Environment

DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt

Reducing Landfill Waste

In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.

With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!

I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.



What you need:

A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire

20 mm wide knitted black elastic

Sewing machine and matching thread

What you do:

  1. Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
  2. Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
Cut a long rectangle of fabric to the desired width and length.

I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.

3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.

4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.

5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.

I also used a second fabric, a former child’s dress to make another one of these skirts.

6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.

4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.

5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.

6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.

*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.

7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.

8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….

The Prototype is revealed.

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Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…

Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…

Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!

I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!

That gives me something to ponder about…

More recycling ideas on using scrap materials

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designing bags red work
Community

Kicking out Plastic – Tutorial Signature Shopping Bag

embroidery hack
Design penned onto calico shopping bag

I really hate using plastic bags and avoid them at all costs. As supermarkets here are phasing out single use plastic bags, there is even more need for consumers to have their own environmentally friendly and sustainable shopping bags.

And it is not just reusable bags for groceries. Even when buying a new outfit, I will carry a clean cotton bag for my purchases inside my regular handbag, rather than use a plastic variety that is not only bad for the planet, but also advertises companies who make absolutely no effort to take care of the future of the environment and wildlife. Why would I want to promote them?

In less than ten minutes, you can create an individual environmentally friendly solution. A solution, so easy, that even the children can get involved and create their own reusable, plastic free shopping bag.

Back in 2012, I began making a variety of D.I.Y, “plastic free” bags: in Redwork embroidery, painted Norwegian Telemark and floral designs, and also with a pen and painting technique.

Here are a few samples from my existing bag stash.

But I needed more bags to have on hand, and as plain calico is rather plain, and ‘Redwork’ embroidery makes such a pretty and easy adornment. My initial plan was to embroider some designs on the new calico bags, in redwork technique, with a needle and thread. However, I am not the world’s neatest hand sewer ( far from it, really), and embroidery takes me for-EVER to complete, as I have an aversion to sewing, itself!

Solution: Enter the Evanscraft craft and cross stitch pen…. a permanent, acid free pen in a Barn red colour, that can simulate cross stitch or other types of embroidery. Wonderful! With this technique, you can create a pretty cottage garden or folk art design on fabric, (or even wood), and the result is something unique, and useful, created in a matter of minutes.

More time for plastic free shopping!!

It just might inspire others to take up plastic free shopping as well.

flower pattern

You will need:

  • A Calico or Cotton bag in a light colour from your local haberdashery store, ironed flat.
  • A pattern such as the one above, which you can trace over in thick black pen. NB. If you aren’t feeling particularly inspired to draw your own design, you can find plenty of free ‘Redwork’ or other embroidery patterns, (there are some here on Pinterest); in colouring books or even on google image search, itself.
  • A permanent pen, preferably in barn red or a dark red colour, but any colour will do, as long as it doesn’t bleed or run when you wash the bag. I used an Evanscraft Craft and Cross Stitch pen but please patch test the pen of your choosing, on a hidden corner, to check its colour fastness and suitability.

Instructions:

  1. Tape the design on a glass window to create an impromptu light box and trace your selected pattern in thick black pen.
  2. Tape the traced design on top of a piece of cardboard and slip both inside the bag, centering horizontally. The calico is fairly thin so it is easy to see the traced design through the bag. Mounting the design on the cardboard prevents any bleeding of the penned design, through to the rear side of the bag.
  3. Then it is just a matter of re-tracing over the pattern with the chosen pen, and adding a few embellishments of your own, within and around the design.
  4. A final press of the bag, with the iron seals the design and you are ready to shop!

Tip: A ruler may be used to keep long lines straight, or you may prefer to keep them loose and rustic, as I did in the border design. Use the ruler turned upside down to prevent smudging on to the bag.

A major complaint of those who continue to use plastic bags, is that they forget to bring the re-usable bags, along with them, when they shop.

