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Cherished projects

starzoe | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

This time of the year I seem to get a great urge to clear out, to clear out stash and also wearables but I also have a tendency to keep items that are no longer useful (out of style, tired of them, never wore them, etc.) and it got me to wondering if I am the only sewer here who cannot bear to part with some of those things which should be sent onto another life, whether it is to the thrift store or the ragbag, or maybe consignment store.

I have a skirt from the 1950s that has seen three makeovers, it really has to go – but maybe I can make a cushion cover out of that lovely wool plaid although it definitely does not fit into my decor – you see what I mean. I have coats that are wearable but 20 or so years old and rarely see the light of day. And on and on. Love to hear from your take on this sort of acquisitiveness.


  1. User avater
    dayenu | | #1

    it's interesting that you bring this up as this past month I have been converting quite a few skirts into formats more wearable for a different size or a different time. I took several kilts and reworked them into wonderful wrap around skirts and took a denim  straight wrap skirt, added some panels and turned it into a flared on the bias skirt.

    I am now considering a terrific no button purple swing coat that just isn't "in style " anymore and reworking it into something asian from a sewing workshop pattern.

    SO I'd love to hear more about things you have reworked into home objects, differnet clothing etc.

    as for those little bits and pieces of beloved items, isn't that what a crazy quilt is for?

    1. starzoe | | #2

      Your posting is interesting to me, especially about the revamped kilts. I have removed pleats, had the fabric drycleaned (now I wash it in cool water instead), turn it sideways and make a straight longish skirt and fringe the bottom edge...lots of compliments on these.I also make jackets from released-pleat kilts I buy at the thrift store. There used to be a Canadian manufacturer of these and the fabrics are wonderful even after a full life before the thrift store. It is surprising how much fabric comes from a woman's kilt. The current one may be on the bias, depending...........I love making something from nothing. Am now working on a vest on a leftover remnant of a coat I made for a relative. It takes a long time to rearrange the pieces and fit them together but it is going to be a success, I can tell. One of my favourite coats was made from wool fabric that I felted in the washing machine and pieced together, along with ultrasuede trim. I have sewn lots of things from upholstery and drapery fabrics. In fact once, years ago I went to a New Years party in a boucle dress made from curtain fabric and found my host's living room drapes were the same stuff. My quiltmaking days are perhaps over as the family is smothered in quilts and I have too many to store. If a garment is beyond redemption and I love the fabric I will take it apart and save it for trim. Some of these pieces have been languishing for years but sooner or later I will certainly find a use for them.

      1. solosmocker | | #4

        Great "party" story! I am a definite revamper. I can't get rid of great fabric no matter the source or age. One of my pocketbooks posted in the gallery is from a wool skirt at least 20 years old that I felted about a year ago on a bored day. I love the bag it turned into. As for kilts, I am 58 and when I was about ten my father brought me back a kilt from an overseas business trip. My daughter, who is 35, wore it when she was ten and it looked darling. I wish I had it now for DGD to wear. I also had a tam to go with it and DD had my grandson's picture taken in the tam when he was two and it is gorgeous. I thought I was going cry a river when they gave me that picture. Even though I love revamping and don't let go of great fabric, I don't hold onto not so great fabric. I did that same cleaning and organizing of my sewing digs right after Christmas and now I feel like I have a free pass to sew my brains out. solo

        1. GailAnn | | #5

          I used to work for a man whose wife kept a "Magic Closet".  As a young mother she had reared 5 wonderful daughters.  All of their "Special Clothes" went into the "Magic Closet".  When her mother died and she came back from cleaning out the family home in Indiana, more wonderful garments went into the "Magic Closit". 

          Twin girls, born to them, a blessing very late in life, enjoyed that closet to no end!  Gail


    2. katina | | #3

      Yes! this is something I really enjoy doing. I wonder if there could be a kind of gallery in Threads where people could provide pictures and a small write-up of these clothing renovations/revival.


