Saturday, 19 November 2011

Winter Sun Makes - Part 2

Another day, another make!

This time an upcycling project, combining the old (and worn out) and the old (vintage). 

Could I get to sleep last night?  Could I heck.  By half twelve I'd given up trying, and went into my sewing room to mooch about.  I couldn't machine anything, or the noise would have woken up my husband in the next room.  So I was..... basically..... faffing about.  I started picking up bits of fabric with a thought of making something else to wear on holiday.  I really didn't have a clue at this point what to do; all I knew was; that either this piece was too short, that piece wasn't wide enough or the other piece was the wrong colouring for my skin tone.

After discarding everything within the reach of my desk, I moved towards my cutting table.  You need strong nerves for this at the moment!  It's part-buried under a mound of previously hacked fabric, along with bits that I have rescued from a previous life.

As I picked up a ratty old pair of jeans discarded by hubby, inspiration pinged in.  I studied the jeans a while.  They really were a tired mess, and way beyond any useful purpose.  You know what I mean.... that sorry state when you know full well that a charity shop would be too ashamed to sell them.  (Plus they were already minus most of a leg, which I'd hacked off for a previous project).  All told, they didn't have much going for them.

I've seen skirts made from jeans before, but I've never made one.  I like the style where the legs get unpicked and crossed over to form a straight skirt.  Not only was this not possible as there was the slight problem of missing a leg, but - my hips were never designed for a straight skirt!  Scrap that idea.

For want of anything better to do, I grabbed the rotary cutter and wooshed it across the jeans at just above crotch height.  Yeah!  I've got a belt!  The vision of me trying this microscopic little number on is not something I want to think about again in a hurry....... bleurghhhhh.   If only I had the bum and legs of my dreams - it would have been finished!  Darn sure I've seen skirts for sale shorter than this.

Back at the rummage basket, I began looking for fabrics that matched the very worn denim colour.  I've got boxes of fabric hidden behind more fabric, but the palava involved to get at it, was beyond me in the early hours.  Therefore it was to be something from the basket, or not at all.  I spied a cheerful little bundle of patchwork loveliness, all muted pinks and faded blue.... perfect!  The fact that it was a skirt - age 4 - wasn't going to beat me.  If you've read earlier blog posts, you'll know that I often source fabric from children's clothes.  At car boot sales and charity shops, you can pick lovely pieces up for pennies.  I didn't even buy this one - it was thrown at me in a "you may as well have this old thing as well" way, along with a bag of other bargains.

After hacking off the waistband (just the right size for a headband), I tried it against the cut edge of the jeans.  Too narrow.  Hack another tier of frill off.  Too wide, but not by much......  I think I can do something with this!  With the right sides together, I pinned both layers together at the side seams and centres.  One tuck lined up to correspond with the jeans pockets, and it pinned together like a dream.

Safely pinned, and ready to sew in the morning, I sat and pondered what else to do with it.

Now if you read yesterdays post, you will already know that I have something of a penchant for vintage lace doilies.  I just happened to have another one in front of me - and it just happened to fit rather neatly over a back pocket.  The one on the front is more a matter of necessity.... and is doing an excellent job of secreting an ancient oil stain.  Yikes, but sewing that little critter on nearly jiggered my machine!  Even though I'd remembered to switch needles to a heavy duty one, it struggled.  So many layers!  I got there in the end by turning the wheel manually.  I'm sure you're not supposed to, and no doubt I've knocked a couple of years off the life expectancy.  (If there's a danger list for machine abuse, I fully expect to be lurking somewhere amongst the upper echelon of culprits). 
To make the finished skirt look more original and finished (rather than the just plain quirky is it at the moment), I removed the old jeans labels.  A little offcut of the patchwork fabric took the place of the belt label.  I have added an "Irresistable" label of my own, printed from a vintage advertising poster and reduced.  In reality it's lovely and clear, but my i-Phone continually fails to grasp the merits of a close-up shot and only works properly when it feels like it.   A raid of the button tin and that bit's done.

In place of the rear pocket tab, you will now find Vivacious Mavis in all her glory.  How I love that bit of historical advertising genius.  Oh....  though on re-reading, I realise it's not Vivacious Mavis, but Vivadou's Mavis!  How boring and ridiculous.  Thoroughly dissapointed by that.  Much prefer my version.

As a final flourish, I have added some vintage buttons at random intervals, and a little cotton ribbon trim to one front pocket.  As the frilly material is lightweight, I have strengthened the seam by going around with a band of the same cotton ribbon.
Et Voila - la skirty thing ces't complete!

 It's certainly different, I know..... but it is very much me.  I love anything quirky.  Just have to cross my fingers now that my legs don't look too tree-trunkish in it.  The only cost involved was the ribbon trim - it's the only thing I've bought.  So taking that into account, and the sundry bits and bobs - I suppose this skirt has cost a grand total of £3.  Didn't take long either.... a couple of hours, tops.

Another item done and dusted...... hmmm - what to make next?


  1. wow!!!! ok yes, Im back to look at what else you've created! Thanks for the mail, and instructions. What I like about your things are that they are original and quirky (thats a compliment) and I just love the colours and added bits. Another creation to be proud of!!!!

  2. Love the little added embellishments that you have used.


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