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5 Sweatshirt Refashion Ideas

Happy New Year! I hope that 2017 will be better, kinder and more mindful for you and me both.

During the holidays I received a navy sweatshirt from a person I respect and admire a lot. The only thing is the sweatshirt is a bit (just a couple centimetres) too small for me at the waist and at the sleeve cuffs. I’d like to keep the sweatshirt and wear it as much as I can so that it would remind me of the beautiful person I’ve received it from, but I’d need to do some modifications.

For now, here’s what I am thinking about:

  • Cutting the sleeves off and inserting a knitted panel. Either knitting the cuffs. Or inserting the panel at the bicep area. Or adding a fabric panel in the same way.
  • Adding lace like this Anthropologie top.
  • Cutting the bottom hem and the bottom of the sleeves and adding flanel shirt cuffs and buttons in the front, a bit like this shirt from Death by Elocution.
  • Turning it into a cropped cardigan like Geneva’s bomber sweatshirt (A Pair and a Spare).
  • Cutting the sleeves, bottom hem and neckline off and making it a workout crop?

Any suggestions or ideas? 🙂

 

 

Simple Sewing with a French Twist by Céline Dupuy (book review)

I recently flipped through a sewing book written more than ten years ago by Céline Dupuy, Simple Sewing with a French Twist and I wanted to make note to some of the ideas in this sewing book I really likedCéline Dupuy is an artist and a designer and you can also find her on her Instagram or her website, where you can find this book and another one focused on reconstructing denim, as well as sewing patterns and other of her newer creations, like this repurposed denim bottle:

The whole book is filled with simple and beautiful ideas for making lounge garments and homeware like duvet covers and embroidered pillowcases, aprons, tote bags and drawstring pouches. It’s the perfect companion for slow fashion October (#slowfashionoctober) and the idea of slow craft in general.

The construction of the items is very simple, but each item is given a lot of thought and care to make, like the shoe tote (p.44), which is made from a beautifully printed silk and adorned with a silk tassel or the velvet flip-flops (p.102), which are made by sandwiching cotton batting in between soles made of beautiful fabric remnants and hand-stitched (I suppose you could also use felt instead of cotton batting if you wanted to make them a bit sturdier, but these are delicate pieces).

fabric-flip-flops

Many of these ideas could be implemented with reclaimed or repurposed items, like the chair decorated with buttons (p.73). A found chair could be repainted, then decorated with lots of buttons. The buttons are first sewn to a piece of fabric, and the fabric is then affixed to the back of the chair with spray adhesive. Instead of buttons, other small pieces could be used, like seashells, fragments of broken CDs, pieces of leather or wool felt, and the list can go on.

button-back-chair

I really liked all the handmade bedding, the duvets and the pillowcases. They could also be made by repurposing fabric from garments that are no longer worn, like old kimonos, dresses, even fabric scarfs. Old cotton sheets or tablecloths could be made into new pillowcases by embroidering simple designs on them.

bedding-handmade

 

Bonus! Mitered corners!mitered-corners

I’ve tried making mitered corners textile napkins before, but they were never perfect. I think the illustration is this books makes it very easy to remember what to do. She suggests, for example, to press first, then cut the excess fabric from the corner, then press again into a mitered corner shape and finally, sew.

I might give mitered corners another go, after all!

 

 

 

 

Summer skirt and linen tank top

Linen is wonderful. Like cotton, linen, a textile woven from flax fibres, is one of the oldest and most popular textiles in history. It comes in different kind of weaves, looser or tighter, unbleached or dyed, and when washed, it wrinkles very easily.

There’s an old proverb that says “Never choose your women or your linen by candlelight” (Oxford Dictionary of proverbs) Apparently, it warns agains the deceitfulness of things in the light of the candle. Thankfully we don’t live in the sixteenth century, but sexist remark aside, it does talk about the importance given to choosing the best linen.

