ShabbyShe

I like upcycling, repurposing and making stuff

Upcycling Clothing: Jumper Dress Bag

Girl's jumper dress for upcycling into a bag

Pretty knitted jumper dress, sadly a bit stained

We are so fortunate to have several lovely friends with older girls who pass on their sweet clothes to us when they’re outgrown. I love this stripy pink jumper dress but unfortunately it has several stains on it which I couldn’t remove with washing – a hazard of raising young children!

There are several ways to recycle clothes that look a bit too sad – a great way is to give them to your favourite charity shop as they can sell the items by weight to textile recyclers for bedding etc. Another even better way is to refashion or upcycle them into another item of clothing, a keepsake soft toy (like we did here) or in this case a bag! I do have a bit of a thing for bags, as regular readers will know…!

I decided to keep this bag quite soft and floppy as the fabric is soft and cuddly itself. It’s lined with a man’s shirt (husband’s cast-off) and I decided to also use the shirt fabric for the strap.

Here’s what I used to make this very simple bag…

  • jumper dress & old shirt
  • medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • sewing machine & thread
  • rotary cutter and board (these are optional, but make cutting straight so much easier)
  • iron (you really can’t skip this bit, even if like me you really want to!)

The fun part is cutting it all up…

To get a clean straight edge and a matching size on my shirt lining fabric, outer bag and interfacing I used my self-healing mat and rotary cutter with a wide ruler. Once the inner bag fabric (the shirt) and the outer bag (jumper dress) were cut to size I ironed on fusible interfacing to the shirt fabric to give it more structure.

Then just sew it all together…

I made the strap from the shirt’s placket (the button hole strip on the front of a shirt). This has the advantage both of being already shaped & straight and having interfacing inside so it has a stiffer texture, useful in a strap.

I stacked the pieces together and pinned ready for sewing in the following order:-

  1. first lining piece, right side down
  2. first outer bag piece, right side up
  3. second outer bag piece, right side down
  4. second lining piece, right side up

Then I sewed the top ribbed part onto the bag and attached the shirt placket strap

Reusing shirt as bag strap and lining

Shirt placket strap is sewn onto the bag

Hand sewing recycled bag

Some bits have to be sewn on by hand


The resulting product is a soft bag, ideal for a little girl (or even a big girl like me!). I really liked the buttons feature on the original dress so used them to embellish the bag. A fun way to recycle pre-loved clothes into something cute and useful :)

Jumper dress turned into a bag

Reverse Appliqué Phone Cases

OK, first things first – a confession! I polled loyal blog followers (and anyone else who happened to drop by!) to find out which eye you preferred for my bird phone case. Opinions were divided, but the largest bead won the popular vote and I pledged to go with the majority….Hmm….

Meanwhile, the large bead went missing! This is very strange, as I had put all three eye options, needles and the phone case itself in a plastic tub to keep it safe. However you may remember there are 2 small people living in the Shabby household, and one in particular has a penchant for collecting pretty things she finds around the house (my earrings in particular..!)

So, not wishing to cast blame, I believe someone played with my materials and consequently all three eye options disappeared! Luckily I have a stash of small beads and buttons and although I couldn’t find a match for the large bead I did find an identical small black bead. Hence why the bird ended up looking like this…

Felt handmade phone case

The bird has an eye!

I must admit, having favoured the largest button eye originally I’ve come round to the little bead instead. I think it’s quite cute!

The collection is growing, with a view to eventually doing a little craft fair at some point when I can squeeze it in! I think these would also make nice little stocking fillers for Christmas…

Handmade felt phone cases

Reverse applique felt and upcycled fabric phone cases

It’s quite therapeutic making these little cases and felt is such a nice fabric to work with. The stitching is done by hand using embroidery silks.

Repurposed clothes phone cases

Another view…

DIY mobile phone cases

And finally…

I still haven’t found the secret bead stash…!

Happy Thursday all x

Kids’ Easy Sewing Projects – Teddy and Keyring

Picture the scene – the children are happily playing downstairs. You slip upstairs to the “do some housework” and fire up the sewing machine. Peace reigns supreme – we are all in our happy places and doing what we enjoy most.

But hang on, here they are, buzzing around like flies, picking up pieces of fabric and cotton reels and begging to use Mummy’s sewing machine. Darn it!!

