Did you mean to shrink that cashmere jumper?

….of course you did.

You just knew that you would get a hat, a flower brooch and some other crafts out of one item of clothing! So much more efficient!

Anyway, I’m here today to show you how to achieve all of those things from your shrinking accident fortune.

Make sure you follow these steps cautiously and carefully.
1. Look mournfully at the teeny tiny jumper, which used to fit. Then sigh and GET OVER IT! There’s always something to be salvaged with fabric.

Teeny tiny...

Teeny tiny…

Oh dear, a new hip circumference of 26 inches!

Oh dear, a new hip circumference of 26 inches!

Real No. 1. Measure the circumference of your head.
2. Halve it and add 1/4 inch seam allowance for 2 side seams. E.g. my head circumference where I wanted the hat to sit was 22ins. So 22 divided by 2 = 11, plus seam allowances = 11.5ins.
3. Mark this measurement on a piece of paper. I used newspaper to make sure it was big enough.

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4. Find your halfway (centre) and quarter way points and mark these on your paper.

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5. Then measure how deep you want your hat to be. I went for 6.5ins. (Which turned out to be too shallow, but you can see how I fixed that later). Mark this on both edges of your paper to make sure that the points you draw from your quarter points are completely lined up.
6. Mark this height up from your quarter points. You can see all the measurements marked in blue on the newspaper.

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7. Use a french curve (or draw a neat curve) to join your base points to your peak points.

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8. Still using a curved line, dip down to a point about 10cm above the centre point mark.
9. Continue joining the dots.

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10. Line up the raw edges of your jumper.

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11. Pin your pattern on the jumper, lining up the base line with the hem of the jumper.

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12. Cut around the pattern, cutting through both layers of the jumper.

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13. You will end up with 2 M shaped pieces like this…

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14. With right sides together, pin the dip / valley bit together on both pieces.

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15. Sew, you can use an overlocker or a regular machine. The beauty of a shrunken jumper is that the felted wool won’t unravel any more!

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16. Now line up the centre points, hem (and pattern if there is one) of the two now n shaped pieces. If they don’t quite match up just ease them in to fit.

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17. Sew these together.
18. Check the fit. If you’re happy with it then you’re done, if not you can add a band around the base to make it longer.
19. I did this. Cut a band to be the extra depth you wanted and the circumference of the hat hem. (Mine was 2 inches by 22 inches.)

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20. With right sides together, match raw edges of the band and hat and pin in place.

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21. Sew in place.

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And you really are done then.

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Unless…you want to add a pretty felt flower badge. Which I did. This is pretty simple, but I’ll show you what I did anyway.

1. Make a template of 3 different sized flowers. The shape is completely up to you.

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2. Pin the flowers to a single layer of jumper and cut out each flower.

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3. I used a glue gun (yay, I love my glue gun!) to attach a badge pin to the back and then stick together the different layers, biggest to smallest. I made sure to rotate the flowers slightly so the petals interspersed nicely.

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4. Glue on a button in the centre.
Alternatively sew the button on the front and through all the layers including attaching the badge pin on.

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5. Pin on to hat and smile for the camera.

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And the best bit? I still have lots of felt left for future crafts. Might just turn up the heat on some future washes!

Oh so tired, and yet so alive!

I have just spent an entirely fantastic day in Birmingham with Hannah of Made With Hugs and Kisses fame. We ate waffles, chatted teaching, went for lunch, chatted sewing and SHOPPED FOR FABRIC! In an intense and probably unhealthy way.

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Now, I was more organised than last time I went fabric shopping in Birmingham. I had a list. And actually, I was rather proud of myself, as the majority of items on the list were for selfless sewing. However, having a list and actually sticking to said list are 2 entirely different things.

I guess you can see where this is going. Yep…here’s what I came home with.

The unlisted items first!

This was a very sensible purchase - overlocking threads!

This was a very sensible purchase – overlocking threads!

B-E-A-utiful bias binding

B-E-A-utiful bias binding

I'm going to dye this blue so it is more like my list.

I’m going to dye this blue so it is more like my list.

I was determined to get sensible things for specific projects this time, so the rest of my purchases were from THE LIST.

The paisley is for my wrap around dress and the rest is lining.

The paisley is for my wrap around dress and the rest is lining.

Coat fabrics for my selfless coat sewing

Coat fabrics for my selfless coat sewing

I’m still on the lookout for some good quality shirt fabric, navy wool for a coat, navy crochet lace and some pyjama fabric for Martin. I had fabric vouchers for my birthday so I fully intend to keep fabric hunting tomorrow. Oo I love the holidays!

