My friend asked me if I could sew denim bag to her out of her old jeans which were low cut and tight, not in fashion any more ;) Project sounded fun so I agreed and she sent me her jeans. Both jeans were the same color; same tone of dye so my first idea to sew a bag with different sizes and colors of denim stripes was not going to work because of the “flat” color hues on the denim. So I looked up from my special japanese quilting technique books and found this pattern which builds up almost in 3d when put together. Quilting it is!
I carefully planned out this bag and measured the right amount of parts also thinking about the dark and light parts of the denim trousers so I could make the most of the pattern. It took some time sewing the parts together and ironing every seam but the end result was worth it.
She also wished for a pocket inside and outside and that the handles were so long that she can carry the bag easily on her shoulder.
Jeans old leather back labels I used upside down on the front of the bag. This cause I do not want anyone to be able to easily read what it says on the labels (small artsy point) but there are there visible to all to remind that reusing and refashioning is the only way to save this planet from textile waste.
The “back” of the bag or reverse side I made out of different sized denim parts, those which were left over from after my first cut. She wished a pocket on the outside so this one is hidden near your body when the “front” of the bag is visible while carrying it on the shoulder.
And just before shipping this bag to her I took it with me on my own photoshoot.
This oversized denim jacket I got from a friend to be used as material for my designed denim bags. Instead I felt like doing something extra bold with it; I decided to sew small pieces of vintage scarfs to make the jacket “float” and “puffy”.
I used vintage scarfs that were a little bit damaged beyond repairing and cut same sized rectangular pieces which I then sew on the jacket. Sleeves I had to take apart otherwise I could not been able to fasten the scarfs.
By separating the colors and sewing matching ones side by side the surface is more interesting and lively. And the number of vintage scarf pieces I used to this jacket… 583 pieces.
Buttons I attached by hand and each one is carefully placed so the colors again flows easily and makes interesting surface.
White shirt, blouse or dress is just an open invitation to me for refashioning or otherwise creating something else interesting out of the “boring” white garment. In this case it was an old, used mens shirt made from top quality cotton. As usual I did not have any plans, just went with the flow. Started by painting the shoulder parts free hand just a little bit over the shoulder seam so it would look like a mistake :)
I took away the buttons and painted half circles starting from small size and painting the circle bigger as I went towards the hem. The collar I cut away cause it was too formal and stiff for the style. I just left the seam like it is so that it would seem that the collar ripped off. It will be interesting to see what washing does to the seam, better or worse. Well I deal with it then.
By cutting off the sleeve cuffs the shirt became more feminine and light. The sleeves I scrunched by folding some parts here and there and sewing the layers together. Same technique I used also to the front of the shirt. By doing this I achieved more eased look for the whole shirt, taking it away from the old formal and stiff appearance.
Gold colored circles on the sleeve unites the look with the front part.
For this denim jacket refashioning I used one old mens denim shirt (labeled James) and one worn out denim skirt. Shirt I used was size L so I was able to play with the size by gathering some of the excess fabric to the back.
How I did it
Original sleeve cuffs I cut off and attached denim pleats instead.
As usual when I am into these refashioning pieces I do not follow any plans. My way is to go step by step, feeling the fabric and trying the piece on often between different stages just to see how it acts when on you.
my work flow
Adding the belt done with light/dark colored denim pieces gives the jacket more feminine figure. Cotton lace was a last minute fix to hide the masculine front piece.
I am super satisfied how this denim refashioning piece turned out; modest flamboyant with contemporary twist.
I had a stash of small leather left over pieces in different colors and textures which one day started to grow into a canvas by joining the parts together and this “canvas” suddenly into a bag. Shoulder strap is an old belt fastened to the bag with reused jacket parts. Tassel is my own design, giving the bag unique finishing with a wooden animal as the “spirit” of the bag.
Neckpiece from leather and yarn. This piece was inspired by a tie, I thought about a modern tie that could be worn with a blouse like a tie. This black gently u-shaped leather neckpiece looks pretty formal worn with a shirt but can be used also with different shaped necklines.
