Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lekala 6026 - Classic NonBinary's Shirt - Free Pattern!!

Lekala 6026 - Classic Shirt - Free Pattern

My partner is adorable.
Lekala has this shirt listed under 'men's' but neither my partner nor I are men, so these labels are ridiculous.  Note to the public:  a beard does not a man make!!!

This was simple to sew and went together nicely, but as usual Lekalas instructions were a bit hard to grasp.  Luckily I've made dress shirts before so it wasn't a problem.  Standard burrito method yoke and flat felled seams (which was not suggested by Lekala).

I chose to remove the long sleeves and make it short sleeved.  I had intended the epaulette bits to clip to the sleeve itself but during construction my partner really wanted them to snap to their shoulders, which is why the epaulette is not quite on the right fold or is the right length. Next time!

This pattern was a test make through and through.  First, to test lekalas fit.  Second, to test my partner's style and preferences in handmade things.  They tend to wear anything I make them, loose threads and all, so I don't know if I can trust them to give me good feedback.  They love everything I do too much!  DAMNIT PARTNER BE MORE NEGATIVE.  

I screwed up while making it and tore the front during button construction (also, bound buttonholes from here on out.  Am I the only one who finds welts easy and sewn buttonholes hard?!?!).  So there's a wee little diamond shape patch in plaid covering that up.

Also I chose to just use the collar stand as a collar.

Fabric:  a black sheet salvaged from the Salvation Army rubbish bin.  Accents:  Purchased two years ago for around $7/3m these were scraps.  I guess I could say total cost to make was about $.50?  The buttons were salvaged from a dress shirt that was thrown in the same bin.  It was super lacy and weird so we just took it apart for the lace and buttons.

Total cost:  $.50 if you count scraps from past projects as a cost.

Notes: Fix sleeve, use thinner collar stand for this style collar, size is good, height of partner needs shortened by 2cm in Lekala.  Partner has narrow shoulders and needs adjustment.  Sew on grain next time.


Aside:  I am getting REALLY ticked with gendered patterns.  It's not like the same exact companies couldn't just include all the measurements they already have and LET PEOPLE DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO WEAR.  "Misses Dress".  Like WHY do we need to hammer in that dress is misses?  Socially speaking we all fricken already know who the majority wearing this stuff is.  It just seems like a way to say WOMEN ONLY WEAR THIS DRESS OKAY WOMEN ONLY NOT YOU.  Just fricken say "dress", shove the patterns in men's and women's and let people pick what they want to wear based on THAT.

Sure, testosterone and hormones cause different body shapes but raise your hand if you haven't had to adjust a pattern....thought so.

My partner is not a man and it makes them feel awful to have to look through patterns labeled as "mens" just to get a nicely fitted dress shirt that doesn't accomodate boobs.  Come on, some women don't have boobs and some men do, so this kind of gendering is just ridiculous.


Donna Karan Wide Legged Pants for Vogue 1993 - #1186 Review

I suppose I actually need to blog my sewing in order to, you know, blog about it.  Gee, novel concept right?

I have a ton of garments in dire need of being photographed and catalogued.

Let me start with something I made in about four hours while my partner was at work.  From deciding to cutting to wearing, I had this baby whipped out between the time they left and the time they got home - with breaks and TV!

I started this garment early in the morning, before the sun had risen.  I wanted a new pair of pants but was actually wanting a fly-front zip.  I thought, gee, I'd love to have a pair of red pants.  Do I even have red?  If I didn't have enough red, I was totally going to make harlequin pants in black and red.

So I went through my stash and found - a nice bright red!  And there was enough!

....except as the sun rose I noticed something about my fabric.

Orange.  Very orange.

This was not red!!  I am tempted ton post a photo of the thread I chose so you can see how badly I thought this was red fabric.

It's a salvaged piece from the Salvation Army rubbish bin (not slang, actual rubbish) and the selvege said Cashmilon - which is an acrylic/cotton blend designed to mimic wool but be cheaper/easiuer to wash/ less scratchy.

