Tag Archives: buttons

Buttons, buckles and wet weekends …

As a little girl, I used to sit with my mum while she sewed and go through her big Tupperware box of buttons. I used to sort them into groups of colours for her and thread them with cotton into bundles. My fingers would be adorned with rings made with the brightest ones and bits of elastic. Lots of them had stories attached, finds in junk shops or removed from a much loved dress long since worn out. There is something lovely and comforting about rummaging through a button box, especially when you come across the ones that evoke memories.

As for the buckles, it’s my plan to make some belts very soon!

These cute doggy buttons were on a dress my mum had as a little girl and still a firm favourite of mine now!

Sunday turned out to be wet in more ways than one … The outlet hose came away from the washing machine and all the dirty water leaked out to create a swimming pool in the kitchen, oh dear. It must be said that this little incident put a damper (forgive the pun) on the day, but Jimmy and myself overcame moodiness and sorted it out. A fan heater has been drying it all out since (don’t think about the bill) and slowly but surely each little crevice is drying out. Now the washing machine sits like a criminal in the middle of the kitchen for us all to walk into and stub our toes. It is sulking at its new (temporary) position and shudders violently as a hot wash of bio sorts out his bad breath while we’re at it!

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How to make …

… that Liberty shirt into a pretty summer top.

It didn’t take long and I’m very pleased with the result, in fact I’ve got it on today with some old jeans and a little black cardi. I won’t be able to take off the cardigan though due to to a ‘touch of’ sunburn (ouch!) that I managed to get on a short walk yesterday, the wind tricked me (even though deep down I knew) into a false sense of security. Now I will have strap marks for the entire summer, grrr!

Anyway, down to business. Basically the shirt needs very little alteration. The side seams, the button band and the hem all stay as they are, no need to unpick anything. I ironed it, lay it flat on the floor and cut a curved shape from right under one arm to the other (maybe draw a pattern first to make sure it’s symmetrical). Just be careful to leave a button hole with enough room for a hem at the top. In this picture you’ll see the curve at the top and the original curve of the shirt hem at the bottom.

The back of the shirt is cut straight across from side seam to side seam, nice and simple. Then I made a channel by hemming all round and pressing. Once this was done, I added a bit of old lace I had just a tiny bit under the seam so that it didn’t interfere with threading the elastic through.

Next, take some elastic and measure it round just above the bust. My shirt was two sizes too big for me and so it worked quite well with just the right amount of gathers. I threaded the elastic through the channel with a safety pin and then adjusted it to the right size, then secured with machine stitches. Get the gathers in the right places and put a couple of extra stitches under the arms so they don’t move about too much. Once this was done, I made the straps (maybe you won’t want straps, it looks pretty strapless too) from the sleeves of the shirt. Sew a ‘tube’ inside out, turn out the right way and press. I had to make each one in a couple of pieces with what was left but you’d never know unless you looked really closely. Then I tried on the top and marked with a bit of cotton where the straps would go. It’s good to try it on with a bra, then you can position them over the bra straps.

Finally, I took off the shirt buttons and replaced with these little old Woolies ones that were in my button tin … and Ta Da!

I hope this helps you to embark on a little sewing project too. It’s truly satisfying to make something like this and enjoyable too!

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