March 28

Revamping a Peasant Style Jean Skirt

This skirt was a favourite of our youngest daughter the moment she got it, and it showed in the wear! She was able to wear it longer than typical because it has inner adjustable elastic in the waistband, but the lightweight bottom fabric finally disintegrated.

Just Plumb Worn Out With Love
Just Plumb Worn Out With Love

Since the Jean yoke was still in great shape, and she could still fit into it for several months, I decided to give it a facelift. First, I removed the bottom.

Peasant Skirt Bottom Removed
Peasant Skirt Bottom Removed

Then I made  new lining using measurements from the original skirt. I did make the mistake of not cutting the top and bottom in a curve though. Simple process, but I forgot at the time. I will make another post on changing a straight skirt into an A-Line, or flared skirt soon.

Sew the side seams of the lining together and set aside.

Taking mesurements from the original skirt, cut out a new lining.
Skirt Lining
Taking mesurements from the original skirt, cut out a new lining.

I did forget to take pics of the peasant skirt cutting and assembly, but it is very simple:

1. Determine the overall length of the skirt.

2. Decide how many layers you want and split the overall length by the number of layers. Add seam allowances to the top and bottom of each piece, and a hem allowance for the bottom piece.

3. Cut lengths of fabric 1.5 to 3 times the width of the bottom of yoke. I usually cut twice as much as needed.

4. Making the front and back separate, and using your preferred method of gathering, gather the lengths the desired amount to fit the yoke or lining, plus seam allowances. Build the skirt one layer at a time, then once the front/back is done, attach the side seams.

5. Attach peasant skirt bottom to lining, then attach to skirt with preferred method.

This final assembly of this skirt was just top-stitched from the outside to keep the fluffy Jean unfinished hem of the yoke, but could easily have been attached right sides together, then top stitched for a less casual look. As long as the little darling is happy, which she is!

Finished Skirt
Finished Skirt

July 2013

March 27

Damaged Coat Repair

Finding creative fixes for torn clothing can be a challenge, but it is actually one of my favorite repairs. I get a great sense of satisfaction when an otherwise wrecked garment gains new life. This is the case with a regular client’s coat this week. She bought the coat at a huge discount because she figured I’d find a solution, and I was pretty happy at how it turned out.

She didn’t care if she had a usable pocket, and since the inside of the pocket is the same grey as the outside of the coat, I used it – and the lining – to make a mock welt pocket. I serged the remaining  attached pocket layers (as shown below – black thread) together to keep it all from fraying.


The welt pocket flap is first stitched across the bottom of the grey stripe.  This stitch line also serves to secure all the layers of the open pocket together.


Below is the finished repair with mock welt pocket with stitch lines on the sides and top, and the shredded fabric well sealed between the flap, and interior pocket layers.


Just another simple way to recycle.

March 26

Converting Jeans/Pants to Skirts

For those of us with limited time (which is most of us), here’s a very practical & easy way to make skirts in a jiffy. Simply use a pair of jeans or pants that fit at the waist & cut them off about a 1/2″ below where the crotch line starts to curve. This allows for a 1/2″ seam allowance. You now have a ready made yoke to add any skirt bottom you choose.

I have some other convert candidates on my sewing bench that I can’t wait to tackle, but it will have to wait till I’m out of the hospital reccuping from a tonsilectomy, and a month or so as I wrap my head around home schooling for the year. When I do them I will put up a full fledge tutorial.

This one was simply a front and back panel, hemmed at the bottom, gathered to fit at the top, and stitched with a 1/2″ seam, then top stitched to keep the seam flat.

After I had done this myself, I was given this link where the lady actually used the cut off pant legs to create ruffles. I’d say it turned out very cute too as well.

More examples

Really, how you add the skirt is up to your imagination! A-line, ruffle, 1/2 circle for huge flair, or simply gathered or pleated. Have fun!

