Peasant Shirt

The other day I saw a how to video that I really liked. It showed me how to transform a man’s button down shirt into a peasant blouse. So I went out and bought some shirts on sale and from the thrift shop. I cut around the top, serged the edge and folded over about a half inch tunnel. I then threaded in ribbon and gathered it up.

I did realize that you must use Large or even X-Large shirts because the sleeves pull up so much and will be too tight in the armpits. You can make them short-sleeved, but wait till the end. I also cut the tails off to make the hem. You could leave them to tie in a knot or hem the bottom and put in elastic or ribbon so it’s adjustable. You could use elastic in the sleeves, too. So many possibilities!

IMG_0400IMG_0401 unnamedunnamed-2 (1)

Cashmere scarves from pullovers

Buying secondhand cashmere sweaters is a hobby of mine. Ebay is a great resource and thrift shops have some great finds. A few weeks ago I found a really nice full length tan colored cashmere skirt with the tags still on (!) at Plum right here in Beverly. Plumconsignment.com

From recycled cashmere sweaters

From recycled cashmere sweaters

IMG_0350 IMG_0349

IMG_0486 IMG_0488

 

I cut the pieces with the straight of grain running vertically. Then I sew the ends together to make the length I want. I have to make another length and then I sew them right sides together all the way down both sides to make a tube. I like to turn the scarf right side out and then serge the ends together and add decorative trim. The trim adds body which helps the ends lie flat against my body. I like to make the scarves long enough to go round my neck several times.

Hint: if you cut your lengths across the width of the sweater or skirt  your pieces will curl and misbehave.

Another option is to make an Infinity Scarf.

Do everything the same way until the part where you would have added the trim. Sew by hand the ends together neatly so you have a circle. See the blue and gray one in the picture. For a more professional (read persnickety) effect leave about 4″ on one side near the end open and sew the ends together with the ends right sides together. Then turn right side out through the 4″ opening and neatly hand stitch the opening closed. This makes a continuous loop to wrap around your neck a few times.

Making a man’s kilt for a woman

Basting pleatsTools for kiltLive and learn. Sew and learn. A traditional kilt fits a man because his body middle is straight. That is, ideally his waist and hips are about the same circumference. I made this kilt using You Tube vids as a guide and it was pretty straightforward. Yes, straight as in straight with no curves or darts to accommodate my curves. A woman’s waist, ideally, is a very different circumference to that of her hips. So the kilt came out perfectly. For a man. I am now in the process of gently picking out the pleats (not only pressed, but topstitched) and the nice grosgrain ribbon I used to bind the waistband. The next step will be to fit it to my body by pinning, basting, trying on, grading the pleats and maybe even putting in a dart or two. I’ll post the pics when I get it right…

Blanket Stitch Folk Art Pillow

Close up bird pillowblanket stitch techniqueIMG_4109

Back of Bird Pillow

Back of Bird Pillow

Stitched, stuffed and finished.

Stitched, stuffed and finished.

There are many sources now for 100% wool felt. When I buy it I put it through the washer and dryer to shrink it to a pebbly feel. More on that in another post, but for now I want to show you a simple pillow that’s an easy project for a gift.

A purist might stuff it with wool fleece, but I used poly fill from the fabric store for this one. I couldn’t bear to part with my fleece that has been beautifully cleaned and carded for spinning.

Soon I will do a post on spinning and things to make with your own wool!

Matryoshka Dolls

On a trip down the Volga River in Russia in 2003 I looked in vain for old fashioned folksy nesting dolls. At each stop there were stalls and shops filled with things for tourists to buy. Alas, the nesting dolls they had were modern with curly eyelashes and sparkly paint- not at all what I had in mind.

Here are my Babushkas, collected over the years from all over. See the two sets that are vintage…

IMG_0288IMG_4055IMG_4053 IMG_4049 IMG_4052 IMG_4054

I found some blanks online and also at Urban Outfitters of all places. It’s fun to paint your own! Some little friends of mine painted the ones in the last picture.

Making mittens from old sweaters

unnamedI went to a thrift store to get some real 100% wool sweaters. The best ones were in kids’ sizes. I threw them in the washing machine on hot and then into the dryer. They fulled beautifully. * I found a mitten pattern somewhere and tweaked it till it seemed to fit me. Then this happened:

IMG_0280IMG_0279IMG_0278 2And then this happened, too!

IMG_0277

The striped pair has another pair inside. I made the inside pair from lightweight green cashmere so it’s really soft. I put on the green ones inside out and slipped my hands into the striped pair. The cuffs were the sweater hem. So far the blue ones are not lined. I used blanket stitch to do the whole thing- a perfect take along project!

The fingerless mitts were an afterthought. They will fit my 5 year old grandie, Angelica. See the thumbholes cut into the arm seam and then blanket stitched? I used some pretty crocheted trim for embellishment. The sweater cuff is the end that will go over her fingers.

I think I will be making a lot of these.

*For those who might not know, FULLED means knitted fabric that has been felted. FELTED actually refers to loose fleece that is manipulated until it felts. This is a technical point and you can get away with calling fulled wool felted and no one will care except those of us who are a bit persnickety.

Shredded sweater obsession

TO SHRED OR TO MEND- ROGUE KNITTING 

Antony Hegarty wore a shredded sweater in the Leonard Cohen documentary, “I’m Your Man”. He was singing “If It Be Your Will”. The sweater is horribly beautiful. Does that make sense to anyone else?

I found this image on Google today:

7178-tp-332_export10-035th-107

It is featured on a site called imbossy.com

Check out this cool tutorial: http://blog.boatpeopleboutique.com/projects/destroy-diy-shredded-sweater

I read today about an interesting class at a London’s Ray-Stitch haberdashery.

raystitch.co.uk

The class is an introduction to embroidery for beginners workshop taught by Celia Pym and I think it would be fascinating to take darning and mending to another level. See her work here:

celiapym.com

unnamed

I find this fascinating and by the way I have brazenly used this image without permission. You can find it on Celia’s website along with her other beautiful work.