Making New Tote Bags

Repurposing, Sewing

My old set of tote bags was made out of secondhand fabrics, so they were already partially worn-out before I even made them. They have been showing extra wear and I’ve found myself repairing them more and more frequently, so I’m making sure there’s a new set of tote bags ready to replace them whenever the old ones finally give up. These are also made of a hand-me-down fabric, and are part of my 2020 Fabric Use-Up Project.

This is the lovely toile design.

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There was another section which was very discolored, so I cut it into strips to make the straps.

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The amount of fabric I had available was enough for 4 tote bags. I made the handles longer this time so I might carry them on my shoulder.

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The finished tote bags are so pretty! They have been added to the rotating stack of tote bags (washed immediately after use).

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Completed Wrap Dress from Tablecloth

Repurposing, Sewing


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Ties attached, neckline/wrap part finished in bias tape made from the tablecloth scraps, I needed a way to get the inner tie to the outside so I could make a nice bow. I used a welt seam to channel the tie through to the outside. It required some bias tape, and I had a little bit of the bias tape from the neck edge. Now, there’s only about half a yard remaining of that bias tape, so it’ll probably be a finishing piece on some little project or another some day.

My mistake was forgetting to mirror everything while working with the dress on the dress form, so now the dress opens to the right rather than the left as women’s clothing is supposed to, but it’s not really a big deal. I’ll be wearing this around the house for now, anyways, so nobody will know enough to notice.

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I drafted the sleeve pattern in the style of a tulip sleeve because I think it repeated the idea of the wrap front nicely for the sleeves.

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Cut two per sleeve. Make sure to mark the top part that meets the top of shoulder seam! The sleeves were also edged in self bias tape.

All of the tiny little scraps from this project -there must be about a square foot and a half of them all added together- are saved in a labelled bag just in case I ever need to repair this dress, since the fabric has already been well-loved before I made the dress.

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With the sleeves attached and all the edges finished, the dress is done! This was a fun learning experience and I think I’ll enjoy this as a warmer weather house-dress for now. I love how the floral with green looks, especially on the back!

Previous posts on this dress: First Second

For more about the process, see my portfolio page.


Progress on Vintage Tablecloth Turned Wrap Dress

Repurposing, Sewing

I used the selvedge and hem of the existing tablecloth to my advantage for this dress. No need to hem it when the edges are already finished!

In the above images, the main pieces of the dress are put together but the details still need to be done. The arms, the neckline, and the ties all remain incomplete. Still, you can get an idea of how it will look!

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Finishing the neckline edge

I’m so excited for this wrap dress.

Frumpy Dress to Pretty Skirt

Repurposing, Sewing

I got this dress secondhand about 2 (?) years ago, and I love the pattern on it. Palest yellow with beautiful blue floral print and it has such a nice drape to it, as the fabric is 100% rayon. The shape of the dress, however, just wasn’t flattering on me. The wast was too high up and added weight to my figure in a less than nice way. After I pulled one of the seams at an event I was volunteering for, I decided to remake the whole thing into something better for me.

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I chopped the skirt off and used the top to make a waistband. I added a hook and eye and 3 snaps to keep the waist secure.

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I think that I will continue to get a lot of use out of this beautiful fabric, and now it looks more flattering on me!

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Fabric Stash Use-Up Project 2020

Repurposing, Sewing

Old fabric for the new decade!

This year, I want to pare down my fabric stash even further. I had a lot of fun with this the past two years, and I managed to use up most of my hand-me-down fabrics and plenty of fabrics I personally acquired. I plan on focusing on functional pieces mostly, but I’d also like to make a couple pieces of historical clothing and create some more items for my etsy. This project also covers fiber, as I still have a few balls of yarn that I’d like to give a purpose.

The year has already started, so Slippers from Nothing but Scraps #2: Slippers for a Loved One counts as part of this project, as well.

Rules are that I won’t buy anything for new projects until I’ve finished all of the projects I have here. It is, however, okay to purchase a component needed to finish an existing project.

Will you join me in my 2020 Stash Use-Up?

Happy sewing!

Fabric Stash Use-Up Project 2019 Review

Repurposing, Sewing

My goal was to use up my fabrics until my 2 boxes were pared down to 1 box.

I have used up:

Blue-Green cotton-poly 50/50 blend sheet and here

White cotton pillowcase and here

White/Natural cotton batting

Yellow 65% poly 35% cotton fitted sheet

Minty Green Cotton

Various Yarns Here, Here, Socks 1 2 3 4 5 6, Hats, Headbands

Additional Random Scraps into Slippers

What I have learned from this year and last year’s use-up projects:

When historical clothing is involved, petticoats are my go-to for using up lots of fabric that isn’t necessarily cosmetically flawless. I know the majority of the material will be covered up by skirts but the fabric is still useful because it lends fullness to whatever garments it is under. Eventually, I got into a petticoat rut, but I’m hoping that this pays off by providing me with a variety of under-garments for historical clothing going forward. Once I get around to making proper outfits, I think it would be nice to have a few different accompanying undergarments and other pieces that I can add to change or complete a look. Also, headwear is a lot more complicated than I expect it to be, every single time I set out to make it, but it is perfect for using smallish, less than 1 yard pieces of fabric and seeing a completed headwear piece is just so satisfying. Hats can be really cute. I like chemises and shifts (they’re super comfortable and great to wear to sleep) but I didn’t make as many of those as I could have. I really wish that my fabric stash contained less synthetic fabric blends, but this is what I have to start with and I can choose better fabrics (and better secondhand fabrics to upcycle) from here on out.

Yarn is both easy and difficult to use up. One project takes so much yarn, but each project is complex, and with my limited skills in this area, it’s a challenge. There has definitely been a learning curve as I try to create more complex projects such as crocheted socks. The hats were fun but I didn’t always have enough yarn for them, and would have to unravel and make something else, as I am working my way through a stash of secondhand yarn so there’s a varying amount of the color available. Headbands are probably my favorite thing to make because they are so easy, and they’ve given me the opportunity to learn and practice a few new stitches.

I’ve learned the value of every little scrap. I didn’t buy anything to make my new slippers, and the end scraps of several projects went into making them possible.

Overall, this was a fantastic year-long project. I had some phases of making lots of one thing a few times and that gave me the opportunity to improve my skills. I solved some problems using what I had on hand and that itself is a valuable skill. It’s a pretty neat feeling to be able to produce something you need without spending any money because you have skills to do it yourself. It’s also cheap entertainment to make things out of what you have on hand.

For 2020, I want to continue using what I have on hand, as I still have plenty of fabric and a little bit of fiber left to use, but I’ll be less stringent with myself about not purchasing things for projects- if I don’t have any other projects in progress when I want to purchase (and I always have something in progress, haha). Components to allow me to finish existing projects are fair game if it’s in the budget, of course. I’d love to really get into making historical clothing items, but at the same time I’d also like to make more practical things like my slippers, maybe make some household stuff that makes life easier. My 2019 Fabric Use-Up Project set me up for an even better year of sewing in 2020.