A vested interest -grey to glorious cosy underwear

It is cold, blustery and wintery, being a chilly morsel I am reluctant to turn the heating up too much out of respect not just to my purse but the planet. I am not a fan of jumpers – they seem to make me into a blob with mono boob!

I wear dresses mostly, some of them are cotton so I need a little extra warmth. These little vests might be a little old fashioned, but they are so delightfully warm without bulk and slip easily under a dress. Pretty they aren’t!

Grey lace top

Revamp, top, sewing, lace, insert

I like to wear pretty things especially underwear but these scream out old lady! bear with me, this can be beautiful with a few little tweaks.

Remove old elastic

recycle, upcycle, revamp

Cut off the knicker elastic edging – it is a good time to consider lowering your neckline if you don’t want the vest to be seen. If you aren’t sure try it on under one of your dresses and mark where you want the finished edge to be.

Adding lace panel

adding lace, replacement, upcycling.

There are so many beautiful little lace panels available – this pretty little design was relatively inexpensive – and it is beautiful!

Marking lace edging

use a marker pen to indicate where the lace panel will be.

Mark your positioning with an erasable pen, or tailors chalk. Check to see the lace is balanced and central.

stretch needles

Always use stretch needles when working with knits.

You can get lovely stretch lace from eBay or your local fabric store, I bought this on eBay for about £2.99 per metre, the rickrack  looks like little hearts to me. You will also need stretch needles, these are rounded so that they push between the threads rather than breaking them. Ordinary cotton thread is perfect.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

Set your sewing machine stitch to a stretch zig zag  – it looks like a broken zigzag, this allows the stitches to stretch with the elastic. You can see what the stitch looks like on my machine.

Attach the elastic edging around the neckline right side of the vest to the wrong side of the elastic. The decorative edge should be on the outer edge and the flat edge of the elastic should be lined up with the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

Set the zigzag stitch width to cover  the elastic, but leave the ricrac edge free. Stitch between the two marked points, while slightly stretching the elastic lace.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elastic under and top stitch around the neckline using a 3.5 stitch length once again stopping at the marked points.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

Lay the decorative lace in place and using a narrow stretch zigzag follow the lower edge of the lace attaching it to the vest.

Trim away the vest to the zigzag edging and then you are done!

with new lace edging

with new lace edging

Your pretty lace detail can peek from your neckline, no-one would guess you are wearing a vest!

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Summer dress – Up-cycling project – Adding Sleeves and Modesty Panel

01-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel

This is a very flattering dress: it accentuates a small waist and hides wide hips nicely beyond the lightly gathered skirt. Most pear shapes or hourglass figures will suit styles like this.

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There are a couple of elements that I am not entirely happy with

The neckline is rather plunging – especially as I am quite busty.

05-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -004

I am also not a great fan of sleeveless dresses, I prefer to keep my underarms under cover!

06-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -005

Luckily this dress comes with a long generous wrap, which is enough fabric to make sleeves.

If the dress you want to revamp doesn’t come with a wrap, you can always take fabric from the bottom.

08-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -007

I created a bit of a cap sleeve pattern – using a sleeve from another pattern as a guide.

As the fabric is chiffon, I traced the outline of the sleeve using a dissolvable marker cutting the fabric in a strip.

Using a pretty narrow zig zag stitch and matching thread, follow round the sleeve following the outline

then trim close to the finished edge.


14-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -013

Stitch the sleeve seam and then add a gathered edge using narrow elastic

You can just see the elasticated edge here, I use a large zig zag stitch to create a gathered edge.

Pin and stitch the sleeve into the armholes. 

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The modesty template is triangular, I doubled over the fabric,

making the top edge along the fold because of the transparent nature of the chiffon.

10-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -009

Once again zig zag the side edges, so that the panel is in one piece.

Stitch in place between the cross over bodice.

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All done! Now I can wear it without the need for a teeshirt underneath.

I have enough fabric left to make a matching hair accessory and a rose.