Tag Archives: bargain

Up-cycle for Winter

Upcycling a Classic Coat

I will show you how to up-cycle and simply sew to get a cosy classic coat, ready for the colder weather.

A coat can be an expensive garment to make, unless you up-cycle one you like the fabric of.

Here is my charity shop bargain, £3 for a wool navy coat, in very good condition.

bargain wool coat

I would love to be able to report that this “before” picture is really an “after weight loss” picture. However, my size has stayed the same but the coat was far too big, several sizes too big.

The material was good quality, a great colour for me, so worth some care and sewing. In fact, as the cost of material rises, I both buy, and advise others to buy, clothes that will provide fabric and haberdashery to use instead of buying new.

You may be interested to see how I up-cycled some denim jeans and some shirts to meke a lined tunic dress

Sometimes a £1 bargain rail charity shop, or car boot sale find will generate fabric, a zip and/or buttons. Extra—large cotton men’s shirts are a favourite up-cycle of mine for patchwork and crafting. It’s worth training your eyes to see pre-worn garments in a new light!

It’s much easier to take fabric away than to increase the size of a bargain!

This wool coat needed taking in by 12 inches, to have a fitted rather than sack like feel. After measuring, the first thing was to cut up the back of the lining to expose the coat’s construction.

Here is the maths:

The 12 inch reduction was then planned and divided:

4 inches by taking in the back seam by 2 inches

5 inches by taking in both side seams by 1.25 inches. (this was continued for the sleeve seams).

2 inches by creating 2 back darts, and 1 inch by moving the button position (the buttons were also replaced)

First some unpicking was needed:
The shoulder pads were removed
Either side of the bottom back and side seams

Either side of the top and bottom sleeve seams (armhole and cuff)

The seams were pinned and the new seam position marked with tailors chalk.

Because wool does not fray, straight stitch on my trusty Bernina
machine was used.

If the fabric had been one to fray, I would have considered using my overlocker (serger), to cut and finish the seam in one action.

After sewing the seams, they were trimmed to the original seam allowance, clipped in to the stich line and then pressed (with a steam iron on wool setting)

The lining was then taken in at the same places, except for the inside back.

The unpicked cuff, armhole and hem were then reattached to the lining, to complete the seam
alterations.

The back darts were positioned, pinned and marked with chalk as shown.

After stitching, these were pressed towards the centre back seam.

The centre back lining cut was then taken in and with right sides together stitched, leaving a portion to allow it to be turned back so the inside main and inside lining seam were together. The gap was slip stitched together to close.

The new buttons were sewn on further in and the original buttons removed. You can up-cycle something from one garment to create further designer items!

To embellish the completed coat, I made a brooch which was attached with a brooch back.

The coat was brushed to remove threads and fluff, and then steamed to remove a stain and refresh both the fabric and lining.

The completed upcycled coat. 12 inches smaller.

up-cycled coat

I would love to hear of your up-cycling, please get in touch, or comment below.

Read more on getting cosy

Replacement Cover – Ironing Board Hack

I show you that creating a replacement cover for an ironing board is quick, easy and inexpensive.

I love the convenience of my Ikea JALL table ironingboards which I use in the guest room and in my textile workshops. It was the Simple Sew Sheffield launch which made me stocktake and realise that one ironingboard was really not fit to be seen in public. I’m not sure I really want to “bare all” and show you how tatty it had got here, but in true before and after style, I have decided I will.

ironing board hack BEFORE

Not a pretty sight heh?

Replacement Cover

Ikea sell replacement covers for their larger ironing boards but not for the table ironingboard.  I am really into up-cycling rather than replacing so I set about investigating how to make a replacement cover.

Going to my fabric stash I found a piece of cotton just the right size. It was a remmenant I was offered very cheaply at Economy Fabrics. This project needs 90 x 40 cm of fabric.

