Tag Archives: upcycled

HandBag with Pink Lining

Every now and again, I get bored with all of my purses. A normal person would just go to a shop and buy a new one, but I venture in sewing handbags myself. Or at least trying to.

Sometimes, I get to say “oh my that went sooo horribly wrong” and quietly get rid of the evidence, but once and again, I come up with something that’s actually quite cool.

I found some black leather in my stash, and decided to want a bowler purse. I’ve always kinda wanted one, but never gotten around to finding one. As the leather just screamed to be a bag, I thought I’d give sewing handbags a go.

Going through my stash, I found a pink skirt with a black comic print on it. Someone had given it to me a long time ago, and since I didn’t want to wear it, I chose to sacrifice it for a higher purpose.

I cut out the pieces using the good old “I’m just eyeballing it” -method. I’m a true follower of this school of patterning, and use it often when sewing for myself.

I cut out two pockets for the outside of the bag, and two for the inside. I sewed a zipper to one of the inside pockets using the easiest method available. Take a short zip, cut a rectangular piece of fabric for the pocket and a narrow strip to hem the pocket with, sew the zip in between, and just sew the piece on the lining. It’s super-easy, and saves you the headache of doing a welted pocket.

I aligned the pockets with the bottom of the purse, so that they would endure more strain.

I’m always worried about losing my keys. When making this purse, I came up with the cleverest idea I’ve had in, well, all my life.

I took a D-ring, and attached it to the side seam of the lining.

I then took a parrot clasp, and attached it to my key ring.

After finishing the purse, I can just attach the parrot clasp to the D-ring, and never have to worry about accidentally pulling out my keys again!

I’m quite happy about the way the purse turned out. It’s large enough to house all the things I need when stepping out (including various notebooks), and cute enough to take along to a casual party. The zipper closure is practical, and the lining makes it extra-special.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my cool new purse!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Long Scarves

After finishing the Black and Blue Gloves I wrote about last week, I still had plenty of yarn left. I wanted to use it on an accessory that would go with the Pretty Basic Blazer. Shawls and snoods were out of the question along with wrist-warmers and gloves. Scarves, however, seemed quite interesting. They’re easy to wear with pretty much anything, and I didn’t really have a long crochet scarf. As I needed a quick and easy project, I set to creating a long, long crochet scarf.

The yarn is a combination of two strands of acrylic, one black and one petrol blue. Together, they make one yarn thick enough to be worked with a 5mm/US 8 hook. I used a super-simple stitch which creates a nice, airy surface. Both of the yarns I used are upcycled, so getting more was out of the question.

The scarf grew long, and I still had yarn. I really wanted to get rid of it all, so I worked a shell edge around the scarf. It created a nice, feminine border to a pretty basic scarf.

The long crochet scarf was a really nice accessory. So nice, in fact, that I needed another one.

I found some black cotton in my stash, and used it for a black version of the simple scarf. I embellished the black scarf with crochet flowers, attaching them to both sides of the scarf’s long ends. On a style like this, it’s nice to get both sides to look pretty. As the scarf moves, all of it will be visible.

These both styles are based on The Hooded Scarf Crochet Pattern. There are two version of the pattern out there. A free version can be found on Blogger. That one is a recipe-style, and not very detailed. A paid version can be bought here at heatherwielding.com and Ravelry. It’s priced at 1€ here, and a bit higher on Ravelry due to their fees. The paid version is more detailed, and it includes instructions on how to crochet the flowers on the scarf. It also includes recipe-style instructions on how to create the long crochet scarves featured in this post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my crochet scarves!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Hitched Hems

Dresses are my favorite things to wear. They’re easy to mix and match, and never out of place. Styles to choose from are endless, and materials used vary from cotton to velvet to leather. Personally, I like dresses that are both versatile and classic. One of my favorite designs in our collection is The Princess and Keyhole Dress. It features puff-sleeves, a keyhole neck, and hitched hems.

princess-seamed dress, one

The Princess and Keyhole Dress is best made with non-elastic materials such as cotton. The dress has princess seams, so it’s shaped at the bodice, and a wide hem. Puff-sleeves make it comfy to wear, but the key element is the hem.

The dress is made with channels on the hem’s seams. With ribbons slid into the channels, the hem can be modified in both length and shape. The dress can be worn long, pulled up at the front, or gathered into a short version. I like to use the ribbons to shorten the hem at the front to show off a colorful peticoat.

