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Creative reuse of unpicked shirt pockets. March 15, 2011

Posted by Sarah in bag, blanket stitch, clothes, fabric, felt, hand made, holiday, home made, recycle, refashion, reuse, sewing, thrifty.
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J and I purchased a shirt each for wearing while we travel through South East Asia.  We’ll be travelling very light, so we need to pack clothing that’s so practical it’s almost laughable.  Clothing with features that would be completely irrelevant in Sydney – like back vents for example.  Things that you can wash by hand in a sink and have it dry in just a few hours, ready to be worn for the 30th day straight.  My shirt is blue, long sleeved, and looks like my mother dressed me in chambray for a family photo in 1990.  But, it’s actually a really nice fit, and surprisingly comfortable.  J however was not so lucky.  Thanks to the Amazon sizing charts it’s a size too big for him.  That probably wouldn’t have been too bad if the shirt didn’t also come with two huge, incredibly unflattering chest pockets.  J and I took one look at the shirt on and decided that the pockets had to go.  They weren’t much use anyway – and since we’ll have daypacks with us there’s really no need to be carrying anything in shirt pockets.  I took to them with my quick unpick, carefully removing each stitch so as not to leave any visible marks or holes.  Now you wouldn’t even know that there had ever been pockets on the shirt, and it looks so much better!

The hoarding maybe-that-will-come-in-handy-one-day part of my personality decided to put the two removed pockets into my fabric stash until I decided what to do with them.  After pulling them out last night and having another look at them I decided that they would make great little pouches to keep our electronic cables in while we travel.  I cut out black felt for the backing pieces of the pouches and sewed around the edges with blanket stitch.  I incorporated the original pocket closure on one pouch by sewing it onto the felt, and with the other I added snap closures.  Each pocket took me about an hour to complete.  Now we can store all of our chargers in one spot, and we wont have to go rummaging through our bags only to find a tangled mess of cables at the botton of the pack!


Hand stitched Netbook sleeve March 14, 2011

Posted by Sarah in backstitch, bag, buttons, cosy, cotton, Craft, fabric, hand made, home made, Letters, Pattern, recycle, reuse, Saponify, sewing, thrifty, wool.
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Finally – I’ve actually managed to take a photo of something I’ve made and post it on here!

This little Netbook sleeve was made by me last night while sitting on the couch watching television.  I stitched the entire thing by hand, as we’re in the process of packing up our house for a move and I can’t find the sewing machine.  Even if I could find the machine, finding a flat surface to use it on that’s not covered in curing soap for my business would prove to be quite the challenge!

I’ve held on to this piece of fabric for about 4 years, waiting for the right project for it.  It is a sample piece by Kvadart, called Letters.  It’s quite thick and strong – made from a blend of 50% cotton, 42% new wool and 8% nylon.  Perfect for keeping our tiny new Netbook safe from scratches and bumps.

I pinned the fabric right sides together with the Netbook inside, and then backstitched up the sides with embroidery floss.  I then used my pinking shares to cut off the excess fabric, turned it right side out and slid the computer into it’s new sleeve.  I added the button and tie to prevent any unfortunate accidents of the laptop-sliding-out-of-pretty-new-case-and-heavily-hitting-the-ground variety.

Fabric – gifted
Button – gifted
Embroidery thread – $0.15
Yarn tie – $0.01
Total cost for this project – $0.16!

Suitcase love September 28, 2010

Posted by Sarah in bag, blue, fabric, picnic, Picnic Blanket, recycle, refashion, Second Hand, Thrifting, thrifty, vintage.
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I picked up this suitcase this morning from Reverse Garbage in Taylor Square.  The perfect shade of blue, and just the right size.  Small enough for carry-on, but large enough to be useful for storage when I’m not jet-setting around the world.  This little beauty set me back the grand total for $8.  A total bargain!

I also came home with a pile of upholstery fabric to use for the backs of some new Picnic Blankets.  I’m going to be making them again this year to sell for Christmas.  Watch this space!

Mexican Wrestler embroidered boxing hand wraps bag July 12, 2010

Posted by Sarah in art, bag, boxing, embroidery, fabric, hand wraps, Jenny Hart, Mexican Wrestler, sewing, Sublime Stitching.
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I had the sewing machine out yesterday, so I decided to finally finish something I started months ago.  A bag to keep our boxing hand wraps in.

I picked up Sublime Stitching, Craft Pad by Jenny Hart last year from Ariel Books last year.

I used her transfer as a guide, and embroidered these Mexican Wrestlers onto an old pillowcase.

The pillowcase wasn’t great for keeping the wraps in though, they kept falling out.

What it really needed was to be turned into a bag.  I cut the pillowcase to make it smaller, and sewed a drawstring into the top of it.  Now the wraps all sit happily in the bag, hanging off a hook in the laundry.  No more last second rushing around the house trying to find a set of wraps!

