Old Clothing saved from Goodwill pile by Upcyling

I have been going crazy on Pinterest again. One of my newest boards is Clothing Upcycle where I collect pictures of clothing that has been made by combining old pieces of clothing to make something new. It was time for me to rummage through my closet, get brave and cut up some clothes.

I love the color of this shirt, but it’s a little bit short on me. It’s been hanging so lonely in my closet for quite a while. Plus I don’t really like the tie in the front.

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This colorful skirt that is a tad bit tight for someone in her forties. The fabric is so cheery and just my style – so worthy of a clothing updo.

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These two pieces coordinate well and will make a great new piece!

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I cut about 7 inches off the bottom of the skirt and gathered it to fit the bottom of the shirt. I attached it and covered up the seam with a piece of scrap lace.

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The ties were removed and a piece of the skirt fabric was patched into the front.

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Voila!! I Have a new top that will look great with a pair of leggings and trendy boots. I may even wear it Friday night for our first family band gig. If you live in central Wisconsin, come check us out at Mugs Coffeehouse in Ripon. Here’s our publicity picture drawn by my 11 year old daughter, NJ:

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Daniel, Nora, Tom, Jonah and me.

Artfully sewing (and practicing for Friday),

Angela Jean

Tangled Costume for Halloween

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Rapunzel costume complete with frying pan!

It was time to take a break from making aprons to making a Halloween costume! My daughter, Nora was determined to be Rapunzel for trick or treating this year. I was hesitant because I am trying to get ready for the Sigma Holiday House craft show coming up November 22. But, mother duties trump business, so we set off for our hunt.

We started at Goodwill and found a green summer dress that had an eyelet lace front.  I figured we could lace ribbon up the middle to look like a bodice. Green wasn’t the right color for Rapunzel’s dress from the movie so we picked up a package of purple Rit dye at Joann Fabrics. (I wish I would have taken a picture of the dress before I dyed it so you could experience the full transformation!) The brown peasant shirt was from another dying project I did last year.

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This wig was so fun and easy to make!

The wig was so fun to make! We found a great tutorial on line by This Mama Makes Stuff. Thanks to the detailed directions, it was so easy. My mom gave us a couple skiens of yellow yarns that Nora cut up for the wig. I sewed it to the cap and Nora braided it.

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Trick or treating with little cousins

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The spoils of trick or treating!

Making this costume was a fun break, but now, back to work! (After a few pieces of Halloween candy – shhh!)

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

DIY Fabric Labels

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This morning I printed off my newly designed labels. The larger one is for aprons and the circular one is for the back of my ornaments. I love running fabric through my ink jet printer for not only labels but also for transferring embroidery patterns. Here’s my method:

To print the labels on fabric, first find a nice cotton fabric that has no print. For these labels I’ll probably use a light tan color to create a vintage look, but you can experiment to find what suits your niche. Press the fabric with a hot iron and starch for best results. Cut the fabric a little bit larger than a regular piece of paper, about 8 1/2″ x 11 1/2″.

Take a piece of freezer paper and cut it about the same size as your fabric. Iron the freezer paper to the backside of your fabric. Make sure the glossy side of the freezer paper is facing the fabric or it will stick to your iron!

Cut the paper-lined fabric down to exactly 8″ x 11″. Set it in your printer the same way you would regular paper, making sure the printed side will transfer to the top of the fabric NOT the freezer paper side. (I find it helpful to run a test through with regular printer paper first to see what direction it comes out so I can set the fabric up correctly). Print as usual. The printer should grab your fabric and print. You may have to trouble shoot, like helping feed the paper through by hand or changing the paper thickness setting on your printer, etc. Experiment to find the best way for your printer.

Remove the freezer paper and iron with a hot iron to set the ink. Don’t use steam or it may make the ink bleed. You may want to add fusible webbing to the back of the newly printed fabric to make it easy to fuse the labels. 

Some printers work better than others! I have had success with a Canon Pixma and a HP Officejet printer. What works for you?

Leave any questions or comments below and I’d be glad to help you out. Now to find that perfect fabric…

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

Up-cycled men’s dress shirt turned into smock apron

I stopped by Goodwill the other day and picked up a couple of extra large men’s dress shirts for $2.50 a piece. I’m usually there on a hunt for vintage tablecloths and embroidered treasures, but when none turned up I hit the clearance rack. The shirts just begged to be up-cycled, so I tossed them in my cart and took them home. I love the smocky look and the way they almost feel like I’m wearing a dress or an old-fashioned pinafore. I swear I could have been born in an earlier era!

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(Jazzy, my black lab, is posing with me.) I used a contrasting shirt for the pocket and part of the back straps.

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I converted the sleeves from the shirt as the straps that button to the front of the apron. I finally get to dive into that button stash!

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In true Artfully Sew fashion, I added a cutesy flower and blanket stitched around the outside.

Now off to make another one!

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

Repurposing Pants into Shorts

My daughter, N.J. is in a growth spurt. It seems that as soon as I buy her clothes she grows on the way home from the store and they’re too small. That’s what happened with these jeans.

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N.J. only wore these a couple times before she outgrew them.

Of course we discovered this when we were in a desperate place, packing for vacation. N.J. needed pants and shorts for the trip. Although these fit in the waist, they were snug in the thighs and were already turning into high waters. I had bought them at Goodwill based on size only. Lesson learned. Between the two of us, we brainstormed and decided these jeans should be sacrificed and be transformed into shorts.

I started by cutting them off just above the knees. To give her more room in the thighs I took out the outside seam up to the bottom of the pocket. N.J. picked out a very cute piece of cotton fabric that I inserted into the side seam and I hemed them up. We both squealed with delight when I pulled them off the sewing machine.

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Sew easy! I bet it took me 15 minutes. I repurposed a pair of jeans AND saved us money on new clothes PLUS saved time shopping.

Do you have any ideas for repurposing clothes? Please share them with me and keep sewing!

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean