Tag Archives: clothing

“Mission: Parachute Pants” is Complete!

I trust you all had a wonderful long weekend. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s already Thursday and the long weekend is long gone“, right? I suppose you’re right. Although the long weekend officially ended three days ago, I’m still recuperating. I was camping so I needed a little extra time to catch up on my sleep and to clean up a little bit (I’ll admit it, I didn’t shower for four days).

Anyways, I am very exited to finally be able to share some photos of this project with you! As you may or may not know, I recently learned how to sew. No, I should re-phrase that. I recently started to sew (I am not experienced enough to say “learned”). I finally found a great fabric store close by so I decided that I wanted to take on my very first sewing project. After rifling through stacks and stacks of pattern books, I (for some bizarre and completely naive reason) chose my very first project: a pair of Aladdin-inspired pants!

If you are an old pro at sewing and are reading this, you are probably thinking to yourself “What in the heavens is this crazy nineteen year-old amateur sewer thinking by choosing to make a pair of pants as her first project!?”. I don’t judge you for asking that question. I considered this multiple times myself throughout the process (just add in a few “stupid”s and “freaking”s for a more accurate portrayal). I hit some discouraging moments and misunderstandings in the pattern, but as you can see, I kept going, asked lots of questions, pushed through, and finally finished!

I started the pants about a month back but hit a road block when the pattern called for “fusible interfacing”. As expected, I had no idea what that was. As a result, I packed up my gear and ignored the project for a little while. When I resumed, I quickly got stopped once again when my mom’s sewing machine broke. Luckily, my wonderful grandma lent me hers so I could get back at it. This morning I woke up, ate some breakfast, and said to myself “Today is the day that I am going to finish my pants!“. And what do you know…I did!

When I finished, I eagerly grabbed my camera and grabbed my sister and we did a little photo shoot. It may or may not have taken place in my neighbour’s backyard. (Linda, if you’re reading this, we are sorry for using your backyard. But you should take it as a compliment–we love your gardens!). We had some good laughs in the process.

Just as one last thought, I want to quickly bring up my purpose for attempting to make handmade clothing. If you have been following my blog for a while now, you are probably familiar with my “no-buying-new-clothes-for-a-whole-year” challenge. I am not buying any new clothing for a variety of reasons (you can read more about that here). As a result, I have been on a major thrifting and refashioning mission. I understand that making your own clothing is not the most environmentally friendly or ethical approach to clothing (unless you extensively research where your fabric is coming from and how it is produced), but I did find the process of making my own pair of pants very enlightening. I now understand the amount of effort and time that goes into producing a piece of clothing. By personally turning a flat piece of fabric into something wearable, I have saved someone else from doing that for me–someone who would most likely be a young child, forced to work under harsh working conditions. I have a whole new appreciation for the material-to-clothing production process. So in a way, making my own clothing from scratch can be sustainable. In the future, I am definitely interested in seeking out ethically produced fabrics and materials to make that much more of an effort to be sustainable.

I guess I’ll leave it at that. What was your first sewing project? If you have never tried sewing but are interested, what would your first sewing project be? I just want to encourage you to give it a try if you never have but are interested. It is definitely intimidating but it is also rewarding! Join in on the conversation below–I would love to hear about some of your sewing adventures. Thanks for reading!

Tagged , , , , ,

RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

I don’t know about you, but by the time the end of April comes around I get really really sick of my wardrobe. Perhaps this feeling is due to the beautiful weather or just a craving for something as fresh and crisp as the Spring breeze. In years past, this feeling would result in a nice little Spring shopping spree on my part, but since I will not be buying any new clothing for the entire year I needed to find a different solution. That solution, my friends, is a dandy little re-fashion!

My personal style is very comfortable and plain. I wear a lot of neutrals and greys, jeans and leggings, and love to accessorize with scarves and special details. This shirt is the perfect fit for that! It is a very standard long-sleeve with a touch of something special in the back. For some reason, I have recently been obsessed with adding special details to the backs of shirts. I think it is so under-rated and special. It’s like a good mullet–all orderly in the front but a party in the back. Classy.

The inspiration and idea for this re-fashion came from Donatella from inspiration & realisation. She has a beautiful blog about her sewing and fashion adventures. She finds a lot of great inspirations from some of the biggest (and most expensive) designers and then re-creates their pieces in her own way. This shirt was inspired by a t-shirt design by Red Valentino. Sure, it may not have the designer label but it is oodles and oodles of dollars cheaper and can be completely recycled (depending on where you get your supplies). I’ll admit that I re-fashioned this shirt three-or-so months ago so I will do my best to reiterate the steps. If anything is unclear, feel free to reference Donatella’s post for further clarification or ask below.

As mentioned above, my version of this shirt was made of completely recycled materials. The grey long-sleeved shirt came straight from my closet and the black meshy back panel came from a thrifted shirt. You could also use fabric scraps from projects past. If you decide to head to the thrift store to find some workable pieces, look for large pieces of fabric that are suited to your needs. You may perhaps consider using different colours or types of materials.

  • a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt that fits you
  • meshy fabric (large enough to create both a large back panel and a bow)
  • scissors
  • tape measurer
  • pen
  • pins
  • thread (that matches your t-shirt colour)
  • sewing machine
Let me first note that this will require the use of a sewing machine. My mother’s sewing machine and I do not get along (at all) so I opted to have my Mama help me with the actual sewing part. If you are unexperienced with a sewing machine, just note that this may be a bit of a challenge. But do your best and persevere because I’m sure it will turn out great!
ONE: Gather your materials. TWO: Lay out your t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt so that the back is facing up. Using a tape measurer or ruler, find the centre of the back. From the centre point, measure 4-6 inches down from the top (depending on the size of your shirt) and place a mark. Cut a straight line up the back, ensuring to leave the 4-6 inches at the top un-touched. THREE: Using your pins, pin the edges under creating a symmetrical triangle. FOUR: Turn the shirt inside out and cut out a triangle of the black meshy fabric that is slightly larger than the triangle of the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Pin the black meshy fabric in place. FIVE: Turn your shirt the right way out again. Using your sewing machine, sew the black fabric into place on the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Once it is sewn on, cut out any additional scraps from the inside. Creating the Bow: I can’t really give you step-by-step instructions for creating the bow. I personally used the sleeve of my black meshy shirt. I randomly scrunched the centre, sewed, wrapped fabric here and there and somehow came out with this bow. I then safety pinned the bow onto the back of the shirt and tried on the shirt to ensure that it was placed in an appropriate position. When I was satisfied, I hand sewed the bow onto the back of the shirt and voila!
There you have it! As I said before, this shirt can be customized in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could make the back panel out of a floral fabric or a bright colour. It can be dressed up (with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots) or could be worn very casually (with some leggings and cargo boots). It really is a fun and practical piece to create and have!
Always remember that there are ways to update your style and be economically and environmentally friendly. Thanks for stopping by!
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,