Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label upcycling. Show all posts

August 30, 2012

Whatever happened to those comfy pair of jeans?

I promised you here that one day I'd show you my jean 'collection'. Well, since my sewing machine is given me headaches (not picking up stitches), I thought I'd share the collection instead.

So, whatever did happened to those comfy pair of jeans? Those that I've worn out, I've stashed away in boxes like this:
 Then they are disassembled and stored here and here:
And then finally they get made into something usually like this:
A shopping/utility/multi-purpose bag! Personally, I enjoy using them way more than the cheep ones sold at the grocery store. Each bag has it's own personality; I add in drapery fabric from a sample book I was given. They are great to use too because they have the same weight and (usually) texture as the jeans.
This funny hobby originated from my favourite jeans about ten years ago. You know, those pair that are incredibly comfy, you wear them all the time, and then they slowly start to deteriorate and so you add a patch here, and there. Then they rip more, and you hand stitch them there and here, and add another patch to reinforce the old ones too. And then those pants deteriorate so much that one day while doing maintenance work, you hear a RRRIIIIPPPPP, and you know that the only you will wear these pants anymore is with a pair of leggings underneath. (And you do too, because you work at camp, and this is totally acceptable).
But one day, those jeans must retire. And myself, having artfully stitched and patched those pants, couldn't bear to toss them. So instead I cut them up and made my very first jean bag. (The yellow plaid was even the patching material I had used over and over).
And I still use it years later! I have made many more, so many I couldn't take pictures of them all. But every part of the jeans are used. The back pockets are used on the insides, belt loops for decorations, and the waist bands (the most valuable part) are used as the handles. (You always need two pairs of jeans to make one bag...)
The material gets used for the obvious, and even the thick seams of the jeans I will cut out and weave together and make funky bags.
Family and friends started donating their old jeans to me, and now I've made many projects with denim, including a quilt (a gift: Thanks for the picture D.), hot 'plates', coasters and even a computer case (unsuccessfully).
It's a heavy fabric, and can be a pain to sew the thick seams, but I enjoy the results more. And the fact that my old favourite jeans can still be used. That's some great upcycling for ya!

July 3, 2012

Jeans for the summer

I received some hand-me-down jeans from a friend a few weeks back and with the summer weather starting to peak I thought I'd alter some into a pair of capri pants. Easy-peasy! I just tried the pants on, marked them and then cut at the desired length.

I did add slits on each leg just about 2 inches long to add extra movement to the legs. I seem ripped up to where I wanted and then pinned the new hem in place to hold it. I did reinforce the bottom of the seem on the side leg just to prevent any unwanted seem ripping. I used a golden heavy weight jean thread to top stitch the cuffs and the slits like traditional jeans. I used bright red thread to top stitch the top of the slits to add a colour top stitching detail which copies a similar original detail on the bum pockets.
A fairly easy upcycling project for a new pair of pants and I've already gotten a lot of wear out of them. Maybe one day I'll share my rediculous jean collection with you...and no...they are not found in my wardrobe.  :)

April 12, 2012

The best gifts are handmade...

...just like this Darling Ranges dress my sister made me for Christmas. I can't help but wear it even when it's a quiet day at home. I love the buttons; pretty ceramic ones. (It looks so great with those wool socks! Ha.)
Another project completed today. I finished the Sorbetto top for my mom.
It's made from an old button-up blouse of her's that she never wore because she says she didn't like the fit. So she saved the material and I snatched it up for this project. I inserted an invisible zipper on the side (I find my blue-plaid Sorbetto is tricky enough to put on without)...and even though it's bright can't see it! :) The back of the top has an inverted pleat (opposite from the front).

April 10, 2012

Learn to stick to what I like...

I 'finished' my Pendrell top a few weeks ago. I say that in quotations because I have yet to hem it. The thing is... it's not my favourite. Why did I ever think wearing anything in a stretchy polyester would be my thing?Though sewing this top was very straight forward, there are a few things I have done wrong.

Firstly, I have made the wrong size; I'm pretty sure about this. There is too much fabric around the waist and the back, even for a tucked in top: I like things more closely fitted. I still have no idea if I should be attempting an FBA on some patterns. It seems like a lot of work.
Secondly: wrong choice of material. Even though I was trying to upcycle an old dress...the lining was a lining for a reason. It's stretchy, thick, and does not iron flat. Actually, none of seems are flat. Lesson learned. Choose cottons. I like cottons.
Third: there are too many ruffles for me. I should've listened to my sister...but the other tops I've seen look so great. Well, maybe I'll try the bell sleeve next time.
However: I am still learning. It was not an expensive project. Following a Sewalong was so helpful. Pattern was really easy to understand. On to the next project. :)

March 25, 2012

My first sew-along...

I have a new project on the go... I have decided to take an old dress from high-school (can't believe I held on to that for so long!) and upcycle it into a new outfit. I am hoping to use the main pattern to make a skirt, and I am currently in the process of making a top from the 'innards' of the old dress.

The black 'innards' is made of a stretchy-polyester-type, not quite enough for a whole top...but I was able to find the exact same stuff at the fabric store (and discovered a 50% off luck!). I am following Tasia's Pendrell Blouse sew-along and making view B. Ruffles galore! I must say... I am not usually the ruffly type gal, but hey... the skirt bottom will have some ruffly-swing to it, so why not?

I love sewing a pattern with a sew-along! It's like having an expert right there teaching you, and then I can read all the comments and prepare myself for mishaps before they happen. (And I like that a a newish clothing sewer I pick out a lot of stitches). I am surprised at how quickly this top is coming together.

Oh, and I do realize that the actual sew-along happened awhile ago, but I can still follow along, right? :)

March 11, 2012

It all started with a jacket...

I am a fan of up-cycling. Sometimes it works, sometimes I learn and sometimes, if I'm lucky, I'll gain a 'new' piece of clothing. Well it was the jacket that got me started on all of this. I wanted a nice jacket to wear, but being a saver I went and searched the racks at the thrift store. I found this:
Unfortunately the lining was all ripped, so I haggled for a discount, and then spent the money on fabric. :) I carefully took out the lining in sections, and then used them for my pattern. Slippery little buggers.
The fabric I chose is the bright red and yellow floral print (my partner says it reminds him of Fresh Prince). I just think the plain grey jacket needs a little pizazz. :)
I was able to machine sew the whole jacket in except the sides, which I hand stitched. With all this warm weather I've been able to wear the jacket all winter, it's a bit snug, so I can't wear any thick sweatshirts underneath. The hood is still lined with the old lining, I'm not sure whether to replace it. And how about those buttons, replacing them might be tricky. Ideas?