ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “scrap fabric buster”

A bit of embroidery…

I adore my sewing machine and couldn’t live without it now, but I do love to go back to basics sometimes – slow down, hand-stitch and enjoy the change of pace and focus. Hand embroidery is such a lovely activity in the evenings when you want to relax but still somehow keep the hands busy! I must admit, though, I increasingly need good strong daylight for hand sewing, so I can see what I’m doing 😉

specs case made from felt and upcycled fabric

I made these glasses cases for my Etsy shop using soft felt and upcycled knit fabric – repurposed from girls’ clothing.

The teal/turquoise case was so popular I’ve recreated variations on it since for other customers. I used simple white embroidery silk thread on the teal felt to create a swirly flower pattern to mirror the curves and swirls of the interior fabric. I love the simplicity of this one and it remains one of my all-time favourite makes.

teal or turquoise glasses or phone pouch

The black glasses pouch below is again lined with recycled material and here I experimented with French knots using a beautiful variegated embroidery floss in pale pink through to almost red. I made two heart shapes purely from French knot stitches and I think the overall effect with the ombre-style thread is lovely!

heart embroidery in french knot stitch

I’m back busily using my machine currently as my Capri Sun lunchbags are all the rage – maybe people are getting organised for the return to school (in September here in England)!

What are you up? Do comment below & tell me about your makes/upcycles x

 

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Blogiversary!

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I have neglected my beloved blog since August! I had the urge to write today, logged on and find that it is 3 years to the day that I started this little project. I love coincidences like that 🙂

My only excuses are the usual: 1) work and family life taking over (happy with family doing that, but as for work…!) and 2) I’ve been busy with craft fairs and my Etsy shop.

Let me show you my latest upcycled makes, on a Christmas theme …

burlap hoop with rustic heart design

This embroidery hoop art is made using hessian (burlap) and scrap fabric, which I’ve upcycled from curtain fabric samples. I used free machine embroidery to applique the hearts to the hessian and make the strings. I love the cute rustic look of this piece, ideal for lovers of shabby chic decor.

embroidery hoop art using upcycled fabric

This green spotty fabric is the perfect backdrop for my cute birdcage hoop. Again, I sketched the birdcage design using the sewing machine without a presser foot. It’s quite hair-raising when you first try it, but I’m addicted to this technique now! The flower is a piece of scrap ribbon and a little bead, and a bead also makes the upcycled fabric bird’s eye!

Here are my most Christmassy designs, which I’m hoping will attract someone’s eye at my forthcoming craft fair next weekend (details here) or on my Etsy shop.

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To make these Christmas themed hoops, I used both free machine and hand embroidery and some felt. I love using felt as it’s such a versatile fabric and of course non-fraying.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you? Promise I will be back soon, I’ve missed this! x

 

Teacher Gifts – Upcycled Shirt Cuff Pouches

It’s come around quickly again this year – end of Summer term, which means the end of the school year here in the UK. I like to give my children’s teachers a little token to say Thank You for all their hard work & care over the school year. My children are always bereft to be leaving their favourite teacher!

Red shirt tissue pouch with cat buttons upcycled shirt cuff made into tissue pouch

I made these little tissue pouches from preloved shirt cuffs! My son’s teacher likes purple and my daughter’s teacher is a fan of red – perfect! They were quite quick and easy to put together as I had already made some purple and mauve scrap binding by following this excellent post by Heather at The Sewing Loft and some red bias binding – again, there’s a brilliant tutorial by Deb at Sew So Easy on bias binding.

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The red pouch is the largest of the two: the red checked shirt I used had large cuffs for cufflinks. I made a feature of the button holes by leaving them in place and simply stitching the cuff into a purse shape using the red bias binding tape. I then added the cute little cat buttons which add a feminine (or feline??) touch to the finished pouch. I’m really happy with how this one turned out – it is the perfect size to hold a pack of pocket tissues but can also be used as a little purse or make up pouch.

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The mauve pouch is more of a mini pocket pouch as it was a standard size shirt cuff. I kept the orginal buttons for this pouch as I like the mauve stitching. I think the scrap binding goes perfectly with it! Scrap binding is so fun to make and is a great way to use up little pieces of fabric which are too small for other projects. The fabric in this binding was all pre-cut into quite small squares before they were given to me: I presume they were originally going to be part of a quilt. Anyway they look great as binding and give more colour and texture to a simple project like this teacher gift. As this pouch is smaller I could only include a few tissues and I folded them to fit!

