Tuesday, 7 April 2015

How to Shorten Trousers Tutorial

I have had a pair of trousers in my wardrobe that have gone unworn because they are only the right length if I am wearing very high heels. Now I hardly ever wear heels now as I would rather be able to walk so this was the ideal opportunity to show how to shorten a pair of trousers.  You have to decide though if you are a woman what shoes you will be wearing your trousers with as this can make a lot of difference to how they look. Too short and you will not be able to wear with heels and too long and you can only wear with heels!  Men do not have this trouble ( well mostly they don't) so really you have to choose which type of heel size they will be worn with and then try them on.
If  you have other trousers that are the perfect length you can skip trying them on and work from that pair. If this is the case simply lay out the good fitting trousers, put the new ones on top (making sure everything is lined up) and mark the new finish line with a line of pins on the new trousers. Also be sure they fit correctly at the waist because if they are drooping due to being loose this will affect the hemline.
Now if you don't have a pair that are the exact right length or you have new shoes that you will be wearing these trousers with here is what you do.

Try on the trousers with the shoes and get a friend or family member to help you turn up one leg and pin. This may take a bit of trial and error but don't try to do it yourself because as you tip forward you are changing the hem length. You only really need to get one leg done then you can take them off.

Next lay them out on a flat surface and take up the other leg to match, once you are happy they are the same you are going to place a line of pins along the bottom of the fold, this is your finished length.
You can now take the other pins out ( the ones that are holding up the hem) and let the hem fall back down.

This is what it will look like now, as you can see mine are being shortened by quite a lot. The line of pins will be your finished length.

Next you want to cut away the excess, if it is a lot you can cut it straight off like I do here...

If it is only a small amount you will need to unpick the existing hem first and iron that down before cutting away the excess. I usually do a hem of about 1 1/2 -2inch.

You will want to finish this raw edge so either over lock or zig zag stitch, I used a zig zag on number 7.

Now you need to fold back your hem so that the pins are at the bottom of the fold...
If you need to add more pins once you have folded it to keep your fold in place but don't confuse them with your original line, this line ensures your hem is nice and straight as you hand stitch.

Yes, you are going to hand stitch the hem, some canvas trousers and of course jeans have a machine hem but dress trousers usually need an invisible hem.  There are fancy machines like the ones used in factories that give an invisible machine hem, but they can't be that good or why would hems on store bought trousers always be coming down?

Right make a good knot and hide it under the turned up fabric, do a few stitches there on top so it is secure. Now put your needle through only catching some of the fabric on the wrong side ( don't go right through) angle your needle to the left and come up through the hem as in the picture above. I am right handed so I work right to left, if you are left handed just reverse it. Pull the needle all the way through now and repeat all the way around the hem taking care not to pucker and keep the stitches even. Finish with a good knot, what I tend to do is push the needle through like in the picture above then wrap the cotton around the end of the needle a couple of times then pull it right through and that gives a good strong knot. 

When finished all your stitching will be invisible, they now just need pressing to make the hem crisp. Either do this on the wrong side or put a piece of cotton over the top to stop them going shiny.

I hope this has inspired a few people to have a go and was not too confusing, I often get asked by friends and family to shorten trousers so I know this is a common problem for many people. Don't be discouraged if your hand sewing is slow at first, just take your time, you will get quicker.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Gluten Free Bread (First try!)

Yesterday I had a go at making some gluten free bread. I've had the flour in the cupboard for a few weeks but not got around to trying it because, well the pastry I made was a disaster, the pizza base was chewy and odd, then last week I bought some ready made gluten free pastry from the frozen section and that was horrible too!  So needless to say I was not feeling very inspired to try any more gluten free baking, then yesterday I thought well I have the bread flour now so I may as well give it a go.
The recipe was on the back of the Dove Farm packet and I just stuck to that, lots of people had said that it comes out ok. A few suggested extra xantham gum, but have you seen what that stuff is?? It is not something I want to consume more of if I can help it.

As you can see it didn't rise very much but apparently that is usual for this type of flour. I think it looks more like madera cake but that doesn't matter because it tastes nice, and the best bit is there is a lovely crust all the way around. There is no picture before I cut it as I forgot and one tip was to slice while still warm so I did that then realized I had not taken a photo.  I had some straight away with jam then froze the rest.
I didn't expect it to come out like a regular loaf I just wanted something I could maybe toast to put eggs on, or have with soup. I am happy with that, it probably still cost about £1 to make as the flour is so expensive but that is better than the £3 they charge for a gluten free loaf and they are so tiny!  This one was done in 2lb tin it just isn't very tall.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Charity Shop Finds and the Value of a Pound

Today my husband had the day off work so that we would have the day together, after lunch we had a look around the charity shops as I had yet another large bag of clothes to donate. The organising is still ongoing but I am seeing clearer cupboards bit by bit. So quite a bit out of the house again this week but a couple more crept in today because I could not resist! The first is two brand new looking books for my son, they were 75p each and he will be able to pop them in his school bag as they are not too big.  I am sticking to my vow of getting my books from the library but he doesn't always finish them in time and I worry if a drink bottle will leak on them in his bag and then we would have to replace at full cost.

The next item that made it home is a playmobil camper van, it was my husband who spotted this and thought it was such a buy at £1.50, we have a caravan ourselves but like camper vans, the children are too old for this now but it seemed too good to pass up. He gave £2.00 for it.
I  did say they were too old but we have all had it out of the box to look at all the different bits, before I took the photo I had to shout my son to ask where the deck chairs had gone, 'they are in the roof box!' of course they were silly me!

The bikes fit in the side door, I love it!

So yes I am de-cluttering but then I go and bring home wants not needs, but at least they are easily affordable wants so I won't beat myself up too much. 

Some of this got me thinking about an article I read the other day about the value of a pound being so low compared to what it was in the past, that the situation had speeded up and that you can get very little with it.
Well over time this happens anyway and I certainly see this in terms of food and energy prices but there are still ways we can make the most of a pound the best we can.
The books I bought above could be put away for Christmas gifts if not used now and there were many other used toys in the charity shops we visited for a pound or less. I think the trick is to visit smaller charities as the bigger ones like Oxfam are no-longer inexpensive. Plus the smaller charities need your money and often they are working in your local area.

The next thing is food, while base ingredients are more expensive now, stick to economy supermarkets, buy ingredients rather than ready meals, and get in and out quickly with a list or plan.  We had Veg Korma for tea last night with a bit of Quorn in it, I made five large portions and worked it out to 62p per portion with rice. Much bigger, healthier and tastier than those runny, ready meal curry's from the supermarket.

Another thought on this was meeting with friends and having a drink. If you can't fund a night out invite people round, I do this anyway as it's good to meet up but you could all bring a dish, or you cook they bring a drink or whatever you decide it's still cheaper than going out and you don't have to pay for taxi's (yes I'm still banging on about that!). On that note a bottle of wine from Aldi is about £3.49  for 750ml bottle, a pub small glass is 125ml so you would get 6 at 58p each. I know you would likely have more than one but  still, that pound coin is looking better all the time

Another Shift Dress

The dress I made today is from the free New Look pattern I got with Sew magazine last month. It is very similar to the scuba dress I made bu...