Tag Archives: trial&error

Pistachio green culottes

With spring approaching fast and bringing lovely weather I wanted to sew some beautiful pistachio green culottes. Buuut… then things got complicated. This sewing project is not only a lesson in patience but also a prove that formidable things can arise out of alleged mistakes. Creativity is far too wonderful to give up on messed-up sewing projects.Or: How to save sewing mess-ups without sinking into despair

With spring approaching fast and bringing lovely weather I wanted to sew some beautiful pistachio green culottes. Buuut… I’m afraid it didn’t go so smooth with “just sewing a pair of culottes”. I never had this much trouble with any of my sewing projects in the past.

This was partly my fault because I suddenly failed at math and partly due to the fabric that turned out a lot more sensitive than expected. So this sewing project turned out to be a lesson in patience and perseverance more than anything else.

With spring approaching fast and bringing lovely weather I wanted to sew some beautiful pistachio green culottes. Buuut… then things got complicated. This sewing project is not only a lesson in patience but also a prove that formidable things can arise out of alleged mistakes. Creativity is far too wonderful to give up on messed-up sewing projects.

I found this beautiful fabric

I had bought the pistachio green fabric last year on my trip to Salzburg and I really love the fresh light green colour and the beautiful shine to it. I found it in the “designer fabric” department, so it was quite pricy, but I think it’s worth the money spent.

At first I thought I would like to make a pleated skirt. Then I chose the culottes because I love the style – midi length and wide leg – and it looks quite good on me. Also I decided that the culottes fit better with my figure and look more elegant and sophisticated. I wanted to wear them to work, so I opted for a little more seriousness.

Measure twice cut once – Oh, well…

For the pattern I followed the directions from PETIT MAIN SAUVAGE. Not! Ok, I started with her directions as a base, then added a broad waistband and two pleats at each side. Then everything went a little wonky with the measurements and the math involved (really can’t tell how that happened). So I ended up with just one tiny pleat at each side.

I joined all the relevant pieces with their rightful partners until I came to begin with the waistband. I planned it to be about 10 centimetres broad fitting snugly around my waist. But when I tried it on I thought I had cut it too short. So I cut in in half to insert a button facing in the middle. But When I pinned it down I realized that it came out ugly.

So, that left me with two halves of too short binding and no fabric left to just cut the piece again… But I refused to give it up as ruined. I was determined that I would find a solution and I forced myself to sit down and think of something. And then I really came up with a splendid idea.

007 Pistachio green culottes Doodle

I added a contrast fabric in the front and back to add more length and I would connect these pieces in a round and decorative seam. This involved sewing per hand and consecutively a lot more work but it also made this piece unique and something special.

007 Pistachio green culottes Sewing 1

007 Pistachio green culottes Sewing 2

007 Pistachio green culottes Sewing 3

Little tip on the go: If your fabric frays worse than anything else, you might want to iron an inlay onto the back of it for more stability. I had to redo one of my seams because it had frayed.

I don’t make stupid mistakes – I make interesting experiments

So, just one more thing to add for this episode: In the end I realized that the seams had not been too short all along. I just must have tried it on weirdly. Ha! So maybe it should be: Measure twice, cut once, panic never! But maybe I needed this detour to really get the best culottes I am capable of. I’m glad that wrong measurements and irrational behaviour left me with a unique piece of clothing.

So, what I learned from this sewing project: Never give up – even when you think you’ve done something incredibly stupid or irreparable.

It’s only over when you’ve finished. It’s your decision. Creativity is full of wonder and maybe it’ll show you a way that is not what you wanted or expected but even better. Formidable things can arise out of alleged mess-ups. There’s just one catch: It’ll probably be more work.

These are my finished pistachio green culottes - their sewing process was quite stressful but the finished piece is really wonderful.

Actually the culottes photographed here are not yet finished yet. Just as I finally had everything together my zipper broke and I had to unsew it. I will add a little follow-up with a close-up of the back as soon as the zipper is repaired.

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Let’s make this bulky vintage jacket look slim and elegant

Buying vintage clothing can be really tricky regarding the right fit. When I bought a jacket that did not fit me at all, I decided to alter it and make this bulky jacket look slim and elegant. In this post you can read how I sew-in the vintage jacket and created a new unique piece I really like.Buying Vintage clothing online is like a box of chocolate. You can never be sure what you’ll get in the end – especially regarding the fit. I’ve often ended up with clothes far too big and bulky for my taste. But thankfully I have a sewing machine to tackle this problem. My newest altering vintage garment project is this beautiful jacket.

Buying vintage clothing can be really tricky regarding the right fit. When I bought a jacket that did not fit me at all, I decided to alter it and make this bulky jacket look slim and elegant. In this post you can read how I sew-in the vintage jacket and created a new unique piece I really like.

I bought this jacket online at DaWanda (it’s like Etsy, only European). It looked beautiful in the photo and I was really looking forward to wearing it. Unfortunately on me it looked like a large, awkward potato sack – with stiff 80’s shoulders and a far too wide body. To me, it felt like at least two sizes too large.

Still, I liked the fabric. It had a good quality and the design was just too nice to let the jacket rot in my closet. So I decided to try and see if I could make it wearable for me. Here’s a flollow-along sew-in of the jacket including all the steps I took and all the fallacies you should avoid.

001 Vintage Jacket Doodle

What I wanted: a slim and elegant look

The awful shoulder pads needed to go (because I already have the Romanesque square shoulders, thank you so much). I wanted a slimmer more flattering look, especially at the waist. This meant, that I had to size the jacket down considerably and while doing this create a flowing silhouette. The length of the jacket was ok, so I wanted to keep this.

Step by step altering the jacket

  1. First I undid part of the inlay seams at the sides of the jacket and then removed the sleeves fully. Attention: If you attempt something similar, I advise you to mark the sleeves as “right” and “left” before you unsew them. I forgot that and I’m still not one hundred percent sure I put them back in the right place.
  2. Then I ran in the the side seam considerably creating a nice hourglass like silhouette and then cut off the remains (*same thing with the inlay). How much to take away? I tried the jacket on and went from there pretty much by intuition. But if you’re unsure you can always pin the lines you would sow and try it on again.
  3. I took away around 5 cm (2.5”) on each side, so I had to transfer the sleeve, too. To get the sleeve hole right I created a makeshift template from the original one. But be careful when you’re making thinner sleeves. I applied rule of thumb and must have been extremely lucky with it. In retrospect I’m actually quite surprised I didn’t ruin it there.
  4. Then comes the easy part: setting the sleeves and closing the inlay seam. I didn’t bother to hide the seam at the sleeves, I just de-basted it. Et voilà: Tailor-made Vintage jacket! (Ok, it was much harder than it sounds in these few sentences…)

This is what I did to upcycle an old, boxy and far too large vintage jacket: I took in the side seams considerably to create a beautiful and slime line. #vintage #DIY #sewing

Do your dare to alter Vintage garments?

I’m really glad with how my altered vintage jacket turned out. It fits very tight now and I like that it’s made to wear open. I’m not one hundred percent content with it because one sleeve sits a little bit strange and I haven’t figured out yet, why that is.

It was a strange feeling at first to cut into this old jacket made of sturdy tweed fabric – especially when your cut is irreversible. The jacket was probably quite pricy at its time and I knew that if I messed up the whole thing was lost. I took some risks there but it turned out surprisingly well in the end and I’m proud of it.

Still – I wonder… Am I the only one having this strange respect for Vintage garments just because they’re old? Or is it the history of this piece that I’m changing forever and that makes me nervous?

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