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!

Last bag (for a while at least)… Promise!!

Ok, just one more bag then i’ll stop, ok? It’s been bag overload in the last couple of posts, and i am sorry – i’m just trying to document all the bags i’ve recently made so i can put them on one side and start writing about some other stuff! And frankly, at the moment i can’t wait!


So, just one more bag…

This simple handbag in a gorgeous deep red corduroy from a thrifted toddler dress (accidentally deleted the before pic from my computer, sorry!) and some thrifted cotton sheets (lining) and cushion covers (handles).


The beautiful enamel button has been with me for a few years, it was quite expensive and so i was reluctant to use it without some careful consideration and it spent a long time waiting to be used. It went so well with this fabric i just couldn’t resist. No idea where it came from originally, but it’s made with a glass-like enamel on a concave disc of coconut shell and it really is gorgeous. There is another bag, almost exactly the same (the lovely toddler dress fabric just about stretched to 2 bags!) but lined with a dark forest green cotton and with a green enamel button, but i don’t have pictures of it yet. There are also a few bags i’ve finally got round to making from lovely soft knitted jumpers and lined with other upcycled clothing, but i don’t have photos of those yet either! There may well be another post on bags here before i’m done, but i promise i will post about something else in between, if only because i am becoming truly sick of bags (and i never thought i’d be saying that!) :) xx

Bags, Bags and more Bags!

A long time ago (sometime last summer if i remember…) in this post, i talked about some shorts i’d rescued for my partner, camouflaging some paint stains with – wait for it – more paint!


The design i used was one of his phone doodles, picked out from the intriguing muddle of swirly and spiky lines and blocks that are created whenever he’s on the phone for more than 2 minutes. I love these, and have been meaning to do something artistic with them for ages now. Several months ago i ‘borrowed’ a pile of old work papers from his office and scanned some of the doodles in the margins before they were filed away and lost forever! I got busy with some fabric paint and some tote bags and little gift bags i’d been making from upcycled and vintage bedlinen and clothing. I basically just drew out the designs on thin card, cut with a craft knife, and used some cheap washing-up sponges and fabric paint (on a cling-filmed saucer! easily the best idea i’ve had this year :D )

The results:


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Some are a bit smudged, and i think next time i’d give screen printing a go rather than stencilling, as the stencils took ages to make and were only really good for one go (most of the smudged ones were a result of overused and soggy stencils!). Definitely a learning experience. I do love how the doodle designs turned out though, especially the dragon and fish designs, and will hopefully do some more in this vein in the future!

The smudged ones will be added to my emergency car-boot bag stash – you know, for all those dire shopping related emergencies :p The few that ended up good enough to pass on to other people will find their way into my Etsy shop!


A couple more bags i’ve made recently… one from an upcycled thrifted tshirt, which just grabbed me with its kitschy awesomeness:


And became this kitsch and awesome tote bag!


Also a couple of bags made out of some tough synthetic fabric i inherited from a friend…

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Then there was this bag – thrifted as a present for a friend, but i didn’t like the scratched plastic handle, so i replaced it with a longer fabric strap so it could be worn cross-body, and made it adjustable using a ring-pull from a can as a ‘buckle’.

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And last but not least, this wonderfully eye-bogglingly patterned cotton dress:


Which became this lovely big tote bag:



In this cute little clip-on pouch!IMG_1157

whew! bag overload much? i think i need to make more things that aren’t bags!

Refashioned Bikini/Holiday Top

So, i’m off on holiday (a week in Lanzarote) in a few weeks and summery clothes have been on my mind :) This started as a cutoff from another project – i’d used the bottom part of this top to make a ‘faery top’ (one of my favourite things to make – the finished top can be seen here) and had this bit left over.


I couldn’t bear to throw away any of this lovely tropical print fabric, and it was conveniently lined so there was quite a lot of fabric there to work with! I first chopped off all the stitching to separate the parts, and unpicked the ‘scrunchy’ bit in the centre where the straps were originally attached. I love halterneck tops, but i need a bit more support than those central straps seem to give! I used both the front part and lining to make a more solid top with more strength, support and coverage!


I had a section of the back of the top left too, so i attached bits from that to make it extend further around the sides – leaving a gap of a few inches in the middle of my back. I also used the remaining back pieces to make some small tubes which would become loops to thread the lacing at the back through:


I then pinned the outer and lining together with right sides facing, and positioned the halterneck straps (made from one of the original straps – luckily they were quite long!) facing inwards where i wanted them to go, then stitched around the edge with a straight stretch stitch just leaving both ends open.

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I turned the resulting tube the right way out, and folded theend bits of the tube inward by about 1cm to make a nice neat edge. As i pinned these in place i added the little tubes i’d made earlier, pinning them in place to form loops. Then topstitched all the way around – this helped neaten the rest of the top as well as securing the loops and each end.


Finally i used the last scrap to make a cylinder to go round the centre of the top to cinch it in and give more of a feminine shape, and used the second original strap to lace up the back using the loops at each end. It was just about long enough – The finished result: a bright, tropical-patterned top perfect for hot weather! It’s stretchy enough to be comfortable, but I think it’s also thick and stable enough to be worn as a bikini top if necessary.


Sorry for the mess in the background!IMG_1068






Two Dresses

First up – an old purple velvet skirt. Loved the colour and fabric, and i’d already refashioned it once to replace the heavily gathered and unflattering waistband with a tapered fit and a zip, but i’ve lost a bit of weight since then so it sat too low and was too long for me to wear with flat shoes. To be honest, I have enough long skirts, and this one just wasn’t getting worn.


I liked and wanted to keep the embroidered band at the bottom of the skirt, so i removed the waistband and cut off a strip from the upper part, leaving enough for a knee length skirt at the bottom. I used this dress to make the pattern for the top part:


And ended up with this:


I think doing this again, i would have made the triangles a bit larger, or maybe make them wider and elasticate the bottom of them – they aren’t at all stretchy and so are a bit ‘baggy’ in places, so i’ll definitely need to wear a bra/bikini top with this!  I do like the look overall and i’m definitely more likely to wear this now.

And another dress/top – this one much simpler to create as it basically just involved cutting! It’s made from a long top and from more forgiving stretch fabric. Sadly i don’t have a ‘before’ picture, but it was a hip-length top with 3/4 length sleeves and a scoop neckline – not something i’d normally wear but the fabric caught my eye. I turned it back to front, cut into it to make a halter (i’ve since hemmed the neckline as it was curling too much), and ‘took it in’ by cutting slits into the back and tying bit together. It’s probably easier to show than to explain:


I can wear it with leggings as a short dress, or over jeans or a long skirt as a long top. I made the remnants of the sleeves into gloves by cutting them to points and attaching a loop of braided cotton, covering the stitching with a fabric flower made from the scraps. There was almost nothing left of the original top, which made me very happy! Halterneck/backless dresses and gloves are two of my favourite things clothes wise, and it’s nice to have some that really go together! :)