Shibori Skivvies

I wanted a few fine wool jumpers in a looser fit and bright cheerful colours. I found some beautiful soft cream knit fabric for very little money about a year ago.

Cut out two skivvies. Run one up. Only one because the patterning plan (as it turned out, not the best plan) was going to work better on flat fabric.


Fold and squish and tie with string.


Dye each different colours


The “reveal”, the most fun part of all.


And end up with these


Actually, I fib a little. The blue one turned out like this to start with. Oh my. Eep.


I didn’t want to look like a strange many breasted creature, so I retied this one. Fewer strings than the red, having just been reminded how easy it is to resist the dye. I didn’t overdye the sleeves, I was happy to retain the spots there.


Thankfully, the second dyeing gave a garment I am willing to be seen in.


I’ve a little more of the fabric. Maybe enough for a third similar garment? If I decide to cut that, or anything out of such stretchy fabric I will try to remember to cut the neck hole smaller.



Jethro Jumper

I’ve been wanting for a while to try a woven fabric placket on a knit shirt. I love henley style shirts but my every attempt to put buttonholes in knit fabric has resulted in disaster. This garment is reasonable proof I think, perhaps not of concept, but of my ability to work this technique.


The main fabric is fine merino wool rib. The same base fabric as the Paua cardigan, but overdyed with crab apple bark as described in this post. The placket fabric is a scrap of silk from a long ago jacket lining. Buttons are shell as usual.

This pic is a better representation of the colour. It’s too dark and stormy today to get a decent pic of it on me. Ah, and I don’t think I wrote it in any of the crab apple dyeing posts, the tree was called Jethro.


Overlocker Epiphany

I’ve been an eejit.  I’ve finally realised that this sort of seam failure isn’t the fabric being poor quality (although in this extreme example that was also probably a factor)…. It’s because I don’t change my overlocker needles often enough! I should also pay attention to not just frequency, but type. I have simply used #80 universal needles for everything thus far, and each pair for way too long. This is ok for most kinds of woven everything. NOT for fine knits. I’m reluctantly admitting that I ought change needles before and after a bout of fine knit sewing.


So I have just brushed out the machine, oiled it, fully rethreaded* and put in fresh #75 ballpoint needles. All in preparation for some mending of fine merino long johns. I will try hard to remember to change the needles back before working on heavier woven cloth.


I’m grateful that I can now manage this without reference to the manual. Makes the whole job less confronting.

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.

-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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Patchwork Pinnie

I’m not sure if I’ve made the nice fun winter dress I was aiming for, or a dumb Holly Hobbie clown frock. Both I think. My opinion as to which will depend on mood. Today I like it.

I had inadvertently collected five different kinds of blue pinwale cord, none big enough for much of a garment. I also wanted another long winter dress and I love making patchwork. I only used four of the fabrics in the end. The palest blue stood out too much, and wasn’t needed for acreage. The polkadot piece was a mere scrap given to me for free at a stash market when I expressed interest in it. The floral print was a strange bolt end that had been cut into from a fashion house clearance shop.


Anyway. I think it came together quite well. The bodice is a cut down version of the gold waistcoat I made last year. It is just big enough to slip over the head, helped by the lining. Then there is a back belt that buttons to improve the shape. That can be buttoned loose if one prefers. All the seams line up nicely except the side front. That should have had more thought in the cutting stage.

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Obligatory button shot. These are just decorative. Usually that’s against my rules, but they seemed to be needed for visual balance with the big white polkadots.


Here is on. Glad I remembered pockets this time, which used the last bit of the polkadot fabric.


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.


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.


Wizard of many colours


Mexican inspired cloth has been in the shops the last few years. I had been interested to get some but was sad that all the garment quality bolts I’d found were poly cotton blends. Then I found this, advertised on the store website as 100% cotton. On special even. Woo hoo I though, I’ll have me some of that. Going in believing it was cotton, I didn’t assess it in person carefully enough. It turns out to be pure plastic. Boo hoo! I’ve made it up anyway into the hooded robe I wanted in the first place. We will see how it wears, and whether I can stand it, natural fibre fan that I am.

