Monday, 20 October 2014

Halterneck to Strapless to Skirt....

Whenever my mother goes away to somewhere hot I joke that she gets holiday head as she buy's things that she wouldn't normally look at twice. This 'dress' however an exception of sorts.

 Bought in spain it started life as a halterneck. My mother doesn't do halternecks - her boobs are big and she self conscious about them, so for her halternecks are a no-no.
 Now had you seen the size of the cups for this halterneck and my mums boobs you would have too laughed uncontrollably because there was no chance in gnats arse  her assets were going to fit.
 'did you try it on' - ' no. it was too hot' - 'and what part of you thought that you'd get 'those' in there' ...and so the conversation went .... 'could you alter it' - 'yeah, like into a skirt or something' - 'hmm - no I was thinking just take away the straps, fold this under here and stitch it down'- 'hmm, yeah I could do or I could take away the halterneck part and add more sheering elastic?' - 'yeah but it would alter the length and I like it where it is!

Ok! Mother knows best........... two years later, she finally admitted that she can't see her self wearing it strapless, so would I possibly turn it in to a skirt keeping as much length as possible - good job she's short! 


Nothing strenuous involved. unpicked the sheering elastic and cutting a waist band from that part. Gathering the skirt to fit the new waist band and adding an invisible zip, pretty much sums up what I did.

Although the panel where the sheering/halterneck had been had mostly enough fabric to create a waistband from, some of the print that had been on the top half of the dress had to be used to create the facing. Luckily it's on the inside, and although you can see the shadow in this image, my mother wears her tops over the skirt and not tucked in....

....The same is said of the brown zip on white fabric. I stash busted as I knew it won't be seen.

The dress was partially lined so I used what was left of it. The center back seams in the lining and fabric, where what I can only describe as being strangely welted but without being top-stitched, kind of like a weird french seam. Why Oh Why. I have no idea. The weirdly welted seam makes for an unsightly bump where the newly inserted zip ends but the skirts gathers are forgiving about it on the outside.

The good news is my mother is happy with the result. The not so good news was that when I did this for her at the beginning of August she came down with a rather nasty lingering bout of gastroenteritis leaving her with a very bloated tummy for weeks on end and unable to wear the skirt needless to say spring can't come quick enough for her.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Runway Inspiration: S/S15 - Part 2

When I was really young, sometimes I would stay up late watching a t.v show called euro trash, some years later when fashion became first became my 'thing' it was sparked by a certain Jean Paul Gaultier. Probably a coincidence looking back, somehow I've only now made the realization that it was Jean Paul Gaultier who presented Euro trash (see i told you I was very young!!)  
To say I'm a little sad that spring/summer 2015 was his last rtw show is an understatement. Although to hear it's to concentrate on other projects and more notably his couture line, does fill me with a certain amount of joy and almost relief. 
You see, for a while I feel like couture and custom made has been lost, and that fashion is changing far to fast and not so much thought gets put in, just the ability to turn it out as quickly as possible. The fast fashion, wear it once and chuck it mentality ensures it enters a vicious circle. 

However I do feel the rumble of a change, with vintage being popular and people wanting to find one offs or willingness to customize garments. Company's are now starting to offer services that enable you to have a say in what you wear. Nike amongst other trainer company's have NikeiD where you can choose your own colour combinations and just yesterday I saw liberty advertising to design your own liberty print patchwork jeans. 
So maybe JPG has got out just in time to jump on the next fashion bandwagon!


           Jean Paul Gaultier


            Paule Ka

                                                 Van Herpen


I adore the cut-out lace effect fabric seen at Valentino, and of course as JPG last ever Rtw show he was bound to make it one to remember. The use of two fabrics and two styles in one outfit caught my attention but I especially loved the Mexican wrestler inspired clothes.
Mexican themed couture anyone?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Experimenting with Draping

I bought 2 meters of soiled chiffon sometime ago, purely just to have a mess about with, well for 2 euros I couldn't pass upon it.... this is the result of that messing...  

I split the fabric into three rectangles and just pinned it to the mannequin, creating pleats until I was happy.

 To keep the pleats in place I basted them by hand whilst it was still on the mannequin. Once removed I gave it a quick press using the steam setting with the iron.

The skirt/bottom half I didn't drape on the mannequin. I stitched the sides together, to act as a side seam, from there I figured out roughly where the center front and center back should go and stitched the top (bra pieces?) to the skirt part.

 As I wanted a gathered look I used narrow elastic around 5mm wide. Cut this to length by loosly tieing  it around the waist. Then pinned it to the skirt piece in a few sections before sewing it in place, stretching as I went....

With the elastic in place, I turned it over on it's self and stitched around it again.

I even stitched the shoulders to help the pleats stay mostly where they should. 

I chucked it on for good measure to see how it looked.
All in all it wasn't bad experiment, some of the things I can take away from in are

  • pleats do need to be hand tacked in place to stop them moving around or use a crisp fabric like organza steamed with in an inch of its life, to hold.
  • underpinnings would provide a solid foundation for a formal garment 
  • skirt fabric needs to be double the width if not triple to give a better gathered effect which would also benefit from being partially gathered by hand before elastic is added
  • elastic needs to be of good quality with strong stretch.

Do you enjoy experimenting and playing with ideas to aid your learning process?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Runway inspiration: S/S 15


                             Gareth Pugh


                             Phillip Plein


                            Bottega veneta

Autumn's barely started and I'm already looking forward to next summer, Story of my life!
It doesn't help that I've still got a pair of shorts waiting to be made sitting on my sewing table.
That aside, I'm being drawn to simple shapes, sporty looks and soft tailoring from the S/S15 runway so far.
I'm also in love with the Bottega Veneta bow adorned hoodie,(see last image, above) so much so I've been sketching out my own version, complete with leggings to go with it......

Any looks taking your fancy?

All images from

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

In my sketch book: Vol 2

The paper in my sketchbook isn't of very good quality (it's the one I carry round with me) so I usually avoid using marker pen/inks/watercolour types of media as they go straight through the paper. I'm not a huge fan of colouring pencils either but my boyfriend dug out his old but massive set of colouring pencils so I've been using these to add a splash of colour here and there.....

This last sketch was done much earlier in the year at the time I had a huge urge to use beads in my sewing and really wanted to create a boucle dress with faux collar and pockets sewn on in pearls. I'm not quite in that frame of mind right now but who knows the urge may take me once again at some point but I really should get through the mountain of sewing that has piled up first. 

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