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.

 

Chillies · Hand Sewing · sewing

Sewing in Scovilles – aka Chilli Bunting for our summer adventures.

fb_20160902_13_18_34_saved_pictureLast year we had our first ever market stand at our local farmers market.

My husband and I love eating and growing Chillies so, we decided to diversify his garden business and grow to sell. We grew all our Chillies from seed, it all started in January with a heated propagator and crossed fingers as we hadn’t grown on a large-scale before!

Anyway this year we are back for more, we will be planting again in a couple of weeks and I decided this year I wanted some bunting for our stand.

I went on the hunt for some fabric and bias binding and made my own Chilli template, I cut it out in two parts one piece for the body and stem and another piece for just the stem to be stitched on top of the main piece.

I machine stitched the bunting down to attach and after I folded the binding over, I slip stitched it down by hand to get a nice finish.

I found this fab yellow fabric in Hobbycraft and bought the rest in our local wp_20170108_13_34_43_prohaberdashery, it was great to get such a good match on the binding as the red felt on the Chillies is a very deep shade of red.

Due to the weather being incredibly dull again I have really enjoyed sewing with these bright colours, though as usual the light makes a decent photograph difficult to take.

 

This photo is my favourite, I have a peel off New York decal on my kitchen wall – I love the decal/bunting combo so much – I think I am going to make some smaller flag bunting and keep up it there! Most of my friends expect a good chilli/curry from us when they come round for dinner (apart from my best friend who has an undying hatred of spicy food) so they would love it.

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New York in my Kitchen!

Festival Fashion · Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Thrifty Festival Accessories

For several years now festivals have become quite a big pull for people all over the world.  We probably have one of the most famous ones here in England, the Glastonbury Festival.

I went to Phototastic-24_06_2016_7ff305bb-792d-47cf-bcd4-0331b37769daHow The Light Gets In Festival in May, it was rain free! I went to Glastonbury last year for 5 days and got away with one heavy shower of rain! Pretty Lucky huh?

The popularity of festivals has kept an indie bohemian style to the forefront of summer fashion.

As I seem to have a box full of earthy colour scraps and beads, I thought I would put together a few funky tassels and accessories that are festival inspired.

There are loads of tutorials on Pinterest, so instead of putting together a tutorial I have put together a short list of the ones that inspired me.

http://missrenaissance.com/2013/04/01/6697/  – Tassel Inspiration

http://rachaelgreenland.co.uk/felt-balls-tutorial-update/ – A Felt Ball tutorial, its a great tutorial with really loud garden birds in the background!

http://howtodosomething.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/how-to-make-feather-earrings.html – These earrings inspired the feather necklace pendants.

I like picking up seashells that have become worn and almost skeletal, the shells have natural holes that make threading easy, like the one on the orange thread tassel.

Apart from the roving I bought to try out the felt balls, I didn’t particulary use any specialist tools. The keyring parts are from broken old ones, the beads from old necklaces, I used an awl to make the holes in the leather but they are easily available from DIY stores.

Have a go, if you haven’t got any leather you can get some great effects in other fabrics.