First I draw a pattern how the neckpiece should look like when worn under collar. I used leather in the u-shaped part and decorated the edge with yarn fringes.
Bought Susan Briscoes book Japanese quilt blocks to mix & match from a craft fair in Finland few years ago and the amount of inspiration it`s given me! This denim bag started from the idea to have just one big quilt block instead of several small ones and the pattern is called Kurume kasuri goku masu- five squares.
Struggled a bit with the scale but finally got it right!
Super happy with the end result! All denim used are from old jeans, shoulder strap is old leather belt and the lining is made out of old skirt. So again 100% recycled!
Photoshoot for the bag took place in very mystical surroundings….
This project was started up by two pieces of fabric sofa samples that I found second hand…and one belt. Idea was to make a roomy bag, easy to sew and without any super fancy decorations.
But as the project went on I wanted to do something extra, to give that unique touch to this bag also rather than leaving it just black. I found from my cross stitch stock this “dragon”. It´s almost ten years ago I bought it and now was the right moment for it. By placing it in the middle of the bag it serves also as a pocket. Buttons are vintage too, red ones to boost up the red from the cross stitch.
Canvas belt found second hand had some nice studs on it and looks amazing as handles for the bag. By hand stitching some decor to one of the handles makes it look raw and crafty and the pattern just “created itself” while stitching.
Overall look of the bag is a little bit medieval- maybe thanks to the studs and the dragon. Location to shoot the bag was in this case easy to figure out- it is an old mill from 17th century in Röttle near Gränna Sweden. I think I felt some vibes from times passed by while taking pics there…
Photoshoot took place in Stockholm Sweden (Södermalm). The concrete wall with the nice little artsy window was perfect background for my outfit.
This pattern from a 90s Finnish fashion and sewing magazine Muoti+Kauneus I have used over and over again.
Shirt is easy to sew and by using overlocker to finish the hem makes the fabric fall down in more natural way than using a straight stitch. Black and white checked fabric I found second hand for only 3€.
Idea of this leather bag began when I found a pair of leather trousers second hand. I often buy worn and outdated but good quality leather clothes second hand…of course if the price is ok, under 10€ is still a bargain of a good leather.
In this case I cut out the front and the back pieces for the bag from the leg part of the trousers because leather on the legs were in good condition and I did not have to do any extra seams. I tryed out different motifs on the bag but finally I ended up playing with the swiss cross and by adding black leather squares the pattern looked deeper. Studs are there to “rock” the bag but the style is still versatile to combine with different looks and outfits: preppy, rebel, chic etc.
Because I wanted the bag to have “one piece look” so adding in handles was out of the question. Instead I cut out holes to the top part, folded the seam allowances from the cut out to the back and glued them with a flexible glue. Lining is done out of leather and denim, I repeated the same cut out hole and then I just glued the front and the back together. So more glue than seams on this leather project. Glue I used was BISON transparent, it was really easy to work with and now after carrying various loads in my bag for a week around Paris I can say that the glue hold the leather together super good.
Photoshoot is done in Musée des Arts et Métiers and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Thank you Paris!
Remodelling and altering old t-shirts is always better option than buy a new one. Material is easy to find cause second hand stores are piled up with t-shirts, some of which has never even been used. I found my golden Adidas t-shirt years ago and never quite liked the boxy shape so it just waited for the perfect idea how to remodel it. And when I found a piece of black stretchy velour (from second hand store)…I knew what to do.
Idea was to cut off the sleeves and replace them with raglan ones from velour fabric. First I needed to figure out the cutline and the best way to do this is with the help of my mannequin torso. I draw the lines on the shirt and then just cut away the sleeves.
Using the old sleeve as a pattern I cut the new one from the velour and added lenght to the sleeve.
Striped denim fabric I found from Netherlands Delft from a second hand store. There is total 5 meters of this fabric so I have plenty over for something cool in the future.
