Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tutorial time!: Lace back boat neck upcycled sweatshirt

So I have this Miami University (Ohio, not Florida) sweatshirt that I used to wear a lot but for a long time it's just been sitting in my closet. So, I decided to upcycle it! I toyed with the idea of making it into a boatneck and then inspiration struck when I saw a girl with a boat neck sweatshirt that had a lace panel in the back. I loved it so much that I decided to make it! It's not too hard: it only took me an hour. There is some sewing required but it is mostly straight seams. Anyway, enjoy!

Supplies needed:
  • Pins. Always, always, always, for any project, use pins.
  • 1/4-1/2 of a yard of lace fabric (use your judgment and base it upon how much of the sweatshirt you want to be lace) matching or contrasting the sweatshirt
  • 1 old or new sweatshirt, hooded or crewneck
  • 1 package of double fold bias tape to match the lace color
  • 1 spool of thread to match the lace color
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper (a seamstress's best friend)

Once you have all that, you're ready to get started! Begin by cutting out the hood/collar very close to the hood/collar.

Try it on yourself, and determine how much extra you want to cut off. For me, I wanted it to be very slouchy, so I cut an extra inch off of the neckline all around. So it's even, mark a 1 inch line with a ruler around the neckline.

After doing that, make a judgment about where you want the panel to stop and draw a line. Then, about half an inch above that line, draw a parallel line: this is where you will cut (but not yet! Don't be too hasty!)

Now, rip out the seams in the shoulders and along the sides until you hit the bottom line. Now, you can cut across the top line. Go ahead! Don't be shy!

Now you have a piece of sweatshirt slightly smaller than the size of the lace panel you will put in. See?:

And you have a sweatshirt with a bunch of it cut out, like this:

Keep the piece that you cut out of the sweatshirt! It will double as your pattern piece for cutting out the lace.

Now, on to the sewing! Because of my own laziness, I have no pictures of this, but trust me in the process and comment if you have any questions on my directions. Alright, here goes!

  1. Cut the lace out using the cut out sweatshirt piece as a guide, giving yourself a 1/2 inch seam allowance on the shoulder and side edges, no seam allowance on the neckline and a 1 inch seam allowance on the bottom edge.
  2. Pin and sew the bias tape along the neckline edge.
  3. Pin and sew the shoulders, one at a time.
  4. Pin and sew the sides, one at a time.
  5. Pin and sew the bottom.
  6. Fix any holes at the corners that may have been accidentally left.

And there you go! You now have a wonderful upcycled sweatshirt!

Friday, March 30, 2012


I'm working on a new project that will probably be posted tomorrow. Here's a hint: serging is a pain to rip out.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New record time!

So on Friday I got supplies at Hobby Lobby for my costume portfolio and accidentally happened upon the sewing section and accidentally walked out with two yards of yellow Elmo print fabric. So, of course, me being me, as soon as I got home I started sewing a scrub top for my sister. Four hours later it was finished! Here are some pictures: I think it turned out pretty well!

I'm going back to 1860's now, so no worries. I just had to get this project done. Toodles!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Slacking on my sewing

I've been so busy that I haven't gotten any sewing done. One sleeve still lies half-pinned to the bodice in my mom's sewing room. Soon, though. Possibly Sunday or Monday I will finally have time to work on it again. Right now, I have a 20 page paper on O. Henry's short stories to write. Awesome, right?

However, I now have some new friends in my sewing room! I adopted a new sewing machine that runs wonderfully (now). I had a very scary moment where I got the needle stuck in the bottom of the machine and thought I had broken it for sure. No worries, though! I was just inserting the bobbin incorrectly. (It's not my fault! I had never used a bobbin like that!) Also, a whole 25-yard bolt of muslin came in the mail yesterday. It is quite lovely! I wonder how long it will take for me to exhaust it. We shall see!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fun equals showing up to random places in period clothing.

I'm in a youth group called Kenosis and it's for teens who have taken Theology of the Body for Teens, based on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Anyway, we were vaguely told to "dress exquisitely" and not told the nature of the event or any other details. So, of course, being me, I showed up in my period clothing. It ended up being a short ballroom dancing lesson, which was super fun! Have you ever danced the salsa in a hoop skirt? Anyway, I got the prize for the best dressed. Points for me!

Because of Kenosis and a volunteer orientation I had to go to, I didn't get any sewing done today. Hopefully I will be able to get some done tomorrow, though!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bad dog.

Today, I was planning on getting a decent amount of sewing done. Then life came around and was like, "Not today!!"

See this dog?

Cute, right? Not when she's running down the street at full speed away from me. I chased her about half a mile and then carried her back. She might not seem very heavy, but trust me, she is.

So, I basically only was able to cuff my sleeves today. That's something though, right?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Before today, I was a thimble virgin.

It's true. Even with all of the hand sewing I have done, I have never once used a thimble. I used one today. It was an odd experience, but once you go thimble, you never go back.

I was also a piping virgin before today. Before you gasp in shock and horror, imagining the many unpiped 1860's garments I might have, that is not so. Someone else did the piping for me those times. Today I piped all on my lonesome for the first time. The entire neighborhood heard me yell in anguish when I realized that I had missed half of my armscye with the piping.

Anyway, I got a decent amount of work done on my dress. It is a gorgeous raspberry 100% tropical weight wool. I piped the entire bodice and sewed the collar and fixed the placket. Before today it was a very fray-y not-even-close-to-finished mess, and today it looks lovely! All I have to do is sew and set the sleeves, set the collar, connect the skirt and the bodice and hem the skirt. Then, on to my wrapper!

First post!

Hello! I am Melissa, 18 years old and "amateur" is the best word to describe my seamstress abilities. I love to sew, however I still have much to learn. I am a Civil War reenactor with the Western Female Seminary Living History Society and the Ladies' Living History Society in Cincinnati, Ohio. I sew mostly Civil War, but I have sewn other things. This blog is just going to be me telling and showing the world all that I sew. Enjoy!