Popular Posts

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bread bin transformation!

Hey everyone! Apologies for the long absence, I've been a bit busy sorting something important for the past few weeks (details to follow later) and I haven't really had a chance to do much crafting. However, I finally managed to do some this weekend!

Say hello to our old bread bin. It served us well for many years but it's time for a change.

I really didn't want to throw it away as it seemed such a waste, so I decided to re-purpose it. It was looking a bit tired, with water marks on the surface of the pine, and I wasn't sure it was much use to anyone in its current form.

First things first, I removed the fabric holding the slats of the rolling door together and then removed the slats themselves.

Next, I drilled three holes in the backboard at regular intervals. It was at this point that I noticed that the back and base boards weren't solid pine but veneered MDF (or something) and panicked slightly that I wasn't going to be able to do what I'd planned. Luckily the veneers were wood rather than plastic, so I relaxed a smidge.

Then I sanded down the entire thing to get rid of any kitchen-related build-up (we've had it for about 6 years, so it was necessary) and cleaned off any wood dust with a damp cloth.

Enter this lovely pot of exterior wood paint. I just adore this colour!

For the first coat I used a paintbrush, but I wasn't happy with the streaky result so on the second and third coats I used a craft sponge. This gave me a much smoother finish.

Finally, I filled it with soil and planted some lupins in it. Behold my bright, happy new planter!

Unfortunately it's tipping it down in this photo so the planter isn't really showing its full potential, but you get the idea. Just the thing to brighten up the patio a bit!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Mini project of the week 2 - PJs to daytime T-shirt

I have had these pyjamas for about 6 years. I don't usually keep PJs for this long (I do have some standards), but I absolutely LOVE these ones.

Whats this?!
I have a real thing for the Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington rocks. Plus, these pyjamas were a present from Hubby, so I didn't like to get rid of them. However, I think the time has come. They have stretched, they are becoming bobbly and the print is flaking. Boo hoo hoo!

I can't bring myself to just get rid of them though. It goes against the grain. So, I took my seam ripper to the appliqued Jack on the T-shirt and removed him. I got loads of black glitter on my hands at this point, so I figure the PJs must have been sparkly when I got them, but it's so long ago that the sparkle has been lost in the mists of time.

Well hello Jack!

Then I pinned this to a nice, fitted black T-shirt  I had in my wardrobe and stitched it down.

Hey presto!
Perfectly acceptable (and very cool) day wear. Took about half an hour. Woohoo!

Mini project of the week 1 - Kitchen organisation sack!

This morning I got irritated. Every time I open the cupboard that we keep crisps in everything falls out. I'd love one of those kitchens you see in the showroom section of Ikea where every drawer has useful storage whatsits, but as we rent our tiny tiny house and the kitchen is really weirdly laid out, we have to resort to cramming things in wherever we can. Hence the avalanche of packets of crisps every time we open this particular cupboard.

See what I mean?
So, I decided to make a sack to store crisps in, similar to the potato bag we have in the same cupboard (well, crisps come from potatoes don't they? Of course they should be stored together...).

I started with two contrasting cotton fabrics from my fabric bag.

Pretty colours!
I cut matching pieces from each fabric and folded each piece in two. Then I laid one piece on top of the other and ran a line of stitches down each side.

Next I turned the fabric the right way round and folded the top over, running a line of stitches along the raw edge.

Getting there!

I turned the top over again, further this time, and ran a second line of stitches around the edge, leaving a small area unstitched. Lastly I threaded a piece of yellow ribbon through the top hem I'd just created, to use as a drawstring.

Ta dah!
Finished! This took literally about half an hour to do and it was so easy, and when we eventually move into a not so tiny tiny house we can use the bag for something else.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Embroidered tunic to sparkly top

Once again I have to apologise for not posting for a couple of weeks. This time it's hubby who has had the plague and I've been playing Florence Nightingale, although I must admit I'm probably a much less tolerant nurse than she was. I started this project last weekend and didn't have time to finish it, and then I didn't have time over the week so it had to wait until yesterday. It was good timing though as I went to the lovely Maria D'Silva's hafla in Leicester last night and sparkles are always good for a hafla.

I started with a beautiful kameez tunic that I found in a charity shop near where I work. I love teal so this colour was perfect for me.


First step was to turn it inside out, put it on and pin it. This is harder than you might think, especially when you have to get it off again without the pins stabbing you. I should invest in a dress form really, but I have no free floor space in our tiny tiny house. One day...
I ran a line of stitches plus a line of overlocking stitch down each side to prevent fraying, and took my stitch ripper to the sleeves. then I folded the raw edges of the sleeve holes and stitched them.

