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
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.
I would love to hear of your up-cycling, please get in touch, or comment below.
During the five months of the round robin, I looked forward to seeing how others interpreted the theme. The challenge included piecing, but not quilting, the rows, which were to be between 5 and 9 inches deep.
My Row Design
My Sheffield Quilt row was inspired by growing up and living in Nether Edge and Ecclesall. These leafy suburbs in South Sheffield are on the edge of the beautiful Peak District. So I wanted to include both the city and peaks I love. This combination of a green, culture rich city with easy access to the Derbyshire Peak District makes me love living here. In fact, a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.
I upcycled some existing patchwork from a worn out skirt, signifying my love of creating with the discarded.
The greens spoke of a lush landscape with varying foliage, and I created a background of hills.
I added a sky-scape for the city of Sheffield, in dark, small floral print fabric. And I used the council logo as a basis for the design, enlarging it and cutting out the dark fabric (with bondaweb on the reverse) with embroidery scissors. Running stitches in black thread attached this to the patchwork background.
I added millstones in a textural fabric and the Peak District arched logo in green satin to blend the City with the Peak District.
As instructed, in August we each took our first row in a plain cream fabric bag. We were also told to include any fabric we wanted in future rows and a notebook with colour or style preferences, theme etc.
I noted the inspiration for my row in my quilt notebook and added that I was happy if the theme was interpreted in any way, with any technique. Furthermore I wrote: ” a traditional patchwork block may come to mind, or it may be an experience of Sheffield you have which inspires your row design”
The group bag monitor then redistributed the bags so each month we each received a different bag. So during August, September, October and November I received a bag containing an ever increasing number of rows and I made a further row. This year I plan to blog about the other sewing, as each completed quilt is revealed. However, here I will share about my Sheffield quilt.
This was the deepest row and ended up at the bottom of the Sheffield Quilt. The team member wrote in the notebook they hoped they weren’t being greedy as they chose five aspects of Sheffield to create:
Henderson’s Relish, because they were born in the previous maternity hospital opposite the factory that made this iconic sauce brand. Made in Sheffield for over 100 years, it’s spicy and fruity and known locally as “Enderson’s”, or simply “Relish”. The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said that while ‘outsiders’ think Henderson’s Relish is Sheffield’s answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it’s the answer to everything. If you haven’t tried it and you live outside South Yorkshire, you can purchase online.
Stanedge Pole, where the quilter used to walk and learned to drive on the road leading to it. Stanedge Pole, also known as Stanage Pole, is a landmark on Hallam Moors close to Stanage Edge in Sheffield 10 (grid reference SK2468784429). On the crest of the moor the carved wooden pole (and it’s replacements) have helped the weary and confused navigate in driving rain or blowing snow from the 1550s.
Forge Dam Slide, near the cafe and by Ivy Cottage Lane, Sheffield S10, is a long metal slide. As the quilter said in the notebook, “the joys of living somewhere hilly is that you can get long slides”. You can see an image on Trip Advisor.
Cutlery, is what Sheffield used to be well known for, with the first reference to cutlery made in Sheffield in 1297. Now there are only a few small producers, including Ernest Wright & Son (whose stork embroidery scissors I used for the city-scape in row one). You can see sheffield cutlery at the Sheffield cutlery shop.
Wind, which the quilter remembers blowing the cherry blossom in her parent’s garden. The blossom blowing from the tree reminds me of frequent visits to Sheffield Botanical Gardens, from toddlerhood to the present day.
This row, which is in the middle of my Sheffield Quilt , concentrates on Sheffield’s industry. The quilter shared in the notebook how, like me, when she thinks of Sheffield her first thought is of the hills, and her second is of the rivers which led to industry. The quilter used a background fabric suggesting the contours of the earth and appliqued the Bessemer Convertor, strip mills, steelworks and cooling towers. I hand quilted along the rivers in the top three rows.
Five Weirs Walk Sheffield’s industrial landscape has been changing along the river Don with it’s five weirs since the 1980s. Now it’s a green ribbon of trees known as the Five Weirs Walk. This 8km takes you through the East End of Sheffield, past scenes of Sheffield’s history. There are Victorian buildings and scenes of the city’s industrial heyday: old schools, mills, factories and some contemporary sculptures.
The quilter shares “the leaves represent the regeneration of the industrial sites”.
Sheffield Tinsley Canal In 1819 the 4 mile Sheffield Tinsley canal was completed between the River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield.
