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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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.


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).


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.


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.


The whole confection


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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:


Assemble the rough shape. This is for the front.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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:


A demonstration of one in use:


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.


*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.



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


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


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.



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.


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.



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.


I then put a coordinating lining in.


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:


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?