Wadding

Taking the existing cover off, I found the wadding still usable and used it as a pattern, adding 5cm all around

Using the wadding as a pattern

I decided to improve on the single wadding and added some Insul Bright heat resistant wadding. This wadding feels more like felt and contains heat-resistant properties, often Mylar fibre which is used in the space programme.  It is ideal for such projects as place mats, cool bags, tea cosies etc. where it is important to keep things hot, keep them cold or protect surfaces from extreme temperatures.

I was glad I did add this extra wadding as the board is not only more padded and so nicer to use, pressing seems quicker too. In order to prevent the two layers of wadding sliding around I sewed them together using a large zig zag stitch.

sewing wadding layers together

Binding the Cover

I used pink bias binding, to edge and create a casing to thread some cord through.

I often make my own binding but for speed I used some matching bought binding I had in my stash. This project used 1.8m of binding and 2 m of cord.

adding bias binding

Open out the binding and place right side to the wrong side of the fabric, on the edge of the cut out cover fabric. Sew along the fold line. This makes it easy to then turn over to the right side  and sew along the egde to secure and form the casing. before turning over the binding and sewing the second line of stitching, clip the seam around the curved parts so that the cover will lie flat.

clipping the curves

Finishing the replacement cover

I used a safety pin attached to one end of the new cord to thread it through the pink casing I had made.

threading new cord through the casing

Make sure you secure the other end though! You may be able to reuse the existing cord, but mine had weakened too much.

To complete this hack, just lay the cover face down, place the wadding on top (of the wrong side) and then lay the iron board on top. Pull up the cord so the cover gathers up to fit the ironing board. Tie the ends of the cord together.

And voilla, you have made a replacement cover and a good as new, or even better, ironing board.

ironing board hack after – back

ironing board hack after – front

If this blog post inspires you to investigate updating worn out items, I would love to hear about your projects.

Wardrobe Management

It is said we only use 20% of your clothes 80% of the time,  and it is common to feel overwhelmed with the task of managing our clothes.

Although many stylists and wardrobe management advisors often recommend completely emptying a wardrobe to start organising. For most of us with only limited time this is not realistic and can result in overwhelm,  a half finished task, and more mess than when we started!

This was the case with a client who recently called me in to help her. Marie had an extensive collection of clothes, most of which were the result of bargain gathering and many  had been skillfully customised. Marie was already utilising many wardrobe storage techniques, such as scalf hangers, hooks for belts and necklaces on the inside of wardrobe doors for example. However, clothes were crammed into the space and it was difficult for Marie to find what she was looking for.

Here are a few tips:

First assess what clothes you need by thinking about:

  • what different occasions and activities you have (client meetings, dog walking, dance …)
  • what colours suit you well ( what makes you look good, rather than drawing attention to themselves)
  • what general style is really you (smart, casual, clasic, floaty …)

In general Marie suits smart, clasic, warm toned clothes.

Unless you do have a whole day to devote to your wardrobe management then break it down into managable chunks. Choose a particular category of clothing to work on at a time. Gather all the items in that category together, making sure you collect any packed away in bags, in the wash, in your car, hanging on the back of chairs …

  • Lay them on  a flat surface so you can see what you have
  • Group together, those of similar style, occasion and colour
  • Honestly consider if there are obvious duplicates, (eg. more then one navy work jacket)
  • Fill in an inventory against how many smart work jackets you have decided you need for example.

At this stage it became obvious to Marie, just how many smart jackets she had, far more than a realistic inventory required. She even had two of the same jacket! Although hard, Marie chose only those jackets she knew she needed as well as some she really wanted to keep to put back into her wardrobe.

Wardrobe organisationNow these prefered jackets can be easily got at and enjoyed! Marie has the others to give away or sell and most of all she declared “1 hour well spent, I now know what to do”

Just too many jacketsThe inventory I gave her, enables this process to be repearted for other categories of clothing, as well as possible gaps to be filled. Whenever she has an hour, one or more category of clothing can be sorted without overwhelm.

What are your experiences of wardrobe management?

I would love to hear from you.