sewing

Gosh darn!

You often hear reference being made to darning, especially socks, but it’s a skill or technique seldom used these days. It’s certainly not one I’ve mastered but I’m quite happy to put it to practise to mend a favourite comfy skirt I wear about the house.

First things first- get a cup and place it beneath the hole in your piece of clothing. Stretch the fabric a little to keep it taunt (as you can see I hold it between my knees).

Step 1

Next using a needle and thread that matches the fabric (stripes make that a little difficult) sew vertically across the hole.

Step 2

Then it’s time to go horizontal! Weave the needle through the vertical stitches (under over etc) making sure to alternate each row.

Step 3

That’s it- you’re done! As you can see below I’m no expert but the hole is mended and I can wear my favourite house skirt again. Have you attempted to darn a piece of clothing? Or is there a mending skill you’re determined to master?

All done!

Christmas Tree Top

I wanted to make my daughter something Christmas-y to wear to the upcoming family functions in the lead up to December 25th. As it’s summer it needed to be cool, and due to our strict budget it needed to be thrifty. I saw a ruffled Christmas tree top somewhere (but can’t for the life of me remember where- if you know please tell me in the comments!) and decided it was right up my alley. I already had a plain white singlet, all I needed was a little green fabric, a star button, and some brown felt. I was able to purchase all three for under $6.

First I cut a triangle out of paper to test the size of the Christmas tree.

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Then I cut three strips of fabric to make the ruffles for the tree. The longest strip had to be at least twice as wide as the triangle.

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Next I simply hand stitched along the top of each strip and pulled the thread at the end to gather the fabric and create the ruffle.

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I referred to my triangle to ensure the ruffles were the correct width before knotting the end of the thread.

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Then it was time to sew it all together! I just hand stitched the ruffles on and used the button to cover the stitching on the top layer.

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The brown felt rectangle was also hand sewn, creating the trunk.

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Ta da! I didn’t hem the ruffles so they are fraying a little already but I love the rustic effect. As my daughter will only wear it a couple of times it doesn’t need to be super robust. In fact I may even take the tree off after Christmas and use the singlet for another project, we’ll see. Anyway I’m happy she has something fun to wear for this merry season and it was oh so quick and easy!

Christmas top

Upcycling- Tablecloth to Poncho

You may or may not have heard the term ‘upcycle’. Upcycling is similar to recycling except you give the old item more value, not less. It’s a great way to keep costs down and be kind to the earth.

Last weekend I attended a workshop called “Upcycle: bring new life to your threads” put on by Green Villages. The workshop was led by Kelly Doust, author of Minxy Vintage: how to customise & wear vintage clothing, who shared her tips and tricks for repairing and customising seccond-hand clothes. It was a real treat to get a peak in Kelly’s wardrobe as she brought along some of her favourite pieces, many of which are featured in her book. All participants were allowed to select an item of vintage clothing to be customised from the large pile provided, or you could take along your own. There was also a pile of scarves and other bits and pieces intended to be used to add accents to our clothes. It was in this pile I spotted the crochet tablecloth. Straight away an idea popped into my head- poncho! I love old crocheted clothes and a breezy poncho would be perfect for summer. I wore them all winter as they’re so easy to breastfeed in and cover up a body still recovering from pregnancy. I also feel kinda glamourous in a poncho. I know plenty of people think they’re daggy but there’s something about a bit of flowing fabric that makes me feel special.

The process was very simple. First grab your old tablecloth. You can pick these up at your local op shop for next to nothing.

Fold on the diagonal twice to find the centre then start cutting! I aimed for a boatneck style as I want to use it for breastfeeding over summer but you could make it scoop or V neck, whatever works for you. Try to keep the crochet design intact for aesthetic and structural reasons.
Pop it on and see how it fits. Despite measuring beforehand I found the hole stretched once cut so I marked the spot where I wanted to take in the hole on both sides with black thread then sewed this section together using a darning needed and matching cotton yarn.
Once you’re happy with the neck hole size you need to finish the edge. Again using your cotton thread and darning needle blanket stitch all around the neckline, making sure to sew through structurally sound sections of the remaining crochet.
That’s it! You’re done! (Excuse the embarrassing selfie! And the messy hallway!)
If you have more time you can then crochet a decorative edge yourself. This is something I will attempt when I have some baby-free time over the holidays. I’ll update the post with a photo if/when that happens. Another nice idea would be to use contrasting yarn, or you could dye the whole poncho, ombré would be nice. The possibilities are endless! What’s your best upcycling project? Are you like me, a long term upcycler that has only recently discovered the term?