Saturday, March 21, 2015

Two old skirts = linen slippers

For a while now, I've been wanting to make some nice slippers. I keep eyeing off a lovely felted pair in the Yass shoe shop, but at $70, who am I kidding. So I finally made a pair. I used this old woolen skirt from the free bin at Revolve. I know the picture is crooked. Too bad at this time of night!  

It's a black wool blend with white flecks. Nothing wrong with the skirt per se, just that it's a pencil skirt, and I don't find them comfy to wear. 

I also used a cream linen skirt from an op shop but I got it that long ago that it was well cut apart before I started photographing things first. It was basically another pencil skirt. 

The slipper pattern I used came from a lovely-looking book called Cloth. I borrowed it from the ACT library. Lots of projects specifically designed for wool, cotton, silk and linen, plus a bit of history and current uses for each type of fabric.


This is the pic of the slippers from the book:

And here is the first draft (left) and the second draft (right) of the my attempt. Can you pick the mistake?? Being one of those people with larger-than-the-average-Joe feet, the slipper patterns I see in books are always too small, so I just sized it up - but a bit TOO much the first time. 

Here they are on my dainty feet: Yep. Just a bit too big on the left there. 

The slippers were in the Linen section of the book. They are very simple to make, just a quilted sole with one layer of wadding (I put two layers in the second draft as the first was too thin). The front section is two layers sewn together along the curved back section. Then the front section and bottom of the sole are sewn inside out and the whole thing gets turned out the right way and stitched closed (supposedly with slip stitching, but hey, these are only slippers, so I slacked off and used the machine). 

Once I had the sizing better I made another left one. This one I used three layers of wadding in the sole as the other was still too thin!

In case you're wondering about the black skirt, yes, I did use it, on the bottom of the sole. You can see how nice and clean they are on the bottom after five minutes of use. Not. 

Overall they are comfy and I like them, but they are kind of annoying, because I have to shuffle around in them. If I walk normally they just fall off. So I guess they should technically be termed scuffs rather than slippers. 

I was also going to make a nice wool overnight bag out of the same book:

But the pattern sheet for the bag was  missing and I wasn't feeling clever enough to figure it out. I actually emailed the author to ask for the dimensions but never had a reply. Boo hoo. I am also tempted to make the ottoman, the pattern for which was in the book, so I have traced it and may make it one of these days: minus the cat.

I have about three bags full of tiny scraps that need to be stuffed into something - so I figure an ottoman would be a perfect thing to stuff!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Why I love Greendale fete

Every year in October, a little rural church about five minutes out of town holds a fete. Greendale is the place to be on that day for the best trash and treasure haul you are likely to ever see. Five-cent crockery, 10-cent toys, and best of all, metres of fabric for next to nothing. Last year I picked up about 10 metres in total for about two bucks.

And I don't mean any old fabric - check out this vintage 80's cotton god-knows-what you would call it.

Here's the close up for extra impact: Cool or what!

I don't know how it ended up in someone's cast off pile. Really! Who could resist. 
Of course cheap fabric and bargain basement crockery are not all what Greendale is about. Not remotely. From a town with a population of around 101, about 200 or 300 people seem to turn up to chat, have a devonshire tea (plunger coffee and scones, $2 anyone?!), buy locally made jam and tomato relish, plants, cakes and those frilly lacy coathangers that you just can't seem to find anywhere else....I love it. 

Ok -  back to the fabric! What else could you make from this, really, other than kids' shorts. At the risk of being predictable, these are Explorer shorts. Again. Boy, have I got my money's worth from that pattern. And I even made matchy matchy ones - sort of.   

First up is Ellie's, which she wanted to personalise with applique letters. Out of cat fabric. Which she positioned very carefully to get the cats in EXACTLY the right place, as you do.  Cats in the pockets, too.

Check out that cat placement....

Don't you love how these two fabrics go together so perfectly? Umm? If you are 8, they do.

Now Kai's: being a bit of a flag freak, he picked flags for pockets. The flag fabric came from Yass Salvo's, I think. 

Just in case you couldn't see the flags too well! 

And just because this post has been full of headless shots (thanks Kai for holding the shorts up) here is one with a head. He wouldn't put the shorts on, though. They have been worn a lot since these pics were taken, though; in fact, both pairs are starting to fade! At least they no longer blind me when I hang them on the clothesline...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Christmas shoeboxes and a cub blanket

It's been a school tradition the last few years to support the Christmas Shoebox appeal. The kids enjoy choosing small gifts to fill the boxes, such as toothbrushes, soap, colouring pencils, toys. I always try to make an item of clothing as well for something a bit extra. I think the kids don't completely fathom how a child overseas can only receive a shoebox of little things for Christmas and nothing else, but they are starting to (occasionally) realise how privileged they are...

Anyway, last year the school stopped doing the boxes, but the kids and I still wanted to, so we did. I made some Explorer shorts (about the only shorts pattern I use these days) for the boy's box, using the fish fabric from a friend's old sundress (also used on the iPad cover last year) and some plain blue, which probably came from an op shop, but I honestly can't remember. 

Back view:

For the girl's box, I made a little skirt using Simplicity 9611, which I picked up in an op shop. It's pretty simple, basically a rectangle with elastic drawstring, and a split hem detail at the side (which you can't see too well in the photo, but can see in View C in the drawing).

The fabric, from a garage sale, was an off-white cotton with little flowers. There were two bits of fabric in the same print but different colourways - pink/green and purple/orange. 

The pattern doesn't have a pocket, but I thought it needed one. I drafted the front pocket (using the second print) by tracing around a bread and butter plate to draw a circle, then cutting an arc out of the top. It still looked ho hum so I dug out some purple braid (from the op shop, of course..) Instant cute!

The last pic below is Ellie in her cub poncho/blanket. I remember having one as a Brownie back in the early 80's. I found the blanket in the Yass Salvos and after picking Mum's brain, turned it into a poncho by cutting a curved slit in the centre and adding a rib trim.

She has a way to go with covering it with badges, but we have 4 to start with at least! She did take this on a camp, but reported back that she didn't sleep under it because it was a bit itchy. I did say it was meant for wearing over clothes around the campfire, not actually sleeping in, but clearly that message was lost!