I also used to re-line my vintage coat).  I have a bit of fabric left over even!  Most of these projects didn’t take me very long either.  I finished almost everything within the week of my birthday (with the exception of the orange and teal outfit).  So in the end, my birthday shopping trip was a lot more focused on a few small things that I needed (cardigan, shoes, silk blouse and a hat).
Whew!  This makes it seem like all I’ve done is sew lately.  Well…partially true. ;)  But it’s a fun hobby.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve saved about a million dollars too, so that’s a bonus.

3 Responses to “sew. much.”

  • Amanda Says:

    UHHHHH these clothes are gorgeous! Great job on the vest at the top, I would totally wear all of these outfits.

  • Mel Says:

    Oh, I so admire this birthday project. How do you come up with your patterns? I still consider myself a newbie, so I don’t trust myself to make up my own patterns. Did you practice on different fabric or just try it on and adjust as you go? Love that orange skirt!

    • Courteney Rodda Says:

      I have a few general starting points for certain things and then it gets put on my dress form and nipped here and there to change how I want it. For skirts I like them to be fuller, so I do a dirndl (which is a rectangle that is gathered at the waistband) or a full or half circle. I might end up doing a tutorial on how to make some basic pieces without using a pattern. For the blouses I started off with a square shape and worked my way in, cutting the neckline I wanted, arm holes, and putting in darts in the front and back (if I want them). I like blouses to be a little looser because I don’t often use stretch fabric for them, so I want them to be able to move well.
      It takes a lot of time and practice to go without patterns, but it’s well worth it. If you saw the first thing I made without a pattern you’d probably laugh (it’s on the blog somewhere). The trick is to start of by using cheap fabric that you find at the thrift store or something. Even big old sheets can work to practice on.

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