The children made cards and wrote their own special messages in them, then we wrapped the pouches with a little bar of soap (one teacher had already begged the class not to give her chocolate, as she’s on a diet!)

Do you give or make your own teacher gifts? I would love to see a link or photos! x

Kids’ craft: Milk bottle boats

This was a fun afternoon in the school holidays – making boats from recycling scraps! This craft is easy for children of any age and a great rainy day boredom-buster – plus when it brightens up you can go and float your boats in a stream!

For this project we used the following (washed!) items from the recycling bin:-

  • plastic milk cartons
  • lids from liquid laundry detergent
  • lolly sticks
  • fabric scraps (from my huge mountain of scraps, including some old shirts!)

From our craft supplies, we used:-

  • PVA glue
  • hot glue (to glue plastic and wood)
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • sellotape
  • felt tip pens

plastic milk cartons repurposed as boatsAs you can see, the larger milk cartons (in this case, 4 pints) make an excellent “hull” if you cut them lengthways. A responsible adult really needs to do this part, but as none was available I did it 😉

decorating milk carton boats

We had three children for this activity (my two plus a friend) and it was great to see 3 different approaches to decoration. Here, pipe cleaners were attached to the hull to make a mast and flag pole.

milk carton boat with scrap fabric carpet

My daughter decided hers needed a purple carpet, pink pennant flag and several pompoms!

making sails for milk bottle boats using lolly sticks and scrap fabric

This upcycled shirt fabric made a great sail, along with some lolly sticks 🙂

Scrap recycling toy boats

I particularly love the ingenuity that went into this craft – the main boat was a plastic detergent bottle cap, extended with pieces of milk carton, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and a milk lid for the crow’s nest.

milk carton and detergent bottle lid repurposed as a boat

Don’t you just love it when kids really get into an idea and make it their own? A great way to spend a rainy day, which we followed up with a sailing contest in the stream!

What ingenious uses do you put your recyclables to? Comment below or tweet me @ShabbySheUK 🙂

 

Upcycled Lovelies – Tissue pouches and Sunglasses cases

How about a basket of springy cheer in the form of these tissue pouches and sunglasses cases? Both of these makes are fantastic scrap buster projects and also nice beginner sewing projects to use just a small amount of fabric and test your skills (and your sewing machine!)

Tissue pouches and sunglass cases made from scrap fabric

The tissue pouches are made from fabric remnants from previous projects; this supersoft knit fabric pouch is mostly upcycled clothing – made from one of my daughter’s outgrown tops…

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I love the print on this fabric and the little sequins!

These spotty and flowery fabric ones incorporate one of her cotton tops which was so pretty but only worn a handful of times, as it was sleeveless and rather a chilly summer that year!

Flower print pretty tissue pouch from recycled clothes Tissue pouches using upcycled fabric in pretty coordinating fabrics Tissue pouch - spotty green fabric with upcycled clothing Tissue pouch reverse - pretty cotton top upcycle

This is a rather addictive craft as it’s quick and easy and great practice for sewing straight lines on your machine, something I’ve had to work at myself! There are some great tutorials and patterns online but my favourite is this one from Notes from the Patch

The sunglasses cases are made using flex-frames – I spent ages googling to find out the name of these pinch-open pouch closures!!

flex frames - used to make pinch-open pouches

Flex frames – picture courtesy of artfire.com

Again there are stacks of great tutorials online – I used this one from Fabric Yard (where you can also buy sewing supplies) as it’s got great step-by-step pictures and instructions. By the way, this tutorial says to spray baste the wadding to the fabric – I used a light smattering of fabric glue which seemed to do the trick. Always use what you have to hand, I say!

The glasses cases are also good practice for quilting – a technique that’s quite new to me. It was a fun way to try out different styles of quilting on a small area of fabric before trying a bigger project.

Most of the glasses cases pictured here were made with repurposed fabric from clothing – there are pieces from two men’s shirts, a little girl’s dress and a couple of tops in use here, plus some gorgeous stripy turquoise fabric from a sample book.

What are your favourite scrap-buster sewing projects? I’d love to see your ideas too 🙂

Tissue pouches made from scrap fabric

Hello April – News Blackout is over!

Is this what Being An Adult feels like? I’ve just upgraded my website to ShabbyShe.com (no more clunky .wordpress. gubbins). I’m feeling very Official now!