I purchased the plain cotton shopping bags from Lincraft for a dollar each. Not only are they strong, bu they can be scrunched up to a really small size, for carrying inside my handbag, (see in photo to the right above).

In this way they are always on hand, for my use just when I need them.

No more forgetting the bags!!

What design would you choose?

Something environmentally friendly and creative to ponder About.

Community

Upcycling a T-shirt into a Four Strand Plaited Belt

If you are anything like me, you tend to accumulate a lot of T-shirts. The ones made in China and Bangladesh, stretch out of shape oh so quickly. You can still wear them around the house, or as pyjamas, but there is still often too many. There is a way to use them up.

Cut up the pre-loved T- shirt into strips depending on how thick you want the belt. I used 4 strips each about  5-6 cm wide. The stretch fabric rolls back onto itself and narrows somewhat so four strands of this width make a four strand plaited belt approximately  4 cm wide. Use a t- shirt cut width-wise or sew several shorter strands together. You need at least 4 strips, each 130cm long to make a belt about 60 – 70 cm in length.

 

Oversew the ends neatly and attach to a ring/ doorknob or hook. Something that will hold the ends fast. A heavy tin, an old nappy pin or a door handle.

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Begin twisting the four strands of knit fabric along these lines.

 

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Try to maintain an even flat plait as one with lumps and bumps won’t look as nice.

Oversew the ends, sewing one end of the belt one over two ‘D’ rings, and ‘voila’… a trendy belt.

Recycling/Upcycling: Something to Ponder About.

 

 

 

Community, Painting

Upcycling – Stool/potplant stand 30 minute Makeover

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So many things are thrown away that are still useful.

This stool was just begging me to rescue it from a kerbside clean up.

And even with just a small embellishment, it has found a new home on my porch.

Steps to its New look:

1.  First a coat of Forest Green acrylic Gouache (artists quality pigments, but that is only my personal choice) House paint sample pots is fine.

folk art painted flower

2.  A good sand with 600 grade sandpaper and then a second coat of paint is mandatory.

3.  Draw a guideline of a central circle with chalk and then position the petals symmetrically around the circle.

4. Thin down a little warm white acrylic paint, (warm white is white with a touch of yellow added to take the “blue-ness” out of the white colour).

5. Paint  daisies or flowers of 6 -7 petals, with a paint brush, or, if a paint brush is not readily available, use your finger tip, (like the original peasant folk artists did).

I used a round brush # 4 with thick paint for texture. Smaller daisy petals can be painted with a Q – tip or cotton bud.

folk art painted stool

You could paint the daisies in a line, or in clusters, for something different. Tip: Clusters of odd numbers of flowers, look better than even numbers…why, I don’t know.

6. I painted the centre of the flower scarlet red with another dollop of paint, and a final flourish stroke/dot  between the flowers for interest.

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7. When the paint is dry, rub off the chalk lines.

8. Varnish if you wish, with water based varnish. ( Oil based varnishes tend to yellow as they age, but if you want this look, then oil based is ok too)

upcycledstoolVariation:

With some 600 grade sandpaper, lightly sand off a little of the forest green paint at the corners to reveal the original undercoat. A nice shabby chic look.

There – it is done. Thirty minutes later:IMG_20140124_163626.jpgplantstand

Ponder about something that needs a makeover.

Other upcycling ideas here:

Painting

Upcycling: Folk art – Tole painting on metal jug

Tole painting, Folk art decoration Folk art daisy

Despite the intense heat of the last few days, I did manage to produce a small item of decorative art. An old metal jug/watering can needed a facelift.  A simple daisy flower painted with a technique of using progressively lighter overlaying shades of acrylic gouache, some blended dry brushed leaves and some flyspecking with a toothbrush and diluted warm white paint and voila…. it has a new functional life with a new look! This is a simple way to decorate items around the home.

For best results, it is best to lay down a base coat of good acrylic low sheen paint first, so that your decorative paint will ‘key’ adhere successfully.

