Wednesday May 18, 2011

I went out to our storage shed a few weeks ago in search of some tablecloths I had lost.  I found them and a whole tub of linens I had forgotten about.  In it were some of my vintage table clothes and napkins.  As I looked at each piece I came to the conclusion that some of my favorite vintage pieces were looking a little too “loved” to grace the table anymore.  Even though they were looking worn I couldn’t bring myself to toss them out.

I stacked them in the sewing room and started thinking of a way to give these lovelies a second life.  Recycling (or “upcycling” as it is called these days) vintage textiles is a huge trend right now.  Although I admit I get a little peeved when I see people charging outrageous prices for upcycled items because I think it goes against the heart and soul of reuse, which is frugality. Yeah I said it.  I used the “f” word… frugal!!

This is a pair of thrift store boys overalls, my mom sent Eliza home in the last time she watched her.  A few years ago my mom and I were shopping in a small children’s boutique, and saw some lovely girl’s jumpers and dresses made out of antique table clothes, and hankies.  I decided to use one of my square tablecloths, along with the overalls, to make a summer dress for Eliza. 

I took out my old friend Mr. Seam Ripper, and went to work removing the pants from the bibs.

I folded the tablecloth in half (held my breath) and cut right down the middle.  I don’t know why but it always makes my stomach flip-flop when I make the first cut into a favorite piece of fabric.

I took the two panels and sewed them right sides together, up each side.  I zig-zagged the top edge and did a gathering stitch all along the top as well.  I gathered it up until the skirt fit inside the bibs.  I pinned the skirt to the inside of the bibs and stitched it straight to the jean bibs.

I also removed the red tag on the front of the jeans and added a crocheted doily (my last one!).

I did a little handwork on the skirt, one night as I watched Myth Busters (yes I watch Myth Busters while I embroider, doesn’t everyone?).

  It will be a fun thing for her to wear this summer.

The second piece is a beautiful, large rectangle, yellow and green tablecloth.  It was looking very worn. The edges where frayed, there were small stains, even a few holes here and there.  I wasn’t about to give up on it though.  I decided to make a simple tote.  I used a variety of bead, buttons, appliques to hide the worn spots.

I have a small stash of old t-shirts and onesies that I have saved.  I use them to add little touches to my sewing projects.  I cut out petals, embroidered them to the cloth and put glass buttons in the centers of the flowers.

The cloth has a very pretty but subtle yellow boarder that ends in a point on the bag.  I hand stitched beads to the edge of it, to draw ones’ eye to the boarder.

I also embroidered around the leaves just to give them a little dimension.

I know this might look so tedious to some of you, but I cannot tell you how much fun I had making this bag.  I love being able to do detail work.  The pattern is a reusable grocery bag that I purchased from this etsy shop.  I got such a kick out of making it,  I went a little crazy and made them for almost everyone I know.

I had enough fabric leftover to make a small lavender sachet.

I have plans to make a pincushion and cosmetic bag out some napkins and towels I found.  I had hoped to have them finished for this post but I ran out of time. 
The other recycling trend that I am loving right now is vintage sheets.  Circa 1970 sheets are the most popular.  Lots of women are staking out thrift stores and raiding their mother’s linen closets looking for these vintage sheets.

(photo courtesy of weloveindie)

The girls at Smile and Wave and Cakies are doing some really fun things with them too~

(image courtesy of Cakies)

(Image courtesy of Smile and Wave)
Love these vintage pillowcase dresses!

