Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Fairy style dress – Peach

  • 28/06/2011 10:58 am

This is another dress we used in a recent photo shoot, beautifully modeled by my lovely sister.

Peach dress

Peach dress

The skirt is made from vintage fabrics and lace. The larger pieces of fabric in the skirt are square shapes, with one corner rounded off in a similar way that circular skirts are cut. Putting many pieces together like this makes the skirt very full and swirly.

The bodice is made using fabric cut from another skirt I shortened.

Bodice

Bodice

Front and back has hand made fabric roses from from vintage fabrics, trimmed with ribbon, lace and vintage braid.

Dress back

Dress back

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Fairy style dress – Green

  • 23/06/2011 12:34 pm

Thanks to my husband Keith, I got some lovely shots of the finished fairy style dresses I made.

Green fairy dress

Green fairy dress

This one I am wearing is the one I wrote about in my last post , made from denim scrap from some jeans and other bits and pieces. It took me a long time to finish, as I got quite frustrated with the whole thing a few times, then it finally came together the way I wanted.

Front detail

Front detail

The skirt is made up of different layers using strips of tricot and tulle on the bottom, some tea dyed broderie anglaise cotton from an old skirt, strips of vintage spotted net and some ripped up pieces of an old blouse, and then the patchwork bustle layer on top. The bodice is cut from the bottom half of a pair of jeans (the top got made into a skirt) with patchy bits here and there, and mock lace-up inserts on the front.

Green dress, full length

I have more close-up pics of the details in my last post, and of the bodice and construction of the first layer here.

Coming soon, pictures of the other dress.

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Green denim dress, almost complete

  • 21/09/2010 1:53 pm

The dress, as is, on my dress stand.

A bit lopsided but there is a reason as you will see…

I’m pleased with how this is turning out, there is just one little thing I have to change, the top part of the “petticoat” lining layer is sitting too high. It’s kind of hard to tell on her, but on my body it looks a little weird and needs to be lowered a bit.

I’m either going to pull all the lace off the top and cut away the excess fabric, or pin and pinch it down like this and hand stitch the folds.

It was err, interesting sewing the bustle layer. When I first started I had a rough Idea of what I wanted it to look like but was getting very frustrated when it wasn’t happening. I spend a long time (and I mean LONG, like days and days) thinking about how all the edges were going to be finished, how it was all going to be joined together, and how I could get lots of random scrappy bits sewn on in the right place until I felt like pulling my hair out!
I cut out the rough shape in the same cotton as the skirt base and added the ruffle around the edge with the dark green rick-rack trim, then decided I was just over thinking the whole thing and needed to let go and just sew sew sew. So… I grabbed some fabric scrap I liked, plonked it on, grabbed a bit of ribbon, slid them all into the sewing machine in a haphazard fashion and stitched away, and hey presto it worked!

I continued in this way until the the bustle piece was covered and looking just how i wanted it.

The pieces that I melted were used here under the bustle layer to add more texture and ruffly bits to the skirt.

Finishing the back was also giving me a bit of headache, this is how it turned out,

I made the zip visible as a design feature and added some fancy machine stitching along the edge. Have decided that the uneven height on the bodice panels and lace at top is also a “design feature” :-)

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Green denim dress, a work-in-progress

  • 06/09/2010 2:40 pm

Remember this green jeans skirt I made? I’m using the cut off pant legs to make a bodice for a patchy fairy style dress.
Here’s a look at the front part of the bodice before being completely sewn up.

You can see I’ve used the unpicked hem at the top of one panel for a bit of added textural detail and I’ve added some patchwork applique and lace.

The skirt base is cut from an old cotton sheet with randomly sized triangular strips of tricot attached to the bottom. I’m planning to have lots of layers and scrappy bits over the top. The bottom edge is shaped so that it will be a bit shorter at the front.

The dress lining is made from the same green tricot, the elastic straps are from a bra that I didn’t fit properly :-)

Now I’m building up the layers, firstly with some gathered tulle,

then with broderie anglaise from my tea dyed skirt, I cut it off just under the pockets and shaped it slightly to fit the shape of the skirt base.

Currently going well and progressing as planned, hooray!

