Blog, Makes

Reuse old plastic bags to make Pom-poms

Photographs by Antonia Attwood

Being very aware of all the plastic and rubbish that lands up on many of our beaches, and in our parks and roadsides, I thought I would come up with a project that could put some of that plastic to good use. The result is pom-poms created from plastic bags. I suggest you use and reuse the bags until they start to get holes. When they are finally  of no further use, make pom-poms out of them.

Image 1

You need very little in the way of materials, just scissors, plastic bags, cardboard and string or twine. You will also need something to draw round to make a large circle with a smaller one in the centre.

Image 2

Draw round a small saucer or a large roll of tape onto the card to create a circle. Use something like an eggcup and draw round it to make a circle in the center. Cut out the two cardboard shapes, with a hole in the centre. Cut the plastic bags into a long strip about 1cm wide.

Image 3

Place one cardboard circle on top of the other and then start to wind the plastic strips round the two circles as in the picture. Carry on until the whole of the cardboard is covered. The more strips you add the fluffier the pom pom will be.

Image 4

Cut a piece of string or cord and put to one side. Holding the plastic covered discs, insert the scissors between the two outer circles and start to cut. This is the tricky bit as you don’t want to end up with a load of plastic on the floor. When you have cut all the way round the outer ring insert the cord and pull the two ends together, drawing together the pom pom at the same time. Tie the string ends together.

We used our Pom poms to decorate a basket, but you could use them to decorate anything. Have fun creating crafting and recycling.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Mend and Patch

By Kerstin Neumuller

A Handbook to Repairing clothes and Textiles

Kerstin Neumuller is a tailor who loves sewing with tiny stitches. With her partner Douglas Luhanko she runs a shop in Stockholm called Second Sunrise. In it they sell jeans, run craft workshops and have a repair studio.

This, her second book, is a practical handbook, and is perfect for anyone who wants to sharpen their mending skills, and lead a more sustainable life style.

 Packed with advice on how to combat wears and tears, the book shows the basics for mending jeans and button holes, how to repair pockets and seams, how to darn a hole in your best knitted jumper, and how to work with different materials, including denim, cotton and wool.

Techniques for showing mends and making a design statement are given, as are the techniques for making hidden mends.


You are shown how to use a sewing machine to mend, how to add pockets and reinforcing using thick threads. The mends for knits, especially  Swiss Darning are amazing and there is even a section on mending leather.

This is a really useful and lovely book

Published by Pavilion at £12.99  All photographs by Hampus Andersson.

Blog, Exhibitions

SCRAPS an Exhibition of recycled textiles

Sorry you’ve just missed it, as it closed the 14th January. Palm Springs art museum held a fabulous exhibition SCRAPS: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse. I am posting this now as I feel it is so important that we understand the world has finite resources, and those that recognise this and try to do something about it should be applauded and publicised. The exhibition featured the work of three women, from three continents, who put recycling at the heart of their design process. Luisa Cevese from Italy, Christina Kim from Los Angeles USA and Reiko Sudo from Japan all share a profound respect for scraps as repositories of raw materials, energy. labour, and creativity. Inspired by the long tradition of using handcraft to give new life to scraps and cast-offs, each takes an entirely different approach to contending with textile waste.

Christina Kim the founder of the Los Angeles-based fashion brand Dosa, has always drawn inspiration from traditional textile cultures around the world. Working with local artisans, she provides sustainable livelihoods by engaging in long-term collaborative relationships and paying fair wages. Her longstanding reverence for hand woven cloth led her fifteen years ago to jamdani

-the gossamer cotton saris worn in Bengal, India and Bangladesh became the fabric for her 2003 collection. Recognising the cultural history and human creativity embedded in the cloth, Kim collected the cutting-room scraps and had them pieced and appliqued into a wholecloth by skilled embroiderers in Gujarat, India. A second generation of clothing was cut from the re-engineered fabric in 2008, and the scraps gathered from this collection were made into tikdi, or small dots, appliqued on silk scarves until all the scraps were used. Equally important to Kim’s zero-waste approach is her intent ‘to help keep different traditions alive… investing the human hand with more or as much value as the material itself.”