This happens frequently in my house and I usually bat them away with a snack and drink, maybe some TV, and a “Later – just let me finish this first”. However I had to finally cave in and allow my children to have some of the sewing machine fun :)

Easy first sewing projects for kids

Easy does it – the children display their makes!

They decided they wanted to make a gift for each other, how sweet is that??

I established 3 basic ground rules to ease them into sewing toys on the machine which would be useful for any project involving young children:

1. They could choose their own material, but only from recycled fabric, not Mummy’s Best Stash – after all, there are plenty more used and outgrown t-shirts & jumpers where these came from!

2. We would start with a basic pattern or shape and one I have tried and tested before (typically my son chose a teddy shape which is a bit grander than I expected, but we managed it together!)

3. They had to sit carefully, keeping fingers, eyes and feet where I showed them and c.o.n.c.e.n.t.r.a.t.e.! They managed this amazingly well and really listened!

On previous occasions when one of them has wanted to “help” with my sewing, I’ve allowed them to press the foot pedal with their hands while I guide the fabric. This time they both took it in turns to take the helm and I just told them when to stop and start so I could help rotate the fabric. We had to pile some boxes under the table so their little legs could reach the pedal :D

My 5 year old chose to make her brother a soft keyring using some denim jeans fabric and her old stripy jumper which regular readers might recognise from a certain teddy bear I made for her! I helped her draw an oval shape and cut it out with pinking shears to avoid fraying. She then stitched round it, sewing the denim tag in the top, and leaving a small gap for the stuffing (adding the stuffing was almost as much fun as using the sewing machine!) Then we stitched it all the way round again to seal it all in.

Easy kids sewing craft - DIY keyring

Pretty pleased with her first machine-sewn project!

My son’s brainwave was to make a teddy bear for his sister from an old pink t-shirt – a bit trickier as we had to stop and rotate the shape more and it took a lot of self-control on his part not to go nuts with the pedal (boy racer in the making!!) He did so well though – here he is proudly sporting the finished shape, prior to decoration with a Sharpie pen.

Easy teddy toy on sewing machine

Look what I made Mummy! His first soft toy project.

We found some pink ribbon for the teddy’s bow tie and my son drew in some features to finish the toy. He later added his initial and a couple of stars to his keyring gift too and it is now featured on his school bag!

They both did so well and it goes to prove that I don’t have to be a control freak with them ALL the time – they’re actually pretty good at stuff when I trust them to do themselves :)

Sewing with kids - easy first makes

We love our presents!

I’ll be linking this up on Threading my Way and Handmade Harbour’s Handmade Monday – do pop over to them and have a look at other people’s fantastic creations – Happy Weekend to all! x

Lampshade Revamp – A Map Upcycle

DIY lampshade update

Lampshade in need of a revamp!

This sad little lampshade was posing a problem: it is such a dull colour, not enhanced by age or dust, but I couldn’t throw out a still serviceable object…

The shade in question is from our downstairs loo, recent recipient of the makeover treatment with a pallet wood and peg upcycle project and a good old lick of paint. However, the pendant light fitting has remained naked as this lampshade was both ugly and seemed to be the wrong size compared to the huge energy-saving bulb!

I’d seen several lampshade revamp projects on Pinterest and other blogs using either fabric, printed paper or maps which look great. This lampshade was a good place to start as if the worst came to it I wouldn’t have ruined a nice lamp! The tube map was a bargain I spotted a few months ago in a card shop: although I have lots of maps at home from past travels which would be great to upcycle, they are both too thick and have too many creases to apply smoothly to a rounded surface such as a lamp shade. (I have to admit, although I love maps I have a slight horror of opening the folded, booklet kind as I can never work out how to close them correctly again! There’s probably a name for map phobia…)

I assembled my supplies:

  • lampshade
  • map
  • sellotape
  • cutting mat
  • craft knife
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • Mod Podge
Lampshade re-cover project

Map cut to approximate shape

 

Tracing and Cutting the Decoupage to size

I forgot to take a “Before” picture of the map prior to cutting, but you get the idea! I just aligned my starting point on the map with the seam on the lampshade and rolled it slowing, tracing the shape top and bottom with a faint pencil line. I left a generous margin for folding the map in to leave a nice finished edge.