The shape of the dress finds its origin in the Victorian era, when hems were wide, ruffled, and often gathered. I’ve used the element of hitched hems in an earlier design as well.

princess-seamed dress, four

The Victorian Skirt is made with two layers. The botton layer features a wide ruffle, and the upper layer can be hitched up with ribbons. The Victorian Skirt is made with a very simple pattern, so it’s available as a drafting tutorial only. This allows everyone to create a skirt with their own, unique measurements.
Hitched hems are an easy way to create a versatile dress. The Victorian Skirt can be worn with both layers smooth and long, pulled up evenly, gathered at the front, or even arranged into a bustle-like shape. I like to wear mine gathered evenly, and I’ve even made a version with ribbon channels on both layers of the skirt.

black satin skirt, Victorian style

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our Hitched Hems -sewing patterns.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Fishnet Top

Red, upcycled cotton wanted desperately to be a sweater, something light, airy, and darkly inclined. After a few moments of contemplation, I turned it into a mesh top. Naturally, the process resulted in the Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern.

Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern can be made with any yarn as long as the gauge matches

Following along the lines of our previously published Fishnet Gloves Knitting Pattern, this pattern is androgynous and completely beginner-friendly. In my opinion, the world lacks in basic knitting patterns suitable for those just starting with the wonderful craft. I like to offer simple patterns as well to help those still increasing their knitting skills. This pattern is worked in straight lines, in the round, and is made with easy, repetitive stitch patterns.

The Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern includes sizes XS-L along with an option for a version made with ribbed neckline, hem, and cuffs. The sweater has a low, scooped neckline which makes it both trendy and comfortable to wear. The hem can be knit to any length: it can be made long, or left at a cropped line. The sleeve length is also entirely optional. The model sweater is made with long sleeves, but a short sleeved version works as well.

The model sweater is knit with upcycled cotton. This yarn choice makes the style cool for the summer. The Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern can be worked with any yarn as long as the gauge matches. It can be made with cotton, wool blend, or even acrylic. Try self-striping or self-patterning yarns for an even funkier look!

Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern is worked without increases

Since the fishnet sweater is simple, it can be worn with many kinds of outfits which makes it quite versatile. I paired it with a pleated mini, but the sweater also works with jeans and long skirts. It can also be worn over a dress to bring extra warmth to cold nights.

I hope you’ll enjoy our Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern!

Until next Wednesday.

Love,

Heather

Fishnet Top Knitting Pattern suits both him and her

Reversible Waist Corset

Once upon a time, I had two cool fabrics that both wanted to be a corset. One was a black cotton-blend with a soft satin finish, and the other a skull-print cotton scarf. After a while of pondering, I decided to take full advantage of both fabrics. The process turned into our Reversible Waist Corset Sewing Pattern, which was published on Craftsy last week.

Reversible Waist Corset Sewing Pattern - skulls on the outside

This reverible corset features a front zipper, and a laced-up back. The zipper makes it easy to put on, which mean you can flip it in the middle of a night out if you so choose. The lacing gives the garment a bit of wiggle-room, making it easy to modify the size a bit. Made with light-weight fabrics, this corset is designed for decorational purposes only. Using thicker materials and flat steel boning makes it possible, though, to wear this style as a tighter laced corset.

Lacing

As this style is reversible, it comes without a modesty panel. Sewing one into a garment meant to be worn inside-out on occation is virtually impossible. This means our reversible corset is best worn with dresses. This way, the garment seen through the lacing is seamless and smooth. When pairing this style with skirts and tops, be sure to make certain the back looks pretty!

SkullCorset

This reversible waist corset sewing pattern comes with a zipper at the front. Attaching it in a tidy way is surprisingly easy. This style does have a bit of hand-stitching involved, though. The binding is best sewn by hand so that both sides of the garment remain pleasing to the eye.

The bone channels are sewn into the seams. They’re visible on one side only, and nearly hidden on the other side. This technique guarantees a tidy finish with quick, easy steps which are fully explained in our illustrated sewing tutorial that you will receive with the pattern.

I hope you’ll enjoy our Reversible Waist Corset Sewing Pattern!

Until next Wedneday.

Love,

Heather

Reversible Waist Corset Sewing Pattern - black satin on the inside

Seed Stitch Shrug

Seed stitch is one of my favourite knitting stitches. It’s lovely, easy to work, and very versatile. For the Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug, I paired it with stockinette, and a crochet cast-off.

As I often do, I dug up a discarded sweater from a flea market, and scavenged it for yarn. You can find my tutorial on how to do that here.