Lots of beautiful quilts being made out of sheets.
(image courtesy of diaryofaquilter)

I love this simple idea!
(image also courtesy of Diary of a Quilter)

I found this fun store on Etsy that features items made out of vintage bedsheets~ The Modern Marigold

I think I’m going to have to get my hands on some old sheets ;)

Happy Wednesday!  Thanks for stopping in~  April

38 thoughts on “Wednesday May 18, 2011

  1. JsSteph7

    Love it all! Sitting here showing my sister all your pretties! She has so many of your ideas that she wants to try. : ) Really like your bag and overall dress. I think I may try the overall one! Gotta go thrift stor-ing now. : )

  2. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    ohmygoodness!!! so much cuteness and creativity i can hardly stand it!! in a very good way!!
    what an inspiring show and tell. totally NOT a waste of time! ;O)
    i love all the vintage fabrics and the upcycling you are doing with things worn. that little jumper for Eliza just takes the cake!
    and the bags!! oh, the bags! just so very fun!

    still loving this series, and so glad i caught it this time!
    happy wednesday friend faraway!

  3. purpleamethyst76

    Big smile on my face and even little happy tears in my eyes…thanks so much for sharing this very inspiring post!  I enjoyed every bit of it.  Great job on the beautiful dress and those bags!

    Also, the last pic of your daughter in the last post is so beautiful—I looked at it for quite a while.  She’s adorable (even when she wakes up too soon from nap time )

  4. Elizabethmarie_1

    What a Fun Show and Tell this week!  I have been seeing the 70′s floral printed sheets in lots of places….and I’m with you, I hate how people charge so much for “upcycled” items like old sheets!  The little dress is so pretty you made, and I LOVE, Love, LOVE those bags!!! 
    Happy Wednesday to you!!! =)

  5. srheam

    These projects are amazing!!  Love the jumper and the embellishments on the tablecloth!!  Very creative.  Sure wish my brain worked like yours does.  I can see the projects after looking at yours, but would never see vintage linens and get those ideas on my own!  (came on rec. by purpleamethyst…glad I did)

  6. mellibella

    WOW….everytime I come here and you have posts like this it makes me want to get my sewing machine out of the attic…and Create something…but then I don’t.  Sure do wish I had a sewing buddy near by to spark and inspire me to go beyond looking at the blog and “wanting to”.  : )   love love love that you share your talents with us here on xanga!!!

  7. lifeisadance

    I echo Rachel – so much creativity it’s unbelieveable!! I love your ideas of embroidering/appliquing on worn old tableclothes. I have some old worn clothes that I just can’t BEAR to get rid of, but didn’t know what on earth to do with, because they’re simply not useable as is. But your ideas are just wonderful!!! Girl, you could start your own sewing magazine, store – anything you’d want!! Those shoulder bags are just too cool!

    And I love old vintage sheets too. I have some of those very ones in that stack in the picture, goodwill finds. :)

    Today is my sewing day – finally after all these weeks I have time to pull out my stash of goodwill finds and remake, er, repurpose/upcycle some clothes for my girls! This sure was a great post to get me inspired! ♥

  8. fourkidsonemom

    Wow! You are so creative and talented. Loved all your ideas, and those overalls are simply adorable! Etsy is such a wonderful place to find inspiration and wonderful little gifts and trinkets. I would be holding my breathe too – cutting into a vintage tablecloth! I have a collection of old vintage tablecloths and pillowcases. I made each one of my children a quilt out of some of the material my Grandma gave me. Those quilts were so loved – that now they’re in a box in our shed – too worn to carry around anymore. Hmmmm I have a few ideas now! :) ~Denise

  9. ABAHM

    Oh my what a great show and tell post.  I loved everything.  Your daughter’s new overall dress is so cute.  i love vintage pieces like that…so exciting to see what you made.  The embellishments just add to the materials and looks so pretty.  I have a few pieces with holes and such, and try to use them anyway, by layering…but this is better.  Those bags are darling!  

  10. inanorchard

    @JsSteph7 - The overall dress was really fun to make!  You could absolutely do it.  You and your sister should get together for a sewing day :)

    @foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown - Thanks for sticking up for me ;)   You’re a peach!  My post came through correctly because of your “post it ahead” tip… thanks!  Did I tell you how much I liked your last post?  I liked it a whole lot!