If I were doing this again I would take time to smooth the map flat first as I had to weight it down (as you can see from the picture) – a cool iron and tea towel would be good for this. I carefully cut the shape about 1.5cm (1″) outside the pencil line to allow some overlap for a tidy edge.

Applying the New Cover

Removing fabric trim from lamp shade

Gently peel off the fabric trim to avoid a lumpy edge when refinished

Having cleaned the lampshade and removed the thin fabric trim top and bottom, I taped the map onto the shade and rolled to make sure it would be a correct fit. This picture also shows the wire frame edge with the fabric trim removed.

lampshade revamp with upcycled map

Checking the new cover will fit

I applied matte Mod Podge to both the outer shade and the back of the map cut-out and rolled the map on. I then smoothed the map towards the outer edge to remove any air bubbles and ensure a smooth application. Next I quickly re-painted the overlapping edges with more Mod Podge, tidied them up a bit with scissors and snipped at regular intervals in order to fold them tightly over the edge.

Another generous lashing of Mod Podge all over the decoupaged map sealed it in and gave it a nice slightly sheeny finish. I left it to dry by standing it on a jar so none of the wet edges would get smudged, and then …

Decoupaged map lampshade cover

Revamped pendant lampshade added to Loo Re-Do :)

I hung it up! I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It goes nicely with our recently redecorated downstairs toilet complete with pallet wood upcycle loo-roll holder. The only slightly, well, ME-thing about it is that I was intending to hang it the other way up (as it had been before I removed it) hence why the map is actually upside down if you look closely!! However, even with a smaller lightbulb it still looked all-bulb-and-no-action – I want the outside to be displayed not the inner part. So I hung it upside down and I think it looks quite funky :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What do you think? I might give some more lamps this treatment now I’ve had a go…

This post will feature in Handmade Monday on the lovely Handmade Harbour – check it out :)

Back to School – Upcycled Juice Pouch Lunch Bag

Let your child be the Green Hero of the school with a fun recycled lunch bag!

diy upycled juice pouch lunch bag

Lunch bag made from recycled juice pouches

This is a quick and easy upcycle that older children can get involved in making for themselves: a lunch bag made from repurposed foil juice pouches of the likes of Capri Sun.

There are loads of tutorials online for stitching these juice pouches into fun upcycled items such as wallets, totes and pencil cases – all of which I will attempt at a later date as this is such a quick and fun craft! My favourite tutorial is here at Instructables.com which requires only the following items:-

  • 14 juice pouches (used!)
  • sharp knife & scissors
  • sewing machine and thread
  • ribbon (I used webbing strap instead, as you’ll see)
  • Optional – velcro closure ( didn’t bother with this)

First things first: get your children sugared up to the eyeballs by drinking their way through 14 Capri Suns or similar juice pouch drinks! This is obviously best done over a period of time rather than all in one go or they won’t be able to concentrate at the sewing machine very well ;) For our lunch bag, we had managed to acquire 12 pouches and then as luck would have it we met up with friends and they were drinking Capri Sun from France (how exotic!) so we added their two pouches to the mix!

Reusing juice pouches

French Capri Sun adds some Chic to the Shabby!

First things first – Getting Started

The pouches need to be slit open so they can be cleaned out thoroughly with hot soapy water and left to drain dry. I have to fess up to a slight bodge here à la ShabbyShe – I slit mine at the top (above the straw hole) instead of underneath (in the hidden pouchy part) where it would never be seen! As a consequence I had to be careful to overlap my stitching to close the opening I had made.

Making the front, back, sides and bottom panels

As you can see from the pictures, I started by sewing 2 pouches together (top to bottom) and making sure I overlapped them just enough to close the (incorrectly applied!) slit at the top. To these 2 pouches I added 2 more to make a front panel of 4 pouches, then did the same for the reverse of the bag. Lining up was easy as the straight lines are all there for you, and even though I used 2 different brands of juice they were a standard size.

