Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Upcycling my things!

This week I look around at my sewing room and realized that although I think I am pretty good at taking old things and making them new I am not always good at taking my old things and making them new.  I have so much fabric that is cut too small to turn into a bag or purse.  I have scraps or fabric with tears or stains literally everywhere.  They are beautiful pieces of fabric but need to find a way to be used.
 Following on from my patchwork bag which I continue to be in love with I have been feeling the patchwork vibe! I spent a lovely afternoon after work last week chatting to a friend and cutting up fabric scraps into more usable scraps.
 I have now set about attaching them altogether to create a patchwork something!  Given how many scraps I need to work through I think it will probably result in being a quilt but currently I am keeping an open mind.
 So far my patchwork has been using new fabrics - patches that have been bought for me by friends.  But patchwork was originally about making do and mending!  Taking the odds and ends of old clothes, old bedding, leftover fabrics - anything really - and turning them into something useful and hopefully beautiful too!
 I intend to get going on that style of sewing for a while - so this is going to be my first piece of patchwork that truly uses odds and ends of fabric.  I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out!  It will definitely be something I pick up and put down so don't expect a finished product any time soon!
 As much as I love the other patchwork I have done that followed a pattern and theme I am starting to love the absolute randomness of it.  It feels somehow more authentic!  We will see how it looks on a bigger scale!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Patchwork love :)

At Christmas my lovely friend Ellie gifted me a beautiful collection of liberty fabric patches.  I had a great time adoring the lovely prints and colours and put them to one side awaiting some inspiration about what to do with them.  Last week I saw a gorgeous patchwork bag that had been shared on my wall and decided to fashion something similar to this.  I was supposed to be sitting down and sewing for my shop however felt totally like sewing for me so off I went!

Here are my lovely patches all laid out in their sizes ready to be stitched together.

The patchwork itself went really well - it's pretty simple to do especially if you aren't worrying about a pattern.  I went for bright is beautiful and random totally works!
 Once I got to the quilting of the patchwork it got a little bit more tricky.  After a few goes of stitching and unpicking I finally managed to match the stretch of the wadding with the patchwork - loads of pins later and I set off sewing.  

 And then continued to make it into this bag which is totally my new bag of choice for the summer!  I had a little facebook discussion about the best handles to use and finally settled on this bright blue which I'm really happy with! What do you think?

After a quick chat with a lovely lady who runs a stitch and chat session at a local church she has agreed to help me quilt my patchwork blanket. I figure for such a large blanket two hands and one expert is better than me on my own so watch this space I might finally finish my patchwork quilt!

Hope you're all well and as always thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Mens Shirt to Cute Skirt

My husband just gave me a pile of shirts that have become surplus to his requirements because they are looking too old - usually round the collar or sleeves or have been stained somehow.  They are a perfect upcycling resource so I thought I would do a tutorial on how I took an old shirt and turned it into a cute and 100% usable skirt!

SO here goes...

You will need
A mans shirt
thread to match
I used a sewing machine but you could do it with a needle and thread
Tape Measure

1. I started off by measuring how long I wanted the skirt to be - I worked from my hips as I knew I was going to do a wide waist band.  Then I marked this line onto the shirt and cut along this line

2.Next I took the bottom piece of the skirt and sewed about 1cm away from the top edge all the way round from button to button hole.  This stitch is going to be gathered so if you are using a machine set it to the longest stitch length that you can and leave about 10cm thread on each end. 

3. Now take the bottom thread and gently pull - the fabric should start to gather and you can start to tease the gathers through the fabric until it matches your waist measurement.  It already looks quite cute right!

4. Now I need a waist band.  I wanted a nice line running down the skirt of the buttons so decided to use the front of the shirt as the waist band.  I cut out the front along all the seams therefore cutting the collar and sleeves off and then repeated for the back.

5. I then folded the fabric in half to create a neat top of the skirt.  I did this so that the two button holes matched exactly on each half.  I then removed the spare buttons and folded each fabric to match the first one.  I then trimmed the excess off to leave a neat rectangle.

6. I measured my waist and pinned the pieces of the waist band together at the sides.  This needs to be done right sides together.  If you have a mannequin use this to help you out. Simply pin it onto the mannequin to get the right size and then take it off and pin right sides together while the fabric is flat.  Sew along that line.

7. Now lay the waist band flat inside the skirt.  Put the right side of the waist band facing the inner side of the skirt and pin all along.  You must make sure that you line up the buttons at this point and this is also a great time to even up your gathers.  Sew just below your line of gathering stitch.

8. Now remove the pins and bring the waist band up.  Re-fold it over so that your button holes match exactly and then fold the raw edge upwards so that you have a neat fold over the top of your raw gathered edge.  At this point if you try it on your mannequin or you then you will see that having such a large waist band means it needs to come in again.  Take the centre back point and then fold in from each side of that point as if creating a pleat.  Pin.

9. Now sew all along your fold at the bottom of your waist band - be super straight as this is a top stitch that will show!  Then return to the pleat and sew the top of this.  It should look like this.

10.  Now trim your loose edges and there you have it a cute skirt - plus even though it has loads of buttons all you have had to do is straight line stitching - no button holes and no hand sewing on of buttons!  

I hope you have fun making yours - as always send me a picture and I'll give it a share!