Butterflies and Black Lace Patchwork Dress, ‘Love Never Dies’ on Stretch T-shirt Bandeau

‘Love Never Dies’ inspiration taken from autumn floral printed T-shirt patch, used in dress centre front.

Bandeau top inspiration: cut from ethnic printed skinny stretch dress.

Dress is not yet in online shop…

Dress USE - FRONT daylight - edited.png

Patches made and joined in strips of three, then join those to make a length as shown in picture on floor.

Patchwork section attached to stretchy cotton bandeau top, by hand stretch back stitch shown in MAKING INSTRUCTIONS below.

Seams are overlapped one quarter inch – one half inch, and zig-zag machined to avoid bulky inside seams.  6 different patchwork fabrics are used making up a large rectangle of 11 patches x 3 patches.  Keep adding strips (here strips are 3 patches long).  Make strips until there are enough to join up around hips: add 2 extra patch widths to create fullness when attached to bandeau top.

NOTE:  black lace patches are made by fixing over lighter fabric base.  There are possibilities of using different backgrounds for lace, for more subtle effects.

Bandeau patchworks, machined.png

When choosing fabrics, 6 seems to be a good number of alternative fabrics.  They can be either contrasting, as here, or similar in tone.  Dark – Medium- Light is a good mix.

Muted schemes are more satisfactory and versatile than multi-rainbow colour themes.  The size of fabric areas cut from garments, dictates the size of the patches.  In this instance it was the ‘Love Never Dies’ T-shirt print I started from, giving me two patch lengths when cutting.

Bandeau patwork arrangements.png

I was originally going to position the patchworks in diagonal formation over a bias cut lining, but they weren’t cut square so it would look odd.  I therefore turned it to straightforward vertical arrangement.  Recycling 6 different garments, and cutting at least 8 patches from each, is a good start.  I cut more if I like a scheme and want to make another similar.

These patches are 12.5cm x 18cm cut (approximately 7″ x 5″).  Decide the length of garment skirt section needed, from seam under bandeau top, then divide by three for length of patchwork strips: to be either 3, 4, or 5 patches deep. 3 is enough for this short dress.

Dress USE - BACK CLOSEUP - edited.png

Close up of back, shows butterfly prints, and zig-zag seaming flat overlaps.


Bandeau patchworks mcahined zigzag.png

Zig-zag machining of patches: overlap quarter inch,
making two rows at each overlap (note it is flat,
no folded seams).

Bandeau, pinning bandeau lower front to pathworks.png

Pinning patchwork length equally along bandeau bottom

on the inside.


The patchwork top folded over and pinned in place, 

ready for stitching by hand.

Bandeau, front pinned, back not.png

How the pinning looks after pinning one section to sew.
More to follow.....

Hand sewing Patches to bandeau A stretch stitch completed two rows.png

Hand stitched back stitch which gives full stretch result.
Photo of stitch process omitted but IS SHOWN BELOW when
attaching lining to this seam join. (Note: I could have
machine-tacked lining to patches first, then stretch
stitched them both together, but I needed to experiment)

Hand sewing Patches to bandeau B stretch stitch outside.png

Outer view shows small hand stitches (stretch back stitch)
showing through.  Quite acceptable appearance;
could even be larger, as a feature.


Stretch back stitch: holding work this way, each needle
insertion is towards you, hand underneath can test for
flexibility of stretch, to ensure same stretch as patches


Working left to right, back-stitching into patchwork
section above, and lining section below.  This lining
(taken from a dress), is on the 'bias' which aids
stretchiness. It would need to be same width as 
patchwork section sewn to, to give equal stretch.

Hand sewing Lining B stretch stitch lining to dress.png

Needle comes back to lining back stitch from upper
stitch. Needle goes in right to left, but stitches
complete to the right.


Finished stretch stitch: inside of dress, just below
where dress patchwork attaches (also stretch stitch)
to bandeau.


Join strips of lace for hem trim.  I used a neck
frill and sleeve edges from a lace dress (4 cut
lengths). Press quarter inch in then pin to dress hem.


Machining lace edgings to dress hem.  Zig-zag.



Finished lace trim attached (inside view).
NOTE: dress fabric was turned under and pressed
towards front beforehand.