  2. mygaley | | #6

    Some of my greatest salvages have been done as gifts from my scrap boxes: A barbie dressed in an exact duplicate of my DDs prom dress, a similarly dressed barbie for my neighbor's granddaughter (complete to the tattoo on her leg!), dgd dresses made from raiding her mother's scraps (Mother-daughter outfits). Pillow covers, table runners, etc., sewed from mother's clothes for my son's home (I have a magic closet, too--what a great name for it).My current rescue project is using a piece of green velveteen and lining that was bought by my daughter to make a size two coat for my DGD. Life intervened, and it sank to the bottom of the closet. Fifteen years later, my DD has redecorated her LR and needs a new tree skirt in her color scheme and I am using this fabric as a base. I wonder if she will recognize it? I'm trying to finish it this weekend because I'm going to her house on Monday night to watch LSU beat Ohio (American football) and she still has her tree up. God bless all of you Galey

    1. MaryinColorado | | #7

      Hmm, you all are giving me some great ideas, though I have not kept many items.  They always fly out the door for the next person who needs them.  Although I've been redesigning UFO's into new items this year. 

      My grand daughter has outgrown the junior bridesmaid gown she wore in my son's wedding.  I will ask her if we could make something special for her and the bride and groom out of it.  She is so sentimental, I wonder if she will dare to cut into it?  It is a dark red, not quite burgundy so would make nice Christmas stockings or perhaps sewn into quilts.  Any suggestions?  Mary

      1. mygaley | | #8

        If there is a lot of fabric in the skirt, it could be made into a table runner. Other ideas: Tree skirt for mini tree, teddy bear, lingerie cases, dress a Santa Doll and Mrs. Santa (or any doll)--I'd look at Vogue patterns crafts section to get more ideas, and the results will be things you can be proud of. God bless you Galey

        1. MaryinColorado | | #9

          Oh, those are excellent ideas.  Thank You.  I used to make alot of dolls years ago.  It would be fun to make Mr. and Mrs. Santa dolls, that fabric would be perfect with velvet trim.  Now to convince my grand daughter to cut into it.  Mary

          It is a floor lenght spaghetti strap satin in girls size 12, she now wears JP 1 and has become quite curvy though slim.  She thought it would fit forever,  before she just seemed to get longer legs and arms but wore the same size for three years.  Reality is setting in. 

          Edited 1/6/2008 6:13 pm by MaryinColorado

          1. Gloriasews | | #10

            Mary, could you remake the dress for your grand daughter?  You could use the skirt & shorten it to whatever length she wants, & maybe make a new top in black velveteen?  You could even make an attachable rose with the scraps or use it for trim.  This could be a 2-piece outfit or a dress.  She may like that idea, if she's hesitant about cutting it.  All the other ideas given to you are excellent, too - what a choice!


          2. MaryinColorado | | #11

            Another great idea!  I'm going to have her read these posts and see what she thinks.  It would be perfect fabric for a Valentines Dance if she was in high school.  Mary

          3. Gloriasews | | #12

            Let us know what she decides - it'll be interesting.  Happy sewing!


          4. MaryinColorado | | #13

            She read everyone's posts and said to tell you thanks for all the ideas.  She needs more time to consider the possibilities.  She seemed intrigued by the idea of a skirt and rose of the dress fabric with a black velvet cami type top.  I suggested using some inserts to increase the length using a new piece of burgundy fabric with black lace so it wouldn't be so noticable that it isn't the same fabric.   Not sure if black lace would be age appropriate for her.  Mary

          5. Gloriasews | | #14

            She sure does have many possibilities for the dress makeover.  As for the black lace, it should be fine.  As for age-appropriate, it depends upon where you plan to place the lace :)   With your talents, it'll look great no matter how you plan to do it.  A happy challenge, eh?  Happy sewing!


  3. msewing1 | | #15

    I love experimenting with re-vamping things. I like to add embellishments to things that still have a great style (classics) to make them more modern and fresh. It's a great way to get the most out of your wardrobe. = )


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