I often get the refashioning bug in Spring, but this year I had no time for it. Once on ‘holidays’ I enjoyed a few days at the sewing machine. These green shorts were the main achievement, but I also tackled some basic mending and garment tweaking – taking in at the sides or removing sleeves. Most was too simple to bother blogging about. Except this long sleeve shirt refashion:
It involved shortening the long sleeves and using the pieces as side panels and binding around the armholes. I tried folding the armhole seams first, as I’d had good results from the stretch stitches on my new sewing machine. But this time it went all crinkly so I had to cut it off and try again, using overlocking stitch to attach a binding.
I seem to have moved on to weaving now, but I’m sure I’ll switch back to sewing soon as I still have the sarong shorts to make that I bought the pattern for.
At first, when my ‘holidays’ started, the desire to craft was strong. I managed to tick several projects off the to-do list, including some WIPs. But I also had six months worth of new ideas brewing, and that brought about a bout of startitis. Also, my weaving session with Donna led to the stash review which led in turn to me warping up both looms. So here are some of the new projects on my WIP list.
I had the idea to turn a handful of ribbon scraps of varying sizes rescued from a costume that went in the rubbish and a scrap of gauzy fabric into a scarf by sewing the ribbons on in strips. The basting is a good tv watching craft activity.
Wanting to explore embroidery more, I figured the best way to learn more is to try a few kits. So far a bit of unpicking has happened, as the instructions are probably not aimed at a novice and the photo is a bit too small for me to work out what I’m supposed to be doing. But I am enjoying it.
I’ve been loving the look of blankets and clothing covered in a kind of freeform running stitch and sashiko that I think is called ‘boko’. This vest was originally a man’s shirt that I refashioned to fit me, then bleached. I liked the blotchy look, but not the sleeves so I recently removed them. The stitching doesn’t require much brain-power, so this is one I turn to when I’m too tired to tackle the kit above.
Memory Yarn Scarf:
I bought this yarn to try out on the knitting machine and have decided to weave it instead. It is fiddly to work with mainly because you use two strands together. I’ll be glad when this one is done.
Paua Shell Scarf/Collar:
I’d always intended to put a collar on the Paua Shell Ruanna, but it took me so long to weave that I couldn’t bear the thought of warping up again in the same yarn. Now it feels like an easy, quick project I can knock off the to-do list, and the yarn is lovely to work with.
I finally finished the baby blankets!
They were the last thing to come off the table loom before I packed it up ready to move, and it’s taken me ages to get the binding on. As I worked on them I realised I had double the reason to procrastinate over finishing them: it was the first time I’d sewn satin blanket binding, and I had to cut fabric I’d woven, which is always slightly traumatic.
As it turned out, the binding wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected. Still pretty fiddly. I zig-zagged over the edge of the weaving before trimming about 5 mm away. Then I pinned and basted the binding on before sewing it. The second time I was confident that it wouldn’t slip about so I skipped the basting.
Unfortunately the babies they were intended for are now either side of a year old. Do babies still need baby blankets at that age? Or should I save them for the next crop of little’uns?
The Kogin Embroidery Bag is done:
I found a great tutorial for making a zippered bag without a seam at the bottom.
The lining is just a bit of navy cotton. The zip was in my stash of rescued zips unpicked from various things over the years.
I bought the kit a year ago, almost to the day. Took me a while to get around to starting it, so it hasn’t been a year-long project. I liked the style of embroidery, but since it’s effectively the same result as overshot weaving I couldn’t help thinking it would be a lot faster to weave it. A LOT faster to weave it AND you’d get a great deal more fabric.
But who cares about speed and quantity? The method – the journey – was a wonderfully relaxing one and I’d happily take on another kogin kit or project.
A few days ago, after looking through the refashioning pile, I bought a shorts pattern from Interweave and hauled out the sewing machine. First up I did a test pair using fabric scraps. It confirmed that a US large is bigger than an Aussie large, and the shorts were a tad, well, short for my liking. After a tweak here and there later I was ready to try a refashioning project.
I had this shirt, which I’d bought in the 90s and loved the colour and soft fabric, but it was pretty shapeless:
I only just managed to get the pieces cut out, and only by patching one corner of a front.
Instead of the drawstring the pattern calls for, I went for an elastic waist. I reused the pocket, too:
They’re cool and comfortable and perfect for relaxing at home. I want to make the next pair from an old sarong, this time with longer legs.
I have a little test for the ‘right’ length of shorts. They should never be wider than they are long. If they’re longer than they are wide there’s a slightly slimming illusion. Even more so if the fabric has a vertical stripe or pattern, or they are darker than the top they’re worn with.
My lovely arty crafty buddy, Karen, hosted a Craft Day a few weekends ago. I’ve never been so disorganised over a Craft Day. To begin with, I’d lost all memory of it. It was only because I went out with some of the crafters a few weeks before that I heard about it (again). When I looked up my emails I found the one inviting me there, but it was dated around the time I had that awful cold, so I suspect I didn’t register it. That shows how sick I was. Me forget a Craft Day? Never!
But then I wasn’t sure what to take. I don’t want to start new projects when I’m going to be moving house soon. I decided to get the baby blankets off the loom so I could attach satin blanket binding and to take the knitters loom so I could finish the leno scarf.