My face isn't showing but my facing is.
I gave poor Donna Karan a bit of a grilling over on Pattern Review for the simplicity of these pants, but the truth is I love them!  Yes they are a VERY simple faced four-piece pair of bellbottoms (listed as wide leg...come on!  That's a bell if I ever saw one.) but they have the classic Donna Karan drape below the knee.  Donna really knows how to make a swoosh!  And /that's/ the part of this pattern that stands out.

Donna Karan for Vogue 1186
I found this pattern in the rubbish bin as well (sorry Donna) and was immediately drawn to that giant pointed collar in the drawing.  WHICH IS NOT INCLUDED.  You have GOT to be kidding.  Would you buy a $25 pattern that's so black you can't see any details for bellbottoms, an elastic waisted skirt and an unlined vest?

That would have to be my top complaint about this pattern, which in retrospect is actually a really minor complaint.

It's too simple.

It's even too easy.

When you pick up a Designer Vogue pattern you kind of have...expectations.  Usually a couture method or a complicated shaped piece or something... but no.  This really is an unlined vest, an elastic waisted skirt (in a knit?!  What?) and a pair of waistband-less bell bottoms.

Of course the actual drafting is classic Donna and classic smooth sleek Vogue, so I don't really know what I'm whining about.  I noticed these pants fit my hips ridiculously well.  If I forgot to zip it all the way and it dropped even a quarter inch you could see the billow from the hip space.  Meaning it follows my leg shape /perfectly/.

One thing the pattern had that DID stand out was the double lines for petiting the pattern.  Only - I think the pattern may have already been petite.  The cover says normal/talle but the description says petite.

For reference, I am standing on a chair and am actually 5'1".  I measured the length of my waist to the floor and thought the fabric would pool too much.  I also decided I wanted to make this the length for flats as I rarely wear heels (and the proceeded to wear heels for the photos.  and a sports top.  Who actually wears that?  The things we do to show off pants!).

I -REALLY- loved how part of the petite aspect was in the crotch.  I really did need that as I seem to have a short crotch depth, something I have noticed in previous home sewn garments.

I should not have petite'd the legs.  That 2" meant that my FIVE FOOT ONE self only had half an inch to hem with instead of the 2" she recommends.  I chose to do a wide rolled hem.  I've been practising narrow hems but WOW am I bad at those so I figured I'd practice it on 1/4" instead of "fuck you this is one thread thick, enjoy on your mistimed machine!".

So apparently Donna Karan makes petite pants for people who are 4'11".  SO IF YOURE REALLY REALLY SHORT AND WANT TO LOOK TALL IN BELLBOTTOMS THIS PATTERN IS PERFECT.

Which to be honest MUST be a drafting genius thing only Donna could really pull off.  I'm 5'1".  I know I've said that three times now but LOOK HOW TALL I LOOK.

Okay but let's all be honest my ass looks great in these.
The zip was stolen from a handbag we also found in a bin.  So once more, I have made a 100% FREE garment of 100% salvaged materials.  Reminder EVEN MY SEWING MACHINE WAS SALVAGED.  Once I buy a machine, if I do, or get mine serviced, I will be including my costs for the year.

As it is my total costs for the last three months of sewing supplies has been $42.  I bought:  two jeans patterns, one wheelchair accessory pattern, two dress patterns (which in retrospect was probably silly, but I had a friend in mind when I got them), two seam rippers, five packets of machine needles, one packet of sewing needles, a thimble and a packet of 600 pins.  Since there's FIVE patterns in that $42 I'm pretty pleased.  If I used only salvaged patterns my total for supplies $17.  Wow!  That's some ACTUAL clothing saving.

Out of that $42 I have made:  a dress shirt for my partner, three pairs of shorts, three tops, a pair of spats, a shortsuit, this pair of pants, a dress shirt for myself I am working on today, and the vest I'll be finishing in the next few weeks.

12 items, 3 months, $42.  This is not including my failures, this is ONLY my worn and successful garments.  I don't think anyone can get a wardrobe these days including Donna Karan for $42.  Less than $4 a garment.

So HA! to all those who think you can't save money while sewing vs RTW cheapies.  YOU CAN BARELY GET A TARGET TANK TOP FOR $4 ON SALE.

Hell yeah.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Another "Not a Sewing" Post

Well, crap.

I already named this blog "salvage sewing" so it's definitely a sewing blog.  Yet there's so much I want to talk about and do.

