Thursday, 7 August 2014

I thread up my needle and then...

...gonna sew my soul back together again.

Well, I can't say my soul requires any mending, but I do have a big pile of clothes in need of attention.
And since the skies changed from blue to grey this week, I took advantage of a break in the sunshine to tackle some mending and amending.
First up;
this 1970s homemade dress and a 1960s knit top.

I did try to fix the dress by replacing the spent elastic at the top and the waist, but the shape was unflattering and I don't like spaghetti straps, so it became a skirt instead. 
It has an elasticated waist, but I added darts front and back to stop Pouffy Arse/Belly Syndrome, and made the A line shape a little narrower. I love the faux patchwork print, it was too good to remain unworn.

The top was virtually as wide as it was long, so I reduced the boxiness by taking in the sides and trimming off the excess.

Et voila!


I have been intending to shorten this 1970s nautical print skirt since I bought (in Brick Lane, London, about 3 years ago. I know - for heaven's sake!) It only took a few minutes to sort it out.
This little striped top is modern, but has a 1970s vibe going on; it must be the elasticated ruching which reminds me so much of my childhood. It had a Knockers Ahoy effect too, which can't be a bad thing, and it goes with everything. 

50p well spent.

Left-right clockwise;
1960-70s maxi - a fallen-down hem fixed.
1960s shift dress - I let down the large hem to make the length more comfortable for me.
Austin Reed silk dress - the lining was annoyingly long and showed underneath the dress; now taken up and invisible.
1970s dress - buttons replaced and hem fixed.


Darling Helga sent me this 1970s maxi dress ages ago, and I could do with her magnificent boobage to fill the bodice out properly. 
As it is, I took it in so it fits more snugly.

And Clare (Miss Simmonds) gave me this silk-blend Monsoon cheongsam about a million years ago, but it was too big.

Nothing deeper darts couldn't fix; it's now a much better fit.

And there are my delicious 1970s platform shoes, which actually aren't as hard to walk in as I thought. I might not be able to dance till dawn in them, but I could definitely do a night out. Another well-spent £1.49!

I had completely forgotten I had the gold Charles Jourdan espadrilles.
Another charity shop find, of course (£2.99), and getting some wear now I have rediscovered them. 

So that's been productive, and I'm feeling inspired to continue. There are more unworn treasures waiting to be altered to fit.

I'm currently puzzling over taking in the bodice, and replacing but shortening the sleeves of a 1970s maxi dress; and I'm wondering whether I can add panels down the side of a wiggle dress to make it bigger.

It's taxing my brain and my skills, but I am really enjoying the challenge!
What about you? Any making, mending or refashioning going on at your house?


Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Ooh aren't you good? It feels great to get through that sewing basket doesn't it? And so much more to wear! My favourite is the top you turned into a skirt. Clever thing! xxxx

Vix said...

Haven't you done brilliantly? Nothing like tackling that mending pile.
Love the patchwork now-a-skirt and that adorable mini dress! The cheongsam is dead sexy with those killer platforms and the Helga boobalicious maxi is blinking gorgeous. You're on a roll!
I've started with adding some fur hooks to a 1950s fake fur cape I bought a few weeks ago and refashioning a hideous top that resembled a dishcloth. I might crack on with making some mens vintage trousers into shorts later - or I might get distracted with Jon's birthday rum.
Show us that printed maxi on!
Love you! xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Curtise, you are HOTHOTHOT!! And look at those shoes! Love the light colored metallic looking ones especially. Don't you just love the ability in alterations? I've turned some skirts into tops just by simply taking them in. You're getting mighty creative with these vintage threads.

bahnwärterin said...

the best-mending-prize goes to CURTISEEEE!!!!!
great work, you been really busy! the lengthen 60´s mini dress is fab on you, perfect proportions now and your colors. and with the golden shoes - san tropez jet set :-)
not much mending at bahnwärterhaus, sewing new: 3 bermudas for hubs, 1 blouse for mom. and i need to make new garden shorts for me, the old ones died lately.

