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!


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!

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!

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! :)

Hi-Lo Skirt Refashion

I’ve been wanting to try making a hi-lo skirt for a while now as it looked like a nice simple way to make a plain skirt a bit more interesting, and i’m definitely all in favour of clothes (and most other things for that matter) being a bit more interesting! The original skirt was a wrap-around i had inherited with a bunch of fabric and had originally just been relegated to the ‘fabric suitable for lining stuff with’ pile as the print didn’t really grab me and i thought it was a weird length for a straight skirt, coming to just above my ankle.



But then i had the idea of turning it into a hi-lo skirt with an elastic waistband, mainly just as a way to practice the hi-lo thing without risking ruining something i already loved.  If you wanted, it would be very easy to do the same thing with just a rectangle of fabric (wide enough to go round your waist and for a seam; long enough for the longest ‘lo’ length you want, plus hem and waistband allowances).



Basically i just cut off the original wrap-around waistband, made the rectangle i now had into a tube (using a french seam, but you could just as easily use a normal seam and zig-zag the edge), and turned the skirt upside down so that the raw edge where i’d cut off the waistband was at the bottom (i’d have to cut this anyway for the hi-lo bit). I created a waistband by folding down the now-top hem and straight-stitching about 1cm from the edge all around (leaving a gap to put th elastic through).



Before adding the elastic, I laid the skirt-tube out and drew my hi-lo line, starting short at the front and curving down to a ‘tail’ at the back. I had the seam running down the very back of the skirt as i thought this would look more even. I cut along this line, folded the bottom edge up twice, pinned and stitched to make a hem.





I finished by pressing the skirt, threading elastic through my waistband and closing the gap i’d left to do so, and ta-da!


I will definitely do this again as it was really easy, and while i like the length of the ‘hi’ on this, i’d like to make one with a longer ‘lo’ bit, which is longer than it looks in the picture (taken from above!) but still not long enough.  I would make it with an elastic waistband again, i like the look of it being a bit gathered and if anything i’d use more fabric to increase that look. Despite the changes i’d make next time, i do think this was a success – i like this skirt much more now. Before it was a summer skirt i’d never choose to wear, now i think i’d wear it in summer with lacy tights, or in winter with thick black tights and ankle boots (and i’ve noticed the colour of the flowers goes really well with one of my favourite jumpers! win!


More Upcycled Tops!

Since i’ve not had much of a chance to make stuff for myself recently (or much time to blog about making anything!) i thought i’d take the opportunity of having a little free time to look back on a few refashions i did a while ago. I realise i have done quite a few posts on the pants refashioning front and not put much up about the tops i’ve done. I don’t have ‘before’ pictures for all of these i’m afraid so you’ll have to use your imagination :)

First up is a plain orange top which i combined with a floral-print top in similar colours ….

to create:

Another plain strappy top got some embellishment in the form of a cutout from an old band tshirt:

And another band tshirt was refashioned into a strappy top using a well-fitting top as a template and my first ever (TERRIBLE!) attempt at bias-binding, or rather stretchy binding made from scraps of another tshirt. it has too many seams in it to look good, but in principle it seemed to work ok. The skirt in the bottom photo is another refashion, story for that one coming soon when the other bits i made from the same original item are finished…

Wow, my room was even messier than usual that day… :p

This is a refashion i am frankly not too keen on. Basically i love the top but the straps had stretched out a lot, so i was lazy and doubled them over, then decided to add a bit of a crochet edging to hide them…thus making lots more work for myself. And choosing the ridiculously fluffy yarn for this edging was probably not the best plan either, since although it’s interesting enough, it is a bit overwhelming, not to mention itchy! The ‘lace-up’ bit at the back didn’t really work out how i imagined it either. Suffice to say that i haven’t worn this top since deciding to refashion it a few months ago, so i think it may be up for another round. Maybe i can use the cute little picture as an appliqué on another top (if the photo isn’t good enough for you to see, the writing says ‘Ouchy, love hurts’)

This next is a full-on refashion, from a large skirt into a long-sleeved top. i used a vintage 60s off-shoulder top as a pattern and was pleased with the result.

Sadly the refashioning work is not completely done – after i’d finished sewing i noticed a small stain on the top. Luckily it’s in a place i can reasonably add some embellishment to cover it, so it’s now sitting in my ‘add some little crochet bits to make it prettier’ pile. (not kidding, this pile does exist!)



Gecko top to Lacy top refashion

Somewhere amongst all the house-sewing i have been doing recently, a couple of ‘me’ projects worked themselves in :) One was this top.

I started with an old and well-loved strappy top of mine with a faded gecko print and a couple of holes in the front, and a pink stretch-lace cardigan-thing from a charity shop, which i’d bought purely for the fabric. (The dress is another old item of mine which is soon to be upcycled but i didn’t get round to today – its story will be continued later!)

I decided to dispense with the front of the gecko top as it was really too worn and holey, so the back of the top was now to become the front and vice versa. I started by unpicking the binding joining the straps to the gecko side of the top, so that i would get a bit of extra length on the straps before i cut them. I then snipped down the side seams leaving just the back (the new front) of the top, which was plain black, with two long straps attached.

I used the old gecko side of the top as a guide to cut out a panel of pink lace that would become the new back to my top. I used the existing bottom hem of the cardigan, and cut it straight across at the top rather than shaping it like the original top, to make it easier to sew. I hemmed the top by turning over 1cm then another 1cm and straight-stitching it down (my machine does a kind of 3-part straight stitch that allows the fabric to still stretch a little once it is sewn, if you didn’t have this then a zig-zag would give the same stretch though it would look a bit different).

While i was messing about with the pink lace fabric it occurred to me that it looked very nice placed over the plain black. For a while i toyed with the idea of covering the front of the top with the lace as well, then decided that would be too much. I cut out a heart shape and appliquéd it to the front using a stretch straight stitch and leaving the edges unfinished (it doesn’t look like the kind of fabric to fray but we’ll see!).

It was then just a case of pinning the new front and new back of the top together and stitching (again with the stretch straight stitch – rather than zig-zag over the raw edges as i normally would, which can make them wavy and thus more bulky, i did 2 rows of straight stitch as an experiment to see if that alse helps prevent deterioration. neither fabric is particularly fragile so it should be fine). I pinned the straps to the back and tried the top on to check their length and positioning was ok, then sewed them on. The finished product:


Not the world’s best pictures, sorry, but you get the idea! I’m pleased with how this turned out, and it ended up taking a lot less time and effort than i had expected. Bonus! Now to find something to do with the rest of the cardigan….