Category Archives: Refashioning


The Monet Experiment

The White Sheet Project – Part 2

For the longest time I've wanted a garment made with impressionist artwork fabric, and you can get fabric with that exact thing on Spoonflower. You can find any fabric you can dream of on Spoonflower. The problem is I live in Australia and shipping is a nightmare on top of the already expensive fabric. Then, when my mind was supposed to be shutting down for that lovely thing called sleep, this idea popped into my head. What if I used diy fabric paint (acrylic paint, fabric fixative medium and water) to create a watery looking fabric and then attach 3D flowers to it, inspired by Monet's Water Lilies.

Image found here

The skirt itself is just an asymmetrical circle skirt with an elastic waist band made from one of the white sheets. I used Dixie's quick graphic on how to do this and gave it a rolled hem. I know ideally you hem a circle skirtr after letting it hang, but as this was asymmetrical I figured it wouldn't matter and I wanted it to be painted as well.

I gave the skirt little twists and then gradually spray the first colour. After each colour I flattened the skirt out and changed the little twists. Apart from the first colour, all the colours I used were the same ones I mixed for my Ombre Dress (I painted them at the same time) and left it to dry on the grass. When it was dry I attached the waist band from thick elastic, I wish I had made this a bit tighter as it sits lower than I'd like.

I free handed a flower shape in a few sizes and went a bit mad tracing, cutting and fixing the edges (I used watereed down PVA glue). I used scraps of the white sheet and a bit of pink fabric I had (also an old sheet). I painted some white fabric buttons from my stash and put it all together in the hope that they looks a little like water lilies.

All up this skirt cost me $1.75 which was the cost of the elastic, everything else came from my stash and the white sheets of course. Not too bad, now on to the next garment.



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The Ombre Effect

White Sheet Project – Part 1

This is my first offical garment as part of the White Sheet Project. I made this maxi dress from the complete white flat sheet. The dress is a heavily modified version of this Style pattern I stole from my mum a while back. And in case you were wondering, why yes, I did included the pockets.

When I last made this (way before blogging) I realised just how much ease this thing had, so I removed a lot of it. I cut the dress pieces on the fold instead of the original design which had centre front and back seams. I used elastic at the neck and sleeves because I'm lazy and it was much easier than making ties.

Once the dress was mostly constructed, I start the spray painting. I only inserted the elastic in the neck before painting so it could hang up, but left it out of the sleeves. I'm trying to spend as little as possible and use what I've got for this project so the fabric spray paints I used were a mixture of acrylic paints (mixed up to my 4 desired colours), fabric fixative medium and water. I loaded the paint into an old spray bottle and started at the bottom. I discovered pretty early on that I required a lot more water than I thought I would to get the quantity and consistancy I needed to spray this dress. This actually made the paint sink into the fabric better.

I sprayed the four colours in the ombre gradient in bands up the dress until I had this. (You can see part 2 in the background).
Then I let it dry. The combination of the water in the paint and gravity caused the colours to blend into one another more than I had originally designed and the final effect is quiet blotchy and uneven, but I think it adds to the effect.
Once the paint was dry, I threw this in the tumble dryer for about a half an hour to try and set the paint. I stitched some elastic at the waist to draw the dress and and give some shape and definition to the dress even when worn without a belt and used my overlocker to give the bottom a rolled hem. The paint did give the fabric a crisper feel, but I'm hoping with a few washes, it will soften up. The paint also made this dress less see-through. Although I thought the bands of colour would be more pronounced, I really like they way my original design has been actualised. On to Part 2.


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The White Sheet Project – Planning

A couple of months ago, whilst I was cleaning and re-organising my linen press, I discovered I had more white flat sheets and pillow cases than we are really ever going to have cause to need. This linen overflow was the result of many years of buy cheaper poly cotton low thread count sheet sets. The fitted sheets ripped before too long, and were thrown out, leaving their flat sheets and pillow cases orphaned in my cupboard. We never really used the flat sheets, they just came in the sets and just sat there. To add insult to injury fabric to project, one of my good cotton sateen fitted sheets tore just after I cleaned out the linen press, so I added that ripped sheet to the cause. I have thoroughly washed and dried all this linen in the beautiful sunshine.