Melanie said...

I love how you just ploughed through your mending pile. The satisfaction of opening a closet and not having that niggling "Oh, I should fix that, and that, and that..." is such a relief. Well done!! And what results!

That blue cheongsam with the platform shoes is my favourite of these, vavoom. And the mini that you maxied out just a touch. But all of these look fantastic. Oh, and I truly admire the skills of transforming a dress into a skirt, with darts even. I hope you add panels to the wiggle dress so you can report back here. I have one that needs this kind of attention as well but I'm scared.

And I want a Knockers Ahoy top!

Kezzie said...

Well you have done brilliantly!!! Lovely items there to have resurrected!!! I'm particularly fond of the patchwork skirt! X

thorne garnet said...

Well done, my dear. I'm working on a non-sewing project, but I have a bunch of ideas flying around my head.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Darling Curtise,

If you knew or could imagine our collective lack of needle working skills you would not need to ask the question!,

We are in total admiration of your skills. You have nipped and tucked so that your unloved garments can become good friends once more and they do look wonderful and are, we have no doubt, perfect fits. Well done you.

We love the glitzy golden espadrilles. Together with the metallic toe nails you look fit to shine and sparkle on any dance floor.....or supermarket aisle come to that. They are fabulous!

mondoagogo said...

You look FABULOUS. That cheongsam/platform combo is tres glamoroso.

And yes, I have in fact been spending all day faffing about with refashioning -- but I'm having one of those "ooh! look! a squirrel!" days where I keep getting distracted by the next project. The perils of going through your entire fabric/refashion stash. On the other hand I also discovered a bunch of things relegated to said stash now fit me again, so they're going back in the wardrobe. So long since I wore them that it's just like getting new clothes! Yay.

Melancholy and Menace said...

SO many gorgeous outfits to admire! It's a good job you're handy with a needle and thread :)

Have a lovely night xx

Natalia Lialina said...

What a delicious and inspiring post! You've done some simple miracles - now it feels like you got yourself a whole new wardrobe, complete with these amazing golden shoes - I bet! Great job, my dear! You look gorgeous, elegant, playful and oh so well dressed! :)

Yes, there is some rethinking/remaking going on in this household as well, though not about clothes, but about living space. Lots to be done.

Love xxx

Unknown said...

Good for you! I know it can be a bit daunting to do mending and alterations, but it sure was worth it in the end, look at all those great new outfits you have! :)

Veshoevius said...

I have been better at getting clothes mended and amended this year - though I'm lazy and get the tailor at the drycleaners to do mine!
You look utterly fab in that blue cheongsam and great to see your new blue shoes with it!

Miss Magpie said...

I'm 2/3 of the way through making a dress a top and altering another top and have been for ages I seem to have lost my sewing mojo right now. *sigh*

Jayne H said...

No making, mending or re-fashioning going on here. I have been organising a trip to Munich and after having accommodation booked but failing to book tickets to a German football game, I ended up at five pm today with no accommodation after the host had cancelled on me but two football tickets miraculously being couriered over from Germany despite the very expensive ticket website telling me I had no purchases. It's been one of those weeks.

Unknown said...

Hells to the yes!!! Loving your industriousness combined with your creativity! You look pretty fabulous in each of your redesigned and custom-fit vintage pieces ... looks like a few nights on the town should be scheduled to show most of these off. You look downright dangerous to the local male population, at least the ones you're not related to or the SOs of your friends. Take care and don't break to many hearts, glamour-girl!

Krista said...

You are on fire my darlin! I think it must be the time of year I just tackled a bunch of mending myself. I think that blue dress from Claire looks killer on you and I just found one like it in pink! I think there is something so satisfying about making and or modifying clothes. I am getting my machine out soon to make those curtains, how can I fuck those up really???
BTW you could never say anything that would offend, I think you pretty much get me :)
Love you darlin!

Patti said...

