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DIY: Multi Way Silk Cord Necklace

silk cord necklace header

I’ve been working on lightening up my colour palette for Spring/Summer.  Winter has seen me migrating to black ALOT and I’m trying to bust out of that a little and have plans on introducing some indigo blue to boost my usual palette of greys and neutrals. (Hey, small steps for a colour phobe, lol!) So when Endless Leather asked me if I’d like to have a play with their silk cord, and then I saw the colour range I decided it was a perfect opportunity to create some simple and tactile jewellery to complement my wardrobe plans.

I wanted to create a versatile and simple piece of jewellery where I could play with different colour combinations depending on my outfit. Subtly contrasting the texture and colour of  various silk cords with metallic elements in the form of these slimline magnetic tube clasps…diy multi way silk cord necklace

I opted for the 3mm twisted silk cord in 4 colours….night blue, truffle, beige and grey taupe; with magnetic clasps to fit. There are brighter colours available if you’re not a neutrals gal like me, lol!

So, onto the how to part…diy multi way silk cord necklace

The first thing I should mention is what happens to the cord the moment you cut it! (it arrives with the ends taped, and you can see why!)

diy multi way silk cord necklace

To combat this I just used a bit of magic tape at the point where I wanted to cut, then cut through the tape and the cord in one go. As I was wrapping the tape I was tightening up the twist in the cord too. It’s a 3mm cord that needs to fit in a 3mm hole. So not alot of wiggle room. Tightening up the twist as you tape eeeeeeever so slightly reduces the overall diameter of the rope giving you a bit of wiggle room to get it into the clasp in the next step…

diy multi way silk cord necklace

I know it probably sounds really simple to stick the cord in the tube clasp, but there is a little more technique involved. Obvs a very careful drop or two of glue into the hole in the magnetic clasp, where the cord is going to go. Pop the taped end of the cord into the hole. It’s a really snug fit so won’t go all the way in without some encouragement! Twist the tube clasp in the direction of the twist of the cord. (If you twist the other way you’ll be loosening the twist in the cord, which we don’t want).  As you do so, the tape will want to come off.  (There’s really not enough room in the hole for the tape as well!) Carefully peel the tape away (that’s why I used magic tape. It’s low tack and will come away relatively easily). Then continue twisting  the clasp until it has gone as far onto the cord as it will go…

diy multi way silk cord necklace

Repeat for the other end and it’s as simple as that….

diy multi way silk cord necklace

I cut 3 of my cords between 16″ & 17″ and the blue one at bracelet length. You could do them all as bracelets too of course. Or have many more lengths and variety of lengths than I have here. But the simple idea of this is that the clasps act both as decorative and functional elements. Allowing you to combine 2 or more of the cords in an almost infinite number of ways to style your piece however suits your current mood, outfit, or colour palette. Simply by joining the magnetic clasps together in different combinations…diy multi way silk cord necklace

You can knot, twist, tie and get creative with how you want it to look…

diy multi way silk cord necklace

Keep it sleek and simple or pile it up for more impact…

diy multi way silk cord necklace

Perhaps add in some rubber or leather cord in the same thickness to mix up the texture as well as the colour.

The pure silk cord for this project was generously supplied free to me by Endless Leather. They supply all manner of leather and silk cords and jewellery findings, (as well as straps, leashes, belt leather etc) are based in Germany and ship internationally. They have kindly supplied me with materials in the past and I can say without bias, the quality really is fantastic. As well as the service and shipping.

The clasps in this project were bought here. Purely because the design I had mind required the clasps to sit “flush” with the cord and almost appear to be part of it.

