How To #Move Forward

I bought my second sewing machine as a teenager. It served me well. I was able to make most of my clothes and some for family and friends. My clothes were original, made to last, as I used french seams and lining, plus being economical. All my paper patterns, including that of my wedding dress, are stored in our nearly empty attic. As yet, I have to find a home for over thirty paper patterns. Some of the designs have been updated and used again, such as flared trousers but others, like my PVC raincoat with geometric shapes, I wouldn’t wish to try again!

Over the last year, I have completely sorted our possessions. Every time I climbed the ladder into the attic to locate an item, I brought down something to discard. All over our home, unused or dated items have been taken to the charity shops, given away or thrown in the bin. However, my sewing machine has only just gone.

My trusty old ewing machine

My trusty old sewing machine

It was replaced by a third lighter, more automatic model. For a while, I kept both of them. Making a bed cover for a friend using the smooth, more advanced machine, persuaded me to part with the old one. I kept the original thread and bobbin box but the machine was disposed of for me. I felt pleased that I had moved on from my comfort blanket, rather than clinging to a possession from my formative years.

My smooth, light new sewing machine

My smooth, light new sewing machine

How To Rock That #Robe!

On my travels, I used to bring back something for the home and maybe something to wear. Now that I’m decluttering I’m inclined to take more photos and buy less.
When I bought a silk dressing gown, I never wore it because I was afraid of ageing it too quickly. To solve this dilemma, I decided to give it multi-uses and so lengthen its use.

The dressing gown with the band I cut off from the bottom of the gown.

The dressing gown with the band I cut off from the bottom of the gown.


I cut and hemmed a band from the bottom of the gown. This could be worn as a scarf or wrap.
The band worn as a wrap.

The band worn as a wrap.


I hemmed the remaining jacket which I wear loosely over trousers in particular.
The dressing gown worn as a loose jacket

The dressing gown worn as a loose jacket

A Dress #Update To Try

Do you have a dress you rarely wear? Has your skin or size changed and you want to cover up a little?
Make your old dress new again.
Change the top.

The original top

The original top


Cut off a band of material from the bottom of the dress. Cut it in half, hem it and add the unstructured sleeves to the dress.
New sleeves

New sleeves


Hem the bottom of the new length dress. This one was floor length and is now just below the knee.
The new length dress

The new length dress

#Update Your Jacket-Recycling

That jacket we rarely wear-We can take it to the charity shop, give it to someone or alter it for more use.

The jacket with new buttons

The jacket with new buttons


Simple suggestions for alterations-
Remove the old buttons and sew on new ones.
The old grey buttons are now in my button basket.

The old grey buttons are now in my button basket.


Turn up the sleeves to show the contrasting lining.
Sew on two side loops and add a belt. The belt may be contrasting, toning or the same colour OR
Remove the old belt and loops.
The jacket with changes

The jacket with changes

New Outfit #Recycling

That puff-ball dress or any dress you don’t wear any more? Change it into a top.

A top made from a dress. Pin on the strap (as in the photo) and try on before sewing.

A top made from a dress. Pin on the strap (as in the photo) and try on before sewing.


On the dress, put a pin where you would like the new hem to be when it is a top. Add about four centimetres below the pin for the hem. Place the pin there. Now measure up to this pin from the bottom of the dress. For example, if it measures about six centimetres from the bottom of the dress to the pin, then cut off six centimetres from the bottom of the dress all around. After folding the hem under twice, iron it and hand-sew it. Cut across the long circular strip you cut off the bottom of the dress. Sew together the long right sides of the long strip. Pull one end through this tube until it is the right side out. Now you have a strap. Add it to the top by sewing or temporarily using safety pins. Instead maybe use the strap as a scarf, headband or handbag strap.
The tube made from the cut off hem of the former dress.

The tube made from the cut off hem of the former dress.


Depending on the new length, wear the top over opaque tights, leggings a pencil skirt or trousers.

Try #Updating One Dress, Or Two-Recycling

Well, we great danes, Stellar and Venus, hear her with the noisy thing again. She holds the big shiny things and goes click click, click click. Then she puts tiny bits into the cloth. Ouch! We lie down and wait until she finishes. Zzr zzr, zzr zrr it goes.

The Shorter Purple Dress

The Shorter Purple Dress

Sewing On The Panels.

Sewing On The Panels.


Me-I removed some cream polyester/chiffon panels hanging from the base of a purple lace dress. They looked stylish but the dress looked better without them. I gave the shortened purple dress to a friend. My different black and cream dress is a little short for me, so guess what? The panels I removed from the purple dress will lengthen it. I cut them in half, folded them and pinned them to the dress. Yes it’s better!
I prefer the longer length.

I prefer the longer length.

Matching Pair

Matching Pair

The #Mystery

We Great Danes, Stellar and Venus, like to sniff and stick our noses into things. I like the old basket. I like to mess it up. It’s full of soft and hard things, thin stringy stuff and soft woolly stuff. It smells of sweat, sheep, insects and dust. I want to eat the things. I try to make it all into a nest with my nose.

Khaki thread to repair an orange item.

Khaki thread to repair an orange item.


Me-The sewing basket is in a high cupboard in the kitchen. The sharp needles thread through pink felt and the pins are in a small box. I begin to set up my trusty old portable sewing machine. It’s been my friend for many years. I need red thread. Er, where’s the reel of red cotton? Oh well there’s another one, slightly lighter, more orangey. Isn’t there? Um, no. It’s here but it’s all broken and won’t fit around the cotton reel holder on the machine. Ah ha. Someone’s been snuffling in my sewing basket. I wonder who? I hope they enjoyed eating and digesting the reel of red thread. I suppose they tried the orange reel and someone rescued it before it was swallowed.
The blue and red reels are well chewed!

The blue and red reels are well chewed!


When others borrow your sewing basket don’t expect them to tell you that the dogs ate some for lunch!