Fabulous work, and now you have a pile of new clothes, how great is that?! Gorgeous shoes too. Now I feel rather lazy, and ashamed for not hemming/lengthening just a couple of skirts. You go, C! xox

Kylie said...

I haven't been near my sewing machine in weeks, but I'm on my own tonight so guess what I'm getting up to?! Me, my Janome, a glass of wine and no interruptions - sounds like a good Friday night to me...(btw we've got sewing in common, and lots of other things - in addition to Lloyd Cole)
I love everything you're wearing. I love your blue platforms even more than the first time I saw them.
(I still think about that parcel of wonderful things I sent you that went missing - gee it's years ago now :( Gosh you would've loved it/looked awesome in it all...Grrr!)

Angels have Red Hair said...

No ... I'm not doing much ... as usual!
I do however have a three seater sofa that I'd love you to turn into a sundress for me ;0)
I haven't the slightest doubt that you could do it either ... you're on a roll!!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Hooray for your fab sewing skills Curtise!! I ADORE patchwork in ANY form and I love what you've done with the ex-dress, it's so much better as a skirt and you've done a brilliant job with the poufy problem that happens with elastic waists. Knockers Ahoy ... more huzzahs!!! And honey, you have gams to die for, what a stunner you are in my new blue favourite shoes and those scrumptious espadrilles!!! I haven't been sewing unfortunately, I need some skirts and I'm on the lookout for a pattern. Hugs lovely xoxox

Sheila said...

A 10/10 for your sewing skills! You saved some of these so-so (get it? sew-sew? hee!) items and made them look amazing on you. I'm marveling over the "knockers ahoy" in the cheongsam with the wondrous 70s shoes! Gorgeous!

I recently dyed some very expensive shoes. I'm not sure if they are a win just yet, but I'm sure having fun with them.

Sue said...

I suffer from Pouffy arse/belly syndrome!! I love that phrase. I cannot do gathers as it looks like I have an umbrella up my skirt or forgotten to take my life ring off after swimming!! Great mendings there girl, so satisfying to do a pile of simple reconstructions. Why do we put it off for so long??

Val said...

You and Joni and Melanie are inspirational, but I haven't done any sewing for awhile. All your outfits are gorgeous, and I was thinking that it would be hard to pick a favorite. Then I thought, Don't be so stupid. It has to be the blue cheongsam and those shoes! Fantastic!

Goody said...

My favourite is the shift dress, but I'd knock you down in the street and steal those blue platforms off your feet if I saw you.

I got on a mending kick a few weeks back, but have a couple older pieces I just don't know what to do with. The problem is I keep putting them away to ponder another day, and pretty soon 25 years goes by and I *still* haven't re-beaded the Edwardian evening gown. Someday!

That was a good call chopping the patchwork dress-those dresses don't work on anyone over twelve.

Olga Rani said...

What a pile of work, Curtise! Seems like you are very good at alterations. I am not and so I prefer to buy things that fit me. But recently I bought a dress that is too big for me and needs some changing. Simply the print was so cute that I couldn't resist. I hope I will be able to make the needed alterations. You are very inspiring.

freckleface said...

Oh my God in a basket, you've just inspired me to attack my pile. Pile, not piles, just to be clear. You've gone from beginner to advanced level without blinking, pretty impressive. Now, which are my favourites? It's got to be the sexy cheongsam with glamour heels and the Helga dress. Legs! Boobage! :) xxxxxxx

Mother of Reinvention said...

The blue dress/heels combo is my favourite too. You look amazing in your outfits. It is really satisfying to make and mend. Your alterations look very professional. Not sewing anything at the moment as I am in Edinburgh sans sewing stuff. Can't wait to get back and give it a go. You are an inspiration. Xxxx

Peaches McGinty said...

Wow! you have been very productive and very busy! but look at the gorgeous results! and a knockers ahoy top (I love that, love it!!) the 60's shift dress is damn fabulous, everything is utterly beautiful and perfect on you, it's making me all a little giddy with joy (I can't help but get excited with beautiful vintage!) don't get me started on those gold espadrilles *swoon* - I too have had a few sewing moments, not as epic as your though! x x x have a great weekend Curtise! x x x

Vintage Bird Girl said...

