Category Archives: recycling

Boro, Darning and me

 

 

 

 

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I found all these mending threads in a charity shop. I don’t know how old they are, but maybe 40 or 50 years old. Possibly older. They’re in good condition: you’d think they were made yesterday.

Do you like to mend things? Do you gaze in awe at Boro textiles?

I mend from time to time, but I’m always admiring photos of Boro textiles. Maybe I haven’t paid too much attention to darning but I think it’s probably similar. What do you think? Anyway, I decided to see if I could combine practicality and looks with a bit of mending. I love these socks – they’re great in long boots. I think they’re known as shooting socks – maybe meant to go with Plus Fours? Not sure.

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The look of Boro?

I don’t know where I got these mending threads but they’re very pretty. Maybe I thought they were embroidery threads. They have the motto of “Ukanboil” on the label. Don’t think I’ll be boiling my socks any time soon. The label also says that they are for mending underwear…

My Pinterest board is full of beautifully mended Boro textiles and there are a few darned pieces too – like this beauty. I’ve classed it as Boro on Pinterest.

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This image was originally from long-john.nl . I love the visible mending.

My attempt at mending with the sock threads. Although the after photo makes the sock look nubbly it’s actually quite comfortable to wear.

And just today I saw this post showing a beautifully mended blanket. Please go and take a look.

Do you love Boro textiles? Do you enjoy mending?

I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

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Filed under boro, Clothes, mending, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift

Refashioned Skirt

My dyeing and painting tunic

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The original me made skirt

I wear many clothes to destruction. They’re only fit to be turned into cleaning rags or if there are good bits, maybe some bits of quilt fabric.  But I can’t find a photo of me wearing this skirt, maybe that’s because I didn’t wear it very often.

I have a “thing” about clothes that I don’t wear much. I feel sad when I see them hanging there wasted. Some such things just go straight to the charity shop: they’re too good (and  too unloved) to be used for something else.

To refashion it: I took off the top of the skirt where the darts were, made armholes and bound the edges.  I made more buttonholes so that it would cover me better.

Then I tried it on.

It needed shaping badly so I used some large black buttons to pull it in and give me some shape.

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Next came pockets –  a working tunic has to have pockets…  It was lucky that I had a few bits of the original fabric left because the bits I’d cut off the skirt just wouldn’t stretch to two pockets.

 

I don’t know why the pockets look blue on the photo – they are definitely black.

And that’s all: I’ve worn the tunic a lot and I’ve even had compliments on it. It’s a simple but successful refashion.

What do you do with your failures? Do you enjoy refashioning? I’d love to hear from you.

Have  a fun week.

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, recycling, sewing, textiles, upcycling

Bag Fest 

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This is a tweedy (with a bit of hemp) bag made from a pattern by Michaela Smith called “Night Owl”. The pattern’s for a cushion but I like bags more. It holds lots & is good for travelling.

These bags are made from this quilt.

Landscape quilt

It had been languishing in my sewing cupboard for months, so I washed it and made the bags. The fabrics are silks & silk lookalikes.

The binding on the quilt mostly couldn’t be saved but I had some bits of the original left so I cut some more. The original is leftover from making this skirt – still worn after all these years, but now as calf length rather than full length.

I made the original quilt following a holiday on Skye – it represents the view I could see when eating my breakfast.

I’m intending to take these patchwork bags along to Quillies in Rhayader to see if they can be sold alongside my fabric pots.

 

My favourite tote bag – and believe me I love tote bags… This is a furnishing fabric remnant that I just couldn’t resist.

Gratuitous dog photos!

 

And this is my jeans bag. Linda asked me to show it ages ago & I just didn’t manage to blog. Sorry!

So you can see I’ve been busy despite my blogging silence. Looking forward to catching up with you all.

Happy New Year

Norma x

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Filed under jeans, patchwork, recycling, textiles, upcycling

More about Dyeing

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Wool yarn immersed in Marigold Heads July 2016 

The Spring Equinox is now behind us, days are slightly longer than nights and so garden dyeing can begin again. Perfect time, as we’ve just been having some lovely sunny weather.

The wool yarn has been in that jar since last July until a week ago. I expected orange but got pale green. I wonder if that is because I didn’t rinse the jar beforehand? The vinegar from the pickles may have made a big difference to the outcome. It’s a happy accident anyway.

This is the orange silk skirt after being simmered in (used) tea bags. I keep them in the freezer to stop them going mouldy before I have enough to work with.

