Laundry bag

I’ve been aware for some time that I wanted a laundry bag for traveling. While not getting around to making one I had been musing on what qualities I wanted in it.

-lightweight
-colourfast
-ok to be washed with either lights or darks
-smooth, non grabby fabric (so the clothes go in and out easily)
-fairly strong
-visually different from the rest of the contents of my luggage.
-as always, natural fibre preferred.

After thinking of, then rejecting a number of options, I remembered an old defunct garment. Now too small and burgundy no longer being my friend for wearing, I could claim the lovely Liberty lawn for a laundry bag. An unused thing isn’t taking up space and I get to enjoy the gorgeous paisley fabric in a new shape. It ticks all the boxes.

It’s 80x52cm and weighs only 100g, which is less than most tshirts.

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Simple recycled bags

Not impressive sewing, but a nice bit of thrifty remodelling. Making use of quality fabric and keeping some memories. I had a bunch of too small and/or worn out garments made from liberty lawn and other fabrics that I loved to much to part with. I’ve made the largest pieces from six of them into four simple bags. These will I think mostly serve as shoe bags for travel. They are near weightless.

Here is one of the shirts when it was newly made. I love the fabric so much. I could have hung on to it in hope of weightloss, but it turns out the neckline wasn’t ideal anyway. So even if it fit again, I’d rather make new shirts.

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Bags of prettiness, thrift, practicality and memory. Hmm, I might see if the rest of the garments might yield big enough pieces to try making waxed fabric cloths for food storage.

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Gelato donuts

I liked the tie dye makeover of the orange top so much I went and did another. The resulting impression is so different. Less badass, more spun sugar.

I had a winter white Country Road jumper that was looking a bit tired. It’s hard to refresh whites in wool. So instead I’ve been thinking to overdye it.

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The colours came out more muted than I had hoped for me. Silly me didn’t check the fibre composition! It turns out to be only 43% protein fibre. No wonder it came out so pastel. At least the circular patterns nicely reflect the knitted-in polkadots.

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The whole confection

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Badass Tiedye makeover

I made this vivid orange top last year out of lovely soft merino fabric. I found though that it was so bright I almost never wore it.

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So today I tortured it with elastic bands and popped in a blue dyebath.

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Woo hoo! I really like how it came out. Both more and less subdued. A bit badass I reckon. Let’s see if I actually wear it now.

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Liberty nights

I’m publicising my nightwear again. Completely decently I promise. Fine lawn is cool to wear and folds up small and light for travel. Add a busy print and it’s more decent in the opacity sense. Liberty Tana is of course perfect. I made a kimono style robe for summer traveling some years ago from a beautiful orange tulip Tana. I’ve been wanting a gown to go with it. I decided to use some of the left overs from the lattice patchwork, including the tulip print.

While working on the lattice, I found this second hand purple dress. It didn’t fit, but I rather thought the fabric might be Liberty Tana. It was home made, so no label to identify it. I now think it probably isn’t, but it’s very close in quality.

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I used a little of it in the lattice. I deliberately kept the skirt whole, figuring it would be good for something needing acreage. Then I realised I could build a patchwork bodice, and use the skirt for this gown. I got a few squares out of the purple, enough to tie the bodice in visually. Measure the pattern. Work out a good size for the squares and how many are needed. Start laying them out:

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Assemble the rough shape. This is for the front.

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Then cut the pattern out of it, cursing when you realise you need to put darts in it.

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Assemble the bodice, all with flat felled seams to keep it single layer and minimum weight, maximum cool. Adjust the skirt so it can be attached flat to the bodice. To maximise fullness neatly, I put an inverted pleat at centre back. The hem is the original with a bit of tweaking where I redid the seams.

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A quick pic of it on. It’s baggy deliberately but the colours, though strange, work for me. No smile, I had a grump on.

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The neck and armholes are finished with teeny straight grain facings, a trick I’ve adopted from my medieval costume work. It uses little fabric, is fairly quick to do and strengthens the edge.

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Here it is with the robe over. I’m pretty happy with it.

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and a gratuitous label shot. In this case the label is recycled from a now too small shirt.

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Reworked Hair Sticks

About six months ago, I nearly jabbed a friend in the eye with my hair stick when turning my head for a hug. I decided that my over long and too pointy hair sticks had to go or be altered. I’ve put aside some of the metal and plastic dpns* I was using and have had fun converting a couple of wooden ones and paint brush handles into appealing and somewhat safer hair sticks.

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The only one that went as planned was the white pearl stick. That was a worn out paintbrush with the ferrule pulled off. Sanded back, coated with white gouache paint, said paint rubbed off as much as possible with a damp cloth, let to dry, then varnished. I’m really pleased with the effect.