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Green jeans to skirt

  • 23/08/2010 6:04 pm

I started with a pair of slightly faded green jeans, then made them into a skirt like this.

It was a bit plain so I decided to add some patchwork applique and lace

My favourite so far!
If you look at the back of the waistband you can see the original colour where I’ve pulled the tag off. It’s now more of a turquoise green.

I am using the cut off pieces from the legs for another project which will be revealed soon.

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A glimpse of my work-in-progress

  • 08/07/2010 6:07 pm

This is something I have been working on for a while now. Almost done, just got to do a few more fabric roses.

The peach fabric used in the photo above are the leftover pieces from the skirt I shortened here.

It’s turned out very differently from my original idea but still very pretty all the same. Can you guess what it is?

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Re fashioned denim skirts

  • 24/06/2010 11:26 am

Not far from where I live is a thrift shop that has a regular clothing sale once a month where everything is $1 each. I’ve only been twice, and come home each time with a huge bag full of clothes to be refashioned. I’ve promised myself to stay away until all the work has been done!

On my first visit I found a couple of long denim skirts, you know, those button up ones people used to wear like 10-20 years ago? And they still had tags on them!

I liked the colours but the style was really dodgy and crying out for a makeover.
This is the first one, yellow.

I gave it a chop and hot glued some flower shaped bling onto the buttons. I put two rows of stitching near the bottom edge and left the hem to fray.

Here is the second one, peach.

This time I shortened it and added some lace at the hem as well as some more bling for the buttons.

I like the length much better now, and the high waist style is cute. However I am not to sure about those plastic flowers I glued on to the buttons. What do you think?

Here’s a close up

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I Confess…

  • 15/06/2010 2:02 pm

Well this is kind of embarrassing. Not only have I not posted anything in AGES, this post is to confess that I went shopping and purchased some new stuff. So for the first time, here is my get out of jail free card.

Get out of Jail

It is mid-winter here in NZ and I was feeling very cold, so I bought a couple of merino thermal shirts, (on sale!) a knit jumper/jersey and a fine knit cardi. In my defense, I did think about making some merino shirts but I knew that by the time I got around to finding the fabric and then making the things, winter would be almost over. And the fabric costs as much to buy as the shirts themselves did!

I have been refashioning a few things, mostly denim skirts and am waiting to get some nice model shots before I post pictures.

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Fairy skirts made by Cathy

  • 06/04/2010 3:44 pm

I had some comments recently from Cathy McGregor from Napier who sent me some lovely pictures of the fairy skirts she has made for her granddaughters from old scarves.

2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts
2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts2
2010-cathy's-scarf-skirts3

The gold coloured organza fabric which is used in both skirts is from a wrap/stole she made for a wedding, and the spotted lemon scarf was her mothers.
The pale blue narrow strips with sequins added to the ends, is from a scarf/large bow previously attached to a 1950’s hat of her aunts.

As well as scarves, she is also using her collection of sarongs to make the skirts. Thanks for sharing these cool ideas Cathy, I will be looking out for scarves and things from op shops myself in future!

Some more tips from Cathy:
Firmly tack the inner circle (waist) before cutting around the template when using slippery fabrics.
Use bias cut strips to make the casing.

Have a look at my fairy skirt tutorial for more details on how to make this style of skirt.

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Really big beach bag

  • 08/02/2010 5:07 pm

Have a look at the really big tote bag for the beach/picnicking in the park that I finished last week.

I was so keen to get sewing it that I forgot to take any photo’s of what the materials used to look like, which I am now kicking myself for.

The apple print fabric was the skirt part of a little girls dress, I just unpicked it from the top bib part and cut of the side seams. For some reason it was made with the print upside down! This was a bonus for me as it meant it was the right shape I wanted for my bag when turned the right way up.

The red corduroy fabric was from a pair of toddlers overalls that have been in my fabric hoard for years, I think my little brother may have worn them at some stage; obviously not for very long though as they were like new.

The pattern I made for this was fairly basic, just two sides joined together and boxed out at the bottom. I also lined it and put in a little patch pocket, taken straight off the overalls.

Now I’m off to the beach, the weather is lovely here in Auckland…well actually today it’s a bit cloudy but it’s still very hot.

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