Recapping Basic Sewing Class Part 2

Once again I had the pleasure of teaching a group of novice seamstresses for a basic sewing class. Most of the students participated in our Beginning class two weeks ago and this week we took things a step further.

We began with a review of parts of the sewing machine. Then moved into  instruction on flat seams and french seams.

The class went back to their seats to begin working on the flat seam

We then moved to the sewing machine where we had a quick lesson in pressing and the importance of pressing seams properly.

Xtine, our teachers aide, shown here assisting a student with her sewing machine

The next part of class focused on how to properly take your measurements

After Xtine and I gave the instructions they tried it on their own. Needless to say the “taking measurement class” always brings about funny comments and memorable expressions 🙂

The last part of our class covered the pattern envelope and how to read the envelope and select the right size.

Silver Spring Sewing Society is the place you want to be if you are interested in learning the basics of sewing and have a great time doing it. Hope you can join us in two weeks at our new location for another tote bag making class.

In the meantime

Happy Sewing!

Sweater project finally completed

The long-awaited project has been completed. In fact it was finished a week ago however being swamped with the many other facets of life I’ve been remiss in my blogging duties. In addition, I worked on this so quickly and was determined to complete it I didn’t take nearly enough photos to detail the process.

I decided to go with a Gray, Pink, Plum and one multi colored sweater for this project. I hand sewed the entire sweater. Surprisingly enough it didn’t take very long. I’ve learned one important lesson going through this project. You can’t move to quickly or else you will make a big mistake but creativity can turn a mistake into a work of art.

When I finally identified the base sweater, the one that fit me perfectly I decided it would be a great idea to cut off its sleeves. Boy did I initially regret that. Eventually I had to sew them back on. Next was figuring out which sweater would be the best contrast and blend into the lower panels.

My original pile of sweaters

I used the purple/plum v-neck sweater as my base. See here where I chopped the sleeves off. I used the gray and multi-colored sweater for the bottom panels.

I used a multicolored wool yarn to complement the colors in the sweater

Stitches on the front panel

hand-stitching the bell cuff to the sleeve

sleeve cuffs before attaching

Connecting the base sweater to the waistband and then to the lower panels

The collar, created from the front of a button down sweater. As you can see one side had the buttons and the other the holes

Waistband and cuffs came from a pink sweater

After cutting the sleeves off I figured out a way to re-attach them. Not too bad.

Finished product

I’ve already started on the second sweater. Pics coming in a few days.

Kicking off February with a long awaited Refashioning Project

As we are wrapping up the first week of February I’m realizing how quickly time is passing and although I have set these resolutions I’m not faring very well in getting my progress posted.

Right now I’m tackling two projects I’ve prepped for over the last month. A Jeans Tote Bag and a sweater refashioning project.

Day one find the pair of jeans I want to work with. The goal for this project is to have completed the project on my own so that I can instruct the class and we can finish in record time. I’ve seen this done many times in several different ways. This time we will take the “Sew Frugal Approach”.

I chose this pair of jeans because they are narrow through the hips and will require less alterations. This is only my preference and in no way is an indication that this approach would be the same for the next person.


I also really like the design of the rear pockets. I can see some embellishments and other applications that could spruce up my bag.


Stay tuned for the next steps…….



Re-Blogging: Refashioning and Restyling Workshop Part ll

The count down is here. Only 24 more days until 2012. Sew Frugal and Fashionable has some great things planned for refashioning and restyling your wardrobe. We will take 365 days and redo at least 12 outfits. That’s right full outfits. That’s next years challenge. And we will continue to stay away from department and specialty stores to shop for clothing. Whew! What a challenge. In the meantime continue to enjoy some of our favorite refashioning blog post.

Re-post from June 20th 2011


On Sunday June 19th, Silver Spring Sewing Sisters met to discuss creative ideas for reinvigorating and refreshing their wardrobes. We had a great discussion on options and unique transformations for clothing that has just been sitting around idle. This was our 2nd class in a four-part series. So far three students have completed their initial projects and are currently working on their next creative masterpiece. Our class will meet informally over dinner every week leading up to Part 3 so that everyone is engaged and being sure to make progress.

In Part 3 of the class we will discuss how to properly deconstruct a garment. There is a right way and a wrong way when it comes to removing seams, elastic and hems. We will cover the step by step process. We are SEW excited about the progress students are making. More to come.


Re-post: Refashioning Vintage for a friend

Hi Everyone,

I’m kinda getting back into the swing of things. Still re-posting previous post. this is one of my favorites and I can’t wait for 2012 my year to re-fashion vintage. I plan to take you through the process step by step. From finding vintage pieces to refashioning them. How exciting. In the meantime. enjoy!

Re-post from 8/23/11

Once again Sew Frugal brings to you another refashioning project. If you have items you are interested in breathing new life into Sew Frugal and Fashionable is ready and willing to assist. We are in the process of developing our new website and updating our blog.  In addition, Silver Spring Sewing Sisters offers Sewing Classes which will help you through some of your sewing challenges. Check us out and keep your eyes peeled for our new look coming soon.

