Refashion · sewing · Upcycling

Refashioning a Classic.

When you want to be on trend, wear quality clothing and stick to a budget – get out the sewing machine and turn to a bit of DIY.

I found this fab men’s shirt in my local Sue Ryder charity shop, the cost was £4. It took me a number of visits to find the right thing, I was looking for a shallow yoke on the back as I knew I wanted to turn the shirt round and no pocket on the front as I didn’t want to unpick and be left with stitch marks

I drew a couple of rough sketches of what I planned to do with the shirt. I knew that I want to straighten the bottom, cut off the collar and cut the sleeves to about 3/4 so I could turn them up.

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I started by cutting a small neckline around the collar section and pinned  the button stand closed so it didn’t move when I cut across the thickest part. Remember when you have drawn on your collar line to add seam allowance, I added 1.5cm to create a small rolled seam and hide the raw edge.

I cut the sleeves slightly longer then I wanted so I could have the turn up and put 4 cm on for a 2cm hem with turn under. I cut the hem straight across but I wanted to keep the detail used to strengthen the shirt at the top of the curve.  One of the key factors was turning the buttons to the back, which fully changed the look of the shirt into a top.

As part of the refashion I felt that I didn’t want to hide the history of the shirt and decided to unpick the labels from the inside and put them on the outside.

I took it to one of my workshop classes and because of the quality of the fabric no one could quite believe the changes, even though actually they are quite small.

Most people thought that I had bought the top in its current form, before I showed them the photos and they all felt with a bit of practise and a few tips on how to draw a good curve they would be happy to have a go themselves.

I have kept the collar and cuffs and stashed them away, maybe to add a fake shirt look to a thin sweater for winter!

Hand Sewing · Refashion · sewing · Upcycling · Workshops

Sharing timeless skills

This blog post is a really exciting post for me, I have spent the past several months running workshops sharing my skills with both adults and children.

I have been highly motivated to share my knowledge with other people for two reasons, the first is that I was passed a lot of skills down from my mum and her relatives and I want to share them, the second is that I really enjoy how satisfied both adults and children are when they feel they have achieved something in a fun and relaxed way.

Here are some pics of what I have recently been teaching people.

My local scrapstore has a huge box of scrap leather so I have delved into it for some great colours to teach people how to make keyrings, we also used fake leather and other fabrics, seen here on the top left. This lovely pic was taken by Meg from the Create cafe mentioned below.

On the right I spent an afternoon with some ladies at a great community cafe called Create on the Square, where we made denim bags from upcycled jeans, everyone’s zip sewing skills were great as a few of them had not done zip inserting before.

Lastly, on the left is a pic of a workshop at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, we were in the family tent teaching kids how to make musical instruments from scrap materials such as paper cups and plates, plastic lids and other bits, this one was great fun and we had over 100 people in two hours! Play is so important for children, they were all really happy, relaxed and could make a mess with no one worrying about the carpet.

Coming up I am going to be doing another key ring tassel workshop, alongside friendship bracelets, fabric brooches, a fun pom pom session and felt pencil cases towards the end of summer with a back to school theme.

 

Refashion · sewing · Upcycling

Sewing a new Story

I was luckily enough to come across a large piece of this beautiful upholstery fabric by A.Sanderson. Upholstery fabrics are a great find as they are thicker and stronger then your average fabric.

After a bit of research it is a print from the 1980’s and was available in several colour ways. The print is incredible with swirling flowers and for me the subdued colour stops the fabric from being too chintzy.  As well as the name down the side, the edge states made in the United Kingdom – which maybe something we won’t have in the future so I think that makes the it special.

I guess being from the 80’s makes it vintage and that gives it a story, on my instagram account you can find a bag I made from a Suva fabric table cover, another piece of re-purposed fabric that nearly went to textile waste!

After much deliberation I decided to make a lovely shopper with a piece of the fabric and mix it with some re-purposed denim from old jeans.