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After tea dyeing on the left, original colour right

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Herringboned hem – made to show on the outside

The colour is much better now but it’s in the dark awaiting a brown dye. I picked up pine cones from the garden this morning with the idea that they might provide the dye I need.  More to follow on that.

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Curing in the sun

Looks like a medic’s uniform? A tunic made from part of an old cotton sheet with the express intention of dyeing it with various materials over the summer. I think the fact that the sheet has been washed many times will help it receive colour better but I’m taking no chances. The thread is cotton straight from the reel and it hasn’t been washed before – it would be horrible to have bright white thread on a hand dyed garment. It’s had an alkali dip (washing soda) this afternoon, to be followed by a protein dip tonight (slightly sour milk saved specially in the freezer). I’ll do it all over again a few times before I dye it with the first layer – probably daffodil flowers that have died off.

In my dyeing adventures I’m using India Flint’s book “Eco Colour” as a guide. I love her work and I’m enjoying using some of her methods adapted as best I can for the vegetation and less sunny climes of Mid Wales.

Have a fun week.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

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Filed under Clothes, dyeing, India Flint, recycling, sewing, slow dyeing, solar dyeing

A Velvet Cloak and Other Coats

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Isn’t it lovely? I am very pleased with this – sorry for my lack of modesty….

It’s made from a pair of long velvet curtains which a kind  friend saved from being thrown into a skip. I’ve used most of the good parts of the curtains to make it. It’s three quarter circles and I used the method from DIY Couture by Rosie Martin to draw the wedge shapes – pivot & a piece of chalk. The hood pattern comes from this coat – Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket.

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The lining was new fabric – it’s cotton I bought specially from a retailer of manufacturers’ overruns, end of lines etc. £4 a metre anyway. It looked just right because I like a fancy lining if I can get one. The buttons are handmade ceramic – I’ve been wanting to find a use for them.

The cloak isn’t a very practical coat. I imagine I’ll wear it now & again so it’ll probably last for ever. It’s one of those fun things that sewistas make from time to time, purely for the joy of it.

However, I was reading this post by Naomi at Spare Room Style and it made me think about wardrobe planning as an urgent matter. This was the scene in my sitting room this morning:

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Drying my clothes by the fire

Yesterday was one of those days where it never really gets light. The temperature was between 2 & 3 degrees centigrade all day and the hens called it a day and went to bed about 3 o’clock. There was snow / sleet / rain/ howling wind and I had two coats and two sets of boots,some gloves and a hat to dry by the time I’d taken the dogs out, brought in the firewood and sorted out the hens. That was the absolute bare minimum outdoor work. My lovely husband is away at the moment so I’m doing it all myself.

One of the coats is not meant to be waterproof but it’s so thick that rain doesn’t usually get as far as me. The waterproof one sadly let me down. I reproofed it there & then (in the washing machine with Nikwax) but I know it won’t be long before the fabric won’t reproof. I’ve replaced the zip and experience tells me that the fabric will only go on for a year or two after that. So, to cut a long story short, I’ve decided to make a waterproof coat ready for next winter.

I’m thinking of the Minoru (see above wool version) but adding a pleat to the lower back so it doesn’t catch on my bike seat. I love that it has a hidden hood. All other suggestions welcome – I am inclined to keep on using patterns I like forever, so do please tell me what you would use.

And the weather?

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Today it’s cold but dry and we had a delightful walk (and I’ve hung my washing out for good measure).

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Clothes, dogs, dressmaking, fashion, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift, upcycling

Some Practical Sewing

This shirt was made by Monsoon – a good and well known label here in the UK. It’s a size too big for me (because it came from a charity shop) but I liked it and I’ve been wearing it to my yoga class. It didn’t really work for me – loose tops can be a bit revealing when you’re upside down!

Seemed a shame not to use such a pretty shirt so now I’ve lengthened it and it’s a much needed nightdress.

It’s been a practical week – some bootcut jeans made of lovely fabric are now straight enough to tuck into boots and then there’s a dress waiting to be a tunic and a boring skirt which needs some magic.

Do you like this sort of sewing? Or do you only make new things? My budget won’t allow for buying anymore fabric at the moment so I’ve started to look around to see what can be done with what I have. I feel better already.

Let me know what you think about reusing and mending – I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

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Filed under Clothes, fashion, jeans, mending, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift, upcycling