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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“Nothing” to wear

I had an appointment coming up in corporate land. Having gone to this office a few times now, I’m finally aware that it’s heated so much that I will overheat in anything more than shirt sleeves. I quite seriously had nothing in the wardrobe in which I was willing to be seen, in shirt sleeves, in corporate land. This was made to fill that gap.

It’s the same pullover pattern as the last few dresses, but with a deeper neckline and made out of very fine wool suiting. So a corporate friendly pinafore dress. I think I’ve cut it just high enough to wear as a dress alone, but it’s on the roomy side so I can wear a variety of shirts and/or jumpers under it.

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I’ve put a tab and buttons on each side to make it follow the figure a little more.  This basically replaces an underbust dart. If the fabric were any heavier, this closure would be too bulky I think.

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This picture shows the fabric better. It’s a pleasing teeny tiny woven check in chocolate brown and black. I’ve stab stitched the neckline to preserve the nice soft edge. Machine top stitching would have squashed the character out of the fabric.  The lining is top quality Bemberg rayon cut from a too small petticoat I made years ago. It’s wonderful stuff to wear but the slitheriest fabric I’ve ever sewn.

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Here it is, with my serious face on. Only sometimes do I remember to smile for these pics.  It’s lovely to wear. Really comfortable and nicely swishy with it’s full circle skirt. After the meeting, still in town, I collected a welcome compliment on the ensemble, from a lady who turned out to be a fellow dressmaker. Sweet.

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Resurrection

Isn’t it nice when a plan works? My thoughts on how to best resurrect that well worn coat were enacted pretty much exactly. First I removed the lining. It was cut away from the sleeve slits and cuffs. Only the front and neck facings were unpicked. My take on unpicking these days is very much to minimise it. If one can get away with cutting the unwanted parts away, then do. Life is too short and my arm’s work capacity is limited.

Then the wool outer was washed, gently.  Then I dyed some of the fine but strong and hard wearing beige wool suiting in stash to a nice green. It didn’t go quite as dark as the forest green would have liked but the hue is really good.

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Then I cut a deep facing for all the edges (except the hem)from the newly dyed cloth and applied it by machine except for the hem finishing. This will be fine for it’s intended use and the whole refurbishment still took me about a day of labour spread across three. Oh and I top stitched down all the seams because they are no longer protected by a lining. Plus I added straight grain reinforcing for some seams, such as the shoulders. It won’t last for forever but should do another couple of years.

From this:

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To this rather more respectable version:

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The owner is pleased. As he should be.

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Cold Shoulder Cardigan

I’ve worn this cardigan for several winters. It’s wonderfully soft and warm, but I’ve been finding the colour really boring.

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It was bought as a man’s cardigan from a factory outlet in NZ. After a few wears, I cut a bunch of fullness out of the shoulders to reshape it for me. This is the excised portion, shoulder seam at the top, sleeve seam at right.

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Now I’ve added some colour for fun using my food dyeing tricks. In the process, I discovered just how much water can be drawn through wool overnight. Capillary action I’m told. I’m so glad I put the red end in a bowl!

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Here it is dyed and dried. I’m pretty pleased, though I think it’s felted a little in the dyed sections. Still fits though, thankfully.

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For extra fun, I overdyed some grey yarn to match with the intention of making a hat to go with it.

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Little zippered bags

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Such a tiny project I’m not sure it’s worth blogging about. I was visiting a friend yesterday and she had just made a bunch of these. Then today, I remembered why I wanted a couple, so I made some. Hurrah for timely inspiration.

I should have used a finer lining fabric for the blue one, it’s sitting badly. I also suspect a different order of operation would give a neater effect at the top corners. Oh well, they will do for the purpose in mind.

The red toile fabric is left over from a tablecloth and napkins I made years ago. I bought the fabric in Florence. The blue willow pattern love birds were originally part of a tablecloth that I bought in an opshop, I think in Holbrook. It was damaged, I made a kitchen hanging from it first. A few years later I cut that up to make trim on a curtain for the then new servery. This is the leftovers from that, so the third purpose for these scraps of cloth. The zippers are stash cast offs from a friend.