New market bag August 24, 2009

Posted by Sarah in bag, bike, fabric, home made, markets, recycle, refashion, sewing, thrifty.

A new market bag, this time in Japanese pear print.P8230031

The strap is made from the offcuts from a pair of denim jeans.


I’ve discovered that this bag works really well as a messenger bag for cycling too.  I wore it on a 20km round trip on Friday.  I had my handbag and bike lock in it and it worked a treat.


The bag is reversible – the white and gold bird print fabric was given to me by a friend that works at the sydney branch of Kvadrat.


Tote bag for Christmas January 2, 2009

Posted by Sarah in bag, christmas, fabric, gift, home made, markets, refashion, sewing, thrifty.
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This is the bag that I made for my sister Karen for Christmas.


This is the best photo that I took of the inside of the bag.  I didn’t have much time to get good photos, but just imagine a white lining with gold stylised birds on it.img_2986

I cut the legs off a pair of Joh’s old work pants to make him some shorts recently.  I made the straps for Karen’s bag from the leftover fabric.


I made the straps extra long because my sister is extra tall.  I thought that she could use it for grocery shopping like I do with my own :)

Market bag October 6, 2008

Posted by Sarah in bag, fabric, food, home made, markets, refashion, sewing, thrifty.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to finishing this bag. It has been sitting in my WIP pile for about four months. I thought with the markets coming up this weekend it would be a great chance to finish it off (and show it off at said markets!).  Here it is with my trusty shopping trolley – what a team!

A while back Mum and Dad went to the states and came back with a pile of cool fabrics for me as a gift. This great vegetable print was one of them. I thought what better way to use it than to make myself a much needed bag for shopping.  I made the denim handle from some scrap fabric I had from a jeans to shorts project in summer.  I zigzag stitched across the denim to hold the handle flat.  The handle is really wide, and long enough for me to wear it across my back.

The lining fabric is an old pillowcase of ours.

Because of the awful weather on Saturday I couldn’t take our trolley, but I could take the bag.  Here it has two bunches of rhubarb, a bottle of macadamia oil and a freakishly large bunch of silverbeet inside it.  It is the strongest bag we have now, and cool too!

Tote bag for Helen August 7, 2008

Posted by Sarah in bag, fabric, gift, home made, sewing, Uncategorized.
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I made this bag for my beautiful friend Helen. I got the pattern for it from this book.

I used some lovely fabric from here for the outside of the bag. The strap was made from some of my stash fabric, as was the lining. I made a little pocket from some cute floral cotton that I picked up from a thrift shop about a year ago. The little bows came from Mum.

I found the pattern really easy to use, and have since made more bags using the same principal.

Home made birthday present for my beloved sister April 19, 2008

Posted by Sarah in bag, cosy, fabric, gift, home made, knitting, sewing, wool.
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My older sister Karen had a birthday recently, this is what I made for her.

I had origionally thought that I would make her a large shopping style bag, like my own, but made of exquisite fabric. Off to the exquisite fabric I went, and purchased some beautiful japanese cotton. I got home and decided to make her a smaller, clutch-like bag, but with handles.

The handles are actually a drawstring that I kept from one of Joh’s hoodies.

Mum gave me a bunch of her old buttons the last time I was back in NZ. These sparkly little darlings are so cute! They’re only for decoration, and I’ve used two different ones on either side of the bag.

I used interfacing on the inside of the bag to strengthen it, and sewed on little snap fasteners.

I was in a rush to get this finished and posted with the rest of the gift, so you don’t get a finished product photo, sorry.

I also knitted her a beanie for the cold NZ winter. This is made from two yarns held together and knitted. The black is a chunky acrylic/wool mix and the grey graduated one is pure wool. The beanie ended up being really big, but I purposely knitted it larger to accommodate all of my sisters long hair into it. The hardest part of this was sewing it together at the end.

This flower was knitted using the same wool from Karen’s scarf from last year. I added a fabric covered button as the ‘pollen’. The button was fun to make, I’ll definitely make more of those. I initially thought that the flower could go on the hat as a little decoration, but the pattern didn’t indicate what size it would be so I ended up with something much bigger than expected! I sewed a little safety pin on the back so Karen can pin it to anything she pleases.

An answer to the never-ending canvas bag problem March 4, 2008

Posted by Sarah in bag, fabric, home made, refashion, sewing.
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More and more, i’m finding that we’re ending up with canvas bags being given to us when we shop. I have so many of these things now that i’ve been considering using them for rubbish bags. I carry one in my handbag with me so that I can use it if I need to, and recently I have been taking my umbrella to work and lunch in a canvas bag. The thing is, I loathe them. I don’t like the way they feel on my sore hands. I don’t like being a walking advertisement for a supermarket – especially considering we don’t buy from the supermarket.

My solution to this problem is to make my own tote/shopping bags that I can be proud of.

I used a cotton bag that I like the size of for the pattern. The fabric was thrifted for $4 at a Salvos store and the straps are from scraps from a previous sewing adventure.