Monday, July 24, 2017

Upcycled Bead Cuff - via 1980s beaded jacket

 I've been thinking about beaded garments & how they can be upcycled for several years now.  When I see them in the thrift stores sometimes my breath is taken away by the amount of work that went into them and the resulting beautiful beaded patterns. 
I remember when these were popular, a status symbol even.  

Sadly do not know anyone that will wear them anymore so they show up in thrift stores, on eBay, secondhand stores, etc..  Such a treasure of beads and sequins!  
Most are mounted on silk organza with a poly lining. 

Motivation to experiment arrived unexpectedly.  I was invited very recently to have a Paganoonoo booth at the Santa Clara Bead and Design Show held August 10, 11, 12, and 13th at the Santa Clara Marriot in Santa Clara, California.  

Apparently there has been a vendor successfully selling upcycled garments at their Pasadena show and they felt Paganoonoo would be a good fit.  Worth a try I thought.  I have sample garments overflowing my storeroom, and it is time to part with some of them. 

There was also an opportunity to teach, and I immediately thought of beaded jackets. Hmmmm. I found a very beautiful one on eBay and purchased it. 
 I researched likely projects and saw that beaded cuffs are popular, so I set out to make a beaded cuff by harvesting from the jacket. 

I have to tell you that cutting up the jacket made me want to throw up a little bit.  It was tough to do.  I gently removed a sleeve, and let it sit for awhile, contemplating what and were to harvest.  Finally I made the call and gently, trying not to ruin my scissors by cutting through beads, began to cut the cuff shape away. 

I worked on removing beads to yield the pattern I wanted and devised a way to mount it securely then selected an appropriate bottom layer.  I've order colored elastic and will use that and buttons for the closures. 
I love the result!  I will be teaching a class on how to do this at the Bead and Design Show  in Santa Clara, CA, on Saturday, August 12th from 1-4 p.m.  The cost, including materials is $65. There is also an admission fee to get into the show.  The number of students is limited to 8 so if you are interested register ASAP! 

P.S. I have enough of that jacket so that you can make the exact same cuff and will also have a few other choices.
Happy Upcycling!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It's Sew Easy Paganoonoo line up, Series 1300, 2017

Michelle was invited to appear on It's Sew Easy and she answered with a resounding yes!  She flew to Solon, Ohio in January and filmed 5 different segments on upcycling (her favorite topic!), 4 of which appear in series 1300 and one that will air in series 1400.

At this time (mid July 2017) episodes have already aired on TV in the United States and in some areas, not at all (SF Bay Area included).  ISE is syndicated on PBS and local stations select when to air the episodes. To find out which stations in your area carry ISE, check here, or check your local online listings.  After the whole 1300 series has aired on TV they will become available on the It's Sew Easy website. 

These are Michelle's episodes:

Episode 1303 has tips on harvesting sewing notions from second hand clothes - more choices and often better prices!

Episode 1304 covers how to upcycle a double collar on a dress shirt.  Full details of how to do this for any size dress collar combination are for sale at Paganoonoo's Etsy Store. 

Episode 1305 has tips on 1) how to deal with itchy labels and retain your garment's full value, 2) how to upcycle a chemise for use with a blouse using a slip or nightgown, and 3) what to do about pesky zippers and buttons that undo themselves.

Episode 1312 covers how to add reverse applique to your upcycle for a design boost.

Angela Wolfe, fellow presenter, models a Paganoonoo Sandy Blouse.  Michelle has on an oversized version of the same design rendered in neutral gray stripes.

Just prior to filming. 
I'd never done TV before and the crew was really supportive. 

Prepping for episode 1312

There was definitely fun on the set, starting with fellow presenter Carolina Moore and Brother Sewing Machine Educator Kim Campbell photo bombing me taking a selfie in what felt like an inch of makeup, needed for HD TV. 

Joann Banko, fellow presenter generously
shared a copy of her excellent book "Wrapped in Embroidery

Last but not least when I got off the plane there was a fresh undisturbed snowfall!  Being a California girl I had to take a selfie with snow in the background.  I also stomped around it it, LOL.  Couldn't resist sending my husband a screenshot of the weather.
For the full lineup of the 1300 series episodes, including fellow presenters, check here.  Episode photos courtesy of ISE.

The Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions collection, 
all available on our Etsy site.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The perfect wrist pincushion

I don't know about you, but I love using a wrist pincushion.  It is so much easier than carting around loose pin cushions, although I use those too.  

