Sewing project progress

Like I promised last week, here’s a recap of the sewing projects I worked on during our mini-holiday retreat. A few days before we left, I (literally) dusted off my sewing machine and used it for the first time since its purchase. How long have I have this sewing machine? Seven years! BUT to be fair, in those seven years, this sewing machine was in storage all that time during (a) our move to and from overseas, (b) our year and a half in a tiny 500+ sq. ft. apartment, and (c) our move last year to our new house. So now that I have my own study organized — a luxury, I know — I now have space to break out long-overdue sewing projects. And btw, my sewing machine is a Singer “Inspiration” model, which I don’t think it’s in production anymore, but it’s pretty basic and easy to use.

And the timing was perfect to start working on those projects, as I had no other distractions during our mini-retreat, and I recently went through my closet and identified pieces I needed to repair/tailor/hem. While at the cabin, Sam managed to sneak a pic of the sewing station that I had set up (below, left) AND also surprised me while I was on the front porch hand-sewing and taking advantage of the natural light (below, right).

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing at our mini-retreat

What I worked on was not ground-breaking — mostly rehemming stuff — and I did a LOT of seam-ripping. But you got to start somewhere, right? Also, the background in the “after” pics below showcases the closet doors in my study, where I’ve put up magnetic strips to turn one side into an inspiration board.

I finished off five projects during our time away, including the following:

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Floral skirt hem collage

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Floral skirt

I scooped up this beautiful, bright floral skirt this past spring, and mentioned in this post about how I thought it was a bit too long. It was a more complicated project than I originally thought to take off one of the scalloped layers, because eShakti clothing is really well made. There are a lot of seams (all of them doubled over!), and in this skirt, the lining is also layered, alternating between the scalloped layers. So I had to rip seams up the sides and back to take off the last scalloped layer, and then cut and hem the last layer of lining. Whew. But it came out great — and much more figure-flattering, imho.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Floral dress hem collage

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Floral dress hem

Another eShakti dress — one that garnered your vote for favorite outfit of July! — and one that I also mentioned that I wanted to shorten. So that’s what I did, shortening the length by 3 1/2 inches. This project was more straight-forward, as the bottom of this dress is not lined. And the fabric is a really nice cotton, quite substantial in texture and weight. I doubled over the hem again for a cleaner edge, as seen above.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Purple dress straps collage

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Purple dress shoulder straps

I gotta say, eShakti clothing is very high-quality (this isn’t a sponsored post — this is just my opinion), but the general eShakti body type feels a bit different from mine, one that is more buxom and more classically feminine and fuller than my own shape. I reviewed this gorgeous purple dress here, in which I mentioned that the top was quite a bit bigger on me, even though I had gone the custom measurements route. The couple of times I’ve worn this dress, including here, I pinned up the straps and made sure to wear something over it so the pins didn’t show. So my project to fix this dress was to shorten the straps. I didn’t want to mess up the bra enclosure detail, as seen above, or the bodice lining, so I just folded the dress straps, sewed a straight line across, and then manually smoothed out and hand-sewed the edges down so that there is as little as possible to notice about the alteration from the outside.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Brown tunic sleeves collage

Librarian for Life + Style | Sewing project progress: Brown tunic sleeves

In this post, I had asked for ideas about how to fix this patterned brown tunic. I started out simple, by taking off only the patterned bottom part of the sleeves. Then I hemmed the sleeves back up again, leaving a solid brown elbow-length sleeves. I think the overall effects is much more streamlined, so I’ll keep the sleeves like this for awhile.

So, if you’ve been keeping count, the running total so far is four, but I finished five projects total. Where’s the fifth one? It was a spur-of-the-moment project that — SURPRISE! — I will feature more in-depth tomorrow! See y’all then! 🙂

Link ups:  What We Wore, Read and Made Link Party  /  Your Whims Wednesday  /  Passion for Fashion  /  Friday’s Fancies  /  Fashion Friday  /  Best of Friday Style Linkup  /  Friday’s Fab Favorites  /  That’s My Style Link Party


33 thoughts on “Sewing project progress

  1. Katie @ Stress and Stars

    Yes! Taking off the ends of the sleeves on that brown shirt absolutely made it balance. I’m glad you didn’t decide to change the neckline, in the end; I was wrong about that too, 100%. It looks great now!

    I need to learn how to tailor my own clothing. All my pants are way too long thanks to long torso + tiny legs syndrome. Hm. What kind of sewing machine do you have? Is it pretty heavy duty or fairly affordable?

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

      I have a pretty basic Singer sewing machine. The model I have, called “Inspiration,” doesn’t look to be manufactured anymore, but it’s a basic model. A few stitching options and tension settings, plus the bobbin threader. I’ve still been manually threading the machine, although there is an option for auto-threading. I got this sewing machine years ago at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I remember it being quite affordable. And the user manual is quite easy-to-follow, and it goes over sewing basics, which is a big plus! 🙂

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

      It felt scary to get going again, but it’s starting to come back to me as I just plug along. We had home ec all through junior high and high school, so I have memories of making a lot of clothes — and pillow cases! — all through my younger years. My husband is VERY excited about me sewing again. 😉

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

      I agree, it’s amazing how removing one little thing can make a world of difference! And gaining confidence in these small sewing projects is already making me look at clothing differently — like I look at the hem of too-short pants to see if there’s enough fabric to rehem, etc. 😀

  2. Lisa - respect the shoes

    Great job hemming – all those pieces definitely look better on you with some hem work. That scalloped skirt is lovely!

    (I had a sewing machine back during high school – I couldn’t even be trusted to do simple pant hems back then, I made messes!)

  3. Pingback: Sewing a simple headband | Librarian for Life and Style

  4. Rachel G

    I’ve also found that eShakti tends to be a little bit generous in their measurements–it’s great that you have the skills to alter the clothes to fit you best!

  5. Nikell

    I really like that scalloped skirt! I’ve been working on quite a few fall refashion projects myself.

    Visiting from Friday’s Fancies…have a fabulous weekend,
    Nikell (^_^)

  6. Karla

    So Pretty! I have that same sewing machine!! 🙂

    I would LOVE for you to share this at “That’s My Style” Link Party TODAY (every weekend) on my blog. Not comfortable sharing? Stop by anyway for beauty related post and fun DIY projects. I hope to see you there! 🙂

    Karla @

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

      Thanks so much, Karla! And it’s so neat that we have the same sewing machine — I will have to check out your blog to see if you’ve posted any sewing projects for inspiration. And thank you for the heads-up about your link party… heading over there now 🙂

  7. Inge

    Wow you’ve done a great job on these sewing projects. I think that each one looked fine to start with but is much more flattering now that it’s tailored to you. I’ve been wanting to get a sewing machine for these same types of projects. I doubt that I’d be making pieces from scratch. But I have quite a few things I’d like to hem, slim, etc. In particular I have a dress like yours where I pin up the straps because I don’t fill out the top enough.

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style

      Such a thoughtful comment, thank you, Inge! It’s interesting how I’m paying more attention to the construction of pieces and how things are put together. I don’t anticipate doing anything from scratch anytime soon, but it’s fun to think about potential projects 🙂

  8. Rachel

    great work, that is such a great skill to be able to alter things.. i need to get back behind my sewing machine…i am useless!!Thanks so much for linking up to Passion for Fashion, hope to see you again this friday!xx

  9. Pingback: Matching florals | Librarian for Life and Style

  10. Pingback: Sewing adventures: Tailoring two new eShakti items | Librarian for Life and Style

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