Especially since we salvage more than textiles and haberdashery and we are only a small start-up couple at the moment.  I do think it would be nice, especially for others thinking about doing such things, to see how a beginner works out problems.  I also want to acknowledge those unspoken heros who know far more than I do who probably have known the answers for decades to what I'm only about to learn.

The second working Nintendo DS we found.
A picture of the second working Nintendo DS we found.

If my goal is honesty and transparency; I have to be honest I have no clue what I am doing. Which is resulting in some rather unfortunate hurdles I am facing as I continue to see where this takes me.  Deep down I know I am someone who values frugality and hates waste; but application I am not certain how that translates.

About a year ago, my partner and I's only mode of transport was stolen.  It was retrieved, but we have been unable to afford all the replacement parts so it's been an ongoing process.  Unfortunately a stolen part was a coded electronic panel that can only be purchased new from dealership unless someone gets into a mighty horrible accident but manages to save said panel on the same exact make and model of mine.  So for the last year, we haven't been able to get one.

It hasn't been an issue except it's meant our salvaging is curtailed to only what we can get to - which usually results in a single site.  This hasn't always been the case.

This does not mean my salvages are few.  In fact, we have too much and I am uncertain how to deal with it.  That's also what concerns me on a larger scale.  I know for a fact that there are multiple others who use the same sites I do; we come across each other in our salvages.  Since we sometimes collect different things, we often set aside the stuff for the others we know will be taken by them.

There's still too much.

We know of a second site, a slightly further walk, that boasts an even more impressive haul and is used by less people.  This is the one we found our vacuum in, loads of furniture, patterns (my last post the 1959 jumper shorts came from this bin) and expensive clothing.

I found this all in one night.  I didn't even keep 1/10 of what was there.
When I find hauls like the one above, it's both a fun and depressing moment.  This particular one three full garbage bags of brand new with tags clothing from Asos, Abercrombie, and various other shops. Judging by size and style, we assumed the donator was in the habit of online shopping during sales and frequently found things were not their style.

Oh right, I haven't mentioned that on this blog yet.

All of the stuff we salvage is almost exclusively from charity shop RUBBISH bins.

No really, the actual rubbish.  All those bags?  Were filled with clothes.  You can see me lifting out a working stroller.  It was one of three we found that night.

Moving along.  I don't know exactly how I am helping anyone by only hoarding what I find and can sell or redonate to someone who actually needs it.  I wish I had more resources! that of a Charity Shop.  I have more clothes than I need, more textiles than I could ever sew with before I find ten times more, enough bra findings to make over 50 bras.... I don't need this.

I want to start a sewing group where people can just rummage and learn to sew with what we have and find; but I don't think my experience really is sewing based.  I can make clothes.  And they're wearable.  And I like them... but teaching people to use a pattern they found with a coffee stain on it and cutting up found dresses with bad styles or broken zips to turn into what they want?  Well - I know I can to do it for myself; but that doesn't mean I can teach it.

It still leaves me with the problem of all I do have.  The image I posted earlier of the outfits was only a few days ago.  I had also joined a sewing group three weeks before in an attempt to sew myself a purely-salvaged sewing capsule wardrobe.  Next week I know, for a fact, is textile week at my solitary bin.  I know over 25 more bins in just my area alone that, should I have a car, I could get even more.

I have posted ads to give away and I do, frequently, but its not as much as I like.  I sell on Etsy, but since it can only be vintage or handmade things and salvaged doesn't always fall under that category, it can be tricky.  I am not a fan of Ebay, but I may have to try that.

When we did have a car, it often looked like this after trips.
If the bin is full, the shops will just pile perfectly useable clothes outside their bin.

Every single TV we have found works.

This isn't even the best stuff.  Or a quarter of the stuff.  Or a tenth of the stuff.  This is simply the stuff my partner uploaded to our tablet to sell I could find on the harddrive.  If this is what we find, well, I'd say this is weekly or so, then what about what we are leaving behind?  

The ultimate question I think I am asking to sum up this entire post is:

What do you do when you can only do so much?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Simplicity 7877 - 60s Mini Pant Jumper 100% Salvaged Materials

Hello and welcome to my first post showing off my theoretical skills.  If you're here from Pattern Review, none of this should be new.  Especially since I have copy/pasted my review from there over to here.