Anyways, a SUPER simple make with maximum versatility, no? I plan on including some rubber and leather pieces further down the line. I love the idea of something so luxurious as pure silk contrasting with the industrial feel of rubber or the rustic feel of leather. I may even incorporate a bit of colour? Or maybe I won’t…. 😉

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The Copycat Crepe Top – (Part 2) – Making a pattern from an existing garment

Following on from Friday’s post (don’t forget to enter the giveaway on that one btw!) today I’m going to show you what I did to create a sewing pattern from this here rtw top…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

The method I used involves completely deconstructing the original top. If this is something you absolutely don’t want to do then you could try the “rub off” technique. Not a method I’ve tried yet. But the rub off technique has the benefit of leaving your original garment intact. This method though, enables you to seperate the original pattern pieces and have everything lay flat. Thus enabling easier/more accurate tracing and measuring.  In this instance the top I started with cost me £2 from a charity shop (So I’m not gonna be out of pocket financially here) It was 1-2 sizes too big (label had been removed so not entirely sure but I couldn’t have worn it the way it was). I didn’t like the colour on me (judging by the feel of the fabric there was a high level of synthetic content so dyeing  wasn’t really an option) and there was a stain right in the front. So all in I was happy to slice this one up and make a pattern from it from which I could make multiples of the same design.

The process of deconstructing a garment is such a useful one in terms of learning about construction order and construction techniques. Since rtw garment manufacture will often use more time efficient methods than home sewing patterns, it’s a great opportunity to have a delve and learn a few things that you may be able to apply to future makes. I seam ripped this top in a couple of hours one evening while I was watching Netflix. As I went I noted the order in which I deconstructed the top. (Essentially working backwards from the original construction). When I finished, I simply reversed my deconstruction list to give me my construction order for remaking the top! Make sense? The way the inside seams lay on top of eachother will tell you the order in which they were sewn. It was during this process that I noticed that the underarm and side seams had been sewn after the sleeves had been inserted flat. Prompting me to try this on my first toile and leading to much happy clapping and squealing in shedquarters when I finally achieved the perfect sleeve head! Even if this top hadn’t worked out, that would have been enough of a pay off from this process, for me!MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Deconstructing left me with these 4 pieces. (Front, back and 2 sleeves). I removed/seam ripped all  of the stitching, taking care not to disrupt any of the raw edges or stretch the fabric around the curves as this would disrupt the shape of the pieces and I want to trace them as closely as possible to what they would have been originally. I also marked the back and front of one of the sleeves. Once they’re laid flat it’s easy to lose track of which side is which and this is of course, an important piece of info in achieving smooth sleeve insertion on the final top! You’ll also notice the folds along the edges where the original seam line was.  Again…important info to have going forward as the amount of seam allowance the top is to be sewn with will impact on the final fit…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Before tracing, press all the pieces flat. (You’ll only need to press one of the sleeves obvs). Being careful not to stretch the fabric as you press. The key thing here is we’re pressing (lift, press, lift, press)….not ironing (moving the iron across the fabric in one continuous motion whilst applying pressure)…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

The next step is to split the front and back of the top in half to give the familiar 1/4 pattern piece.  (Below is my front piece). To do this I folded the piece in half lengthwise and  meticulously lined up the neckline, shoulder, armscye and side seams right on top of eachother; and pinned in place…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT



This essentially gives me a long straight edge that will become my CF seam. I pressed a sharp crease along that edge then opened it all out again….MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

It gave me a super clear and straight cutting line so that I could accurately split the piece in half…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT



Retain one of those to use as a template. Discard the other. Repeat for the back piece. (nb: my back piece was a little tricky as it had a zip installed so I pinned it as I did the front and pressed the CB as far as I could. But ommitted this “cutting up the center” step and skipped straight to tracing around the folded pattern piece).

