Bits and Bobs

Today I’ve got a few little refashions to share – things i made as gifts in the run up to Christmas and haven’t had the chance to post about yet. I’m afraid i don’t have before pictures for all of them but as they were made out of pretty standard items of clothing i’m sure you can use your imagination!


First off – a pair of my boyfriend’s old jeans he didn’t wear any more became…


A pair (sort of!) of oven gloves – I have probably posted something similar before as i’ve made these a few times – love them!



A notebook cover with a couple of scraps left over from another project and some free machine embroidery (where you adjust the sewing machine to let you move the fabric freely so the effect is like drawing with the stitching – have recently discovered this technique and i am seriously in love!) making a cute little mushroom. You can’t see on the picture but i made a ribbon loop closure with a cute red a white spotted button on the back of the book to hold it closed. The cover isn’t attached so it can be taken off when the notebook is full and used on a different one. I made a crochet pencil case to go with it, the zipper was new (tut tut) but the lining was made from pieces of a white shirt from my scraps bin. IMG_3458

Another covered notebook – i really went to town on the free embroidery on this one! I had been looking at peacock feathers for another project (which has since been ‘postponed’ in favour of work, gift making, work, work, moving house and more work. Eventually you may yet get to see it!)

But anyway, i had a lot of pictures of peacock feathers lying around while trying to decide what to make for a friend’s birthday. So i ended up with this:IMG_3834

And another pair of jeans (he handed me a stack about a year ago that didn’t fit well any more and i’m slowly working through them!) became a bag to match the notebook cover for our friend. IMG_3883


Then there were a couple of quite vivid, stripy shirts from the charity shop that i’d picked up for their lovely bright colours, and i paired with an old jumper that had accidentally got a little felted as i hadn’t realised it wasn’t entirely synthetic… No before pics of the jumper or one of the shirts, but i’m sure you can imagine a jumper (at least as well as you can imagine jeans – i was obviously in a hurry to get all my gifts made and not thinking about before pictures!) and the other shirt was like this one but more bluey-purpley.


I have actually since used more of this shirt for another refashion which i am really pleased with, hope to share that with you soon! In the meantime, here’s what i made with one slightly felted (and now too tight to wear) purple jumper, and two brightly coloured shirts’ sleeve fabric…

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Two cute travel jewellery cases! I used a couple of zips taken out of old skirts when cutting up and using them as fabric for other projects, buttons and ribbon from my stash, and press studs (snaps) donated by my mum who had them for years and thought she would never use them. Each wrap has a zip pouch, a snap-fastening pouch, a ring holder (a stuffed tube sewn down at one end and secured at the other end with a snap) and a strip of fabric stitched down at intervals to create little gaps for hooking dangly earrings into!

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I made a third one of these from scraps left over from making some things for my living room, and yet another zip taken out of a skirt (i hadn’t realised how many skirts i have dismantled until now!) as well as some beads from my bead box.


Last but not least – this is a sneaky one as it’s not really a gift, well only for myself! A lovely friend of mine bought me a voucher for a course at a local craft shop, and i chose a screen printing course. I took along a boring old tank top, and made it a little more interesting!

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I love my ‘new’ top, and I’m totally in love with screen printing. It’s a bit messy to do just anywhere, but watch this space once i move to my awesome new house which has a GARAGE! Perfect for all those messy things i currently just about manage to resist doing indoors! (My new house also has an ATTIC, perfect for sewing, crafting, and squirrelling away mountains of fabric, yarns, and other craft supplies…can’t wait!)


Whew that was a long one! See you next time :) xx

80s Magic!

I went from this fabulous 80s velvet dress/tunic/thing (which i think is actually from the 80s, i have actually had it since i think mid-90s and it was second hand then) which never got worn, as despite being such lovely colours it was just a bit TOO much, and that awkward not-quite-dress, not-quite-top length. Apologies as always for the pile of junk that is my room.