I only made this a few weeks ago and have already worn it at least once a week.  If I keep making things I like so much how will I have time to wear it all?

This pattern was salvaged on New Years Eve.  I remember because I found about two dozen of them the same night, as well as very VERY 70s fabric and proceeded to spend the New Year's sewing on a friend's kitchen table until the time count down.  I didn't make this, but I made a swingy brown floral maternity top (I like the room).  I never did finish hemming that; I probably should, shouldn't I?

In dull disclosure it's still technically summer weather here and since I live in QLD, that means HOT HOT HOT.  Even inside with the aircon on I am wearing mostly shorts and tank tops.  Which shows me I definitely need to make some basics up in here!  Hopefully as the temperatures cool, I can start making fun things with the wools I found!

Onto the review!!:

Pattern Description: 
Young Junior/Teens and Misses Jumper and Mini Pant Jumper (including tissue lesson-chart...."tips on top stitching") The sleeveless and collarless jumper v1 and pant jumper v2 with either button or buckle trimmed shoulder straps has back zipper, optional top stitching and patch pockets with optional button trim. Jumper v 1 ia regular length. Pant-jumper is above knee-length.

I chose to make the pant jumper.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 11/12 - one of those weird part teen part adult sizes. I'm pretending I'm not a 30 year old the same size as an 11 year right now.....

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Sure howdy!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Actually this has got to be one of the best instructions yet. It IS a "how to sew pattern" but I was impressed because this pattern has you working with zips, facings, top stitching, interfacing, hand sewing, and THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF DARTS. fisheyes on the back, curved from waist to bust and bust dart from side. 

But the pattern directions are really casual about it and make it sound so easy. Which for an experienced sewist it really is but for a beginner I'd HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this pattern to get yourself a lovely garment with a few extra bits to teach you while still guaranteeing you'll get something wearable out of the deal. I think its actually PERFECT for beginners. Not the details of the pattern itself, but the way its laid out. Even the facings are done in a simple straight forward way AND it includes handy little boxes so you can check off the steps as you go. The pattern came with a stitching guide I didnt need but found supremely helpful had I needed it two years ago. 

Honestly truly I'd give this pattern to a brand new sewist. It LOOKS complicated for a complete beginner but it's way easier to comprehend than even those indie basic sewing patterns. Plus you get to do three different kinds of darts!! 

With this pattern you'll learn a lot while feeling calm and being able to use a stable easy to sew fabric to get something /really/ cute. 

I know I'm rambling as usual but this pattern actually did continue to surprise me as I sewed it up. I'm a MASSIVE procrastinator when it comes to finishing and I literally got out of bed at 4am just to finish this cause I couldn't sleep til it was done. Total from choosing fabric to cutting I'd say the whole thing took four hours. I'd like to add the pattern was precut but whoever did it did a HORRID job and cut off some of the pattern itself so i had to redraft some edges.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Whelp, I did go into it above - but in regards to actual fit - its quite good! It's your stereotypical just barely pre70s (pattern is from 1968) perky bosom dart shaping; so be weary if you have danglies!!! You'll need to move your darts. Lucky me I literally have the body of an 11 year old just barely hitting nub-producing puberty so it works for me. The darts are a leeeeeetle off if I don't wear a bra, which I don't tend to, but did just for you. Aren't you happy?

Fabric Used:

This is some cotton thing I found in the bin. Not quilting weight but not terribly drapey either. I can't tell yet if its style or fabric but its quite cool for summer! This will get a lot of wear! 

So this time my fabric wasn't a scarf of old pair of pants - it was actually a length of found fabric!!

The buckles came off some old handbags and the buttons were found in a box in the bin as well.

My usual 100% salvaged material deal!! Down to the thread!!! And the sewing machine! I only paid for the electricity! 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I didn't even BOTHER to pattern match. I had enough fabric to do so, but it ate like 2/3 a metre if I did it and that doesn't seem very salvagey to me. Now I have left over fabric! I chose both the buttons AND the buckle option as I liked both. I forgot to interface the straps so I'm certain I'll regret that as they already want to twist on me.