I wanted to try out a pair of high-waisted culottes. I cropped the waist so that it fits tightly and added a zipper in the side. I also made a belt from the fabric to give the trousers finished and chic-easy look.
The avant-garde (from French, “advance guard” or “vanguard”, literally “fore-guard”)are people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture and politics.
Sometimes creative process can begin with only a word…in this case a word I came across printed on a t-shirt and after studying the meaning I could relate to avant-garde easily…being daring, innovative, experimental and stating out your own ideas with a bold or unusual way. If I have a statement written on my clothes it has to be saying something I can truly stand for.
The gray jumper is of course a bargain found on second hand, woolblend mens basic knit which I shortened leaving the hem raw without any sewing. Cuts in the elbows gives the altered knit a rough and worn feeling. By wearing under the piece coloured or textured layers it is easy to make different combos. Lettering I made free hand with silver acrylic paint.
Another garment upgrade I did to a Finnish designers Anne Linnonmaa long cardigan. Found this extra nice piece also second hand and after a while decided to give it more outstanding look, something that complements the piece but makes it more unique. To the back piece I cut out from another jumper a sleeve which I attached with basic zigzag stitches. From the same jumper I also cut out a pocket piece and placed it on the front of the cardigan only on the other side…cardigan did not loose its original shape or look but it became more outstanding and bold.
This black leather bag with modest shine is actually a gift so the size of the bag and as well the color combinations are carefully thought trough. Inside the bag needs to fit a smart phone, wallet and home/car keys and the person who is going to to get this likes shades of black and grey…and of course silver color. For easy carrying cross body the strap is longer and a flap with magnetic clasp safeguards carried important items inside the bag.
I took apart my latest second hand bargain, long black leather jacket and cut the parts for the bag from the back and the sleeves of the jacket. Adding silver colored leather stripe decorations (cut out with my Fiskars zig zag scissors) enhances the shape and personalizes the whole bag. I used the same zig zag pattern in strap fastenings and in the lining.
Zero waste clutch bag; made out of old suede trousers and a white leather vest into my all time favourite clean and graphic pattern stripes. Pattern that looks good with almost any outfit you choose. Triangle decorations on the sides add interest and more body to the clutch. By adding the option that I can wear this bag also on my shoulder makes it more versatile, although the solid purpose is clutch in which only the necessary items fits in, such as lipstick, keys and my phone.
Tämä laukku sai alkunsa inventoidessani nahkavarastojani. Löysin palan hiekanväristä nahkaa ja mustaa mokkaa joista leikkasin samanlevyisiä, suorakaiteen muotoisia paloja. Ompelin palat yhteen värejä vuorotellen ja aikani valmista nahkapintaa katsellessani päätin tehdä siitä kädessä kannettavan laukun, clutchin. Laukun sivuihin ompelin tehokeinoksi “kolmio”nahkasomisteen, näin laukku sai myös yksilöllisen ilmeen. Lisäsin laukkuun olkahihnan joka näin muuntaa kädessä kannettavan myös olalla pidettäväksi. Olkahihnaa vaihtamalla laukun saa myös nopeasti päivitettyä asukokonaisuuteen sopivaksi. Irrotettava metallinen olkahihna löytyi kirpparilta mutta hihnaksi käy myös vaikka ohut vyö. Clutch ei ole tilaihme mutta mukaan mahtuu kätevästi kuitenkin kaikki tarpeellinen.
Cross stitching crazyness! Really how can people give/throw away these beautiful and extra nicely stitched piece of art works? I believe there will be a time when these vintage cross stitch handcrafts will be worth gold.
But until that, let`s do a bag out of one zig zag patterned, thrifted cross stitch. It was a pillow cover when I found it from second hand Erikshjälpen Jönköping. Mostly when I come across these old handicrafts they are pillow covers or wall decorations. The colors on this one are bold and I like how the lilac color pops up from the whole palette. I had a piece of brown leather from one earlier project and decided to go towards gold color in the metallic parts and decorations. For the lining I choose sturdy denim so the bag will stay in shape even when empty.
