Tag Archives: recycle

A Vest from a Men’s Shirt, Secret Christmas Pillowcases Revealed, and Sewing Ideas for 2016!


Nothing like a long title, right?¬† ūüėȬ† There are plenty of projects and ideas for projects¬†floating around my head these days, so I think it’s time to power-share!¬† (There’s another word for the dictionary.¬† Makin’ up new words all the time over here!)

When I think about new projects to share, I keep forgetting to post this vest that I made.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

My original plan for it was to be an additional entry in the Refashioners Contest last year, just to pad out my entry, but I’m glad now that I took it off my list.¬† It wasn’t too hard to make, but it isn’t anywhere near the quality of the jacket I made as my one and only entry.

When the cooler weather sets in, I start thinking of polar fleece and really anything warm, so when I found this oversized men’s fleece-lined flannel shirt at the thrift store, originally by L.L. Bean, I knew I wanted to use it (similar shirt here).¬† I found this pattern:

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

After reading the reviews on Patternreview, I convinced myself that I could create a J.Crew-esque style vest.¬† Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but it’s cozy!

The good and bad part of getting better at sewing, is that now I am less satisfied when my own sewing is of a lower quality.¬† What a problem to have, right?¬† I know I am “supposed” to match up plaids and make things look pretty inside, etc., etc., maybe make sure my pockets are on the same level, but you can’t have it all.¬† I made this out of a shirt.¬† That’s cool!¬† I’ll learn to match plaids another day.

As far as any other details the sewing people among you might be interested in…I made View A, minus the quilting.¬† I cut a size 16 and graded out to an 18 in the waist and hips.¬† This may not have been necessary.¬† It’s fairly boxy and loose, but I wanted to be able to wear it over sweaters.¬† Instead of putting in the zipper, I left the buttons from the original shirt.¬†¬†I also¬†took off the original chest pockets.¬† In the process, I¬†may have made a few holes, but that was an opportunity to return to my old standby of running over any sewing problems with my machine, and I just sewed over them until they blended in.¬† Problem solved!

The other problem I ran into was that I ended up with “wings” at the front of the armholes.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

I did actually go back and take off the bias binding and try to take the princess seams in a little bit.¬† It worked better on one side than another, and I’m a lot happier having tried.¬† It definitely fits better now.

Learning to do a sway-back adjustment is on my mental list of things to learn, but I’m trying not to tackle too many new techniques at once, so that one is for the future.¬† Dealing with the armholes was my fitting experiment for this pattern.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Overall, I think the pattern is good.¬† This isn’t my favorite thing that I have ever made, but I like it and I’ve worn it and will wear it again.¬† I don’t know that I will keep it in my closet for the ages and pass it down to my children, but I guess you never know.¬† More fleece is always better than less fleece in the winter, so it may survive longer than I think.¬† I would try the pattern again if I decide I want another vest.

On another topic, I wanted to give you a quick look at a few pillowcases I made as Christmas presents.  I used a tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew blog that is actually an excerpt from a book by Shea Henderson called School of Sewing.



I bought the border print for the first pillowcase as well as the panda seersucker in Michigan over the summer at The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI.¬† The coordinating fabric on each pillowcase is from Joann’s.¬† These really were easy to sew and I’m sure I could use the tutorial to make fancier ones in the future as well.¬† I keep telling myself that if I would just make a billion pillowcases and cloth napkins, I could use up my stash and replace my worn pillowcases and napkins, but so far clothes are too much fun.¬†¬†Except for these two pillowcases, clothes have won out every time.

Lastly, do you have sewing plans for 2016?¬† I have ideas.¬† I’m not calling them plans because my ideas of what I want to make often change throughout the year, but here is what I have so far.¬† I saw the #2016makenine challenge on Instagram, and decided to jump in…except I ended up with ten.¬† This makes me sound like a total overachiever but, like I said, these plans will flex and change throughout the year, and I doubt everything will get made.


Top row, left to right:  Butterick 5526, Megan Nielsen Briar Sweater and Tee, Simplicity 1538

Middle row, left to right:¬† Jalie 3134, Megan Nielsen’s Mini Briar, Jalie 3023

Bottom row, left to right:  Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory, Coco by Tilly and the Buttons, Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

(most links to these patterns are below)



Ginger Skinny Jeans Pattern by Closet Case Patterns

¬†I’ve already cut out some Jutland Pants by Thread Theory for my husband (I’m actually doing a muslin/test garment for this one), and I’ve traced out the Strathcona Henley for him, too.¬† Lest you start to think I’m abandoning my really good streak of selfish sewing, you should probably know that I LOVE henleys, so once I make him one, I plan to adapt the pattern into one for me as well. ¬†(And how about a girl version of some fleece-lined Jutlands?¬† Sounds like wintry heaven to me!¬† I’m saving that idea for the future!)

In the top row are some shirts I’ve tried before, and I still have fabric from the summer to do additional renditions of those.¬† My first version of the princess seam button down on the top left (Butterick 5526) should make an appearance on the blog soon since I made it to wear to a wedding. ¬†I already whipped up a quick Briar fleece shirt (still to be blogged) to wear for travelling to the wedding, and I need to make a broad back adjustment to the pattern for the button-down on the right (Simplicity 1538) before remaking that one.

You can see I still have bathing suits on my list, maybe some kids’ Briars, and a shirt version of the Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

AND…JEANS!¬† I think it’s time to start learning to sew more fitted bottoms, so jeans are on the list.¬† I’ll keep you posted on that!

Do you have any sewing or other project ideas for this year?¬† I’d love to hear about them!