Category Archives: Sewing

Gardening jeans mend

I do follow people who do lovely mending. I read their books and follow their blogs or instagram accounts. I admire Tom of Holland. I appreciate Katrina Rodabaugh. I’ve enjoyed Jessica Marquez and Hikaru Noguchi. I love that mending is coming back into regular use, at least in some circles. But I am definitely not an upscale mender of my own clothing. My own clothing gets worn out in places I’d rather not show off. My gardening jeans get worn fulsomely, and because my back is a weak point, I kneel in the dirt to garden and dress accordingly.

It follows that you wont be getting styling advice from me!

On the left leg here, you can see indigo dyed thread (look closely) which was the first mend of the knees. The white thread is a second mend. And I seem to have taken this photo in the driveway as I set out guerilla gardening some months back, having recently completed a second mend on the right leg, because the fabric had worn through there.

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve stuck with these so long and mended them so much. I often decide that if I’m up for the job then I’ll do it and who cares why. These jeans are like a catalogue of my hand mending skills over a period of time (definite improvement, in case you are wondering). They are comfortable because they are stretch jeans, something I bought at the time and might not choose again. They are also a cotton polyester blend, which I remember being appalled at when I first washed them and realised–I had been too naive to read the label back then. So the longer they stay out of landfill the better–but the bottom end of my jeans drawer has plenty of contenders for gardening jeans in it. Just not quite yet. I am not yet ready to lose these.

And in this picture, a quiet celebration of guerilla gardening success. Ruby saltbush that has made it through a scorching 40C + heatwave, between a concrete path and a corrugated iron fence. Council have begun to trim it like a hedge, bless them. And bless you, ruby saltbush.

2 Comments

Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

Blanket projects

I have some lovely pre-loved wool blanketing, and quite a bit of it has been dyed. In my quest to find good uses to which it can be put, I’ve made a goodly number of items over the last six months or so, and I’m still going. I’m afraid I had another series of repeat projects, dear reader.

Yet more box pouches. Using all manner of zippers from stash.

Such a simple and yet satisfying make! And here is an entirely unrelated cherry ballart for your enjoyment…

2 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing, Sewing

Bias binding

For years, I’ve been making bias binding from old ties. I can’t believe I still have ties left to transform, but there it is. Step 1. Unpick them. It’s always a bit of a revelation to see how glorious the sewing lavished on some ties is, and how fine the fabric of the inner layers, while others are interfaced with paper or cardboard and held together with the minimum number of stitches and a bit of a whispered prayer. There’s a metaphor for something or other…

By the magic of a little gizmo called a bias binding maker, I end up with this! And then I had a go at binding the inside of a waistband. You know, like on some of my clothes that came from a shop! Well. Let it be said this waistband was not my finest sewing hour, though it will do the job. So here is the single, moodily lit (by which I mean DARK) photo of that waistband in process, looking quite good. For a few minutes 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Sewing

High Vis vests

I’ve found them in op shops across two states… and they keep trickling in…

It’s a bit of recurring task, dealing with the Extinction Rebellion vests! We were given some pre-loved vests last year and Crafternoon gave me some patches… so eventually this job came to the top of my queue and I re-faced the vests. Well, one of them was just too far gone even for my tastes. I could not rehabilitate it even with two washes and trying several stain removal approaches!

Nothing too complicated going on here!

These go on to be used to keep people safe–doing small road swarms or doing banner drops–and here are a couple being used to make small people visible in a bike swarm…

They are also used to make marshals, arrest support and police liaisons visible and identifiable, where needed. And–we even use them at training so people can tell who is in what role in role plays!

Ah, the humble recycled high vis vest….

2 Comments

Filed under Activism, Sewing

Silk noil dyeing

I had a happy moment dyeing at my daughter’s place in Melbourne–where the local park contains a Eucalyptus Crenulata. Too exciting! I had a small piece of silk noil with me in preparation, and loved the outcome.

One silk noil pillowcase made some time ago finally gave way completely, so I decided to continue the tradition of silk noil leafy pillowcases–and this one is now in my bedroom.

