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.


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 · Upcycling

Rags to Riches

In my personal, and I know, small bid to help stop the world drowning in landfill rubbish, here is the first step on my blog to show people how they can use things they might think are only good for the bin.

Phototastic-03_11_2015_7f0843b5-9c13-4700-ad57-e5944efcef67I made this heart decoration out of waste pieces of fabric left over from a pair of trousers that I altered for a friend of mine.

All of the pieces I had already in my craft box, from bits of broken jewellery and spare buttons, to some left over wadding from my trials with quilting.

Saving odd buttons and beads in a plastic box is a great way to have a little collection of decorative items that you can attach to anything you make, or items that you might want to customise.

The “how to” guide.

Phototastic-27_10_2015_6dac11b3-b021-466c-a1b1-d1d5bb178425Phototastic-27_10_2015_4402f5fa-f8ad-4095-abdf-545d76444326   Phototastic-27_10_2015_74dd2693-df57-4ced-b74f-7d4e2e4b711d

First, I cut the fabric open so that I was able to lay it flat. Next I used a cookie cutter to get the shape,this is a great way to make sure your shape is symmetrical. I placed the hearts as shown in the 3rd picture to minimise the amount of waste generated and to save the other piece for something else to make.

WP_20151027_11_22_48_ProHere, what I have shown is that I used the slightly smaller cookie cutter as a template for the wadding to go inside of the heart. The wadding is three layers thick.


I used the old hem edge of the jeans to make the loop for hanging, if you cut it close to the stitching the raw edge doesn’t fray.

The length I decided on was 12cm.

When deciding on length, you need to think about where you want to hang the item and the fact that about 1cm will be tucked into the decoration at either end of the loop.

You could also use ribbon and alternatives to wadding could be old tights with fabric inside such as t-shirt jersey because it is soft and flexible.

Phototastic-03_11_2015_2e9026ec-b5eb-4021-91e4-a72677f73c91The next steps are to fold the length for the loop in half, lift up a layer of the wadding, place the loop inside with 1cm in to stitch down, making sure you stitch through all of the layers. Sew a couple of straight stitches and sew over the stitches twice to add some strength.

Place one of the fabric hearts on your work surface with the right side (i.e the side that will be on the outside of the finished piece) of the fabric facing the table, put the wadding with the loop onto the the fabric and place it in the middle.

Place the 2nd heart on top of the wadding with the right side facing you, pin into place, making sure that the loop is in the centre of the indent of the heart.

Now you are ready to stitch your heart together and decorate it.

WP_20151102_10_32_10_ProWP_20151103_13_06_55_ProI have used Blanket Stitch to sew round the raw edge as it is both decorative and stops the edge from fraying.

Where the loop meets the top of the heart I used double running stitch, you will see in the finished picture that I hid this with bow at the top.

Eventually I plan to build a stitch library as part of my blog that will link to the italic writing, but for now  how to do these stitches can be found on the internet.

Come and visit me on a regular basis and I will see what other goodies I can cook up from odd bits of fabric, if you want to comment then put a link to your blog if you have any great bits of recycling involving fabric as well and I will come and visit  you!