         Reiko Sudo is Japanese she was born in 1953

She has been transforming how we think about textiles for the last three decades. She is the principal designer and managing director of Nuno, founded in 1984 and known for combining Japanese handicraft tradition with textile technologies to create extraordinary futhe silk cnctional textiles. Always conscious of the impact textile production has on the environment, Sudo has recently explored the creative potential of silk waste. Since 2007, her primary focus has been kibso – the outermost layer of  the silk cocoon that protects the delicate silk underneath.

Retrieved before the silk reeling process, kibiso is too coarse for industrial weaving, but working in collaboration with the city of Tsuruoka, Sudo has converted kibiso  into finer yarn that can be machine woven. During her kibiso experimentation, Sudo discovered another silk waste, ogarami choshi, a residue that sticks to the spinning shaft and has to be cut away. When the layers of the tightly curled material are peeled apart, they can be pressed together to create a translucent patchwork paper.

Sudo takes kibiso  fabric scraps and machine embroiders them onto a water soluble mesh that is then dissolved to give an open lace-like effect.

Luisa Cevese was born in Italy in 1955

In India there is very little wasted, used saris are cleaned, repaired, and sold on the second hand market. Luisa uses the waste  from the sari refurbishment – damaged borders that are cut when the saris are re-hemmed. One of her ongoing fabrics since 2009 is Muticoloured Taj textile  scraps of sari embedded in polyurethane.

Makes, Uncategorized

Woven plastic bag wall hanging

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In the week that we embraced environmental day,  I thought it would be a good idea to post a creative way of using up old Plastic bags. I purchased a simple frame loom from a thrift shop but the similar can be found at Hobby Craft or Tiger or you can make your own using a picture frame and some nails.  I displayed  the hanging from a broken branch I found in the garden.

Materials

Plastic bags in a variety of colours

Cotton warp thread or string

Fat twig or thin branch for hanging

Equipment

Loom

Weaving shuttle

Scissors

Tape measure

 

Step 1

Cut the bag into strips  0.5cm wide. Knot the strips together so you have one long strip.1 cut strips of plastic

Step 2

Thread the loom by tying on the thread at one side and then going backwards and forwards between the top end and the bottom end of the frame. It is important to maintain an even tension. Tie off the thread in the same way as you tied on the thread.2.thread loom

Step 3

So that the weaving doesn’t fall out when you finish you will need to make a twisted header. Cut a piece of warp thread about two and a half times the width of the warp. Twist the thread round each warp thread in turn. As in the image.

3Making a twisted header

Step 4

When you get to the end of the warp return in the opposite direction push the threads down and tie off at the end.

4Return in the opposite direction

Step5

Thread the plastic onto the shuttle and then starting in the middle of the warp take the shuttle under and over until you reach one end, then go back the other way.

5thread the plastic onto the shuttle a.JPG

Step 6

As you work push down the weft to cover the warp. When you have made a stripe of one colour change to another.6push the woven pieces down to cover the warp

Step 7

To make tassels cut strips of plastic (blue)about 20cm long. Choose a middle section of the hanging and put the blue plastic behind two warp threads at the same time. Wrap one side round one thread and the other round the other , pull the threads through to the front of the hanging. Add as many of these as you like. Mine  was so bunchy that when I hung it up I gave it a bit of a trim.7constructing the tassels

Step 8/9

Weave another block of flat weaving. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to finish off.9Add another block of colour

Step 10

Pull the ends off the loom and then thread onto the branch. Cut off the warp threads from the other end of the loom and knot them one to the next one.

10Pull the ends of the yarn off the loom

Tip

Check that you are not creating a waist by pulling in the sides of the warp as you work.

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Make your own butterfly chair cover

Butterfly chairs are currently in vogue again. I saw lots of them at Maison et Objects in Paris. They were covered in a variety of fabrics and skins including leather and pony skin.

I bought this old butterfly chair in a junk shop for £10. The cover was rust stained and not very nice so I decided to give it a revamp.

butterflychair .jpeg

You will need

3 metres of white cotton drill

Dylon goldfish orange machine dye

Dylon Tulip Red machine dye

Dress making scissors

Sewing machine

Thread

Pen

15mm bias binding

 

Instructions

 

  1. Cut the fabric in half and using the instructions on the pot, dye half the fabric red and half orange.
  2. Draw round the old cover to make a pattern and don’t forget to add the seam allowance
  3. Cut out the pieces and sew the pieces first in one colour and then in the next together as in the original pattern.
  4. The only difficult part is pinning and stretching the seat top to the seat bottom as you are joining a concave piece of fabric to a convex piece. With right sides facing, pin the top of the seat to the bottom at the center seam. Sew from the center of the seat outwards stretching as you sew. This way the two pieces will fit together. Repeat this step to join the other half of the chair top to the chair bottom.
  5. The pockets for the front and back of the seam are neatened at their bases and then sewn with raw edges onto the cover. This is repeated for the reverse of the seat.
  6. Once the pockets are in place, with wrong sides facing, sew the seat top to the seat bottom round the edge and then hide all the raw edges with bias binding.