What I got after unraveling the sweater, was a multitoned chunky yarn light and soft. I wanted to knit it into something warm, something that could be worn in many ways. Versatility is a key factor in shrugs and cardigans, and with simple alterations, this shrug changes moods with you.

seed stitch shrug, open

The Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug calls for soft, chunky yarn. It’s worked with needlesize 7 mm – US 10.75 which makes it a quick knit. The construction is a cross between cardigan and shrug: this garment has a shaped sleeves, and a border worked in the round. The combination of seed stitch and stockinette work wonderfully with self-patterning and multitoned yarns. On a calm design, colours work to their full advantage. This shrug can even pull off stripes if you so choose: try asymmetrical stripes in bold colours, or thin ones with just two shades.

seed stitch shrug, closed at neck

The shrug has a large border. It has no closure, so it’s perfect to wear with shawl pins and brooches. The collar can be pinned in many ways: high on the neck or low at the waist. The shrug can also be worn open for a more casual look. A versatile style can be paired with all kinds of outfits. Though this shrug loves dresses, it works well with jeans, too.

seed stitch shrug, sleeve detail

The Chunky Seed Stitch Shrug features a crochet cast-off. In order to gain an elastic edge, I created a picot cast-off. It works both to give the shrug a detailed, feminine look, and as a practical solution for binding off. The cast-off method is time consuming, and requires knowledge of basic crochet, but the end result is well worth the labour.

I hope you’ll enjoy our Seed Stitch Shrug Knitting Pattern!

Until next Wednesday.

Love,

Heather

seed stitch shrug, closed at hem

SkaterDress

The skater dress is a classic. It’s versatile, comfortable, and super-cute. My version of the classic comes in three variations, all in the same pattern.

The basic SkaterDress is made with a separate top and hem. The style has a seam on the waist and a low-cut neckline. The pattern comes with an elbow-length sleeve: for a full sleeve, lengthen the pattern piece. The hem can also be modified to a different length. This style works as a mini-dress as well as with a floor-length hem.

The basic style can be paired with many kinds of accessories. Try adding a full petticoat to give the hem volume. Hide the seam with a belt or a waist corset, or add a cardigan over it. The simple dress gives a lot of room for imagination, so don’t hesitate to spice it up!

The basic SkaterDress

The second style is a Gothic version of the classic. I made the model dress with elastic velvet. It has bell sleeves, a large, lace-trimmed hood, and a lacing in the front of the bodice. The hem is super-short so be sure to check measurements before cutting!

These two styles are both made with elastic materials, and elements of them can be combined and switched. Try making the Gothic version with a simple full sleeve, or adding a hood to the basic style. Mixing and matching changes the look of the SkaterDress to suite any sewists whim.

Gothic SkaterDress

The last style is my personal favourite. It’s made taking advantage of upcycled materials. For it, you’ll need a fitted blouse, and a hem’s worth of fabric. The model dress has a three-layer hem: tulle, and two kinds of fabric. The top layer is cut into an asymetric shape to give the voluminous hem a bit more drama.

This style can be paired with corsets and ties which give the dress an androgynous vibe. Try accessorizing it with scarves and narrow belts for a more feminine look.

SkaterDress made with partly upcycled materials

I hope you’ll enjoy the SkaterDress sewing pattern!

Until next Wednesday.

Love,

Heather

How To Scavenge a Sweater for Yarn

Once upon a time, I promised a tutorial on how to unravel a discarded sweater for yarn. As I happened upon an untouched knit when looking for something in my stash, I decided today is the day.

Ooh, pink and pretty!
The first thing you need to do is to go shopping. It’s my favourite past-time, and I know most ladies love it. Hit the flea markets, and dig up anything that’s been knit. It can be hand-made or factory-born, doesn’t matter. Yarn is always yarn, and can be used in many ways.
Your main focus is the seams. Turn the sweater you find inside out, and take a good look at the seaming.
Some store-bought knits are sewn with a serger. If you try to unravel these, you’ll end up with pieces of yarn. You can of course use that to make pompoms or tassels, but we’re now looking for yarn that can be knit. You can only knit with yarn that’s intact and uncut.
You’ll want to find a garment that’s been made with pieces knit to shape, and then sewn together using a straight-stitch machine. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between the two kinds of seams. You can easily see the edges of knit pieces when you open the seam. This is the main thing you’ll need to focus on: to find a knit that doesn’t have serged seams.
Serged seam.
On the shoulder, OK.
On the sides, never.

Buy it, take it home, toss it in the washing machine, and take it outside. Outside because unravelling is dusty work. Taking the knit out of the house saves you a whole lot of hoovering.

Straight stitched seam.
See the edges of the pieces?
Look for this.

The industrial straight-stitch machine leaves a crochet-like chain of stitches. The easiest way to undo this is to find a long end inside a seam, cut it, and pull at everything to find the end that unravels the whole seam. Once you find it, you can just pull, and watch the whole seam come undone.