Some trade continued up to the 1970s but then it was neglected. Now the towpath is a walk out of Sheffield for all weathers and seasons, and I have enjoyed a cruise along the canal.
As shared by a reviewer on the park’s facebook page, I’ve been going to this park since the 70s as a child. A shame the lido went, but the cafe and all the facilities brought about by the friends of Millhouses Park have kept this beautiful space totally user friendly and alive.
The park was near Abbeydale Grange, the comprehensive school I atended, and is quite near where I live now. My children were taught to ride a bike without stabilisers on its gentle slopes and I enjoy the cakes at the cafe by the miniature boating lake depicted on the quilt row. I have walked dogs, played tennis and mini golf, and watched my sons play basketball and rugby at this park.
The blocks of the quilt row represent the sports pitches, paths and flower beds.
I added a “love blooms here” print to widen the row to fit the others and represent family times at Millhouses Park.
The common colours in the five rows for my Sheffield Quilt were grey and green. I chose a fairly dark grey textured “linen print” to divide the rows, highlight them and represent the “steel city”.
I chose a light grey with cream spots to represent living above “the snow line” in Banner Cross in Ecclesall.
Batting & Backing
My choice was a bamboo cotton 50/50 blend batting as this is eco friendly and anti bacterial. The makers recommend you hand wash it, so I did this in the bath with soap flakes. I then squeezed and rolled it in a towel to remove some moisture, before drying it flat.
The sashing, border fabrics, and batting for my Sheffield Quilt, were a gift from my son Matthew – from Billow Fabrics. I used a plain grey, soft fabric for the back.
Each month I am inspired by the stitchers at my quilters group. The Totley Brook Quilters are keen sewers and quilters who meet each month to chat and sew. Each session includes “show and tell” and it is amazing to see what has been produced. So this month I was able to show the top of my Sheffield Quilt – pinned and basted, ready to quilt.
I used a walking foot to do straight quilting rows on my Sheffield Quilt, rolling the quilt to work through the machine.
Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
This binding gives a piped look you can completely sew to your quilt with the sewing machine. Use either invisible thread or thread to match the piping in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
Make the Binding
You will need: 1½” strips of your main binding fabric and 1¾” strips of a contrast fabric.
Cut sufficient strips of each of these to go around your quilt plus extra for corners and joining. Prepare the binding by Joining the strips of fabric with a diagonal seam:
Place fabric right sides together at right angles
Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open
Next sew the two colours together along their length using a ¼” seam.
Press the seam towards the main binding fabric.
Fold the binding in half lengthwise, so the raw edges are flush. Then press so a strip of the contrast fabric is visible on the right side of the binding.
Now prepare the beginning of the binding strip:
Unfold the left edge of the binding, fold the corner in and press.
Trim the triangle leaving a ¼” seam allowance
Refold the strip
Attach the binding to the quilt
You will first sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold to the front before stitching again. Place the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, with raw edges along the edge of the quilt. Using a walking foot stitch ¼” from the edge of the quilt.
To turn the corners, stop stitching ¼” before the corner of the quilt. Then remove the quilt from the sewing machine to fold the corner. Fold the binding up so that the diagonal fold points directly into the corner.
Next, fold the binding down again, aligning it with the edge of the quilt.
Continue sewing ¼” from the edge, all round the quilt, folding each corner.
When you reach the start, trim the binding. Then Insert it into the pocket created at the beginning. Pin and stitch in place.
Complete the Binding
Fold the binding onto the right side of the quilt so you can now see the narrow piping strip.
Pin carefully, being careful the match the corners.
Stitch in the ditch on the piping using a thread matching the piping, or invisible thread in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
Sewing my Sheffield Quilt during the Christmas holidays was also a time to catch up with family. So I thought how patchwork and family life are similar and I also about this quote from, The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts novel).
“A family is an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth – often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectantly beautiful and strong. Without contrast there is no pattern, and each piece, whether finest silk or faded cotton, will endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams – bonds of love and loyalty, tradition and faith.” Jennifer Chiaverini
I would love to hear about your experiences of quilting and/or Sheffield. Please leave a comment below, or contact me
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It’s been too long, and Advent is almost here, so here’s a free tutorial for easy eco Christmas crafting !
I have had to spent so much time in the dentist’s chair, lost too much sleep and not been up to doing much. But I was recommended a brilliant endodontist (no I hadn’t heard of them before) and am now pain free and smiling again (except when I look at my credit card bill!)