However, I have had pet peeves.  The kind with the plastic band band slips, is not very adjustable to wrist size, is narrow so I continually miss the cushion and prick myself, and when it is hot I sweat underneath. 

As an alternative I made an upcycled cashmere band and my own cushion, which worked very well except for the pins and needles sometimes hitting my wrist underneath and some shifting around of the cushion. The original band wore out so when I added a new band I glued a patch of leather underneath the cushion, which was an improvement as I did not get pricked as much.  Much to my disappointment it has been missing for some months.
I finally realized I don't want to wait any longer for it to show up, so I've been on a mission to build the perfect wrist pin cushion. I think I hit it!

The key is a wide leather cuff.  While I was in Florence, Italy with the Canada College Fashion Department Study Abroad (Italian Fashion) class a few weeks ago we visited a fantastic family owned leather business.  I saw leather cuffs on the wall and excitedly tried them on but none was perfect.  We had just toured their incredible on-site workshop and I realized I could order a custom-made cuff!

This is the result.  It is slightly wider on one end than the other to fit my wrist.  It is 2.5" wide and has snaps on  both corners. I requested perforations on both sides to accommodate attaching the cushion. Perfection!

Now for the cushion.  It is double upcycled and felted wool, LOL. It started as a thrift store score of a brand new Alpaca golf sweater which my husband did not want to wear (darn him!). 

So I upcycled it into a felted cross body handbag complete with a zippered inside pouch from FABMO fabric, and lining from a wool remnant purchased at the PenWAG (my guild) holiday party exchange/fundraiser, and embellished it with huge vintage mother of pearl buttons I got when visiting my Aunt Jane in Minnesota.  

It was a thing of beauty...until I washed it again in a load with a tube of red lipstick.  Not only did it shrink more, it got red streaks that did not come out.  Back to the "use it for something" pile. Unfortunately I do not think I ever took photos of it.

Felted wool makes a great pincushion. So I cut up the bag, layered rectangles and sewed them together by hand.  
Then I wrapped one long piece around the stacked ones, seam down the middle of the underside and stitched it closed.  It probably could have been used it just like this but it was shedding quite a bit.
I encased the felt cushion in crushed red velvet.  
I pulled and sewed all the raw edges down so that they would be hidden next to the leather cuff. Red is my favorite color so this will make me smile every time I use it.
 It was a mistake to use white thread on the underside as some showed once the cushion was sewn on.  Too lazy to redo it instead I colored over the threads with a red fabric marker. 
This is where the perforated holes came in handy.  I was able to secure the cushion with buttonhole thread quite easily. Changing out the cushion will be simple to do. 
Pins slid in easily.  The pad stays secure, not shifting around as it did with the cashmere band.   One improvement would make the pad more easily accessible is shifting the stitching holes in towards me.
The snaps keep the band secure.

I am quite happy with the results. 

I'm considering making these to sell, or selling a kit with a pre-finished cuff made of upcycled belts.  

I've had my eye on a professional snap setter, LOL, one more toy.

What is your favorite type of pincushion?

Happy Upcycling!  

Paganoonoo sewing instructions are available at

Friday, July 14, 2017

Handkerchiefs for tears of joy

I've been wondering, is using a hankerchief going to come back? My husband and I use them.  My Dad uses them.  When I was little somehow I associated having a hankie with being a grown man or lady.

If you've never used one it is much nicer than a tissue.  I wouldn't recommend them for a heavy cold, but they are great for general sneezes (I have hay fever) and tears and wash up very well.  I was in a vintage store the other day and they had stacks of beautiful hankies for sale. E-bay is brimming with them.

I set up a hankie bar for our Son's wedding with a sign that said "For Tears of Joy".  I had purchased enough vintage hankies for all 80 guests. Every single one was gone before the evening was over.  

The sweetest moment was when my new daughter-in-law was so moved during the ceremony that she began to cry.  Her new nephew (the ring bearer) reached into his suit coat and whipped out the hankie he had taken and handed it to her.  She then ended up sharing with her bridesmaids.  The bridesmaids gave it back at the end saying she should keep it as it contained all their tears.

I've made a practice of giving hankies as a gift to key folks at weddings and funerals, where we will predictably cry.  They are always very grateful.  It's such a simple and inexpensive way to let someone know you are thinking of them in that special moment and offering your love and support.

Vintage is green! 

P.S.  If you are having a big wedding soon, 
look what I found on e-bay - no I'm not getting a kickback!