  • 8 White poly cotton pillow cases which are 45 cm x 72 cm
  • 1 White poly cotton queen flat sheet approximately 2.3 m x 2.5 m
  • 1 White poly cotton queen flat sheet reminant approximately 2.3 m x 1.5 m (after this sheet was liberated from the linen press, it was used to make muslins and lining of this dress and the lining of this coat.)
  • 1 White cotton sateen queen fitted sheet, ripped measuring about 1.5 m x 2m ish

When looking at those numbers, that's quiet a lot of fabric. The poly cotton may not have been the best fabric choice for sheets, but not a bad choice for some light weight spring/summer garments. And so, “The White Sheet Project” was born. The aims of this challenge are threefold:

  1. In the spirit of “Make do and mend”, making garments out of something that I would have discarded
  2. Seeing how many items I can get out of all this fabric
  3. Coming up with new and different ways to embellish or change the plain white fabric

I have already started planning the garments I'm thinking of making, as seen in my previous post about croquis. The first garments I'll try and make are the maxi dress with the ombre fabric spray paint effect, asymmetrical circle skirt that has been hand printed, a version of the Pastille dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook, a plain white tank top with scallop hem and maybe a white half slip to go under all these semi sheer garments. After these are done, I'll figure out what I can get out of whatever fabric is remaining, if any thing is left.

And so, with that in mind, let the challenge commence.


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Selfless Sewing

I'm not sure I can really call this selfless sewing, it was for my own children and they needed to be made or I'd have to buy something, but anywho.

My son was baptised this past Sunday, very overdue, but I'm sure God doesn't mind. With a baptisim comes the baptisimal robe or gown, traditionally long and ornate. That's what his sister had, but as we had waited until the little man was 17 months old, none of the family baptism robes would fit him, and even if they did I'm sure all that length would only mess with his crawling (yes that's right, I said my 17 month old was crawling not walking. Lazy!). I'm trying not to go to the fabric store at the moment (I'm pretty sure I'm just about to break that), I went shopping in my stash first and come up with 80 cm of white satin left over from my wedding dress.

Using this pattern, I drafted slightly larger and longer gown and cut it out. I hemmed all the edges with a rolled hem on my overlocker, but as this fabric frays like nobody's business, they weren't the cleanest edges in the world. I decided to add a bias facing to the neckline to tidy it up, but left the others as is. I used iron on hemming web for the back opening and attached a press stud for a closure.

This wasn't the neatest garment I've made, but as my son only had it on for about 30 minutes and won't it be worn again, it did the job. I'm not partically sentimental that I'm going to keep it from my grandchildren.

The next thing I made was a dress for my daughter. I say made, but I kind of cheated. A while back when I was pulling fabric out looking for something, my little princess saw this vintage fabric (actually a couple of old sheets) and asked for a dress made from it. She then proceded to describe the dress she wanted. “Long sleeves and a pretty foofy skirt”. “Foofy” is a term she uses to describe a full skirt, good for twirling. The long sleeves threw me a bit because I know my daughter, she'll want to wear this dress anyway and everywhere I'll let her get away with, so comfort is a must. In the end, I raided her wardrobe and found a top that was getting too small for her and used that as the bodice. I attached a full circle skirt tot the top in her chosen fabric and let it hang for a few days before I gave it a rolled hem. Do you see a pattern here? That's right, whenever I can be lazy and do a rolled hem, I will.

Forgive the blurry photo, action twirling shoots are notoriously hard to capture. On it's own the dress looked a little plain so I made three fabric flowers from the scraps and glued pins on the back so they can be removed and pinned where ever my daughters little heart desires.


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Filed under Kids Clothes, Pattern Modification, Refashioning, Sewing

A Call to Arms!

Or more to the point, to arm my sewing machine. I got a call from my Mum the other morning asking me if I was busy that day, always ominous. My niece (11 yo) and nephew (8 yo) needed to dress up as fairy tale characters at school the very next day. My niece wanted to go as Red Riding Hood, my nephew as the Huntsman. When he told his Nan, she was thinking Robin Hood type costume, he was thinking more Chris Hemsworth. One quick trip to the Op Shop and I had a long sleeve grey t-shirt, a brown jumper and a cool looking belt.