Again all parts fort this bag are recycled from second hand bags. My mission is to buy as little as possible straight from the craft stores but to do a bag with good and functional elements requires a lot of different metallic parts. Such as magnetic closures which I usually take apart from my second hand bags. Handles and straps are also quite tricky; to do a long leather strap requires a lot of good leather and usually that is hard to achieve with leftover leather scraps, so again second hand bags to the rescue!
I am pleased how solid the outcome is, all colors match together and even the gold colored labels fit in with the look.
Watching anime gave me the idea for this bag. I strongly relate to the phrase and I think that the emotions described as “mono no aware” are similar to the ones that are present when I seek for ideas. Beauty lies silent and hidden and it never reveals itself when one is looking for it, beauty happens.
Mono no aware on japanilainen sanonta, jonka yleensä käännetään tarkoittavan “herkkyyttä asioiden edessä.” Sillä viitataan kaihoisiin tunteisiin, jotka syntyvät kauniiden asioiden katoavaisuudesta ja hetkellisyydestä.
Simple denim shirt that I turned into a vest. Metal rings round the neck are thrifted, bag with 30 pieces for 2€. I sew the rings loosely so it is possible to decorate the neckpiece with for example a scarf or more metal accessories. By turning the hem to the sides in the front I created handy pockets.
Denimpusero muuntui jakuksi. Kauluksen tilalle ompelin kaulasomisteen johon pujotin metallilenkit ja kiinnitin ne paikoilleen. Metallilenkkien alta voi vielä pujottaa lisää denimiä tai vaikka värikkään, ohuen huivin. Denim on aina kuulunut suosikkeihini, kangasta voi työstää monella tapaa ja reunoja ei tarvitse huolitella, raakareunat denimissä antavat asuun kerroksellisuutta ja elävöittävät kankaan pintaa. Etutaskut käänsin puseron helmasta.
I often take pictures of my designs by the waterside.
I am so into stripes at the moment. Black and white can not ever go wrong, timeless color combination and easy to mix and match with a variety of other colors and styles. Material for this bag is cut from second hand leather jacket and trousers…the white jacket is already several years old. Stripes are 3mm wide and I joined the pieces together by zig zag stitch.
Lining for the bag is denim that also supports bags structure. Shoulder strap is taken from another bag and the studs and other metal pieces are also recycled from old bags. Pattern and placement of the studs are irregular…it needs to feel like the deco just “rain” on the bag.
This beatiful fabric “Kaktus” is designed by Erja Hirvi for Marimekko. When I bought the fabric over five years ago I had it hung as curtains and now after a long search for a cool fabric for a long jacket I found it from my pile of old curtains that I had statched away.
To the shawl collar I left raw edges and also some of the seams in the jacket are inside out and left on purpose unfinished so that the fabric looks like it is worn and old. Frontpiece of the jacket is right way out but both sleeves and the back part is showing the garment inside out, which in this case makes an interesting look for the whole jacket. Lining is only put in for the front and back, to make the jacket heavier and more comfortable to wear.
I made a matching bag out of the leftover pieces; a bag to have on with the jacket. In the bag I left the name of the company and designer to be seen when I carry the bag, it makes the bag unique and shows in cool way the designers name.
Fall is my favorite season; it accompanies mind and spirit as well as body, from the crackle of leaves to the sweet smell of decay.
Fall is also the time of the year when you can daringly play with your outfits- layering different materials and shapes takes the whole autumn look into new dimensions. Why not layer a long cardigan with a short leather vest and experiment freely by mixing scarfs together with different sizes and colors.
My long cardigan is self-made from woolen blend jersey. It is a pattern from 1992 Burda which I altered by lenghtening it and also took away the collar. Rounded patch pockets has a lining inside them and pockets are big enough to create an eyecatching element in the front but also super comfy to keep your hands in. My back bag is made from old leather pants (seen in the blog earlier)…but the black scarf is a new player!