    @purpleamethyst76 - Thank you Shanda!  I’m pleased as punch you liked the post :)

    @Elizabethmarie_1 - I feel better now that I know you’ve been seeing vintage 70′s sheets too.  I was worried it would come off as a little strange ;) Elizabeth, I think you and I are two frugal peas in a pod

    @srheam - Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!   You are so very kind :) You know a lot of my projects don’t come out of the gate looking good.  I do a lot of revising and fiddling around with a project before I finish it up.  Plus I haven’t shown you my “Sewing Hall of Horrors” yet That’s a post for another day…

    @mellibella - I’m so glad you like the post!  You should get your sewing machine out of the attic!  On the other hand you are very busy with important things right now.  With sewing becoming more of a popular hobby there are lots and lots of patterns geared towards beginners.  I could be your long distance sewing buddy :)

    @lifeisadance - I would love to see your collection of vintage tablecloths Clarita!  I hope your sewing day was fun and productive :)   Thanks so much for your sweet words… you are such an encouragement to me!

    @fourkidsonemom - Thanks Denise!  Yes I love browsing Etsy.  If I’m not careful I can waste an entire evening scrolling through pages.  The quilts sound beautiful… what a keepsake.  I think they deserve a second chance ;)   I look forward to getting to know you better!

    @celebratinglifeandmotherhood - Yes time is something I am always running short on :)   You have a lot more responsibility that I do right now, taking care of your lovely family.

    @ABAHM - Thank you!!  It was fun to work with the vintage material even though I was nervous about it.  If I mess up on regular material I can just trot on down to the fabric store and replace it… not so with these projects.

    @ThoughtsOfAGemini - Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!  I’m please you liked the post.  I will have to thank Laura for sending you by…she’s a real sweetheart!

  11. appalolly

    I am not a “creator” or a “crafty person” and frankly have had trouble understanding what everyone seems to find so fun about it.

    But I am starting to understand something…I think the creating and making something new from something old is a lot of women’s way of slowing down and noticing the little things in their life and creating beauty is a way of worship. I am starting to get that…and then trying to figure out what my equivalent of the beautiful things that you do is (I think I didn’t use proper sentence structure there, but whatevah!)

    Also, love your sarcasm and sense of humor that always seem to come through in your posts.  You’re funny!

  12. inanorchard

    @appalolly - Audry, you have made my day.  Seriously, thank you.  You managed to articulate what I have always struggled to put into words… the reason behind my drive to create.  I do think it is  important to find ways to slow down and find beauty in the life God has given each of us.  That takes on different forms for each person, but it is (I think) the key to staying grounded, holding onto joy, being thankful, and maintaining what’s left of my sanity 

    I like to mix a little sarcastic bite in with all the sweetness and niceness… makes life so much more palatable, don’t ya think? 

  13. smilesbymiles

    Oh, those BAGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love them!!!  I wonder if I could make one without a pattern!  You have creative genius in your mind and eyes!  Seriously!  I look at things and I am always afraid to buy for fear I will get home and it just won’t look right and I won’t be able to do anything with it.  But when I do, I’m so happy. I think I need to wrack up a bit more courage!

  14. inanorchard

    @smilesbymiles - I know exactly what you mean about working up the courage.  Over the last year or so I’ve gotten a bit more confident with my various sewing adventures, but I have a long ways to go.  I’ve also make a bunch of mistakes throughout this learning process, and I still get a little nervous when I cut a nice piece of fabric or try a new pattern.

    The bag pattern in super simple, I’m sure you could figure it out!  I thought about doing that myself but then I thought, it’s only $6.50 and it will save me a day or two of time if I just buy it.  I’m not real great at making patterns up, I can do it but it’s always a slow (sometimes painful) process :)

  15. SpazzyMommy

    It’s really not fair that one person can possess so much talent, handiwork and creativity.  :)   The little dress is ADORABLE!!! I bought a sewing machine a few years ago. And a book about making cute things. And thats about as far as I got.

