Sunday, March 30, 2014

Old tablerunner = new toiletry bag

Found this length of brown fabric, which I am only guessing was a tablerunner due to the fringing, in the free bin at Revolve (what a treasure trove that is!)

I have been wanting to make some reusable fruit and vegie bags to use at the supermarket, instead of using the plastic ones. So when I saw it, my first thought was 'Vegie bags'. It is a lovely light fabric and is shot through with bits of dark brown and gold. Far too see-through for clothing. But good for a vegie bag...

So, I whipped up a very simple drawstring bag, quite bodgily, with reused white ribbon and did not even bother matching the thread, just used what was on the machine - purple. However, it turns out that it was not as see-through as I thought - in fact impossible to tell what fruit or vege I put in the bag. Ba-bummm...never mind, I have been wanting a new overnight toiletry bag for some time, so that is what I now have...!

There's still loads of fabric left. So it may be turned into an item of clothing after all. Still need to find some fabric that is actually see-through for my F&V bags though...

Monday, March 24, 2014

A bunch of parsley (pants)

Mentioning the Parsley Pants pattern in my last post gave me the idea of doing a round-up of the PPs I have made using either all or some reclaimed fabric. I didn't realise how many I had made until I looked through the kid's cupboard the other day! Only five pairs are shown here, but I've made at least 8 or so, including some for friends's kids.

PP1: Ex-sarong from Yass op shop. Ellie wanted me to leave the fringing on the bottom of the legs (next pic). Glad I did, it looks so cute!

PP2: Ex-pillowcase with hideous Eiffel tower print. Kai chose this fabric but then got upset once I'd made them - he wanted me to leave it as a pillowcase. He loves them now though. So much that he has worn out the ass of them, which I patched with a scrap of Halloween cat fabric from a friend (right pic).

PP3: School pants for Ellie, made from blue drill fabric from Yass op shop. Ok, they are quite boring, and very wrinkled, due to my rarely ironing anything after it is sewn! But, this pattern really fits kids so well, that I use it for everything. (I wish it came in adult sizes!).

Because the pants were a bit utilitarian, I added some silky satin fabric as a hidden non-uniform surprise in the pocket lining. That fabric came from a failed dress I attempted to make that was not worth resuscitating. 

PP4: Another pair for Ellie made from an extremely hideous skirt from the Yass op shop. I loved the border print but it looked so wrong as a full skirt. I had fun matching the centres. This is my favourite pair of PPs and Ellie has worn them to death, the knees are almost gone.

PP5: The corduroy for Kai's pants was actually from Spotlight (clearance bin) but I include these here because the pocket fabric, which I love, came from a bag I found in the free bin at Revolve. 

That's it for the PP round-up. I highly recommend this pattern for kids - they look a bit weird hanging up but they are very flattering when being worn. The pattern also has options for pinstripes, knee patches and square pockets but I like these curved ones the best.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

A new top and some teatowels

I cut out this top last year at our fortnightly craft 'n' conversation group. I finally sewed it up on the weekend. I think it's quite cute!

Ok, I REALLY can't understand why my pictures keep going sideways. I have a suspicion that it's because I turn the camera 90 degrees when I took the picture. I'll try taking it the other way next time.

Never mind. The pattern is called the Washi, and is made by an independent pattern designer, Rae. This is the tunic version of the dress. The back (which I didn't photograph) has five lines of shirring. It was my first attempt at shirring and after I worked it out, I was surprised how easy it was to do. The pattern was very clear and easy to follow - I also have made many pairs of cute kids' pants using the same designer's pattern, called Parsley pants.

The only quibble I have with the instructions for this top was for the shirring part - she says to not stretch the shirring elastic at all as you wind it on the bobbin. But this failed, and the elastic did not gather properly. I resorted to my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, which said to stretch it slightly as you wind it on. This made all the difference and made it work perfectly.

The fabric came from one of the Goulburn op shops for about $1. It's an odd fabric, almost feels like slippery curtain fabric - I don't know what it is, but it sure isn't dress fabric! It feels nice and light though.

Ok, so I know this one wasn't a before-and-after project, and we all like those, so here's a small one - very utilitarian, I'm afraid. But something I do all the time!

Before: a large tube of soft cotton, found in Revolve's free clothing bin.
After: a stack (it made about 5) of lovely soft teatowels!
When I make teatowels, normally out of old linen tablecloths, I am usually lazy and just overlock the edges. But this time I made an effort and hemmed the edges instead. They look much nicer that way. And since we have to have teatowels, I figure we might as well have nice ones.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

cushion cover + worn out towel = new bathmat

I promised my friend Kerry that I would post something today. I've just made it in time!

Before: a large cushion cover, found in the free clothing bins at Revolve in Mitchell. It looks rectangular in the picture, but only because I had to fold it to fit it on the hanger. It seemed ridiculously large for a cushion - about a metre square. Who has cushions that big?? As soon as I saw it, I thought 'Bathmat'.

Ok, I can't work out how to turn this image around. Don't hurt your neck when or if  you turn your head sideways to see it properly. You don't really need to. 

I cut the end with the zipper off, stuck an old towel folded in half inside, folded in the open side edges, and topstitched about 1cm from the edges. Then I added another row of stitching a couple of inches away to echo the shape. Voila!

Yes, yes, I know the bathmat looks a lot like the original cushion cover. It's a lot softer and squishier now, though. I have made a few bathmats from old towels before, but this is definitely my favourite so far. 

If you try this sort of thing yourself, here are two tips: 
  1. Sew the towel in half together first with at least three lines of stitching, or it will not sit still inside when you are sewing the cover on. I learnt this the hard way. Using a walking foot makes this easier.
  2. Use a heavy duty needle. I used a leather needle, after breaking a standard one. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cushion from old kimono scraps

Sorry, no before photo this time. This cushion cover was made from bits of kimono and obi fabric bought in a bag of scraps from a shop in Mittagong. The colours were not 'me' and sat in my drawer for a few years.

Our local craft collective recently had a 'pillow drive' asking people to make and donate cushion covers for sale in their shop, raising money for living units for the elderly. So this was my contribution. I hope they turn out to be someone else's colours!