For the sides of the bags I did the same but just used 2 pouches. The bottom required slightly more effort as you have to join 2 pouches but cut them to the width of the front panel. I joined mine bottom to bottom as the Aldi juice pouches have cute apples with eyes which are more interesting than the logo :)

Attaching handles

The handles I’ve used for this bag are webbing strap which you can order online or buy in a fabric shop – I have this one in red, green and taupe and had a hard time choosing my favourite for this project! I zizgzagged the straps onto the bag then added a cross box type of stitch to secure (not sure if there’s a proper name for this? Do let me know if you know!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once the handles are on, all you do is stitch all the parts together – easier than I thought it would be. I started by attaching the front panel to the bottom of the bag by joining them wrong sides together – this was not specified in the Instructables tutorial but I felt in contrast to “normal” bag making it would look better with external seams – the picture above of the sewing machine shows me doing this part. The picture below, however, shows the hazards of working with quite thick materials and a rather blunt needle…. Oops :S

Broken needle on sewing machine

Disaster strikes – a squiffy needle!

New needle in place, I soldiered on!

Inside recycled juice pouch bag

All parts attached, ready to whizz up the sides to finish :)

This is how it looks inside before the final side stitching is done. I have to say here that I doubted my methods briefly looking at other people’s bags online – they all seem to have plain silver inside and I wondered whether you are supposed to cut the juice bags open and remove the backs. But I decided that maybe American Capri Sun pouches don’t have all this stuff on the back. The ones pictured here are from Aldi mostly, as you can see.

So that’s it, it’s so easy and fun! The hardest part is getting enough pouches for lunch bags for everyone, although the kids do enjoy that part!! They didn’t help with the construction for this project but I’m sure in a year or so my eldest could. I might get him to wear goggles though, in case of needle-breakage!

Repurposed juice pouch bag

My lovely upcycled lunch bag!

Lunch bag made from recycled materials

Recycling fun :)

Happy Tuesday everyone – we are Back to School tomorrow – boo! x

Spice Rack made from Upcycled Cot

More making something new and useful for the home from something old and no longer needed: a DIY spice rack made from our old cot.

You may remember a while ago I discovered a bit of upcycling ingenuity from ShabbyHe in the form of some hanging storage for the garage – which I wrongly described as the cot base – it was in fact the side of the cot, which gives the baby that whole “zoo animal” look :D

The same cot used by both our babies has had further repurposing treatment with this wall-mounted DIY spice rack, made using the slatted cot base. We needed a large spice rack to house our many herbs and spices – they had taken over a drawer, the top of the microwave and half a cupboard and enough was enough!

Recycled repurposed cot base

Spice rack made from repurposed cot base

I feel I should apologise at this point for the decor in our kitchen – we had the kitchen damp-proofed and replastered when we moved in (quite a long time ago!) but as we’re hoping to extend and redecorate the kitchen next year (hopefully with lots of shabby chic/vintage and upcycled bits) we haven’t bothered to improve it yet!

You may also notice that my herbs and spices are not in nice matching pots or even arranged by colour/brand – this is because:

1. I can’t throw out or replace perfectly decent jars until the contents are used up (not v. green)
2. I arranged them alphabetically so I can instantly put my hand on the ingredient I need – and see when it needs re-stocking :)

 

We used the cot base and attached slats to the front along the length then screwed on horizontal slats at 12cm intervals. The front horizontal slats hold the jars in place as they effectively lean against them and stand on the cot slats behind – this picture hopefully shows more clearly what I mean…

Handmade large wall-mounted spice rack

Spice jars are held in place by leaning against the front slats

ShabbyHe finished by fixing the rack on a wall which doesn’t get any direct sunlight – quite important as this really impairs the look and flavour of most herbs and spices.

I’m really pleased with the finished result – all the jars are now arranged in order in one place and I can find what I need straight away instead of checking in several places. I might paint it at some point but not until our kitchen makeover next Summer!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This post is now featured on Handmade Monday over at Handmade Harbour – do pop over and see the other fab link ups! x

A Bird’s Eye View…?

Ok bloggy friends and readers, I need some advice!

I’m continuing my obsession with making little bags and phone cases with this birdy reverse appliqué phone case, made from felt and (naturally) upcycled children’s clothing.

The problem is the little chap needs an eye, but I can’t decide which one. This is where you come in – thoughts please!

Option 1: Button and little beady eye

Bird design DIY phone case

Button & bead eye bird

Option 2: Large beady eye

Felt and fabric applique phone pouch

Large beady-eyed bird

Option 3: Little beady eye

Phone case using upcycled fabric from clothes

Small beady-eyed bird

So far two friends have voted for option 3, one for option 1 and my daughter likes option 2!

It’s the Viewers’ Choice now – I need your bird’s eye view (groan!!) ….

