Scrap Sunday: The upcycling bag

For this one we need to start way back, a couple of years ago ….

Once upon a time…. don’t worry, it won’t get that bad.

Anyway, years ago, I have made a small shoulder bag for my daughter’s best friend. As I quite liked it I made a few more for other friends.

I never actually saw the little girl using her bag. It was always her mother carrying it with this very insisting and slightly scary glare in her eyes… until I made her her own. And one for my equally glaring daughter.

My friend seemed happy. But not only did she continue carrying her daughter’s bag around, she also kept telling me “casually”ย  that her other daughter really liked those bags and that the poor child was interested in placing an order and paying real money for it.

Around the same time she gave me her daughters old rain coat with the words that maybe I could use it for one of my sewing projects. After years and years of heavy hint dropping I finally gave in and made my first proper upcycling project. A bag made out of an old rain coat. Apologies for not taking a picture of the original rain coat but here is the bag:

I chose a London themed lining as it was supposed to be a bag for a young lady so it needed to be cool rather than the usual childish stuff. I am extremely pleased with the result, think it really looks cool. I am not sure what the girl thinks. Probably she never got it, instead there will be a blond woman running through London carrying three bags and glaring at other people who dare carrying nice bags. If you ever see her, don’t look her straight in the eyes, slowly move backwards and keep your bag tightly.

Oh, and just for the record, I also made another one for my niece who asked forย  one for her birthday a few weeks ago.

I suppose my niece liked it… Thinking of it, I haven’t handed it over myself, maybe she never got it and there is a glaring lady with 4 bags running through London…

 

Help: I just made a leopard print skirt for myself and I am planning to wear it

It looks like I am having some sort of midlife crisis. I suddenly decided that I am one of these women who can totally wear leopard skin outfits. I guess I got inspired by two very fashionable people.

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So, I took my pattydoo Carol dress pattern and used just the skirt part of it. And the left overs of the leopard jumpers. I intended to use only the navy one but I could not match the pattern. The thing with big patterns is that one should really match them at seams. When I started sewing, I just tried to cut out as economically as possible. In a first step I realised it would make sense to match stripes at side seams or to place bigger motives in a sensible, symetric, way even if it means that you are loosing a bit of fabric. This time I took it rather seriously and made sure that the front pieces were perfectly matched. (well, I did my best). On the side seams it wasn’t possible as I didn’t want to loose the A-line. Or 5kg. And unfortunately, I didn’t even try to match the waist band. I was already so pleased with my skirt that I got carried away and cut before thinking. Anyway, my perfectly wearable and age appropriate (mentally “5”) leopard (or whatever wild animal it might be, I am not a zoologist) print skirt:

Note: I had to compromise on the picture quality as otherwise this would be far too compromising ๐Ÿ™‚

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And obviously I need to now make a top that can be worn with leopard skin skirts. Strangely I haven’t had anything matching in my wardrobe just yet.

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I wish I would have had more of the dotty fabric, I would have wanted it for one whole side panel, possibly instead of the fuchsia one.

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almost perfect match:

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This side turned out even better:

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Leopard skin aside, I would really want to use the Carol dress pattern again. After all, the trial dress fitted well, winter is kind of overish, fabric sits in the cupboard since months. I am ready to go. Just need to speak to the baby, sorry toddler, about dress preventing breastfeeding routine. Easy.

And now, I’ll join the other ladies on RUMS to see what they have been up to.

 

 

 

Bye Bye 2016 – the year of the most magnificent make

If you don’t fancy reading an epic and boring post please scroll to the truly amazing pictures at the end. They are worth it. Really.

As we have established in the last post, 2016 is officially a not so good year. And I guess since then there have been a few incidents that did not quite help.

Personally, I would also say, it has not been the best year of my life but certainly the one with the most challenges. And there is actually a good thing about challenges, too. They make you grow. And I am determined not to let the bad things win. Instead of moaning, being scared and living in split societies, lets pull ourselves together and think what we can do to reunite and work as a team. (I am talking to you, my friends in the land of brexit and in Trumpistan, well and in all European countries I guess) Look around you and do something to unite people instead of separating them. Founding a knitting group is definitely a good thing. I guess for the male readers of the blog I would recommend playing football or starting to talk to strangers in the pub. But I suppose you are doing that already.

