Shirts and Swim Shorts: A Memory Blanket

I am so pleased to have been the creator of this colourful, but seemingly trivial item, that has brought brightness, warmth and comfort to a friend who sadly lost her dad a few months a go.

When my friend Di asked if I’d make her a blanket and cushions out of some of her dad’s clothes, whilst I was a little nervous about it (I mean…what if I cut up his clothes to find I couldn’t make them come together into something nice?!), how could I say no! I not only thought this was such a lovely idea, I knew how much it mean’t to Di to not have to give everything of his away but recycle them into something she could keep, use and look at every day as a little memory.

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My first worries were: would the different materials sew well together? Would there be enough variation in patterns, colours etc, to make a good pattern? Would I get enough material worth using once I’d cut off the cuff, placket, collars, pockets etc?

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Fortunately, Di’s dad obviously had good taste and a vibrancy of style…the colours of this shirts were great (not just a variation of blue had they been my dad’s!) and his swim shorts…well, we’re talking neon orange, illuminous blue, aqua green and cerise red! And turns out there was plenty of material to go around.

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I started by cutting up everything into squares of equal size. I didn’t know as yet how much I’d have of each so unsure of pattern to do. Creating the pattern, so that I had enough of the same fabrics to make diagonal rows, was like solving a giant floor puzzle. Once the pattern was all laid out and I was happy with the distribution of colours: mixing the brights of his swim shorts and the pastel shades of his shirts with a few different tones of grey from his trousers, the sewing began. (I also included a little cheeky pocket and motif from the shorts!)

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For the backing I used a simple grey and white floral print that complemented the front but also matched Di’s bedroom colour scheme. Di also asked if I would put, somewhere, somehow a little message that read ‘Goodnight, Good Bless’ – words that Di and her dad used to regularly say to each other, onto the back of the blanket so she would see it when she turned the blanket down as she went to bed each night.

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After quilting, I edged the whole thing in a mixture of his ties, which I actually think looks totally fab!

As well as the blanket, I made a couple of cushions using the same shirt patches for the front and using Di’s dad knitted sweaters for the back.

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Everyone who I mentioned to that I was making this thought it was such a lovely idea. And, the best part of all was giving the shirts and swim shorts (and trousers, ties and sweaters!) back to Di in their new form…and of course there were tears of both happiness and sadness.

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And so continues my upcycling…(and some new things).

So I haven’t posted anything for a while – last week I took a bit of time off from the sewing machine, allowing us to have a rest after the wedding fair. However, with my first weekend free in I-can’t-remember-how-long, I got back on it; only this time making a few little bits and bobs as gifts…

The first of those being a little purse for my friend Rose after she liked one ‘I made earlier’ that I posted previously in ‘Lots of little purses’.

I made this one a little more personal to Rose though as I used, for the lining, a duvet cover that she kindly donated to me a little while back; it was an old-school duvet cover (complete with retro St. Michael’s label!) that she liked the print off but was a bit too ’70s to use for real, and had no other use for.

And so continues my upcycling: from shirt to pants, skirt to purse, now duvet to purse (I feel a theme forming…). Plus there is also still plenty of material left to make more items…coming your way Rose! I also made it as a little thank you as she has done a lot of design work for me of late. Take a look at her fab work at www.rosemountague.co.uk.

My second gift item was another little Patchwork Panda for a little 1 year old lady. I’ve made a few of these now and they seen to go down pretty well with the little ones, personally I think this is my favourite.

The fabric I used for the arms, legs and ears is a super cute print called Teeny Tiny Zoo – I got mine from one of my favourite online shops: Fabric Rehab. The pattern was from Sew Hip magazine which, on receiving through the door, is the highlight of my month (probably should get out more!).

 

I embroidered the birthday girl's name on his foot - he definitely belongs to her now.

Hello!

Still on the ‘to do’ list is more baby items, bunting for an online boutique (woo! All to be revealed soon), more purses and bags, pjs, and more! Will post once done…but for now back to focusing on the wedding fair coming Sunday x

 

Skirt turned purse – another little recycled project.

Recently, I have been practicing making little purses using a few different size frames and drawing up a number of patterns to fit these.

In keeping with my recycled theme this week (see Old Top, New Pants!), I cut up an old skirt, donated to me a little while back, and made it into a little purse with a silver frame and nice bright yellow lining.

Here’s the skirt:

And now it’s a purse!

Nat – if you’re reading – this is for you 🙂

I have been working on a few variations of these for my wedding fair (in a week’s time…arghh!) which I should have finished by tomorrow ready to post some snaps.

 

 

 

Old top, new pants.

With the growing hole in my bank account (due to obsessive fabric buying) has also seen growing holes in my clothes!

This week, while taking a break from making wedding crafts, I decided to make something for myself that would help my wardrobe problem and my personal, as well as the country’s, economic climate by recycling an old top and making it into…pants!

Old top…

Now new pants…

Woop! New undies.

I got a bit carried away, feeling very pleased with my new pants, that I now have a whole set! No more M&S for me (apart from Percy Pigs obviously!).

These are my fav!

See you later M&S!

Recognise these…

Remember this sofa, and the cushions I was asked to cover, that I mentioned in my ‘Project Scabby Sofa‘ post a little while back…

Well, I unpicked the (very dusty!) old cushion covers and removed the zips and tags that attached the cushions to the sofa, using the old covers as a template to cut new fabric.

Stinky old sofa cushions.

The fabric I use was Globaltex Tilly Fabric in Powder Blue, which is suitable for curtains, blinds and more hard-wearing items, so perfect for these cushions – plus the vintage style and colours matched the new refurbished shop.

I re-used the zips and made sure to put the tags back in the correct place so the cushions would attach to the sofa properly.

However, not content with just the pretty fabric, I decided to attach some jumbo ric rac (my favourite trimming of the moment!) around the edge to jazz us the cushions too, and here is the end result…