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Dear Cyberverse,

It’s been a long time since we’ve hung out. But like any old friend, why don’t we just take it from where we left off? Like I saw you just yesterday… Done.

My brain has been swimming in hats! I’ve started designing like crazy and finding inspiration everywhere. I’ve been experimenting with pattern based and free-form draped hats and have been finding it a fun and wonderful experience!

The draping process is like careful, meticulous sculpture work: folding and refolding every pleat until it frames the face perfectly. Not easy to do with my rudimentary supplies blockwise (I own one veeeeeerrry old hat block; tiny tiny headsize; which was covered in plaster and netting, and which I re-covered in foil to keep it from literally falling to pieces). But with lots of trying on and re-pinning I’m getting there.

I started the draping work as an answer to my gigantic piles of fabric off-cuts from years of sewing garments. Although not all fabrics work equally as well (for example, they may need a lot of steaming after getting squashed from flat storage), I do feel that I’ve finally stumbled on a creative “green” solution to my fabric-off-cut-hoarding-problem. And no toiling is needed because the draped hat is both the experiment and the final output. It’s much more time consuming but also more satisfying creatively.
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The pattern-based hats are quite straight forward in terms of process because I can follow a series of obvious steps to get to the finished hat. Changing the structure of the hat is also more systematic (though no less fiddly at times). I must say, though it helps to have studied millinery to have the right techniques on hand in order to deal with curves and pressing and easing and linings… The most time consuming part is toiling with these hats. Especially because I’m only using reclaimed materials, so each hat has the very real potential to be different from its sister. Today’s toile had a Hellraiser vibe about it:

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I shall dutifully post pictures of the completed creations once they are complete!

Good night, old friend. Nice to be back.

Gardening is a wonderful activity. Aah the smell of earth and mulch, the feel of soil under the finger nails… I’ve been working quite a bit on my garden recently. One thing that I’ve found quite frustrating is planting seeds and then marking where they have been planted, so that they don’t get lost when mulched and watered. Argh! So I came up with a very simple and environmentally friendly solution – re-using cardboard coffee cups, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, and milk cartons. Enjoy!

Materials:

- used cardboard cups, rolls, cartons

- knife or scissors

- garden patch, plant pot or styrofoam box with soil or manure

- seeds

Step 1:

Cut the bottoms off the cardboard cups or cardboard milk cartons. Cut the paper towel rolls into 3 or 4 sections, and toilet paper rolls can be left as is or cut in half.


Step 2:

Prepare your planting area – I am reusing a styrofoam box, filling it with horse manure, approximately 2/3 of the way up.

Place your open-ended cups or rolls upright in the box, pot or patch. Make sure you allow for some room between plants, as they don’t like to be crowded!

Step 3:

Top up with some more soil or manure, so the cups or rolls become well buried but are still visible.  Make sure they are sitting firmly in the soil or manure.

Step 4:

Grab your seeds and pop them into the soil. Today, I’m planting red capsicum.

Step 5:

Cover them with a bit more soil and water them in.

Now when you mulch, you will have a clearly visible area, where your seedlings will grow. Not only that, but by using cardboard, you can rest assured that the roots of the plants won’t have a hard time breaking through the degradable material.

Here are some silverbeet and red chard seedlings. I planted the seeds using the same method a few weeks earlier. I used cardboard coffee cups, toilet paper rolls and cardboard milk cartons.

So, I went to check Burdastyle today and what do I see right there on the front page? The refashioned 50’s top I posted yesterday is one of the featured projects! :)

 

Coming up on Burdastyle:

Here’s a sneak peak of projects I will be adding soon to Burdastyle. I don’t want to give too much away, so these photos show only the fabric with a couple of extra hints…

One of these babies is going straight to Etsy! Stay tuned ;)

Hurry hurry hurry! The Cyber Monday SALE only lasts one day! Everything handmade in my store is 20% OFF! Who can resist that?!

The winter refashion quest is extending into spring. So here’s the latest addition to the refashion family. The 1950’s style cutesie blouse!

Before (boo!):

I was browsing through the clothing racks in an op shop one day, when I came across a bright blue polka dot top with a lot of potential. It had a definite 80s feel to it – slouchy, with elastic at the bottom, slightly batwing sleeves. Not really my style, but the fabric (poly- t-shirt stuff) and the print really captured my interest. I thought it would look fabulous as a 1950’s style top. So began the refashioning!

I unpicked the entire thing, including the strips that were used to create the thin collar. I found a fabulous 50’s blouse pattern, graded it to my size and tried to fit the pattern pieces as best as I could on the fabric. It worked fairly well, and I could cut corners (literally!) here and there because the fabric had a bit of stretch to it. With the leftover pieces, I made some bias tape to finish the sleeves. I didn’t have enough fabric left to make the entire bow on the front, so made half in the blue and the other half of it using beige polka dot fabric that was left over from another project. I thought the contrast was cute.

I didn’t have much blue thread left, so I saved as much of the unpicked thread as I could for all of the hand sewing – neckline facing, sleeves, hem and bow.

All in all, this was a fun and easy project. The only annoying part was the visible stitching marks on the bottom of the blouse, where the previous stitching held the elastic in place (you can probably see it in the photos). But I’m hoping that will eventually soften with washing and wear.

The result (yay!):

Catchy title, isn’t it? ;) I don’t know about you craft lovers out there, but I try to be as green a seamstress as I can. The whole point of this blog for me was to share my experiences and pass on useful knowledge or skills I have learned along the way.

So, here’s one for you: SAVING THREAD.

When sewing, I save all the “off-cut” pieces of thread that are 15cm or longer. I also save thread when unpicking seams. When unpicking, I always try to do it as carefully as possible so that the thread does not break.

I wind each thread piece around empty thread spools (we all have plenty of these left over after sewing projects), ready to be used any time I need to do any hand sewing – and trust, me, these times are aplenty!

I hand sew in just about every craft project – blindstitch all facings and hems, sewing on buttons, mending holes, reinforcing corners, embroidering, beading… the list goes on! As you can see, I wind a few colours onto each spool. These recycled thread spools always come in handy!

Hope that was a helpful tip! :)

I have recently undertaken the making of a delightful cropped jacket using a 1950’s vintage pattern. Unfortunately, when it came to sewing gussets for the sleeves, the brevity of the instructions left me feeling somewhat frustrated. I decided to persevere with the task, and share the steps I took to reach the successful making of the sleeve gussets. Click on the image below to go to my “sew-along”:

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