Sewing in real life

Dog walking and constantly talking…

We were out walking the dogs after I picked Andrew up from work. I’m wearing jeans I purchased at a thrift store in Heathsville, VA and finally lengthened this week. I recently learned that making denim is very energy and water intensive… Basically terrible for the environment. I’ve been a thrift store shopper for quite a while and with these facts now known to me I’ll be purchasing all my jeans from thrift stores going forward.

I’m wearing one of the shifts I’ve made since beginning to sew clothing for myself again. The pattern is Wiksten and is my favorite so far. This pattern is simple to follow and I have made mid length and short sleeve dresses and two different length tops. It’s meant to be loose and I think sizing down a bit is better for some of the materials I’ve used. This particular shift is one size down from the suggested size based on my measurements and I find it to be a perfect fit and still easy to get in and out of.

Tiny Closet

Laundry room on the left. Refrigerator on the right. Tiny closet in between!

This is a tiny closet. When we renovated the kitchen in Palazzo we were able to create this closet especially for Andrew’s motorcycle gear. His “monster boots” and jacket need to be accessible when put away. The space revealed itself when we removed the wall between the refrigerator and the stacked washer and dryer. On the floor is an interesting velcro bag-like thing that houses electrical cords that need some flexibility to move as the slide is pulled in and out. On top of this we set his boots. The hook for the coat hanger is Andrew’s creative way of solving several issues all at once.

View from the kitchen. The black horizontal pipe the oranges are hanging from is the mirror image of the pipe his jacket hangs from in the closet.

To keep our new refrigerator in place as we travel he installed these metal pipes on top of the refrigerator set into a 1×4″ piece of wood. The pipes are cut to the perfect length and screwed into the wood which just sits on top of the fridge. The top of the post is screwed into the ceiling. From the vertical pipes Andrew attached another horizontal pipe on each to be able to hang a coat in the tiny closet and to hang my fruits and veggies on the kitchen side. Genius!

My messy and productive sewing table.

The finishing touch of this closet is the grey curtain which acts as a lightweight door and a noise dampener (this is very important when doing laundry). I bought a pair of light blocking curtains at Walmart for the windows. The windows are small enough I knew there would be plenty of fabric left over to use on this project. A bit of cutting and hemming made three RV window curtains and this “door.” After this installation there was a gap above the refrigerator. It needed visual and noise dampening; like a partition. We took out wood and walls (weight in an RV is important) and I was unwilling to install wood in this space. The floral quilted fabric was the perfect find when I was shopping in my mom’s sewing room this fall! She is always super generous and the color was perfect. A bit of cutting and sewing bias tape along the edges is all it took. I used three finishing nails to attach it to the 1×1″ board we left from the original wall. I also used the fabric on the shelf I made and hung above the kitchen counter – just to carry the color and pattern a bit further.

Old clothes to new looks!

I’m not the greatest seamstress, however, I’ve enjoyed finding old fabrics and clothing items at thrift stores and even in my closet to create new things to wear. This way I get to learn new ways of putting fabric together, make mistakes, practice basic sewing skills and don’t spend much money.Here are a couple recent projects…I’ve owned and loved this shirt for more than 5 years. I bought it at a thrift store somewhere; I don’t even remember! Anyway, when I was 30 pounds lighter it was long enough, now, not so much. To fix this length situation I took another old shirt (I didn’t like the fit of the second shirt very much but I loved the fabric) and cut off the bottom. It doesn’t really lengthen the back, but it makes a world of difference in the front!

Favorite old shirt with a length situation in the front.

I also kept the front of this shirt for a possible future project.

A line of stitches and I’m ready to go!

After cutting the fabric from the bottom of the shirt I used my zigzag stitch to be sure it wouldn’t fall apart in the wash. As I was sewing it on I realized there were some pulled stitches near the armhole so I fixed that up, too!The next project was as simple as adding a button to a thrift store top. This fabric is amazing but the tie in the back always sticks out at funny angles. I decided to add a button and put a couple stitches in the tie so it will hang the way I want even after washing! The button is pretty old and it came from my Mom’s stash. Last winter when I was there visiting I thought I was going to be making a bunch of cup cozies… I wanted buttons to add to them and so this in one of the oddball buttons I brought home.

This sweater I recently made with clearance fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. It was the end of the bolt and so soft I decided to get it without a plan! Using the pattern Simplicity 8658 I made the sweater and realized how bulky the sleeves were with this fabric! I of course only partially follow directions… The pattern is for lightweight fabrics but I thought this would be cute. This is super easy pattern and I love that there are hacks suggested. Anyway, the sleeves needed help at the cuffs.

Left: new sweater cuff in need of finishing. Right: old turtleneck cuff to be reused

Even with elastic it looked unfinished. I have three old turtlenecks that are soft and warm but require line drying to be long enough in the arms and body. To be honest, I’m not willing to do this in the RV… Space and time often don’t allow this when stopping at an RV park for 24 hours to do laundry. I decided to cut off the neck, cuffs and bottoms to be used in the future and also saved the shirts to be reworked in some other way too (maybe a 3/4 length sleeves?)After a but of playing around I got the cuffs to work on this sweater and it feels perfect! Almost like I planned it!

The new cuffs!

The back is too cute with the tails and button not to show.

So these are my recent old to new. I’ll update with pics of me in the cloths if I can remember to take pictures!