I cut the sleeves off, leaving a slight cap and I unpicked the label. I made the axe from some foam core board and a cardboard tube I stole from a roll of wrapping paper we had. I sprayed the blade with 2 coats of silver spray paint and a few flecks of matt black spray paint.
To finish this costume off, I made a quick scabbard from a toilet roll and duct tape, and slid it on another belt.
The next costume just required a red cape (obvs) and a basket. Given more time I would have bought at least 2 metres of fabric, but as it was a work with what you've got thing, I did just that. I drafted the hood from a hoodie top of mine and cut 4 so it could be self lined. I gathered the rest of the fabric to form the cape and attached it between the layers of the hood. In hindsight, the hood needed more height to give a cool drapey look, but c'est la vie. Please excuse the absolutely awful photo above, it's an iPhone selfie taken in a dirty mirror.
I'm told that the kids loved their costumes so, win!


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Unfinished business

Hi, remember me? I used to post here on this blog a while back.

I lost a bit of my sewing and blogging mojo after Me-Made-May. The general crazy state my life as a stay at home mum to my two children, a dose of the flu (yay winter) and boring chores all played a part in my absence. But mostly I was Sew Depressed after seeing all the wonderful summer dresses and outfits put together by all the lovely bloggers out there. Have you every been Sew Depressed? I coined this term to explain my recent state of mind. I wished I could be sewing great dresses and skirts, fabulous peplum tops and the like, but I was being stopped by that nasty thing called practicality. Who invited him to the party? I came to the realisation that full skirted dresses and pencil skirts are not really practical wear for running after kids and general horsing about. Also, we're in the middle of winter here, so lots of layers and generally pants. Boo! Therefore, I never did a post about all the unblogged pieces I wore during Me-Made-May. So here it is.

I found this skirt at the op-shop for $4 about a year ago. I had grand plans to refashion this and another denim shirt into a dress, but it just sat there in my ever growing pile. I replaced the buttons with some vintage buttons I bought and moved their placements for a better fit. I unpicked the straps and tried to work with them to form braces, but I scrapped that plan and just continued with the rest of the refashion. I shortened the length and added a pocket made from the bottom of the skirt, because, what good is a skirt without pockets. I'm still not sure if the length is right.

This is my stampede top, that was a dress, but was always meant to be a top. I just folded it in half and gave it a high low hem.

This skirt is made from a thrifted cot sheet. I actually finished this skirt at the start of the year, and I started it about a year or two before that. When I originally started this, I cut the skirt using the whole width of the skirt. When I then gathered the skirt the skirt was too bulky, so it sat in the pile until I figured out what I had done wrong. After I had made my first Darling Ranges dress, I finally figured it out. Every time I had previously self drafted skirts, I used too much width. So, using the back pattern from the Darling Ranges dress for both the front and back, I found I had enough left over to cut out matching pockets. YAY, pockets! I put it togther as per the Darling Ranges instructions and then added an elastic waist band (selvedged from another failed project).

Pyjama pants, what can I really say here? I used a thrifted sheet and an old pair of pyjama pants that I was trying to replace.

And that's that, I think. I should hopefully be back later this week to post about my current project.


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Patchwork Cascade Cardigan

When I was killing some time on Polyvore the other day, I created this outfit. An outfit better suited to our current climate down here in Australia, instead of all the Spring and Summer ones I keep seeing from the northern side of the globe. I rather liked this cardigan from Witchery, when I looked at it I saw that it cost $150. A little too rich for me, but then I'm a bit of a cheap skate! I guess everyone else liked this cardigan too, as days later it was sold out. I decided to copy be inspired by it and make my own.

This is my version. The biggest challange with this project was finding the right garments to start with. I trawled quite a few op-shops looking for the right pieces to work with, and I didn't find exactly what I had in mind, but I found these two acrylic jumpers for $4 each and thought they would make a suitable version.

I started with the navy blue jumper/sweater as the base and cut a section out of the back. As this top was too large for me when I replaced the missing piece with a bit from the back of the cream jumper that was slightly smaller than the missing piece. This gave the back of the navy jumper the right width for me across the back. I then cliced right up the front, but off to one side. To the shorter side, I attached the front of the cream jumper. To the longer side, I sewed a section from the back. After trying it on, I thought it needed more cream to balance out the blue, so I cut the blue sleeves short and attached the bottom of the cream sleeves.

I sewed this entire garment up using navy blue thread in my overlocker. I even added some decorative overlocking to the edges. I thought of adding a collar from more of the left over pieces, but decided against it. I think I'll wear it a few more times, and if I still like it without a collar and throw the leftovers out.

This wasn't a difficult project, and although it doesn't look a whole lot like the original, it's warm, in the colours I wanted and I quiet like it. So for $8 dollars, I have a new cardigan to wear this winter. I think I'll keep an eye out for some more jumpers to refashion this way.


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