This particular linen I chose, has some cotton in it, so it doesn’t wrinkle as much as pure linen. It’s also softer and the loosed weave makes it very airy and breathable.

I’ve been thinking about making this linen top the moment I saw Seamwork Magazine’s Catarina dress. The original sewing pattern is created for soft fabrics with some drape, so I knew this was going to look rather boxy and structured, but I wasn’t sure just how boxy and whether it was going to be wearable.

Pattern and construction

I initially cut out a size larger for the tank top (or the bodice), just to make sure it would be wearable, but it was too boxy, so I ended up taking that one size off from the sides. I also made the straps much wider shorter, which brought the neckline higher. I lengthened the bodice, adding a few inches to the waistline.

In retrospect, I maybe should have lined it with a softer fabric, maybe a cotton batiste to make it less rigid. But I quite like that it looks very different from any other top I have. Even with the double layer the top is breezy and easy to wear.

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The linen top can be worn tucked in or over another garment, like a pair of jeans. It’s not quite a crop top, but it’s shorter than I usually wear, to balance out some of the boxiness. I am also looking forward to colder weather, I think this could look good layered over a blue shirt I have or under a cardigan.

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The skirt is the same floral one I posted about before. I’ve already worn this more times that probably any other skirt I’ve ever worn, so I’m considering it a great success. For a skirt 🙂

I used a rectangle of fabric I had for the skirt, then created the pleats and added the waistband. Pretty straightforward.

Last thing about the top: look at the back straps and the backline of this garment, and how perfectly they align. What a beautiful pattern.

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Garment notes:

Sewing pattern: Catarina dress, altered

Things I wish I’d done differently: Use a bigger piece of fabric to remove the center seams, maybe line it in a lighter fabric.

Fabric: half a metre leftover white linen from another project.

No notions, thread from my stash.

Final cost = CAd $4 pattern (with the subscription) + $10 fabric = $14

How to make a Turban-style headband

Summer. You pour a glass of cold water and the surface of the glass instantly turns opaque, then melts into thin, transparent paths. You wait for, and enjoy even the mildest breeze in the hot air.

Summers are for keeping what your wear airy and fluid and your hair up and away from your face. They’re also a good time to start simple and useful projects, like a turban-style headband.

It’s easy to make one. All you need is scrap fabric and a piece of elastic. I started by creating two wedge shaped tubes of fabric, that I stitched on both sides and turned inside out.

The length of the pieces is the distance of your head, from one ear to the other, going over your crown. It’s up to you how wide you make your headband.

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I then arranged them to form a loop, like so:

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Once the loop was formed and shaped, I prepared another tube of fabric, somewhat thinner than the main loops and with the length corresponding to the distance from one ear to the other, going around the nape of the neck, plus 2.5 cm (1 in) on either side. Then I inserted elastic in that fabric tube and pinned it at both ends. then stitched it securely.

IMG_4973sI then sewed the loops side to the elastic side as neatly as possible. Here, I folded towards the inside the elasticated tube and pushed in the two loops from one side, then stitched by hand using tiny stitches.

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Repeat on the other side and you’re done!

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Now you’ll want to make another five of them and that’s ok 🙂

New: Sky Turtle Embroidery Patterns

Today I’m launching a new series: the Sky Turtle Embroidery Patterns, starting this summer with the ICONS mini-collection. The first of the four embroidery patterns is Frida.

You can download the free embroidery pattern by subscribing to our newsletter here. You’ll instantly receive the download link.

We only email when we publish new content and we will not share your address with anyone else. Next month, you will also receive the new embroidery pattern, right in your inbox!

What’s in the pack?

A high quality printable PDF with the Frida pattern in five different sizes, so you can embroider a tiny logo on a polo shirt, decorate a skirt or embroider a pillowcase.