In other news, 2 more days to enter my giveaway by leaving a comment on the original post.

In even more additional news; also 2 more days to use my discount code on my Etsy shop. 26% off everything with code ‘birthday26′. Here’s a snapshot of the dresses up for grabs. Click on the photos to go to my Etsy page.
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It’s my birthday and I’ll host giveaways if I want to

Yes, that’s right, it’s my birthday and I had some beautiful presents, so I am smiling benevolently and sending out some very prompt ‘thank you cards’ in the form of a giveaway here and there.

Now you may have noticed that it is my birthday. (Can I get a ‘Wahoo’ please?) Today I have reached the grand old age of 26! And to commiserate celebrate the fact that this is the first birthday where I am nearer to 30 than I am to 20, I have decided to spread the love with some sharing.

Up for grabs, for one lucky reader, is this little collection of goodies from my stash.

2 vintage patterns, some trimming and 8 lovely wooden buttons

2 vintage patterns, some trimming and 8 lovely wooden buttons


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And just because I love you all and don’t want you to think I have favourites – here’s 26% off everything in my Etsy shop if you use the code BIRTHDAY26 until Thurday 17th April. That gives you a whole week to snap up some beautiful bargains.

Click on the photo to get to my etsy shop

Click on the photo to get to my etsy shop

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you like to do to celebrate your birthday! For additional entries, like my Facebook page and / or follow me on twitter and just leave an additional comment each time.

In other news – here’s an update on some new patterns I have added to my to do list for the year.

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Gah – a men’s coat – Martin’s request obviously, not my idea!
Sewaholic’s Cambie – I HAD to snap this up when Tasia had her birthday sale (the inspiration for mine).
To top it all off, I myself was the winner of a beautiful giveaway hosted by Emma Jayne of Clipped Curves. The Deer and Doe Sureau pattern is one I’ve coveted for a long time, so I’m very excited to make that up.

Now I just have to find the time to sew these things!

Happy Birthday to me and Happy Thursday to you all!

Grandmas’ Vintage

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A few years ago my maternal Grandma gave me a few of her old ball-gowns. She said I could do what I wanted with them, but I’ve been too scared to touch most of them as they’re so pretty and some of the fabric is very delicate.

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When I was about 12, I spent a great day with my Grandma trying on all of these ball gowns and taking some photos. At that age they fit me. Now they definitely do not. My grandma is a petite lady and when she was younger she was teeny tiny.

I know that when it comes to finally plucking up the courage to alter these dresses, I’ll have to add size to them all, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I’m putting it off.

However, for this dress, that was relatively simple. Unfortunately I never took photos of the original dress, but it was floor length, shift style with a big ruffle about 10 inches deep around the hem. I chopped off the dress above the knee and opened up the side seams. Using some of the excess fabric from the skirt I added in a panel at each side. Finally, I sewed a section of black fabric to the hem, sandwiching the lace and lining layers of the original dress inside. It was really simple.

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I know the dress doesn’t fit perfectly, the bust line is supposed to be under the bust obviously, but there wasn’t much I could do to alter that and I think the fact that it goes right across the centre bust, makes it look a bit more intentional.

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The reason I have titled this post ‘grandmas’ vintage’ not ‘grandma’s vintage’ is because the coat was my paternal grandmothers. At least I think it’s a coat? What do you think? To me it looks like the kind of coat a very glamorous woman might wear to the theatre, but I’m not sure. It could also be a VERY glamorous housecoat??

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Anyway, this ‘coat’ feels so luxurious on. It’s the softest silk or satin and so elegantly made. I’ve tried to take some up close photos so you can see some of the construction and couture details.

I love the pleating in the collar.

The pearls were also my grandma's

The pearls were also my grandma’s

And the depth of it. Also, I love looking at the little details like the way the under collar is caught onto the facing I presume.
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And just look at that quilting on the lining!! Stunning!
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I love the way these sleeves are made. Pretty much a raglan sleeve, but with a sleeve gusset underneath. I’ve never tried this method at all, but I’ve seen it on a few vintage patterns.
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Putting this outfit together today was so fun. I felt so much closer to both my beautiful grandmothers and I could just imagine wearing these in their prime! I’m thinking of getting out the other ball gowns and doing some posts on them. I’d like your opinions on what to do to alter them. Would you be interested in that?