I do have one slight concern and that's the buttons are fake, and the instructions ask you to invisbly handsew the straps your entire garment staying on above waist height is dependant entirely on the strength of your handsewing. NO PRESSURE!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew another one today! Seriously this has got to be one of my new faves. Good for my shoulders, good for my lack of sleeves, but i can layer it if I want!!! SUPER adorable fit, works with a range of fabrics. I want one in corduroy!!!!


If you're a COMPLETE newbie but you're not fond of indie woowoo fistbumps and you also don't want your hand held but want to feel like YOU GOT THIS then this pattern is for you. It's 1968 so its both a bit 60s and a bit 70s. The pattern shows it being worn with knee high socks AND heels if that's anything to go by.

2017 The Year of Salvage Sewing


This is my first post and it won't contain any images.  I know, not a great start to a blog, but I needed to start getting my words and thoughts down now.  I have a lot to say, and frankly, everyone around me is sick of hearing it.  Ultimately I'd like it if my theory and ideas took off and somehow this blog became something 'more' but if it ends up being just for me, I will also be happy with that.  I just need a place to start saying the things I need to say.

First off, and to quickly get it out of the way, I am Splithoof and I am a Native American two spirit.  My partner and I are both nonbinary and use they/them pronouns.  We work together on two separate but shared salvaging businesses.  They have a repurposing and building salvage business called Up Your Alley Salvage and I have SplithoofSalvage, a textile and sewing based salvaging venture.  These are actually mostly a hobby, as we give away and encourage others to landfill search instead of buying from us, but in full disclosure we do sometimes make sales but I would hardly say it currently pays the hours it takes us.

Continuing on; there are a few goals I have with this blog, some logical and practical while others wistful dreams.

Firstly and mainly; I wish this blog to be a collection of my thoughts and processes as an indigenous queer artistic salvager that focuses on textiles, gender, race and class.  While there will be a political bent to my postings, it will also be because it's the life I am experiencing and the effects it has on my lifestyle in this current political climate.  This doesn't sound fun, but honestly, I want to have fun too!

Secondly, if others do read my blog, I'd like for those reading to consider salvaging on their own terms for their own needs.  The amount of high-quality waste we find is extreme and there is no shortage of it for us to share.  I wish other people could see the quality in waste and not consider it such a dirty or unnecessary.  I want to show others and myself, as well as encourage both, to see how much money can actually be saved by salvaging.

I have made a pact for myself for the year of 2017 which I am belated deciding to blog here and that is: to only use salvaged materials for the entire year.  I am not allowing myself to spend a single dollar on fabric.  I still do custom design so clients are allowed to but fabric for their own designs, but I will not be posting them here.  If I am given scraps from my clients, I may use those in my projects.  I am not allowed to be given free fabric unless it was destined for a landfill; this includes people giving to me instead of donated but does not include free offers of new fabric from shops or friends who want to give me a gift. I am allowed to spend money on patterns, notions, tools and some supplies, but I am to attempt to exhaust my current stash first until there are no other options.

The goal will be to use as much salvaged fabric off of RTW or remnants thrown away.  I am to use a pattern from my stash before deciding I must have a specific pattern.  If I don't have enough matching buttons for a garment, I simply will have to work around it.  I have /a lot/ of salvaged buttons and there's no need to match them.

Let me be upfront - this will not be a quality sewing blog.  If you came here to look at fancy new hip threads and eyeball photos for perfectly turned collar points - you won't get that here. Not even close.  Until you read this post you probably even wondered what the hell was wrong with me.  Did I not notice that wonky hem?  I sure did!  However, along with my 'rubbish is good enough' theory I'm extending that to my skills as well.

I will learn a lot about sewing this year and my garments will be progressively increased in quality as I figure out what I am doing and bumble along.  I want to document my learning curve.  I want to be able to look back and an old attempt and go "You did well! Look how far you've come!"  If I can encourage people along the way to see the benefits of salvaging, making your own clothes and being proud of mistakes, well, I will have felt the year was a definite success.

Even if I only learn more about myself, my style, sewing and manage to save two people's worth of textile waste - that will be a success in itself.