Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


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Repairs and Alterations (2018)

I’m fully aware that this is definitely not the most exciting blog post that I’ve put out in the last year. I wrote a similar post about last year’s alterations – the stats on the website reveal that alterations and repairs just really don’t enthuse people! Actually, they don’t enthuse me either, but this post is a tiny “pat on the back” to celebrate of all those unglamorous jobs that I have done this year and keep as many items of my wardrobe in working use.

Last year, I made three alterations and I can say that those items were worn far more as a consequence this year. This definitely provided some impetus for me to tackle some more alterations and repairs.

First of all, I didn’t do many repairs this year, but I did colour code my black socks. Black socks annoy me since they never seem to pair up properly. They look similar, but then you find that you have one that is greyer than the other, or they are different lengths or the band is different. I sewed little crosses into the inside of the socks at the band with embroidery thread in different colours. Now I can easily find the other sock in a pair!

For the alterations, again, I picked three items that needed something doing to them. They ranged from simple to time-consuming.

Red Sorbetto Top

This is another Sorbetto top from my wardrobe. My main complaint about it is the bias binding finish on the arms. The bias binding is a polyester satin binding and it’s probably intended for “craft” rather than dress-making use. It is too thick to use for this top and somehow the finish means that the bias binding sticks out and looks strange at the arm-holes.

I had been wearing this top layered with a cardigan all the time to hide this problem.

To make the adjustment I took off the bias-binding from the armholes, and reapplied some new bias-binding made from the same fabric that the top was made from (a claret-red poplin). I decided to keep the black satin bias binding at the neckline, because this works well with the black lace at the centre front, and somehow the shallower curve at the neck doesn’t warp the bias binding finish quite so much.

I am now more confident wearing this top without the cardigan with its new armhole finish. I have also concluded that I do need to make some more sleeveless tops, but I would create them from a custom-fitted bodice. I do have my doubts about the fit of this top, although it’s probably a fussy, finicky sewist gripe. I think the bust dart should be a little deeper, which would prevent the gaping at the armhole (minuscule that I know it is)

Effort required 5/10

Happiness 6/10

Red Sorbetto Top altered to use self bias-binding on armholes

Red Sorbetto Top altered to use self bias-binding on armholes

White Dobby Top

This top required a major alteration. Due to the method I used to add the yoke to the top, it ended up being too short at the front. The alteration took me ages (so long that it merited its own blog post), but I feel now that the top is far more wearable.

Sadly, I just didn’t wear the top this summer as much as it probably deserved. I’m not even sure why that was. But then, this year was a year of surprising wardrobe choices as it was so hot in the summer and we had lots of snow at the beginning of the year.

Effort required 8/10

Happiness 6/10

White Dobby Blouse

White Dobby Blouse

Silk top

I mentioned in my last post that I was gutted that my new silk top on its first outing managed to end up with huge greasy stains on it. These were very noticeable on the front of the blouse and also on the sleeve. I used some washing up liquid and after several spot washes the greasy seams have diminished substantially or even disappeared. It’s a little hard to judge whether my stain removal has been fully successful as I was doing this as we’re in December and have limited hours of daylight here. I took the photo below outside and I really can’t see the stains anymore so I’m super pleased. I’m very happy that the top has been rescued.

Effort required 3/10

Happiness 9/10

Lekala 4220 blouse

Silk blouse without the stains

Sadly there are still some items that need alterations. I have tried over the last couple of years to make sure I am totally happy with a garment before I move on to making something else. This often requires wearing the item for a few wears just to make sure I’m happy. Overall, this tactic has meant that I have added fewer items to the alterations pile. Having said that I did finish my Ruri sweatpants just before I went on holiday and I found, on my return, that doing yoga in them was annoying as the waist band just wasn’t tight enough and I spent too much time hitching them up each time I moved. Unfortunately, I’d started on to my next make before I found this out, so the sweatpants got added to the alterations pile.

Do you find it difficult to avoid the lure of sewing new things, rather than fixing, sometimes even easy problems with the items you already have?


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Repairs and Alterations

Who has a pile of clothes that sit around waiting to be repaired? Who puts off making alterations in favour of a totally new project? I’m going to hold my hand to both of those!

This past year I have been trying to break these bad habits. It hasn’t been entirely successful, but I can claim that I did do some repairs and alterations. And because I want to feel positive about doing this and I suspect, I just want to hear some encouragement from you super people in the blogosphere, I thought I’d write a post about it.

On the repair front, I managed to darn quite a few socks (although there are a few pairs of thick tights that need my attention). I also managed to sort through all the socks and re-pair (that’s put them in pairs again) when I could. The rest just hit the graveyard of lone socks.

For alterations I picked three items that needed something doing to them. They ranged from simple to time-consuming.

Sorbetto Top

This is my favourite Sorbetto top and one that I wear regularly. I think I know more about how to fit a sleeveless top these days, but my main gripe with this top is that it cuts a little too high under the arms. It isn’t a bit deal; it’s not hugely uncomfortable nor does it look bad on me. It’s just a niggle really. To make the adjustment I took off the bias-binding from the armholes, cut the holes a little deeper and reapplied some new bias-binding.

Written like that it doesn’t seem like I did much, but given that I made the bias-binding myself from the same fabric as the top, it did take some time to do.

It’s a really small change and just improves the fit a little. If I was going to make a sleeveless top now, with hindsight I’d add a little more fabric into the bust dart to stop the gaping at the armhole.

Effort required 5/10

Happiness 6/10

Favourite Sorbetto Top

Favourite Sorbetto Top

Corduroy Trousers

This pair of trousers has always been a little on the loose side and since I made them I’ve discovered that I really do prefer a graded waistband on my trousers. With this in mind, I used the pattern piece from the Grainline Moss skirt and made a new waistband. Sadly, as I was doing this extensive alteration I noticed that these trousers are getting rather threadbare. To some extent, I feel that I shouldn’t have bothered with the alteration as there is such limited life left for them.

Effort required 7/10

Happiness 3/10

Autumnal Corduroy Trousers

Autumnal Corduroy Trousers

Classic checked shirt

My last alteration was very simple. One of the problems with the shirt pattern I used was that it only had xx buttons marked on the pattern. Fortunately, I realized early on that the number of buttons were not going to be sufficient and so I added some extras.  However, I don’t think I added enough buttons. When I wear a low rise pair of trousers I notice that the buttons finish before the waistband and this means that the shirt front doesn’t sit just right when it’s tucked in. It could result in the revealing of a tiny amount of belly.  This was easily fixed by adding one extra button at the bottom of the front band.

Effort required 2/10

Happiness 9/10

Classic checked shirt

Classic checked shirt

Do I have any future plans for alterations? Of course I do…..but perhaps I won’t share them just yet. Without the pressure of sharing them as a plan on the blog, they might actually get done!