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How to use the embroidery pattern

There are several ways to transfer your printed patter to fabric: you can trace it with a pencil, using a window and the light of day, or you can use tracing paper.

how to trace your embroidery pattern

Another way to transfer your pattern is to print directly on your fabric. I press and then tape the fabric on a piece of cardboard and print as usual. Disclaimer: please use this method at your own risk! I’ve used it a few times, but I am okay with potentially jamming/destroying my printer. In case you are not, better stick with the tracing method 🙂

tracing the embroidery pattern

How to embroider Frida

This embroidery pattern is beginner friendly. You can only use a back stitch if you want. I’ve used satin stitches for her hair and flowers, but feel free to use your creativity.

I recommend using a medium weight woven fabric for this pattern. I’ve embroidered my sample on a gauzy woven fabric and it puckers a little. You could also embroider on a heavier knit or polo fabric.

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That’s it. If you use it, I’d love to see the end result!

 

DIY Natural Beetroot Dyed Easter Eggs

If you’d like to paint eggs in a natural way this Easter, you could try this quick tutorial.

I first grated the beetroot and boiled it until it was done. If you don’t want to grate it, you can also cut it into chunks.

easter eggs with beetroot

I strained the beetroot, mix it with carrots and mayo and made a side salad 🙂 I kept simmering the remaining dye for 10 more minutes.

In the meantime, I boiled the eggs. You can also boil the eggs in the beetroot coloured water! I think the colour would stick much better (and they’ll be pink inside as well 🙂

how to color easter eggs with beets

I then mixed the natural dye with vinegar and let the eggs absorb some of the colour for about half an hour.

naturally colored easter eggs

The result is a pale pink, but I find it a great way to reuse what you have around the kitchen!

 

Sewing green: How to repurpose paper for your sewing patterns

Do you often think about reducing waste, repurposing materials and using only as much as you need when you sew?

I wanted to share a quick tip on how I reuse paper for printing my sewing patters: I use old magazines, brochures or snail mail. Most of them come in A4 paper, so I take out the staples and cut them into single A4 sheets. Or most likely rip them apart in single A4 sheets 🙂

I make sure they’re not bent or soiled in any way, then put them through my printer, like I would with normal fax/print paper. I know many of you will say that the images on the magazines are distracting, but if you really like to double the life of a few sheets of paper, you’ll see it’s really not that difficult to see the lines and cut your pattern.

printing sewing patterns on magazine paper

For my future Mesa dress from Seamwork I used the brochure from out trip to Niagara falls this summer 🙂

There’s a version of this brochure online, if we ever need it again and in the meantime, there’s a large percentage of the paper from this brochure that’s being reused instead of being binned.

Do you have any green sewing tips yourself?

Harem style house pants

I’ve actually made these pants two summers ago and forgot to post them. I wanted to link to them the other day in the How to shop your closet with Pinterest post and realised they were nowhere to be found.

floral harem style pants

These pants were fun to make and fun to wear: a light batiste with pink roses (a type of fabric that I love looking at but never end wearing) and a little bit of elastic thread and they were ready in a couple of hours. I used another pair of pants I had as a pattern and got too lazy to make pockets, which is a pity because I love pockets in everything.

floral harem style pants with an elastic (shirred) waist

I had initially intended to make these to wear outside, but they looked too loungey for me. (As a note, I keep referring to them in the past, as they’ve been donated and hopefully found a new home.)

floral harem style pants back detail

I liked how the waistband turned out, even if I made the waist too high. As they reminded me a bit of yoga pants I folded the waistband down and I thought that looked even better than my original plan.

Mistakes I’ve made with these pants:

  • They would have been better lounge pants if the fabric I chose was a bit elastic
  • The crotch was too low, even for lounge pants
  • I should have elasticized a larger area of the waistband (or maybe the sides? Hmm…) –> like these they were just 2% too tight when pulling them up

Good things I’ve made with these pants:

  • They are unintentional cool pajamas
  • I’ve serged everything first, them sewn very neatly
  • I tried to face my fear of wearing tiny floral prints (and failed!)

