Kimono-Dress in patchworks – fabric upcycling process.
Kimono-Dress patchwork, lined. Lace-up decorative front expands to fit bust 36 – 40 inches. Length: below knee.
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
To buy ‘Aldebaran’ or to commission similar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey
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.
To buy ‘Aldebaran’ or to commission similar, please email email@example.com
‘Love Never Dies’inspiration taken from autumn floral printed T-shirt patch, used in dress centre front. A second version ‘Love Never Dies II’ is available, same patches, lined, with white fringed hem.
Bandeau top inspiration: slice cut from ethnic printed skinny stretch dress.
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.
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.
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.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ or commission new one please email ameliajhoskins@gmail to discuss.
Close up of back, shows butterfly prints, and zig-zag seaming flat overlaps.
Zig-zag machining of patches: overlap quarter inch,
making two rows at each overlap (note it is flat,
no folded seams).
Pinning patchwork length equally along bandeau bottom
on the inside.
The patchwork top folded over and pinned in place,
ready for stitching by hand.
How the pinning looks after pinning one section to sew.
More to follow.....
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)
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.
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)
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.
To buy ‘Love Never Dies’ dress/skirt please email: firstname.lastname@example.org while Shamanic Nights Online shop is under reconstruction.
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.A
To buy ‘Cherrie Fluzzie B‘ please email email@example.com – there are two slightly different ones available.
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.
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.
To buy ‘Red Hopi Dance‘ dress, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com – I have the VOGUE pattern to make a different colour-way.
Silk painted panels: Close up of white and black background silk panels of ‘Hopi Bird’ design by Amelia, maker of Shamanic Nights clothes.
My inspiration for the designs on silk were taken from images on Native American pottery. The bird designs had been painted around the pots, making the design full circular; I kept many attributes of the circular designs when putting into 2D. Colours combine in this case, to compliment the dress colours.
‘Red HOPI DANCE’ Red Linen with hip ties to adjust at hips for fuller sizes. Pattern used Vogue1234 suitable for knits and so cuts small. I had to add 1.5 inch side inserts under the arms and sleeves to give better fit for 34-36 inch bust.
When I coordinate found fabrics to recycle together into a new look garment, I enjoy imagining a new decorative design with them; to contrast with the many plain cottons and linens I use. Hand painting designs on silk is the obvious solution, taking inspiration from the existing colours and any print coordinated with the plains. I was busting to get back to silk painting which I’d developed as a technique in my first Devon workshop back in 1995!
When designing, one has to start from somewhere; taking a few elements and putting them together. I began again, exactly where I had left off, with the inspirations I’d had for the last paint on paper furnishing design I’d done. I’ve always been intrigued by Native American design and recently found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, distorting their bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design.
I have kept these ‘curved’ surface designs almost exactly as the originals, but applied them to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. It was an obvious decision to put feathers around the Hopi birds but I needed another element. I decided on a selection of Native American quotations intended to stand out in cream. However, I wrote them with a water based gutta resist, and they were mostly blurred or lost during the steam fixing process; so I embroidered over them. By happy accident this gives another texture, although time consuming. A spirit based gutta may work better next time.
For the FIRST HOPI BIRD DESIGN I kept to the natural colours from the pottery inspirations; beige, orange, terracotta and brown, adding a stronger pink. I teamed the final piece with brown cottons and viscose from recycled skirts to make an unusual but charming pinafore dress showing off the silk design in the bib top and apron.
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