Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sewing Inspiration: Pintrest round-up 2

It's that time again! I've been glued to pintrest lately, and I'm thrilled that more and more of my online and real-life friends seem to be finding their way to it. Here's some of my favourite sewing ideas and inspirations I've come across lately.

I love how neat and tidy these scalloped hems look, and the tutorials are so nice and easy to follow. In particular I love the Grosgrain Fabulous one below. Just by moving the scallops to the top of the skirt rather than the bottom, it gives it an entirely different look that's really unusual but so pretty and classic at the same time.

From The Colletterie and Grosgrain Fabulous

I love love LOVE this shirt dress and I'm definitely making one asap when I get my new sewing machine! 

This apron is adorable, and I'm in need of a pretty one to continue my cooking disasters and rare successes in. I smell a project... 

- Natalie XOX

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The mysterious absence...

Hi all! It's been a while since I last posted, and there is a very real and sad reason for that... my sewing machine broke!

Read more:

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Dress Refashion - Modernizing an out of date style

This dress came into my possession a few weeks ago... long poofy sleeves, a seriously unflattering waist and a super low hemline that dipped low at the back (half-pinned up in this photo because I forgot to take a picture at the start haha, fail). Needless to say, not exactly my sort of thing. I did like the colour though, and the pin-tucks on front were quite nice, so I decided to save it as much as possible... and this is what I came up with! 

 Shortened the hemline by approx. 5 inches and made it uniform all the way around, took off the sleeves entirely and added some lace detailing to the pocket flaps. I also added tiny belt loops to the waist so I could add a belt, which I think changes how it looks entirely. I was going to replace the buttons with darker coloured ones, but I decided against it. What do you think? I'm happy with it :)

- Natalie xox

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sewing Inspiration: Pintrest Round-Up

As I trawl around the internet I always inevitably come across things that I adore and want to sew, or at least put aside for future reference when I can hopefully sew much better. Since I have a terrible habit of having a million and one Chrome bookmarks, I finally found a better way of organizing some of my thoughts and keeping them all in one place: Pintrest! If you're interested, my sewing board can be found here and I also have a few others for various different things. 

Some of my recent pins, links to free patterns/tutorials can be found on my Pintrest. I especially love the bloomers and chemise, I think they'll look lovely in matching blue silk with light blue lace detailing. I should probably work on learning how to do pin-tucks soon... 

I'm currently working on refashioning a dress which should hopefully be finished sometime soon, at which point I'll be sure to show it off on here! - Natalie xox

Monday, 24 June 2013

Skirt lengthening

Just a quick post today! First off, this is my new dress form, I call her Daphne. This skirt is for my nana, I took the waist in by two inches and added three inches in length by handstitching lace to the bottom edge. I think the pattern is so lovely!

Natalie xox

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Making a simple pencil skirt... in less than an hour!

I LOVE SKIRTS. Poofy, drapy, stiff, soft, long, short, patterned, block colours - I love them all. One of the most versatile shapes in my opinion  is the pencil skirt. Tight, flattering and usually quite high-waisted, this skirt has so many different options in terms of length and style and can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion. Here's how to make your own basic pencil skirt in under an hour. 


Fabric - any kind you like, with enough to wrap entirely around your waist and hips.
Sewing machine/Needle and thread
Zip - available from sewing shops
Tape measure

Optional: Decorative buttons/Embellishments

Monday, 10 June 2013

Coming soon

Here are some posts I have planned for the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled:

* Converting old shirts into cute summer tops

* Making a pencil mini skirt in under an hour

* Altering tops and dresses that don't fit on the top anymore

* Some personal projects I'm currently working on including a dress I'm altering and a secret project involving a whole load of blue satin...

Hope you'll all be reading, thank you for your patience!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

T-shirt Refashion - Fitted shirt with detachable collar

The second T-Shirt I bought was plain, and it was also a little smaller fitting than the other two, although still too large and unflattering to wear without altering.

I decided I would keep this one simple and make the shirt itself more fitted to my size, and keep the high neckline in order to wear it with some of the cute collar necklaces I keep seeing in shops lately.

This shirt was originally a men's size Large from Topshop and cost £3 in a charity shop. The collar was entirely handmade from some leftover cotton I had in my scraps bag.


1 Large Men's T-shirt
Sewing Machine/Needle and Thread

Click through to read the tutorial ->

Sewing: Essential Tools for Beginners

I've been sewing for a while now, but until last year I was focusing on decorative embroidery and cross stitch. Because of this, I had a rather specialized collection of tools that needed expansion once I started getting more into clothes altering and dress-making. This post is just a little round-up of the things in my sewing kit that I couldn't live without. 