I work on either. I’d also thrown in two projects for the move: make folio bags (large flat bags with handles that hold several folios of bundles of craft paper at once) and pouches for the previous year’s harvest of lavender.
For the folio bags I needed sturdy material. I was going to buy denim, but at the last moment we ducked into an op shop thinking we could recycle an old bed quilt or something. They just happened to have rolls of fabric, including heavy curtain fabric – which seemed perfect for the job.
Except it wasn’t. The plasticy fabric slipped everywhere and the holes made by the needles started to look suspiciously like perforations for tearing. I gave up on that project and concentrated on the lavender bags. For those I cut up an old pair of cheesecloth pants and just sewed ravioli-like squares, stuffing them with the lavender then finishing with zig-zag stitch.
And that’s all I got through. But I did get a crafty fix and it was a fun afternoon – especially as I got to chat with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.
I’ve had this post waiting for a few last pics for some time now…
Back at the beginning of the year, I decided Purple needed to become a cardigan:
This involved cutting it down the front. I sewed a zig-zag on the machine, either side of the stitches I wanted to cut, then took a deep breath and snipped:
It languished in the bottom of my knitwear adjustment basket until its turn came. I simply picked up stitches along the raw edge behind the zig-zag and got knitting.
I have no idea why I chose a 2×2 rib. It wasn’t until I got to the second band that I thought about it. But it works. I crocheted over the raw, zig-zagged edge on the inside as an extra precaution against unravelling.
The only detail that gives the refashion away is that the neckband is usually knit onto the edge of the button bands. This is the other way around. Let’s call it a ‘design feature’, eh?
I’ve worn this quite a bit since the refashion, which I’d say makes it a winner.
The next refashion was easier – simply to add another band of ribbing to the Gift Yarn Jacket as it just didn’t look finished enough to me:
Looks like this:
Which took some months, but was done in time for winter at least. I prefer the second way of wearing it, though I haven’t yet worn it since doing the refashion.
A while ago I needed a dress for a party with an early 20th century theme, and I picked up a costume from a recycled clothing store that has, unfortunately, closed now. Last weekend I had a New Orleans-voodoo-jazz themed party to go to, so I dug out the dress. The skirt of it was of a rather shabby looking gold satin, and if I’d had the time I’d have replaced it or added an overskirt of some kind.
(I didn’t get a ‘before’ photo, so here’s a shot of the original skirt material.)
I cut off the skirt, which I used as a pattern to cut some lace I got from Lincraft. Then I had to sew lace to slippery satin to stretch velour. Hmm. To simplify that, I used the overlocking stitch on my new machine to attach lace to satin. Then I sewed the two to the velour, stretching as I went.
The result was better than I expected:
And paired up with a cloche, fake fur shrug, long black gloves, pearls and fishnets, I had the look right without it being too costumey.
I also managed clever updo trick with my hair that I found on Pinterest. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to get Paul to take a photo, so you’ll have to trust me that it was good.
I haven’t worn a sarong in years. Used to be I’d wear them all the time in summer, so I have a quite a few. Recently I did a quick wardrobe cull and decided it was time to do something new with them.
Four are ‘pareo’ bought in Raratonga during a holiday in my early 20s. Sentimentality reigns here. Good memories.
I’ve put the mermaid one into my beach bag to continue using as a sarong. The fabric of all these is quite see-through, so if I made skirts they’d would have to be lined and a shirt would have to go over a top. But since they’re about the same weight as the cotton shawls I’ve got, I’m going to wear them as as shawls instead.
This sarong I bought for a trip to the Whitsunday Islands, though I don’t recall where. I bought two in different colour combinations, one to be a gift for my ex’s mother and one to keep, and let her choose which she preferred.
The fabric is a little thicker, so this might work as a shirt. Or a lined skirt. I’m more in favour of bright, complicated fabrics for skirts than shirts, though.
I don’t remember where I picked up the dolphin sarong, but while I’m not into pink or dolphins it’s a really generous length which is good for warding off the sun at the beach.
It’s going in the beach bag to be used as a sarong, too.
One of these dark blue ones came from an op shop, but I’m not sure about the other. I bought them intending to make a caftan dress.
They’re not so well matched as I hoped, however, so I’m thinking separates. A tunic top, perhaps. Maybe a skirt.
I have a new sewing machine! Except it’s eight years old.
You see, the day before craft day, after I’d brought down all my sewing bits and pieces to the lounge ready for the next day, I decided to do a few of the quicker refashions. I got out my old sewing machine:
But when I went to sew a zigzag I discovered it was stuck on a fancy stitch. I had already lost the use of the buttonhole stitches when I had it serviced a few years ago, and this was a problem with the same lever. If the service man couldn’t fix that, I suspected he wouldn’t be able to deal with this either. I bought my faithful of Jenome My Style in the early 90s but it was familiar and while it worked I’d seen no reason to get a new machine. Now I figured it was time to replace it.
When I told my Mum, Dad remembered that she’d bought a new machine back in 2005 but didn’t like it and went back to using her old one. Dad, being a bit of a hoarder, stowed it away. He suggested I see if I liked it. So Paul and I popped over and picked it up:
When I got home I tackled the first refashion. And I love it! It has a needle threader and every time you finish sewing it puts the needle in the upright position. The most common stitches are one button press away.
It, too, is a Jenome. Most of my friends have Jenomes. Good little machines.