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.
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.
Tired with your basic black leather ballerinas? Here is an easy solution for all of you DIY interested. I had a lot of wood belt buckles, just plain wood color. By painting the buckles with different motifs, here animal fur inspired, I got a pile of unique decorative buckles that I can now use as an interesting detail in my DIY works. Here I attached the buckles into basic leather ballerinas by first piercing the leather in the front of the shoe where I wanted the buckles to sit. I made leather fringes to make the buckles stand out.
I have started to use this way of working with small leather scraps and other materials. First I cut out the shapes I want and glue them on to a piece of leather- let the pieces dry over night- after that I add a quite thick coat of decoupage lack on the surface- after the lack is completely dry I cut out the shape I want. Here I used old leather scraps and one old plastic snake pattern belt. Metal parts are from old bracelet.
These earrings I cut out as half moon shape and added o-rings from an old bracelet to give them more body and movement.
Handpainted leather earrings and starched denim earrings.
Denim starched with sugar and hot water gives endless possibilities to form whatever you can imagine after the fabric is soaked with the mix. Even 3D is possible if you have patience to form it first and then wait for 2 or 3 days until the piece is totally dry.
When the starched denim piece is dry you can for example paint, punch or glue the pieces how ever you want. Easy and fun.
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!
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.
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.
I am amazed how this pair of single colored, old and basic sneakers turned out after some camo pattern refresh! For the camo patterns I used old leather scraps from which I cut out rounded shapes and simply glued them on! I were inspired by a cool designers outfit.
The botanical pics I took here. Great place for inspiration and downshifting.
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!
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…
Nature-inspired patterns on an old plate, by stamping with real leaves. The plate is an old metal plate that has a beautiful patina and can not be used any more for serving food but as an interesting eyecather in various installations it would still be an unique piece. I collected some leaves that had nice forms and and used them as stamps. It is easier to stamp with a leaf that has an even surface so the stamped image will look sharper and all fine details will also transfer properly…althought in this case there were some paint splatters but still the outcome feels old, just like the plate.
Levi’s, the blue jeans. When I am figuring out how to reuse old jeans I often turn them inside out. When jeans are crafted with finess also from the inside it is a pitty not to show it. Levi’s jeans pockets are one good example of “art” inside the garment. How clever to print the info about the jeans in a pocket! Nowadays it is more and more often for example that the washing instructions are printed on the garment instead of sewing an extra, itchy label.
The pockets I carefully unpicked and then sewed together with a same size denim and installed a zipper. Lining inside the purse makes it easy to use and hides the uneven seam allowances.
Purse with the denim handle; the black triangle edges is handpainted. I gave my friend one of these and she is using it as an mobile pouch. Old Levi’s jeans pocket now travelling around the world as pouch- filled with facebook, twitter, apps and more…what a nice thought!
Two piece outfit that looks together like overall. I found this stretchy black and white patterned fabric when I was looking for material to sew a pair of cool leggins. I draw the pattern for the leggins with my measurements, it is easy, there are many good instructions available in various blogs. Fabric turned out to be not so stretchy as I tought so I had to sew a zipper in the front..well it would have been nicer in the sideseam but I just went with the feeling, crazy pattern crazy zipper! For the top I used “80´s” pattern originally designed for a swimwear and the back was so nice so I wanted to try it out. I just left the bottom part away from the pattern and added a zipper in the sideseam. Ready for the city jungle!