Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Easy Skirt Refashion

A quickie sewing project to ease oneself into a new year of sewing (the previous peachy dress had been finished just before 2011 rang out). The skirt itself was purchased at an op-shop on New Year's Eve. I loved the fabric, but - as evident from the photo below - the original elasticated waistband was way too big, even for my post-Christmas feast waistline. 
The refashion itself took hardly any time. In fact, I think I spent longer unpicking the elastic than doing any actual sewing! All I had to do was to cut off the top 3 inches of the skirt, iron it out and then cut it into the required length for a new waistband. I gathered the top of the remaining skirt, put in a lapped zipper and then sewed it into the new band, with a vintage button to close it. New-old skirt is ready!

T-shirt - op-shop, Coat - vintage (from MVE), skirt - refashioned, tights - Sainsburys, shoes - H&M

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Because who doesn't enjoy seeing pictures of cats every now and then? 
We are taking care of this furry little terrorist until her parents get back next week. She insists on sitting in (and on) the most inconvenient places, and love violating our arms while we try to get some work done. 

Friday, 6 January 2012


It's taken a while, but I'm finally getting round to posting photos of my Christmas feast. We decided to have it at home this time, and celebrated it on Christmas Eve with the delightful Miss Kitty Valentine, my cushion-making partner in crime Aldona and her family.

In true over-the-top Polish tradition, our dinner consisted of at least 12 dishes (since I'm not actually Polish, I don't know if it is true that a Polish Christmas dinner has to include 12 dishes, it's just what I've been told.) 
The coffee table had an array of sweets - (from top), homemade panforte, a quince, ginger and walnut cake based on this recipe, and some untraditionally shaped gingerbread biscuits (gingerbread T-rex, anyone?). Aldona also brought along some makowiec (poppyseed cake) and more biscuits.
The star of the night, a perfectly roasted goose! Manbacon (who can be partially seen behind the bird) cooked the goose himself, following a great recipe by the Hairy Bikers. He also managed to rustle up succulent salt beef, as well as plenty of delicious apple and pork stuffing. 

£10 notes to wipe our greasy hands and lips on, because we're hedonists and filthy rich. You can't see it, but we also had a stack of £20 and £50 note-napkins. 
Wild mushroom dumplings in beetroot soup (above), as well as some bigos, plenty of cured pork products, some marinated herrings, and possibly some other stuff as well. 
The aftermath - empty vodka bottles, half-finished bowls of soups and stews, burnt-out candles, crumpled napkins and wrapping paper, plenty of half-eaten food, and one stained tablecloth. Our guests were sent away with boxes stuffed full of food. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Burdastyle has been rather generous to me this month. I'm still trying to get my head down to its usual size after being featured recently, so imagine my surprise when, while scrolling through it's December Handpicks just now, I happened upon a rather familiar looking refashioned shirt?! Thank you Burda!

P.S. The aforementioned shirt will be available in the shop soon, once I get my arse into gear and list it. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Life's A Peach Mini-dress

Happy New Year, readers! I thought I'd kick off 2012 with yet another sewing post - those who come here for the food will have to hang on for a while more. I purchased the original pattern from eBay about 6 months back, with the intention of making up the traditionally Chinese style in an unconventional fabric (wear a cheongsam in any kind of shiny/floral/shiny and floral fabric and people automatically think you're a waitress in a fancypants Chinese restaurant. Try it if you dare). 
Original cheongsam-inspired pattern

However, after deciding that I wasn't willing to endure the drastic dieting needed to whip my figure into the required hourglass shape for such a fitted style, I decided to simply redesign the skirt portion of the dress. Yes, re-doing a pattern is much easier for me than just eating less. I wanted to keep the bodice section but attach a much fuller skirt on it. This was easy enough - I simply cut the pattern off at the waist while tracing it out onto paper (I always do this with all my patterns, in order to keep the originals as pristine as poss). The skirt would then be a simple circle or rectangle skirt, gathered at the top for the requisite fullness. 

I've got some shiny red brocade fabric in mind for the 'proper' dress, but decided to make a wearable toile of it first just to make sure it all worked. The fabrics came from various op-shopping expeditions - I was going to make a circle skirt for more twirliness but realised there wasn't enough of the shiny fabric for that, so settled for a simple gathered rectangle instead. 
You may have noticed that the collar in the pattern illustration met much closer together - I decided to leave some space in between when making mine up, for two reasons. Tight necklines such as this often leave me feeling slightly suffocated, especially on hot days, and a wide band of fabric around my neck is not that flattering when the neck in question is as short as mine. 
Lace trim around hem 

Bow detail made from the remnants of both fabrics. 
The finished dress was okay, but not that exciting. It needed...more. I finished the hem off with some pink nylon lace that I purchased ages ago, and then sewed a double bow on the back. The final product reminds me a little of a bridesmaid's dress (a feeling compounded by all that peach fabric used), but that's no bad thing, right?