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!


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!


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!

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!)



Upcycled Oven Gloves!

I have been truly rubbish at posting here lately, i’ve recently moved and seem to have been spending most of my free time making stuff for the house – although none of it is completely finished yet, when it is i promise it shall appear here! Which also means that making things for myself, gifts etc has taken a bit of a back seat. Until today! Some friends are having a housewarming party this weekend (seems like everybody’s moving at the moment!) and their housewarming gift from us will be some oven gloves i’ve made, some brightly-coloured silicone bakeware, and some recipe cards for my favourite cakey treats. Here are the oven gloves:

They are made from a lightweight denim dress which came from a charity shop, and some reasonably heavy duty cotton fabric from my stash. The wadding (which is in the hand parts only, to give the rest more flexibility) is cut from an old towel, which had a few holes in and wasn’t great to use as a towel any more.

I really love these double-ended oven gloves. They are so much easier to use than single potholders or oven mitts – they’re easier to pull on, protect your wrists and arms, and you can’t lose one ‘hand’ as they’re stuck together! There is a great tutorial on how to make them here. I changed a couple of things – namely having the wadding only in the hands, and not using bias binding (because i didn’t have any and didn’t want to go and buy some) – i just pinned everything right-sides together, stitched around the edge leaving a gap in the middle opposite the hook, turned it all the right way round and topstitched it.

If i were to make more of these (which i think i will as they would definitely make good Christmas presents and are a nice way to upcycle some of the old towels we currently have taking up space in the garage) i’d have a go with bias binding as i think it would help to make the hand bits more flexible. I might even try making my own!