I used denim for the lining and I decided to take one of the pockets off of the back of the jeans and put it on the front of the bag for a bit of contrast, I cut the piece of selvedge off that had made in the u.k printed on it and stitched in the bag – just for future nostalgia!

Phototastic-28_02_2017_88668d67-eb32-45fb-8641-202a7fa19714The bag has been one of my favourite makes, I made the handles using the “Time Was” fabric and added strength to them with 4 lines of stitching, take a look at the pic, no twin needles used here!

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Here is the finished item, I have used it every time I go into town for shopping and the amount of items I have carried back it, definitely make it a bag for life!InstagramCapture_827846e3-ab14-4216-8fd1-42c45fcc0e3a

 

 

 

 

 

Refashion · sewing

A Stitch in Time

I had all but given up blogging for a while as the dull short days and artificial light make awful conditions for photographing projects. So here is a little round up of what I have been making recently;

This was my favourite make, I saw the fabric in  Hobbycraft and decided straight away I would turn it into a shirt. Buying new fabric unless it is to improve a refashion,  is not something I do often but it is a special print and I already have ideas for the left over scraps!

I had drafted the pattern previously and used it to make a printed corduroy shirt. I am in love with the cowboy style yoke on shirts and I have a few with this design feature.

image The Infinity Scarf

I love a good scarf and wear ones of varying weights all year round.

This one was made from remnants I had left over after making a lining for a sleeveless wrap jacket, featured in this post

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the make and it’s pretty cosy as well!

 

I have had a great year, tutoring workshops with a local social enterprise company that run projects to encourage more arts and crafts for children and adults using materials from our local scrap store.

This year I plan to expand my involvement in helping people to learn new craft skills and realise how fulfilling creating something yourself is.

Hand Sewing · Refashion · Upcycling

Autumn Influences – DIY Upcycled Wine Bottle Gift Bag

WP_20160830_14_37_27_ProOne of the first jobs I did after becoming self-employed was taking up some curtains for a friend. He had just moved into a cottage with low ceilings and quite a lot had to come off as the hems would’ve been too heavy left uncut.

I was given the left over fabric and have had it for a little while. I decided instead of giving him a birthday present in a normal paper bag I would make him one out of the off cuts and he could either use it again or use it as a decorative cover for a bottle at home. (He loved it & the contents!)

I love the colours, there is something subtly Scottish about it, the purples and greens are shades of the moors. I had some small pieces of chocolate-brown silk lining which I used to give it a great luxury feel!

With September upon us I fancied making another one and pimping it up with a bit of applique and hand embroidery. I have just started using Fern stitch on the swirls and later I will fill in the gaps with various flower designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Sewing · Refashion · Upcycling

All made up and ready to go!

This week I have made myself a new make up bag that I will be taking on a little trip with me in September. Suitably for a re-made item I will be visiting The Festival of Thrift in Yorkshire.

I love the little change pockets in jeans and I wanted to use the pocket in situ, rather then removing it and putting it something else. So, I unpicked the waistband of the jeans in order to use the whole section easily.

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MATERIALS REQUIRED

An old pair of Jeans

Lining Material to fit

Zip of suitable length

Extra Strong Thread, a Hand Needle

Pins, Scissors, an Unpicker

A Ruler and Fabric Pen

A Chopstick or suitable poker for the corners!

First, I unpicked the waistband off the top of the jeans – keep this it could make a great bag handle, a fabric bracelet etc. Open up the outside leg seam of the jeans, you could open up the inside as well but it depends on what you else you think you will be making as you might want the fabric width.

When cutting out, cut the front pocket side of the jeans as close as possible to the fly opening and measure up and cut yourself a rectangle, think about the width of the bag ( add on seam allowances, I used 1cm and 1.5cm on the zip) and the size of zip you want to use but you can shorten a longer zip if required. I used an 8″ Zip.

Cut a matching size rectangle for the back and 2 more the same out of your lining fabric. It doesn’t matter if you cut through the pocket bag when making your rectangle on the front piece as you will trap the open edge in the seam later on.