Finished lace trim showing front and inside back.


Fabric hem sewn to inside lining:
to sit behind black lace.


Top of bandeau is folded over and narrow elastic
inserted.  Stretchiness is preserved by using
stretch backstitch instead of machining.

A lot of scrolling for instructions!!

Future work will explore Slideshare and Flipboard embeds.


Purple Patchwork Kimono creation journey

From charity shop cast-offs to a new garment with patchworks – the whole process.

Purple fabric collection on floor - 800scale_2018-01-29
Purples ‘collection’ as garments from charity shops.  Plus bottom right hand plant-dyed silk

Purple fabric collection_edited_2018-02-03

Three or four plains and three to four prints, with maybe another contrasting plain works well.  At least 7 different fabrics are needed for a good patchwork result.

Charity shop fabrics, purples, hangers_2018-01-15_ 002 - annotated
Charity shop finds to match existing purple fabrics.  The shiny dress will become lining.

WDPS Purple line dress, collar, button welt cut- off

When cutting up garments for patchwork, cut up along the sides of all seams.  Sometimes cotton and linen seams can be ripped undone, and more fabric saved.  Overall, unpicking is not worth the time it takes.

WDPS Purple, black, green blouse, cut-away at seams_2018-02-13

Sometimes there is fabric strain near darts or side seams as there were in this blouse.  In such case, don’t undo the seam where stitches have pulled.  This blouse had strain around the front dart seams.  Due to inherent weakness in the loose weave, this fabric will be quilt-machined onto a thin cotton backing, to ensure it stays firm.

Many parts of a garment can be recycled into a different new garment, such as this lace-styled neck.  It won’t be included in the kimono, but it will form the start of another dress, likely to be with navy, if only the lace is used, or navy and pink if the print is kept.


This top is from a stretch cotton fabric, so will be quilt machined onto a cotton, for firmness, to be similar in weight to the linen and taffeta.  If used only in its stretch state, it may cause a slight ‘baggyness’ in parts of the patchwork.



Cutting of patchwork pieces to follow soon  ……….

Natural Dye Workshop: Petal Colour and Seeds on Silk

Flower and seed dyed cloth, 1000scaled

Silk after being steamed after which the dye comes out of the petals and seeds, and other plant material.

Dye workshop, petals, seeds on cloth
Petals and seeds over silk sprayed with vinegar

Thin silk above, and thicker silk below; these petals and seeds will produce purple, lilac, red and pink dyed areas.

Red petals on silk
Petals and seeds

Spreading petals and seeds on to silk.  Their dye spreads out on the immediate area after steaming.

String wrapped silk parcels, for steaming -20170917_190537
Silk parcels ready for steaming

Fold silk over in triangular folds, then roll tightly.  Wrap tightly with string to hold together in the steam pan.

Silk hanging,two, yellow, purple patches _ 20170917_153625
Students’ samples hung to dry after steaming.

Video display of samples.

Silk samples hung, previous done, pink, gold - 20170917_153618
Pink and gold
Silk hanging, pastel colours-20170917_153603
Beige, gold, pink.
Silk hung, violet gold, other pieces
Dark dye spots can be Black Hopi Sunflower seeds.

Silk bundles for steaming, pink petals around_20170918_145300

My bundles kept overnight, steamed next day; allowing time for dye impregnation.

Red dyed silk (mine) unfolded_20170918_150119 copy - 001 - edited
My thin silk sample after steaming bundle.

My sample, after steaming; strong madder and hollyhock dye colour on thin silk.

Lilac, gold dyes, thick silk_20170918_150340
My thicker silk sample; lilac, purple, ocre.

Thicker silk gives less strong colour results; lilac, purple, ocre, using the simple method.  The seed remains are visible before washing.  Silk sampling is with ad-hoc arrangement of colours.  If fabric had a resist paste or melted wax in some places, the dye would not penetrate and that would make a design left in white.