To this – I’ve always wanted a tail coat! IMG_4047


Ok, so this isn’t really a proper tail coat (for a start it only has one tail) but it has the right sort of look! And the colour is much less overwhelming now. I just folded it in half so the cutting line would be symmetrical, chopped off the bits i didn’t want and hemmed. I don’t know if you can tell in the pictures but i gave it pointy pixie sleeves as well. The two metal clasps i used came free with a magazine that i was given as a gift, so this refashion was totally free! And i still have quite a lot of 80s wizard velvet to use somewhere else…including those massive pockets!



Fairytale/Tea Party Dress!

A ‘sweet and innocent’ dress made from an upcycled cotton duvet cover!

This was inspired by lots of 50s style dresses i’ve seen around recently, and to me looks like something out of a fairytale or something you should wear to ‘afternoon tea’! The panels in white and green were cut from the two sides of the bedlinen. The top is lined for modesty and comfort, and i really like the wide halterneck straps. I based the pattern on a 50s style dress i’ve had for a while, but made the skirt longer and the sizing overall a bit bigger (a bit too big to be honest, it’s come out a couple of sizes too big as i was expecting the shirring on the back to pull it in more!)

Still, i do like it, and will look out for bolder fabric to make more in the same design!

Summery Skirts

Maybe a little prematurely, i’ve been picking through my stash digging out bits of fabric and old clothing to make a few summery skirts (despite it still being rather chilly in the English North!)

This elasticated waist hi-lo skirt was originally a very straight and shapeless wrap-around skirt, but i liked the print – makes me think of a tropical beach!




And this one was just a plain piece of fabric i’d inherited from a friend (no before pic sorry, but i’m sure you imagine a big piece of fabric!) and became a similar skirt, with a scrappy flower pin that i can wear on the skirt or use to help co-ordinate a jacket or top.


This last was a lovely lightweight fabric i picked up in a charity shop, just a massive bundle of the stuff – i’ve still got lots left – and i knew immediately what i wanted to do with at least some of it.




Another elastic waist skirt, this time in the form of a squared-circle-skirt! All the fullness of the circle, but with the interesting pointy bits of the square :) All i did was cut 2 squares from the mass of fabric, hem the straight edges, place them together with the corners offset, cut a too-large circle from the centre and sew around the circle-within-the-square (if that makes sense!), first with ‘right’ sides together, then turned ‘wrong’ sides together and stitched around the circle a couple of centimetres in to make my elastic casing. Threaded the elastic through, sewed up the gap and voila! At some point i may make a longer version with a zippered waist, but for this one i wanted an easy make with no zips or measuring, and was happy for the finished product to be short and sweet!

An unseasonal refashion

No, it isn’t summer any more here either, but here is a quite unseasonal pair of refashions! I finished them a few weeks ago but hadn’t got around to posting them, so here they are.

Firstly, a pretty green dress that just didn’t look quite right on. It was a bit baggy on the top, though the skirt was lovely as is.

IMG_0842At first i just cut off the skirt, which was fine on its own, and thought i might use the top fabric for a bag or something.


But as it turned out, the fabric sat around for a while and i kept looking at it, and i quite liked the shape and cut of the back neckline, so in the end i turned it around, did a lot of unpicking and re-stitching of the dark green binding, and made it a lace-up back top, which i love the look of at the moment, and is easily re-sizeable. I also added some dark green fabric from another top i cut up to make a double-layered ruffle around the hem of the top. I added some of this fabric to the skirt as well, to add a bit more feature and length, and to make a stronger waistband.

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For this next i’m afraid i don’t have before pictures, but it was essentially a sleeveless summer dress. I did some cutting and hemming around the neckline and to make a large scoop out of the back of the dress. I then used pink yarn to blanket-stitch around the neckline edges to create a base for me to crochet into, then did some very simple crochet stitches all around the new neckline and back shape i had made. I crocheted some ties for the halterneck and a long string to lace up the back of the dress, and voila!

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Both these little summer outfits are destined for my Etsy shop, but i think they will have to wait for next summer!

Warming up for Autumn

Autumn is well and truly here where i live, and it’s shaping up to be a resolutely wet and cold one! I haven’t got a lot of time to tell you about these refashions, but they’re all in the Autumn warm-and-toasty theme!