If you aren’t familiar with a dry brush technique, it is as it says: using a dry brush that is loaded with acrylic paint ( no water ) and skimmed over a darker surface to create highlights that enhance a dimensional appearance. The leaves are painted in this manner with a dark green base and then warm white is added to the green colour to create progressively lighter tones on the parts of the leaf where the light source would hit. This creates a curved effect. A darker shade on the opposite side of the vein defines the shadowed area.

The overlay technique is outlined below in a previous post which I have reproduced below:

(slightly different flower but the technique is the same)

Daisies are based in grey and then warm white is progressively added to the grey, then a final layer of warm white to highlight the petal.

A shadow is created by shading with a washy blue-black colour near the centre.

Stipple the centres with a round hog’s hair or stiff deerfoot brush, with yellow oxide and burnt sienna. Detail dots are in these colours plus warm white.

Simple but effective pot for the top of the fire place, or a small watering can for my indoor plants.

Something decorative to ponder about.

Overlay Technique

A quick but effective way to decorate a small object is by painting a simple garland of hand-painted flowers. “Oh! But I am not a painter I hear you say!!” Well, that’s ok, because you don’t need any specific skills for this technique. It is VERY forgiving! And it does not have to be perfect.

1. Prep Base with colour of choice

2. Trace outline or guidelines

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3. Using your chosen dark colour, (in the example: Paynes Grey/Dark Blue) stroke in the petals with shape-following/comma strokes, beginning at the outside of the flower and pulling the strokes towards the centre, using a synthetic/sable round brush in size 3 or 4, depending on how big you want the petals.

*If you know how to do ‘comma’ strokes, use them, but a fine tapered tip near the centre of the petal is not necessary. So don’t stress. If you need more help in forming the strokes: see linked articles below.

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4. Load a round or filbert synthetic brush (hogs hair or sable brushes don’t work so well here), with Warm White, or a light contrasting colour.

NB: In this technique, you do not wet the brush, or if you do dip it in the water jar, squeeze out most of the moisture, on some kitchen paper towel.

5. Begin to gently stroke in some colour, on top of the already existing blue colour, pulling just the top half of the brush over each petal, starting at the outer edge. Lift off completely before reaching the end of the petal, so that the darker blue colour will still show towards the centre. The dark colour then acts as your shadowed area, and the white is the highlighted area of the petal. This gives your flower more of a three-dimensional look.

6. Continue adding layers of warm white in this dry brush technique until you are happy with the effect.

Caution: It is always easy to dry brush additional highlight into the petals, if there is not enough, however, removing it if you have put on too much to begin with is extremely difficult and messy. **** If this happens, just re-do your basecoat of dark blue again, and start from #4.

7. If need be, use a brighter white, in an even smaller area near the very edge of the petal, to create ever more of a highlight.  Watch the leaf that has the turn-back, as this leaf will be in more shadow than the others, and as such, still retains most of the blue shade. flowercentre

8. Paint the centre with a ‘stipple’ effect, in a c shape, leaving the centre in the dark blue colour. The highlight colours I used include: gold oxide, yellow and white on the very highest edge. The ‘stipple’ effect is sort of like dot, dot dotting, the colour in just with the very tip of the brush. You can use an older brush for this, or a round hogs hair brush, as it is not so imperative to have a fine point.

In this example, I also used the same dry brush technique for painting the leaves: Using a pine green colour for the base, and adding progressively more yellow to the green to get a lighter colour, using this as my dry brushed highlight.

Paper mache box

Related Articles:

how-to-paint-comma-strokes-beginner-folk-art-painting-tutorial/

folk-art-step-by-step-guide

 

Community

DIY Bathing Towel Apron

Fantastic idea for Mums of little ones. And a wonderful recycling/upcycling idea as well!

Diary of a Mad Crafter

I saw this idea on Pinterest (of course!) and thought what an awesome idea! When pulling babies and kids out of the bath, you can just cuddle with them and dry them off at the same time! I took a good look at the pic, and figured out how to make it. It’s super simple, and a GREAT baby shower gift!