Weight each piece down, smooth and flat, on top of tracing/pattern/wrapping/brown paper. (I’m working on my sleeve piece here) I didn’t use pins as they can disrupt the line around the edge of the fabric. Carefully trace around the perimeter of the pattern piece…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

I used a dotted line snugged right up against the edge of the fabric, taking care to draw in any corner points as accurately as possible…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

I was left with a dotted line, which I then carefully smoothed out using a French curve or ruler…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Checking things like seam junctions and corners were square and adjusting my pencil lines as needed…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Cut out. Add in those all important front/back sleeve head notches and centre notch….MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

The next measurement I needed was the amount of seam and hem allowances the top had been constructed with. Measuring from the edge with a seam gauge I established those measurements (they’ll vary across the pattern)…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

And marked them on my pattern piece along with the grainline and pattern details.  NB: The seam allowance on a deconstructed garment will be small as the “trim excess seam allowance” step has already been carried out during the manufacturing process. So further down the line you may want to increase the seam allowance on your pattern.MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Repeat for the front and back pattern pieces…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

Once all the pattern pieces are cut out line up any seams that will meet, Shoulder seams, side seams, sleeve seams etc) overlapping seam allowances, and smooth out the edges…you can see that neckline curve below isn’t sitting flush and smooth…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT



Again, any seams that will be sewn together, line up the pattern pieces and snip little notches to give you alignment marks for the construction stage…MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT

And that’s it. I marked all my pattern details onto each pattern piece including the words “First Draft” so if I ever needed to work back to a certain point  I’d know which pattern was which. Then I toiled it…and, well it worked! To the point that the size and the way it hung when worn was  identical to the way the original top fit me. So a win then!MAKING A SEWING PATTERN FROM AN EXISTING GARMENT


As I mentioned, the original top was too big and consequently, so was my copy top! So later this week I’ll share the process I followed to grade it down which incidentally, is the same process for sizing a pattern up, bar one detail. I’ll be back later in the week with that post.

But in the meantime, hop over to part one if you haven’t seen it already, for the finished top, and a chance to enter a fab giveaway from The Splendid Stitch

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FO: Linden Sweatshirt (with biker’esque quilting hack)

I am VERY late on the Linden bandwagon I know. But up until I swapped out my serger for a more powerful one at Christmas (Santa did good!) my old serger couldn’t cope with thicker fabric and I really didn’t fancy sewing this on my standard machine. So this was one of the first things I made on my new serger. (A Brother 4234D in case you were wondering!) It’s taken a while to get this post up because I’ve really struggled to get decent pics. It’s black for a start. It’s winter for seconds and the details of the quilting hack are quite subtle from a distance. So these are the best of the bunch, but hopefully you can get the gist from these pics. I mean you all know what a Linden looks like by now, lol! So it’s the deets of the hack I’m focusing on here…LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

I opted for  View B, lengthened by 1″ with the sleeves from View A. Fabric is a black cotton jersey sweatshirting from Girl Charlee with a supersoft fleece backing. Super easy to sew and lovely and soft.  This Licorice colourway is a teeny bit of a fluff magnet which for day to day wear I can live with, but involved alot of masking tape to get it ship shape for photographing, lol 🙂 But there’s loads more colours if that’s likely to bug you. Doesn’t bother me too much.LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

But the crux of this post is the quilting detail I applied in bands to the cuffs and hem. I mean. A black sweatshirt. That’s a bit minimal even for me! I wanted to elevate it in some way and give it a bit of personality and edge and I think this works beautifully in that respect; and also in the sense that it’s extra warm in those areas due to the double thickness of fabric I used for the quilting element. I’m so pleased with the overall effect. The bands are reminiscent of the detailing on biker jackets and inspired by the proliferation of quilted detailing emerging all over the interwebs…LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

For the neckline I opted for my favourite deconstructed “finish”. It has been through the wash several times at the point this pic was taken (I wear it alot!) and the raw edge of the neckband has “roughed up” just the way I like it. The raw edge of this fabric does fray ever so slightly if left unfinished. Which is worth bearing in mind if you like a clean finish inside your garments, then it’s definitely a candidate for the serger.