That’s about it with the easy to sew harem style pants, I just wanted to document and share 🙂

What about you? Do you wear tiny floral prints outside the house? Around the house?

 

Best of June in sewing and making

Last month I started documenting the small pleasures, little discoveries and hopefully areas of personal growth in sewing, knitting, making in general. These were my favourite things to discover or do in June:

See also: Best of July in sewing and making 

Inspired to sew (or at least consider trying) sewing a bra.

I’ve been reading and admiring bloggers who make lingerie and especially bras, but I’ve never considered it something I could try, until I read Ingrid’s post about her Watson bra. She says this:

“I think one of the reasons I love making lingerie, is that it takes no time whatsoever, and I don’t have to break my back taping/cutting patterns and fabric on the floor. It all feels very civilised, sitting at my desk cutting out tiny little pieces with my rotary cutter”

and she made this:

neon-watson3

So inspiring, like everything she makes. Don’t miss out her blog.

I’ve been loving Sarai’s posts about the Florence bra and I have her Nutmeg pattern in paper. It’s one of the very few patterns I brought with me when we moved and I’ve never used it.

I started a new sketchbook

I’ve started a small notebook for sewing ideas and projects. I know there’s Pinterest (love it, wrote about how to stay away from buying more that you need here) but it’s different when you draw something and in this case when you stick the actual fabric on the same paper. It becomes almost real. I’ve shared this image on Instagram, are you on instagram? Follow me or leave a comment below so I can find you!

handmade sketch blouse idea diy sewing

I’m experimenting with watercolours

And realising how little I actually know about painting. Actually almost nothing. I will still share this with you because it will be cool to see the progress over the months. I like doodling, drawing, painting so it’s something I want to do more of. I got a new set of travel watercolours so this alows me to quickly doodle something in my lunch break and makes cleaning up/putting everything back really quick.

crochet watercolour by sky turtle

I’ve used the tinyest needles ever to swatch this cotton yarn

These needles are so pretty and at the same so fragile (or at least they seem to be so) that they allowed me to be patient with my swatching. It’s amazing how gauge changes with the different patterns. I really like this cotton yarn, it’s actually a darker blue that my camera captured it here. It’s also really thin so I really need to find a strategy to channel my inner zen knitter.

swatching in blue cotton and really tiny needles

What about you? What did you learn or experiment with in June?

Hand knitted pillow cases [wip]

 

These past few weeks I can’t stop thinking about big, super chunky knits! I know it’s summer and I should be thinking about breezy dresses, but that’s just how things are, I guess. I’ve been looking for the right chunky knit for making pillow cases, so nothing too scratchy, nothing too fine. Something that feels good if you put your face on it, but is still a bit stiff, like a proper sofa cushion.

multi yarn chunky mint and aquamarine

I imagined a grey chunky, soft fibre to do all of the above and that apparently doesn’t exist. At least not this time of year.

I had this mercerized cotton I used for my mint top and I had a lot of it! I wanted to make a dress initially, but I wasn’t sure I would ever finish it so I ended up with a t-shirt and a lot of left over mint cotton. I also had two skeins in a lighter avocado green so I mixed them all up and created this beautiful yarn! Very good upper body exercise, putting 6 skeins into one ball!

I really like how the avocado green peeks from time to time, barely there. It was quite sunny when I took the photos and there’s a light burn, but in real life you can see the green yarn a bit more.

knitting pillow cases out of super chunky yarn

It knits very beautifully and quite quickly, as I imagined and I love the tension I got in the final knit. I think it’s my best ever. I should only knit in super chunky, it’s too easy.

I don’t imagine this into a garment because the resulting knit is actually quite heavy. I think it’s perfect for my new pillow-cases but not great as a sweater or cardigan, especially if you’re also using a coat.

work in progress knitted pillowcases in chunky yarn

I am also super happy to use this because I was a bit bored of it after making the mint t-shirt.  Do you also prefer to change yarn often or just love to use the same ones over and over again?