From charity shop cast-offs to Kimono-Dress in patchworks – fabric upcycling process.
Kimono-Dress patchwork, lined. Lacing front expands to fit bust 36 – 40inches.
Gorgeous patchwork colours form treasure trove arrangement. Generous fit up to 40 bust: Sleeves are kimono style loose, starting from below bust line. Lace ties ensure fit under bust. Back bodice top is already fitted to body, with gathers below
Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey
Purples ‘collection’ as garments from charity shops. Plus bottom right hand plant-dyed silk
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.
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.
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.
This patchwork jacket was commissioned by 99yr old Beth, a friend of my sister’s in Dorset. She likes something different. Having lived in China, the average high street shop doesn’t attract her.
Clothes I make are well received by women who want something unique and original, rather than from high street chain stores; also for women who appreciate the craft of creative patchwork, resulting in the creation of a new fabric.
I chose the fabrics myself for the jacket, having met Beth just once. The item was to be for a wedding, so I wanted it to be light and classic, but to still have some interesting elements. The first fabric I found was the beige skirt with eau de nil applique feature of lilies. I decided this was perfect for the jacket theme.
Fabrics I used were linen and linen-mix skirts from charity shops. Quite a lot of fabric is needed for patchworks; its best to have at least 5 different ones.
When I cut the patches out and laid out together, I decided there needed to be a highlight colour to accent over and above the all-beige overall look. I rushed to the shops, and was lucky to see the pale green and pale blue devore skirt with floral print in shiny synthetic satin in the first charity shop I looked in; it seemed a tad shockingly bling, but knew once it was in isolated patches, it would merely enhance the overall arrangement. As soon as I added in the new patches, I knew I would work.
For this jacket, I chose skirts with embroidery so I could use the embroidered areas for patches.
From two embroidered skirts there was enough embroidered area, to give some decoration on every patch in the jacket. I had seen Beth had some embroidered clothes and so guessed she would like it.
The lining was a bonus find, another skirt, viscose type, having just the right colours of taupe background with eau de nil green in the woven roses, which ideally complimented the classic beige, cream and light green of all the patches.
Cost of fabrics was £42 plus £5 for a synthetic jacket which I just had to get, as it had the shell buttons in shiny light beige with a hint of green, perfectly matching the jacket colours. A touch of shine for a jacket to be worn at a wedding I thought.
Due to the centre pattern piece of paper pattern being placed on the bias of the cloth grain/weave, the square patches become diamonds.
My Mission: To make beautiful casual and luxurious clothes and quilts from recycled fabrics.
Stop Landfills. Stop Water Pollution. Stop ‘Made in China’. Working Ethos.
Fast fashion has encouraged the spendthrift and waste of textile materials. So many cast-offs! I’ve noticed year on year, the plethora of higher quality fabrics donated to the ubiquitous high street charity shops. Clothes from quality brand names or clothes hardly worn at all, make it essential that the best quality dresses, skirts and T-Shirts be given an extended life.
Linens are wonderful to work with: one pair of trousers provides large pieces, as does a flared skirt. Dresses and blouses provide prints and lace. I choose good quality cotton, viscose and silk mostly, for summer dresses: with just a little polyester if a print inspires me, and for most linings.
SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING is becoming more mainstream, with increasing numbers of inspired fashion designers making clothes from UP-CYCLED and VINTAGE fabrics and sharing their ideas on Pinterest. See many creative upcyclers, along with some of mine, here: –
There has been a ground swell of interest in organic cotton; grown without pesticide use, leaving no watercourse contamination. Fertilizers are expensive for farmers in poorer countries, making crops less profitable. The Aral Sea has dried up due to the over use of its water for Uzbekistan cotton growing.
Whilst organic cotton is all the rage, cotton itself requires so much water to grow and process, that in the long run it’s not sustainable. It takes 8,500 litres to make enough cotton for a pair of jeans. This is clearly unsustainable, even immoral, when many areas of the world suffer drought.
FABRICS from high street store fashions have an incredibly long shelf life, but are sometimes discarded after one season’s wear or if the garment no longer fits. Even household fabrics are renewed more often than years ago. These fabrics and clothes are still here. Piling up in landfills. Rather than throwing away, we need to recycle all textiles as much as possible.
Patchwork joining for Cherry Fluzzie B, January 2017