Creating Lovely For Less

My DIY Sewing Projects

Using a combination of draping hacking cloning and patterns

Sewing transports me to a different world; that is so regardless of what I’m making. Like the proverbial child in a candy store, I’m always excited and ready to explore my options.

Sewing project categories

Because clothing construction can seem intimidating, I’ve categorized the items on this page to provide an idea of the time it took to construct them.

Quick and easy sewing projects are those you don’t have to plan for because you can complete them in a couple hours; more or less.

Intermediate sewing projects mean you’ll need to make time to complete it; four hours, maybe more.

Advanced sewing projects can take a couple days to finish. Degree of difficulty isn’t always the issue; it might be details, structure or layers.

Unique sewing projects aren’t necessarily easy or difficult; just different; and sometimes that takes time to understand. As I do multiple creative things, you’ll find most of the projects are quick and easy.

Draping fabric yeilds dramatic results

I love draping; it’s one of the easiest ways to design dramatic clothing. The black dress in the photo directly below was made without a pattern. I was after something comfortable that would allow me to breathe and look great. So, I stood in the mirror, hung some fabric over one shoulder; allowed some of it to fall to the floor; and draped the remaining material over my other arm. A design was born; sometimes, my methods border on hilarious; but I don’t mind. I had 7 metres of fabric at 60” wide and I used all of it.

 

Above: The strategic draped design was a deliberate effort to camouflage my less than sleek mid section. This is the only unique sewing project on the page: unplanned, no pattern and a stunner.

 
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Anticipating the Look

Did I tell you I love draping? I bought some beautiful fabric and couldn't resist draping it on the free form

 

Above: This one is a Vogue pattern hack; for my beautiful daughter-in-law. It is an advanced sewing project that require lining, interlining and boning. You must plan for this one.

 
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Not Quite Sewn

Another draped dress; the contrast midriff is cut off from the bottom of an embroidered curtain panel

 

Same Pattern Different Looks

The dresses below were made using the same pattern. In both instances some hacking went on. At left, the top of the black and white dress was cut with a seam at centre front and straps that cross at the back. The animal-like print was cut the same way; except, the back straps do not cross. Too, it’s a knit and I used a woven lining; that means one stretches and one doesn’t. As the straps and bodice front is cut in one piece in both fabrics, the grain lines fought each other and created a gape at the armhole. I fixed it with two tabs at the front that drew the fabric together. The new design produced gathers in the front strap area and eliminated the gape. As complicated as that might sound, both dresses are quick and easy sewing projects.

 

Above: The fabric is enjoying its second spring; the used-to-be curtain panels turned skirt is surprisingly a quick and easy sewing project.

 

Draped bias top

The top below was designed for stretch knits only. Since I had no suitable fabric on hand, I cut a woven on the bias and experimented. When you follow the pattern instructions and use the recommended fabrics, this is a quick and easy sewing project. But when you’ve messed with the recommended fabrics as I did, things change. And with that, there’s always a learning curve. I finished the back armhole and the hem by hand sewing.

 

Above: I used a Simplicity pattern to make this wrap top. I didn’t use the recommended fabrics but it turned out great. It’s simple top with drop shoulder sleeves and a closure that ties at the back. I can only categorize it as another quick and easy sewing project.

 
Above:  My daughter in a wrap dress I made for her a few years ago. It is so comfortable and versatile; she wore it before she was a mom, during her pregnancy and here she is again. Only this time, baby is in tow with her complementary coloured outfit. Ive been making these wraps for decades; they are easy and there’s no pattern. Amazingly, I’m a grandma now, and I still love making them.

Above: My daughter in a wrap dress I made for her a few years ago. It is so comfortable and versatile; she wore it before she was a mom, during her pregnancy and here she is again. Only this time, baby is in tow with her complementary coloured outfit. Ive been making these wraps for decades; they are easy and there’s no pattern. Amazingly, I’m a grandma now, and I still love making them.

 

Ruffles in black and white

White shirts are among my favourites. The one below is a result of using a pattern and not having enough fabric to complete it. The lower part that looks like a peplum is a scrap of fabric turned design element. The same goes for the ruffled collar and sleeves.

I cloned the black wide-legged pants. Cloning refers to copying a design. Generally, you use the item that’s already made as you would a paper pattern. Those pants have been around for a while and I’ve worn them quite a bit. But they are low rise and it’s not my most comfortable fit. They don’t pinch or squeeze; they’re just too low for my liking. So, I’m contemplating adding a rib knit band at the waistline. Let see how that goes. The pants fall in the quick and easy category. Since some hacking went on while making the shirt, I’ll call it an intermediate sewing project.