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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Rubbish? Another Quilt

Sweetie quiltAnother crazy quilt.

Raw materialsThese were the main raw materials. Anyone else think plastic shiney sweet wrappers are a terrible waste but very seductive?  I collected them over Christmas and sewed them to a piece of donated fabric – not fabric I could have used for anything visible.

Close upClose up of quilting & binding.  The binding was made from strips from a pair of lace tights I tore when I put them on on New Year’s Eve. I found it quite tricky to attach the strips because of the stretchiness but at least it went around corners easily.

Sweetie paper quilt

Happy New Year to all of you! xxx

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

Toronto Skyline Quilt

Toronto QuiltA holiday souvenir

I’m inspired by Loulou’s blog to show this quilt I made a few years ago of the Toronto skyline. It’s one of my favourites – I don’t keep them all, the dog gets to sleep on them after a while.

For a look at Loulou’s wonderful photos of Toronto look here.

I made it using scraps left from other projects, charity shop clothes and my own old clothes.  For example, the binding is cotton velvet taken from the legs of very old evening trousers and I’ve used the rest of the orange wool tweed to make a skirt recently.  The columns are strip-pieced on to the wadding and backing using a sewing machine.

I started the process with these photos.

TorontoToronto from the CNN Tower.  Taken about 1990 – sorry I can’t get the photo to show up well – this was taken pre digital cameras and had to be copied to get it here.

Toronto 1990It was a hazy day and I tried to capture that in the quilt by using mainly muted colours.  I used the orange tweed to try to represent the golden bank building that was so obvious from the tower.

Toronto collageI made the collage to help me move my ideas along from the photos to the the final quilt. It helped me get the shapes into my head.  After that, I auditioned fabrics and shuffled them around until I was happy with the look.

I’ve shortened the dress in my previous post and I’ll be showing the change soon along with the “Flower Power” shirt I’ve just finished. Thanks for all the helpful comments about the dress.

Happy Monday everyone.

Refashioning old silk shirts and scarves

1990s silk shirt

This shirt is made from lovely soft silk.  I think it dates from the early 1990s and I bought it in a charity shop.  I repaired and wore it a few times but decided it would be better turned into something else.  There were quite a few worn patches to avoid so I had to make something small.

Silk shirt refashion 1

Made using an old pattern  from Sew Hip magazine. I had to  make these in four pieces but French seams make them very comfortable anyway.

And then I got carried away.

Silk Knickers 1

The broderie anglaise pair are from a silk shirt I made but hardly wore because the colour doesn’t suit my face. Ok as knickers though.  I’ve got enough fabric left to make another pair from that and from the delicate silk scarf I used to make the other pair.

I can’t do much sewing at the moment because the room I use is being redecorated & everything is bagged up for sorting.  I’m looking for new storage & I’m going to reduce what I have. A year of mainly using my stash doesn’t seem to have made much impression on the mounds of fabric bits I have.

And here is the top I made over the Christmas holiday……

Burda top in needlecord

Top is Burda 2934.  Another version shown here.  This one is from a  needlecord remnant I bought from Ditto when I went to a drawing class in Brighton just before Christmas. The remnant wasn’t quite big enough so I used some stash fabric for the facings & bias binding.  I will try to remember to do a close up photo as I think the conrast actually improves the look of  the top.

Thanks for all the suggestions about my 1970s dress.  I am going for mini length with three quarter length sleeves.  Roobeedoo suggested the longer length dress might make me look like a lady vicar & I think she could be right. I am going to the Goldhawk Road shops tomorrow to try to get some fabric.

New Coat at Last

I’ve finished! And I love it!

Back view

Collar close up. I’m afraid my dress form is a bit ropey – sorry about the strange effect.

Front close up.

I know it still buttons on the “boy’s side” but I don’t care about that – my 1940s library book says that button holes should be sewn up and remade on the opposite side.  I think the binding is a good enough distraction.

The book also says that the lining should be opened and the side seams tailored to fit.  I thought the coat looked fine in a loose silhouette. It’s good for getting lots of warm clothes underneath.

What I did:

Mended the back and covered it with binding.

Shortened the sleeves and added binding.

Added binding to the pocket openings.

Changed the buttons.

Added decorative buttons.

Added binding to the front openings.

What did I use?

The binding is a blue wool melton. I used what was left over from this quilt.

The buttons were all used before on other clothes.

I’m linking this to Lakota’s Ta Dah Tuesday.  Why not pop over and take a look at the other projects there – always fun!