Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Super Hero costumes for the boys

  • 11/01/2010 1:01 pm

I made my boys some fun costumes for Christmas.

The black cape is made from a couple of panels taken from an old circular skirt, already hemmed so it was very quick.

I cut an extra strip strip to make the tie.

For super heroes I made an orange cape and mask. The fabric is from a thrifted bed valance. I unpicked the ruffled side bits and was left with a rectangle shape with a hem on one edge (yay!) so all I had to do for the cape was hem the sides, gather the neck and add a ribbon tie.


The mask was a little trickier :-) I acquired some foam shapes (can’t remember where from) that looked like a mask shape, so I trimmed one little, added some holes for eyes and covered it with some of the orange fabric. All hand stitched, very couture!

For fabric for the wizard cape and hat I used a large thrifted sheet. I folded the sheet in half, then folded on the diagonal, to help me measure out a 1/2 circular shape.

I then cut off the pointy end to make the neck about 50cm in total – folded up it was about 11cm across the curve.

Having the sides of the sheet gave me two nicely hemmed edges, (double yay!) so all I needed to do was hem the bottom, then add the ribbon tie to the top.


For the hat I used some cardboard to make a hat base, and cut out the same shape in the fabric and some thin batting, with a bit extra around the sides to overlap.

I then appliqued some star shapes on the hat fabric before covering the cardboard, and to the top and bottom of the cape. For more detail on how I did the applique, I have written a tutorial here.


They had lots of fun dressing up with their friends.

This was so funny. Jordan is trying to have his moment, but Ewan steals the scene showing off his new watch, he is very proud of it!

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Denim jeans-to-skirt tutorial

  • 03/11/2009 4:02 pm

The post about my jeans skirt has had a lot of interest so I decided to do a basic tutorial for the jeans to skirt transformation.

This idea is not a new one and there are plenty of tuts and varying methods, this is the way I do it.

Take an old pair of old jeans that you can still fit at the waist but don’t wear anymore, because of worn knees for example.

Cut about 2-3cm longer than you want the length of skirt to be. You need to allow for a hem if you are having one and a bit extra for realigning the edge.
This one I cut even shorter after I took the photo as I am going to put a ruffle on the bottom.

Unpick leg seams and about half the crotch seams, to where the seam straightens out.

Open and lay the flaps over each other, pin.
Open cut off leg piece,

insert under opening and pin together.

Sew the insert stitching in the centre of the original seam allowance, and zig zag the cut edges if you want.

This is what it will look like underneath

Cut away the excess up to 1cm away from the seam.

I like to put an extra row of zig zag stitch where the original seam was, one, to reinforce if this area is worn, and two, to stop the underneath insert panel edge from fraying.

Do the same with the back.
Hem the skirt if you want, or leave to fray.
I decided to add a frill on the bottom.
I joined strips of leftover denim to make a large circle, almost twice the width of the skirt’s bottom edge.

I added some gathered tulle and a strip of floral printed cotton to the denim strip and attached to to the bottom of the skirt, gathering as I went.
This is the finished result:

Here’s another one I prepared earlier. This one has a double row of stitching at the hem so it doesn’t fray too far. It will look more “raggy” after a wash and tumble dry.

Note the zig zag stitching on the overlap. The fabric had worn thin on this pair and it needed some reinforcement. I also put a patch underneath on the back

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Ruffle wrap

  • 13/10/2009 1:05 pm

I used the rest of Mum’s old dress to make a ruffle wrap for my niece, to match the skirt.

I started off with a strip cut from the under dress to form the base. This layer of the dress was cut on the bias, so my strip is now bias cut without any effort. This will help it sit nicely around her shoulders.

I also cut two narrow extra strips for the straps.

The edges are sewn together down the long edge leaving a small gap for turning in the middle, then the seam is pressed open lying in the centre of the strip.

The straps are tucked in and the ends stitched,

and then the whole thing is turned right side out, ta da!

I cut two strips of lace net from the lace over dress like this.

And then joined them up and gathered them.

Then I did the same with a strip of tulle in a contrasting lime green colour. The gathered strips were layered, pinned on and sewn down the middle of the base.

Next I made some flowers from the remaining lace net and some wine coloured tricot knit (petticoat fabric).

And sewed them on so it looks like this.

This is how it will be worn on the body, but on a much smaller person.

It took me all school holidays (two weeks) just to make the roses and sew them on! Now that the kids are back at school and kindy I’ll have to buckle down and get some real sewing done.

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Simple dress-to-skirt refashion

  • 22/09/2009 5:04 pm

My Mum gave me this dress when she was clearing out her wardrobe.

It has two layers, the top is a lovely lace patterned tulle with a bordered hem. I decided to make it into a princess/dress-up style skirt for my niece.
In the spirit of wardrobe refashion and anti consumption we are trying to have a less commercial Christmas this year by avoiding buying our gifts retail, ie we want to make them or buy slightly used, or just be really original. So all my nieces will be getting some girly princess/fairy outfits made by me. To my family if you are reading this, please don’t spoil the surprise!

Here’s what I did:
1. Measured the length I needed plus seam allowance for the top to turn over the elastic.

2. Marked with chalk and cut.

3. Repeated steps 1 and 2 for the underneath layer.

4. Zig-zag stitched the layers together at the top edge, then folded it over a loop of elastic (cut to the waist measurement and joined together) and stitched down.

Easy!

I’m going to use the top half of the dress to make a ruffled wrap.

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