The prolonged News Blackout for most of March is at an end, as I was focussing my efforts on producing some items for a new local craft market and my Etsy shop. Now the craft fair is done I can breathe a sigh of relief, and maybe even start making some bits for myself & my family again! I had rather limited sales at the market despite it being well-attended – possibly March / Easter is more a time to browse for pleasure rather than buy. I’m hoping to do more markets and fairs around Christmas and put my efforts for now into online sales and updating my blog (my first love!)

On the Easter theme, I made some cute egg cosies to keep the world’s best breakfast warm on these cold Spring mornings…

Basket of egg cosies made from felt

The Happy Easter cosies are for my children – they begged me for these and I promised they could have them if they didn’t sell on Saturday 😀

I can’t decide which is my favourite – I like the cute chicks but I’m also really pleased with how this bunting design turned out – these were literally tiny scraps of fabric. This is why it’s so hard to part with even small off-cuts!

Felt egg cosy with scrap fabric bunting

I also added my new-style shoulder bag totes to my Etsy shop. I’m really pleased with this design, I think the ribbon trim sets off the colour nicely, don’t you?

Shoulder bag totes from upcycled juice pouches

Happy Easter everyone, see you soon! x

Jeans Upcycle – Cute girl’s apron

I’m feeling very pleased to have finished another recycled denim jeans project this week – I’m on a roll now!

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend gave me two pairs of jeans she no longer had use for, knowing my obsession with repurposing clothes! At the same time, my niece (a budding seamstress herself) sent me this video link to a great re-use for jeans – cutting the backside and waistband off to make a garden apron.

The video tutorial shows you how in seconds you can create a little garden apron from your jeans. I immediately took the shears to my friend’s old jeans and reproduced the apron, but decided to “girlify” it a bit by adding a little ruffle.

Apron made from old jeans with added ruffle

Rather cuter now I felt – but probably more of an “indoors” apron that a gardening one. In which case, it needed a bit more work. You’ll notice the cut at the side seams left a rather frayed raw edge that needed some attention.

Cut edge of denim jeans for making an apron

Hmm, that edge won’t do at all…

So I added some binding with a pretty fabric to contrast the ruffle fabric. Then I had a dilemma – should I top-stitch from the front of the binding, to neaten it up, or should I go for a cleaner look?

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I’ve no doubt everyone has their own view; I put it to both my sewing circle and Twitter friends (I take part in the excellent #makedoandmendhour on Twitter on Thursdays 8-9pm UK time). Needless to say opinion was fairly evenly divided. In the end, my horror of unpicking stitching led me to conclude it was better with! 😀

A bit more ruffling (who doesn’t love a good ruffle??)

Denim apron with double ruffle

and one of my favourite fabric flowers later…

Fabric flower with button centre

and I’m pretty happy with the result!

Jeans apron with ruffles and flower

 

 

Now you can all tell me off for stitching over my binding – I can take it 😉 x

WIPs – Denim and more Denim

This week I have been mainly trying to complete a couple of WIPs (works in progress) without getting distracted by the fantastic crafts I’ve seen on some of the blogs I follow! Ideas like The Renegade Seamstress’s beautiful sweater boots which are so tempting with the cold snap we’ve been experiencing recently in south east England, or trying free machine quilting as demonstrated so cleverly by Sewchet.

However, I recently started wading through my ex-denim jeans stash to make up some more denim pocket purses and I really want to get something finished!

Firstly this cute mini pocket which belonged to my daughter’s age 3-4 jeans.

Denim pocket upcycle with scrap fabric flower

The flower was an experiment with a new method for making scrap fabric flowers: using a circle of fabric, I sewed a running stitch around the perimeter then pulled it as you would a drawstring bag and knotted the ends. Then I pressed it flat and it made this lovely effect – almost like a pinwheel I think! The button already had a nice bright cover which complements the fabric.

Not exactly finished, but on its way!

I had more success with this denim purse, which I have Actually Finished!!

Purse made from upcycled clothing

The slowest part of making these mini bags is hand sewing the fabric patch onto the back, as it involves stitching through a layer of denim and the fabric itself using tiny stitches to keep them as invisible as possible. I can’t wait until we have the long, sun-filled evenings of summer to work by, instead of squinting in the gloom at tiny stitches …

Fabric flower using recycled clothing

I used the same upcycled fabric on the front of the purse to make a little flower – this one uses the hem of the original t-shirt and stitched it into a coiled flower shape. I was rather pleased with the effect.