Last week after the Boozy Susie and Sew Frugal Refashioning event my friend Chris and I stopped by It’s Vintage Darling where Chris found and tried on this beautiful vintage Spanish cotton and lace dress. Don’t get me wrong, the dress was cute before the restyle but with a few minor changes can really become one fabulous dress.

I love refashioning and restyling because of the transformation a garment undergoes in the process. To me this is the ultimate sewing art-form. I currently have four items in the hopper to complete within the next two weeks. I’m SEW excited and anxious to show them to you. For now my first refashioning project for a friend.

Chris trying on the dress in the store “It’s Vintage Darling” along with the shoes she picked up
Close up of the dress before getting started. the ruffle gives it an old fashion look and needs to go

I first began by removing the ruffles from the bodice of the dress

Used a seam ripper to remove the lace ruffle from the bodice
After removing both pieces of lace there was this odd rectangular panel left behind. Doesn’t seem to serve a purpose so it’s coming off too.

The next step was to remove the bottom three panels from the dress to create a shorter length

Removed the lower panels of the dress
The left over panels from the bottom of the dress. I then removed one row of lace and added it to the bottom of the dress as seen below.
It’s coming along. Now for the collar and restitched the shoulders where the ruffle was attached

For the collar I used another row of lace from the bottom of the dress. Pleated it and attached it to the inside of the collar.

Lace pleated and pinned to the inside of the neckline
Next I pinned the ruffle that was previously attached in a U-shape across the bodice and reattached it vertically to form a ruffle down the front. Also replaced the old ribbon with a new one for a belt



Re-post: Completed my Vintage refashioning project

Hi readers,

I know I’ve been remiss in my blogging duties as of late. Work has me locked down and tired at the end of the day. So I figured for the rest of this week I would re-post a couple of my favorite posts. All will be related to refashioning. I have decided that next years challenge will include completing at least one refashioning project a month. Oh yeah and I think I will continue to stay away from department stores. My wallet thanks me 🙂

Well, it’s finally finished. A little bit here and a little bit there eventually I got it done. I had this visual in my mind of what I wanted it to look like if only I could find a few extra hours in the day to dedicate to the love of my life, refashioning and restyling clothing. Besides this one I have 2 additional projects in the hopper. The goal is to complete both before our Silver Spring Sewing Sisters Pants Making class on the 21st of August. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I found this dress while visiting one of my favorite DC vintage clothing shops “It’s Vintage Darling”. What a fabulous name and a beautiful store. It’s Vintage Darling frequently restock their $10 bin with some really good stuff. On the day I visited I pulled this dress out of the bin upside down and it immediately gave me an idea.

Fuchsia and Black Vintage Blake for I.F. Industries (circa 1986)

I love the bright fuchsia and the bold black. That’s what makes this dress so unique. The dress is from the mid to late 80’s and this is indicative of the “fancy sash-like” fabric draped across the front and rear of the dress. Ok now you know that sash MUST go! Whew, what were we thinking back then?

As I consider how to refashion and restyle this dress I began to envision one dramatic sleeve. I see this trending as of late and I see this as a top/blouse not a dress. It’s just waaay too much fuchsia and needs to be cut back. Less is definitely more in this case.

My vision was to use the drape as part of the end design.

I began by first removing the right sleeve. Since the drape was connected to the left sleeve I decided to leave it in tact. In fact is was in a perfect position for what I had in mind.

Removing the sleeve

Using a very good seam ripper I proceeded to remove the sleeve and the dreaded shoulder pad.

Using a seam ripper to remove the sleeve
Sleeve and shoulder pad removed

Thinking I would keep the other sleeve in tact I tried it on and the look was pretty dramatic. I was loving this design already. The next step was to shorten the dress,

Measuring from the hem of the dress to the desired length
I cut approximately 16 inches off the bottom
After laying the dress out flat and pinning just to make certain there is no shifting in the process
Bottom half of the dress removed with excess fabric on the right.

The leftover fabric was enough to make a sash for the bottom of the blouse. I cut it in half and folded it and attached it to the bottom of the blouse, It was a perfect addition.

Shown here the left over fabric. Cut in half, cut at the seam and pieced together to attach to the bottom with some left over to tie

At this point I’m feeling this blouse it truly coming together. Time for a fitting. Ut oh…… The sleeve and the drape make the blouse pull to one side. I must remove the other sleeve and also flip the drape. After pulling the drape to the opposite side of the dress the raw serged edges were shown. Had to reverse to conceal the stitching.

After removing the left sleeve and the sash (they were connected by the same single stitch and overlock)
re-attaching the drape to the right side armhole
Attaching the sash to the bottom of the blouse

When all was said and done, both sleeves removed had an even better cooler look.

Now time for the finishings

Stitching the drape raw edge
Finishing the raw edge of the armhole with bias tape
Seam binding attached to the armhole as facing

After a good cleaning and pressing job VOILA!!! It’s complete. I’m planning to accessorize my new blouse with some fabulous jewelry I found at Charming Charlies. Can’t wait for you to see me wearing the final product. I found some interesting pieces while going through my grandmothers old accessories over the weekend. I will be incorporating them into my upcoming designs.

A little bow at the hipline and a tie at the wrist. Perfect for a dinner party or night out
Me wearing my refashioned blouse and Vintage Manolo Blahnik’s