    You’ve inspired me! :)

  16. down_onthefarm

    so much clever fun april! i feel this need to write my comment all in capitals or something to express my intense enthusiasm!!!!!!!! or lots of exclamation points!!!!!! that works too!!!!!!!!! what great projects, love your sense of humor and yay for a gathering of encouraging women…all found inanorchard! :)

  17. inanorchard

    @SpazzyMommy - Get that machine out and give it a whirl!  You can do it Cass!! ;)

    @down_onthefarm - Cindy, you always manage to put a big grin on my face (I’m grinning like a fool right now, if someone walked in the room they would seriously question my sanity).  And you are absolutely right.  I have the BEST group of women who stop by my site on a regular basis (you included!), they are such a bright spot in my day :)

  18. georgene

    I hope your mama reads your blog. She’d be proud of you! You definitely have inherited her ‘eye’ and her creative drive. Love you!

  19. H0LDfast

    i read this and thought oh yeah i wasn’t being cheap to use the bag as a reusable shopping bag & not a purse – that’s what it’s for  : )
    i also thought a lot of other great things about you – you’re terrific!
    thanks again for the bag, i’m a grateful benefactor of your creative genius!!

  20. skittler335

    Truly, I wish we lived closer, so I could admire your handy work in person. I’m certain that while your photos are beautiful, they don’t do the pieces you’ve created justice. I love the little dress you made for your daughter, it looks so perfect and floaty and feminine. You make me want to learn  how to sew! 

  21. seedsower

    My mom still uses her sheets from the 70′s the thread count was much better and they actually lasted!

    The stitching on the dress makes it exceptional!

  22. bethro78

     I like almost all of those! How cool. That dress is so precious. And that tent is an awesome idea.

    The shelter I work at, we take broken china/dishes and make pendants out of them to sell. It’s a battered women’s shelter, so we relate the pieces of jewelry to the women. Not the same as before, independent, has a new purpose now. It’s cool. Your post reminded me of it! 

  23. inanorchard

    @bethro78 - I love the pendant idea!!  I would so buy one of those!  I didn’t know you worked at a shelter.  What a rewarding job!  I thought the tent idea was really cool too.  I might try to talk my dad into making and A frame for me.

    @seedsower - Thanks Beth!  It’s always fun when someone you admire appreciates your work:)  If your mom ever wanted to part with some of her sheets she might make a tidy sum on ebay. 

    @AmeliaHart - Thank you so much! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment and recommend my post :)   You are very kind.

  24. jamekablue

    You are a breath of fresh air. :)          I wore little summer sun dresses that my Mama made from sheets, tablecloths, etc. They were cool and awesome. And those bags… I have a pattern! YAY! I think the most difficult part will be remembering how to thread the sewing machine. Thank you for the inspiration.   Oh, and I embroider and crochet while watching Myth Busters too. ;~)

  25. inanorchard

    @jamekablue - I knew there was a reason I like you… other than the fact that you’re wicked funny, and take amazing pictures :)

    It’s true.  Once you get the machine threaded it’s all down hill from there.

  26. leaflesstree

    That little dress is so cute! These are some really awesome projects you’re working on. If I had more time I’d cut up all my mom’s old sheets (I’ve got a few that look quite similar to the ones in those pictures) and make a few things but sadly my time spent on sewing projects has declined since I finished school. I’ve never heard the word “upcycling” before, that’s pretty neat. :)

  27. inanorchard

    @leaflesstree - Thanks so much!  I know what you mean about not having the time.  Sewing is a hobby that takes time and a lot of equipment, which is why I like to mix it up with the embroidery and handwork.  They are much more time and travel friendly!  Thank you for stopping in :)

  28. Shaniqua777

    Wow! Love everything. You are so crafty. Love it. Wish I was crafty in these ways…but Im more of a ” ohhh I like that…I would buy that…..” hehehe you rock!!


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