Recently, we posted on the Riggin blog, yes, hey, there’s a Riggin blog! Yes, we posted on the Riggin blog about my winter projects. While Jon gets to work with wood and metal, I get to work with food and fabric. Usually I vacillate between knitting and food, but this winter fabric has taken my fancy. And then I found a new love – an industrial machine. My goodness these things are handy!
A long time friend, who has been doing the canvas work for the Riggin since the beginning of our ownership has always offered that I use her machines to make hand bags or some other fun project. That’s not out of the question, but we had some things around the house that were needing some attention, so I approached her about her mentoring on something a little more complicated than bags. She’s a peach and was game.
The slipcovers for our house settee were the first project. I loved that so much, a slipcover for a chair upstairs was next. Then I sewed a couple of things for the boat before I got back to pillow covers. Hopefully, I will have time to do another slipcover for the office chair before the winter is out and the garden takes all of my attention.
Here’s a look at a few of the things I’ve been working on for the house.
Now that we are home and have all of our crafting tools at our disposal, the sewing machine has come out and the knitting needles have slowed (not stopped, just slowed). Of course there are tons of clothing items that one can make with re-purposed wool and wool sweaters, some of which I’ve shared in the form of fingerless mittens, cowl, and felt-decorated sweaters. Last week I came home from a school event and shared with Chloe the idea of a snappy wool skirt a student was wearing over leggings – cool boots too, of course. As I worked my way through the crowd and closer to the skirt (the student I mean), I realized that it was actually the bottom of a felted sweater inverted so that the hem or lower cuff of the sweater had become the waist band of the skirt.
The next morning Chloe comes down wearing one of two skirts that used to be wool sweaters hanging out in the crafting pile ready and waiting to become something. The second was prepped for a short spin under the sewing machine.
Directions for How to Make a Skirt from a Wool Sweater Felt the sweater so that the fibers connect and the ends don’t fray by washing in hot and rinsing in cold water. Stop the washing machine occasionally and check to be sure that you aren’t felting it more than you want. The fabric will just become thicker and thicker with changes in temperature and agitation so slower is better. When the fabric of the wool is the thickness that you’d like, spin it to wring out most of the moisture and then hang or lay flat to dry. Sometime I’ll roll an item between two bath towels and then press or even step on the roll to squeeze out any excess moisture.
To determine the length of the skirt, measure vertically from where it will ride – waist, belly button or below belly button – to where you’d like for it to end – knee, thigh, mid-thigh. There is no hemming necessary with this project, so therefore no need to adjust the measurement for hemline material.
When dry, lay the sweater out on a cutting board. With a yard stick or measuring tape, measure from the bottom of the sweater (waist of the skirt) to the hem of the skirt. Make a horizontal, straight cut across. Note: If the wool is the washable sort, then a quick zigzag stitch along the hemline takes care of any unraveling that might occur. It also can add a design element if you use a contrasting thread color.
Recycling used clothing has to be among one of the most satisfying ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon (other than watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl – GO Pats!) Easy, frugal, fun and useful all at the same time, this sweater became a pair of hand warmers for Ella, a mini-skirt for Chloe and a cowl for me. Now the rule is that no one can wear their item on the same day. Fair enough.
Grumpy didn’t begin to describe how I was coming to feel about our 15 year old couch. My parents still have the couch they were gifted when they married and even more, the couches that were my grandparents. Yup, re-upolstered, but still have them. So when I looked at our couch, only 15 years old, piping beginning to show, fabric beginning to fray and the corners much maligned by our dear (grumble) cat, I didn’t like it.
Every morning when I wake up before the rest of the household to meander downstairs and enjoy my first cup of coffee to silence and the dark morning sky dawning to light, I sit right across from this couch. I was grumpy. Grumpy that the couch looked like this. Grumpy that ‘things just aren’t made like they used to be.’ Grumpy that a new couch is $1,000 or more.
Then one morning, a glimmer of a different attitude that is so much more in keeping with my positive self emerged. I like handmade things. I like upcycled, recycled, repaired and repurposed things. Why was I focusing on the things that I didn’t like instead of what I do like?
And so a new couch was born. One that makes me happy every time I look at it. Same couch. Different attitude and much more like it, thank you very much!
This is what I did:
From our local Salvation Army, I found a wool coat in a color that I thought would go with our couch.
I then made a pattern for the arm rest out of newspaper.
Cut out the wool fabric.
Sewed it on by hand with a hidden stitch. And the best news of all is that the cat doesn’t want to scratch on these repairs!
My sewing machine whirred away for a while this Christmas season in an attempt to give small, meaningful gifts from the heart rather than the pocket book. These coasters were one such gift and I’ll be posting about others over the next few months. For those who have sailed on the Riggin already, the striped fabric may look familiar. I’m not going to tell you where it came from, you have to guess! I will say that the fabric is upcycled. And just as it jazzes me to create dinner out of what looks like “nothing to eat” in the fridge, it was just as fun to create something out of fabric I may have otherwise thrown away like last week’s leftovers.
Fabric remnants in 1, 2 or 3 different matching fabric.
Thin quilt batting or ugly fabric that you don’t want to see.
Cut 4, 5 inch squares from fabric 1 (the back.)
Cut 4, 4 1/2 inch squares from batting or ugly fabric.
If you’d like for the front and back to be the same fabric, cut 8, 5 inch squares of the same fabric.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 5 inch rectangles the back fabric.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 inch rectangles of fabric 2.
Cut 4, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 inch rectangles of fabric 3.
Sew the small squares of fabric 2 and 3 together first with a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all.
Sew the two squares to the 2 3/4 x 5 rectangles and press.
With wrong sides facing, leave a 2 inch opening, and sew the front and back pieces together around the outer edge. Snip the corners.
Invert as you would to make a pillow and then insert the batting material. This took some patience to smooth out the batting and not have wrinkles.
Fold the opened seam closed and top stitch at both a 1/4 inch and right on the edge. I also added an x, but you could easily do circles or another free form design.