Sewing Machine

It's not essential by any means, but I LOVE mine. Whereas it used to take me an hour to construct a simple skirt hand-sewing, I can now finish one off in about 20 minutes if I really want to. I found mine on sale in Poundstretcher for £30, reduced from £50, and it's served me very well. It's a simple 10 stitch one with a pedal, light and back-stitch button, and it does jam occasionally (it's not a big fan of some of my older vintage threads unfortunately) but we get along fine most of the time. 


Visible on the table just above, I couldn't stress more the importance of having good scissors. They needn't be expensive, I think mine only cost about £3, but if you only use them for fabric and thread cutting then you'll notice they work so much better than a pair used for cutting everything. Keep them sharp and clean and your life will be so much easier. 

Seam Ripper

BUY ONE. I know it seems silly since surely you can just pull a seam apart with scissors and careful fingers, but seriously. You will be amazed at how much time it saves, plus they're usually included in most good sewing kits anyway. 


Standard dressmakers chalk is wonderful stuff, and certainly cheap enough to buy off eBay or from haberdashery stores. I have a pack of 12 in various colours that cost £2 off Amazon, and it's probably going to last me forever. However my #1 recommendation of this whole list is the little beauty on the right-hand side there. It's called a chalk wheel and it's basically a little pinwheel attached to a pen-like device that when you run it over a piece of fabric, distributes chalk evenly in a clear, solid line. I find it so much easier than pencils or triangles for tracing patterns and it saves me so much time. 


 Ah, pins. I have a definite love-hate relationship with them. Eternally useful for a million different things, I can't help but resent the fact that no matter how hard I try to make sure they're all accounted for, they always seem to end up on the floor, or the bed, or hiding casually inside a finished seam ready to jab into your skin as soon as you put on whatever you've made. A thimble is also a worthwhile investment, I can't count how many times I've stabbed myself in the fingers when working with difficult or tough fabric.  

Tape Measure

Useful for a number of different things, such as gathering initial body measurements, checking pattern sizes, designing your own pieces and of course, finding out such essential information as 'How big is my head?' and 'Are my eyes further apart than the average persons according to the internet?'. I have 3 currently because I always seem to be losing them. I'd like to buy a nice one when I have some money, there's loads around with cute patterns and nice cases. 

And that is actually it! I have other things in my kit, but none that I use as often as these few items listed here. As you can see, it's easy to build up your own collection of sewing tools cheaply and easily, which you can then use again and again to make anything you like!

Natalie xox

Saturday, 1 June 2013

T-Shirt Refashion - Braided Racerback

The third T-Shirt I got I really liked. It's super soft, nice colour fabric and a cute design on the front, which  I knew I wanted to keep. So since I couldn't do much to the front, I decided to look for ways to dress up the back while still making it smaller, and came across this tutorial by WobiSobi DIY. It's a really cute take on the typical racerback, and it keeps the relatively high neckline of whatever t-shirt you use. This shirt was originally a men's size large from Primark and cost £1.50 in a charity shop, and the whole altering of it only took about half an hour. I love it! Perfect as a bikini cover-up on the beach or a summer work-out top for jogging in. If I did it again I would probably add beads to the braids to make it a bit more interesting.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Easy gathered skirt

I love making skirts - so quick to make and so many options as to how to style them. This skirt was made with linen that I picked up for £3 at a vintage fair, and has an elastic waist to give it a gathered look. No zips, buttons or anything else difficult - it really is easy! 

  • Fabric - Any type or colour you like, although materials such as cotton and linen probably hang better at this sort of length. Heavier fabrics will probably stick out more and give a more 'puffed up' effect.
  • Enough elastic to wrap around your waist/hips, depending on where you want it to sit on you
  • Sewing machine/Needle and thread
  • Chalk or pencil to mark fabric with
  • Measuring tape 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

T-Shirt Refashion - Vest Top

I really like big baggy tank tops for going to the gym in and just generally lounging around the house in, but it seemed like something I could do quite easily myself. After poking around on Pintrest for a while I read a few tutorials and decided to give it a go.


  • 1 large baggy T shirt that you don't mind cutting into
  • 1 pair of good scissors
  • 1 needle and thread


Hello and welcome to Broke Student Fashion! 

Some key facts: 

  • I am 19, from England and currently attending university in the UK 
  • This blog is primarily a sewing and dressmaking blog. Sometimes I might post about shopping and other things, but mostly it is a record of my journey to learn how to make my own clothes, both from scratch and through refashioning other items. 
  • I am by no means an expert at any of this - I only bought a sewing machine in early 2013 and I'm mostly teaching myself, so I do make mistakes and I'm always learning. 
  • I love vintage fabrics, threads, embellishments - anything really! The stranger the better.
That's all I can think of for now. The best way to follow the updates of this blog is to follow me on Google+. but you can also find me on Tumblr, Pintrest and Twitter if you prefer. 

Hope you enjoy! 

Natalie xox