After a Fashion?

 

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The inside of my winter wardrobe.

I don’t often post on this blog: I’m usually to be found thinking about quilts at She Sews You Know , but as my thoughts are wardrobe related I thought I’d write them here.

Lately, I have been reading a few things about minimalism, capsule wardrobes and having the clothes you need for your life. Project 333 is one you might like to look at if you are interested.

There is nothing minimalist about my wardrobe. Running kit, scruffy clothes for walking the dog and cleaning out hens are all in drawers and of course there is the extensive laundry pile.

There’s also nothing fashionable about my wardrobe.

This is still my favourite coat and it makes me easily recognisable. No one else has one like it and that’s my aim where possible.

There are only two items hanging there bought new from shops – a green maxi dress bought in Berlin and a camel maxi coat bought about fifteen years ago. There isn’t much of a colour theme: if I think it suits me I will wear it. Sometimes I find or make a piece and it has to wait a few months until I find or make a piece that goes with it.

I recently filled up a bin bag of clothes for the charity shop – I make mistakes and I go off things. I’m hoping there’ll be other people out there who aren’t too worried about up to the minute fashion so they’re not wasted.

 

This is my evening skirt, made of silk, lined with silk and worn once, maybe twice. It didn’t get added to the bin bag because I’m planning to reuse the fabric for other projects. The silk top is already in the unpicking pile.

I am trying to build a wardrobe I can actually wear year in year out until it wears out – I get fond of clothes and I don’t want to trash the planet. I love clothes  but I don’t want to be dictated to. I want to wear clothes that represent who I am, brighten up my life and let me get on with that life.

I’d love to hear from you if you are working on the same lines…..

Norma x

PS. Yes, still wearing them!

 

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Slow Processes

solar dyeing

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of solar dyeing.  If you want to see the results, take a look at this post over on my other blog.

It’s a slow process but I’m enjoying it.

Another slow process is this:

applique

It’s a slow story but in short, I used an old,worn out but gorgeous skirt as a pattern and made a very boring denim skirt. After a few wears I added the appliques above to all eight panels.

Since then I’ve used variegated silk thread to highlight and stiffen the hem.  I’m not sure I’ve finished yet.  A few more wears and I might know.

The appliques made me think of Japanese Boro quilts and I’ve now cut up a pile of worn out jeans to make my own version.

Do you keep on “improving” your projects?  I’d love to know.

Thanks for dropping by.

 

Old Jeans Reused – How to Make the Bag (Part 2)

Finished!The finished bag!

You can see another version here.

This is how to put the bag together.  It has one or two interesting steps that I hope you’ll find useful.

For how to make the fabric look here.

You will need lining fabric, threads and a sewing machine.

The liningI used a scrap of heavyweight dress fabric (lovely gift!).  There was enough to cut 2 pieces of lining and a handle.

Cutting the Lining1. Cut the lining pieces the same size as the bag fabric except allow about an inch extra on the length so that you can make the top border (see finished bag photo).

2. Note: I have added only one handle.  If you plan to carry anything heavy you might want to have two handles.  These instructions don’t include that.

Cut the handle about 43 inches long by 3.5 inches wide. That length allows for attaching to the bag by just over an inch.

The length works well for me but if you’re much taller or shorter than 5ft 5ins you’ll want to check whether you need to adjust it.

Lining3. Sew the lining together leaving the top open.  Zigag the seams all around to secure.

Corner

4. Making a false gusset (optional but looks nice!).

At the corner, place the side seam on top of the bottom seam.

Marking5. Making sure the seams are together, mark a line across the corner, about 1.5 – 2 inches in from the point.

Sew across the line6. Sew along the line.

Cut!7. Cut the corner off, about 0.25 inches from the seam.  Zigzag to secure the seam.

8. Repeat for the other corner.

Handle9. Turn in about 0.25 inches seam allowance along the length of the handle & sew in place.

Handle10. Fold the handle in half lengthwise & sew – I used zigzag because it’s more secure.

reinforcing the handle11. Iron the handle well. Sew along the other edge. Zigzag along the length of centre of the handle.

More zigzags12. Add more rows of zigzags.  This strengthens the handle.  I don’t usually add interfacing to handles so use stitching both to decorate and reinforce.

13. Make up the jeans fabric into a bag following steps 3 – 8 above.

14. Zigzag along the top of the bag and the lining to stop fraying.

15. Insert the lining bag into the jeans bag, wrong sides together.  The top of the lining should be showing by about an inch above the top of the jeans bag.

17116. Fold over the top of the lining twice, enclosing the top of the jeans bag.  Sew in place – I zigzagged for security.

BagAttach handleFinish the ends of the handle with a zigzag stitch and attach securely to the bag on the inside at the sides. Overlap the handle and the bag by at least an inch. I avoided sewing over the side seams because of the bulk of the fabric I would have to have sewn over.

Sew the handle in place around all of the overlap and diagonally across the middle for extra strength.

And that’s it!

finished bagFinished!

xxx

Old jeans Reused: How to make the bag (Part 1)

Lots of you wanted a how-to for the jeans bag, so this is it.  Part 1 is how to make the fabric.

Below is the finished bag. I bought nothing new to make it so it definitely counts as a stash bust.

Please leave a comment if you don’t understand any of the instructions and I’ll try to explain as soon as possible so that you can get started.

finished bag

Finished!Close up

To make it you will need:

The legs from a pair of jeans,

2 pieces of backing fabric eg. curtain lining – this acts as a support. It will be hidden by the bag lining.

