Sunday, 4 May 2014

Me Made May 2014

I read about Me Made May on My Make Do and Mend Year. It's a project to encourage all the wonderful people who craft and make clothes to wear their handmade items with pride in May.  original challenge was to wear something made by you everyday for the whole of May. Although I have made clothes in the past it has been a long time so rather than go naked I'm adapting the challenge to make it a bit more achievable but in the spirit of the project.

You can find out more about the project at the fabulous So Zo, What Do You Know who kicked it off. 

So my pledge is to wear something I have either made myself, mended or revamped in some way for five days a week for the whole of May.

I'm a bit late starting so I guess I better crack on!  I got off to a head start today with my revamped pyjamas. 

Happy making, mending and upcycling!

Make do and mend - Shortening sleeves on a waterproof jacket

I've had this waterproof jacket for years but it rarely gets worn because the sleeves are so long. If I wear it walking and it rains I end up with soggy wrists as the sleeves start off turned up and then fall down after a while.

In keeping with the Buy Nothing New Challenge I thought I would try to shorten the sleeves so Ic an get more wear from the jacket.

I am the queen of lazy fixes so normally I would just turn the sleeves under and stitch them in place but there is a rubber bit on the cuff that is quite bulky. I have never shortened sleeves properly so this was a bit of an experiment!

Taking off the cuff was a bit tricky because it was secured on both sides and really well made!
I should have measured the sleeve length first but I took a guess that I needed to take off the length off the cuff so I took 5 centimetres off the outer sleeve and the lining. 

This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, but I didn't find that out until I finished machine stitching the outer sleeve to the cuff and realised it was still far too long  when I tried it on :( It turns out I needed to take a whopping 10 centimetres off!

I pinned and tacked the sleeve to the cuff and then machine stitched them together. I thought I'd done great until I realised it was still too long and I had to unpick it and chop a bit more off! Turns out the DIY mantra measure twice and cut once applies to sewing too :(

The original sleeve was machine stitched with a running stitch on the inside on both the outer sleeve and the lining, I think this must have been done before the sleeve was attached to the body. I couldn't work out how to do this without taking the whole sleeve off so unsettled for hand stitching. 

Instead of the original finish I tacked a hem into the lining and then tacked the lining to the cuff. 

I then hand stitched the lining onto the cuff with small stitches tacking care only to go through the inner layer of the cuff so as not to damage the waterproofing on the outside with unnecessary needle holes.

The shorter sleeve was quite a bit wider so I put a small single tuck in the fabric and secured it with the hem.

I'm really pleased with the result, the stitching at the lining is visible but  I now have a much more wearable jacket and saved it from the charity shop :)

Ta da, a sleeve that fits

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Make do and mend - how to save a stretched pajama top

I have a pair of Cath Kidson cotton pajamas that I love. They have been washed so many times that they are super soft and comfy. Unfortunately they have also been washed so many times that the top has lost all lycra and stretched so much that it is a bit obscene! We had guests staying last week and I realised that the op really couldn't be worn in front of anyone except my husband - even then it was starting to get a bit embarrasing.................

I wasn't really sure how to fix it and all the guides I could find were for stretching teeshirts that had shrunk. I did try boiling it to see if it would shrink but that simply killed the rest of the lycra :0

  I measured about 2 1/5 inches from the top seam,  ran a zigzag stitch all the way along and then added a simple straight seam. The nerve racking bit was cutting off the excess fabric but I made the cut and it worked perfectly.

 The back edge of the top was left raw so I turned it under and tacked it.

Then I got a little adventurous and snipped off the lace edging that was looking a bit grey and sad. Next I added some ribbon that I had left over from Christmas. 


I tacked the ribbon in place to ensure it wouldn't slip on the machine and then striched it place with two lines of stitching. Before machine stictching I did check I could definitely get my head through the resized hole! My favourite pajamas are now restored and I can wear them without disgracing myself!!

Make do and mend - buttons, a quick fix for a favourite jumper

The slightly sad buttons :(

One of my favourite jumpers was starting to look a little sad. It is a very simple navy jumper, nothing fancy but it makes be feel all Parisian chic! The jumper itself was in good condition but it had gold buttons that had got scuffed and lost their colour round the edges.

A habit I must have picked up from my mum is saving buttons. I never really put them to good use and they lurk in my sewing box.
Here are some of the nicer ones! I thought I would put them to good use to give my jumper a new lease of life.

I picked out some of my favourites that either matched or were similar colours and updated my jumper - I'm delighted that it's back to fully service :) A cheap and very easy fix with nothing new purchased!

Buttons from long forgotten cardigans

Surprising energy vultures - simple tips to reduce energy usage

The energy monitor has arrived! The reviews did warn that it could be addictive and it is.

I thought I had a fairly good grasp on the appliances and devices that used the most energy but the results have been quite eye opening.

So here are the surprises:

The induction hob

The induction hob  
Just one ring uses more power per minute than the washing machine in full spin!

Energy Saving Tip
Use the correct heat setting as energy usage falls with the temperature. Consider using a slow cooker or Wonderbag for cooking items that need longer.
Double up by using a steamer so more than one thing can cook on a           single ring.
Reuse boiled water for cooking other veg or adding to a stock pot.

The grill
Switching from the double grill setting to the single grill makes a fairly significant difference. Think about whether the lower setting will do.

The Kettle 
I knew it was a high energy user but I didn't realise just how much it used

Energy Saving Tip
Boil only what you need or transfer any excess to a flask, this isn't as much of a pain as I thought it might be and it's evern quicker to make a cup of tea as there is no waiting for the kettle!

The Toaster   
I just hadn't really thought about this onebut it does draw quite alot of power.

The kitchen halogen spot lights
These use considerable more power than normal lights and the down lighters under the cabinets.

Here's how the energy consumption of the appliances compares: -

So if I was to cook a pot roast beef I could expect:


My trusty slow cooker comes out the clear winner for cost and energy consumption and it is a really simple way to cook. I'll be using it and the Wonderbag even more now I have seen the difference in consumption.  I will also be looking at replacing the halogen spots with LEDs if possible to reduce the power drawn by the kitchen lights.

What surprises have you found when monitoring energy? There is some great inspriation on energy saving tips in My Make Do and Mend Year.