I also want to use this post to show you the greatest thing I have ever made. In my whole life. I love it and I want to wrap myself into it. I am really proud of it. Since about three months I want to write an appropriate post about it. But as it deserves a hair cut, a professional fotographer and probably a studio with proper lighting (yes it does deserve all of that), I had to delay it. I still haven’t found a photographer (mainly because I wasn’t looking) but I really want to share it with you to show you that 2016 wasn’t actually just bad. So, those few pictures taken on an early September morning will do. I trust my skilled followers to imagine the thing in its whole glory.

But let me start from the beginning. Ever since I have children, I wanted one of these and moving back to Austria, into a bigger flat, I thought it would be finally time to get it: a play carpet with roads on it. A trip to a Swedish furniture shop made me realise that the ones you can purchase don’t feel nice materialwise and are certainly not as cool as the one we had as children. Which was basically a huge piece of blue fabric, possibly a thin denim, with simple stitched lines to mark the roads. In all those years I hadn’t realised that my mum had made it. So I decided to make one myself. I had seen street fabrics so I was initially thinking of buying one of these, finish the edges and voila.ย  Certainly I did not intend to invest hours of work to mark the roads by hand stitching them.

And that might be the moment when I got carried away a little bit. I thought I had finally found my perfect niche product where I could earn my living. Not too much material involved and certainly quick to sew. I had the vision of a take away play mat, maybe with a little holder with handles, similar to a picknick blanket. Or how about attaching the handles directly to the mat? In which case I would need a second layer of fabric to have a nice back. And as my husband pointed out, one or even two layers of fabric would not be a nice texture. So I would need to add some padding. So material costs were already on the rise, work load still under control. I guess you would still find some people who would buy it for a reasonable price (from my point of view)

Sure those fabrics with street prints on them are not the cheapest and to be honest, I liked the simplicity of our own blanket as it leaves so much room for your own imagination. I was torn. And did some research. And found some wonderful and crazy examples, like the one Schnabelina made. For very obvious reasons she calls it play mat “deluxe”. Or this one by ollewetter. I really liked the idea of adding a pocket on the outside. Obviously if you have a take away play mat then you’ll need to take a few cars with you. So fabric costs were going up again but still under control as left overs could be finished off. Time involved was on the rise as well. Still an affordable result though I thought. At this point I was already mentally designing a website for my play mat shop. Only mentally, I don’t know how to design a website.

Those two examples have impressed me a lot. Schnabelinas tunnel and also ollewetters petrol station are so cool. Again, I had to rewrite my business plan. Using up left overs would make it possibly less expensive fabricwise but time was exploding. Hmm. I guess this was the moment when my project left the “not exactly fortune generating but still reasonable business ” area and became a “slightly over the top birthday present for someone who will not actually play that much with it”.

Anyway, here it is.

From the very first draft to a full scale pattern (as a modern designer you will obviously need a computer and a cup of coffee. And a very long ruler. You guys won’t have any of these, it is just for professionals, you see)

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Checking if scale works for real life play

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I kept the original pattern and cut out shapes on transparent paper to be able to check fabric later.

Slowly things are taking shape:

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For the back I used a dotted cotton. I think it is a nice and colourful look and it also hides the cleverly placed poppers which keep the folded mat in bag size.

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The whole thing is padded with a thick layer of… well…. padding. It has a really nice and soft texture now.

For the front I used a grey cotton as background and then different fabrics, mainly greens cut out and appliqued. Depending on the used fabric, you could imagine a zoo in one corner and a, rather dangerous, seaside on the bottom edge with a little bit of sandy beach in the corner. The roundabout features a flower bed. Or a flower shop if you want. But definitely something with flowers.

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I made a variety of buildings, some have a more obvious use than others who are supposed to give the player more room for imagination.ย  Apparently the intended fire station at the top in the previous picture can also be used as church (by every annoying and not seeing the truth person I asked)

I just needed my own petrol station:

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img_5401-2The very attentive readers amongst you (not too many I know) may have noticed that the helicopter landing spot in the dark green has been replaced by the hospital in the second picture. How is this possible? Another, similar play mat? No. This is my favourite, incredibly clever feature: all those buildings are actually removeable. There are one type of popper sides all over the play mat and the builings have the other type. So you can clip them on wherever you want (obviously not really wherever you want, only on the poppers, silly)

And just a few more pictures, because I am so impressed and pleased with myself ๐Ÿ™‚

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Here, you can also admire the zig zagging around all edges and for the street markings and zebra crossing. Well and some dinosaurs who invaded the mat.

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As I was not the only extremely pleased person, my daughter requested a car play mat as well. I thought it is silly to have two of them in the house and convinced her that a enchanted forest, fairytale scenery would be much better. Now I have to make one of these. Except that I don’t know how. But hey, another challenge which will make me grow (see how I cleverly came back to the start of this post?)

Have a good end of the year and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017 with lots of new friends.

 

 

 

 

 

One for all and all for one

You know I like mixing fabrics. And colours. And patterns.

I don’t even remember if I ever made a shirt just out of one fabric. But I am sure some of my clever readers will remember everything ever shown on this blog and know the answer to that question, so please do not hesitate to post it beneath.

I usually use a contrasting fabric for the sleeves

very rarely I do a contrast hood as well – in fact I think that should become the norm, I don’t know why I do not always do that, it looks much better, maybe I never have enough of the contrast fabric, again the clever ones of you will know.

See, the pink one looks much better.Pictures aren’t great though, I know.

Sometimes, I do even front and back in different fabrics. Well, once. It was custom made.

The benefit of this mix and (sometimes) match method is that you usually end up with rather big pieces of scrap as you do not actually need the whole width for those little children shirts (especially if the amount of fabric indicated on the pattern is usually calculated for a whole shirt) – sometimes there is enough left for, lets say a skirt for a grown up who would otherwise never have chosen that fabric. But back to the title of “one for all”. And back to my enormous project list for this autumn.

I bought a lot of sweat this season. And a pattern bundle for hoodies for the whole family.

Meet Toni by schnittreif. A comfortable hoody for the whole family with my favourite feature of a longer back. I hate getting cold at the back. Or at the derriere.

So far I made the boy version. Which is not worn. Apparently the sleeves feel funny.

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I love those fabrics, not keen on the hood lining, seemed ok in the soft light of the building site light bulbs.

For the girls version, you’ll have to wait. A dress was requested instead, stupidly altered to tunic midway as the fabric seemed too hot for a dress.ย  So, the girls A-line hoody is actually not a Toni but a pattern from klimperklein.

img_5465-2 img_5453-2Still really cool fabric. And luckily more than enough left to make a skirt for a grown up who would never ever choose such a fabric for herself. But if it is a left over, you have to use it up, haven’t you.

But first a closer look at the two hoodies:

joined in unusual harmony

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close up of the hoods, I like the cross over in the girls version more:

The sleeves. Toni features a extra ribbing whereas klimperklein is “only” folded up and stitched with a stretchy contrasting stitch. Looks surprisingly similar somehow:

The two grown up versions will have to wait a little (well, I don’t know if there will be a daddy Toni, I haven’t seen my husband in clothes warmer than a T-Shirt since I made a woolen jumper for his wardrobe for him).

I got a new dress instead. Carol by pattydoo. Meant to do that since ages. It looks cool, super comfy and extremely breastfeeding unfriendly. Which is why I haven’t made it before. Now we are only feeding when I feel like it so why not wearing dresses sometimes (and at home it doesn’t matter anyway)?

I am afraid, I can not show you any pictures of the dress when worn so please click on the link to see how it is supposed to look. I really like my new dress, don’t get me wrong but I do think it makes my tummy look a bit big and wobbly in pictures (the camera’s fault, not the tummy’s) plus my resident photographers are currently busy with lego building work, so it is “dress on hanger only” this time. But as clever as you readers are, you will manage to imagine the rest.

I like the contrasting pockets and the low waist. Oh, and the little rectangle for the belt button holes are actually hiding a little mishap (others might call it hole). But doesn’t it look a bit like a belt buckle? A bit?

I have used a cheap summer sweat as this is only the trial version. I think a proper, slightly heavier sweat will actually make it more suitable for me and my tummy.

Plus imagine just the skirt part of the dress with the leopards! That will look so cool. Initially I thought only the dark navy with the yellow dots as side panels however I might not actually have enough of the yellow left and it might just become a proper mix up of both leopard fabrics and the dots as pockets only.

The clever reader will by now be wondering where the baby item is if this post has anything to do with its title (It actually hasn’t, I’m afraid, no fencing, no horses, no silly hats).

Any if you are by now thinking “I don’t get any of these tasks. Am I not the clever reader she is referring to?” then all I can say: Apparently not ๐Ÿ˜‰

And as I have by now probably lost most of my offended readers, I can finally tell you that there will be a big secret revealed next time. And it has to do with the baby’s new coat. Which is far to thin for october in Austria by the way. No one has told me it would be that cold already. Anyway. Big secret coming up. Not to be shared with the whole wide world, only with those few followers who simply can not be chased away. Watch this space.