Saturday, 13 June 2009

Making a Bikini out of a Skirt

As the summer halter did not go quite as plan and I still had some useable material left I decided to try making a bikini top out of it, like the one I saw on Threadbangers, they used a couple of T-shirts.

I used an old bikini in the same style which still fits as my template. I folded the skirt fabric over so I would get 2 equal pieces once I cut them out. I placed the old bikini on top on the fabric, pinned it down and cut out the triangle shape. I made sure I had cut a little extra around the shape to allow for seam allowance. Once the pieces have been cut out I put them on top of each other to make sure they are the correct size. I used black polycotton fabric to do the inside of the bikini, as I did not have enough of the flower pattern.

The straps were used from the Halter Top project and needed a little alternating, I had to fold them and use a straight stitch on my sewing machine to make them thinner.

Once I had my 4 triangle pieces cut out, I paced the pattern fabric on top of the black fabric and neatened up the ends with the scissors.

The top corners of the bikini I turned inwards and placed the straps on these turned down corners and pined down. I carried on turning in all the sides by 1” pinning as I went.

To make the long strap which is to be used for the bottom of the bikini top I used more of the black poly cotton fabric, cut out about a metre and folded over each of the long ends and again in the middle pinned and sewed a seam.

After pinning everything I checked for fitting with my dummy and started sewing the seams. The bottom strap needed to be threaded through both the triangle pieces, I needed to make sure my seam was close to the end of the fabric forming a tunnel for the fabric to be pulled through.

My finished Bikini. 


I made a bikini, it failed to fit me properly and now I have run out of that lovely fabric. I have learnt a lot more from this experience, that maybe I should use pattern pieces and scrap material. Apart from that, I am getting better with stitching in a straight line and understanding how garments are constructed. This is just inspiring me to keep at it, it can only start to get better.








Have you made a bikini? Can you offer any advice on improving this for next time?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Summer Halter Top

I brought this skirt from a local charity shop, it’s actually a kids age 12-13years priced at £1.50 bargain and the quality looks new, I just loved the pattern on the fabric and thought it would make a great summer top.

I spent a few days thinking about the type of top I wanted and weighed it up with my skill level. I drew some sketches and toyed with ideas of using zips, eyelets and straps for fastening the back together. My skill level is still very basic and I didn’t want to start with something too challenging.

Now my art work isn’t brilliant but here are my sketches of how I want this halter top to look.

Idea 1

On the front of the top I thought about using a triangle design for the chest with gathers in the fabric for detail. 2 straps would be used to create the halter style top effect.

For the back I like the idea of a butterfly effect fastening design. I would use 2 eyelets in the back and use pink ribbon to fasten the back pieces together.

I feel this will still be challenging as I've never used eyelets before.

Idea 2

The front design would be a boob tube style top with 2 straps fastening the top together. I feel this would be easier then doing the first style.

For the back I thought about using 8 eyelets and making a corset style fastening, again with matching ribbon to hold the back closed.

Idea 3

After designing two ways to create the front of the top, I still had one more idea for making the back. The back fastens with 4 straps which would match the top straps and tie together. I like this design a lot and feel for my level I should be able to make these straps. Also has no zips or eyelets are used should be fairly straightforward to do.

I have decided to go with the straight front design and using straps for the back.

Well, it did not turn out so well, I managed to make the straps and hem everything ok but then when it came to trying it on, I realised the sides were too short.

So I took another look and thought, it makes a very pretty apron. Like I say, hey its my first try I have learnt a lot about sewing and now have gained a bit more skill level.

Better luck on my next project.

Do you have any thoughts or comments where I went wrong? Can you offer words of wisdom or some useful tips that I could use for similar projects?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Duct Tape Dummy

  When I was playing around with some old jeans making them into shorts I was running up and down stairs looking in the long mirror in the bathroom to see if they were level and looked ok. I found this to be a bit of a pain, literally too with stabbing myself no end with the pins in my legs. I thought there must be an easier way to see how clothes fit without having to spend £100 on a dress making form. I’ve only just started out and didn’t want to spend tons of money.

After a bit of research on the net I came across this ‘Duct Tape Dummy’ a home made version of you as a dress form. I noticed the different variations of making a dummy, some used duct tape and Paper Mache like at Threads magazine others versions were made out of parcel tape as seen here on Threadbangers. I searched for videos on You Tube and found this was easier to understand.

Feeling all inspired I went down to the local DIY store and brought 3 rolls of duct tape in silver costing around £6.00. I put on an old snug-fitting t-shirt and asked my boyfriend to wrap me in it, I didn’t hear him refuse. After a couple of hours and feeling a little uncomfortable especially when I was pretty much covered in it and couldn’t move I was done.

I stuffed mine with loads of carrier bags, this took me about half hour, which worked rather well. I used a coat hanger to keep the shoulder shape and I had a tube from my fabric purchase to use as a pole. Also I managed to advertise on free cycle and a lovely person donated their Christmas tree stand for the base.

Equipment used:

1 old t-shirt
3 rolls of duct tape
Carrier bags - Loads
Coat hanger
Christmas tree base
1 Assistant

Time: 2 Hours

These are the steps taken to make the body form

Stage 1 – Prepare Yourself
  • Wear an old good fitting t-shirt.

Stage 2 – Applying the Duct Tape
  • Use long strips of duct tape and start applying at the waist snugly.
  • Work downwards checking the strips are applied smoothly and evenly to the lower part of the body.
  • Start working upwards from the waist to below the chest.
  • For the chest apply diagonally strips across the chest area.
  • Attach the cling film to the neck and top of the arms to protect the skin.
  • Add another layer making sure it is on smoothly and all the areas are covered.
  • Once complete cut the middle of the back from the bottom upwards.

Stage 3 – Finishing off the Body Form

  • Tape the coat hanger onto the top of the pole.
  • Add more duct tape to the body form for sticking the back together.
  • Stuff the inside with carrier bags.
  • Tape the bottom, neck and arm holes closed.
  • Put a stand on the end of the pole for the base.

That’s it!
Here are photos of my completed Duct Tape Dummy.

Now all I need to do is start making clothes to put on it.

Have you made a Duct Tape Dummy, I would love to hear your comments and techniques you used to create one?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I’ve always been interested in clothes and after watching the Gok’s Fashion Fix series 1, with his little handy sewing hints to transform high street wear into something more special looking I was inspired.

I first took some evening classes at a local college in dressmaking back in the Autumn of 2008, to learn the basics of sewing, reading patterns and I had a go at making my first dress, which to this day is still incomplete. I felt the course was a good base for understanding techniques but I felt I class time was short and there was not enough guidance for me, so I became frustrated with little progress I was making. I still wanted to learn more and would love to be able to look at something and turn it into something new, I’ve seen this done many times before and I find it so inspiring.

After researching through the web and finding a fantastic range of resources, I have now built up a library of videos, e-books and patterns to have a go at making myself. I am loaded with ideas busting to become a reality. I have made my own duct tape dress making dummy, kitted out my sewing kit, purchased fabrics and recycling old clothes. Now it’s time to develop my skills and track my progress and this is why I have created Threadware, to remember my journey.

What has inspired you to become interested in sewing? Or are you a confident sewer already and have some opinions on the things I am making and would like to comment on your thoughts? I would love to hear from all levels of the art of sewing. I believe everyone is always learning and can grow no matter what level you are at. I shall look forward to hearing from my readers.