Friday, December 17, 2010


As I mentioned before, I am learning to sew. What is particularly exciting for me about this is that I can now alter all those clothes I have that don't fit quite right, which is quite a fabulous thing since I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores, often without even trying them on. (Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I have gotten quite accurate at choosing things that fit and are flattering.) The problem is...sometimes they just need minor that dress I have had a couple years that would have been perfect shorter, but I didn't know how to hem t-shirt material. But now I do because I learned to sew by modifying and re-purposing old t-shirts. And I have the courage now to just try sewing things. Here's what I have done so far:
  • Hemmed the aforementioned too long black jersey dress to a cute length to go with leggings
  • Re-hemmed two skirts whose hems I had ripped out this summer
  • Put darts (for the first time ever) in a full skirt that was just a little to big in the waist
  • Altered four tank tops to fit more narrowly (they were too wide and looked sloppy)
  • Hemmed a pair of sweat pants that I had gotten at camp long ago and had always been tripping over (since I am short...)
  • Made an elaborate Christmas-y project out of re-purposed t-shirts which I will later post on
  • Shortened the dress in the above photo. I still need to narrow it though because the skirt is wide/poofy enough to look rather circus-appropriate
  • Almost finished making a skirt out of re-purposed t-shirts
  • Altered a pair of shorts to have the waistband in a permanently "turned down" position, since this is how I prefer to wear this pair of old college logo shorts
  • Attempted to alter a pair of old scrub pants to fit better. This project has not yet been successful.
There are many more projects I am eager to attempt, but I have been ordering them so that I can build my skills up to the level to attack more complicated alterations. I feel I am ready to begin with slightly more challenging things, and it's pretty exciting to think about narrowing a blazer I bought, even though I knew it was a little too big, because I loved it so much. And of course, then there is always the Swiss sheep herder dress that is going to hopefully become a little edgier looking after I shorten it.

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  1. Have you had anyone teaching you or have you just taught yourself? I'd love to learn - buying a sewing machine and learning how to use it is on my list of things to do before my next birthday which is not just four months away... better get cracking!

  2. fiona lynne, my husband taught me the basics (how to thread the needle, operate the machine, make stitches, and start/end a stitch). I have also been watching youtube videos. There are a lot of useful ones on there that have helped. And given me project ideas and instructions. And this past weekend, I had another friend show me how to work with a pattern. I will have to post about that soon...

    It is not that hard! A friend gave us the machine, so I bet you could find a basic used one for not very much. And I have been learning on old t-shirts I already had. Though I am told t-shirt fabric is harder to work with than normal fabric, but it was fine for me.

    Good luck! Will you post on your progress? I look forward to hearing what you make!