Tuesday, 25 November 2014

First Attempt

For a long time now I have been dreaming of making new creations from old clothes.  I have held on to a secret stash of items that aren't quite right but have been saved from the donation bin.  Some hold promise in their shape, with just a few alterations or embellishments and others I have kept merely for the fabric. Since dresses tend not to fit me well I have a stash of them destined to be converted into skirts.  I am more of a dreamer than a doer, or at least I dream of far more than I can manage to do and I don't even like sewing.  Actually, I love hand sewing.  Is that strange?  As a little girl I hand stitched my own creations for my Barbie dolls, spending hours cutting, pinning and stitching scraps of fabric and I still love to do that.  But the part I love most is the cutting and pinning.  I have an aversion to my sewing machine.  Mainly because it is unfamiliar and that means I have to learn how to use it and that seems like such a bore.  I just want to wave a magic wand.  Or wield a needle and thread.

           Sorry about the poor photo. Somebody please turn off that lamp!

Of course I did not think to take a 'before' photo but this was a basic pull over tunic that was a bit too small for me.  It had a slight hole which I darned and overall it's not particularly high quality so it seemed perfect for an experiment.  I cut it up the middle, tried it on and noticed that the front looked best sort of folded outwards so I stitched that part down with some pretty buttons.  I pondered additions of lace, pinning bits on and taking them off again.  I let the raw edges roll in on themselves and added some ribbon to tie it together in front and make it look more like it is meant to be open down the middle and isn't some old tunic I cut up. 

I am a messy and rather childlike creative.  I like to sit on the floor.  I strew bits and bobs all over the place and  I dislike cleaning it all up afterwards.  As I sat on the floor stitching  this first up-cycling attempt, I remembered how I sat amid Mum's fabric scraps, which I kept in a big plastic bag in my closet.  I would dump it all out and spread it around me and sort through it looking for just the right piece.  Naked Barbie Dolls were also scattered around waiting to be pinned into whatever I was going to create for them.  In summer I would do this outside, on the back sundeck and managed to convince my best friend that this was a great way to spend the day.  I recall I also had ambitions of making a patchwork quilt after seeing one on the bed of a family friend.  It was made of squares cut from old clothing and a dark blue velvet one remains in my memory.  I digress, as usual. Here is a picture of what this outfit looks like in the going outside version. And there is that damn lamp again.

Yes, mushroom-bowl haircuts are all the rage.  Didn't you know?  We cannot blame Jason for this one.  Last spring I decided to grow out my hair and it got about this far and then I bailed on the plans and got it cut shorter.  In the end I regretted that.  I am ready for more hair so I've let it grow and am back to where I was last May.  I look forward to getting out of mushroom land and into short bob land.


  1. I'm convinced!! It looks v good plus super leggings or trousers! X

  2. Nice job on re-purposing the tunic. It looks great! I am the same way with my sewing machine. It scares me!

  3. So is it time for visiting Jason soon then? :) I know you always come back happy from him, just like I come back happy and feeling pretty from Erica...

    I enjoyed learning about your playing with making/remaking clothes sitting on the floor - artist at work, so fascinating! You create very cozy and comfortable layers, Shawna, and these leggings are so cool, you show them off just perfectly with your tunics! Hugses! xxxxx

  4. Va va voom! Showing off your assets! Don't bother with the machine. Do what you love, by hand. There is a whole movement of hand sewing...or slow sewing! Great way to remake a too small tunic. I made a short version of this with a velvet dress bodice.
    I really love the whole look with the boots. Boots elevate any look dont they? I wish i had more than one pair!
    Hope you are adjusting to being Sophie-less/peace-full xo JJ

  5. Excellent up cycling and stay strong with the hair … you always hate it the most just before it finally turns the corner ;0)

  6. your first attempt in upcycling almost switched under my radar!
    if you can´t befriend with a sewing machine - just use your hands and needle&thread. it would take more time then a trained machine sewer would need - but if you have something then it´s time :-) and handsewing can get very meditative.
    just waving a magic wand would´t be that satisfying like making something with your needlepierced and threadcutted hands!
    can´t wait to see more!

  7. Good to see that you're getting creative with some sewing, Shawna. Nothing wrong with hand sewing, sometimes, it's more appropriate anyway. Jack's comment made me laugh - the neckline and position of your tunic's tie does emphasis your assets, love, and why ever not?! xxx

  8. It's a great up-cycle! I like the ribbon adornment, good touch! and it shows the 'girls' off gorgeously, I was determined to use my sewing machine only because I'm too lazy to hand sew (I only learned by using scraps and mistakes, lots of mistakes!) Jo is right about the hair x x x

  9. I think that's a great idea, and the tunic turned out nice. I also have lots of ideas for old pieces, but I haven't had very good luck with most things. And sewing is always a pain.

    I finally let my hair grow because I just got tired of cutting it. Now I'm imagining long silver ribbons of hair, so I'll just keep letting it go (until it reaches that point where it tangles and is always curling against my neck and driving me crazy).

  10. You've done a great job and nothing wrong with hand stiching! Don;t let these things bother you and stop you from creating. I loved the chalk paint wall behind you! A great idea!


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