Well done on the alterations Curtise! I'm still enjoying the challenge of alterations....hems, darts, sleeves etc. I am in virtual quarantine now resting up for our New Zealand trip so I'm attending to the mending pile as well. I have been buying more patterns lately too but I'm still scared stiff of sewing from scratch! That faux patchwork skirt is to die for...LOVE it. How sweet is the green tank top too. And the 60's shift is right up my alley. Xx

Forest City Fashionista said...

How could you have let that gorgeous cheongsam languish unworn when it looks soooooo frickin amazing on you?????? And the gold espadrilles??? OMG woman, I need to come and root through your closet ;)

I envy your productivity and problem solving sewing skills. I wish I could get you over here to help me with the pile of fabric occupying my bedroom floor. XXOO

Mrs Bertimus said...

I must crack on with my fixing jobs! I have just bought the most fab dressing gown that I want to turn I to a dress! Maybe I'm being a tad ambitious! X

Ivy Black said...

Hurrah! Bloody brilliant..I do love it when my mates crack on with sewing even though it makes me feel very slack. I love the patchwork skirt and the nautical one is lush. Cheeky is the word I think. I feel very inspired to jump in to my pile now. I've got a week off starting now and there will be much sewing.
Have a lovely weekend.
Loves ya.

Señora Allnut said...

Some sewing mojo is spreading the world these days!!, your revamps are really a good job, everything looks nicely fitted and you look gorgeous (as usual!!!).
I also let clothes languishing on a pile, until the moment the sewing bug bites me!. I'm ready to revamp some not-so-lovely pieces into something more fabulous!!
you're inspiring!!

mispapelicos said...

I am sooooooooo glad to know that you tell me what you feel. I also belive in good anger, anger that moves things but not silly anger, if you know what I mean.
I love all your ensembles, my dear Curtise.

Asparagus Pea said...

Sewed a hanging loop on a handtowel for the new downstairs bog - does that count? Hot blue Choeng sam outfit - that's my fave x

silvergirl said...

loving the nautical skirt and navy maxi.
wish i had a talent with a needle and thread
can pretty much only sew a button on

ArgentGal said...

Oh how funny, I'm posting right after silvergirl! You must feel so much light for having gotten through your mending pile. Want to come do mine next? ;) I love the floral mini. And the blue cheongsam - SWOON!

Jazzy Jack said...

The list goes on and on! I love the gold sandals. A glinting shoe is always good! The cheongsam is pure magic. Well done! Now the clouds part and you sashay into the sun in all your new finery :-D XO JJ

Trees said...

SO INSPIRING! I'm great at making new stuff, but fixing old stuff, taking up hems, taking in side seams.....unmm...not so much. That's it! I'm off to the mending pile - lets fix up something so I have a new thing to wear to wear (I'm saying new as some stuff has been there so long no doubt I've forgotten it). Also my fav is the 1960's dress you lowered the hem on! (but you know me - so you know how I feel about anything 1960s)

Beth Waltz said...

Does dis-assembling skirts so that the fabric may be recycled as cafe curtains count? One wrap around skirt may find new life as a pattern for others in a print I prefer.

What I really need is a local dressmaker!

diaryofapennypincher said...

I have major cheongsam envy! What a stunning colour on you, and those platforms, wow! Love that patchwork refashioned skirt too, I remember my friend's mum wearing those little sleeveless tops in the 70's. Love the knee length look on you, what great legs!

Helga said...

How did I miss this post?!
Ah, the mending and altering pile......every now and then I get sick to death of mine and either a) have a frenzy, or b)shove it in a case and forget about it for a while longer! It's never ending!!! But there is such pleasure in making something perfect, or simply making it ones own. It's just so GOOD to be able to do those small (or large) things!