Two things together that make me really happy are sewing and re-purposing. I have a collection of plastic bottle tops in a dish on my kitchen windowsill, so after giving them a wash (net bag in with dishwasher cycle works well) I set about geting both creative and festive with 15 of them.
Here is my free tutorial for eco Christmas Crafting:
This easy Christmas crafting idea makes either a trivet or a hanging decoration. If you are going to make a trivet, you need to make sure the 15 bottle tops are the same depth, but for the hanging, it doesn’t matter.
Draw around the top of the bottle tops onto wadding (batting) and cut out these circles. it is not essential, but easier, to glue these wadding discs onto the top of the tops.
I had been given some Christmas fabric, but this crafting also works well with lots of different fabric scraps. Make some circles by drawing around a circular object.
Sew running stitches around each fabric circle with strong thread. Place the wadding downwards on the wrong side of the fabric circle and draw up the running stitch. Keep the bottle top centred, and pull the stitches up tight.
Depending on the size of your bottle tops and the object you draw round, you will get a completely gathered up back, or one you take the thread across.
Place the fabric covered tops top down and Sew them together where they meet. as shown.
Consider your layout of the different fabrics, there is no right or wrong arrangement, just one pleasing to you!
Check how stable the arrangement is. Some tops will need some extra stitches on their sides to create a design that holds together really well.
Once you have all 15 tops sewn together in a triangle, use as a trivet …
or sew a ribbon to a corner to make a festive decoration.
I would really love to see your festive creations. you can contact me through email, in the comments below, or here
For another Christmas crafting idea, I have produced some really easy Christmas Gift Decoration Kits which are available from my Etsy shop
I thought I would share with you here the process of making up the cards so that if, like me, you have lots of fabric scraps you could have a go yourself.
I love to produce sky effects with two of my favourite materials: tyvek and brusho paints.
Made from 100% polyethylene, Tyvek® can be used to create many unique surface effects. It shrinks and bubbles when heat is applied – which is another story I will save for another time. Tyvek produces interesting distressed/3D effects when used with a heat gun, can be moulded, overprinted and layered. I use different weights of Tyvek for different textile art. I cover the different uses in my popular Paint and Stitch workshop. Future workshops can be seen on my facebook page.
You may have a tyvek envelope that has been sent to you that you can open up and upcycle!
Brusho® is a non toxic, water-based paint medium. It’s super-highly-pigmented, unpredictable and it’s bags of fun to paint with and you only need a small amount as it goes a long way. I use it on paper, fabric as well as on tyvek. It works really well on watercolour paper. It is made in Sheffield by Colourcraft.
I wet the tyvek paper and then sparingly sprinkle on some brusho powders. You can use a brush to alter the spontaneous design.
When dry, cut the painted tyvek the right size for a third of the card design. The size will depend on the size card you use and how much of the card front you want to have as textile. The card border really adds to the finished design so don’t make your textile too big!
I use a piece of calico as the base for the land and attach this to the tyvek sky with a row of stitch.
Another textile art material I love to use are silk carrier rods. Again I buy local
Silk carrier rods are a by-product produced during the silk reeling proces, They come in lots of different colours, including varigated, which I also use in my art and workshops. They contain the natural gum which makes them quite rigid, but they can be split down into thinner layers which are more pliable. Put the piece of natural silk carrier rod into water to soak.
This will be used for clouds later.
Layer different textile pieces to create a landscape.
Audition pieces until you are happy with the effect.
Choose appropriate threads. As a minimum use a green for the land and a whitish one for the sky. I love to use embroidery threads, especially varigated ones.
Sew along one of the layered fabric pieces, to join it to the calico base. I usually start at the horizon.
When you reach the side, turn around and come back, incorporating more pieces as you move down the picture.
You can stitch by hand or by machine.
Trim the sides You can use the off cut to add depth in the foreground as shown
Take the silk carrier rod from the water and gently tease it out to create wispy pieces that can be used for clouds.
I also use some sheep wool that I collect from barbed wire when out on walks. Arrange these and stitch down.
Add some details, such as trees, using small scraps of fabric and stitching. Variegated thread and different kinds of stitch can produce good details.
When your design is finished, apply double sided tape or glue to the back and attach to the front of the card. Don’t forget to initial your design!
I would really like to see your textile landscapes and to hear how you get on. Please comment below or email me.