Off with your sleeves!
Next I chopped off the excess fabric from the sides, although I had to stop at where the slit sides of the tunic started.

Looking good so far...

Next I chopped a few inches off the bottom. I wanted this to be a long top rather than a tunic as such.

I then unpicked the side seams where the side slits were and took them in to line up with the new seam line. I hemmed the bottom raw seam at this point too.

Much neater. 
Next up was to sort the neckline. I have figured out from this project that I am no good at necklines. My skills are not up to scratch. I need practise. To be fair the heavy beading around the neckline did not help one bit, but I still need to practise. In the end, after a couple of tries, i  managed a respectable scoop neck. There was a snag half way round but by this point I was so fed up I figured nobody would notice and I could fix it another time. Unfortunately my friend Colleen noticed it straight away. Sigh.

Sorry about the dog head, she refused to move. Apparently the floor is very comfortable.
Finally (finally!) I took the strips I had cut from the bottom hem, unpicked the lining, cut each strip in half and stitched the ends together to make long strips. Then I stitched the long edges together inside out, turned them the right way and boom! Ties for the sides. I unpicked a small part of the hem on each side, inserted the ties and restitched the sides.

Boom I tell you! BOOM!

And that was it! A pretty sparkly top with a slightly wonky neckline. I was concerned about refashioning a kameez top to start with due to cultural appropriation issues, but in the end I figured that it was an unwanted garment and I have used it for the fabric rather than to wear it as a kameez. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about this.

Behold the spangles! Ignore the twisted strap! (Of course that's all my hair...I don't know what you mean!)
I had a lovely night at the hafla and got a few compliments on my top, so I think it's a success. I'll just have to remember to keep Colleen away from me when I make tiny (almost invisible, honestly), mistakes in the future. She always spots it!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Stretched-out silk top to mini skirt

Hey everyone! Sorry it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, I've been both busy and ill. On top of my usual work and hobbies, I've been helping out in a local panto production (yes, I know it's February), the performances of which were the week before last. I was just prompting, but my lovely friend Grace (who is also a dancey crafty gal) and her daughters were performing and we all had a great time. The only problem was that I came down with a horrendous cold on the first day of the performances, so I ended up croaking most of my prompts whilst trying not to put the actors off with my coughing and sneezing. To the audience members who had to sit next to me on the front row, I sincerely apologise. It's taken me almost a full week to recover, so I'm very behind on my refashions!

It started with this pale pink jersey vest top/dress which had an overlay of silk and lace detailing. The lace was stretchy and worn-out, with bits of elastic poking out everywhere, and the pink shade was ever-so-slightly transparent. Not a look I generally go for, although some girls seem to like it. It was also oddly misshapen, with the left side longer than the right. I assumed when I tried it on that this was the result of the jersey fabric being accidentally stretched while it dried, and hoped it would go back to normal once I washed it.

As you can tell, I wasn't overly impressed with this top...

I decided a change of hue was in order, so I popped down to The Range and picked up some Dylon fabric dye for hand use in Pewter Grey. Pink top in, grey top out. The colour wasn't quite pewter grey, probably because the silk took less of the dye than the cotton jersey underneath, but it was a nice, slightly aubergine shade - all except for the synthetic lace, but I was going to get rid of that anyway. Unfortunately, the uneven hem did not vanish in the wash. Harrumph.

Pretty colour! Not so pretty hemlime.
The second step was to get rid of all the bits I disliked. Sorry lace. I pinned the silk overlay to the jersey underlay and chopped the neckline and arm holes off at the level of the first seam in the silk. Then I chopped the bottom off where the lace met the silk.

Poor, sad lace.
No more uneven hemline!
I was in danger of cutting so much material away that I'd be left with far too little fabric to work with, so I stopped at this point, other than to even up the length where it was (still) longer on the left. I found some wide black elastic in my stash, and made a waistband by measuring it against myself so that it was tight (but not too tight - I want to breathe) then stitching the ends together with a X-inside-a-box pattern.

Next, I folded over the top of the fabric a couple of times, stretched out the waistband and pinned the fabric into place. Then I stitched it with a straight stitch whilst stretching the elastic out (if I hadn't have stretched the elastic the stitching would have prevented it from stretching later on).

Almost there!
The final step was to hem the bottom. Cotton jersey doesn't fray, so no need to do anything with the underneath other than make sure it was straight. It's very difficult to hem silk this thin with a conventional sewing machine, and I decided it wasn't worth the bother. Instead, I just ran a line of stitches around the hem about half a centimetre from the bottom to prevent any large-scale fraying catastrophes, but which would allow a little feathering to occur.

I was having real issues getting a photo where both my face/hair and the skirt looked decent, so you'll have to put up with me gurning, sorry.
I think this looks OK. It's not a major fail because it does look allright, but I'm not sure I'll wear it. As we have previously discussed, I'm not one for short skirts. It may end up back at the charity shop I bought it from, but at least it's not completely unwearable now. Ah well!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Confused skater dress to sweet bolero

Today's refash comes from a slightly odd dress that I found in my local charity shop for £3. It's made from a nice stretchy but satiny base with a chiffon outer layer. The chiffon is textured with circular designs and is quite striking...but the style of the dress is a bit off-putting. I'm just not sure it knows what it's supposed to be. The bodice and skirt are similar to a modern skater dress, but the neckline is reminiscent of the 1950s. The sleeves...well...the sleeves are totally 70s. This dress is seriously temporally confused.

I had originally wanted to turn this dress into a tunic that I could wear with leggings, but the shape of the skirt prevented this. I could have made a circle skirt from it by detaching the bodice, but that was a bit obvious (although I might still do that with the scraps at some point). I had a bit of an idea of what I wanted to do, so I started by removing everything I didn't want. First stop those atrocious sleeves!


To do this I didn't unpick the seam, but instead cut the fabric of the sleeve away leaving the seam intact. This meant that I didn't have to worry about the end of the sleeve fraying before I had chance to hem it. Next I removed the big obnoxious zip from the back.

Sorry zippy, you're done.

I'll use the zip again at some point, just not now. Once this was gone I detached the skirt from the bodice. Again I snipped the fabric of the skirt leaving the seam intact - along with preventing fraying here, it also kept the layers together.


Next I stitched up the back seam where I had removed the zip.

This created a seam line but it looks as though it's supposed to be there so it's all good.

Next up was to cut a panel out of the front of the bodice, removing that sweetheart neckline. Don't get me wrong, I like a sweetheart neckline - my wedding dress had one. I just have an irrational hatred of it on this dress!

SO much better.

Then I hemmed those new edges so that they lined up with the remaining parts of the neckline. I continued this line of stitching all the way around the neckline for neatness.

This is actually starting to look wearable now. Finally.

Almost done! Next I hemmed the bottom edge, the one I had detached from the skirt.

My sewing machine did not like this - far too many layers over the seams! It kept giving me very unhappy jamming noises.

Finally, I hemmed the raw edges of the sleeves, where i had removed the disco-tastic sleeves.

Breathe a sigh of relief! Bell sleeves should have stayed in the 70s.

A cute little beige bolero! I can dress this up or down so I'm pretty happy with it. I have a tendency to fill my wardrobe with things I could never wear on a day-to-day basis, but this works as office wear or formal attire. The choice is mine!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Let there be light!

Today's post is an upcycle rather than a refashion (all refashions are upcycles, but not all upcycles are refashions...). When we lived in our last house, our bedroom was plum with teal accents. We bought a couple of nice bedside lamps from Asda (I think) and they looked great.

Pretty colour!

When we moved house though, they looked not so great. Our bedroom here is magnolia with a beachy theme, and the teal really didn't work. I kept meaning to buy new ones, but it seemed a shame to as the ones we already had still worked just fine. Light bulb moment! (Ha ha...) Why don't I just upcycle them? (I must admit the lightbulb wasn't completely mine, I got the inspiration from my lovely friend Jen who also upcycled old lamps!)

The shades had to go. I thought about covering them, but the teal would have shone through as soon as the lamp was turned on. The bases I decided to spray paint. I started by applying masking tape to the bits I didn't want to change (this is a must, it makes the whole thing look so much more professional!). Then I primed with a white spray primer, to make sure that the paint stuck to the shiny ceramic base.

Teal begone!
Next, I applied a couple of coats of Plastikote stone effect spray in Soapstone, which is a nice pale grey with bluey grey spots and a nice gritty texture (see where I'm going with this?).

Looks like a beach pebble, right?

Then, after waiting overnight so that the paint had properly hardened (very important - think nail polish) I added a couple of coats of clear matt sealer.

Ready for a hat!
I took a trip to the local B&M Home Stores (love that place - who knew you could fit so much useful tat under one roof?) and found a couple of small grey lampshades for 99p each (bargain!). Put 'em together and what have you got?

You got lovely beachy bedside lamps, that's what! Feel free to admire the campervan coaster and ignore the very uncoordinated alarm clock. There's not much colour in the photo, but rest assured there's lots of shades of blue and a few shades of red in this room too. I'm very happy with how this turned out, I was a little worried I'd mess it up and end up having to buy totally new lamps, but it turns out I'm better at upcycling than I thought! Always nice.