Position the zip between the Denim and lining pieces. Pin one side of the zip in between the topside of the front denim piece (with the pocket) and a piece of the lining with the right sides facing, the right sides should also be covering the zip. Repeat with the other two pieces. You can check that the pieces are correctly pinned before sewing as when you turn them over the zip will be in the middle as seen above.

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To insert the zip, open out the fabric as seen on the left and stitch along the seam allowance. Make sure that you are not too close to the teeth or the lining will become trapped when you open and close the zip.

Start with the zip closed and as you get closer to the end open the zip so that you can keep the line straight. Repeat on the other side of the zip.

The Zip can be inserted with machine stitching but I  hand stitched the whole thing as essentially I don’t thread up my sewing machine unless I have a good couple of metres of sewing to do or a large project – and I really enjoy hand stitching as I can do it outside in nice weather!

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Next, open up the bag pieces as shown with the denim on one side and the lining on the other.

Start with the denim piece, lightly pin together ensuring that the bottom edge of the open pocket bag is pinned and will be stitched into the seam if you had cut through it as mentioned earlier. Sew all the way round the denim piece

Next, pin the lining pieces together.This time sew down from the edges and leave a gap in the middle to turn the bag through later on.

As I didn’t overlock my edges I lightly trimmed my seams on both pieces with a pair of pinking shears to stop fraying. Then, I pressed the seams open.

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After that, turn the bag to the right side through the gap left in the lining. Use your chopstick to carefully poke the corners out.

Fold the raw edges of the lining to the wrong side, so they line up with the seam and stitch the opening shut. I used slip stitch for this.

I hand top stitched the lining and denim together  with running stitch, which traps the seam allowance inside and helps the zip to run smoothly without catching.

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I used a faded old cotton pillowcase to make my lining from, as the bag is quite small you might see this fabric again in another project!

The Zip I used was quite chunky so I inserted a tab at the point where I stitched the lining and outer sides together. I left a small gap at the end of the zip and poked the tab through so the loop was on the outside and the raw edges were trapped on the inside.

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READY TO GO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refashion

Keeping a Check on Fashion

Keeping in with the upcycling theme of my blog, this month I am sharing a little refashion project I did on a sleeveless wrap jacket.

InstagramCapture_bd3bd1fc-0b49-4a87-a242-a63bc8ab25b4I brought this unlined wrap jacket in the early Autumn, I only wore it twice. This is for a couple of reasons one is it has been a really wet winter and the second is it is quite a thin fabric and was getting pretty creased if I wore it sitting in the car.

I decided to line the jacket, to give it a bit of reinforcement which would help it to stop creasing if I sat down in it and I love a funky lining. A great lining is like nice underwear, no one can see it but it makes you feel good.  I didn’t choose a typical lining as it would’ve been too thin, the check is a thin woven wool mix, I purposely chose this to add body to the piece.

The inside of the jacket was fully faced ( in the picture where I am holding the jacket open you will see the black inside where the facing meets the checked lining). I started by measuring the back, then measured for the front side from the side seam to the facing edge and added seam allowance to the pieces.

WP_20160317_16_03_49_ProThese are the finished pieces, when I pinned the pieces to the fabric I made sure that I was following the grain of the fabric. This was easy as the fabric is checked to I had to make sure that straight lines running up the paper were lined up with the straight lines on the check. I could pin the pieces opposite ways up as the check is regular, if you have a one way print, e.g you have flowers that only run up the fabric then you will need to make sure that all of your pieces face in the same direction – which also takes up more fabric.

Here is the finished jacket.  I was really pleased with the end result and after wearing in the car, when I got out it hardly creased at all. Excuse the dodgy modelling, it’s not really my thing! I had some left over fabric so I think I will make a scarf to go over the top, if people catch sight of the lining and the scarf when I go out somewhere, they might think I had a matching set custom-made for me!

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Here’s to spring and dry weather!