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Serendipity cushion

I just spent a week with hard flat wooden seats as the only sitting options. Oh my sore tailbones. A cushion would have made my week more comfy.

In the clean up after this event, I nearly threw out the few handfuls of cotton flock left over from a futon remodel. No! this could be cushion stuffing! Then I remembered a scrap of lovely wool embroidered upholstery cloth I’ve had in stash for many years. That had resisted all attempts at inclusion in other projects. It wanted to be it’s own thing. So I assembled the cotton into the shape of this cloth and made it into a baby futon with a bit of old sheet that was lying about.



By itself, this cotton made a sad, flat, baggy cushion. I wondered if I had much in the way of feathers left from previous custom cushion insert games. I did! It was the short end of a feather pillow, already roughly closed and…. the right shape! So that went in too, making the cushion slightly overstuffed.

I made a bunch of tassels from left over tapestry wool in stash, picking up the colours of the embroidery


The backing is heavy cotton offcuts from a butterfly my grandmother worked many years ago. It’s a good match for the weave and weight of the ground of the embroidered cloth. My stash doesn’t run much to heavy cloth, so piecing the bits of this was worth it.


Cushion! The multiple tassels per corner were inspired by the extreme tassellation of some 16thC bags.


It’s only little, and quite narrow, but it’s enough to give my poor tailbones a softer experience and can be used even on little stools. Fits nicely on my “Waldo” stool (one of a series of these made by a good friend).


Serious Warm Finito

Faithful readers might remember this garment from last year. Serious Warm, Serious Remodel. After the hacking up, dyeing, recutting and machining, this lived in a cupboard until a few weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve removed all the overlock stitching and hand finished all the seams. This now joins my small collection of living history clothing with insides that I’m not ashamed of. Having it done after literally hanging about for 8 months feels good.

From this, though with the sleeves attached.


To this.


The thread is fairly fine two ply wool from the London handweavers shop. I bought it in the hope of tablet weaving with it. It’s nowhere near strong enough for tablet weaving warp, but it’s working just fine for this handsewing and at least some of the Greenland garments were finished like this with 2ply wool. It would probably be more accurate and less work to fold both allowances to one side of the seam (except the shoulder) but this fabric is so thick, that would end up very lumpy.

It was a minor miracle I got all the seams and hems done with only this little bit of thread left! Sew faster so you can finish before the thread runs out!


I used a different fine wool to stab stitch the edges of the sleeves, but you can barely see that anyway. Can you tell the thread is bright acid green? A more obvious type of stab stitching is more accurate for the Greenland frocks, but this is a familiar technique for me and negates the business of having to use different thread to the rest of the finishing.


Here she is all done. I will try to remember to take pictures of a full outfit when the weather is conducive. It’s way too warm at the moment.


More Bagses

Golly, a month with no posts! I’ve been busy, but not getting to writing things up here. Two large projects are not finished yet. I’ll start with writing up some small ones.

I’ve made a couple more simple bags, this time as gifts. I ought remember to check the photos I’ve taken before I give things away. I’m not happy with the pictures of either of these, but in both cases I didn’t realise that until after they had gone to their respective recipients.

This is an intricately patterned woven “tapestry” fabric bought cheaply in a bolt end sale. The friend I was with that day liked it and asked if she could “have any leftovers, pretty please?” The piece was only small, so some years later I decided to make it up for her as a bag.  Front and back views all folded up neatly prior to posting.

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The second bag is made for a purple loving lady from 6 sample pieces of fabulous Laura Ashley (if I remember correctly) reversible cotton jaquard. I had to change the bag proportions slightly to fit the cloth dimensions. I’ve had these pieces sitting in stash for years. Now they are finally made up pretty much as I intended.


Inside shot. Gives a better impression of how gloriously glossy the fabric is. I’ve had to use a facing instead of the top hem due to the limited fabric piece sizes.


and here is the front view.