The wooden dpns were much more troublesome. That wood turned out to be very brittle, so I couldn’t achieve plan A. The shorter one splintered several times during both sawing and drilling before I gave up on plan B and came up with plan C. I’m amused by the piercing effect. Hoping that one is in fact long enough to function properly (edit: Woot, it does)

This is a better shot of the first two I made:

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A demonstration of one in use:

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The smaller paint brush one was previously my favourite hair stick in it’s paint brush form. I didn’t want to clean it up too much so I didn’t at all. I just pulled the ferrule off, glued a wooden bead on the end and gave it rough coats of black, then gold acrylic paint. I love the finished piece despite the grungy handle.

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*dpn=double pointed (knitting) needle.

A Remodeled Wisp

I was wanting another evening dress. I hadn’t been able to settle on a plan for any of the new lengths of fabric from stash. I was however suddenly struck with an idea for remodeling a frock that has been languishing in the wardrobe for a few years. In one day I had the inspiration, cut it up and remade the outer dress.

This is the bodice, firstly after I hacked the skirt off. Silly me forgot to take a proper before photo. Then with the vintage lace separated out for reclamation. That waist section was a little too tight when I first made it and is now even more so. Drat the effects of advancing years.

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The fabric is so lovely, it’s worth reworking it so I can wear it.

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I found enough left over fabric to cut a new bodice. Short waisted, cross over. Based on the T bodice pattern I’ve used for several dresses. Not sure if I’ve posted any of them here? I’ll look later and maybe update. Anyway. I sewed that up the same morning. Then I regathered and attached the skirt, with a facing behind to form a drawstring channel.

It’s crinkle silk chiffon again. Working with this stuff is sort of like sewing air. The sewing itself tends to go fairly smoothly I find. It’s the handling and fabric placement that takes extra time. I do recommend using silk sewing thread. It blends with the fabric, doesn’t fight it.

Here is the resulting wisp of a frock

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Obviously I can’t wear it like that alone. The original frock was fully lined. So I reclaimed the lace trimmed skirt from that and made a new slip on bodice from a coordinating rayon lining fabric with the reclaimed lace strips for the neckline.

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Silly me sewed the back of the slip bodice on inside out. I decided it wasn’t important enough to be worth unpicking. So if I haven’t got my hair down, the label will be visible through the floaty frock. Oh well.

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And here they are together. Floaty, comfortable, sleeved and less formal than the original, if a bit less flattering perhaps. One wearable dress from an unusable one.

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Pink!

Some months ago, my niece pointed at a picture in a book and said “I want that one”. I didn’t see the picture, but I’m told it was a bag made from a pair of pink jeans. I needed to organise a present for her and this is something well within my capabilities. She may not even remember the picture, or the wanting, but I hope she likes it anyway.

An opshop provided a pair of size 8 ladies jeans in brilliant pink. I chopped them below the fly, inserted a rectangular base and handles, cut from the legs.

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I then put a coordinating lining in.

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I left the button and fly functional for fun. Then I realised that gave access to the space between bag and lining for the putting of things, and a five year old would. So to prevent the inevitable struggle of having to get them out again, I sewed through to catch the placket closed. Pity I didn’t think of this until the lining was in, so that stitching shows on the inside. Oh well. If I ever make another I shall try to remember.

And the backside:

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I reckon it came out quite well. It occurs to me that my old jeans would make good grocery bags made up like this with a squarer base. I wonder if I’ve kept any?

Rescue to fill a need

It’s winter here, and I decided it was time to bring out my hand pieced silk cushion covers. However, I was missing one for the set of cushions I like to have in the living room. I didn’t want to take time to make another from scratch while I still have the lattice quilt in progress. Hmm. Then I remembered I had these little hexagonal ones I had fallen out with. The purple colours don’t work in the room. The right hand one has good colouring but made me thing instantly of a car company rather than the trefoil-esque motif that it was intended to be.

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After some thought, I decided that if I chopped that right hand one down the middle, split the two halves and did some sort of infill, it would serve the desired purpose with a relatively modest amount of effort.

This was the result:

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I’m moderately pleased with it. It does at least stop one’s brain going straight to the car company. I’d rather have used colours for the infill rather than black and brown, but I felt that heavy silk would perform better and these were the only two pieces I had.  It was still quite a bit of work, maybe a day’s effort all up? I make the fronts of these covers as tiny quilts. The batting evens out the texture and the quilting supports the fragile silk. They have proved more robust in use than I originally feared.

Anyway. It gives me the cover I wanted to work in with the other three and the original cushion gets to see some service. The red and turquoise one second right is not my work but that of a friend, made for me many years ago.

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A Little Augmentation

This is the original of those fabric bags I’ve been making. I decided to add internal pockets so that it is more useful as a travelling handbag. I have also shortened the strap because that had been so annoyingly long I had knotted it up.

I’ve sized one of the pockets to hold my passport and phone.

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This would have been SO much easier if I had thought to do this during construction in the first place. I had to carefully handsew through only one layer of the bag so that the stitching doesn’t show on the outside. Well, I could have done it on the machine, but I didn’t want the ugly stitching lines.

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Here is the bag from the outside. Looks no different.

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I still might make myself another, but later.