2 pieces of coloured fabric (patterns are best but you can piece different fabrics to get a patterned effect),

fabric

a jeans or other heavy duty sewing machine needle, various threads for sewing the bag and lining and some bolder thread for the zigzags eg. quilting cotton.

2 pieces of firm fabric for the lining & an extra piece for the handle.

WARNING: DO NOT CUT YOUR FABRICS YET

The size of the fabric depends on the size of the legs of your jeans. I started with pieces approximately 16ins x 20ins. My handle was about 43 ins long and 3.5 ins wide.

Let’s start:

cutting the jeans1. Cut the legs off your jeans and cut away the side seams which are NOT topstitched.

fabric

Jeans fabric with side seams cut away. Note top stitched seam in the centre.

2. Cut the jeans fabric to bag size (see sizes above). Of course, your bag can be any size you like.

3. Cut your curtain lining and coloured fabric to the same size as the jeans fabric (see fabric requirements above).

FabricI used a piece of quilting cotton and some dressmaking leftovers from the 1990s which had to be pieced together to make the correct size.

4. Place a bag size piece of the curtain lining on the table, place the brightly coloured fabric face up on top of it, place jeans fabric on top (also face up).  You should have 3 layers.  Align the edges and tack together around the edges. This is called a sandwich!

SandwichShows all the layers of the sandwich.

The jeans fabric will not lay completely flat (because of the centre seam) but smooth it out as much as possible.

5. Using bold thread – I used leftover machine quiltiing cotton – make a line of zigzags near to the centre seam.  Try out the size of the zigzag first: mine was stitch width 4, length 2. Make another line of zigzags on the other side of the centre seam.

Zigzags6. Working from the centre outwards, make rows of zigzag stitches about half an inch apart. You don’t need to be especially accurate. You can see that my lines of zigzags wobble!

zigzagsRepeat until the sandwich is covered by rows of zigzags.

ZigzagsI needed to tidy up my sandwich afterwards as I had left the underneath showing to make this easier to follow.

7. Take out the tacking stitches.

8. Cut the jeans fabric between the rows of zigzags, making sure that you do not cut into the fabric underneath.

Cutting9. Cut back one side of the beween the rows gap almost to the stitching.  This shows more of the underneath fabric than if both edges were frayed.

Cutting between the rows10. Now the messy bit!  Fray the edge of the jeans fabric.

FrayingFrayingRepeat for the other sandwich.

Frayed!You’ve made the fabric!

I will show how I made the bag in the next post.

Happy Weekend! xxx

Old Jeans Reused

I have a real passion for reusing textiles.  I will try to mend more or less anything: it’s a mainstay of my little business and of my life generally.  Once mending isn’t practical I go on to reusing.

I buy my jeans secondhand – most of the ones I buy look almost new – and I wear them to death.  After that I try to make something else from them. I think this bag is a big success so I thought I’d share it.

Jeans bagI’ve had a request for more pictures of Gus, so here he is.

I’m displaying my new recycled jeans bag and wearing Red Herring top from car boot sale and posher than usual Per Una jeans from the St Catherine’s Hospice shop.

Jeans bag close upClose up of jeans bag

I patched fabric scraps on to a piece of curtain lining, added part of the leg of some old jeans on top, sewed lots of zigzags in lines to hold the fabric together and then cut back the denim.

I didn’t take any photos of the process, but if anyone is interested I can easily do some more and post a tutorial.  Please let me know in the comments if you would: l love the process so don’t mind having another go.

Hope you are all having a good week. My treat of the week was bright red hair – better in reality than on the photo.  I’ve been working quite hard though, so I’m planning a relaxing trip to the charity shops tomorrow.

xxx

A trip back in time

Singing George Formby!I took this photo at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum on Sunday.  They had a 1940s weekend as well as their usual industrial history exhibits. This couple sang some really funny songs.  There were some amazing dancers too but I was so involved in watching them I forgot to take photos. How can I ever hope to be a proper blogger ???

Gus & meHere’s Gus getting in the photo as usual.  He hardly ever looks at the camera though. I wanted to get the buses in the photo as I think they’re lovely – so much more glamourous than a modern bus (but probably much less comfortable).

As it’s still Me Made May, I should mention my outfit.  Top refashioned from a skirt and refashioned linen skirt.   Tweed hacking jacket with velvet collar (bought about 10 years ago in a sale) and boots from Green Shoes.

The linen skirt is one of my favourites.

Worn here a few days ago with the same top:

Me Made May

It looked like this before:

Linen skirt before refashionI have a big pile of clothes to refashion – the skirt I made from my failed Sureau dress has been taken apart & I am including the fabric in a patchwork skirt.

I have lots of me mades I haven’t worn: they just don’t suit me.  I’ve been wearing a few favourites over & over so it’s time for a refashioning session.

I’m hoping to display some refashioned clothes & my new 1970s shoes very soon.

Meanwhile, this is my favourite Me Made May photo so far:

Gus! Hope you like it!

A Mistake!

Completed SureauThis is it: Robe Sureau complete.  But I won’t be showing any photos of me wearing it because it looked awful.

I did make a toile but thought it looked silly on me because old sheets aren’t always very flattering.  Unfortunately, it just does look ridiculous on me.

I did everything I could to save it – added bias trims, tried various buttons – but I think the basic shape is just wrong for me.

Remains of the Sureau & Day 13I didn’t want to discard it completely, so I removed the top, changed the zip and added a waistband.

Me Mades: Purple wool teeshirt,newly refashioned skirt, shoes.

Linking to Visible Monday. Why not go & take a look?