Category Archives: Thrifting


Full Circle

Many sewists start out sewing circle skirts, so suprisingly this is my first. I found some polyester gaberdine in my local op-shop but didn't buy it because I thought I had too much fabric (well, I do but what sewer doesn't) and didn't have a plan with what to make with it. But then, I started thinking about making a circle skirt while I was on holiday and realised that fabric would have been perfect. I kicked myself for not buying it when I had the chance. So it was with little hope that I went back to that op-shop weeks later to check out their fabric bin, and lo and behold, there is was, still waiting for me! To top it all off, the lady that sold it to me only charged me $4.50 for the 4 and a half metres. That's only 50c/m (they usually charge $2/m which is still cheap though)! It was meant to be. But this skirt had to wait it's turn unitl after I finished making my first Elisalex and then the peplum top.

I looked at a few tutorials like this one from By Hand London and just used the measurements I wanted. I was very eager to start this project and cut it all out right after I finished the peplum top, but then I froze. I haven't had a great track record with getting skirt waistbands to sit right and I think it's because in the past I've been a bit slack with using interfacing when necessary. So, it just sat there for about a week until I found the courage to continue (I'm such a wuss!). I don't know why I was worried, I've come a long way with my sewing since my first few skirts.
I included in seam pockets (big suprise) and used an invisible zip from my stash. (I only had a white zip so I think I'll paint the zipper pull with nail polish to make it less noticeable.) When I first sewed on the waist band and tried it on, I got this;
So, I unpick that waist band, cut a new one and cut the inside circle (waist) slightly larger, then tried again. Sucess! I let the skirt hang for about 24 hours before I trimmed and evened out the hem. Then I attached some home-made bias tape to the hem and hand stitched to finished. The hand stitching took me FOR-wait for it-EVER. I worked it out and there is about 4.5 metres of hem on this skirt.
When I originally designed this skirt, I was going to have a quote from Pride and Prejudice all the way around the bottom hem. My first idea was to print the quote on some Lesley Riley's TAP and my second was to use my Stained fabric pens and handwrite the quote. After I finished the skirt my husband said it liked it as is, so now I'm not sure if I should add the quote or not. It really was quiet easy, I don't know why I haven't made one before now. My husband likes it so much that he said I need one in red, and when I told him I didn't have any red fabric, he told me I could always go to the fabric store and buy some. Does he understand how much damage I can do at a fabric store? Especially with his blessing?
Total cost of this project: Fabric $3 (I only used about 3 metres of the total 4.5 that I had), dark mid weight fuseable interfacing that I bought for a different project (maybe ~$1), invisible zip (harvested from a failed project), 2 hook and eye closures, home-made bias tape and thread all from my stash.




Filed under Sewing, Thrifting

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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Filed under Refashioning, Sewing, Thrifting

I Made a Coat

About a year ago I had grand plans to make myself a coat using Simplicity 7113 . I even went so far as to draft up a slightly altered version (making it knee length) and cut it out. Then I lost my nerve and it sat in my to do basket for the year. Chicken!

Then, after Me-Made-May, my realisation I needed more practical sewing and my bout of Sew Depression, I thought I would try making a coat again, but I was no longer feeling my original plan. I had moved on to this coat, in fact one of my very first posts on this blog was about this coat.

I initially disregarded the Simplicity 7113 version and started from scratch, altering the Darling Ranges pattern in an attemt to copy the coat exactly, differing only in colour. After 3 toiles, I just wasn't happy with the fit of the sleeve and the armscye. The Darling Ranges has an odd fit in the sleeve normally, and the more I fiddled with the pattern the less I was happy with the way it was coming together. So, I turned back to Simplicity 7113, made peace with the differences, and got to work.


Shell Fabric – a vintage wool/polyester blend of which I had 6 metres. I'd paid $2 a metre for it at my local Op-Shop, a bargain, no? I also have 6 metres in a dark magenta, jealous much? The labels were still attached, so I Googled the brand. I found this newspaper article from 1968. Their fabrics sold for $5.50/yard at DJ’s in 1968, so I think I got a good deal on this one.

Lining Fabric – two old sheets. The white one was from my linen press and the other one was a thrifted bed sheet that I found a few years ago for $1.

Pattern – I used Simplicity 7113 for the bodice, changing the neckline/lapels slightly. The pattern was too large and I ending up using 1″ seam allowances on all seams. I already had this cut out, so I just cut it off at the waistline mark on the pattern.The skirt was self drafted and the pockets were from the Darling Ranges dress.

Notions – 5 vintage buttons ($3 for 6) and polyester thread, which was the only thing I purchase new. I also used a small amount of self made bias tape left over from this make.

Cost – about $5 for the shell fabric, about 20c for the lining, $3 for buttons and $3 for the thread. Total cost $11.20.

Overall, I fairly happy with the way this coat turned out. It is in no way perfect and has many faults, but I'm pretty proud that I managed to make a coat. One sleeve is perfection, the other is the exact opposite. That little devil cost me days of extra time. I don't even want to count how many times I unpicked and sewed that sleeve in place to try and fix the slight twist that it had. Ggrhh! It still has the problem, but I think it is less noticable now than it was before and I have no idea why or how to fix it. Something to figure out for next time perhaps.



Filed under Pattern Modification, Sewing, Thrifting

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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Filed under Refashioning, Sewing, Thrifting

Op-Shop Haul 4/05/13

Today was a mildly sucessful trip to the op-shop. For a total of $12, I scored the following.

  • A browny-burgandy pashmina (pashmina/silk blend) for $2.
  • 3 patterns, quite expensive, at $1 each.
  • A purple-blue cardigan with a small hole for $1
  • A black knit top for $2
  • And a gold double helix necklace, for $4. The nerd in me couldn't leave it there.

I could help but notice the similarities between the Vogue skirt pattern (9013) and the new Megan Nielsen Casade skirt. I have refashioning plans for the two knit tops and the pashmina, which I hope to share soon.


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Filed under Op-Shop, Thrifting