March 24

My Sewing Chair

This is my favorite sewing chair. It is an old steno-chair and I had a new seat foam cut for it. Much comfier!!! The top pic shows the new back.


The chair seat wasn’t actually stapled to a plywood base. It has a metal seat with inner hooks where you pull the fabric down and hook into. It’s kinda nice not having to spend 15-30 minutes pulling staples!


March 22

The Bunny Suit

Once in a while, I get some really cute stuff that I enjoy, and although we don’t do the “Easter Bunny thing” as a family, this was a fun job. I did not actually make the suit, but altered it to fit better and replaced the zipper.

When Pat sent me the pics, she hadn’t yet typed up the story behind it, but here it is now:

In December 1986, Whitetooth, a community ski area, opened in Golden, BC. One of the great things about ski areas in small communities it is easier to organize fun events at short notice. One of the fun events that began the first couple of years after opening was the Easter Egg Hunt for kids and the Pink Easter Bunny. Following years saw the addition of treasure hunts, parent-child races, obstacle courses, snow volleyball, Easter Bonnet and Easter Suits (for the ladies and gentlemen respectively), and pot luck BBQ’s at the ski area. When the area became Kicking Horse Resort two of the original ski patrollers approached the resort about having the Easter Bunny skiing around the mountain giving out Easter eggs. The answer was yes and the tradition of the pink bunny is continued when ever the mountain is open on Easter . An Easter Egg Hunt for the younger kids is also a big part of the day. Why a pink bunny you ask? Because it is difficult to see a white one on the snow and the bunny does not want to get run over by skies and snowboarders.

Here’s the note she sent me with the pics:

Hi Angela,

Here are a couple pictures taken Easter Sunday. Hope you can use them for your advertising. It was a fun day as usual. What was even better was no one pulled the tail off this year. Thanks again from the Easter Bunny – AKA Pat Howard

October 7, 2010

March 20

Angela’s Wingback Chair

Here was my first attempt at a large piece slipcover, but I think it looks so good!!! I am so thrilled. Making a slipcover for this chair and its ottoman were the pre-cursor to getting contract work with a local slipcover company. I would have to pick what is apparently the hardest chair to do for my first!  🙂


Originally posted in 2010

Update 2012: I did large slipcovers for about 2 years,  but am currently only make smaller slipcovers like ottomans and parson chairs.

March 27

No More Chasing the Sewing Machine Peddle!

One of my pet-peaves in the sewing room is chasing the sewing machine pedal on the floor. This isn’t an issue with the industrial sewing machines as they are built in the frame; but…. well any sewer knows the frustration.

However, there is a dirt-cheap, SIMPLE solution! The ever useful sticky-tack! If you’re not familiar with the product, just head to the dollar store and ask. Here’s the one I purchased:

It is just great product, and a cheap version works just fine. I’ve used it for years on the bottom back corners of wall mounted picture frames to keep them in horizontal, and from getting bumped off the wall by overly rambunctious “little darlings”.  🙂

So, here’s the fix:

Put a few pieces of sticky-tack on the bottom of the presser foot, then place on the floor in the spot you prefer. No more chasing the foot!
Put a few pieces of sticky-tack on the bottom of the presser foot (they are blue in this picture), then place on the floor in the spot you prefer. No more chasing the foot!
March 22

Armchair Slipcover

Although we’ve decided not to do full living room chairs or couch slipcovers anymore, I thought I’d showcase this chair as an example of what I can do.

The top pic is the before, and the one below is the after. It’s not visible in the pic, but the b/w toile has stains on it.


October 5

Parson’s Chair Slipcovers

Although we’ve decided not to do full living room chairs or couch slipcovers anymore, I thought I’d showcase this smaller parson’s chair as an example of what I currently do. This chair is done in denim.


It is a cover that simply slips over the existing fabric and velcros to the bottom of the chair. Velcro has been glue to the wood frame itself.

October 2010