 Another way is to pull the seam open, and carefully cut it. Not the pieces themselves, but the yarn between holding them together.
Undo all of the seams, pull off collars and buttons, and you should end up with pieces that have at least three intact edges.
Taking the collar off can seem intimidating.
Collars are often sewn to place with a straight stitch, and they come off relatively easily. See the crochet chain at the bottom of the collar? That’s the seam to rip.
 Once the collar comes off, you’ll often find a cut neckline and serged shoulder seams.
Take your scissors, and straighten the top of the front and back pieces. It doesn’t matter all that much if the line isn’t entirely straight, but try to get it as direct as possible.
 Finding both kinds of seams, straight stitched and serged, on an industrial knit isn’t all that uncommon. Sleeves and shoulder are often sewn with a serger. If you find this, it’s OK. A vertical serged seam is fine: you’ll lose a bit of yarn straightening the top of a shaped sleeve, but there will be much to save. Serged side seams, though, mean that the knit can never again be yarn.
 Pull off any excess yarn. It comes off in small pieces, but you should soon find intact yarn. Once you do, wind it up.
  Now comes the boring part, which I usually skip.

Find the end of yarn in the cast off edge, and start unravelling. Wind the yarn as you go along, since it will get tangled up in no time. I usually frog as I knit, but winding the yarn and letting it sit for a day or two will ease the curl.

 I know this sounds a bit silly, buying a sweater and frogging it just to knit it again, but when you knit a lot, this trick of making upcycled yarn can save you a pretty penny.
On average, a sweater costs 0,50€ to 5€ at a flea market. It will give you at least 400 grams of yarn.
A 50 gram ball of cotton yarn can cost up to 5€. You’ll need eight of those to match the amount a frogged sweater can offer. That’s 40€.
Knitting and crocheting ease stress and are a great way of expressing oneself. If you’re looking to knit cotton or mixed fiber, flea markets are an affordable option. Let me know if you’ve scavenged yarn, and leave a link to your creations!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Let’s Make… Add Ruffles to Blouse

Once upon a time, I had a short sleeved blouse. An ordinary blouse made with stretchy fabric. It was comfy, but getting a bit old and having a mid-life crisis. Much like its owner. It was pretty much the right size, all that really needed doing was adjusting darts on the back.
But I wanted to make it less ordinary. So I decided to do the good old “add ruffles to blouse” -trick.
I took a long strip of fabric that tinted quite a lot towards blue, and cut it into four pieces.
I shaped the strips, and did a rolled hem on one of the long sides on each strip.
I pinned the strips to the front of the blouse, rouching them a little as I went a long. I sewed them on, snapped a picture, GIMPed it, and then my computer ate it. Very impolite on its part.
I left a gap between the ruffle and the button list.
… so that I’d have room for another layer. I pinned the second pair of ruffles onto the front, hiding one of the raw edges under the button list.
The other side was made differently, so I hid the edge of the ruffle with satin ribbon.
After sewing the ribbon on, it made a nice little detail.
And that was all it took. The blouse turned from meh to fun, and now I can’t wait to wear it again!
For the pictures, I paired the blouse with pants, but it works well with long skirts and corsets as well.
The ruffles give the blouse a feminine touch, and make it different in a very subtle way.
This trick works for all kinds of blouses. Try adding patterned materials, or making many narrow rows of ruffles with different fabrics!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather

Let’s Make… Boring Tee to Cool Top

Once upon a time, there was a T-shirt.
Now I’m not much of a T-shirt -person. There’s something I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable when wearing one.
Naturally, T-shirts are very common, and many find their way to me.
I see it as my sworn duty to give each one a makeover.
This Tee had a girly skull print. I liked it, and wanted to turn the Tee a bit more feminine. It was an almost perfect fit, so I didn’t need to take it in at the sides.
I started by folding the Tee with side seams facing. I cut off the collar and the sleeves, leaving a deep V-neck and a low rise back.
The easiest way to do this is to first cut off the sleeves, and then open the shoulder seams. After that, it’s much easier to get the Tee to lie flat on a surface. After, take any backless top, fold it accordingly, and use it as a pattern to find the right length for the back piece. The neckline is best shaped while trying the top on. You can cut it super low, or leave it higher for more coverage.
When opening the fold, I got a backless V-neck top.
Which naturally needed something.
I measured the distance from shoulder to back, and covered it with elastic band. I didn’t cut it, but used the same length of elastic to bind the back of the top. I left another bit of elastic to the other shoulder. These would later be used as straps. I used ordinary elastic band, since I’d accidentally ran out of all the nicer kinds. Elastic lace will look pretty as straps, too.
I bound the neckline with narrow elastic lace.
 I added two more straps to each shoulder, so that I had three pairs. I would have added some elastic lace to the straps, but, well, I ran out of that as well.
 I attached the straps to the back piece. As an afterthought, it might have been a good idea to make the straps cross each other… that would have given me a trendy cage-detail.
 The transformation didn’t take long, but did wonders to an ordinary Tee!
The top turned out nice and comfy, and with a subtle skull print, I can wear it without feeling like an exclamation point. Next time I do this, I’ll add an extra pair of straps (or two) and see how much fun can be had with crossing them!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather