Turquoise trousers to tote transformation.

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I made a new bag for taking to work.  As my job is 12 hour night shifts, the bag has to be big enough to fit generous supplies of food, drink, clothing and entertainment in.

The dimensions were based roughly on my old bag, bought new a couple of years ago from a local shop.  It looks OK in the photo but has already been subject to a few repairs, has been washed a few times and is looking a bit past it.


Old bag

I had some fabric in mind bought at a jumble sale last year very cheaply, probably meant for curtains, it is some kind of open fairly thick linen.  I got rather excited to see some actual fabric on sale and snapped it up without a plan.


Jumble sale curtain fabric

I needed a contrast fabric and this pair of trousers BNWT left behind by a passing girlfriend of my stepson, seemed to work well.  They were a similar weight canvas 100% cotton in bright turquoise and the  pockets could be used for my signature 2 pockets made into one for the front of the bag.


Turquoise canvas trousers for contrast fabric

I cut 5 pieces the sizes and shapes I needed using measurements taken from the old bag.


Pieces cut out and interfaced

I haven’t made a bag like this before so it was a learning curve and I wanted to do it properly so heavy duty interfacing was applied to the main pieces .

The interfacing didn’t seem to stick that well so I ended up sewing it in, leading to a visible extra line of stitching that I will have to live with.

There was also going to be a lining.


Slippy lining fabric

This used to be a long skirt,  previously used to make a top.  The original charity shop skirt was the last item of clothing I bought before giving up shopping for a year, I have another 6 months to complete the no shopping year.


Skirt which was the source of lining fabric


The lining fabric was slippery and unpleasant to work with.  The top previously made from it  …..


Previously made and blogged top, imperfect due to poor handling of slippery fabric.


doesn’t quite hang right because something went slightly wrong in the  cutting out and although I do wear the top,  am always aware of its failings.

I remembered a tip about spraying slippery fabrics with spray starch to make them easier to work with.  I didn’t have any spray starch but did have hairspray and this worked surprisingly well.  I sprayed each piece before sewing and it made quite a difference, and made the pieces smell nice.

I wanted an internal and external pocket and these were sewn on to the relevant  pieces first, bearing in mind where their final placement was to be once seams and handles were taken into account

The next stage was to sew up the base and side pieces into one strip, then attach the front and back.



In progress bag without handles

The handles were interfaced and I used a few hand stitches  at the internal corners to keep the lining held in place.


Interior of finished bag

I am almost looking forward to going to work to test this bag out.


Finished bag



Finished bag






Auntie’s antimacassar to skirt refashion

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This project started off as one thing (the bottom of a top) and ended up as something completely different (the top of a bottom)

When making my Refashioners denim dress I made a toile for the bodice.

It seemed a shame not to make a wearable garment out of this bodice so I headed to my stash for a suitable fabric partner and this is what I came up with.


This piece has a bit of a back story.  I inherited it in a case of household linens from my great aunt.  The fringe at only one end suggests to me that its some form of antimacassar .

I wouldn’t normally go using old pieces of fabric in a refashion, because I know this will speed up its demise,  but this woven piece had some damage already.


Consequently I decided to use it with the underside to the front, as its woven it still looks good this way round, just an inverse of the front.


This item has been stuck away in a cupboard since 1993 and before that I don’t ever remember my aunt having this thing in use. I honestly don’t think she would have objected to the refashion.


I  removed the fringe, which interestingly, had been added before the hem, cut the piece in half lengthways, and made a tube. The edges had been machine sewn with a long stitch.  It was just the right width to attach to my bodice, give or take a couple of darts at the back and a bit of shaping.



This could have been left as a top at this stage but I decided to continue and make a dress  because as a top it was a little too short and the stiffness of the antimacassar made it stick out a bit.

I cut some wedge shapes from the legs of 2 pairs of similar brown corduroy trousers I had in my stash.

The length of the wedges was limited by the knee to hem length of the trousers.

This pair was one I had been keeping as a sort of diet  ‘target’ pair.  They used to be comfortable about 10 years ago.


I  laid out the panels under the bodice then stitched all the wedges together to make a skirt piece and pinned it to the top.


Unfortunately it looked OK on the table but when being worn, the antimacassar just didn’t seem to sit in the right place, and also seemed a bit too stiff.

As I had now cut up this old piece of fabric I had a responsibility to it, so the bodice will have to wait for another day  and plan B was a skirt.

I unpicked the antimacassar from the bodice and sewed it onto the cord panels, having first adjusted the cord panels to fit the right size to fit the antimacassar.


This looked better but was not long enough for a skirt.  I decided to add a yoga type waistband to both increase the length and make the skirt super comfy and also I would not then need to add a zip.

I cut a long tube from a t-shirt donated to me by my daughter, shaping the tube with a waist in the middle so it was designed to be folded over.

I cut this tube a tight fit so it would be stretched and keep the skirt up – that’s the theory anyway. I am always going to be wearing a top to cover the waistband, it isn’t designed to be on show.


Finally, I didn’t want to take any length off the cord panel section for a hem, so made some bias binding from a pillowcase to bind the hem.


Here is the finished skirt.





It has only taken, one antique antimacassar, 2 pairs of trousers, one t-shirt and one pillowcase to make so I hope I get some wear out of it.



Lace insert top

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I bought this thin and silky polyester top for £4 from traid.


They were having a sale, everything £4, which is cheap for them.

It’s from Marks and Spencer and is a silky polyester fabric with a subtle swirly pattern, reminiscent of something you might see on the top layer of a bridal gown.


From the label, I estimate it to be 1980’s vintage, when they were still making things in the UK.


I bought it with this refashion in mind, I’d been looking for something white, but when I tried it on at home, the fit wasn’t too bad.  One of my first thoughts was that this was such a simple design it would be easy to copy in another fabric sourced from my growing stash.

I wore the top for a month or so, but it was a little too long and a little too tight on the bust so it was time for the refashion to happen.

I had some lace just the right size to insert as a side panel, which would make the top a bit wider.


I’d bought the lace in a sandwich box of mixed ribbons, lace and buttons for £1

On closer examination I wondered if it was actually lace, or a piece of broderie Anglaise which someone had already cut around on one side to make lace.  I cut around the other side to complete the process and make my ‘lace’.

I opened the side seams of the top, which had been serged.  This fabric frayed like hell and its also very slippery, so before attaching the lace I gave each seam edge a small hem.

There was the question of whether to put the lace on top or underneath.


I decided underneath looked neater.

Although the photo only shows pins, I tacked the lace down before sewing, and at places where there were multiple layers, secured the folds with some hand stitching before machine sewing.

I also tried on after the tacking which revealed that at the armhole end, the insert needed to be one flower shorter to improve the fit.



To complete the refashion I cut about an inch off the bottom edge of the top and re-hemmed to make it a bit shorter.




Bonus feature:

On a recent trip to Norway I found the most fantastic Salvation Army charity shop.  As I found this shop with no Kroner left, no room in my case and only 10 minutes before I had to leave, all I could do was take photos.



This was just part of the homeware section, there were 3 floors, the top floor was all bridal wear.

So many lovely Scandi table cloths and doilies, the photos don’t do it justice.