Firstly – I started with a thrifted black polo neck jumper, and a red one half chopped up already from another project



plus another thrifted red jumper and some black lace fabric left over from something years ago. I also had a few bits of red and black tshirt fabric which i cut into strips to use as edging.

I cut off the original necklines from the red and black jumpers, and finished the edges using contrasting tshirt fabric. I used the same tshirt fabric to add ruffled cuffs to the sleeves.


I cut large heart shapes from the red knit scraps and the black lace, and appliqued them onto the front of the jumpers. On the red jumper i used more black tshirt scraps to create a ruffle all around the heart.


ta daa! These chaps are now available in my Etsy shop, as is the lovely and fluffy warm cardigan below, to which i’ve added crocheted flare cuffs and button placket, and changed up the buttons to make them more eye-catching and unique.


My final autumn refashion (also for the etsy monster) is another adaptation, of a knit tank top which i have modified by cutting down the neckline (as it was ridiculously tight) and finishing with tshirt fabric again, and done the same to the bottom hem which was coming undone, then decorated liberally with buttons!


Everything i make seems to be going on Etsy at the moment, essentially because i’ve made a lot of stuff for myself over the summer, and at the moment i feel like i need the funds! At some point though it’s going to get really cold, and i’ll just have to make some of these lovely warm things for me! :)

Crochet time!!

I’ve had a bit more time recently to do some bits of crochet, which i hadn’t for a month or two, so i’ve been making the most of it! Here are a couple of pretty shawls i’ve been making :)

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I’m really loving these autumnal russet colours at the moment. They’re so lush and warm!!

There are a couple of blue ones underway as well, no photos as yet. They are a simple granny square pattern, each square joined in to the whole as its final round is worked. I love this new way of joining the squares, something i’ve only figured out relatively recently. I used to just make all the squares then sew them together, which is fine, but this way is quicker and lets the shawl keep more of a lacy, soft, and less solid feel.


If you are interested in how to do this, it’s actually very simple. The first square is worked as a normal granny square – [3dc, 1ch] repeated along the side, and 3ch to turn at the corners. when working the final round of the second square, work as normal except on one side, which will be the joining side. on this side, when you come to turn the first corner, work 2ch, sl st into the 3ch at a corner of the first square, 1ch, then work 3dc into the corner space on your second square as you would normally to complete the corner. Ch1, sl st into the next space on your first square, ch1, work 3dc into the next space on your second square. Continue across the rest of the ‘joining side’. When you reach the next corner, work your 3dc into the corner space, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square, ch2, and then work 3dc into the corner space of your second square to complete that corner. Work the rest of your second square as normal.


It gets a little more complicated when you’re joining a square to other squares on two sides, but not much. Just work as above, but at a corner where you’re joining to 2 squares, work the 3dc into the corner space of your current square, ch1, sl st into the corner space of the first square to be joined, ch1, sl st into the corner of the next square, ch1, then work your 3dc to complete the corner of your current square. It may sounds complex, but it feels very logical once you’re doing it.


More shawls and woolly things to follow soon, i’ve been having an unseasonal blitz on jumpers and warm clothes that have been in my ‘do something with’ pile for far too long!




It’s cake time!!

So, every year i have a cake stall at a couple of small music festivals hosted by our lovely ‘local’ pub (by no means our closest pub, but definitely the closest that we regularly go to). Their acoustic music festival is coming up and i’d been suckered into ordering a ‘free’ (actualy cost about £2 p&p)  tshirt from vistaprint when i last ordered more business cards, intending to make it into some sort of top to wear for the weekend.

Then i had a better idea! The only apron i currently own is black and has swearing on it, and doesn’t really fit with the cute and chintzy feel i’m generally going for with a crafty-cake stall-thing at a local festival. So – ta-daaaa! Take one XL vistaprint tshirt, remove sleeves, which when spread out turn out to be almost the exact right shape for pockets, trim sleeves into pocket shapes, trim rest of tshirt into apron shape and edge everything in bias binding. Voila!

IMG_2833Sadly i’m rubbish at this sort of thing and can’t work out how to get the picture to flip, but in case you’re struggling the text says ‘it’s cake time!’ and then underneath ‘with cherries on top’. The pocket is just both sleeves stitched together, and the body of the apron uses both front and back of the tshirt for extra thickness and durability. So this ended up being almost a zero-waste refashion – all i threw away was the original shoulder seams, and a few scraps i snipped off the edges. Yay!

And, for those of you who are sitting going ‘swearing? on an apron? wtf?!!’ I thought i should show you my original refashioned apron. If you happen to be reading this with small children, or have delicate sensibilities, please be warned. Please ensure that your children/sensibilities look away now! In truth, the offending text is very small in the picture below so unless you click to enlarge it you probably won’t be able to read it anyway.


This apron, while admittedly potentially a little offensive, is very dear to me. It’s made from a t-shirt that used to belong to my best friend, and the ties and waistband from my old red shirt that i got signed by some schoolfriends’ band years and years ago (black marker does NOT come out in the wash – have a look at the left tie!), so it has a lot of good memories. The silly text on the front makes me smile every time i get it out to do some baking – as i had done just before taking this picture it would seem from all the flour smudges!

Anyway, now i have a less offensive apron for when i’m manning my stall at the upcoming event. You can bet i’m still wearing the old one to do the baking though!


Pretty new sundress

This is a fairly simple refashion from an old long tunic top passed on to me that was pretty, and i could have worn as a dress as it was (after maybe taking in the arm holes a little!) but it was a bit too big and not quite the right style for me

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I used to have a cute pink tie-dyed strappy sundress, which i wore absolutely to death a few years ago, and the recent hot weather means there is more opportunity to wear little sun dresses than we normally get in england! (Sadly a couple of days ago it started raining again, but at least it’s still quite warm!) So i decided that’s what i would do with this top. I used a dress that fits me well, in a similarly stretchy type of fabric, as a pattern.IMG_2830

I folded both the top and the dress in half, and used the dress to cut the pieces from the top for my new dress. I basically cut two ‘front’ style pieces to start with, then cut the back one straight across at the top. I kept the beaded bottom hem of the original top as i thought it would be a shame to waste it! I didn’t need to add any length as the top had started off slightly longer than my dress.

I used the offcut pieces from the sides of the top to make binding for the front edges (i just folded over and hemmed the straight edge of the back of the dress) and for the straps. I was surprised at how little time it took me to make – about half an hour in total. Boom! new sun dress. Now all i need is for it to stop raining! stupid english weather! :p


Much better! :)

I just can’t help myself…

Oh dear. Here i was, thinking maybe, just maybe, it would be ok to put up this one last picture, just to show you the green version of the corduroy-dress bag from last time. And it is lovely (even if i do say so myself! just love this fabric!)


But then i just thought i’d show you the pretty green lining too…IMG_2764

And then i came across a few more bags, which i had to photograph for my etsy shop anyway, and i just thought…well, i might as well! So here goes…

These next ones are made from upcycled chenille sweaters using a similar pattern to the corduroy ones, and fabric from my stash and an old tshirt for linings. Also some lovely buttons!

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These last two are inspired by the beaded handbag i thrifted as a gift for my friend, and changed the plastic handle for a long shoulder strap. These two are made from scratch in a similar design, from materials that are part recycled, part new, and part ‘gifted stash’ – that is, fabric i have rescued from friends who were going to throw it away (horror!) I’m afraid i don’t have before pictures of the things i have recycled and they were mostly cut up a long time ago, but many of the beads were from old pieces of jewellery, buttons from clothes that have since been refashioned, ribbon scraps from other projects, and fabric from upcycled clothes (the outer of the black bag) and bedlinen (lining of the brown bag).

Here is the first:IMG_2770

And a close up of the beading (this took about 3 hours to painstakingly fill all of this little ‘bib’ area with lots of buttons and beads!) This one fastens with a zip and has a shorter strap just long enough to comfortably carry on one shoulder.


And here is the second one, in brown satin:


This bag has a longer strap so it can be worn across the body – it’s lined in red-brown cotton from an upcycled valance and fastens with a press stud.


So there you go! last bags for a while…maybe! These are all now in my Etsy shop along with some new crochet shawls i have been making!