2 Comments

Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

The Survival Frock

My Mother-out-law (perhaps I should call her my Mother-in-love?) is a delightful, kind and generous sort, who has recently turned a spectacular 92. Life is holding some challenges, as you might expect. And one of them is staying cool in a tropical climate. For this, she has an entire category of clothing she calls “the survival dress”. This is a pattern she has made again and again, and that she now feels unable to make.

Here is one she made. I know with the confidence a person has when she has done the washing and ironing during times of especial difficulty, that this dress is in constant rotation. And because I ironed it several times, I was able to put aside tales of my dear Mother-in-law’s stern sewing teacher, and concerns that my sewing might not be up to standard. Like most garments I make, this one has a few fudges on the inside that clearly do not cause trouble to she who wears it. And so, when the version that had been pinned on to a lovely cotton print fabric was unearthed in a drawer, I agreed to make it up. Just bring me the pattern and the instructions and all, and I’ll sew it up, I said.

I always make a few adjustments, she said. I’ve made them on the pattern, she said. Then it arrived. A startlingly small number of pieces pinned to some fabric with pins that had been holding for long enough to rust. No pattern packet. No instructions. No sign of any adjustments. Happily, I had asked for the completed item to be sent. So first I worked it over and wrote an account of how I thought it might have been constructed (reverse engineering, you know). Step by step. Then I drafted the skirt. Then I drafted the pocket. And then I went far enough to think I could check for likely adjustments–sure enough, the neckline had been narrowed. I gave this my best shot!

Well. I wasn’t sure at all. But bless her heart, she has received this frock with gratitude and applied ribbons to the inside shoulder to keep her underwear out of view, and apparently it has entered rotation. I’m going to claim success and apologise for having shown you every photo I took. And thank the crafty friend who was over for a sewing day and whose presence bolstered my confidence. Maybe I could have done it without you, but I sure am glad to have company instead!

4 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Laptop cover

A while back, my computer reached the stage in its life where I needed to go and make a cup of tea after I turned it on and before it started to be capable of doing anything other than finding its own fingers and toes. The new one is a lot smaller than the old, and needed a protective cover.

The plant dyed blanket stash came to mind yet again, and this is the rather plain and simple sleeve I made.

And a close up of my rather basic blanket stitching! I am loving the way all the plant dyed thread I’ve been gathering keeps getting put to use along with the fabric…

Leave a comment

Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Needlebooks

I’ve been working on my fabric stash for quite a while, and found I was now struggling to decide what could become bags–and my attention turned to the plant dyed woollen blanket stash. Having made quite a few larger items–the question of what to do with the small scraps arose (inevitably). And so, a very large number of needle books came into existence.

And then some more, and some more. The stash of random small quantities of string went into the mix, and eventually home made string also got used!

I guess I will now have to work on creating some mending kits…

3 Comments

Filed under Craftivism, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Box pouches

There came a point where I started to find I couldn’t figure out what fabric to use for boomerang bags anymore. I’ve cleared an entire selection of fabrics out of my stash. And that is when I started to turn toward the wool, and my thoughts returned to the box pouch.

I love this design. Those who have been reading for a while know that I can really get on a roll, and make the same thing over and over. This isn’t even the first time with the box pouch. They are a great size for some of my wool blanket stash, and they have also used a good number of the vintage and reclaimed zippers in my stash. And what fun to be able to use this fabric… dyed with purple carrots, passionfruit skins, eucalyptus …

But wait! There’s more (of course)…

Just quietly, that isn’t a complete catalogue… but it is a fair sampling…

4 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing, Sewing

And Another Apron

Once I finished stitching one apron… I was keen to keep going! I had trouble dyeing my other candidate apron so in the end I cut one from some hemp I had prepared for dyeing with soy milk. Hrm, very stiff for stitching. However–I took it with me for a week in Melbourne and constructed the whole thing by hand, then began stitching for sheer decoration.

Here is the top front, with leaves stitched into it using a variety of undyed threads. And here is the apron prepared for dyeing, with onion shells arranged over the embroidery.

And here it is after dyeing…

And in more detail…

It has gone to one of my beloveds–we make bread together quite regularly and he is often to be seen at our house sporting one of the kitchen aprons.

9 Comments

Filed under Natural dyeing, Sewing