Lilac, gold, unfolded thick silk parcel_20170918_150419
Some of the darker dyes are from Hopi Sunflower seeds.
Tipee technology, silk dye workshop
Teepee at Forde Abbey Garden Festival for Plant dye workshop
Forde Abbey, circle windows, wisteria, seed sculptures on plinths copy, 002 - edited - scaled
Ford Abbey

Plant dye workshop I attended to make my samples was run by Flora Arbuthnott at Forde Abbey Garden Festival 2017.  Details of flora’s work and workshops below:-

Natural dyeing, bundle dyeing, organic indigo dyeing, japanese shibori resist techniques, natural mordants, colour foraging Walks. http://wilddyegarden.co.uk/

Magazine feature http://www.floraarbuthnott.com/country-homes-interiors

Flora’s ‘Wild Dye Garden’ on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wilddyegarden/



Upcycle Green T-shirt to Dress

Upcycle ZZZ green dress new denim hem piece 2 - 001 - annotated - scaled1000
Finished joining of denim extended hem to green T-shirt

Large T-shirts make good short dresses for shorter people.  Hem uses two sleeves from an old denim blouse.  Thick warm cotton T-shirt from charity shop.

Upcycle B green dress, cut off denim blouse sleeves for hem addition - 001 - annotated, scale 1000
Cut off sleeves of old blouse or dress
Upcycle C green dress from T-shirt, needs lengthening - 001 - annotated scaled
Large T-shirt for dress
Upcycle E green dress, sleeves cut from denim blouse - 001 - annotated - scaled 650
Sleeves cut from denim blouse

Press sleeves flat, lay over each other and cut into long rectangles of equal length.

Upcycle G green dress, 4 piece hem addition, joined, sloping sides - 001 - annotated - scaled650
Sleeves cut to rectangles, joined with 4 seams.

Join seems to make false hem extension.  Make angles at the sides.

Upcycle H green dress, hem wider than T-shirt hem - 001- annotated scaled750
Extended hem ready to join to T-shirt


Upcycle I green dress, hem pieces joined, place centre to centre - 001 - annotated - scaled800
Extended hem ready to fit to dress, slightly gathered.

Turn one long side over twice, 1/4inch to make hem; steam press flat, machine stitch.

Upcycle J green dress position hem equally in quarters - 001 - annotated - scaled800
Pin extended hem to T-shirt behind T-shirt hem.

The extended hem needs to be a little larger than the t-shirt hem, to give an A-line flare.  In this case the hem width was decided by the length of the sleeves used from the blouse.

Upcycle K green dress inside pinned quarter of hem addition - 001 - annotated scaled800
Pin fabric into equal folds spread along hem section.

Work in quarter hem sections at a time, between front – sides, sides to back.

Upcycle L green dress machining hem extension over pins - 001 - scale 1000
Machining over pins, joining extended hem to T-shirt hem.

Stitch position leaves the last bit of T-shirt hem loose, for better visual effect.

Upcycle KA green dress hem machined and part pinned - 001 - annotated - scaled800
Part machined together; other side pinned, ready for machining.

If not sure how to machine over pins; (it can break your needles) then tack sides together first, before machining.

Upcycle M green dress inside hem machined, pressed - 001 - annotated scaled800
Press hem extension after machining
Upcycle N green dress pressed hem addition - 001 - annotated - scaled800
Finished machined hem.
Upcycle Z green dess hem addition side view mirror- 001 - annotated - scaled
Finished T-shirt dress, side view.

Dress is solely for home wear and not for sale.

Recycle Shopping Centre

Swedish Recycle Shopping Centre  – the world’s first.

Recycle shopping mall

Rude Record has found this great news!

Recycling Shopping Mall provides a NEW ENTICING INTERFACE: better than dump-off-your-stuff at the city tip – have it recycled properly.   As the original writer describes – city dumps with a circle road to piles of stuff – aren’t easily in a position to encourage recycling. Furniture and clothes are the obvious ones.  Even half empty tins of paint are useful for something. 
Unfortunately there are still folks who will only buy ‘new’ and a place like this one in Sweden could make recycling the ‘norm’, rather than something to be frowned upon. It is the WAY FORWARD to the CIRCULAR ECONOMY.

Rude Record’s local Melborne council are creating more landfill !!!!   Oh dear. 😨

There is very little that cannot be recycled!   Even broken furniture could be wood chips for garden earth cover and paths. ALL plastic should be recycled.

#recycle #recyclefurniture #recyclewood #recycleplastic #recycletextiles