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Butterfly lamp shade

I had a lamp shade in need of some TLC  at the same time i had some very nice fabric remnants left over from other projects so I decided to combine them.

finished shot

You will need

A lampshade

Half meter of silk fabric

Half meter of Butterflies fabric

Bondaweb

Thin bendy wire

Wire cutters and small jewelers pliers

Sewing machine

Fabric Glue

Instructions

 

1.Roughly cut out the butterflies and iron onto Bondaweb.

  1. Cut out the bondawebbed butterflies, I saved three butterflies to iron onto the backing fabric, the others I made 3D.
  2. To make the 3D butterflies, cut two lengths of wire, and using the jewelers pliers bend to roughly the shape of the butterfly wings but slightly smaller. Or bend one piece of wire that goes under both wings.3 Cut wire shapes to fit underwings
  3. Peel off the backing paper from the reverse of the butterflies, sandwich the wire between the butterfly and the backing fabric, iron to fuse the fabrics together and encase the wire. Using a zig zag stitch, being careful not to catch the wire, sew round the edge of the butterfly.
  4. Cut out the wired butterflies.
  5. Measure the circumference of the lampshade and add a 2cm seam allowance to the length.
  6. Measure the depth of the shade and add 5cm for turning in.
  7. Arrange the flat butterflies and the 3D ones on the lampshade fabric. Once you are pleased with the design, take a photo, then remove the 3D butterflies.8.Arrange butterflies on fabric
  8. Peel the backing paper from the three saved butterflies. Iron to fuse onto the lampshade fabric.

10 Using a zigzag stitch sew round each butterfly.

  1. Looking at your original image, arrange, pin and sew the 3D butterflies down their backs onto the lampshade fabric.11.Sew 3D butterflies down their centres
  2. Fold the lampshade fabric in half with the butterflies on the inside of the fold.
  3. Using a 1cm seam allowance, sew down the center back. Turn the cover the correct way out, slip it over the shade. Arrange the fabric so the turning allowance at the top and bottom is equal.
    1. Fold the turning over the top edge of the frame, glue in place, repeat with the lower edge of the shade.

    Note: the butterflies may have become crumpled during sewing so rearrange them.

    https://www.harlequin.uk.com/shop/fabric/amilie-silks/amilie-silks/?code=HSB04723 fabric used for lamp shade Amilie silk dupion in shade 4723

     

    https://www.harlequin.uk.com/shop/fabric/amazilia-fabrics/papilio/?code=HAMA120344 price £56 a meter Fabric used for butterflies

    Bondaweb

    http://www.johnlewis.com/vilene-bondaweb/p301821

    detail 1

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Uncategorized

Turn your old blankets into Christmas Stockings

Make these lovely recycled Christmas stockings from an old blanket or jumper and decorate with easy blanket stitch and pom poms

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You will need

  • Old blanket or jumper
  • Scissors
  • Paper and pencil
  • Pins
  • Pinking shears
  • Tapestry needle
  • Caron Simply Soft yarn in Neon Orange, Neon Green, Neon Pink and Burgundy, £4.95 each
  • Cardboard
  1. Draw a boot shape onto paper and cut out. Fold your blanket or jumper in half, then pin on the paper pattern cut out using pinking shears.
  1. Sew the two boot shapes together around the edges, wrong sides together, using blanket stitch – and remember to leave the top unstitched. There are lots of YouTube videos that teach blanket stitch – don’t worry, it’s easy! Sew running stitch around the top of the boot on both sides.
  1. Make a plait from wool and fold it in half to make a hanging loop. Sew onto the top of the boot on the side with the heel. Make the pom poms (use two doughnut shapes of cardboard to do this, exactly like you remember as a kid!) and attach to the stocking with yarn as a final flourish.

unnamed-copy1.jpg

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