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.
Two similar patchwork dresses inspired by using two halves of a bright cerise pink acrylic wool scarf with stretchy structure for bust fit. Purple silk, taffeta, and lace combine with a legging print to create an exciting party colour combination.
Cherry Fluzzie B
Shorter version with black wooden buttons, thin straps and an additional patchwork hem frill in purple silk and multi-toned silk patchwork and frill. Making details below.
Pink-purple silk, purple-black printed taffeta and rose print on black leggings are the fabric inspirations to go with the frivolous wool tops.Available in shop
Ends of cerise pink scarf (cut in two for 2 dresses):
edges are folded over twice and sewn down by hand with
with pink thread or pink wool. Black wooden engraved
Chinese buttons utilize holes already in the acrylic wool.
It is necessary to stretch the destined 'hole' and use
a few stitches to secure 'open' top and bottom, so it
identifies easily as the buttonhole.
Cherry Fluzzie A
Longer version with toning cerise pink buttons and wider shoulder straps.
Pink-purple silk, purple/black printed taffeta, and rose print on black
leggings are the fabric inspirations to go with the frivolous wool tops.
Patch pieces joined into a semi circle. Outer sides will
will become front. Different length patches were used
due to material shortage.
By cutting patch shapes into A shapes, with straight top
and bottom edges, they build up into a semi circle.
Patchwork semi-circle folded in two, back view.
When top curve becomes the waistline, gathered in,
good folds hang in skirt. Make 'A' shaped patches
until required size is reached. This section is wider
than needed to gather onto woollen top.
Bottom frill pinned to dress hem, before zig-zagging on.
Frill hem will also be zig-zagged.
Frill hem pinned, tack gathered, prior to zig-zagging.
Making garment: Cherry Fluzzie A
Leggings cut into 8 patches, use 4 or 8 per dress.
(2 short upper, 2 longer lower in skirt section).
Thigh shapes, turned upside down make good patches to
use as templates which when added to create a flared
Front side patchworks pinned to check colour placements.
Silk fabric behind crimson lace patches.
Inside seams: Join short patches to long patches
forming strips. Press seams up or down alternately
to reduce bulk at seam crossroads. Pin vertical patch
strips. Machine, and likewise press alternate sides
to avoid bulk on all corners.
Patchworks machined - skirt section.
Joining patchwork skirt to stretch wool top using large
hand stitches: cross-stitch done as back-stitch.
See 'Love Never Dies' patchwork dress for more
accurate close up instructions of stretch stitch.
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