Back in June 2013 I dusted off my sewing machine and sent my then 22 year old overlocker off for its’ first service.
I made a dress in a day….. totally oblivious to sizing charts, in a tricky ITY knit and have never looked back!
During the last 4 years I discovered social media, and now have more sewing friends that golfing friends, which is really strange as golfing is a real life hobby not a virtual one like blogging!
I also have lots of golfing friends who now sew… my enthusiasm can be infectious so watch out! But all the sewing led me to have a huge lifestyle change, and not really for the better.
I no longer played golf 3 or 4 times a week, instead I was either sat at my sewing machine or at my computer, and my life became stagnant.
I’m not sure when the extra pounds really crept on, but soon I was almost 2 stone heavier than when I started blogging!
Things had to change. I felt really sluggish and was lacking energy.
So one of the first things I did to try and become more active and healthy (and ultimately lighter) was to download one of the couch to 5k apps on my phone and then head out to pound the pavements in my quest for the new me.
For at least the first couple of weeks there wasn’t much pounding. Well there was, but it was my heart not the pavement! At times I thought my heart would burst out of my chest and my lungs would explode! But I survived and before long even manage to complete my first park run.
To cut a long story short my weight did change, and my fitness improved, but I still didn’t feel like me. So in February this year I took the bull by the horns and joined my local Slimming World Group.
Here’s me on the 12th Feb the day I joined SW wearing my newly finished Lekala dress with the George Michael tribute act. Maybe not my best angle, but they say the camera never lies!
I really got stuck into Slimming World and would say I stuck to it 95% of the time, and on the 27th May, just a few week later i reached my goal of 11 stone!
This is my Memademay pic from the 27th!
And here’s the new me after a run…
Loosing just 15 1/2 pounds in this time (i’d lost a few before I joined SW) made a huge different to my clothes as I’d lost 3 inches from my bust, waist and hips!
For a while the sewing of new clothes slowed down. Especially whilst I was still loosing weight. It all seemed pointless as I didn’t know what my finished size was going to be. All of a sudden I seemed to be at my target weight and all my favourite clothes were too big!
I set about altering them and was surprised how quick most of the alterations were, most were done within the hour, which is less time to sew up a replacement.
So here’s a few before and afters and some tips in case you want to make similar alterations.
For this I simply shortened the dress to above the knee keeping all 3 layers of the skirt different lengths. It seemed a bit daft to cover up my new slim legs! No one had ever said i had great legs before, even when I was younger, but I think the body pump as well as the weight loss has helped improve the shape.
Another quick fix, simply shortening it, it’s a little bit too big but so long as I wear something that’s hip length i can keep my modesty where it gapes.
I’ve 3 Yasmins which all were miles too big. This denim one is my absolute favourite and was originally really dark as you can see in the original post. Worn with the striped top near the beginning of memademay it was shapeless and had lost its A line shape.
So on a nice sunny day I set about the blue denim with a stitch ripper. There was lots of top stitching and 2 rows of stitching on the hem but it took less than 1/2 hour to unpick it.
Resewing the side seams and restitching the facing and the hem was even quicker and my favourite skirt was back in regular rotation sooner than I thought.
The quickness of it all made me be super cheeky and ask my sister for a black denim one that I’d made for her a couple of years ago. I knew it was a bit on the big side for her and she didn’t wear it. I gave it the same treatment as the blue one and now I have 2 favourite denim skirts!
Next up was Vogue 8805 and an even quicker fix – a couple of tumble drying sessions caused enough shrinkage for a perfect fit!
My Colette Moneta (unblogged!!) didn’t fit too well anymore, but even if it did I really couldn’t see myself wearing it, so I chopped it in half and made a top! It has been worn a few times but it’s a bit on the short side unless I continually pull it down, so maybe it may need further attention.
A surprisingly successful refit was my Vogue 9082 / Sonja Dress hack. I wore this last September to the night do of my niece’s wedding but haven’t worn it since. Not for any reason other than I’ve not needed this type of dress during the winter months.
My original V9082 (and bestest dress ever!) had a side zip so I really didn’t feel like altering this, much to my sister’s pleasure, who now now the proud owner! But when I made this dress I inserted a CB zip because of the pleats. In future I will never add a side zip unless it’s absolutely necessary – in skirts and dresses, resizing is just so much easier!
There was quite a bit of unpicking needed as everything seemed to be under stitched. I ended up taking the side in by a good inch either side, but have left the excess seam allowances in, just in case it ever is loaned out and needs to be made bigger!
And then on Lady Captains Day a couple of weeks ago my ‘new’ dress with quite a few inches chopped off, made it’s debut:
Next up, these wide leg trousers were a ‘hand mi down’ from my MIL. They still had the labels on last year when she gave them to me, and I took them on holiday to Portugal. I shortened them to a mid calf length and they looked fab as culottes.
This year I took them to Portugal but they were huge and needed holding up with a belt!
So when I returned home I set about altering these to fit my new size as culottes were everywhere! I didn’t fancy unpicking the waist band and making lots of work for myself. I think often it’s harder with RTW to alter them as you don’t know exactly how they’ve been put together.
Instead I pinned front pleats in place next to the belt loops and it miraculously worked. So just a quick stitch and they were as good as new.
These were worn on my Turkish holiday and before, but have since stayed in the wardrobe. Writing this post has reminded me that they are there and they’ll be out again very soon!
Now this sloppy jumper-like top was loose fitting when I made it but since loosing the pounds instead of it looking loose fitting, it looked like it was just oversized and shapeless.
By simply running a new seam from cuff, all the way up the sleeve and down to the hem it looks like it belongs to me and I’ve not borrowed it! Not a huge change but enough to make a better fit.
My last refit was of a RTW dress that I’ve had ages. I simply sewed new side seams and shortened it by a couple of inches. It’s quite short, but I’ve worn it for golf with black gym shorts underneath to keep my bottom covered when taking my shot! I’ve worn it too just with sandals and a denim jacket out for lunch. I’ve actually worn it more in the last month than in the last few years it’s been in my wardrobe!
So that’s it, for now! I’ve a few more bit and pieces that I’ll be altering in the coming weeks, but these few garments have helped bridge the gap between the old and the new me!
Before you sling out clothes that are either to big or too small or just not quite you any more it might be worth seeing if half an hours TLC may turn it into something you’d love to wear again!
And on a completely different note to sewing. If you’re thinking of shedding just a few pounds, or a few more, I’d definitely recommend Slimming World. Ask around and see if you can find a fun group. The guy (yes guy!!) who run’s mine in hilarious and has us in stitches. So if you’re anyway near me and fancy joining then let me know and I’ve give you the details of where we meet.
Have fun and happy sewing,