I used a towel I had from home. We have collected way too many towels in this house and no room for them, so I figured I’d give one a good use other than sitting in the closet. I loved this print with the light blue (which was actually a pillow case–same thing, we collect this stuff without realizing, I tell ya)! You can either purchase 1 or 2 yards of the cotton fabric for this project (I’ll explain in the second step).towelapron1

The top part of my apron…

View original post 238 more words

Community

Up- cycling DIY Tutorial From Tired Placemat to Pretty Tea Cosy

What can you do with an old fabric place mat, that feels too good to throw away?

Use the extra thermal padding and pretty fabric as a Teapot Cosy!

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15 minute up-cycling project, that will leave you with endless cups of hot tea,( or as much as your teapot holds) and you will be helping the planet. Waste less, enjoy more!

In all seriousness,  this only took me 15 minutes to complete. And I am not on friendly terms with my sewing machine, so it may even take less time for experienced crafters!

Tutorial: Up- cycling project. Place-mat to Tea Cosy

You will need:

–   1 fabric place-mat, of a standard size, table setting.

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Mine was 44cm x 30cm.

–   Complementary ribbon or bias binding for edging of cut side and loop.

(Simply double the width of the placemat and add extra for tucking under at start and finish)

I needed 0.75 metre.

– Sewing machine with complementary coloured thread.

Instructions

1. Measure place-mat and mark half way  along its lengths on both sides.

2. Cut carefully in half.

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3. Pin a short length of ribbon to form a loop mid-way along the wrong side,  of what will be the top edge, of the tea cosy and secure with sewing.

This is useful for removing the tea- cosy to pour the tea, or hanging up to air or dry!

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4. Fold over the ribbon 0.5 cm at the start and pin bias binding or ribbon along cut edge.

    Sew to secure. As I used a ribbon, a zigzag stitch was best;

   But you could use a triple stitch or anything to secure the edge to stop it from fraying. Tuck in another little piece of ribbon at the end of each side.

( I didn’t really need to tell anyone that, did I?)

5.  Finally pin the place-mat, along the edges, wrong sides together.

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 6.  Sew along the three outer sides of the two halves of the place-mat.

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Now you are ready for a hot cup of tea, or two or three. And the padding on the reverse side of the mat, means your cuppa stays HOT!

I really wish I had this makeshift teapot cosy, on hand when my kids were little, as I was forever drinking cold or lukewarm cups of tea.

I hope that you can recycle some of your pretty place-mats in a similar way. Do you have any lurking in the rag box? Something to ponder about today.

Check out Natasha’s Linky party too for more craft inspiration.

Poofy Cheeks

Community

Upcycling using Fabric Scraps – DIY Scrap floor mat/ rag rug

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We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….

There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet. Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated  in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.

In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt  in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.

You will need:

1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.

 A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.

You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the  scraps do tend to fray.

 

Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.

Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.

 

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Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.

 

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Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.

 

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Repeat with more and more fabric strips.

Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.

If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.

Then I just fill in all the gaps…..

  Until, one day… hey presto>>>>

 

 

A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.

The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:

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Once complete, the mat would be washed in very hot water to make the hessian skrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian. If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together.

 

How many scraps make a rug? Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.

 

Community

Recycle an Ikea Cushion

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A quick up-cycling project

One old Ikea cushion was getting a bit tatty and needed some TLC and renovation. Using some pretty quiliting fabric and co-ordinating remnant, I made 2 smaller cushions that look new and trendy!

Blog pics 028I only had to add some extra stuffing. and Voila….

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The larger one I take in the car as a lumbar support.

The smaller one,  measuring around  30 x 15 cm so is nice for my daughter to snuggle up with, at night, as she is past the point where having a teddy in bed with you, is cool.

Do you have some remnants and an old cushion that could do with a facelift. In less than the time it takes to ponder this question, you could have a few extra cushions to co-ordinate the home furnishings.