I bought 8 rolls of Ambiente black wool/alpaca yarn (not cheap) and crocheted the scarf with 15 sized hook (made from bamboo). Reason why I spent so much for the materials were that I wanted a black basic scarf with quality material; alpaca mixed with virgin wool makes the scarf super soft and quite light to wear. The extra that makes the scarf pop are the tassels I made from the same yarn. I just love autumn <3
Thrifted the skirt already while ago and did not really know what do with it. Animal print; black spots on turqoise, glittering base is not really my type of fabric but this crazy combo could work on some smaller surface. Inspiration for the shape I got from a round leather bag and I wanted to experiment the shape on this fabric. Adding some support inside to keep the form as round as possible was necessary and using foamy placemat cut into shape worked out perfectly. The shoulder strap and zipper are both thrifted, it is amazing how much accessories for sewing you can find second hand for only few euros…these things usually build up the price on a bag but in this case the total cost for the bag was 5€. Oh and the denim jacket is also second hand…just adding a lot of different fabric patches to make it fab!
I have always been a fan for all things miniature. These small denim cubes started out as a test to do something three dimensional out of denim but soon I noticed that I had done already few in a row…and really enjoying hand stitching the sides together. Some of the cubes got beads as numbers on the sides- small soft dices and one cube got really attitude after adding studs!
This red checked fabric was a last minute found from a thrift store for 2€ and after this pic I knew what to do out of it. Pattern for the dress is again from 90s fashion magazine Burda with some slight alternations. The dress turned out to be too easy and “nice” so I cut out some free hand patterns and stamped them on.
It was supposed to be tough looking chick wearing a checked punk inspired dress with dr. Martens shoes…but it turned out to be slightly nicer version of that. When you want the picture to be taken full torso and you wearing the dress it is hard if you have to do it by yourself—-but hey let´s use a selfie stick—which is not as easy as I thought it would be…photoshoot took place in the botanical garden of Delft.
For carrying mobile phone cross-body. All pouches are made from recycled materials; denim, leather and all the metal parts are from thrifted bags or jewellery. Lining is made out of old scarves, as long as they have silky and smooth surface to easily slide in and take out the phone. I used various type of cords for the strap…from shoe laces to self made ones.
Some of the pouches I painted and stamped with lines and circles and the swiss cross symbol was just perfect for the more simplified and sharp look. Love to use also washing instructions from old garments as decoration.
Now I just need to find homes for these unique pouches…
The leopard print fabric and the cute Hawaiian motif one were a gift from a friend. What to sew out of these fabrics? I am not a big fan of animal printed clothes…so I came up with the idea to join both fabrics in the same item – a backbag. The Hawaiian print fabric I used as a lining. Shoulder straps are from thrift shop; a belt with gold colored studs 3€ and the chains from an old necklace. It is more my style to wear animal print as accessory – as a contrast or matching part of my outfit.
Photoshoot took place at harbour; beatiful sunny day and glittering water. From nationalgeographic.com: “Leopards are strong swimmers and very much at home in the water, where they sometimes eat fish or crabs.” ;-)
Long cardigans can save your outfit problems in a second…proportion play in clothing is something I often do, cardigans and vests with long sihouettes have been my all time favourites, mostly because they suit my bodytype and also of the fact that in this way I can play more with layering clothes. Therefore when I came across this woolblend two pieced knit outfit at the second hand I just could not leave it…I had in my mind what would become of it and the price was also quite amazing- only 6€!
I joined the original cardigan with the skirt from the skirts hem, in this way I ensured that I have enough fabric also for the big pockets. It is a nonchalant ( relaxed and calm in a way that shows that you do not care or are not worried about anything) effect on a cardigan to have pockets, somewhere to put your hands and make the style more street-smart.
Oh and those shoes are a gift from my friend; velvet stretch ankle boots from the golden 90s!