A thin ribbon strap was the last piece of the jigsaw and the denim pocket purse is complete. Hurrah!

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So one WIP now complete, one still ongoing – but whoops! – my friend gave me some jeans of hers and I accidentally started a new project involving an apron and some ruffles. Eek! More on this soon…! x

Handmade Greetings Card – a fabric scrap project

handmade greetings card with appliqued fabric

I made this greetings card for a wedding. The couple’s theme included Shabby Chic and butterflies so I came up with this delicate design with simplistic running stitch to add to the Shabby charm!

I simply drew the butterfly wings and used a scalpel to carefully remove the shapes. I drew in the butterflies’ bodies with a Sharpie pen, then inside the card I placed my scrap fabric pieces so they more than covered the cut-out wing shapes and secured with tape. The fun part was sewing with thread around the wings to bond the fabric to the card and finish the look. There is something about sewing into card that reminds me of being a small child, with those pre-punched cards in one hand and my huge needle and wool thread in the other 😀

For a professional finish I cut a rectangle of card just a bit smaller than the front and glued it over the taped fabric to tidy it up inside the card.

You might recognise the fabrics I used for this project – the blue and white fabric which always reminds me of those lovely Willow china plates was used in both my charity sweetie jars and fabric flowers and butterfly brooch. The other pretty fabric was one I actually bought (as opposed to repurposing from clothes or acquiring from a charity shop suitcase purchase!) to make my mum’s messenger bag.

An easy fabric scrap-busting project to use those last little pieces of favourite fabric, and I think it makes a charming keepsake card for a special occasion, but I’d love to know what you think!

Hand stitched fabric scrap greetings card

I’m linking this post up to Creative Jewish Mom and the other link parties I join in with – have a look at some of the talented people over there if you have a few minutes! x   ——>

Upcycling Clothing: Jumper Dress Bag

Girl's jumper dress for upcycling into a bag

Pretty knitted jumper dress, sadly a bit stained

We are so fortunate to have several lovely friends with older girls who pass on their sweet clothes to us when they’re outgrown. I love this stripy pink jumper dress but unfortunately it has several stains on it which I couldn’t remove with washing – a hazard of raising young children!

There are several ways to recycle clothes that look a bit too sad – a great way is to give them to your favourite charity shop as they can sell the items by weight to textile recyclers for bedding etc. Another even better way is to refashion or upcycle them into another item of clothing, a keepsake soft toy (like we did here) or in this case a bag! I do have a bit of a thing for bags, as regular readers will know…!

I decided to keep this bag quite soft and floppy as the fabric is soft and cuddly itself. It’s lined with a man’s shirt (husband’s cast-off) and I decided to also use the shirt fabric for the strap.

Here’s what I used to make this very simple bag…

  • jumper dress & old shirt
  • medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • sewing machine & thread
  • rotary cutter and board (these are optional, but make cutting straight so much easier)
  • iron (you really can’t skip this bit, even if like me you really want to!)

The fun part is cutting it all up…

To get a clean straight edge and a matching size on my shirt lining fabric, outer bag and interfacing I used my self-healing mat and rotary cutter with a wide ruler. Once the inner bag fabric (the shirt) and the outer bag (jumper dress) were cut to size I ironed on fusible interfacing to the shirt fabric to give it more structure.

Then just sew it all together…

I made the strap from the shirt’s placket (the button hole strip on the front of a shirt). This has the advantage both of being already shaped & straight and having interfacing inside so it has a stiffer texture, useful in a strap.

I stacked the pieces together and pinned ready for sewing in the following order:-

  1. first lining piece, right side down
  2. first outer bag piece, right side up
  3. second outer bag piece, right side down
  4. second lining piece, right side up

Then I sewed the top ribbed part onto the bag and attached the shirt placket strap

Reusing shirt as bag strap and lining

Shirt placket strap is sewn onto the bag

Hand sewing recycled bag

Some bits have to be sewn on by hand


The resulting product is a soft bag, ideal for a little girl (or even a big girl like me!). I really liked the buttons feature on the original dress so used them to embellish the bag. A fun way to recycle pre-loved clothes into something cute and useful 🙂

Jumper dress turned into a bag

I’ve linked this to Craft Schooling Sunday by the fabulous Creative Jewish Mom – have a click to see the awesome craft shares 🙂

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