I promise to go with the majority vote. Thank you x

Upcycled Clothing Phone Case

Another fabric scrap project to add to my growing list. I just can’t bear to part with bits and pieces of fabric or clothing that look like they will upcycle into something fabulous!

A friend recently gave me a lovely pale green top which sadly didn’t fit her or me, but the fabric was too pretty to pass it on to the charity shop! The solution: some more upcycled clothing projects!

repurposed clothing made into phone case

A new phone case from old clothes

Luckily the top featured a ruffled edge detail which looks really cute on the case I think.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The button is, of course, from my stash. I used felt to line the inside of the case to give it a cushioned look and protect the phone as it clunks around in my handbag! The cord is a simple chain finger-knitted from embroidery silks. Remember finger-knitting? It’s still fun! :D

Teacher Totes – a Thank You gift

It’s that time of year again when the summer holidays are beckoning and children and teachers are worn out and longing for the break! (I can say this with confidence as I was a teacher!)

I usually put some cash in the class whip-round but the children’s teachers have been so lovely in every way this year I wanted to make them a little gift to show our appreciation. If you remember, at Christmas I made the teachers some personalised knitted mug cosies.Hopefully these have kept other people’s mitts off their cuppas in the staffroom as well as keeping their tea warm! ;)

Now Summer is here with a vengeance in South East England I wanted to make something both useful and summery. These tote bags are based on instructions from the excellent Molly’s Sketchbook Twenty Minute Totes.

Teacher appreciation totes

Handmade teacher gifts – tote bags

I hasten to add that 20 minutes is I’m sure achievable for a more experienced and less faffy seamstress than me, but they took me over an hour! Still, they were easy to assemble with fab instructions and visuals from the Purlbee and I think are super cute! I can’t wait to give them to the teachers!

Gift for teacher - pretty tote bag

Little tote bag with fabric flower

I bought some fat quarters from Hobbycraft in coordinating colours and used thread from my stash. They’re mostly *new* (rather than upcycled) apart from the fabric flower on the teal striped bag which is made from a repurposed dress and top of my daughter’s. A warning word about the fat quarters: I thought they were a standard size, but apparently can vary depending on the width of the original fabric. The tutorial above uses fat quarters that are larger than mine, so I had to adjust my measurements down from 14″ x 16″ to 11″ x 11″ – quite a difference, but the resulting bags are maybe sweeter for it as they’re little!

The flower on the red striped bag is a ribbon which I used the sewing machine’s different tension settings to snag or gather, then I simply coiled and stitched it to the bag. I used a patch of upcycled denim jeans inside to cover the messy stitching with my Sewing Cheat (fabric glue!!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’d love to say the children helped with more than just selecting colours but they’re that little bit too young to do serious sewing yet (i.e. in a straight line!) It won’t be long though, they’re both filled with enthusiasm for my sewing machine :D

Scrap Fabric Project – Denim Pocket Purse

Another lovely upcycle project for all those sweet little pairs of jeans which are no longer worn by the children – denim pocket purses!

Here is the Prototype…

Denim jeans upcycle - purse

Upcycled denim jeans pocket purse featuring a ribbon flower and strap

I made the strap from a piece of hot pink decorative ribbon I had in my stash, and used the remainder to make a little flower featuring a double-button centre. The back of the purse looked a bit unfinished as it was just the inside of a pair of jeans, so I traced the shape onto card and made a fabric patch the same size to finish the back.

Upcycled clothing purse

Repurposed girl’s dress makes up the fabric on the reverse of the purse

The fabric on the back was another crafty repurposing of fabric – it was a beautiful Chinese-style dress which my daughter point blank refused to wear!! However even though it was lovely the very narrow fit hardly suits a typical D-shaped toddler tummy!

The fabric is very delicate and sheds easily so I carefully hemmed it before stitching it to the denim pocket.

Naturally as both items of recycled clothing were hers originally my daughter instantly claimed the purse as Hers! It makes a nice little purse for a few coins to spend as a treat and she feels so Grown Up wearing it round her neck. Bless <3

Scrap fabric and reused jeans bag

A Girl’s Best Purse… :)


I'm going to make several more in different fabric finishes and possibly try a craft fair later in the year – especially if I can team up with one of my crafty friends. It makes it much more fun!

Have a good week everyone & Happy Crafting! x

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: