ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “Upcycled”

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

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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

Capri Sun Shopper – Juice pouch upcycle

Meet the latest addition to the Capri Sun Upcycle family…

Juice pouches repurposed into large bag

… the large shopper tote!

This beauty uses 27 recycled juice pouches in its construction and I designed it to carry the heavy shopping in the War on Plastic Bags!

Large tote made from recycled Capri Sun pouches

I made the straps from red webbing strap of a thicker, more durable variety than the smaller lunchbag totes and stitched two lengths together before attaching to the inside and outside of the bag for extra strength.  The “leather effect” finish on the ends of the straps are actually brown electrical tape, squirrelled from the Shabby garage 😉

Double strength handles - recycled juice pouch shopper

I’m really pleased with the result. This one is not going in my Etsy shop (at least for now!) as I am doing my first “proper” craft fair at the end of this month.  If you’re in the Camberley area, do pop along to Market Mall in High Cross Church on 28th March and say hello!

Back to making now – next up will be a smaller Capri Sun shoulder bag!  See you soon x

Crafts with Kids: Weaving with CD looms

We’ve been up to a bit of crafty recycling fun recently with some old CDs and wool scraps. The inspiration came from this beautiful post on Make it a Wonderful Life – this lady is a teacher and has had her students weaving an amazing wall hanging with this clever green craft!

Woven CD looms displayed on wall hanging

Beautiful hanging display – Courtesy of Makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.co.uk

Recycled CDs made into art using wool

CD weaving inspiration – from Makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.co.uk

For this easy-peasy craft you will need:-

  • old CDs or DVDs
  • wool scraps (you can use fabric but this sounded more complicated)
  • a plastic lid (from yoghurt, houmous pot etc)
  • a hole punch

The plastic lid is to make some needles to help the children weave the wool through their loom. I discovered (through my daughter accidentally unthreading it once or twice) that the needle is actually essential – it’s just too fiddly without. You will need to knot the thread onto the needle though, especially for younger children.

We started off by finding some old CDs which were no longer wanted. My kids were very quick to find some song collections we’d had free with something or other and a Peppa Pig DVD. (Please don’t pelt me with eggs, parents of younger children – my two are suddenly Too Grown Up for Peppa! It will come to them all…!)

Use old CDs to make looms

Unwanted DVD and CDs, ripe for recycling

Don’t you just ❤ my tablecloth?? 

Next we made some plastic needles…

Needles for a loom made from a plastic lid

This is fun! I cut a sort of narrow fish-shape from the lid of a large pot and used a holepunch to create an ‘eye’. As the originator of this idea said, it’s a good idea to round off the needle’s point as it will prevent snagging.

Hole punch used to make eye in plastic lid needle

If you don’t have a hole punch you could pop it over some plasticine or Blue Tac and pierce a hole with a skewer – definitely a job for Adult Helper though.

I made quite a few as little fingers tend to drop them on the floor and lose them! They’re quite sturdy though and should see us through a few projects like this.

Creating a CD loom using wool

We knotted a length of wool onto the CD and began making the ‘spokes’ to create a loom. The instructions on Make it a Wonderful Life said to make sure you have an odd number of spokes (in this way, as you come back your starting point, the wool passes under instead of over and vice versa, making a tight pattern). I would add that more is more – the more spokes you have, the tighter the weave. The first two CD looms we made had only 7 and 9 spokes which made the weave very open and loose.

Use wool to create a simple loom from a CD

Once your spokes are in place, you can start weaving! We tied our first piece of wool onto the back of the loom but this made things a bit fiddly, so it may be best to glue the first strand to the disk or just weave around the first spoke a couple of times to secure it.

Making a CD and wool loom

Trial and error are part of the fun!

We all had a great time with our individual looms! Surprisingly (to me) – my 5 year old daughter was the most into it and actually completed hers (albeit a mini one – she just thought it looked nice like that!) My 7 year old boy is usually more focussed on crafts but he declared his “Done for now” and said he’d return to it at a later date. My own one is the fullest but due to only having a few spokes it has quite a loose fluffy look.

My plan is to make a few more and hang them vertically in a single line – a great boredom buster for kids and adult alike, don’t you think? x

CD looms - woven with wool

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

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 🙂

Lampshade Revamp – A Map Upcycle

DIY lampshade update

Lampshade in need of a revamp!

This sad little lampshade was posing a problem: it is such a dull colour, not enhanced by age or dust, but I couldn’t throw out a still serviceable object…

The shade in question is from our downstairs loo, recent recipient of the makeover treatment with a pallet wood and peg upcycle project and a good old lick of paint. However, the pendant light fitting has remained naked as this lampshade was both ugly and seemed to be the wrong size compared to the huge energy-saving bulb!

I’d seen several lampshade revamp projects on Pinterest and other blogs using either fabric, printed paper or maps which look great. This lampshade was a good place to start as if the worst came to it I wouldn’t have ruined a nice lamp! The tube map was a bargain I spotted a few months ago in a card shop: although I have lots of maps at home from past travels which would be great to upcycle, they are both too thick and have too many creases to apply smoothly to a rounded surface such as a lamp shade. (I have to admit, although I love maps I have a slight horror of opening the folded, booklet kind as I can never work out how to close them correctly again! There’s probably a name for map phobia…)

I assembled my supplies:

  • lampshade
  • map
  • sellotape
  • cutting mat
  • craft knife
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • Mod Podge
Lampshade re-cover project

Map cut to approximate shape

 

Tracing and Cutting the Decoupage to size

I forgot to take a “Before” picture of the map prior to cutting, but you get the idea! I just aligned my starting point on the map with the seam on the lampshade and rolled it slowing, tracing the shape top and bottom with a faint pencil line. I left a generous margin for folding the map in to leave a nice finished edge.

If I were doing this again I would take time to smooth the map flat first as I had to weight it down (as you can see from the picture) – a cool iron and tea towel would be good for this. I carefully cut the shape about 1.5cm (1″) outside the pencil line to allow some overlap for a tidy edge.

Applying the New Cover

Removing fabric trim from lamp shade

Gently peel off the fabric trim to avoid a lumpy edge when refinished

Having cleaned the lampshade and removed the thin fabric trim top and bottom, I taped the map onto the shade and rolled to make sure it would be a correct fit. This picture also shows the wire frame edge with the fabric trim removed.

lampshade revamp with upcycled map

Checking the new cover will fit

I applied matte Mod Podge to both the outer shade and the back of the map cut-out and rolled the map on. I then smoothed the map towards the outer edge to remove any air bubbles and ensure a smooth application. Next I quickly re-painted the overlapping edges with more Mod Podge, tidied them up a bit with scissors and snipped at regular intervals in order to fold them tightly over the edge.

Another generous lashing of Mod Podge all over the decoupaged map sealed it in and gave it a nice slightly sheeny finish. I left it to dry by standing it on a jar so none of the wet edges would get smudged, and then …

Decoupaged map lampshade cover

Revamped pendant lampshade added to Loo Re-Do 🙂

I hung it up! I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It goes nicely with our recently redecorated downstairs toilet complete with pallet wood upcycle loo-roll holder. The only slightly, well, ME-thing about it is that I was intending to hang it the other way up (as it had been before I removed it) hence why the map is actually upside down if you look closely!! However, even with a smaller lightbulb it still looked all-bulb-and-no-action – I want the outside to be displayed not the inner part. So I hung it upside down and I think it looks quite funky 🙂

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What do you think? I might give some more lamps this treatment now I’ve had a go…

This post will feature in Handmade Monday on the lovely Handmade Harbour – check it out 🙂

Back to School – Upcycled Juice Pouch Lunch Bag

Let your child be the Green Hero of the school with a fun recycled lunch bag!

diy upycled juice pouch lunch bag

Lunch bag made from recycled juice pouches

This is a quick and easy upcycle that older children can get involved in making for themselves: a lunch bag made from repurposed foil juice pouches of the likes of Capri Sun.

There are loads of tutorials online for stitching these juice pouches into fun upcycled items such as wallets, totes and pencil cases – all of which I will attempt at a later date as this is such a quick and fun craft! My favourite tutorial is here at Instructables.com which requires only the following items:-

  • 14 juice pouches (used!)
  • sharp knife & scissors
  • sewing machine and thread
  • ribbon (I used webbing strap instead, as you’ll see)
  • Optional – velcro closure ( didn’t bother with this)

First things first: get your children sugared up to the eyeballs by drinking their way through 14 Capri Suns or similar juice pouch drinks! This is obviously best done over a period of time rather than all in one go or they won’t be able to concentrate at the sewing machine very well 😉 For our lunch bag, we had managed to acquire 12 pouches and then as luck would have it we met up with friends and they were drinking Capri Sun from France (how exotic!) so we added their two pouches to the mix!

Reusing juice pouches

French Capri Sun adds some Chic to the Shabby!

First things first – Getting Started

The pouches need to be slit open so they can be cleaned out thoroughly with hot soapy water and left to drain dry. I have to fess up to a slight bodge here à la ShabbyShe – I slit mine at the top (above the straw hole) instead of underneath (in the hidden pouchy part) where it would never be seen! As a consequence I had to be careful to overlap my stitching to close the opening I had made.

Making the front, back, sides and bottom panels

As you can see from the pictures, I started by sewing 2 pouches together (top to bottom) and making sure I overlapped them just enough to close the (incorrectly applied!) slit at the top. To these 2 pouches I added 2 more to make a front panel of 4 pouches, then did the same for the reverse of the bag. Lining up was easy as the straight lines are all there for you, and even though I used 2 different brands of juice they were a standard size.

For the sides of the bags I did the same but just used 2 pouches. The bottom required slightly more effort as you have to join 2 pouches but cut them to the width of the front panel. I joined mine bottom to bottom as the Aldi juice pouches have cute apples with eyes which are more interesting than the logo 🙂

Attaching handles

The handles I’ve used for this bag are webbing strap which you can order online or buy in a fabric shop – I have this one in red, green and taupe and had a hard time choosing my favourite for this project! I zizgzagged the straps onto the bag then added a cross box type of stitch to secure (not sure if there’s a proper name for this? Do let me know if you know!)

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Once the handles are on, all you do is stitch all the parts together – easier than I thought it would be. I started by attaching the front panel to the bottom of the bag by joining them wrong sides together – this was not specified in the Instructables tutorial but I felt in contrast to “normal” bag making it would look better with external seams – the picture above of the sewing machine shows me doing this part. The picture below, however, shows the hazards of working with quite thick materials and a rather blunt needle…. Oops :S

Broken needle on sewing machine

Disaster strikes – a squiffy needle!

New needle in place, I soldiered on!

Inside recycled juice pouch bag

All parts attached, ready to whizz up the sides to finish 🙂

This is how it looks inside before the final side stitching is done. I have to say here that I doubted my methods briefly looking at other people’s bags online – they all seem to have plain silver inside and I wondered whether you are supposed to cut the juice bags open and remove the backs. But I decided that maybe American Capri Sun pouches don’t have all this stuff on the back. The ones pictured here are from Aldi mostly, as you can see.

So that’s it, it’s so easy and fun! The hardest part is getting enough pouches for lunch bags for everyone, although the kids do enjoy that part!! They didn’t help with the construction for this project but I’m sure in a year or so my eldest could. I might get him to wear goggles though, in case of needle-breakage!

Repurposed juice pouch bag

My lovely upcycled lunch bag!

Lunch bag made from recycled materials

Recycling fun 🙂

Happy Tuesday everyone – we are Back to School tomorrow – boo! x

Spice Rack made from Upcycled Cot

More making something new and useful for the home from something old and no longer needed: a DIY spice rack made from our old cot.

You may remember a while ago I discovered a bit of upcycling ingenuity from ShabbyHe in the form of some hanging storage for the garage – which I wrongly described as the cot base – it was in fact the side of the cot, which gives the baby that whole “zoo animal” look 😀

The same cot used by both our babies has had further repurposing treatment with this wall-mounted DIY spice rack, made using the slatted cot base. We needed a large spice rack to house our many herbs and spices – they had taken over a drawer, the top of the microwave and half a cupboard and enough was enough!

Recycled repurposed cot base

Spice rack made from repurposed cot base

I feel I should apologise at this point for the decor in our kitchen – we had the kitchen damp-proofed and replastered when we moved in (quite a long time ago!) but as we’re hoping to extend and redecorate the kitchen next year (hopefully with lots of shabby chic/vintage and upcycled bits) we haven’t bothered to improve it yet!

You may also notice that my herbs and spices are not in nice matching pots or even arranged by colour/brand – this is because:

1. I can’t throw out or replace perfectly decent jars until the contents are used up (not v. green)
2. I arranged them alphabetically so I can instantly put my hand on the ingredient I need – and see when it needs re-stocking 🙂

 

We used the cot base and attached slats to the front along the length then screwed on horizontal slats at 12cm intervals. The front horizontal slats hold the jars in place as they effectively lean against them and stand on the cot slats behind – this picture hopefully shows more clearly what I mean…

Handmade large wall-mounted spice rack

Spice jars are held in place by leaning against the front slats

ShabbyHe finished by fixing the rack on a wall which doesn’t get any direct sunlight – quite important as this really impairs the look and flavour of most herbs and spices.

I’m really pleased with the finished result – all the jars are now arranged in order in one place and I can find what I need straight away instead of checking in several places. I might paint it at some point but not until our kitchen makeover next Summer!

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This post is now featured on Handmade Monday over at Handmade Harbour – do pop over and see the other fab link ups! x

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