Friday, June 7, 2013

Adele Sew-Along Day 2

Pin It Here we are on day 2 and you've just entered the glamorous world of sewing tools and used clothing.  Wooo Hooo!


When it comes to my sewing tools - I keep it pretty simple.  Here's a picture of the the tools I think are helpful when sewing the Adele. Not all of them are necessary - just desirable ... 

Then there's the cute pattern weights.  You can find the tutorial for making your own *HERE*.

 Two tools I'm in love with that you may not have are the pinking shears (for triming the perfect curve)  and the tube turners (for turning the straps and ruffle) ...

I love my "pinkers".  I went without them for years, thinking they were dumb and old fashioned, until I discovered how important they can be when making pretty curves. They're not cheap but they're worth it.  You'll see what I mean later when we get to that curved "collar". 

The same goes for tube turners. I'm in love.  I don't know who invented these things but I wish it were me.  I want one named after me or something. 

I think I own every type of tube turner known to man...

I made the white ones in the middle myself using PVC pipe and a wooden dowel.

If you've never used a tube turner before you have to watch this *30 second video demo*. You can thank me later...

However, don't panic if you don't have a tube turner and don't want to turn the straps with your teeth.  I'll show you an option when we're making the straps that won't have to be turned at all.


Working with used clothing (let's keep it real, girls, that's what it is) it's nothing new.  My grandmother always had a jar of buttons and a stack of fabric she had "rescued" that I was allowed to pick from when I was a little girl.  I guess I never outgrew it.

You might be surprised how often I upcycle...

1 man's shirt, 1 ladies shirt, 1 sheet
Ladies shirt dress and a ladies top

One of my favorites - 100% upcycled fabric
Skirt - never worn. The button detail down the front was already there.
Man's shirt. The buttons are in the back - cute!
Two shirts.
Painter's drop cloth and a man's shirt.

Man's shirt with the buttons in the back.

What to look for when upcycling...

Look for clothing that is in 'like new' condition.  

I never buy anything that looks worn.  In fact, many of the things I buy are new, with the tags still on them, or might have been worn and washed only once.  I like bigger sizes, for obvious reasons, but if it's a cute print, I'll take it anyway.  Women's plus sizes and men's shirts tend not to have darts or lots of fussy seams - very important.  Skirts can have a massive amount of yardage in them.

Look for interesting patterns and for items with cute details already built in such as tucks, trim, tabs, embroidery, etc.

I've found some of the most unique buttons this way.  I have been known to buy something just for the buttons.

It's important to wash your "finds", of course, but it's also important to wash any new fabric you'd be attaching to it so one doesn't shrink differently than the other.  After washing, iron the fabric using Sizing, a light weight starch.  I do this old and new fabric before cutting.  I think it makes your cutting more accurate and sewing easier.

Tips for cutting this pattern

If you're using a shirt for the skirt, you'll need one that is long enough.  You won't be using the pattern, just cutting it like the picture below.  Once you cut it, you're done.  Side seams, check.  Hem, check.  Button and buttonholes, check.

Be willing to compromise.  The shirt may not be the exact length or width in the pattern.  Just use your judgement.

You don't have to cut just yet, so if you're unsure and have questions, wait and ask...I'll be happy to help!

Tip for cutting curves

When I cut curves like the collar on this pattern, I trace the curves, then cut, to be more accurate - no slipping around.  You can NOT get these curves to be nice and rounded when sewing if your cutting is all crooked.  The curve starts here!

Everyone's project will be cut out different if you're upcycling.  Mine won't look just like yours but here are a few pics of the way I was able to cut mine out just as a point of reference. 

That's it for now.  I hope you find some fabric you love this weekend.  Monday, we'll finish up any cutting questions you might have and start sewing.  Enjoy your weekend all!!!

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  1. Thanks for all your helpful tips! Now to find the perfect material :)

    1. You're welcome!!! Hope you find just what you're looking for!

  2. I am giddy with excitement! Day 2 and I just learned so much:) I think I am going to hit the thrift shops at lunch time and see what I can come up with!

    1. Sue, I'm so glad! I hoped I would just be repeating stuff you all already knew! Happy hunting!

  3. those are some great tips! I love the idea of using mens' shirts!

  4. I love that you are talking about upcycling showing how to do it. Lots of people talk about it but I didn't know where to start until now. Thanks for the explanations and the great pictures. It really clears things up for me!

    1. Hi, I'm so glad you getting something out of it! I hope you'll find something here you can use - L.

  5. Pattern is all cut out. And I am staring at my thrift shop finds, trying to decide how I want to use them and what do I want to do first. Really, just have to make up my mind:)

    1. It's great you have more than one to pick from. Now you have something for a future project~ RJ

  6. I especially like the "thingy"!

  7. All cut excited ! Woohoo !

  8. Stole a shirt from my husband that had a spot on the sleeve! Now to find more fabric to coordinate!


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