I also raised/narrowed the neckline on the pattern. The necklines on this and the Hemlock pattern are marginally too wide for me as I’m not a fan of things hanging off my shoulders or revealing my bra straps. It’s an easy fix if you have the same issue. (See previous post).LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

So. Onto the quilting part! The fabric is was not quite thick enough for quilting lines to be as prominent as I had in mind. So I created super wide facings for the cuffs and hem band to add body and “puff” for the quilting element. First step, before any construction begins, is to quilt the cuffs. I first measured how deep I wanted my quilted section to be then transferred this to my paper pattern….LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

Marked out the entire section on my pattern…LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

Then traced that off as a separate pattern piece…. For the cuffs I had to apply the facing and quilt the cuffs BEFORE construction (ie while they were still flat) as the cuff circumference was too narrow once constructed, to fit around the free arm on my sewing machine.LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

For the hem band I aligned the front and back pattern pieces at the side seams, overlapping the seam allowances; and did exactly the same thing. Note:  THIS piece though, (once marked out and traced off) will need seam allowance added at one side then be cut on the fold. Once the cuffs are quilted I constructed everything as normal until I had just the hem left to do…LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

For the hem facing band, once cut from the fabric, join the two ends to create a loop and then apply to the hem as a facing, turning to the inside. You can see here I’ve rolled the seam along the edge slightly to the inside…then simply quilt in paralell lines (or crazy random ones if you like!).LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

Here’s a better angle to show the quilting on the cuffs (and some masking tape in the background for defluffing, lol  😉LINDEN BIKER QUILTED SWEATSHIRT

I’m definitely feeling the Linden love and can absolutely see why it’s SUCH a popular pattern.  Quick, easy, comfy.  I can see me making a few of these! I’ve also come to realise that I’m not necessarily “pattern averse”. I’m just not a lover of print. I like pattern and texture and interest on my clothes and am really feeling inspired to explore fabric manipulation, texture and embellishment further this year; as a means of adding this interest to my makes in a really subtle way. I usually opt for plain fabrics, but even I can find those a bit dull at times. So quilting is obviously one good way of adding a little subtle interest. I think this year, I’m going to look at ways of adding interest to my favoured simple silouhettes and plain fabrics, with construction, design and textural details; and see where that leads. What about you? Are you plain? Pattern? Or like me….a little somewhere in between?


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Refashion: Fleece Sweatshirt to Minimalist Cropped Jacket

refashion a fleece sweatshirt into a cropped jacket

It’s been all about the cozy around here. Temperatures as we know have been less than balmy and Shedquarters has been a little chilly to say the least. So an extra layer (or two) has been a prerequisite recently. Enter this oatmeal coloured “blah” fleece!

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan (1)

“Blah” because of the shape. But the fleece itself is super soft and has the appearance of felted wool….except way way softer! So I set about chopping it up….and this is what I ended up with!turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

A cute little cropped cardi/jacket with simple lines, that sits just on the hip at the front and dips down at the back. Couldn’t be simpler really. No raw edge finishing required as the fabric doesn’t fray. Just a few cut’s and minimal sewing. You can apply this to any similar fleece or sweatshirt. Here’s what I did…turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Trimmed away the neckband close to the stitching and rounded off that V shape a little (optional)…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut straight up the middle to create the opening….

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut a dipped/curved hem, removing the hem band in the process…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut the sleeves down to my preferred “bracelet” length, leaving a little extra for turning…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Turn and hem the cuffs and bottom hem…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Turn and stitch a narrow hem arround the neckline. This would normally be a no no but as this fabric had a degree of stretch (and I didn’t have any fabric left for a facing) I went with it and it worked fine 🙂

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Then turn under and stitch either side of the opening….

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

In all instances stitch as close to the raw edge as poss. This will give you a super clean finish and as you can see, that rule breaking I did with turning rather than facing the neckline? Not a problem 😉 Still a nice clean corner there . You can also see a double row of stitching along the vertical edge of the opening. (Partly decorative. Partly functional)

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

And that’s that! It’s a perfect little extra layer to chuck on and much much less blah than the original! Even better, it takes about 30 mins. Gotta love fleece/sweatshirt fabric! More sweatshirt stuff coming up this week. Watch this space!

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