 

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.

Lacy Handbag Resurrection

A few months ago, a friend invited me over to go through her remaining fabric stash and take what I wanted. Very generous. Amongst the bag of bits I took home was this old hand crocheted bag that had seen better days. I wanted to have a go at making it both useful and pretty again and give it back to the lady.

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You can see above that the outer section of the lacy edge was quite badly damaged. My first thought was to fix that by sewing it together, using beads to enliven it. I started doing that but the fibres were just falling apart as I worked. So instead, I decided to snip off the worst of the damage. Thankfully the crochet was worked in rounds so taking off the outer section was easy.

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Here it is sans damaged section.

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I was sad about having to lose that lovely depth of lace trim. So to both replace the fancy and give back some weight and drape, I decided to sew the beads all around the edge. Besides, doing that was fun. The beads are a mix of ones I had in my stash.

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Beginning the bead trim:

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It needed a strap. I was a bit stumped for what to use until I thought of plaiting one from a mix of almost right colours. Thread from my stash. I think it looks quite good.

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Then I built a liner for it. The blue silk I hand dyed. I had hoped for a more purple colour, but this is what I got and it’s pretty as is. The green is lightweight cotton drill from another friend’s stash rejects.

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It has a pretty zippered pocket in a mix of colours

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Then I stitched the liner to the lace outer around the opening edge. I forgot to get pictures of that. Here is the whole thing finished though:

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and a good detail of the beading with the liner in place

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She should have it by now. I very much hope she likes it.

cot sheets

I was invited to a baby shower and encouraged to bring second hand baby stuff for the expectant parents. I don’t have children, so instead I made new cot sheets out of an old rejected sheet of mine that had been laying about waiting for a decision on it’s future. So the fabric is second hand, but that means it is nicely pre-softened.

I worked out the size needed and cut out the pieces. Then I pressed folds in at the point that the sheet will curve over the edges of the mattress. That gave me lines to guide my freehand fun with fabric markers. I decided to only put the designs around the edge to limit skin contact with the baby. There should be no problem, but I have friends with some strange sensitivities.

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After the designs were drawn and pressed to set*, I made up the structure of the fitted sheet.

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Then for the first time ever, managed to fold fitted sheets neatly. I don’t bother for my own sheets but these were little and a gift.

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*the instructions on the markers said to iron on cotton setting for 4 minutes! That’s a very long time. I did 10-12 seconds with some steam and just that was enough to begin scorching the cloth. The ink will fade with washing. Evolving character I say. I know from experience actually that the gold/brown of the suns will wash to a pleasant soft grey.

 

A small but pleasing transformation

This is a post from March 2016 that I wanted to bring over. I wonder, do I have any new readers?

This was an opshop find that I pounced on to replace my old favourite gardening jumper*. Same colour, a little larger, far fewer moth holes, but with a stiff scratchy zip. I cut the zip out, stitched up the resulting two layer edge and put two buttons with loops as the new closure. I’m so pleased with the transformation. From a harsh, cold, modern look to a soft, warm, old fashioned one. Much more appealing to me anyway.

The end result:
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reconstructed “before” shot with the zip just placed in position.
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*a lovely soft Burberry one found in a charity shop in Edinburgh, dahlink.

A long delayed remodel

This ex garment has been hanging around my house for years. It used to be a babydoll top, you can see the remains of the centre front neckline at the top of the picture below. The shape was awful on me, but it’s pure cotton and the lace pattern in the knit was so lovely I refused to throw it out. I’ve been meaning to make into a skirt, and today I finally did.

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Edit: look what I found in the photo files! It seems I chopped this garment up in November 2011.

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Chop the top off, remove the buttons, sew the fronts together, fold the top edge over to make a channel, thread with elastic and voila, a skirt and a cute one if I do say so.

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