Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Voila - I made something!

Ella is one of baby bear's best friends and her mother is a lovely friend of mine. When she heard that I was interested in recycling old clothes and jumpers into new children's clothes, she gave me the softest grey rib jumper to play around with. It had been worn by her mother and her older sister and was in tatters around the cuffs and seams, which was fine because I was able to cut the cardigan pieces out in between the holes! It took a bit of trickery and one of the sleeves had to be cut out in two pieces.

I used my machine to sew the garment pieces and overlocked the exposed raw edges. The edge trim and internal ties are
bias tape that I made using my very handy little Clover bias tape maker. The fabric is from a dress that I bought some months ago at the Sacred Heart Mission op shop near me. I had (good) suspicions and they were confirmed at the Stitches and Craft Show a couple of weeks ago by the company's representative in Australia - yes, indeed, it is a Liberty print.

The "pattern" is one that I just eyeballed using one of baby bear's cardigans as a guide. Given the asymmetrical, slightly Japanese feel of the garment, I thought that it wouldn't matter too much is it was a little boxy.

The button, I admit, is new and came from The Button Shop in Malvern. The buttonhole is my first ever.

And the finished garment? I'm giving it back to my friend for her little girl to wear.

This is one of the items that I presented as part of my refashion display at the Stitches and Craft Show. I can hardly believe that it was two weeks ago already. There were a number of contemporary 'indie crafters' there showcasing their wares - amongst others were Angela from Sew Your Own, Kristin Doran, Fiona from Dear Fii, a quick appearance from greenolive and the very lovely Jenny from Amitié. Jenny was great company and I was so impressed by her approach to customers and patchworking - open, caring, make your own rules. If you want to do any piecing or quilting I recommend an imminent visit to Bentleigh.

I'm not sure how well the refashion concept was received. I did get many compliments on the cardigan and many commented "Oh, we used to do that back when ..." but generally they didn't seem to be interested in doing it now. The preference seemed to be for pre-packaged 'it's oh so simple' kits and 'just peel the backing off and stick it down' scrapbooking. In the past I'm sure that people unravelled and reknit jumpers and saved fabric scraps and altered garments because they couldn't afford not to. I believe that environmentally we still can't afford not to.


nikkishell said...


Tamar said...

Oh so wonderful!!
Thank you Amelia. I am going to treasure this fantastic cardi! And I am sure that it is going to get passed around the family for all future babes to wear once Ella grows out of it!
You are one talented little lady!

joyflea said...

That is a beautiful garment. Well done you! Yes, it is sad that people aren't so much into reusing and refashioning as they should be. But sometimes with some people, it takes a while for the penny to drop, if you know what I mean. What they're poo-pooing now will be the best thing since sliced bread in another few years time when money and resources aren't so readily at hand.

delamare said...

How lovely! Re-fashioning garments was something my Mum used to do a lot to dress me and my sister in the 1960s. I used to wear a lot of grey woollen pinnies, cut down from an grey wool shiftdress Mum made herself in the late 1950s, and summer versions in grey chambray (I think that's where my lifelong love of grey clothing springs from). She used to get loads of comments about how beautifully I was dressed, in what were very simple clothes, trimmed with braid or rick-rack, and set off with cheery red tights.

Unfortunately, this is not something that I do myself, thanks to an irrational fear of sewing clothes. However, I engage in a lots of clothes hand-me-downs, both passing things on, and gratefully receiving old pre-loved clothes from friends.

greenolive said...

Its beautiful! Grey and green are favourites. Can you whip one up for a busty 40-something woman?

virginie said...

it is lovely, i really appreciate the recycling aspect and the result is unique and pretty.....

Sansha said...

That is beautiful Amelia.

Belinda said...

It is just gorgeous! Congratulations on a wonderful thrifty, ecofriendly job.